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10 Things I Didn’t Know I Needed for Baby’s First Year

Alright, y’all, I promise we’ll be back to your regularly scheduled recipes next week, but I had one more baby related post to share as we wrap up this first year of parenthood. We are decidedly less-is-more parents on the whole. I remember looking at the giant baby checklists offered by baby stores and feeling a mixture of panic and disbelief. Did we really need all this stuff to raise a tiny human? After a lot of anxious visits to the store to fill out our registry, we settled on the basics and tried not to worry too much about the rest.

The “rest” of the stuff we discovered during the first year, through a combination of trial and error and pure necessity. The following 10 must haves for baby’s first year, while not completely necessary for human survival, absolutely made our lives 100% easier. These were things I either didn’t know about previous to having a baby or didn’t think I needed. If you’re looking for baby shower gift ideas or if you’re preparing for your own tiny human’s arrival, I highly recommend adding these items to your list!

These must haves for baby's first year were the things I didn't find on any registry, but they made our first year as parents so much easier!

Velcro Booties– If I had to pick only one item off this list, it would be these. Patrick had an uncanny ability to tear off his socks the moment he got in his car seat. Then, inevitably, one would disappear into the black hole of sock space, never to be found again, and I’d look like a terrible mom carting my newborn child around with bare feet in the dead of winter. These booties put an end to that. They are easy to put on and hard to take off. He wore them almost every day of the winter. If I would’ve known how great they were, I would’ve bought a few more pairs. We used Baby Conda, but I’ve also heard great things about Zutano and Goumikids.

Lots Of Links– This one may seem silly, but I really underestimated how useful these things would be. We used these rings to hook toys onto Patrick’s stroller, car seat, and play mat. I also used it to hook pacifiers or water bottles on the diaper bag from time to time. Patrick also loved to just chew on the rings by themselves. For only $5, these guys really pack a wallop of usefulness.

Teething Necklaces– Babies put things in their mouths. More accurately, they put everything in their mouths. I basically had to give up on wearing jewelry, because they would always end up in his mouth. My hubby got me one of these chew bead necklaces for Christmas, and little P and I both loved it. I liked having something stylish and cute to wear. He loved having something to gnaw on wherever we were. If you’re in Columbus, The Jones Market makes some gorgeous wooden teething necklaces and bracelets.

Nursing Cover/Car Seat/Cart Cover- OK, I knew I’d probably need a nursing cover, I just didn’t know I needed this one. I started off with a cape-style cover and it was drafty and awkward. Then I got this beauty. It wraps all the way around your body so there’s no possibility of a wild baby hand yanking it aside and exposing you to the world. But the best part about this cover is that it’s so useful for other things, too. I’ve also used it as a shopping cart cover, a car seat cover, and a cover for those super sticky high chairs at restaurants. Seriously, this thing is in my diaper bag at all times. It’s cute, comfy, and an indispensable part of my baby gear.

Indestructible Books– A friend bought one of these Indestructible books for me, and they are just the coolest! These small paper-y books are, you guessed it, indestructible. They can’t be ripped or torn, and you can even THROW THEM IN THE WASHER. How cool is that? Baby P loved to scrunch papery things, so these were perfect for slipping in a diaper bag to keep him busy at restaurants or on an airplane.

Bandana Bibs– Our little guy was a BIG spitter-upper. The first few months, there was so.much.laundry. We each seemed to have multiple outfit changes a day plus a stack of soaked burp rags. Then, I discovered these cute bandana bibs. I started putting these on him every morning and stashing them in the car and diaper bag. They’re cute and make for quick and easy clean up for spit up, drool, and all the other little pleasantries babies are known for.

These SwaddleMe swaddles were a life saver for us in the first few months, which is why they made my list of must-haves for baby's first year.Swaddles– This is another thing I knew we needed, but I had no clue how many we needed. Little P loved being swaddled, so most of the time we swaddled him for naps and nighttime sleep. However, we underestimated just how often a swaddle would be ruined by an explosion from one end or the other. The first week, we went out and bought another pack of these of these so we knew we would always have a clean one ready to go.

This newborn lounger made my list of must haves for baby's first year!Boppy Newborn Lounger– Friends of ours had a baby about six weeks before us, and soon after our guy was born, they bought us one of these. I’m sure it won’t be the last time I’m incredibly grateful for the wisdom and tips of those who’ve gone before. Little P loved chilling in this, and he took AMAZING naps in it. (Always supervised, don’t worry). I would often get blog work done while he napped peacefully beside me in the boppy. It’s also a nice thing to practice tummy time on, since it’s a bit more forgiving than the floor.

Nursing/Pumping Bra– I used to think those pumping bras you see in baby stores were absolutely ridiculous. The thought of being milked while typing on my computer seemed ludicrous. I mean, what am I, a machine? And then…I had a kid. And I realized pumping is the absolute worst thing in the world without a bra. You’re trying to juggle milk bottles, change settings, and watch a baby, which is a situation that almost always ends in tears. With this beauty I could pump on one side while nursing on the other and still have a hand free for reading on my phone. That’s a mom win.


We have gotten so much use out of this Boon Grass. It is one of my must haves for baby's first year!Boon Grass– This is one of the things I actually did register for, and I’m so glad I did. This thing is still in daily use 1+ year later. Baby supplies have a lot of tiny parts that tend to get lost in traditional dryer racks. This nifty little invention is perfect for keeping all those pump parts and sippy cup lids and baby spoons in one (rather stylish) place.


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