New Baby Essentials: What You Really Need (Part 1)

I’m currently nesting at home, gathering newborn essentials and preparing for the arrival of the baby boy. This being my third pregnancy, I now have a better idea of the products I actually need and products I won’t be using for long. I am also much more practical and mindful of my purchases and do not spend more money than necessary on temporary baby and decor items.

Unlike the first time, my baby registry was very short and only contained absolute essentials. After raising two children already, I now know how much clothing, toys and books get thrown away at every spring cleaning and I don’t want to make the same mistake of buying too much. I also learned it’s not worth splurging on expensive baby items and clothing unless it lasts me at least 2-3 years.

Unlike the first time, my baby registry was very short and only contained absolute essentials. After raising two children already, I now know how much clothing, toys and books get thrown away at every spring cleaning and I don’t want to make the same mistake of buying too much. I also learned it’s not worth splurging on expensive baby items and clothing unless it lasts me at least 2-3 years.

Here is my newborn essential list. These are my honest suggestions from personal experience and in no way exhaustive. If you want to only buy what you need without breaking the bank, you may find this list useful. I’ve included some affiliated Amazon links in this post, so please use them if you decide you may want to try the same products I’ve chosen to support this blog. Thank you!

Nursery Essentials

1. Crib + Crib Mattress:

 Was looking for: Function, style, safety, reasonable price

Crib skirt and matching bumper (not pictured) is the gray linen line from Pottery Barn. Crib sheet is also from Pottery Barn.

You obviously need a good, functional crib and crib mattress. After hours of research, I chose this white Jenny Lind crib with sleek vintage inspired lines. At right around $200, it’s reasonably priced and reviews are good across the board.

For the mattress, I wanted a mid-range mattress that can last 2-3 years before baby is moved to a full sized bed. If you plan to use the mattress for more than one baby, you might want to invest in a better quality mattress but for one or two babies, this one seems like a good choice.

I will post an updated review once we start using the mattress with the baby. Upon inspection, it looks comfortable with the right amount of firmness and softness. It also comes with a removable waterproof cover which I like.

2. Changing Table + Dresser

 Was looking for: Function, safety, style, durability 

By Million Dollar Baby

Your baby will definitely need his or her own dresser because you will go through a lot of clothes those early years and on. I’ve used cheaper Ikea dressers in the past which worked fine for one child, but they didn’t last too long with the constant opening and closing of drawers.

Eventually I ended up having to buy better quality ones in their toddler years so this time I decided to buy a better built one that can hopefully last at least ten years. (I know that sounds like a long time but from my past experience, I know how fast they go from 0-10 years old. Sad, I know.)

After hours of research, I decided on this double wide dresser by Million Dollar Baby in dove grey. The color is light grey but it has green undertones next to the other shades of gray in the room. I like the fact that it layers the different shades of gray in the room and everything is not so matchy, matchy.

I also like that it has a matching changing station that you can place on top. The changing station can be purchased separately or you can choose to just use a changing pad and cover. Just be sure to use extra caution when changing your baby and never leave baby unattended.


3. Rocking Chair + Ottoman

 Was looking for: Function, comfort, style, under $500 

Gray storage ottoman and side table are both from Target

There are so many rocking chairs out there and they are not cheap. It can run anywhere from $300 to $3000 (or even more) and choices are endless. I really wanted to buy the Pottery Barn chair and ottoman set in gray but choices were limited for in-stock items and the rest I had to custom order. Plus they would cost me over $1300 for both.

After some research, I found this Mikayla swivel gliding recliner that has multiple functions. It can rock, swivel, and glide back and forth when not reclined and it fully reclines with the twist of a handle. When it’s in full recline mode it’s very comfortable, a perfect spot to breastfeed, take a nap or even read a book. Plus it’s much cheaper than the Pottery Barn chairs and the fabric doesn’t look or feel cheap.


I love the white piping detail and the texture of the fabric. I think this is a great buy at $400 and plan to get much use out of it. I will post updated review once the late night feeding sessions begin.

The storage ottoman and white side table are both from Target.

4. Crib Mattress Pad (1-2)  + Muslin Blankets (6-8)

 Was looking for: Softness, organic, multi-use



I didn’t purchase the crib bedding set because I found that I never ended up using the blanket that comes with it. So instead, I just bought the crib skirt, bumper and sheet and will be using a variety of lighter blankets.

I love this hypoallergenic 100% organic crib pad. The color is more ivory than white, and it is made of more substantial material than standard cotton sheets. This is a good option for babies with sensitive skin. I also love its organic texture and that it provides natural padding without the bulk and heat.

These muslin swaddle blankets are a must have for every parent. I love this Snugg Bugg brand which looks and feels a lot like the popular Aden + Anais blankets but at a better price. The size is much larger than your typical muslin blankets at 47×47 inches and it feels just as soft as the more expensive, boutique brands.

You can use these not only for swaddling, but as a breathable blanket, carseat cover up, etc. It’s multi-functional and any new parent will get great use out of them. I would say stock up on these, maybe 6-8 during summer months. I prefer these to traditional receiving blankets.


5. Co-sleeper or Bassinet

 Was looking for: Function, style, reasonable price, multi-use


In my opinion, a co-sleeper or bassinet is a must during the first few months when the baby is breastfeeding every 2-3 hours. It makes a world of difference to have the baby right next to your bed, versus having to walk into the nursery every time he or she needs to be fed. I used it for both my children and I plan on using it again for this baby.

This time I chose the Arm’s Reach co-sleeper bassinet. It requires basic assembly and you can attach it to the parents’ bed. I plan to just place it right next to our bed. I like the fact that it has ventilated pockets for holding diapers and wipes for those late-night changing sessions and you can use it as a mini play pen while the baby is still little.

You can remove the top mattress and make it deeper as needed.


6. Bath Towels + Newborn Grooming Kit


  • Baby Towels (3-4) 

I always wash my baby’s clothes and towels separately from the rest of the family’s with all-natural, baby detergent. This ensures their sensitive skin does not come in contact with irritants from the rest of the family’s dirty clothing.

Having separate bath towels for the baby is a must, and I’d say you need at least 3-4 depending on how many times you plan to wash the baby. You will certainly be okay with 1 or 2, but laundry will become that much more frequent.

Most newborn grooming kits include a comb, travel case, nail clippers, nail files, brush, dispensers, nasal aspirators, toothbrush, thermometer etc. I never knew how often I’d use these until I had a baby. You will end up using the nail files in those early weeks (when baby’s fingernails are too small to cut) and the nail clippers are a must because it’s a good idea to always keep their nails trimmed to avoid scratches on their faces.

Baby toothbrush, thermometer, nasal aspirators, tiny combs– all these are nursery essentials you want on hand.

7. Baby Bathtub + Washcloths + Baby Shampoo

Baby bathtub, washcloths and shampoo are a must and you will be using them a lot in the first year. There are a lot of choices for all the above, but I find that standard tubs work just as well as the more expensive ones. Try to go with organic cotton, hypoallergenic wash cloths and natural baby shampoo.

I’m a huge fan of Mustela baby products but know some babies are sensitive to this brand. It worked well for both of my children and I hope this baby boy enjoys this too. I just can’t get enough of the Mustela smell!


8. Newborn Clothing


Now for the best part….newborn clothing! There are many conflicting information regarding what you really need during the early months because there really is no one right way. You may need more preemie to newborn sizing if your baby is smaller and you may skip these sizes altogether and go straight to 3 months if you have a big baby.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, everyone told me how fast babies grow and to buy bigger clothing. So I took this advice literally and only bought a few newborn onesies and a bunch of 3 months onesies.

When my daughters were born, my first daughter weighing at 7 lbs. 4 oz and my second daughter at 6 lbs. 6 oz., all the onesies I had washed and prepared were too big. Big mistake. My husband had to run to the store and buy a bunch of newborn sizes and they were wearing these at least for 2-3 weeks. Yes they grow fast but they do need clothing that fits– so I suggest you bear this in mind when preparing for your little one’s arrival.

These are newborn essentials I prepared for my own baby.

  • Newborn onesies (5-7)
  • Newborn + 0-3 months shirts with buttons or ties (5-10)  I personally prefer these over onesies in the early weeks because it’s easier to clean the belly button and dress/undress the baby at their first appointments. Plus when swaddled tightly (which many newborn prefer), you really don’t need pants AND socks especially during spring and summer.
  • Pants (3-5) Again, I don’t plan to take my baby out during the first month so I don’t think he will be wearing pants often. He’ll be wrapped or swaddled most of the time.
  • Newborn hats (3-5)
  • Gloves (3-5) Gloves are a must to keep your baby from scratching him/herself
  • Newborn socks quantity depending on weather and how often you plan to go out
  • Lightweight blankets and/or receiving blankets (3-5) Lightweight cotton blankets are a must, you end up using them a lot. I also like receiving blankets that I can use to wrap the babies or place on the bottom when laying them down. This way you don’t have to wash the entire blanket every time it gets soiled, since receiving blankets are lighter and easier to wash.
  • Boppy pillow (not pictured) for those endless feeding sessions

I hope you find this post useful! I will be blogging more about baby products with photos and honest reviews in the upcoming months as I continue to raise this newborn.

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15 thoughts on “New Baby Essentials: What You Really Need (Part 1)

  1. I could move into your baby’s nursery, really. The colors and the things you picked means he’ll look adorable with the room too! Love the neutrals. Have you ever done a home tour (or do you want to?) I think the parts of your home I’ve seen look on the blog and IG are so lovely I’d love to see the rest of your space.

    1. I think I want to one day, just haven’t found the time (and energy) to do it. I’m definitely inspired by your “Home tours” and would love to create a post one day. Who takes your photos? It would be wonderful to be able to be in the photos sometimes bc I’m always behind the camera. lol. Any ideas? Anyway, thanks as always for your inspiration and suggestions. And for the email! 🙂

  2. Your blog is so beautiful! I love all of your posts, and this one was really helpful. Thanks for all the great tips! Learning so much 🙂

    1. Thanks Naree! I’m sure there are plenty I can learn from new moms like yourself! My last baby was 9 years ago so I have many new products and ideas to try out. If there are any must-have items you find, please let me know!

    1. Baby #3 wasn’t really planned so I didn’t have a single baby item. In fact, I got pregnant not long after I cleaned everything out. I hear that happens though! lol. This time I really tried to go practical and not spend so much money knowing it won’t last me long.

  3. I love your nursery and all the practical advice. As a first time mom, I registered for so many things having no idea what I actually needed. If I could go back I would do things a lot differently — I bet a lot of mamas feel that way!

    1. I ended up not using half the items I purchased. This time I’m a lot more practical and mindful of what I’m purchasing for the baby. I cut out all the bells and whistles and stuck with practical items that saved me so much money without sacrificing looks. 😉

  4. Thanks for sharing this piece of information as I was wandering here and there to attain baby essentials, but now I think I got what I was seeking.

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