Essential Baby Products for the First 6 Months

A roundup of the most essential baby products for those first six months. The world of new parenthood can be pretty overwhelming, and this list will guide you through all you really need to navigate it with ease.

A list of what we considered to be essential baby products during the first 6 months. The perfect gifts to add to your baby registry or Christmas list!
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With the holiday season quickly approaching and all of the pregnancy announcements filling up my news feed, I thought it might be the perfect time to do a quick little roundup of what we considered to be the essential baby products over the first year. And, if you keep an eye on some of these items over the coming weekend, I’m sure you’ll find some great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals!

Also, have no fear my food-loving friends, I’ll be back with regular recipe posts next week!

I’ve broken the list down into three sections: 0-6 months, 6-12 months and books that have been lifesavers for us. I’m going to separate these essentials into three posts, since it would be awfully long to keep it all in one!

I know I was personally overwhelmed when searching for what to put on our baby registry and I relied heavily on what other mamas recommended on their own blogs. I hope this list of what we thought were essential baby products for the first year helps you narrow down your selection and that you find some of these gifts under the tree come Christmas morning.

Items are listed clockwise from the top right of the image.

The UppaBaby Vista was our stroller of choice due to good reviews and the fact that it can seat two whenever our second little one comes around. It’s a nice and sturdy stroller, with tons of seating options and has held up well for the entire first year. We actually used the bassinet that it comes with for Raia to sleep in for the first few months, and they even sell a stand to go with it that folds up and stores easily when it’s not in use. We also bought the UppaBaby Mesa car seat that clicks into the Vista and used that as our car seat for the first 8 months or so. The only downfall I can see to the UppaBaby products is that most accessories come at an additional cost – but to me, you pay for the quality you get!

If there’s anything you don’t want to have to battle with when you’re a new parent and extremely sleep-deprived, it’s using a regular old blanket to swaddle your baby! These Velcro SwaddleMe swaddles were a LIFESAVER and were much harder for Raia to break out of than just your average blankie swaddle. She slept in these until about 4 months.

Full disclaimer here, I don’t recommend committing yourself to just one type of bottle before baby is born, but these Joovy Boob bottles were the clear winner with Raia. If you can, invest in a few different kinds of bottles when you’re first starting out, and see which your little one takes to. We also tried Como Tomo and Dr. Brown’s.

A warm, glowy salt lamp was another thing I never thought we’d need but I’m so glad my husband picked it up at Home Depot one day shortly after we got home from the hospital! First off, it’s dimmable, so you can adjust the brightness yet never have to be completely in the dark, especially during that first month or two of endless middle-of-the-night wake-ups. It also casts a warm amber glow, so it’s very comforting. And supposedly it helps clean the air too? I mean, I’ve not tested this theory but there doesn’t seem to be too much of a downside here.

A pack-and-play is an absolute MUST if you plan on doing any sort of traveling with your little one in the first year (and beyond.) The one thing I would recommend is to get one that has a sleeping shelf a little higher up for when the babe is young, before he/she starts crawling or pulling him- or herself up. This is also a great option to keep at the grandparent’s house for whenever you visit!

We didn’t want to invest in a clunky infant bathtub seat while we were still living in our tiny rental, so this foldable, easy-to-store Puj sink bathtub was just perfect. That is, until Raia grew out of it. After a few months, we simply transitioned her to the regular tub and made a little cushion and headrest out of towels for her to lie on.

An activity play mat is a great way to give your little one some tummy time or entertain them before they are too mobile.

The ErgoBaby 360 was another lifesaver when Raia was little – and still is! In fact, I just recently had to look up the weight limit on it so we could still use it for her. Now I mostly use it when she is fed up with being in the stroller, but when she was little (and before we did sleep training) this was literally the ONLY way I could get her to nap for a solid amount of time and still be able to get things done around the house.

Another baby essential we couldn’t live without is a portable white noise machine. Raia has always been a pretty good sleeper, but I think we may have white noise to thank at least partially for that. We love that this one has different noise options (we’re big fans of the Ocean setting!) and is easily transportable. We take it with us on every trip we go on!

Once Raia started becoming a little more alert and wanting to see what was going on, we started using this bouncer chair (at about 3-4 months.) I loved putting her in it while I was cooking dinner, doing chores, etc. and she loved all of the fun accessories like the mobile, the music and the vibrations.

Any breastfeeding mamas out there who are also a fan of my cocktail recipes (or wine, or beer for that matter) this one’s for you! You can dip these MilkScreen test strips in your breastmilk and it will tell you if any alcohol is detected. Clearly whoever thought of making these is a genius.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I used a Dock-a-Tot (the answer is no) but what we did use that I couldn’t recommend more is the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play. We’d heard mixed reviews on letting your child actually sleep in one, but we ended up mostly using it for naps and those moments you just needed a free hand. They have fancier ones, but we found that all really needed was the vibrating feature to really calm the babe down.

Mamas, this one’s for you. I’m sure I’m not the only first-time mom who didn’t even think about needing nursing pads before she went into the hospital. Although I confess I did use the disposable nursing pads when I first started nursing and at night, I hate making so much waste so I used these washable, reusable Bamboobie pads whenever I could.

Okay, so there is one downside to the salt lamp, and that is that it’s HEAVY. So there was no way we were going to travel with it. Instead, we got a smaller, lighter, battery-powered night light to set up anywhere Raia happens to be sleeping while we’re on vacation. Just remember to bring along some extra batteries!

I’ll be sending out the 6-12 month and recommended books lists in the coming days. In the meantime, let me know if there are any 0-6 month essentials I missed in the comments below!

My Favorite Maternity Clothes

Mixing things up today!

Dusty pink off-the-shoulder top from Ingrid & Isabel, jeans from Old Navy.
Top: Ingrid & Isabel via Gilt.com, Jeans: Old Navy

On Wednesday, I asked if any of you would be interested in some maternity-focused posts, and the answer was an overwhelming yes. I’ve got a long list of topics I hope to share with you, but for this first post I thought I’d start off where most ladies’ minds roam to as soon as they get pregnant – where to find the best maternity clothes!

Get real moment: When I first started looking for maternity clothes – which for me wasn’t until about 14 weeks or so – I was a little disappointed. First off, I felt like none of them were my style, and that in fact they looked like something someone about 10 years older than me would be wearing (and ladies, I’m 32!) Yes, there were a couple of brands with incredibly cute things, but they were GD expensive and who wants to shell out hundreds of dollars for clothes they will only be wearing for a few months? Not this gal.

Then the second challenge was my height and build. I’m 6’2”, with a very athletic build (i.e. strong quads and broad shoulders) so, although over the years I’ve found which REGULAR clothing brands fit me best, this maternity style was a whole new world to me. It took a lot of research (and ordering things online then returning them) to figure out which affordable brands worked best for my body type.

Red tank dress from Old Navy.
Dress: Old Navy

One of the things that has been most helpful to me in deciding what I need as far as maternity and nursing clothing, what we need to have on hand for Baby D. right when she is born, etc. has been suggestions from new-parent friends and other bloggers. My hope is that this post of what I’ve personally found to be my own functional maternity style will help many other expectant mammas out there as they embark on this exciting journey.

So, without further ado, here are some of my favorite wardrobe pieces and resources so far!

For casual basics…
Navy tank top from Liz Lange for Target, white denim shorts from Liz Lange for Target.
Top: Liz Lange for Target, Shorts: Liz Lange for Target

Target: Liz Lange over-the-belly denim shorts (I have them in white and regular denim) and Liz Lange maternity tanks (I went with the basic colors – black, white and navy.)

Pink off-the-shoulder top from Ingrid & Isabel via Gilt.com, jeans from Old Navy.
Top: Ingrid & Isabel via Gilt, Jeans: Old Navy

Old Navy: Maternity Premium Full-Panel Rockstar Jeans and Maternity Full Panel Skinny Jeans in White, both in LONG! The white aren’t available at the moment because we’re going into fall, but keep an eye out for them!

Motherhood Maternity: V-Neck Side Ruched Maternity Tee (again, in basic black and white – it’s just the easiest!)

For workout wear…
Both workout top and leggings from Gap.
Workout top: Gap, Workout Leggings: Gap

Gap: Great options for affordable workout tops and bottoms.

Old Navy: I haven’t bought any workout tops from them, but I have about three pairs of leggings from them that I love! They’re a really good deal (especially if you can catch a sale) and there are lots of fun color and design options available, so you’re not stuck with plain black.

White Cool Racerback Tank from Lululemon, workout leggings from Old Navy.
Workout Top: Lululemon, Workout Leggings: Old Navy

Lululemon: They don’t offer maternity clothes (yet!) but some of my absolute favorite things I’ve been wearing throughout my pregnancy have been from there. As soon as you find out you are pregnant (and even if you’re not), you HAVE TO invest in some Lululemon Align Leggings. They are THE BEST!! I love them so much and they are soooo comfortable. I went up one size from the size I normally get there to be safe but you may even be able to wear your normal size throughout your pregnancy. I have also been wearing a lot of their Cool Racerback Tanks, just in a couple sizes bigger for extra length.

Black clip down sports bra from Motherhood Maternity, Align Pants from Lululemon.
Sports Bra: Motherhood Maternity, Workout Leggings: Lululemon Align Pants
For day-to-day style…
Off-the-Shoulder Dress from a:glow for Kohl's.
Dress: a:glow for Kohl’s

Kohl’s: I honestly went to the Kohl’s website first to check out Lauren Conrad’s line of maternity clothes, but ended up buying this Off-the-Shoulder Babydoll Dress and the black off-the-shoulder top in the photos (sorry, no longer available) from the a:glow brand instead. I love them both!

Black geometric off-the-shoulder top from a:glow for Kohl's, white jeans from Old Navy.
Top: a:glow for Kohl’s, Jeans: Old Navy

Athleta: Again, not maternity clothes, but I have basically lived in my black maxi dress with built-in bra from them and I’m also still able to fit in my white linen pants (that conveniently have a drawstring waistband AND an elastic band for extra coverage.) I had bought both of these things in Tall from them a couple years ago and, although they’re no longer available, the website is worth checking out for things you can wear through maternity and beyond!

Old Navy: Basic tank dresses like this red one. Dresses have been THE most comfortable thing for me to wear throughout this entire pregnancy!

Casual red tank maternity dress from Old Navy.
Dress: Old Navy
For special occasion wear…

ASOS Maternity: This website is such a gem! I don’t have photos of anything I’ve gotten from them in this post, but if you’ve followed my Insta-stories you’ll have seen I bought my baby shower dress there. Not only do they carry TALL maternity sizes, they also have a fantastic return policy and their pricing is spot on. Definitely check them out!

Tropical-inspired maternity maxi dress from Old Navy.
Dress: Old Navy

Old Navy: I bought this tropical-inspired maxi pictured here on a whim and have received a ton of compliments on it. It’s no longer available but keep your eye out because there are always new styles coming online!

Flash Sale Sites: Some of my best resources for stylish maternity clothes (at a slightly better than normal price) have been flash sale sites like Gilt, RueLaLa and HauteLook.

For undergarments/PJ’s…

Motherhood Maternity: I have three of these Sport Clip Down Nursing Bras that are soooo comfortable and I wear them all the time to work out. I also really love my Lace Racerback Nursing Sleep Bra from them AND this is the only place I’ve been able to find comfy maternity strapless bras!

*Tip when buying bras during pregnancy: Always go for a nursing, not just a maternity, option so you can get a few more months of wear out of the bigger sizes you’re forced to get due to your rapidly changing body! I have not included regular bras in my suggestions here because I feel they are such a personal decision. I highly recommend finding a store with a big selection that you can try on. This is one thing I splurged and went to our super-expensive maternity store in Santa Barbara for.

Black clip down sport nursing bra from Motherhood Maternity, black Align Pant from Lululemon.
Sports Bra: Motherhood Maternity, Workout Leggings: Lululemon

Jessica Simpson for Motherhood: Even though you technically get her stuff at Motherhood Maternity stores, I had to give a little separate shout out to my girl Jessica Simpson. I LOVE my Jessica Simpson Lace Trim Maternity Nightgown (yay for cute babydoll nighties that aren’t wayyyy too short on me!) and I have also been a huge fan of her Clip Down Shelf Bra Nursing Camis (cute, comfy and functional.)

J. Crew: Dreamy Pant in Black, Tall. Again, these are not maternity, but (a) I love that they come in the long inseam and (b) they are soooo comfy. Plus, they’re forgiving and stretchy so you can grow into them as your pregnancy progresses!

Black clip-down nursing cami from Jessica Simpson for Motherhood Maternity, black Dream Pant from J. Crew in TALL.
Top: Jessica Simpson for Motherhood Maternity, Pants: J. Crew

H&M: Did you know that H&M has a maternity line on their website? Great for cheap, trendy basics, and I fell in love with their MAMA Boy Shorts. And yes, you will be growing out of your chonies along with all of your other clothing! Plus, these will be great for immediately post-pregnancy as well with full coverage and a lower waistband.

Those are all of my favorites so far! Did I miss anything? If you’ve already gone through the whole pregnancy thing, what were some of your favorite resources for clothing? Share in the comments below!