What Are Things You Wish You Had or Had Not Gotten in Preparation for 1St Child

Updated on September 18, 2012
M.N. asks from Covelo, CA
26 answers

DH and I are expecting our first baby in April and we are very much minimalists. We live and work on a 60 acre sustainable farm and as of right now we have a pretty small living space. (We start building a bigger house next year, woo-hoo!) We really don't want to equip ourselves with a bunch of unnecessary things that will end up only being used once or twice.

So, moms with experience, what did you find that you really needed for your newborn? Were there things you wish you would have had on hand, but didn't? Were there things you couldn't live without?

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for all the awesome answers! The pack and play wasn't even something I knew about but it seems like it's worth a look. I think we will end up going the route of the changing pad instead of a whole table and I think we're going to skip the stroller all together and just do a sling.

Great responses! Thanks!

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

bouncy seat
pack -n-play with the bassinet (not a separate bassinet)

Never had and didn't miss:
bottle warmer
wipe warmer

Could have done without:
changing table - the bed with a towel or changing pad worked great

Congratulations !

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

A pack & Play and a white noise machine! You can move the pack & play to wherever you need it and can function as a bed for the first few monthes if needed. The white noise machine did wonders for soothing my babies and helping them sleep longer.


answers from Kansas City on

pack n play, exersaucer - awesome. diaper genie - ridiculous. i hated that thing. once i realized they could go straight in the stinking trash can, i felt so free! it was much simpler. i also never had a changing table (something i kind of stressed about at the time) but it was totally unnecessary, too. some things depend on the baby too - mine couldn't have cared less about the swing. he rarely used it. but there are babies who LOVE the swing. good luck and congrats!

More Answers



answers from Kansas City on

In my opinion....

Waste of money:
**diaper genie (just take the diapers to the trash)
**changing table (just slide the changing pad under the crib & pull out when you need it)
**baby wipe warmer (it dries out the wipes)
**baby monitors (our house is only 2100sq ft and I can always hear baby)
**high chair (I bought the chair that fits on a regular dining room chair--saves room)
**Bath toys (my kids prefer little cups or empty plastic bottles)
**bassinet (we just put our little guy in his crib)
**baby bath towels (just use regular bath towels)
**diaper stacker (just put the diapers in the closet or drawer

Worth every penny (in my opinion):
***Crib (I don't think pack'n'plays are as comfortable)
***Swing (our kids loved theirs)
***floppy seat (covers public high chairs and shopping carts)
***A good quality car seat (like Britax)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

What you need..
car seat - we bought one for each car, it was a pain taking it in and out
high chair
stroller (I don't like those all in one things)
receiving blankets - the old fashioned cotton kind if you can find them ( I used them to swadle, roll up and use somewhat like a pillow, as towels)
onesies - great in hot weather just to where by themselves, great in cold weather under clothing to keep baby warm
changing pad
cloth diapers - one package (use as burbie clothes, pads, etc)

Things you have too much of...
stuffed animals
baby towels/wash cloths

Things you can live without...
diaper pail/diaper gennie - just us a trash can
dreft laundry detergent - use a dye/fragence free, like Purex or All free and clear
changing table - you can just use a pad on the bed, sofa, floor
t-shirts - hated them, as they ride up, use onsies
booties/shoes - cute, but they don't seem to stay on the feet, socks work better (buy shoes when they begin standing up and walking)
baby bath tub - I found it was easiest to bath in the kitchen sink, you can line the sink with a towel to prevent baby from slipping

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I loved the pack and play type thing. I started putting the baby in it every day right after birth lol. that way when the baby was 1 and walking / running and into everything she didn't go nuts when I would put her in it with some toys. that way I could throw a load of laundry in, do some cooking / cleaning, answer the phone without worrying baby was going to be hurt. I know some moms don't believe in them but I couldn't live without them

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

For the first 3 to 5 months:

bottles & bottle accessories - if you choose to bottle feed or for date night
sleepers - I loved the ones by Gerber
a few "outfits" for the days you actually go out with baby
burpcloths - again, loved Gerber
tylenol & ibuprofen (just in case!)
nail clipers
basic, baby toiletries

bouncy seat and/or swing - my kids liked to nap while in motion
sling or baby carrier, though I never used them or really figured out how to use them well

I never used a boppy or a bumbo. I did like having a changing table, though I would not call it necessary.

We ended up co-sleeping, so we really didn't use the crib. I found co-sleeping to be the best way to actually get some sleep myself.

After the first 5 months you'll know your baby better. You can peruse Babies R Us to get ideas and then look on Craig's List or go to garage sales. I used an exersaucer and a jumperoo once they could hold their heads well. Kept them happily entertained for about 15 to 20 minutes so I could do dishes or get dinner ready.

I think it's so great that you asked this question. I think it's amazing how much we tend to think we need compared to how much I really did use. Congrats and good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

There were so many things we could have lived without. Things I used *every* day, all day:

- Breastfeeding cushion (I had a broken tailbone from birth, and this was such a helpful tool when nursing comfortably)
- Callendula salve for tender nipples
- Books
"The Baby Book" was helpful whenever something came up that I was unfamiliar with
And I flew through fiction while feeding my daughter at 3:00am
- Friends and my mama (no, they don't come prepackaged at the store, but I think community support was THE most important and helpful thing I received while my daughter was a babe.)
- Trusting my mama gut and relaxing
- Ergo baby (for six months and up)
- Baby Bjorn (for newborn - six months...I never wore a sling I liked)
- Diapers

Things we never used, even if we had them
- Crib / bassinet (my child refused either, and I am a big fan of sleep so we ended up having a family bed)
- Baby bathtubs (my daughter soaked in the sink, or I'd take a bath with her...it was lovely to float her while nursing, such a peaceful time)
- Swing (my daughter screamed whenever she was near)
- Clothes (keep it simple, the more clothes, the more laundry)
- Changing Table
- Toys (whenever we'd buy a toy for her, she'd end up playing with the box for hours and ignoring the toy...finally we got smart and just started bringing home boxes.)
- Baby food (we fed her what we ate)
- Stroller (my daughter wanted to RUN or to hang out on my back)

Congratulations, how exciting!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

I loved the exer-saucer that he got at about 6 or 8 months old. He used that thing for an incredibly long time, and it gave me a safe place to "stash" him while I cooked or whatever. It was easy to move around the house so he could still be in the same room with me while I accomplished a task. And he loved it.

Also, a swing was great - mine was a reflux baby and it helped keep him upright. Oh, and I had one of those bouncer seats that hooked on the door frame - he love that also.

I found the playpen took up too much space and never used it.
I rarely used a high chair or the changing table (which took up huge space).

My biggest space problem was all the things that people bought for him. Clothing, toys, stuffed animals. Gad, that all got out of hand long before I even brought him home. I managed that with under the bed storage containers and a toy box that I would cycle things in and out of.

Congratulations on your soon to be baby!!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I have seen some patterns of advice; I will respond with questions to rethink some of it you have received.

-Do you have a cat? We used the crib because we didn't know what the cat would do with the baby in a co-sleeper or pack and play.

-How old are you? I loved the changing table, but I gave birth at 40+. I hated having to change my child when I visited other people's homes and ended up using the bed. That changing table kept me from getting a sore back. Plus, we don't have an upstairs. Changing my child in her room was a natural since I didn't have to climb the stairs to do it.

-We love to hike and be outdoors, so the rugged outdoors stroller was wonderful for us. I used the Baby Bjorn as well, but I liked the option.

-How often will one of you be alone with baby? A swing helps when you need to do something without baby in a sling.

-Are you allergic to some perfumes and cleansers? I didn't end up needing Dreft as my child doesn't have allergies, but I remember my allergic reaction when I was 8 and the detergent was "new and improved." My mom had to wash every piece of clothing, sheets, etc., to ensure my rash would go away. Did not want to go through that!

-My kid also destroyed her board books. But they were books, and I wanted her to experience them.

Here's a list of things that others swear by but I never used:
-Boppy pillow--utterly uncomfortable to me

-exer-saucer--big, ugly thing with noise and lights that took up a huge amount of space

-burp cloths--I still do not know how I didn't seem to need those

-bouncy chair (Mine picked the swing. I think kids want one or the other)

I wish you and your family the best. Enjoy.


answers from Grand Forks on

Things we used a lot: (newborn to four months)
receiving blankets
car seat
bouncy seat

Things we never used:
change table
breast pump (I was never away from baby long enough to need to pump)

At about four months we started using the exersaucer, and it was a bit of a lifesaver. At about six months we needed baby gates and a high chair.

Congrats and good luck!


answers from Tulsa on

Things I loved and used all the time:
Pack-n-Play - mine had a bassinet and changing table attachment. We traveled quite a bit and the portability was awesome.
Exersaucer - son was able to use at about 4 months
High Chair
Bath Chair - easy enough to stick him in the back of the tub while I showered and washed him when I was done. Great for when you are alone and baby is awake.
Bottle brush, bottle drying rack, and dishwasher basket - I did breastmilk and formula. Bottles for pumping at work and bottles sent to daycare. A lot of times it was necessary to wash the bottles by hand than to wait for a full dishwasher load.

Things that didn't get used much at all:
Changing table - although it did get used as shelves to store non heavy things
Baby monitor
Wipes Warmer

Try to buy things you can use after the baby grows older. Although I didn't use the crib that much, I bought a convertible crib and it is now being used as a full size bed. The high chair I bought comes apart and turns into a chair and table set. That is still being used and my son is 5. The exersaucer, stroller, swing, and pack and play are all folded up stored in the garage for the next baby in the family. They also fold up enough to store under a bed.



answers from San Francisco on

I would llike to add, for the baby bath tub, I would suggest getting this instead of the tiny ones for the baby just because you can use it longer. You can still have the baby lie down for a newborn on one side and when they get older, they can sit on the other side.

Also for bottle brushes, I kept buying them, after a while, I had to change it gets worn out fast. We now use OXO bottle brush. Of course it depends on te bottles you use whther the bottles can fit inside, but this works great.

These are just money saving suggestions. Attached link from Amazon below so you have an idea what I am referring to.

Dream On Me 2 Position Baby Bather Bath Tub

OXO Bottle Brush



answers from San Francisco on

Get a comfortable chair. It does not have to be one of those rockers that they sell in the baby stores but it has to be comfortable enoug for you to feed the baby in wheather you are planning to breastfeed or not as well as comfortable enough for yor husband to sit in. Believe me when I say you end up spending a lot of time in this chair. Between feeding, burping, soothing to sleep, soothing sick children, reading stories etc. you want something that is comfortable and will last. The other thing I would suggest is an inflatable baby bath. They can sit on a counter just like the little baby bath but last longer as they fit inside a big bathtub when baby learns to sit. Buy only what you might need the very first few months. You can always go and buy the rest later as you see what kind of baby you have as others have mentioned and keep all your receipts. They will always exchange things even if it's for store credit and that can always be used later for clothes or diapers. Babies grow and the keep needing new things. Good luck.


answers from Houston on

You'll hear it a thousand times but it really is true - each child/baby is different – so keep that in mind as we all answer your question. For instance our son hated the swing, the bouncy seat, the johnny jump up door hanger, the exersaucer, the play pen and any other containment device. If you didn't have him in a sling/backpack, then he preferred the floor. On the other hand my niece hated the sling/backpack and preferred all the containment devices.

If possible and if you are comfortable, buy things used and/or borrow them. So much of it is only used for a few months and is determined by your ultimate rhythm/dynamic/baby. We borrowed a wheeled bassinet and while I needed it (about six weeks), it was a lifesaver. We love our changing table (all changing items are centralized and I don’t have to break my back changing on beds/floors/sofas). Our nanny would struggle without it too. She’s in no shape to be bending excessively and struggling on the floor with a squirming baby/toddler. We bought the vast majority of our question mark baby items (swing, bouncy seat, etc.) on Craigslist. If we got them home and our son truly hated them, then reselling them was easy, we could make some or all of our money back and we had not paid full price. We should have skipped the Bumbo since it barely got any use. I hated my Boppy and I know lots of people who agreed. If possible, borrow nursing pillows to find the right one. I had the most success with a Leacho/Snoogle (long Cheeto shaped pillow) but didn’t want to spend the money. I made do with regular pillows. We never used a diaper bag. We recycled a hiker’s fanny pack which carries a couple of diapers, wipes, cream and the bags for disposal. Alternatively I use an oversized purse. We carry a change of clothes in the car. If it comes down to a full clothing change, I always figured we would be heading home anyway so no point in dragging the extra items. We could have taken or left our red wagon and the bulk of the baby toys. Our son has had more enjoyment out of my Tupperware cabinet and pots/pans cabinet than any single toy we’ve bought. Only recently has he enjoyed his play kitchen. We kept the toys to a minimum in general. We bought a floor model Chicco Liteway stroller which we love. It is more durable than the umbrella strollers we saw, light weight, compact with good storage capability and yet allows our son to lie flat for sleeping well during the outings.

Our absolute musts -
cloth diapers (burp cloths, mess cleaners, snot rags, general workhorse)
swaddlers – our son insisted on being swaddled so we couldn’t skip this stage.
diapers, wipes
onesies, pants and socks (never did outfits) - never did get our son to use hats
essential medical/hygiene items: nail clippers, snot bulb, ibuprofen, gas drops, gripe water, q-tips, thermometer, diaper rash cream (a few types in small tubes until we found the "right" one), teething tablets/gel. We made the mistake of putting off these purchases until we needed them. What fun driving to the pharmacy at midnight which is not always an option. Better to have it on hand in case.
highchair which fits on an existing chair – takes up less room than a traditional highchair, is portable and converts all the way to a booster seat
bottles, formula, to go formula carrier (premeasured to simplify life), bottle brush – don’t buy too many. We preferred to wash them more frequently as opposed to washing four million at one go.
white noise machine – our house is incredibly quiet so this was a must.
baby bath tub – we brought home a guppy so he enjoyed splashing in the water from the get go. The tub gave him the freedom to do so while we could kneel next to him watching/laughing/playing with him.



answers from Boston on

I wished I had not gotten the all-in-one stoller system. The baby carrier and car base were fine, but the stroller was heavy and terrible to turn. I hated the thing and only used it occasionally. Instead I wished I had just bought the carrier and car base and one of those wire frame "universal" infant strollers that hold any carrier.
The thing I wished I had gotten much sooner is a sling. My baby was colicky and being carried comforted her, so at about age 6 months someone recommended a sling. I could walk with her and nurse at the same time, we went to restaurants and out in the city or the mall and I simply carried her. She was at eye level with people when I spoke to anyone, and she felt secure to be close to me. They have beautiful Mayan wraps nowadays but I just got a plain blue sling.



answers from Chicago on

Here is the thing: your life will determine what you use!

The only things you really need are:
1. diapers
2. clothes
3. carseat
4. crib/bassinet
5. burb clothes
6. baby carry

Then: something to put baby in. You only use a swing for a few months, you only use exersaucers for a few months,.....They do make these cool portable bassinets. I'd take one of those over the swing and bouncing seat. it folds and you can just take it with you. It doesn't take up much space, and it's perfect for the first few months. Then, when baby starts moving around, you will want something bigger. I like my play pen, but you have limited space. So I'd go with an exersaucer. I also like exercise mats, but they are essential.



answers from San Francisco on

Congrats on your upcoming arrival~!!!! The best,most helpful item would be a sling or wrap so you can keep baby close and comfortable--can nurse whenever needed and you are hands free so you can do things whenever you need to.

Then the essentials:

bouncy seat/swing--travel swings work just as well as the large one but are more compact. I preferred the travel swing. There are other must-haves as the baby gets older, but I am sticking to newborn right now.

co-sleeper or bassinet next to the bed. Large swaddling blankets!!!!

As for what you don't need:

changing table, changing pad, bumbo seat, stationary saucer etc.

I kept it simple with large blanket or activity mat for newborn to lay on and look at toys etc. Change baby on simple travel changing mat---I had a changing table but never used it. I would change my baby everywhere but there~


answers from San Francisco on

We don't like a lot of clutter in our home either, but the fact is that people give you all kinds of stuff when you have a baby and there's no polite way to stop them! You won't know ahead of time what is going to work for your baby so store it temporarily and pass on what you don't want/need later.
As to stuff we bought I wish we had gone with the pack n play with bassinet attachment instead of a bassinet. It would have been more useful and lasted longer.



answers from Tucson on

Here's what I couldn't live without:
1. Burp cloths
2. Miracle blanket for swaddling
3. Jogging stroller
4. Swing - they both slept in that thing for the first couple of months
5. Ergo carrier
6. All in one cloth diapers
7. Space saver high chair for 6 mos and up
8. Pacifiers, lots and lots of them

Here is what I didn't use ever:
1. Pack n play (I know everyone else used it, but my babies never took to it)
2. Baby shoes
3. Bouncy seat

Buy the big items at garage sales and craigslist, then resell when you are finished:)


answers from Washington DC on

+Bouncy seat is a MUST! Used it forever and ever.
+Get lots and lots of baby bath towels. I wish I had more than I had.
+Baby sling-I loved my moby wrap and my baby bjorn. I would ahve never gotten anything done without them.
-Jumper -johnny jump up-do without. Get a nicer and newer jumper. My kids would have loved one but we just missed the opportunity.
-We could have done without the baby swing-some parents use it all the time.
-Baby shoes are a waste of money- just one more thing that makes getting out of the house take more time.
-Baby bath waste of money. I loved washing my baby in the sink after disinfecting it. He took a bath in the sink until he was too big =(almost a year).


answers from San Francisco on

If you're planning to breastfeed, there really isn't much in the infant feeding department that you'll need.

The things that REALLY helped me are:
- Ergo baby carrier
- baby swing that later becomes a toddler chair/rocker
- When I had two floors, a pack n play downstairs, and a crib upstairs (even though the crib wasn't well-used until my kids were around 9mo; we bed-shared).
- infant to toddler bath chair (it's mesh, machine washable and folds down for convenient storage). I didn't bother with the huge plastic tub that babies outgrow all too quickly.
- burp cloths
- an exersaucer (for use starting around 4-5mo)
- Stroller that the infant car seats snaps into

Beyond that, there are the things that I found convenient or of necessity for a short time (ie: nursing pads), but you can stay away from things like a wipes warmer. I even utilized 2 unused shelves as diaper and PJ storage :)



answers from Minneapolis on

You do not need a full sized crib, a portacrib is just fine. I lived in small places and that is all I had room for. Never missed having a larger crib. I have a pack and play now for my grandaughter at my house, but I did buy a better mattress than it came with.

I never used most baby equipment except for a bouncy seat. I found that infants liked to be up and watching whatever you are doing so that was a must. I only used a swing for my oldest daughter who was quite fussy, so I would not get one unless you have a hard to sooth child (then you will try anything.)

Diapers of course and diaper covers for cloth diapers if you use them.

For clothes, cotton gowns or sleepers are the mainstay, with one or two outfits for special outings.

Lots of cotton blankets, for swaddling, for burp pads, for an extra layer, etc..

Of course you need a car seat. Skip the fancy big stroller and get a front carrier for tiny ones and an umbrella stroller for older babies.

Once you child is sitting up, you will need something to feed them in, if you don't have room for a high chair, they have great options that are strapped in a regular chair.

You are so smart to keep it simple, you can always go and buy more things if you find a need but most things are truly not needed.



answers from Chicago on

Sheets. You can never have enough crib sheets. Our girl's were only in the bassinet, in our room, for the first few weeks. Then it was all crib. Both of our girl's slept through the night at 6 weeks. Crib sheets are a must because the diapers don't always fit great when they are in-between sizes. Also, when a blow-out occurs, and they will :), it's nice to have plenty of sheets on hand. Don't forget a mattress pad/cover. More than one of those is nice as well. Burp rags. You will go through those like crazy as well. Also, when they are done with burp rags, they make great dusting cloths! No lint left behind! :)

If your house is tight on space, I would skip the exersaucer. That thing takes up a ton of floor space. My girls did like it. Bouncy chair is a must. You will use that all of the time when they are infants. My girls both loved the swing. That also takes up a good amount of space so maybe look for a travel one that folds. I would definitely take the swing over the exersaucer, for starters. They can't go in the exersaucer until they can support their head/ neck. A good diaper bag. I had an Eddie Bauer backpack style. My husband is very hands on with our girl's and wanted a bag that he would be comfortable using. It would not have been my first choice as far as style, but it was very functional and I have to say super useful when I had to carry that darn infant carrier car seat and a diaper bag by myself. Oh and get an extra car base for the infant car seat, if you have more than one car. Also, a floor mat, gym type thing. Great for tummy time. Also, I can't tell you how many times my girls fell asleep under the activity ring. :). Pack n play. Mine had a built in changing table and the sleeping area adjusted son that when they were babies and didn't stand up yet, they were closer to the top. I would say that is a must if you want them to come outside with you or if you go to grandma's house for the day. Good luck, there are a ton of things out there for babies. No one needs everything. It's hard to pick when you have a limited amout of space.


answers from Rochester on

I personally loved the following...

a really good, easily maneuverable stroller
a super comfy chair to sit in with the baby
a breast pump, if you plan to breastfeed

Here are things I think are totally unnecessary...

A changing table. A blanket on the couch works.
A diaper pail. They stink. Use a small trashcan and take it out every day.
A Boppy pillow. A regular pillow will work better and doesn't cost $30.
Tons of clothes. Seriously, they do grow so fast (I know you here it, but it's hard to understand just how much) in the first year and it's better to have a bunch of onesies for the house and a few nice outfits in each size for going out.

Things that got very little use, or were outgrown quickly...

A bouncer/baby walker/baby swing. Some people will swear by them, but pick one and not all three. There's a window of only a few months where they even really fit in these things, and once they can crawl they're fairly inappropriate.

Tons of toys. There are so many toys over the years with my two children I thought they would love that really got little to no play. I WOULD invest in (and not right away) some good blocks...Lego Quatros are GREAT from about age 6 months all the way through...well, my 7 year old still occasionally plays with them. Can also be used to teach same and different, bigger and smaller, sorting skills, and colors. Love them. Also loved the play kitchen with pots/pans/dishes/food...that has gotten a LOT of play. The only other thing? BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS!!


(*** Forgot about the high chair. I got one at Target that just sits in your regular kitchen chair and reclines for when they're very young. My 2.5 year old is still using it.)



answers from Kalamazoo on

If you get the larger pack n play with all the attachments it can take the place of the crib, bassinet and changing table, plus its a playpen. Mine had a plush bassinet insert that vibrated, total lifesaver. We actually took our crib down for baby #2 since we really just ended up using the packnplay instead.
A playgym, the kind that plays music with the dangling toys
a boppy, really only a must if you have large breasts and a huge baby, without the boppy my arms would go numb
A changing table, I just cringe at the thought of people changing diapers anywhere, and it was nice to have a place to keep all the diapers/wipes
Good footie pajamas, with elastic at the ankle, thats all I dress my babies on for the first 3 months, lol
A double electric breast pump, that can wait until you are sure you are breastfeeding since they are really expensive
Sheets for the packnplay
Receiving blankets
An adjustable high chair with removable liner
A bjorn or other carrier, wonderful for grocery shopping, dont get the chico knockoff its terrible

What I never used:
Tons of clothes, especially dresses for a girl, they make it terrible to strap them into the carseat
Baby shoes
The crib
A bassinet
Baby swing
Rocking horse
Tons of stuffed animals
Tons of bottles, if you bf you only need one or two
Special 'baby' laundry detergent
Many strollers - if I could do it over I would get one nice sit and stand double and nothing else, some even have a option to snap in a carseat
Tons of board books/kids books, my kids just destroyed them

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