17 Baby Must-Haves According to Seasoned Moms (& 3 They Said to Skip!)

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More Baby Shower

baby items in Target shopping cart

Congratulations, mama! Let’s shop! 🍼👶🤰🛍️

We know retailers are filled with products to make parenting easier, so you’ve got to be wondering which baby registry items are truly a must-have and which you should avoid!

According to well-seasoned moms, here’s a list of the products you won’t want to live without along with the top 3 purchases many regretted buying at all.

Tip – If you’re an Amazon Prime member with a little one on the way, head on over to Amazon and create a new baby registry! In addition to being one of the easiest places to get almost everything your baby needs, Amazon is also offering up a FREE Baby Welcome Box when you create a baby registry ($35 value)!

Just a kind reminder to all parents that we realize some of these items may not fit your lifestyle, and that’s okay. 🤗 Every family is unique and we are here to support all of you on your new journey. Happiness, love, & congratulations to YOU! ❤️


Feeding-related must-haves:

1. An ergonomic nursing pillow takes the weight off your shoulders & arms.

must have baby product boppy pillow on store shelf

You don’t need to be a nursing mama to benefit from the perks of a nursing pillow. It’s not only a place to rest your arms while nursing your sweet babe but also whenever you need some relief while holding them in your arms. Plus, it even provides extra support for little helpers when they want turns to hold the baby. Better yet, they’re machine washable for longevity.

While the debate of the “best nursing pillow” will forever be ongoing, here are our top 2 must-have picks:

boppy nursing pillow on floor in store in front of target cart

  • My Brest Friendstarting at $34.95 This pillow has a buckle strap to allow for more security & mobility, as well as padding in the back to provide comfortable back support. Plus, there’s even a small pocket for your nursing pads, phone, pacifiers, etc. They even have a twin My Brest Friend if you’re expecting a dynamic duo.
  • Boppy Original Nursing Pillow$39.99 – This pillow could potentially outlive even your nursing days because of its versatility. Aside from nursing, it can be used to help prop up your baby before they learn to sit up on their own, along with tummy time as they’re developing neck strength. In any case, it can even be used for lounging regardless of age due to its soft pillow design. Check out all the designs here!

2. Silicone bibs are reusable meal after meal & incredibly easy to keep clean.

toddler sitting in highchair with yellow silicone bib eating out of bowl

Before you know it, your baby will be eating oatmeal and solid foods, which means you need to be prepared for many more messes to come. Silicone bibs with pockets catch all the mess, are comfortable to wear, and even have adjustable notches in the back for the perfect fit.

Plus, they’re incredibly easy to keep clean (even top-rack dishwasher safe), reusable meal after meal, and easy to take with you on the go!

Here are our top 3 picks for the best silicone bibs:

various silicone bibs hanging on store shelf

  • Mushie Silicone Bib$12.99 gorgeous neutral matte colors to blend with any home’s aesthetic.
  • BABYBJÖRN Baby Bibs$19.99 (2-pack) – a trusted brand with pretty neckline details.

3. A silicone self-feeder keeps them occupied & is great for teething babies.

oxo silicone feeder in packaging on white fur blanket

Speaking of eating, you’re little one will love having the ability to feed themselves safely with a silicone self-feeder. It’ll save you time feeding them while you’ve got your hands full or if you’re dealing with a fussy baby while on the go.

Not only that, when you freeze them, they work exceptionally well for teething babies!


4. Useful burp cloths will save you from having to do extra laundry.

woman holding baby with white burp cloth on shoulder

Burp cloths are a must so you can protect your clothes from spit-ups and drooling after feedings – especially if you’re about to head out with intentions to look put together.

Here are our top 3 picks for the best burp cloths:

  • Muslin Burp Cloths $12.95 (6-pack – regularly $14.95) – extra absorbent with 6 layers of cotton.

5. Your breast pumping journey will be so much easier with a hands-free breast pump.

woman wearing nursing bra with hands free breast pump inside

Times are changing and if you plan to pump your breast milk at any point in time, a breast pump can practically become a new part of your body. You might as well make it an experience that’s as easy and comfortable for you as possible!

No pumping journey is easy, but the ability to score a hands-free breast pump will leave you almost forgetting you’re even doing it, which is even more ideal for women heading back to work who prefer to remain discreet.

woman holding up bag of breast milk with willow hands free breast pump on display

Here are our 2 top picks for the best hands-free breast pumps:

  • Willow Generation 3 Breast Pump$499.99 while wearing it in your bra, this quiet and discreet pump is perfect anywhere, anytime, and even in any position.
  • Elvie Pump – $499.99 the first-ever silent hands-free breast pump that fits discreetly into your nursing bra.

6. Prop your baby in a functional & versatile seat whenever you need free hands.

baby in seat on leather couch

Whether it’ll be used as a play area, a place to feed your baby, or simply a space you can set them down to take a load off your arms, having a versatile seat that can pull double-duty in a plethora of ways will be a lifesaver on a daily basis!

Here are our top 2 picks for the best baby seats:

  • Bumbo Multi-Seat – $49.99 – easy to wipe clean, transport, and perfect for mealtime, snacks, or anytime your hands need a break.

Nighttime must-haves:

7. Dress your new baby in some functional sleepers to make changing hassle-free.

baby sleepers hanging from red target cart

While dressing your new baby to the nines is going to be tempting at all times, trust when I say your life will be so much easier when you dress them in something much more functional – especially when it comes to all those midnight changing sessions. And bonus points if they have built-in mittens to keep your little one from inadvertently scratching their face too.

Here are the top 3 must-have styles of sleepers for your baby day to night:

baby wearing nightgown and bow laying on bed with mom

  • Wallaby Knotted Tie Bottom Sleeper – $19.99+ the best of both worlds that keep your baby’s feet secure while still creating an easy diaper-changing experience. Plus, they look so stinking cute, so why not?!

8. A swaddle or sleepsack mimics the womb and makes your baby feel cozier than ever.

baby wearing pink swaddle while sleeping

Credit: @woombieusa on Instagram

A swaddle or sleep sack is essentially a way to mimic the womb and make your baby feel secure. Plus, most babies love them (especially when sleeping) so make sure to put these on your must-have baby registry!

They’re also great for helping keep your baby from scratching themselves while just lounging around their crib.

Here are our top 3 picks for the best sleep sacks:

sleeping baby wearing swaddle two different ways

  • Halo Sleepsack – $21.99 #1 choice by hospitals nationwide and suitable from 0-6 months.

9. Have eyes & ears on your new baby at all times with a baby monitor.

must have baby monitor on display at store

A reliable baby monitor ensures you’re able to safely and securely keep an eye on your baby during nap time, overnight, or any time you need to step away for a moment. There are a lot of baby monitors on the market with different features, including breathing monitoring, Wi-Fi capabilities, and apps that monitor babies using only your existing devices, like your phone, tablet, or even computer!

Here are our top 3 picks for the best baby monitors:

owlet baby monitor in box on display

  • VTech DM221-2 Audio Baby Monitor – $39.99 (regularly $49.95) simplicity at its finest, this back-to-basics monitor comes with 2 parent units & even has a nightlight that can be remotely shut off.
  • Owlet Duo Smart Baby Monitor– $399.99 – a splurge-worthy monitor for the ultimate peace of mind – it’ll even track your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels.

Travel must-haves:

10. Invest in a good jogging stroller that can easily handle every terrain, no matter where you go.

woman pushing jogging stroller outside

Strollers are a pretty big ask for a registry, but don’t let that deter you from adding a nice stroller to the list. In fact, after raising three kiddos myself and trying many strollers, I found that a nice jogging stroller will serve all your purposes and handle every terrain perfectly!

Oftentimes, multiple friends and family may want to go in together for your stroller so it’s a win-win for all! Plus, if you keep it in great condition, by the time your baby outgrows it you’ll likely be able to resell it for a good chunk of change.

pink and gray jogging stroller outside on sidewalk

Here are our top 3 picks for the best jogging strollers:


11. The Mommy hook is like having a third and fourth hand at all times.

hand holding pink mommy hook

Strong and durable, this hook is functional for even people who aren’t parents! Considering the amount of stuff you’ll be toting around after you give birth, you’ll especially appreciate this baby registry must-have.

Simply clip it on your grocery cart, stroller, or load up all your shopping bags in one convenient place — this hook will be a third hand to have around at all times! OR go all out and scoop up this 2-pack on Amazon so you can have a 4th hand at all times too!


12. A car seat cover will keep your baby safe from the elements while traveling around.

baby girl wearing pink headband smiling

Speaking of always on the go, regardless of what weather you’ll be toting your baby around in, you’ll definitely want to add a car seat cover to your baby registry. Depending on your climate, you’ll be able to keep your baby perfectly safe & cozy with our top picks.

Here are our top 2 seasonal picks for the best car seat covers:

different ways to use a car seat cover

  • Parker Baby 4 in 1 Car Seat Cover – $21.95 versatile cover, perfect for year-round use. It can be used as a nursing cover, grocery cart cover, or even a high chair cover too.
  • JJ Cole Original Bundleme Bunting Bag – $34 (regularly $39.96) perfect for cold, winter months and requires no jacket on your little one to safely transport them from point A to B.

13. Carrying a backpack diaper bag around will keep you hands-free when on the go.

must have pink diaper bag sitting on wooden floor

Heading out for the day with a baby can often feel like packing for an extended weekend trip. That’s why having a bag to keep all your essentials organized, your arms comfortable, and hands totally free is crucial to successful outings. Plus, if you already have a toddler running around, you’re going to need both hands at all times anyway.

Here are our top 3 picks for the best backpack diaper bags:

woman showing different ways to use leather bookbag diaper bag


14. Wearing a breathable baby carrier will be comfortable for you and your baby.

woman holding baby with gray baby carrier outside

Once baby arrives, you’ll be craving those newborn snuggles at all times so make sure to add just the right baby carrier to your registry must-have list. You’ll be able to go about your day without any interruptions and keep your baby close and cozy at all times.

Plus, there’s no mama out there who didn’t say they love having a snuggly little baby head on their chest to kiss & smell whenever they please so bask in it, mama! 😍

Here are our top 3 picks for the best baby carriers:

woman holding baby in emerald green ring sling

  • Kyte Baby Ring Sling – $64.99 – the easiest on-the-go carrier to take on and off. Versatile front or hip carrying options and suitable for 8-35 lbs. 
  • Solly Baby Wrap – $65 Half the amount of fabric as the Moby Wrap & super breathable. Suitable from newborn up to 25 lbs.

Miscellaneous must-haves:

15. Don’t forget some plain colored onesies for the best daily attire no matter the season.

packages of gerber baby onesies

Any seasoned parent will tell you some plain colored onesies or bodysuits will be a total lifesaver! From using them as layering pieces, for bedtime, or something simple on the hottest summer days, you can never go wrong with stashing these away in the nursery or your new diaper bag.


16. Soothe your baby with a cute Wubbanub pacifier.

hand holding baby pacifier wubbanub in store aisle

So many new moms swear by Wabbanub pacifiers so if you plan on introducing a pacifier to help soothe your little one, these are going to be a total registry must-have! Not only do they come in many different types of stuffed animals, but they’re incredibly cute and practical for getting your new baby to take to a pacifier with ease.


17. When your baby has a clogged nose, the Fridababy nose sucker will be everything.

hand holding must have baby registry item nosefrida package in store aisle

Something you may not think about before your new baby is here is the fact you’ll have to help them with boogies. Since babies can’t blow their noses on their own, having an extremely effective way to get rid of their snot will make them and you much happier. And if you were wondering, yes, it’s completely sanitary too. 😂


Here are the top 3 baby products you should definitely SKIP on your registry:

1. The Diaper Genie ends up being a real stinker.

row of diaper genies on store aisle

In theory, a diaper pail might sound appealing in the beginning, but in reality, they’re just costly to change and smell absolutely awful once they’re sitting at room temperature for a week straight. Due to these two major drawbacks, they’re not registry-worthy in our book.

Instead, save your used plastic grocery bags – they’re free & easy to toss in the trash afterward! 


2. Unless you like dry wet wipes, don’t bother with a wipe warmer.

wipe warmer box on store shelf

I get the idea behind the wipe warmer – what parent wouldn’t want their baby to feel their best when they’re getting cleaned up? That said, this machine is just more trouble than it’s worth and could potentially dry out your wipes in the long run.

Instead, try to keeping your wipes stored at room temperature.


3. You’ll lose interest in buying baby crib shoes as quickly as they’re lost off of your little ones’ feet.

baby shoes hanging on store shelf with gymboree tags on them

When browsing through baby clothes, teeny tiny adorable little shoes seem to steal the show. I mean, we can’t deny the heart eyes that happen when we see them, but don’t let the cuteness of some teeny tiny crib shoes win you over. According to many of our readers, they constantly fall off baby’s feet and just aren’t worth the money.

Instead, consider these versatile snap booties. They actually stay on & will go with any outfit while keeping toes warm.


Check out more baby deals too good to pass up!


Sara is a self-taught blogger and photographer with 5 years of experience having work featured in various building, travel, and fashion publications, most notably Bassett Furniture and Fossil.


Join The Discussion

Comments 31

  1. Becca

    Mama of 2 here, and my most used and recommended item is the boppy! It was used so much with both girls and held up well in the washer! Also, the Infant Optics baby monitor we have had and we love. My only complaint is the batteries will need replaced often. They don’t hold charge for very long. So maybe buy an extra to have on hand.

    • Sara

      Thanks so much for your helpful feedback, Becca! I know it will surely help any new mommas coming here to look for advice so it’s greatly appreciated!

  2. Tricia

    I would also add a Haakaa style pump for breastfeeding moms! Easy way to collect milk while nursing. Just suction it on one side and leave it while feeding baby on the other. Easy to clean too! It helped so much in building a small stockpile for when I went back to work. I bought a generic version on Amazon.

    • Lacey

      + 1. Hakka is so essential for new BF moms. I have a two week old and I use it everyday. It’s a life savor for me. I got the lansinoh brand which is way cheaper than Hakka

    • Ashley

      I bought the Bumblebee version on Amazon. I really love it. But, be careful if you’re typically an overproducer. I used this from the time my milk came in for about a week (to suction) and banked a lot of milk … but also ended up with a pretty significant case of engorgement. I probably should have either avoided the suction and just used it to collect, or avoided using it altogether until my milk was a little more regulated.

  3. Materof6

    Glad to see this post! Expecting number 8 in December, and I keep a running list in my mind if a new mom ever asks for my opinion of must-haves/things to avoid. I couldn’t agree more with what you have here! I will say that I’ve been impressed with the Ubbi diaper pail if you go the diaper pail route. It uses kitchen garbage bags and does a pretty good job keeping the odor out. I couldn’t agree more with wipe warmers! With my first child, I had one and one time it actually grew mold when we were on a trip! Yuck! Thanks for the post!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      You’re SO very welcome! Congratulations! 💕 Thanks a bunch for sharing your experience!

  4. Dre

    My Brest friend worked great for me. I also recommend the bigger boppy (it has elephants on it.) The OogieBear for boogers to remove quickly along with the nosefrida. Also Frida has nail clippers that are excellent. Muslim blankets to swaddle your little one or use to coverup while breastfeeding. Dr Brown anti colic bottles are excellent as well.

    • Sara

      I loved the My Brest Friend, too, Dre! Thanks for sharing all your awesome recommendations with us!

  5. Echoedsel

    My baby’s physical and occupational therapists at the hospital and outpatient all hate the bumbo. We even got a flyer in the NICU saying not to use it. Not only can it fall off counters (just don’t put your baby in the counter…) but it puts them in an unnatural seating position (curved back or something) that hampers their development.

    • Elaine

      I am a pediatric PT and I agree. The sit me up seat doesn’t provide a lot of support either. I recommend a Boppy placed in front or behind them or a laundry basket with pool noodles like this. https://www.craftymorning.com/pool-noodle-laundry-basket-baby-seat/ The Upseat is a booster type high chair that promotes the correct posture, but it isn’t cheap.

    • Tina Tina

      Was coming here to say the same thing

  6. Rachel

    So thankful for this post and the comments! Expecting #3 in January and it’s been 6 years since I’ve had to do the whole baby thing so I feel like I’m starting all over and it gets overwhelming. 😊

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Aww, congratulations to you and your family, Rachel! 🥰 Happy this post was helpful!

  7. Melie

    Not exactly a product but my favorite tip for new mamas is to look for a Buy Nothing group on Facebook. These are small, community focused groups where one can offer up things they don’t need and ask for things they do need. Baby clothes, toys, and other stuff like diaper bags and bathtubs get passed around a ton, since a lot of it only gets used for a few months or developmental stages. It’s also a great place to borrow things you may only need for a short time, like a cover for taking a car seat on a plane.

    Our group has had a few people who abuse the system, but for the most part it gets addressed quickly and most people are very kind and helpful. I also really love the community aspect of it. For example, one mom was looking for 2 or 3 diapers from a handful of brands and styles, trying to find one that wouldn’t give her baby a rash. She was able to find one that worked from ones people offered her, and someone gave her an extra box of that type that their kid had grown out of.

    • Liz

      My daughter, who is expecting #4, is in one of those groups and it has been such a blessing!

  8. Mzannn

    Does anyone know where I can get the bear in the pic from #8? It’s so cute!

    • jessicabecker

      I found it!
      https://szumisie.pl/
      I guess it’s a Polish crib soother that “hums”
      That image is on the Woombie website from a Polish Instagrammer.

      • Mzannn

        Thanks!

  9. Bex

    Check out Happy Baby Carriers. They’re made of linen and are so comfortable. Not too hot in the summer in the South.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Awesome! Thanks for the suggestion, Bex!

  10. mackyjane

    After a trip to the hospital for RSV with our 3 week old, the nurses and doctors all recommended the nosefrida, but the idea grosses me out. We went with an automatic one that was $30 at Walgreens. Ours was by NeilMed. It works really well, and you sucking boogers is not involved! 🤣

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      LOL! Thanks for the recommendation! Good to know what worked best for your little one!

  11. Chantel

    Soon to be mom to four and I have to say even this list Seema long to me, lol. My must haves are onesies, gowns, an ergo carrier, car seat and Boppy. The Nosefrieda does work great but so do the big green bulb syringes from the hospital. Just ask them for some extras and you should be fine.

    Also, no mention of mom’s needs postpartum and we really need to talk about that. Get yourself a whole bunch of the biggest pads you can find or even some Depends. Also, some of those ice pads are really going to help with swelling downstairs.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks for the feedback and suggestions! I have passed this along to the team!

  12. Lacey

    I agree about the diaper genie I always used the dog waste bags from the dollar 🎄 to throw dirty diapers in plus they are great to keep in the diaper bag

    • Sara

      Haha, that diaper genie sure does get awful doesn’t it, Lacey?! My biggest mistake with my first baby, for sure! Thanks for sharing your frugal tip with us!

  13. Bex

    One off My must haves is a portable sound machine.. clip to their carsear and they’ll get a full nap even amidst the charter of other siblings. I like three Roomba or Hush brand.

    • Bex

      Chatter

    • Sara

      Thanks for sharing your feedback with us, Bex, we surely appreciate it! I have no idea how my third ever slept with her two wild brothers running around, but thankfully the girl can sleep anywhere now! Haha!

  14. Tina Tina

    I think every mom is so different. We absolutely hated the owlet, bumbos are bad for development, we love our diaper genies and have never had an issue with them stinking, my Brest friend is way better than boppy, saw people recommend the hakkaa and I wasn’t a fan, and miracle swaddle is by far the best swaddle for newborns and I have literally tried every single one. But we all like different things and that’s ok! Thanks for the list. As someone else mentioned, a list of must have for moms would be great too. I didn’t even think about what I would need with my first!

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