Newborn Must-Haves: 13 Items My Family Has Loved

written by: Lo Mansfield, RN, MSN, CLC

There’s something sweet to the truth that no matter what else is going on in the world, babies just keep on coming, right? It’s one of my absolute favorite things about L + D nursing; inside those four walls, it’s just women and their families and caretakers – everyone cheering each other on so those sweet babes can make their grand entrance into the world. I swear there is no other job like it – just magic.

What does your newborn actually need?

Of course, once we all leave those walls and go back into the world with those babes, there’s a million things we are told we need and a million more we are told we might need. I remember all of the panic, the midnight buying, the boxes of things I never even opened or used! But now, after having two baby girls (less than two years apart) and a third, my son, 2.5 years later, I have developed some favorites and newborn must-haves that I share with all of my friends. Is this list all-inclusive and perfect? Probably not even close. But for my family and I, these things have become some of the pieces that we have relied on the most over the last few years.

Heads up! If you love a good discount, head to The Shop! I have some affiliate links and codes there for a TON of brands that you may love. Don’t miss those savings!

It’s true that a newborn baby doesn’t need much – but it’s also true that sometimes you don’t know what they need until you try all the things! But, since I’ve tried all the things already, maybe I can help save you some of the cost and headache of doing the same!

Are you currently pregnant and prepping for baby? I’d love to share my hospital packing list. You can grab your copy right here.

baby mobile hanging over crib

Who is The Labor Mama and Why Am I Here? 

Hey friend! I’m Lo – also known around here and social media as The Labor Mama. I’ve spent my nursing career in labor, delivery, and postpartum, have birthed 3 of my own babies, have labored thousands of mamas at the bedside, have taught hundreds of students online, and have even delivered a few speedy little babies with my bare hands (oops).

Here at TLM, I offer online birth classes to empower you the way everyone should be. The education + support I offer gives you experience, evidence, and empathy; you’re getting all of my years of “clinical” RN knowledge, beautifully combined with my real experiences as a mama and a nurse. These are not your hospital birth classes (those won’t do it, I promise), and honestly, birth doesn’t follow a textbook or protocol anyway – you need to know so much more than that.

If you want to connect with me further, head to Instagram. There are hundreds of thousands of us over there learning together daily.

13 things you’ll actually use for your newborn

My fav items are capitalized and linked throughout. If you have questions about anything, please leave me a comment and I can answer for you and all others too!

Things you need for infant travel

Let’s talk about infant travel for a minute. I’m not even going to attempt to tell you what stroller or car seat to get. Have I tried them all? No. I’ve tried about half a dozen different ones. Budget, family size, car size – there are so many things that play a role in this choice and I don’t think there is a one size fits all option.

Here’s what I will say. If you can, invest in a stroller like THIS ONE if you want to grow your family (this is the one we have). The ability to sit multiple children (or just one), attachments like bassinets and riding boards – all of these things make these strollers so nice for a very long time. I think the Mockingbird’s entry level price is SO nice compared to competitors, so if you can figure out a way to make one like this financially work for your family, you should. You can also use the code: LABORMAMA at checkout on Mockingbird’s website and get a free Cup Holder with the purchase of a Single-to-Double Stroller or Single Stroller (make sure to add both to cart).

Also? Add THIS PORTABLE SOUND MACHINE. You can so easily take it anywhere. It lasts forever on a charge. And it’s so easy to bring it in the carseat, the stroller, etc. We have 2 – and love them!!!!

newborn stroller, stroller caddy, bassinet, fan and sound machine
Click to shop my favs!

Items to try if you want to baby wear

Can we talk about baby wearing, my absolute favorite type of infant travel? I LOVE baby wearing – and the SOLLY WRAP is hands down the softest, loveliest, baby wearing wrap you can find. If you want a more structured carrier, the LILLEBABY is my go-to as well (especially for all of the travel my family does).

Bonus thought: If we go for a baby #4, I want to try the Widlbird Aerial Buckle Carrier. I’ve heard really good things about it and I love the different prints and designs. When your baby gets older, I really love Wildbird’s ring slings too. That was how I carried my 3rd baby everywhere and stayed hands free for my toddlers. You can use code LO10 for 10% at Wildbird!

different styles of babywearing
Click to shop my favs!

Things to buy to make breastfeeding easier

What about feeding, nursing, boob care? I was a mama who was able to breastfeed for quite some time. But I also pumped, froze milk, and bottle fed. Let’s start with THIS – the Boon Trove. I didn’t have this with my first two babes – and it is amazing. The tiny bit of suction it creates led to an amazing amount of extra let down milk for me in those early weeks of nursing. And it’s so much cheaper than some other brands that look the same!

If you are going to pump and you can afford it, you need a hands free pump like the ELVIE. A wearable pump was an absolute GAME CHANGER to me as a mama of three. Bonus thought: Don’t overlook the power of a classic hand pump. This Medela one is amazing and so, so easy to use.

THIS piece has been invaluable to us as there are just SO many tiny parts and pieces to wash and dry related to pumps, bottles, and nursing. (Look at this one too, how gorgeous)! THESE milk storage bags are the only kind I will use (they lay flat for freezing) and THIS nipple cream is the only one my lactation coworkers recommended and I’ve used it or Earth Mama with each baby. And as much as I wish it weren’t true, I needed THESE hydrogel patches for each of my early breastfeeding experiences; they were the only thing that felt good on those cracked nipples (and Silverettes).

breastfeeding products; manual pumps, nipple cream, milk storage bags
Click to shop my favs!

Newborn sleep products that helped my babies sleep

And sleep. 😴💤🥱 Blessed, often impossible, all-consuming, infant sleep. It’s no joke! So when you find those things that help your baby do it, it feels like an absolute miracle. THESE swaddle blankets are everything. Soft, stretchy, a ton of gorgeous colors and patterns. Muslin ones are great for throwing over the car seat and as a quick nursing cover. But as a swaddle, my babes have always easily busted out of them, so I’ve just never really been a huge fan of them. So Lou Lou is my go-to (and the only ones my husband will use too). We just love them so much.

Bonus thoughts: Yes, I love a good sleep sack too. TBH, I’ve tried SO many. For newborns, I love the Halo, the Ollie, and the Kyte Baby sleep bag swaddler.

I also love THIS LITTLE LIGHT for the nursery and/or at your bedside. It is perfect for middle of the night wake-ups and feeds and then great in the nursery as they grow too. And the last item for sleep bliss (kind of)? This BABY MONITOR. I didn’t have this monitor until my 2nd. We’ve really, really loved it and it’s held up so well. Not too fancy, great image and sound, and has truly allowed us to monitor our babies (when they’re on their own) in a seamless, easy way (and eventually – they learned to sleep 😴).

newborn sleep sacks, swaddles, nursery night lights and sound machines
Click pic to shop my favs!

More helpful reading:

What is Colostrum + Should You Collect it Before Birth?

The Ultimate Hospital Bag Checklist (from a labor nurse)

What Actually Makes Labor Start?

Are you packing for the hospital and want to check out my hospital list? It’s got everything you need, nothing you don’t! Grab your copy here.

picture of freebie hospital packing list

The takeaway on newborn must-haves

Really, you just need to love that baby. Let them hear your heartbeat, snuggle a little longer, hold them when you should put them down. Give yourself grace in overwhelming amounts. Have patience with your own mistakes. You are a good mama. You are the right mama for that baby. And you can do this.

If there is something you’d put on your must-have list, what is it? I’d love to know; leave me your thoughts in the comments! xoxo – Lo

collection of newborn baby supplies

More resources (and freebies!) for you to take a peek at:

A note: This post may include affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, I will earn a small commission (thank you)! Rest assured, this comes at no additional cost to you. You can read TLM’s full disclosure here.

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About the Author

Lo Mansfield RN, MSN, CLC, is a specialty-certified registered nurse + certified lactation consultant in obstetrics, postpartum, and fetal monitoring who is passionate about families understanding their integral role in their own stories. She is the owner of The Labor Mama and creator of the The Labor Mama online courses. She is also a mama of four a University of Washington graduate (Go Dawgs), and is recently back in the US after 2 years abroad in Haarlem, NL.


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