baby proofing

12 Must-Have Baby Products for the First 6 Months

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For being so small, babies sure do need a lot of STUFF. Big stuff, little stuff, weird stuff, it doesn’t matter. As soon as you round 3rd base and head into the homestretch, you’re going to find yourself in a mad dash to get ALL OF THE THINGS. But not so fast, mama. Sure, you’re going to need some stuff when the baby is born. And yes, you’re going to need a few essentials as the baby gets older. But there’s no reason to buy it all right now! From the moment the baby comes home till they’re around 6 months old, you can absolutely get by with a small list of essential baby products for the first six months. Save your sanity, your money, and your space by sticking to these must-haves.

1. The MOST essential of the essential baby products you’ll need in the first six months is a good, reliable, safe car seat.

Now, I wish someone had told me this when I had my first baby: you do not need an infant “bucket” seat. Quite the opposite, actually. If you buy smart right out of the gate, you can get away with one car seat for the first 4-5 years of their lives! The Chicco NextFit iX Zip Air Convertible Car Seat works rear- and forward-facing, from 5 – 65 pounds. So it will grow with your baby from the moment they exit the womb all the way through the preschool and even kinder years. My oldest is teeny tiny and at 8 years old, still doesn’t weigh anything close to 65 pounds, so she could probably rock this seat until she’s in middle school, LOL.

2. You’re going to need a good, comfortable baby carrier.

You’ll discover very early on that wearing your baby is a must. Carrying a baby around for hours everyday is hell on your arms, and you can’t do a damn thing with a sleeping infant on your tummy. Strap them in, and free yourself! Plus, using a baby carrier can eliminate the need for a bulky stroller, and you can buy a more streamlined version when they’re older. Just like with the car seat, you want a carrier that will grow with your baby, from the newborn phase all the way up to the toddler years. The Ergobaby Omni 360 All-in-One baby carrier is a stylist, comfortable option.

3. For breastfeeding mamas: you’re going to need a good pillow.

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I tried a Boppy at first, and it never felt right. Then I got a hand-me-down My Brest Friend, and life as I knew it was changed forever. I loved this pillow. It straps around your back, it has a little pocket for your phone or snacks or a book or the remote. And the surface area is big and flat, so babies of all sizes fit comfortably on it. Cover comes off for easy washing, too! The also have a monster twin version for the superhero tandem nursing mamas.

4. Two more essential baby products for nursing mamas: a good pump, and breast pads.

I really liked my Medela Pump In Style. I didn’t pump a ton, but it worked well when I needed it. I had the handy-dandy backpack, and it came with all the parts, which was convenient. There are so many pumps on the market, so definitely talk to your friends and family about ones they loved and didn’t.

Nursing or pumping, your boobs are going to leak like a poorly sealed faucet for the first few months. You can get disposable nursing pads, but I was partial to the reusable ones, myself. They were so soft and super absorbent.

5. You’re gonna need some bottles. Breastfeeding, formula feeding, whatever. They’re a must-have.

I was partial to Comotomo for my girls, they seemed to really like the nipple, and the soft silicone bodies. There are more bottles on the market than one person could ever possible try, so again, talk to your friends and family. And be prepared to try quite a few before finding the ones your baby loves.

6. With the bottles comes a whole lot of bottle stuff.

Bottle warmers. Bottle cleaners. Drying racks. Now, are all of these essential? I guess in the grand scheme, no. But are all these super convenient and will they make those first months a whole helluva lot easier? They sure will.

RELATED: 13 Things We’re Told We Need for a Baby That Are Flat Out Lies

7. You gotta dress your baby! But calm down.

Save the cute, curated outfits for when the baby isn’t going to blow their diaper out or vomit a full meal of breastmilk all over them. Stock up on onesies and blanket sleepers, and those sleeping gowns are perfect for the first few weeks. You’ll need sock, and maybe a few hats. Don’t buy shoes. Don’t buy uncomfortable clothes. They grow so fast and honestly, who wants to go anywhere in the first few months anyway?

8. Baby’s gotta sleep somewhere! But pro-tip: you can actually hold off on the crib for now.

Whether you’re pro- or anti-bed sharing, you will find that having the baby close by in those first months is so much easier. Remember, you’ll be waking up a lot for feedings and changings, and if you can save yourself the annoyance of actually having to leave your room, you’ll thank yourself later. Maybe you don’t have room in your room for the crib, or maybe you just haven’t put it together yet. Maybe you’re like me and you’ll use the crib as storage for the first few months. No matter what your crib situation is, a good co-sleeper is an excellent investment. I call this a non-essential essential.

9. Now for the gross baby products! Get thee a Nosefrida, stat.

In terms of essential baby products for the first six months, very few come close to a Nosefrida nasal aspirator. You will have an immediate aversion to it, and then you will get over it, because it works so good. I still use mine, going on eight years, and I’ve yet to get a mouthful of snot.

10. Essential baby products for bath time in the first six months!

I’m a big fan of buying something once. Car seats, carriers, whatever. You’re gonna need something to bathe the baby in, but there’s no sense in buying four different baby tubs. Get one that grows with your baby, from newborn to infancy. This Fisher Price 4-in-1 Sling Tub and Seat is perfect. Make sure to get plenty of soft washcloths and a baby-safe soap, too.

11. Feeding essentials, because believe it or not, the baby will not always be attached to your boob.

I went cheap and easy and just got a bunch of Munchkin bowls and spoons. They hold up so well, we still use them for snack bowls almost eight years later! A good sippy cup or training cup is also something you’ll want to have on-hand.

RELATED: 12 Thoughtful Gifts for a Mom With a Baby in the NICU

12. You won’t need a lot of toys in the first six months, but you will need some sort of activity mat. And a bouncer chair is a good idea, too.

Babies need plenty of stimulation and tummy time, so a play or activity mat like this Infantino Twist and Fold Gym is a must. Once they start rolling over and sitting up, you’ll want to have somewhere to park them so they can entertain themselves. I loved my Fisher Price rocker, and it lasted through two kids.

You really don’t have to go overboard on baby products in the first six months. Just the necessities! Save your money for the big stuff down the road. Or use some of it to buy yourself some self-care, mamas.

(Image: iStock / FamVeld)