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24 First-Time Mom Must-Haves You Didn’t Know You Needed

Forget what you’ve read—we go beyond the basics and get right to the good stuff: the must-haves for new moms.
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By Martina Garvey, E-Commerce Editor
Updated August 16, 2023
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Image: Anna Berkut
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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 babies love? And what about the other items you didn’t even think of—like a slow cooker, couch slipcovers or a handheld vacuum cleaner?

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 and shop our favorite, parent-approved products.

First-Time Mom Must-Haves To Shop

Best basic postpartum kit

Frida Mom Postpartum Care Recovery Essentials Kit
Image: Amazon

First and foremost: Pick up a postpartum kit. We love this best-selling set from Frida Mom. Initial trips to the bathroom post-birth can be painful, but thanks to this kit’s perineal healing foam, disposable underwear, cooling pad liners and instant ice maxi pads, you’ll be feeling relieved in no time. With this care package, you’ll also receive a storage caddy to keep all of your postpartum essentials in one place.

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Best adaptable stroller

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 will truly grow 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 for adaptors. Purchase as a travel system, or buy the stroller and car seat separately.

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Best stroller fan

COMLIFE Misting Stroller Fan
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon|$19.99

Next up is a new mom must-have you may not have considered yet: A stroller fan. While it might not seem essential at first, you’ll be happy you have it when warm weather hits. This model has three adjustable air flows to choose from, and flexible tripod-style legs that will easily attach to your stroller handle. You’ll also appreciate how it rotates to keep you cool at any angle—plus, it provides a light mist for added relief from the heat.

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Best multipurpose cover

Copper Pearl Multi-Use Cover
Image: Copper Pearl

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 scarf. And you can also use it as a nursing shawl for feeding on the go—even though a cover-up isn’t essential as you do have the legal right to breastfeed in public. Luckily, Copper Pearl offers multi-use covers in a range of cute prints and patterns that are suitable for use all year round.

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Best nursing-friendly pajamas

Eberjey Gisele TENCEL Modal Long PJ Set
Image: Eberjey

Nursing pajamas will make all the difference for new moms, whether you’re breastfeeding in the middle of the afternoon or the early hours of the morning. While you could repurpose your tried-and-true maternity sleepwear, why not treat yourself to a pair that will last you well beyond the fourth trimester—like this set from Eberjey? Oprah has described these PJs as “soft, flattering and timeless,” and we can’t help but agree. Thanks to the button-down top, you’ll have easy nursing access—plus, the relaxed fit and low-rise waistband will keep you comfy as your body heals. Choose from an array of cute colors, like coastal blue, sunrise yellow, amethyst purple and classic black.

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Best portable baby bouncer

Need to put baby down while you shower, cook or do anything else around the house that requires both of your hands? This portable baby bouncer is sure to check all of the boxes on your list. The ergonomic design will gently cradle and bounce your little love while supporting their back, neck and head. When it’s no longer needed, fold it flat for simple storage. Another highlight: It’s suitable for kiddos up to two years old, so you’re bound to get a lot of use out of this purchase!

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Best insulated water bottle

Stanley The Quencher H2.0 Flowstate 40 oz. Tumbler
Image: Target

Staying hydrated is a healthy habit for everyone—but especially new moms who are breastfeeding. To help you reach your ideal daily water intake, turn to this best-selling tumbler (which you’ve probably seen all over your social media feeds). The insulated water bottle lives up to the hype; it holds up to 40 fl. oz. and can keep drinks hot for seven hours, cold for 11 hours and iced for up to two days. Other high-quality features include the comfort-grip handle, the powder-coat finish and the adjustable, three-position lid. What’s more, it comes in an array of trendy colors to choose from, and it’s dishwasher-safe to boot.

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Best meal delivery service for new parents

Dinnerly
Image: Dinnerly

New moms barely have enough time to go to the bathroom by themselves, let alone shop for, prep and cook three meals a day. Luckily, there are meal delivery services you can count on to provide quick, healthy food choices for yourself and your family during this super-busy time. One of our favorites is Dinnerly, which specializes in offering delicious options that are budget-friendly. With a subscription, you’ll receive ingredients and recipe cards for up to six meals a week. You can also browse helpful categories like “kid-friendly” or “under 30 minutes” labels to streamline the decision-making process.

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Best slow cooker

Crock-Pot 7 Quart Oval Manual Slow Cooker
Image: Target

Another first-time mom must-have for the kitchen is a slow cooker. Before baby arrives, make batches of your favorite meals and freeze them—you’ll thank yourself later. Then, once your little one is on the scene, you’ll be able to whip up nourishing, tasty meals with minimum effort. This top-notch option holds up to seven quarts (which serves up to eight people), has various heating settings and is dishwasher-safe for added convenience.

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Best handheld vacuum

BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Handheld Vacuum
Image: Target

Spills and messes are bound to happen, but a handheld vacuum will always have your back. This cordless option is compact and lightweight—but that doesn’t stop it from suctioning up household messes. The versatile design can be used to clean narrow spaces, tight corners and large areas alike. Then, when the job is done, simply attach it to the wall mount charger so it’s ready when you need it again—no more lugging a heavy vacuum around in one hand with baby in the other!

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Best portable carpet cleaner

The first year of baby’s life can get messy, which is why this portable carpet cleaner is bound to save the day (and your living spaces) time and time again. The device’s powerful suction can spray, lift and scrub dirt from carpets and upholstery, so you can deeply clean any area of your home. And, if you have four-legged family members living under your roof, you’ll also appreciate how it can easily remove tough pet stains.

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Best immersion blender for baby food

If you and your kiddo aren’t fans of prepackaged baby foods, then an immersion blender will be your new best friend. This handheld device is equipped with 21 different speeds to help you create an ideal blend for your little one. Other features you’ll appreciate include the soft, ergonomic handle, the anti-splash blending shaft and the handy attachments, like the whisk and the chopper. With this one-handed immersion blender, you’ll be able to cut, chop, puree and stir nutritious, tasty ingredients with ease.

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Best coffee and espresso maker

Nespresso Vertuo Plus Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi
Image: Target

It’s no secret that new moms lose a lot of sleep over the course of baby’s first year. Enter: This sleek, easy-to-use coffee maker. Just place it on your kitchen counter, insert your favorite coffee pod and let it work its magic. The high-end appliance allows you to make single cups of joe with the press of a button, whether you’re dreaming of a shot of espresso, an 8-oz. cappuccino or a refreshing iced coffee. You’ll appreciate this during early mornings and long afternoons alike!

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Best breast therapy packs

Lansinoh Breast Therapy Packs with Soft Covers, Pack of 2
Image: Target

Breastfeeding can come with its fair share of challenges, such as latching pain, mastitis, cracked nipples and clogged milk ducts. When you’re in need of relief, turn to these breast therapy packs from Lansinoh. The 3-in-1 design can adapt to provide targeted comfort, whether that be chilled or warm relief. Better yet, new moms will love the soft, flexible design and how these can be used throughout their nursing journey.

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Best lactation massager

LaVie Lactation Massager
Image: Target

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.

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Best couch slipcovers

Easy-Going Reversible Couch Cover
Image: Amazon

Couch slipcovers may not be the first things that come to mind when creating your new mom checklist—but (trust us) you’ll be glad you got them. Baby’s first year is full of blowouts, spit up and other bodily fluids, not to mention spills from formula, breast milk, baby food or anything in between. Luckily, these slipcovers will effectively cover your couch to prevent the upholstery from getting stained. They come in an array of neutral colors and are waterproof and reversible to boot.

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Best disposable changing pads

Munchkin Arm & Hammer Disposable Changing Pad, 10 Count
Image: Amazon

Even if you have a dedicated changing table in your home, you may want to stock up on disposable changing pads. Why? Well, diaper changing can get messy, to say the least. Each pad in this pack of 10 features a three-layer, leak-proof design infused with baking soda to minimize odors. An added bonus: These will come in handy when you’re out and about with baby as well.

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Best postpartum underwear

Bodily All-In Panty
Image: Bodily
Buying Options
Bodily|$16

Your maternity panties had your back for nine+ months, but once baby arrives you may want to stock up on postpartum underwear. Specifically designed for the fourth trimester, these Best of The Bump-winning undies are made from soft, stretchy, smooth fabric that will keep you feeling comfortable—especially if you’re recovering from c-sections. They come in a variety of earth-toned hues and are also available in packs of three or five. Pair these postpartum undies with the matching The Everything Bra for a cute, nursing-friendly underwear set.

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Best postpartum leggings

The same is true for leggings—while your favorite maternity leggings may still offer support, a postpartum-specific pair can provide additional comfort and convenience. This high-waisted style features a stretchy waist panel and is lightly compressive to meet your post-birth needs. Better yet, these postpartum leggings also come in a pocketed option, so you can easily carry your phone, keys or any other daily necessities.

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Best bedside bassinet

HALO BassiNest Swivel Sleeper 3.0
Image: Target

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends 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 during this time, 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—what’s not to love?

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Best sound machine

Hatch Rest Go
Image: Amazon

Syncing your own daily routine with baby’s nap schedule can be a challenge—especially if snoozing time rolls around while you’re out and about. That’s why new moms will appreciate this portable sound machine. The soother will lull your little one to sleep—at home or on the go—thanks to its 10 sleep sound options. The durable, chic design has three simple controls, and seamlessly clips anywhere, from your stroller or baby carrier to your diaper bag.

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Best baby carrier

Toting your little one 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.

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Best diaper backpack

Dagne Dover Medium Indi Diaper Backpack
Image: Saks Fifth Avenue

Not too keen on diaper bags? Instead, opt for a versatile diaper backpack, like this cool design from Dagne Dover. Inside, you’ll find plenty of pouches and pockets to keep you organized while you’re on the go. It also easily clips onto strollers, has a handy luggage sleeve and comes with a portable changing mat. Then, when baby has graduated from diapers, you’ll be able to use this sleek backpack for other everyday essentials—like your work, gym or travel gear. It comes in a small, a medium or a large size (and plenty of stylish colors), so you can find the best fit for your needs.

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How We Chose the Best New Mom Must-Haves

We get it—motherhood comes with a lot of change. To help make your first year with baby a little bit more seamless, we’ve rounded up the best products for new moms, ranging from baby gear to household essentials. We considered several factors when choosing items, including ease of use, quality and durability and value, to name a few. What’s more, we read user reviews to get the low-down on how these products have worked for new moms, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating. And since many of us are also parents, we relied on our writers’ and editors’ experience using these products with their own families.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

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