You need a lot of things when you have a baby, a lot. Strollers, car seats, carriers, cribs, and monitors are the big-ticket items that require research to ensure the purchases make sense for your lifestyle and budget. In addition to the bigger things, there are many smaller items that you’ll need to make your first few months as a new parent as comfortable and smooth as possible. (Unfortunately, you cannot purchase sleep; otherwise, we’d have that on our list too.) Cue our list of 30 baby must-haves, all of which are under $25.
There are SO many options to choose from for baby products. We pared down our list to items that will work throughout the first year and are under $25. We also focused on go-to brands for new moms. Like anything having to do with parenting, not everything works for all families or kids. Luckily, if the specific product doesn’t work for you, there are alternative options in every category.
Whether you’re breastfeeding or using formula, here are some helpful products to consider having around during baby’s first year.
Like so many baby-related items, bottles are very personal. Some babies will drink out anything, while others will only drink out of very particular bottles. To start, you’ll need bottles with slow-flow nipples, which are designed for newborns and young babies so that they won’t drink too much, too fast. Then you can transition to faster-flow nipples once they’re able to swallow more milk or formula. We love:
- Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Newborn Bottles ($24.99)
- Comotomo Baby Bottle ($20 for 2 bottles)
- MAM Anti Colic Bottles ($14.59)
- Medela Breastmilk Bottle Set ($10.98)
If you want to try out a few to see which works best, we love Babylist’s Bottle Box ($24.99) which includes five popular bottles.
Unfortunately, no one has invented a self-cleaning bottle yet, so we recommend you get one of these brushes. They’ll help you get the nooks and crannies of bottles and bottle caps clean. We like:
Breast Milk Storage Bags
If you’re pumping, you’ll want to have a stock of these on hand so you can freeze breast milk to use at a later date. The two most popular brands are:
The best storage bag option for you may depend on your breast pump, as well as how you’ll be using the bags.
Breastfeeding isn’t as painful as childbirth, but it can feel pretty close. Soothe the pain with a nipple cream like Earth Mama Organic Nipple Butter ($8.29).
Diapering Baby Must-Haves
We didn’t include diapers on this list, because we assume most parents already know they need to have them. Here are a couple of small, affordable diapering products that will come in handy, though.
Your baby’s bum may get irritated. Sometimes it’s from the diapers themselves, and sometimes it’s from the constant flow of waste. (Sometimes it’s both!) When you notice baby’s skin getting a little red, it’s best to apply diaper cream. Try one of the following:
Portable Changing Pad
Being at home with an infant can lead to cabin fever, and you’ll eventually want to get out. We recommend the Lekebaby Portable Diaper Changing Pad ($19.99) for easy, on-the-go changing.
Baby Must-Haves for Better Sleep
As you probably know, sleep becomes more elusive once you are a parent. To make sure your baby – and by extension, you – gets as much quality sleep as possible, we recommend investing in a few key items:
SwaddleMe Original Swaddle
There are many, many swaddle options out there, but we especially like the SwaddleMe designs ($23.99) since some babies are absolute ninjas when it comes to getting out of swaddles. They’ve designed theirs with two Velcro patches that ensure the swaddle doesn’t get undone easily and stays safely wrapped around them while they rest.
If and when you give your baby a pacifier is up to you. If you do move forward with using one, there are many for you to choose from. Some of our favorites are:
- WubbaNub (Starting at $13.95)
- BIBS BPA-Free ($14.99 for two)
- Natursutten BPA-Free ($20.99 for two)
- Philips Avent Soothie ($15.95 for six)
Munchkin Shhh Portable Baby Sleep Soother Sound Machine and Night Light
It’s always best to create an environment that’s as conducive to sleep as possible. In light of that, you may want to consider investing in a sound machine or night light. We like the Munchkin Shhh Portable Baby Sleep Souther Sound Machine and Night Light ($19.99) since it does both. Its portable size means it doesn’t take up too much space.
Baby Must-Haves for Playtime
Most bouncy chairs will set you back a lot more than $25, but we do love the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker ($24.99).
Babies don’t play a whole lot in those early months, but a few sensory toys are a great way to get them using their hands and exploring new sounds and textures. There are many can’t-go-wrong options in this category. Here a few we especially love:
- Skip Hop Bandana Buddies Activity and Teething Toy ($14.99)
- Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy ($15.99)
- LAMAZE Mix and Match Caterpillar Soft Toy ($19.99)
Sophie the Giraffe
Sophie the Giraffe ($23.99) is a go-to gift for baby showers and for good reason. When your child enters the phase of gnawing on everything, it’s great to have a clean, safe option to give to them.
Everyday Baby Must-Haves
Cloth Diapers for Burp Cloths
Beyond the obvious usage for cloth diapers, they make fantastic burp cloths and wipes because they’re so absorbent. You can get a 10-pack for $13.99.
Bandana Drool Bibs
Eventually, you’ll need bibs for feeding, but you may find you need some before then if your baby drools a lot. You can pick up this super-cute 8-pack from YOOFOSS for just $14.99.
Red Cross First Aid Kit & Grooming Kit
This basic first aid kit and grooming kit ($13.70) includes a digital thermometer, fingertip toothbrush, nail clippers, brush, medicine dispenser, and more.
If you were to describe what a Nose Frida ($15.99) is to someone who’s not a parent, it would sound absolutely disgusting. But the design is genius. You insert a small plastic tube into your child’s nose in order to quickly and easily suck out snot and boogers. Trust us, it works great! (And don’t worry: you don’t get boogers in your mouth.)
Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddlers
We love these Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddlers ($17.99 for two), just not for swaddling because they fall off so easily. These make great everyday baby blankets, nursing covers, on-the-go changing pads and more. They come in many adorable designs as well.
There are so many adorable baby socks out there, but we’ve found they frequently pop right off your baby’s foot. That’s where these amazing Zutano Booties ($21.00) come in handy. Just slip them on, snap and they’ll stay on all day. Plus, you can throw them in the wash so they’re super easy to keep clean.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
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