If you are a new mom or expecting then I’m sure it is no shock to you that the baby product market is quite expansive. As a new mom myself, I spent months and months (much to the chagrin of my husband) researching and obsessing over which baby girl essentials and baby must-haves we needed before our little bundle arrived. Let me tell you from personal experience, every mom has her own opinions and just when you think you’ve researched every possible option there will be new must-have baby items that you’ll be jealous you never thought of.
Where to begin? What are the best baby products of 2021? Of course, this is a subjective question, so let me share with you the list of baby items I think to make up the top 12:
- A good stroller – This is a biggie! For me, I spent the most time on this very decision because a stroller is a big investment. If you are going to drop hundreds - or even thousands - of dollars, then you want your stroller to be easy to use, reliable, durable, comfortable and of course stylish.
There are many different types of strollers you can choose from:
- Travel system strollers
- Umbrella or lightweight strollers
- Jogging strollers
- Double strollers
- Standard strollers
A good question to ask yourself here is do you intend to have more than one stroller or do you want one that is all-encompassing? For me, I selected a travel system, specifically the Uppababy Vista. I love it, but I will say now that my daughter is almost 6 months, I do wish I’d thought about registering for a light-weight option as well. If you haven’t seen them yet, you should definitely check out the tri-fold type strollers that fold up very small. I have lots of mom envy of the cool new options out there like the Uppa Baby Minu, the Babyzen Zoyo+ and the Baby Jogger City Tour, just to name a few.
- A safe and reliable car seat- This is perhaps one of the most important newborn essentials you will have to decide on because of the sheer number of accidents in this country. The CDC reports that 723 children 12 and under died in car crashes in 2016, that same year more than 128,000 were injured.
When it comes to car seats you definitely want to do the safety research. There are some great resources in this area including Consumer Reports and the NHTSA.
When making your decision you’ll have to decide what type of car seat you want because there are 4 different options.
- Infant car seat
- Convertible car seat
- A so-called all-in-one seat
- Forward facing car seat
We picked the Uppababy Mesa, it goes with our travel system and I will say it is very easy to use. However, we looked at the Nuna Pipa and Nuna Pipa Lite LX. And now, we are starting to research convertible car seats. In that category, the Diono Radian RX, the Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB, and the Graco Extend2Fit have already caught my eye.
- Somewhere for your baby to sleep- When it comes to baby essentials for the first year, a place for your baby to sleep is a major one. Experts recommend that babies sleep on a firm mattress with tight-fitting sheets. The most popular options on where to let you new baby catch some zzz’s include a crib, bassinet or playard. What’s important to note here is that many babies will use multiple different places to sleep. I know for my little girl we used a bassinet, a Pack & Play, and her crib. In addition to the crib, you will, of course, want to get mattress pads, sheets and perhaps some decorative blankets (not to be used in the crib). Something else to keep in mind for this category is that with SIDS as a major concern on many parents minds, there is a lot to consider. You want to make sure anything you get for your baby’s sleeping environment is safe! Because of this reason, I love the concept behind Linen & Leah’s sheets. They are made with sleep safety in mind and designed to fit securely to your playard mattress which in turn cuts down on hazards for your baby.
- A note here: We used the Uppababy bassinet for the first few months (loved it), as well as a Graco Pack & Play. There are some other awesome playards on the market including the 4Moms Breeze and the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light. We now have moved on to the crib we chose, which is one that can eventually convert to a full bed. There are so many cute options!
- Bouncers, swings, jumpers, and exersaucers- There are infinite options out there when it comes to baby entertainment, but in those early days, you will definitely want to have somewhere to safely be able to put down your little one and still get stuff done. In my house, I can tell you the Bjorn bouncer and Fisher-Price jumperoo have provided my daughter countless hours of entertainment.
- Tummy time mat- These mats enable your little one to get that required time on his or her stomach and as a massive bonus, they are very cute for snapping pictures! I would definitely say you will want to add one of these items to your newborn checklist. We started using our mat the first week my daughter was home from the hospital and we are still using it now at almost 6-months. It is so fun to watch your little one grow and explore and there are tons of different options out there in this category. We love the Carters My Ocean Friends Play Gym.
- Bottles- Unless you plan to breastfeed exclusively, bottles are of course one of the most essential things a newborn baby needs. There are so many different brands and types on the market. In terms of the best one, it’s hard to say because many babies have a preference and there are some babies who can be picky. In our house, we have used 4 different kinds. My daughter will pretty much take anything, but I personally have come to love using the Comotomo brand.
- Teething toys- You should definitely add some of these adorable toys to your new baby checklist. I can say with complete certainty that from my experience teething comes on way quicker than you might think. From the ever-popular Sophie the Giraffe to little coffee cups, replicas of food and chewbeads, you cannot go wrong building up your baby supplies with lots of different teething toys. These can be fall under the category of cheap baby stuff (a huge perk) and can also make great new mom gifts.
- Baby Monitor- This is an important category with a lot of different options and some very strong opinions when you start to research reviews. I can speak from personal experience here since I’m on my second monitor. It can be difficult to settle on which one of these gadgets can best keep your little one under surveillance.
Types of baby monitors:
- Audio monitor
- Video monitor
- WiFi monitor
- Movement monitor
- Cleaning supplies- This may seem like a no-brainer but it should be on your baby items list. You will need a brush to clean out bottles, soap you are comfortable using for cleaning bottles, pumping equipment, toys, pacifiers, and countless other baby products. You may also want to stock up on the cleaning wipes for on-the-go sanitizing and quick cleanup after your baby starts on solids. I must also mention in this portion of the list: burp cloths!!! You will want to have an ample amount of these. I have found cloth diapers to be the most absorbent and best option here.
- Clothes- Yes, of course, you are going to buy your new little one lots of clothes because they are not only fun to buy but are baby must-haves. My advice here: ask friends and family to get you a variety of sizes! Babies grow so quickly and it’s nice to have fun items to look forward to as your little one continues to get bigger. Having adorable wardrobe pieces are necessities for little girls and boys.
- Diaper Bag- If you can’t already tell, your new bundle of joy comes with a lot of stuff! For this reason, I highly recommend figuring out which kind of diaper bag best suits your needs. There are so many colors, sizes, and varieties in this category. You could select a tote type bag similar to your typical handbag or opt for a backpack design to keep your hands free. I first used a monogrammed bag from Pottery Barn which was very spacious. I recently started using a Lily Jade bag that is more like a purse with straps so it can be carried like a backpack, and it includes an organizer which I love!
- Breast pump and nursing gear- If you plan to nurse your baby this is a very important decision. The good news here is that many insurance plans cover good quality pumps. Once you find out what your plan offers you should research the options covered and pick a pump that best suits your needs. Don’t forget to buy the extras you will need when you first get home from the hospital like creams, soothing gel pads, and a hands-free pumping bra. That last item saved me in my first few weeks letting me get crucial stuff done while pumping. I used the Medela Pump in Style.
Linen & Leah is a company that specializes in safe baby sheets. The company is all about safe sleeping environments, which is why the brand created the perfect Pack and Play sheet. Linen and Leah sheets are uniquely designed to fit securely to your mattress using a Velcro strap, they are breathable and made from 100% organic cotton. The goal of this company is for you to feel confident each and every time you put your little one down to sleep. Linen & Leah prides itself on selling the safest Pack and Play sheets on the market. If you want to learn more about the product please visit: LinenandLeah.com. A portion of quarterly sales is donated to the SIDS Foundation to help with research.