Parent’s Essential List | New Born to 12 Months


Being a new parent is one of the most challenging yet rewarding roles. Babies do not come with a manual but it certainly helps to have the right tools and environment to nurture and raise our little ones. 

It is easy to get carried away and buy things we think we need. As practical parents, we do our best to justify and maximize the utility cost of the items we invest in.

My objective is to share with you the essential tools and resources we find useful as we go through the course of parenthood.

Transportation / Mobility

My husband and I are avid travelers and love exploring the great outdoors. Here are a few things that makes our journey smoother. 

  1. Car Seat. There are a variety of newer model car seats that convert from the bucket seat to the normal child’s seat.
    Based on friends’ recommendation and a bit of research on the internet, we decided to invest in a bucket seat. It seems like Britax is the leading and trusted brand. You will also need to get the Britax Base. Hospitals recommend to have the car seat installation inspected (e.g. Fire Department) prior to your baby's arrival. Another recommendation is to never buy a used car seat because you don't know its history or if it's been in a car accident.

  2. Car Mirror. I spent quite a bit of time looking for car mirror. Both my husband and I are pleased with Skiphop's Car Mirror. It is versatile and pretty good quality. I ended up getting the other car accessories' organizer but I would not recommend investing in them. Rather, I'd invest in a good diaper bag!

  3. Diaper Bag. I love Ergo Baby's Diaper Bag. It has a lot of pockets to organize our baby's stuff. It also comes with a handy changing mat which we often use when changing her diaper from the trunk of our SUV!

  4. Baby Carrier. I love wearing my baby everywhere. I take her out for long walks, hiking, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities. Ergo Baby was recommended to me by friends over Baby Bjorn's. I am glad we got this one! I also got the Ergobaby teething pad and bib because they tend to chew on the carrier.

    I recommend Ergo Baby's Wrap over the Moby Wrap Baby Carrier if you want light weight carrier to wear your little one around the house or under your big jacket. I used mine from 0-3 months. 

  5. Seat Cover. My friends and in-law recommended this car seat cover by JJ Cole. It is convenient to have in the winter.

  1. Stroller. Bob Gear Revolution Stroller FTW! Bob Gear brand has been recommended to me by all my active friends and family members. I am glad they did! It is one of the best investments we made! I take my little one for long walks. 

  2. Stroller Organizer. I really like this Bob Stroller Organizer because it makes it convenient for my husband and I to put our drinks on the handle bar rather than putting them away down on the storage bin.

  3. Portable Crib. Skip Hop's Portable Crib looks nice but the crib’s mattress could be better. It is quite firm. I would probably get Baby Bjorn's Travel Crib if I were to get another one.

Apparel

Our little one arrived in November. It is quite cold and snowy during the time.

Knowing which size of clothing to get was quite new to my husband and I. It turned out it is quite intuitive! NB hence the name, New Born, is the starting size. It then transitions to the baby’s age 0-3 Months, 3-6 Months, 6-9 Months, 9-12 Months, 12-18 Months. The sizing varies on the apparel’s brand and your little one's built. We personally depend and rely on Burts Bee’s, Cat and Jack, and Carter's sizing.

Babies grow so fast! It is quite practical to only invest in a few sets that you need.  

  1. Base Layer. My husband and I like Burt's Bees Baby's soft and simple long sleeve bodysuit. It is good to have at least 7 bodysuits.      
  2. PJ's.  Zip up Pajamas! I recommend the zip up pajamas over the snap ones. It is much more convenient! It is convenient to have 5 pieces to rotate throughout the week. I love Carter’s brand -- plus they often have great sales throughout the year! 
  3. Bunting. Outdoor gear jumpsuits. This is convenient for taking your little one out for a walk or other outdoor activities. Patagonia has great selections I highly recommend. Carter's also has great selections that are much more budget-friendly.
  4. Dress-up. A couple of dressy outfit for pictorials. I personally love Target's Cat and Jack, Carter's, and Macy's First Impressions brand. They are trendy and good quality but does not break the bank.
  5. Slippers. This Burt's Bees slippers keep our baby’s feet cozy and warm. They are easy to put on and off as well.  
  6. Parker Baby Swaddle Blankets.  Swaddling is supposed to calm the baby. This makes them feel secure. Although I heard not all babies want to be swaddled. Ours happen to be one who loves it! Her dad loves to wrap her like a little burrito!
  7. Wearable Blankets. I would recommend the Halo brand. Micro fleece for colder months and cotton on the warmer months. We got the swaddle micro fleece because our baby loves being swaddled. It helps her sleep better at night.
  8. Hats. This Carter's Beanie Hat is cozy. We put it on our little one when we did outdoor activities. Patagonia also make warm and cozy hats and outdoor accessories!

    While we had the mittens, my husband and I decided to not put it on to enable our baby to feel her face as well as to learn not to scratch herself.

    Our friend gave us an electric nail file which helped us maintain our baby’s nails without having the fear of hurting her while we trim her sweet little fingers. This is so handy to have! I recommend trimming your baby's nails while you are feeding them.

    I’ve learned that babies does not like wearing sunglasses. Our baby wore her’s once and never again.

    She is also not a big fan of head accessories. I would invest in one or two that goes well with variety of colors. I personally like nature or neutral colors -- more future-proof!

Diapering, Hygiene, and First Aid.

You might have heard about the rash horror stories from your friends. Here are a few tips we have done to try to prevent skin-related issues. 

  1. Diapers. There are a lot of brands out there but Pampers' Swaddler works great for us! NB is the starting size. We often go through about 150 - 200 diapers before we transition to the new size. Be mindful of the frequency you check their diaper to avoid rashes.  
  2. Wet Wipes. We really like the Pamper's Wet Wipes because it is hypo-allergenic. It works fine with our baby's skin and does not dry up especially if you store it in the Ubbi Baby dispenser. I've tried a few different kinds and this works best for me. I love the weight to keep all the wipes intact!
  3. Diaper Bin.Diaper Genie works like wonder to set aside the soiled diaper. I tried the Amazon brand refill but it is not as good and sturdy as the one made by Playtex.  
  4. Air Fresheners.Arm and Hammer Baking Soda Nursery Fresheners. I scatter these around the nursery room's closet and trash bins.
  5. Diaper Balm. While we are very careful changing our little one’s diaper frequently, rash is inevitable. Aquaphor for Baby works very well! It is very effective.  I initially used the Earth Mama's Baby Balm but Aquaphor is much more effective and was recommended by many of my friends. 
  6. Caddy Organizer. I love the quality of this caddy by Luxury Little! It keeps all the essentials in one place and portable. It is convenient to have a few changing stations around the house!  
  7. Dry Wipes. I use muslin wash cloth to dry my little one’s butt before putting a new diaper. This helps prevent rash. 
  8. On-the-go Changing Pad.Skip Hop Portable Changing Pad. This is convenient to have to avoid preventative accidents when changing diapers. 
  9. Temp Gauge.Vigorun Forehead Temperature Monitor. This is a must on the list. You’ll find yourself using this quite frequently. 

Feeding

It is important to speak with your doctor about your feeding plans -- if you were going to breastfeed, formula, or both. Either way, here are a few essential items I find useful! 

  1. Nursery Cami for Mom. I prefer wearing cami with built-in bra over a nursing bra. It is much more comfortable, less revealing, and much more durable with frequent use! These nursery cami by iloveSia is pretty comfortable and the quality is great.

  2. Spit Rugs / Bibs

    • Diaper Liner. This absorbs baby’s spit so well. The shape and size makes it more convenient for cleaning. If you like more functional rather than the looks, I highly recommend using Babygoal cloth diaper liner

    • Big Burp Cloths. Burt's Bees' Burp cloths are soft but less absorbent than the Diaper Liner. It is convenient to have for travels!

    • Wash cloths. Burt's Bees' wash cloths are soft and absorbent. You could use this both for feeding or giving your little one a bath.

  3. Nursing Cover. I love Itzy Ritzy's nursing cover! It is so soft, breathable, and convenient to have when we are out and about and need to feed our baby.

  4. Bottle Brush. OXO's Bottle brush is the best brush I've used so far. It such great quality and cleans the bottles and nipples well! OXO Portable Brush is ideal for traveling or if you do not have much counter space!

  5. Drying Rack. Boon Lawn Dry Rack works quite well and it looks great on the kitchen counter!

  6. Nipple Pads. For first time mom, I highly recommend using Lansinoh's nipple therapy pads after each feeding. This helped when I developed Mastitis early on in my breastfeeding journey.

  1. Baby Bottle. I am breastfeeding my child and I will keep doing it for as long as I am producing. She also does not like drinking from the bottle but if I would select new bottles for her, I would choose Philip's Glass Bottle over the plastic ones. I have heard parents have tried switching over different nipples -- the ideal is the closest to their nipple's size.

  2. Baby Bottle Warmer. Philip's Bottle Warmer works great for us! It heats up the milk quite fast, portable, and efficient.

  3. Pacifier. We’ve tried a few pacifiers but she won’t take it. We are fortunate because she does not need anything to soothe her. The only one that she tried a couple of times is the Nuk brand.

For 6 Months and up!

You might have heard of the baby-led weaning methodology. We skipped the purees and went into the finger foods almost right away. She loves anything stick form like cut up sweet potatoes, bananas, cucumbers, etc.

And because of additive sugars, salt, and etc. with food options in the market, I was motivated to make her food from scratch. We served her a portion of our meal. It makes our meals much more enjoyable and fun -- eating together as a family!

  1. High Chair. We’ve looked at a lot of high chair ones but wanted to have a space saving option. Fisher Price's High Chair works well for us and we get to leverage our dining chair! I eventually removed the covering which makes it easier to clean!
    For outdoor use, we got her another one from IKEA | Antilop Collection. It is good but the tray is a bit challenging to put on and off. 

  2. Bib. We had the Mushie silicone bib, but it broke after a few months. I expected it to last longer considering its made of silicone. I will try the OXO Bib which seem to have a great rating next. 

  3. Suction Plate. This Kirecoo Owl Plate has a great suction and pretty sturdy! I was impressed with the quality. I’ve tried it in a few different surface and the suction works great! I highly recommend it.

  4. Training Spoon and Bowl. Our little one loves Olababy's training spoon. I felt comfortable handing her the spoon knowing it won’t hurt her! We often let her use her hands to help improve her dexterity with objects.
    The bowl is collapsible, functional, and high quality.

  5. Training Cup. She likes drinking from Munchkin's 360 Training Cup and Nuk's Learner Cup over the sippy cup. I would not recommend Philip's Sippy Cup because it is quite hard for them to sip from it. If I were to get her another sippy cup, I'd likely get the insulated one made by Camelback.

  6. Meal Prep Storage. I LOVE making my baby's food from scratch because I know and can control what is in it.  Sage Spoonful's storage set is convenient to have to store great portion of baby's food in the fridge for meal prep. They also make glass ones, if you prefer!


Bath Time

From age 0-6, I gave our little one a bath every other day before bed time. I transitioned giving her a bath almost every day after 6 months.

  1. Bath Set. I personally love this Skip Hop Moby Bath set! They are all functional and it looks nice on my baby's bathroom. You can buy it as a set or individually. I highly recommend getting it all especially the bath tub. It has a great support that you can use from child's until they outgrow them. The kneeling pad is a game changer! It sure makes the bathing process better. 
  2. Scrub.Skip Hop's Scrub is a multipurpose bath gadget -- both a toy and a scrubber! I personally stopped putting the soap in because it leaks. But my baby likes the octopus shape so that makes up for it!
  3. Towels. Towel with Hood / Towel Set. I got her a bath robe but she only used it once. I often use two towels for our baby. One to wrap around her and the other one to dry her. 

  4. Wash Cloths. These wash cloths are great. You can never have enough wash cloths! I have different sets for feeding, diaper changing, and for bath.

  5. Bath Soap. There are a lot of options out there but the Cerave Baby works best for our little one. She has not had body rash since using this.   

  6. Pour Buckets. I try to make the bath process enjoyable and fun for our baby. She especially loves these cute Skip Hop buckets. It loves trying to hold the water that drips from the bucket -- quite entertaining to watch!

  7. Baby Toothbrush. For the first few months, I would just use the washcloth to clean my little one's mouth. But as she gets older and started teething, I found that she love this Cactus Teething Toothbrush! She won't even let me brush her teeth for her.

  8. Cleaning Spray. We are mindful with the cleaning products we use and always try to go to the natural products. I clean my little one's bathroom with this All Purpose Cleaner by Mrs. Meyer's.

  9. Lotion. Growing up, my grandma used coconut oil to protect our hair and skin. I use Dr. Bronner Coconut Oil or Coconut Balm to keep my little one's skin soft. She fortunately hasn’t had any skin problem other than occasional mild dryness in the winter season.


Nursery Room

Sleep is important -- both for the little one and parents. Creating a great ambiance in your child's room makes a difference throughout your parenting journey. Everything is a habit and introducing them to a routine works well for us so far!

Personally, I chose neutral colors because I like the minimal design. These color palette is also calming for the baby.

We intently started a habit, rather rule, of not putting any toy in the room. Bedroom is for reading and sleeping. 

  1. Bouncer or Swing. I did not like the basic bouncer and cradle we had. I would likely invest in a good baby swing like Momaroo or Baby Bjorn’s Bouncer for our second child.  

  2. Bed. 

  3. Changing Table. We were debating about having All-In-One / convertible crib and changing table but I am glad we got a separate one.
    We got IKEA / Sniglar Changing Table to complete the furniture set.
    These organizers help hold a supply of diapers and other essential goods for changing diaper.

  4. Nursing Chair. This is a matter of preference -- if you want the one that glides and/or reclines. I am not very pleased with what we got, Viv + Rae, from Wayfair. I'd recommend going to the actual store to try its comfort. I use the glider feature over the recliner. 

  5. Baby Camera. We especially love our Baby Monitor, Nanit. Their app has great interface and their hardware sensor actually works!

  6. Mobile. Manhattan Toy has done intensive research with child development. Our little one liked looking at it. You rotate the cards as they get older.

  7. Noise Maker. Skip Hop Baby Sound Machine is a sweet noise maker! Our baby also loved looking at the light projector on the ceiling. 

  8. Humidifier. We are not a big fan because this humidifier because it only lasts for a night. Let me know if you find something better!

  9. Curtains. Darkening Curtain. A dark room is a must for the best baby naps!

  10. Side Table. I LOVE this side table with storage from IKEA | Lierskogen Collection

  11. Lamp. This floor lamp by IKEA | Lauters Collection matches our nursery furniture well. I love it! Be sure to use the LED lights for power efficiency.  

  12. Night light. Himalayan Salt Lamp. This natural salt lamp gives great ambiance at our and baby's room. She loves looking at it.

I probably missed something but I will make sure to update it over time. I hope it helps you prepare for your parenthood journey! It is a wonderful one!

Please stay tuned for list of books, recipes, toys, and practices we studied to train and help our baby with her development process!


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