30 Baby Gear Essentials for 1st Time Parents + Free Checklist

The world of baby gear can be an overwhelming experience for any new parent. The options are endless, the reviews are everywhere and everyone seems to have an opinion on what to buy.


For any newly pregnant friends, my advice is to start thinking about all of the gear early on. We’ve been able to find huge savings by stalking Craigslist for the exact products we wanted. Hello hardly used BabyBjorn Bassinet and Stokke Stroller close to 50%! Oh, and our Mama Roo? Only $40 at a yard sale! Sure it takes a little patience and quite a bit of time to track down the items, but it is so worth the effort!

Here’s our round up the baby gear we plan on using and why we selected it. The general criteria we used were the following: will it make our life easier? does it have good reviews? is it gender neutral? is it a good value? would we still like it years down the road if we have another baby? 

Baby gear checklist first time parents | Baby Registry Must Haves

+Crib: We choose the Babyletto Hudson Crib in white based on the modern, timeless shape and great reviews for safety. As an added bonus, it was super easy to put together. We are planning on using white crib sheets and spotty dot sheets with it. We ended up getting a Nook Sleep System Mattress.

+Bassinet: We’re planning on keeping the baby in our bedroom for the first few months. We decided on the BabyBjorn Bassinet because it is very lightweight and the exterior is completely mesh, allowing lots of airflow for our toasty Arizona weather. Anything that can lower the risk of SIDS is always high on our list. Standard bassinet sheets seem to fit perfectly on it, so don’t waste money on the expensive Baby Bjorn sheets.

+Blankets: Between swaddling and breastfeeding, we ended up registering for both muslin blankets and stroller blankets. The modern, bold prints of the Hudson Baby swaddles landed them on our list. For a bit warmer blanket, I love this ultra soft blanket from Pottery Barn Kids. Both will be great to use as nursing covers or stroller covers with a newborn.

+Clothes: Since our baby’s sex is a surprise, it has curbed the baby clothing shopping that I would love to be doing. We’re planning on stocking up on basic onsies (both short sleeved and long sleeved) and a few fun onsies. Also high on the wardrobe list are Freshly Picked Moccasins. The little leather moccasins are gender neutral, made in the USA, and a really great brand that I am happy to support. I’m still on the hunt for little newborn beanies, but I’ve found cute gender neutral socks at Old Navy.

Before I forget, I created a handy printable checklist of over 70+ baby gear items we have used during our first year. You can download the FREE checklist below.

+Car Seats: Our original plan was to use the Maxi Cosi Pria 70 convertible car seat since it adjusts to fit a child from 9-lbs all the way to 70-lbs! Its’ safety reviews have it high on our list, plus the light colored fabric will stay a bit cooler in the Arizona heat. Since we don’t know if the baby will be over 9-lbs upon arrival and we would have to wake the baby to take it out of this seat anytime we left the car, we decide we are going to get an infant seat as well. The Maxi Cosi Infant Car Seat comes in tons of fun colors and also has great reviews.

+Stroller: The one item we planned on splurging on from the beginning was the baby stroller. After “test-driving” strollers, none of them seemed to compare to the maneuverability and aesthetics of the Stokke Xplory. There are so many things I love about this stroller. The seat can be forward facing or rear facing, the baby sits very high up compared to other strollers, it has a huge sunshade flap that’s easy to pop down, it has a built in diaper bag/storage, and it is pretty easy to collapse to fit into the trunk.

+Diapering: Our friends keep telling us that their kids love Honest Brand Diapers because they are extra gentle and free of many chemicals and allergens. Plus the prints are super cute! They’re a little pricier than the standard diapers, but we will probably give them a try. Another item high on our list is the Keekaroo Peanut Changer. You don’t need any fabric changing pads (less laundry!) and you simply wipe it down with a baby wipe to clean it. Plus, the material it is made out of prevents bacteria growth. For a diaper pail, we like the Ubli Diaper Pail. The biggest selling point for us is the compatibility with standard sized kitchen trash bags.

+Baby Seats: The Mama Roo is one of the most popular baby items right now. Everyone seems to swear by its calming effect and swaying movements. I am hoping this will come in handy when I am cooking dinner or taking a shower and need to set the baby down for a few minutes. Now if only they made one of these in my size! We also decided to get a Bumbo Seat for our little one when it he or she starts learning to sit up.

+Baby Carrier: The Solly Baby Wrap is another item high on my want list. I’m hoping it will be a great way for me to keep our baby close and my hands free as I work during the day. You’re also able to nurse with the baby in the wrap.

+Health: Vick's Rectal Thermometer is supposed to be one of the most accurate for infant fever readings. As for the nasal aspirators, I’ve heard great things about NoseFrida. Unfortunately, I just cannot picture myself sucking boogies out of the baby’s nose. The BoogiePully looks like a better alternative for us, as it is doesn’t blow air into the baby’s nose like the classic blue bulbs do. Since nails can be super sharp, we also have Safety First Nail Clippers on our list. The MAM Massaging Brush has a stopper on it so it does not go too far down the baby’s throat. It has great reviews and some have said it has helped massage the gums when teething. Great for ages 3+ months.

+Toys: We’re trying to avoid clutter when it comes to all of the baby gear. For this reason, we’re being super selective on toys, so we can fit them all into one small dresser drawer. I love Bannor Toys Custom State Rattles because they are handmade out of wood and safe for the baby to chew on. I also like the silicone Chewbeads when the baby is teething. The SSpherovelo Ride-On looks like a classic toy that our child will be able to use for a few years. It can help with motor skills and balance and can be used inside or out.

+High Chair: The high chair is one item we bought based more on aesthetics than functionality. Since most high chairs have similar features, we decided on the OXO Tot Sprout chair. It fits in well with our kitchen and can convert to a chair for a child up to 5 years old. (Update: check out the high chair guide)

+Bath: For an infant tub, we went back and forth between the Puj Tub (compact & modern) and the Angel Care Baby Bath Support. We ultimately decided on the AngelCare Baby Bath since it keeps dirty water flowing through and seems to have less issues with the baby slipping down when wet. For bath towels, my sweet friend gifted us a grey set of hooded towels from Target when she found out we were expecting. They are so soft. I also love this little Lamb Towel.

+Swaddlers: There are so many options for swaddle blankets. The flexibility of the ergoPouch Cocoon Swaddles made them a clear winner for us. So often babies want to have one or both arms out of a swaddle and this swaddle allows you to easily do so with snaps. It's easy to quick to zip baby snuggly into. Plus, they are super easy for to take off for diaper changes with a 2-way zipper.

+Baby Monitor: I’m on the fence on whether a baby monitor is a first-time-parent necessity or one of those pieces of equipment we won’t really use. Either way, we added the Infant Optics Baby Monitor to our registry for piece of mind. My husband did the research on this one and it supposedly has a large display and works well in the dark.

+Miscellaneous: Wooden Kids Clothes Hangers, MAM Pacifiers, Bibs, and a Boppy Nursing Pillow are a few other items on our shopping list.

What were your essentials as a first time parent? Are there any items on this list you find unnecessary?

Be sure to check out my updated post on what baby gear has worked for us and which pieces did not live up to our expectations. You may also enjoy our Postpartum Essentials Guide for tips on everything Momma needs postpartum.

Related: 20 Baby Gear Must-Have's for Baby #2