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What do you need in those first few weeks after you bring your baby home? Your little one will require a few basics: a safe place to sleep, a car seat, diapers, and key items for eating, getting around, and staying healthy. And you'll benefit from some essential products that make life easier and more comfortable while you're recovering from birth and adjusting to life with a new baby.
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New parenthood basics
What you need to know
Your first days at home with your baby are likely going to be a blur. In addition to recovering from childbirth, you will be dealing with body changes and sleep deprivation, and adjusting to breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, as well as changing diapers, soothing your baby, and more.
Some call the first three months after a baby is born the "fourth trimester," because it feels like a continuation of pregnancy: Your baby is still totally helpless and dependent on you, at the same time you're exhausted and recovering from the effects of pregnancy and birth. It's a period of major change. For your baby, it's a shift from the tight space of your warm, dark womb to a bright environment full of new sights, sounds, smells, and sensations. Newborns can see, in a blurry way, and they can hear and experience sensations, but it's hard for them to understand what they're seeing, hearing, and feeling. No wonder they love being swaddled tightly and held close to you.
You don't need a ton of toys or fancy gear for a new baby, but you will need some practical essentials for feeding, diapering, bathing, and soothing. You'll also want thoughtful products to help you recover from birth and adjust to life with your little one. Don't be shy about asking family and friends to help you with what you need – you can put it all on your baby registry.
Boppy Original Feeding and Infant Support Pillow
Great for feedings and beyond
Whether you plan on breast- or bottle-feeding, a nursing pillow will help you hold your baby comfortably in your lap during feeding times. The C-shaped Boppy is perfectly designed to keep your younger baby close, and supports older babies during tummy time and playtime on the floor.
Available at Target starting at $39.99
Comfy Cubs Muslin Burp Cloths
Comfy Cubs Muslin Burp Cloths
You'll want six or 12 of these burp cloths to protect your clothes from baby spit-up or to mop up other spills. Many moms like to wear one over a shoulder during feedings, just to be ready. Made of breathable muslin, these cloths get softer over time and absorb plenty of liquid.
Available at Amazon starting at $12.95 for a 6-pack
Motherlove Nipple Cream
For tender new-mom nipples
Breastfeeding and pumping can dry out the delicate skin of your nipples – to the point that they crack and bleed. But nipple creams help by easing dryness, healing cracked skin, and soothing soreness. Motherlove is a mom favorite because it's made from plant-based ingredients that don't need to be wiped off before nursing or pumping. An added bonus is that you can use this cream to moisturize your lips and hands.
Available at Amazon starting at $14.95
Medela Pump in Style
A dependable workhorse
If you're exclusively breastfeeding, pumping means that another caregiver (like your partner or Grandma) can take some of the feedings. Medela's Pump in Style is a powerful, dependable double pump that's popular with working moms and other women who pump several times daily. It comes with everything you need (pump, pump parts, battery pack, bottles, cooler bag and ice pack, power adapter) in a handy, discreet tote bag.
Available at Amazon starting at $179.99
Comotomo Baby Bottles
Soft silicone bottles
There are lots of bottles and nipples to choose from, but these deserve your consideration. Comotomo bottles are made of soft, squishy silicone that's a joy to hold, for babies and parents alike. Because they're wide, these bottles are easy to clean and fill. And because of their shape and softness, they may be more appealing to breastfed babies.
Available at Amazon starting at $44.16 for a 4-pack
Keekaroo Peanut Changer
Turn any dresser into a changing table
Stand-alone changing tables can be useful, but depending on your budget and space, you may prefer to use a bureau or dresser with a changing pad on top. Keekaroo's Peanut Changer is popular on baby registries because it's soft, snug, safe, and wipes clean easily. Unlike old-style changing pads, it doesn't need a cloth cover – which saves a lot of laundry. The cushy foam stays put on top of any table, or you can use it on a bed or floor.
Available at Amazon starting at $129.95
Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes
Keep things clean between baths
For quick and easy cleanup, we love Kirkland Signature Baby Wipes. They're nice and big, so you don't have to use as many with each diaper change. They're also the perfect weight, and have just the right amount of moisture. The pack is designed so it's easy to grab just one at a time, in contrast to other wipes that come out in frustrating, wasteful handfuls. And, as with almost all things sold at Costco, you get a lot for your money.
Available at Costco starting at $19.99
Ubbi Diaper Pail
Contains odors, no special bags needed
You can use any lidded garbage can for your diaper pail, but odors seep out unpleasantly unless you take out the diapers every day – and what new parent has time for that? The Ubbi diaper pail has a special-design sliding lid and rubber stoppers to keep any fetid diaper air locked inside. Additionally, the steel body of the can doesn't absorb odors like plastic does, so you don't need to buy special, expensive bags: any tall kitchen bag works. Plus, the Ubbi comes in many colors and patterns to jazz up your baby's nursery.
Available at Amazon starting at $79.77
Ruvalino Diaper Bag Backpack
Sleek style, hands-free carrying
You'll need a well-stocked diaper bag for outings with your baby. Pick a bag you really like, because it'll be part of your outfit for years to come! It has to be practical, with a portable changing pad, waterproof lining, and places to stash your keys, wallet, and phone – all of which you'll find in this diaper bag backpack from Ruvalino. This bag also has a padded pocket that's perfect for a laptop or tablet, and insulated pockets for bottles. Parents like that it comes in a number of gender-neutral, sophisticated colors, like the dark gray shown here as well as denim and olive green.
Available at Amazon starting at $39.99
HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper
Keep your baby close and safe while you sleep
You'll want to have your newborn close for all those nighttime nursing sessions – but experts say it's not safe to share a bed. The solution? A bedside bassinet like this Bassinest from HALO. We love the HALO version because the mesh sides make it possible to see your baby from any angle, and it rotates and swivels 360 degrees so you can bring your baby in close. On top of that, the sidewall lowers, so it's easier to get your baby in and out.
Available at Amazon starting at $279.99
Little Seeds Monarch Hill Ivy Crib
Looks like an heirloom at a nice price
You could easily spend a small fortune on a crib. Or you could go with this beauty from Little Seeds, which looks like a vintage brass crib but has a very friendly price. And unlike antique cribs, this one meets current safety standards and fits a standard-size crib mattress (not included). The mattress support adjusts to three different heights, so it will grow with your baby.
Available at buybuy BABY starting at $179.99
Skip Hop Moby 3-Stage Smart Sling Tub
Perfect support for easier baths
The right baby bathtub will keep your slippery, wriggly baby safe and give your back a break as well. The Moby supports babies of all ages, with a mesh sling that safely cradles your newborn, supports new sitters, and can be removed once your baby is ready to sit unassisted. The whale tail conceals a swivel hook so you can hang the tub to dry.
Available at Amazon starting at $34.99
Summer Health and Grooming Kit
The basics for upkeep and sick days
Babies are born with razor-sharp nails that you'll need to trim – but clipping those tiny nails isn't a job for the faint of heart. You'll need good baby nail clippers and a number of other health and grooming tools. This handy kit has them all, including a soft baby brush to groom hair and deal with cradle cap, a digital thermometer to take your baby's temperature, and a syringe for dispensing medication.
Available at Amazon starting at $16.89
Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat
A snap to install and use
For a newborn, you have two choices: a rear-facing infant seat designed to be used until your baby weighs around 20 pounds, or a convertible seat, which can face rear or front and be used by both babies and older children. Either is safe when installed and used properly, but some parents think that infant seats are easier to manage with a newborn. The Chicco KeyFit is one of the most popular car seats because it's super easy to install and take in and out of the car. It snaps on to compatible strollers to create a travel system, and you can keep using it until your baby hits 22 pounds or 30 inches.
Available at Amazon starting at $159.99
Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal Infant Car Seat Carrier
Almost every car seat, handled
A stroller is essential parenting gear, and you can get really fancy with all the different options out there. But when your baby is very young, this simple frame stroller from Baby Trend may be all you need. Just click your infant car seat into the frame and you're good to go. This model accepts almost every car seat on the market, folds up to fit easily in the trunk of your car, and won't break the bank.
Available at Amazon starting at $60.90
Aden + anais Silky Soft Swaddle Blanket
Perfect for a tight-but-comfy swaddle
Newborn babies are often calmer and sleep better if they're swaddled, wrapped tight and snug so their arms and legs can't flail around. These cotton muslin blankets are unbelievably soft and breathable – you'll find yourself using them as a blanket in the stroller, a nursing cover, a ground cover when your baby wants to wiggle around outside, and more. They're also just the right size to swaddle a newborn.
Available at Amazon starting at $30 for a 3-pack
Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
A safe seat for your baby
Sometimes, when you're grabbing essentials like taking a shower or making dinner, you'll need a safe place to put your baby down. For these moments, the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker is a classic. It's easy to move from room to room and calms babies with soothing vibrations. It holds young babies in two reclining positions, then converts to a rocking chair once your baby can sit up. The toy bar is removable, as is the seat pad, which is machine-washable.
Available at Amazon starting at $44.99
Bravado Basics Slimming Maternity and Nursing Cami
Everyday fourth-trimester wear
If you don't already have nursing bras and camisoles from the last trimester of pregnancy, buy two to four for postpartum. They make it easy to pop out a breast when your baby is hungry, and they hold breast pads when you're leaking. Bravado's comfy cami comes in black, white, and gray and in sizes small to 2XL.
Available at Target starting at $25.99
Bamboobies Washable Leak-Proof Nursing Pads
For the inevitable leaks
It may come as a surprise how damp breastfeeding can be when your milk first comes in. You may leak between feedings, leak when you're sleeping, or leak from one breast while you're feeding with the other. Inserting a pad in each bra cup will keep your shirts dry and clean. You can buy disposable pads, but many moms prefer the softness of reusable cloth – and these washable pads from Bamboobies get high marks from moms for stopping leaks.
Available at Amazon starting at $15.03
Always Infinity Flex Foam with Wings
Fantastic protection that's not bulky
After giving birth, whether by c-section or vaginally, you'll have a discharge known as lochia for up to four weeks. At first it may resemble a heavy monthly period; later, it lightens and fades. You can't use tampons, so you'll need some heavy-duty pads. Many new moms recommend Always Infinity Flex Foam with Wings pads because they provide powerhouse protection and feel almost unnoticeable to wear.
Available at Amazon starting at $20.82 for 96 pads
Tucks Medicated Cooling Pads
Instant relief for a common postpartum problem
Even if you're one of the lucky ladies who didn't get hemorrhoids during pregnancy, you may discover you have them as an aftereffect of the pushing during labor or postpartum constipation. If you do, you'll be glad that you bought these pads, because hemorrhoids can be devilishly itchy and irritating at a time when you need every bit of ease and relaxation that you can get. Moms say these pads are magic for soothing itching and relieving pain.