15 First Time Moms Must Haves For Baby [Don't Buy Until You Read This]

15 First Time Moms Must Haves For Baby [Don't Buy Until You Read This]

Hey (Almost) Mommy! 

As a first-time mom, preparing for your newborn's arrival can quickly go from sheer excitement to being capital O-verwhelmed. You will receive plenty of (well-meaning) unsolicited advice about what you “need” and will magically be barraged by baby products on your social feeds.  

Despite what everyone says, the truth is babies require very few material possessions those first few months.

First time moms must haves are the basic items to keep their little one fed, rested, and comfortable - everything else is just noise. By prioritizing quality over quantity, you can ensure a well-equipped fourth trimester without going overboard.

So, What Do First Time Moms Actually Need? 

This guide breaks down the 15 first time mom must haves. From safe sleep spaces and sustaining supplies to baby clothing and self-care products for mom, you'll learn what gear is absolutely essential. You'll also get tips on when to start buying stuff during pregnancy. 

Let’s find out what do first time moms actually need … and also what you don’t! 

Please note, we do not have an affiliation or make any commission off the products recommended below. This is just to serve as a helpful guide to new moms. Please do your own research and testing before purchasing any product for your baby :) 

First Time Mom Must Haves: The Big Purchases

(1) Crib/Bassinet: Experts recommend room-sharing for at least the first 6 months, so a bassinet or mini crib is ideal early on. Look for one on a sturdy base with breathable mesh sides. The Halo BassiNest is a popular swiveling option that attaches securely to your bed. Once baby outgrows that, you'll want a full-size crib that meets current safety standards with a firm, tight-fitting mattress and no loose bedding or pillows. Convertible cribs that adapt as your child grows are a great investment.

When to Buy a Crib or Bassinet: Register or purchase your preferred crib or bassinet style early to ensure availability. While some parents may be superstitious and not want a crib set up until the baby comes home, many parents opt to have this fully assembled and set up by around 8 months pregnant.  

(2) Car Seat: By law, babies must be secured in a properly installed car seat whenever they're in a vehicle. For newborns, an infant car seat or bucket-style seat is perfectly acceptable and generally safer for preemies. Top-rated models include the Chicco KeyFit and Graco SnugRide. Look for an easy-to-install base, good safety ratings, and sun canopy. We highly recommend you buy new, as used car seats can't be guaranteed safe.

When to Buy A Car Seat: Car seats shouldn't be purchased used, so put this at the top of your list or registry for new purchases. We suggest at least 60 days before the baby arrives just so you have it ready in case of an unexpected early birth date. You can (and should!) have it inspected by your local fire department to ensure it's properly secured.

(3) Stroller: A good stroller system is a first time mom must have for life on-the-go with baby. Look for sleek, lightweight options that fold compactly like the Uppababy Cruz or Baby Jogger City Mini (our personal favorite). Jogging strollers like the BOB Revolution provide sturdy all-terrain mobility. Make sure yours fully reclines and has a generously-sized storage basket underneath.  

first time mom essentials

When to Buy A Stroller: Take your time testing out different stroller options in person and see what feels most comfortable for your lifestyle needs. This is an investment you’ll want to choose carefully as its not only expensive, but should fit your personal needs. There are hundreds of options to choose from, so sometimes the best bet is to ask a few friends what they use and test those out. 

First Time Mom Must-Haves: The First Things You Should Buy for Your Baby 

(4) Baby Carrier or Wrap:  Babywearing allows you to keep your baby close and your hands-free. Stretchy wraps like the Solly Baby or Boba Wrap are soft and easy for soothing fussy newborns. More structured options built for extended wearing include the Ergobaby Omni 360. Pay close attention to positioning guidelines to ensure proper support for baby's head and neck.

first time mom essentials

When to Buy Your Baby Carrier or Wrap: This is an item you may want to wait until after the pregnancy to get. Your body will change drastically and what may feel like a good fit during pregnancy, may not post-partum. Baby carriers come in different weights, sizes and comfortability, so you want to pick out the one that best fits your individual needs when you are ready to use it. 

(5) Diapering Essentials:  Did you know your baby will go through almost 3,000 diapers during his/her first year? For diapers, a good rule of thumb is to have at least 2-3 packages of newborn size on hand. Pampers and Huggies are popular picks. If you are looking for an eco friendly pick, the Bambo Nature Premium diapers are loved by parents. You'll also need a large stock of fragrance-free baby wipes and several changing pad covers. A quality diaper pail like the Ubbi is super convenient and helps control odors. Don't forget cream for diaper rash and a portable changing pad clutch for on-the-go changes.

When to Buy Diapering Essentials: Pad your stockpile with (at least) 2-3 boxes of newborn diapers and an ample supply of wipes weeks before the baby arrives. Other diapering needs can wait until the last few weeks.

(6) Baby Clothes and Sleepwear: Newborns live in onesies, sleep sacks/swaddles, socks and jackets for heading outdoors. Go for soft, stretchy material like cotton or bamboo that's easy for frequent changings. Our favorite are KicKee brand. Plan for at least 10-14 shirts/onesies, as many pants, 4-6 sleepers, and a few swaddles. Don't get too many newborn sizes since they'll quickly grow into 0-3 months. Affordable basics can be found at Carter's, Old Navy, Target, BuybuyBaby, and more.

When to Buy Baby Clothes: Having 8-10 or so newborn outfits and sleepers on hand is wise, but focus your shopping efforts on seeds 0-3 months. Babies grow quickly and some will be out of newborn size within a few weeks (or sooner). The key is really not to overbuy for one size. 

(7) Feeding Supplies: If breastfeeding, essentials include cozy nursing bras/tanks, reusable breast pads, a high-quality pump (Spectra S1, Medela Pump in Style), nursing pillow, lanolin cream and soothing gel pads. Formula feeding moms need lots of bottles, Dr. Browns is our favorite) a formula mixer and bottle drying rack, thermal carrier for outings, and a reliable formula like Similac or Enfamil.  

When to Buy Baby Feeding Supplies: If breastfeeding, nursing bras and basic supplies like breast pads are smart to have prepped. But hold off on pricier items like pumps until after the baby arrives.

First Time Mom Essentials 

(8) Mom's Self-Care Items: Not all first time mom must haves have to do wihtthe baby. Comfortable mom = comfortable baby. In those first few weeks postpartum, you'll need easy access to your own comfort supplies too. Common must-haves include super absorbent mesh underwear and heavy overnight pads for bleeding, nursing pads and nipple cream, perineal spray bottles, stool softeners, and compression socks.  

When To Get Mom Self-Care Items: Essential postpartum supplies like pads, nursing necessities, soothing perineal spray and other recovery items should be purchased by 37-38 weeks pregnant.

(9) Baby Grooming Kit: A good grooming kit contains a soft brush, hooded towels, washcloths, nail clippers/file, nasal aspirator, digital thermometer, and medicine dispensers. Look for kits with safe and gentle products like those from FridaBaby. A collapsible bathtub like the Puj Tub fits perfectly in most sinks and prevents back strain.

When To Buy Baby Grooming Kits: Basic items like towels can be purchased ahead of time, but you may want to wait on cleansers and other products until you can read reviews from other newborn parents.

(10) Baby Monitor: A quality monitor gives peace of mind for watching and listening to your newborn. WiFi and smartphone-enabled models offer convenience and added features like room temperature sensors, two-way audio, cry alerts, and multiple camera views. Check reviews for reliability, range, night vision, and battery life. Some of our top picks include the Nanit Pro, Owlet Cam, and Miku.

When to Buy Your Baby Monitor: Your baby will likely sleep in your room for the first few weeks or even months. These aren’t an essential pre-birth purchase, but due to the cost its one of the best baby registry items to check off your list. 

(11) Baby Proofing Essentials: Those first few months are the perfect time to get a jumpstart on childproofing. Cover up electrical outlets, secure furniture to walls, install safety gates, and use cabinet and drawer locks. Basic kits provide most necessities, but also grab corner protectors, window guards, toilet locks, and edge guards for tables and fireplaces.

When To Buy Baby Proofing Essentials: You don’t need to buy these until your baby starts to crawl - typically around the 6-9 month mark. You can gradually phase these items in as you do nursery prep, starting with outlet covers and corner guards.

(12) First Aid Kit: Be prepared for inevitable bumps, bruises and illnesses with a well-stocked first aid kit. Include digital thermometers, infant acetaminophen, saline drops, bulb syringe, petroleum jelly, hydrocortisone cream, bandages, antiseptic wipes, and cold packs. The Bump provides a comprehensive list of what should go in your baby first aid kit

When To Buy Baby First Aid Kit: Put together your kit by 36 weeks so it's ready to go for any late pregnancy issues or a rapid departure to the hospital!

(13) Baby Toys and Books: Simple, age-appropriate toys and books provide enrichment for your newborn's developing senses. The Dingle Dangle Baby Gift Set is one of our favorite baby gifts that helps new parents interact and engage with their baby from a very early age.  

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When To Buy Baby Toys and Books: Toys and books are more for aesthetics during the first few months. They look great and cozy in the nursery but they won’t be used very much. Once your baby starts to crawl, it will be time to invest in some sensory and development toys and books to help stimulate their developing senses. 

(14) Diaper Bag: You'll basically be living out of this carryall for a while, so choose a durable, roomy, and versatile option. Popular picks are the Kea Babies Diaper Changing Backpack and the Dagne Dover Diaper Bag. Look for tons of pockets and compartments, easy-to-clean material, plus clips for attaching toys or straps for buckling into a stroller.

When to Buy Your Diaper Bag: These make great gifts from your baby shower if you create a registry. Nowadays diaper changing bags can be a bold fashion statement for moms on the go. Choose one around 8 months that fits your style and needs.

(15) White Noise Machine: This is a lifesaver for so many parents. The repetitive shushing sounds from a white noise machine mimic the womb and can work wonders for soothing fussy newborns. Portable models like the LectroFan or Snooz offer multiple sound options. You can also download one of the many great white noise apps for free on your smartphone as a budget option.

When to Buy A Baby White Noise Maker: This can wait until the 2nd or 3rd month when your baby is transitioning to their own room. Not all parents will want white noise machines, but for those who it works for … it can be like a little box of magic. 

You Got This Momma … 

There you have it. The 15 must-have items for first time moms. 

Of course, every pregnancy and baby's is different, so adjust as necessary to your own individual needs. Don't hesitate to ask other moms, your doctor or childbirth educators if you have any questions. Often the best advice and recommendations comes from your tribe of other mommas. 

We wish you all the luck, health and happiness on your pregnancy journey and your upcoming birth. It’s a magical time, try to enjoy it when you are not dealing with cramps, nausea, lack of sleep and other “fun” maladies you will face during these next few months! 

You got this momma. 

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