Baby Basics

Now that I’ve been parenting for four and a half months, I figure it’s time to start giving advice. Actually, I wanted to do this post because back when I was pregnant and trying to figure out what I would need, I had NO IDEA what I really needed. This is a list of what I’ve discovered to be the essentials – the things I couldn’t live without (or at least wouldn’t want to). Obviously much of this is personal preference, but I hope someone can benefit from this list.


Now I can’t make nursing easier or less painful for you, but I can recommend a few items for you.



If I could only have three things from this list, my boppy would be one of them. It makes positioning the baby easier (especially during those early marathon nursing sessions). Plus, you can prop the baby up with it!

Nursing pads

If you are breastfeeding, you WILL leak. These will save your clothes (and what remains of your dignity). I was using the disposable ones for awhile, but I really love these Nuk reusable ones. They come in a pack of six and are easy to hand wash.

Nursing bras and tanks

When I am just at home, I wear a nursing tank. The rest of the time, I wear a nursing bra and nursing-friendly clothes. The ease with which you can quickly start nursing make them a must.

Pump & Hands-Free Pumping Bra

If you’re a working mom, you definitely need to invest in a good breast pump. Some people rent hospital grade ones, but I’ve gotten by with the Medela Pump-in-Style. I also have the Symphony manual pump which is great for traveling or more discrete/quicker pumping on the go. The hands-free pumping bra allows me to keep working while I pump.

Honorable Mentions 

(I could live without these but they’re nice to have around)
  • Glass bottles – I try to limit Evan’s exposure to plastic, so I love my Born Free glass bottles.
  • Burp cloths – I actually never use these for burping. But I do use them for everything else.
  • Bottle brush – I like this because it is designed for bottles and it stays separate from my regular dish scrubber.
  • Drying rack – Again, I like having a separate drying rack for the bottles.
  • Storage bags – Great for freezing serving-size amounts of milk.


  • Bottle warmers – Evan takes his room temperature no problem.


After eating, sleep is a new parent’s greatest concern. Here’s how I got mine to be the good little sleeper he is.


Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle

Evan is crazy strong. And blankets are hard to swaddle with. Enter, the sleepsack swaddle. It allowed us to swaddle Evan in a way that was easy for us and hard form him to get out of. I almost cried the day that he outgrew swaddling. I miss my baby burrito.

Pack N Play

Newborn babies eat A LOT. Having your newborn as near to you as possible is the key to getting some sleep in those exhausting early days. Co-sleeping made me nervous, and I knew I would want a Pack N Play eventually, so I just put it next to my bed and used that as his crib for the first three months. Worked perfectly.


  • Bedding sets – I just got a few sheets. You can’t put blankets or pillows or bumbers in a crib anyway. Why spend $200 on a set when you can just buy a fitted sheet for $15?
  • Bassinet – They outgrow them so quickly. At least the pack n play will grow with them.


I am currently transitioning from disposable diapers to cloth diapers, but either way, the basics are the same. You need diapers and wipes. But these are the specifics of what I’ve used.

Target brand disposable diapers and wipes

I tried the more earth-friendly brands as well as the name brands, but the Target diapers are my favorite and work the best. Same with the wipes.

Jillian’s Diapers 21-Day Cloth Trial

I’m actually in the middle of this right now. I love that I get to try a bunch of different types of diapers before committing. And it gave me a chance to see how easy cloth diapering is. I’m excited to get started.


  • Wipe warmers – Unless you have the pickiest baby ever, s/he’ll be okay with room temperature wipes.
  • Diaper cream – Haven’t used it once.


The best way to comfort a fussy baby is going to depend on the specific baby. This is what worked for us.


Oh my goodness – this thing kept us sane. The only way Evan could bear not being held by us (while standing), was in this thing.


I wouldn’t register for too many of these since you don’t know which ones your baby will like. Evan ended up with the Mam pacifiers, but it took a few tries to get there. He’s still not a HUGE fan but the pacifier works when he’s really tired and fussy.


Sophie is a magic toy. Evan is already teething and he loves chewing on her head. When he fusses, all I have to do is hand him Sophie.


Eventually, you will leave your home. Here’s how you do it.


This was great for traveling through the airport and on a plane. It is also great when you’re grocery shopping and you need to push a cart (much safer than placing the car seat on the top part of the grocery cart). I’d skip the infant insert though. I stopped using it at two months – it made both Evan and me too hot.

Car Seat/Stroller System

I love being able to get Evan from the car to the stroller without waking him up. I also love that our carseat snaps into our swing. Sleeping baby stays sleeping. I have the Graco Snugride 35 Cars eat with the one-handed fold stroller and I’ve been happy with both (though the big car seat is a bit heavy).

People will buy you a TON of clothes and toys. You can skip buying these yourself.


I hope this was helpful to any soon-to-be parents out there. Let me know if you have any questions or if I missed something that you couldn’t have lived without.

8 thoughts on “Baby Basics

  1. Jen - Devourerofbooks October 9, 2012 / 7:25 am

    We SWORE by the Target diapers for Daniel, will be trying them on the girls soon.


    • Michelle October 9, 2012 / 7:28 am

      I wonder if you’ll find you like them differently on girls. Everyone who recommended them to me has boys.


  2. Jen - Devourerofbooks October 9, 2012 / 8:07 am

    I’ve been wondering that too, I hope they work as well on the girls. I’d hate to buy more expensive diapers when I’m buying twice as many.


  3. zibilee October 9, 2012 / 11:57 am

    My step-sister used a lot of these things, and is still using them for her second baby, who was born two months ago. I think I am going to direct her to your post so that she can possibly utilize some of this info. Thanks, Michelle!


  4. Sandy October 9, 2012 / 1:48 pm

    I’m chuckling at the loyal Pump-in-Style. That damned thing, I was hearing it in my sleep. And at the time, all the women in my department were having babies, so we all kept our own tubes and cup thingies and passed that black motor bag around again and again. I think it finally blew up after the 12th baby or something.


  5. Jenn October 23, 2012 / 2:11 pm

    Love the tips. Found your blog through a book-bloggy friend, but I’m looking forward to your baby posts, particularly on your cloth diapering adventure. My son is just shy of 3 months and we’re going to give it a go as soon as he outgrows or runs out of the 1000 size 1 diapers I bought when I was stocking up like mad.


    • Michelle October 23, 2012 / 9:05 pm

      Welcome! I highly recommend the Jillian’s Diapers cloth trial. I’m glad I got to try a few different brands/types before committing. And making sure I really wanted to cloth diaper.


  6. Afton Froning April 4, 2013 / 3:51 pm

    Safety is paramount when choosing a baby crib. The best baby cribs will have Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA) certification. This certification ensures that it meets and surpasses many US safety regulations. So, only looking at brands with a JPMA certification is a good place to start. Brands like Munire, Bellini and Bassett cribs as well as others have JPMA certification…

    My current website


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