18 Must-Haves for New Moms That’ll Make Life Easier
Babies are simple creatures, but—wow—do they need a whole lot of gear. Well-meaning friends and family are quick to chime in with lists of items you must have once baby arrives, but they often fail to mention key details. Sure, you need a stroller—but with so many (vastly different) options out there, how do you know which type to get? When they say to buy a bouncer, do they clue you in on the key features baby’s love? And what the heck is a nasal aspirator anyway?!
Fret not; The Bump is here to help. Whether you’re starting a registry from scratch or simply picking up a few last-minute items, we’re sharing the new-mom essentials that will help you get through that amazing but stressful first year with baby. Keep reading to get the inside scoop on must-haves for new moms, plus our top tips on what to look for and what to avoid.
Rather than schlepping a diaper bag and a purse around town, invest in a stylish tote that can carry it all. That’s right—there is such a thing as a stylish, all-purpose diaper bag. (Who knew?) As long as it has tons of pocket space and easily attaches to your stroller, you’ll be good to go. We like Whitney Carson’s 24/7 Tote by Jujube. Crafted from vegan leather, it’s equal parts pretty and practical, thanks to its wipe-clean material, its plethora of pockets and a chic, modern design.
Caring for a newborn is hard enough, but add a stuffy nose to the mix and things can get downright difficult. While adults can easily blow their noses to clear congestion, babies need a helping hand. Hospitals often send new parents home with a bulb suction for this very reason, but these devices can be tricky to use and clean. Luckily, a nasal aspirator—aka a snot sucker—can help. A nasal aspirator uses suction to physically remove blockages (mucus, boogers, etc.) and clear baby’s sinuses. The Braun Electric Nasal Aspirator has two levels of suction and multiple tips for baby’s comfort. Better yet, it’s easy to clean, and many of the parts (including the mucus chamber) are top-rack dishwasher safe. Is it any wonder this new mom must-have won a Best of Baby award in 2022?
Bibs are great for managing messes at mealtimes, but muslin cloths do so much more. Use muslin cloths to mop up spit-up, pat baby dry after diaper changes or even drape it over yourself as a nursing cover. With so many potential uses, these inexpensive squares of fabric are must-haves for new moms. Aden + Anais’ Musy Squares are made from 100 percent cotton muslin, making them incredibly soft, breathable and absorbent. And get a load of those cute animal prints!
Of course you’ll need a stroller to move baby from point A to point B, but an adaptable option will get you a lot more mileage. Say you’re cruising around town with baby in the backseat, ready to embark on errand number three, and all of a sudden your little one dozes off. Abort mission, right? Wrong. Many adaptable stroller bases are car seat compatible, meaning you can slide baby’s seat out of its base and stealthily snap it in place on your stroller in a matter of minutes. Our favorite is the UPPAbaby Cruz V2. Thanks to the multiple seat configurations, this stroller truly grows with your child. It’s compatible with the brand’s Infant SnugSeat insert and bassinet, meaning you can use it for the newborn stage and up. Better yet, it connects to the Mesa car seat without the need of adaptors. Purchase as a travel system, or buy the stroller and car seat separately.
It pretty much goes without saying why you’d need a first-rate car seat, so we’ll skip the overview. In fact, you’ll probably put more research time into baby’s car seat than any other piece of gear—and with good reason, since baby’s safety and comfort are your number one priorities these days. Here’s a tip: Don’t just look at popular models; be sure to check if your selected car seat has recently been recalled, and brush up on any newly issued safety standards too. The Nuna Pipa Lite RX has all the safety features you need and is a Best of Baby award-winner to boot.
Toting your tot around will become a much easier feat with a baby carrier that’s actually comfortable to wear—and you won’t know what fits your frame best until you give it a whirl. You’ll want to look for one that has easily adjustable straps on your shoulders and hips, so you can evenly distribute baby’s weight (and save your back some pain). Plus, having an adjustable carrier means your partner or other family members can use it just as easily, helping to share the load (literally). And with adjustable sliders, built-in lumbar support and a breathable fabric, the Ergobaby Omni 360 checks every box on our wishlist. Is it any wonder this carrier was voted a Best of Baby award-winner in 2022?
Ah, the swaddle blanket, comforting babies (and saving the sanity of parents) everywhere for centuries. Swaddling not only helps your little one self-soothe, but it’ll also ease them off to sleep faster, as the snug fit reminds infants of their days back in the womb. But when it’s 3 a.m. and you’re trying (bleary-eyed) to get baby changed, swaddled and back to sleep, the last thing you want is to spend time trying to get a nice tight wrap, only to have it kicked off in a matter of seconds. The Best of Baby award-winning Ollie Swaddle features stretchy fabric and velcro fasteners to give you a secure fit in seconds, so baby will be snug as a bug (and back to sleep) in no time.
Rocking baby is often the fastest way to soothe them. But if your arms are aching and you’ve got a long list of chores to get on with, a swing or bouncer can come in clutch. Simple swings that sway back and forth can work wonders, but newer models come with all sorts of cool features. Mesmerizing light shows, self-rocking mechanisms and hands-free technology will buy you extra time and help baby chill out while you get on with your day. The all-new 4moms MamaRoo Multi-Motion Baby Swing offers five unique modes, five speeds and four sounds that effectively calm a fussy baby. And did we mention that this swing is a Best of Baby winner too?
Teethers, rattles, clutching toys and other fun playthings are a great way to stimulate baby’s senses and boost healthy development—not to mention keep little ones entertained. But just because you hand baby a toy doesn’t mean it’ll stay in their hands (in fact, most of the time, it seems like their cue to drop it again). If you’re not exactly in the mood to play fetch all day, pick up a few toy straps to attach items to your child’s stroller, car seat or high chair. Baby Buddy Secure-A-Toy straps are a good option, as they’re made with baby-safe materials and have two adjustable lengths.
If you choose to nurse or pump breast milk, sore, cracked nipples are an occupational hazard. Thankfully, a nourishing nipple cream can help. Dab some baby-safe ointment on after breastfeeding or before a pumping session to help prevent chafing and avoid pain in the first place. Bamboobies boob-ease Organic Nipple Balm was this year’s Best of Pregnancy award-winner, as it’s made using USDA-certified organic ingredients, has a smooth texture and is safe for mom and baby.
Pumping isn’t the most pleasant of tasks. So if you plan on expressing breast milk, make sure you pick a pump that’s powerful, efficient and portable. That way, you can check items off your to-do list while your breasts prep baby’s next bottle. The Elvie is completely wire-free and slips inside your bra, giving you freedom of movement. Another perk? It’s pegged as the world’s first silent breast pump, so it’s discrete to boot. Multitasking must-haves for new moms are our secret weapon.
Clogged milk ducts are definitely not fun; unfortunately they’re not uncommon among nursing moms. When things get backed up, head straight for the LaVie Lactation Massager, the first-ever milk expression aid. It uses gentle vibrations to loosen plugged ducts, relieve discomfort and get your milk flowing again.
A multi-purpose cover is a must-have for new moms. Why? This humble piece of material can be used to shield baby from the elements, draped over a shopping cart seat or simply worn as a stylish infinity scarf. And you can also use it as a nursing shawl for feeding on the go, although a cover-up isn’t essential as you do have the legal right to breastfeed in public. Copper Pearl offers multi-use covers in a range of cute prints and patterns that are suitable for use all year round.
Okay, so this isn’t technically a new-mom essential, but a bottle warmer will certainly make your life easier. While some infants don’t mind room temperature milk, others will refuse to take a bottle of too-cold formula or expressed breast milk. Introducing the Baby Brezza Safe + Smart Baby Bottle Warmer. This smart device has two heat modes and gently warms liquid to the desired temperature. Better yet, it can even safely defrost breast milk, while preserving those all-important nutrients.
A baby monitor has long been hailed as a safety must-have for new moms. But a recent study went one step further, stating that a baby monitor can help reduce the amount of crib visits per night and consequently improve your sex life during the postpartum period. Aside from this, a smart monitor can help give you peace of mind once baby transitions to their own room. The Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor is a tried-and-true option and a Best of Baby award-winner to boot.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend parents and baby sleep in the same room—but never in the same bed—for at least six months. While you could use a full-size crib, a bassinet is a convenient choice as it can be used from birth and has a smaller footprint. The Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper 3.0 swivels 360 degrees above your bed and has a built-in lowering wall that provides easy and instant access to your little one. And like many of the new mom must-haves on this list, it was awarded the Best of Baby seal of approval.
When baby runs hot, it’s best to check their temperature. After all, a fever is often the first sign that your little one is feeling under the weather. While you can use a regular digital thermometer, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommends a rectal reading for accuracy. The Fridababy Quick-Read Rectal Thermometer has a gentle tip and easy-to-read digital display, meaning you can get the task done with minimal fuss.
Your body worked hard to bring baby into this world, and it’s going to need some time and TLC to recover postpartum. For ages, moms have been hitting the pharmacy aisles to stock up on things like ice packs, witch hazel pads and peri-rinse bottles. They’re all super-useful post-birth—but the thing is, most of these supplies were never made with new moms’ postpartum needs in mind. Frida Mom solved that, so now you can line your pad with a single witch hazel pad instead of a million, slippery round ones, and squirt your peri bottle with your hand above the stream of dirty water instead of below. The brand offers all the postpartum supplies you’ll need all in one handy kit.