In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Baby Essentials: In the Bubble (0 to 8 Weeks)

Baby Essentials: In the Bubble (0 to 8 Weeks)
In the Bubble At Home: 0 to 6 Weeks
Credit: Jozef Polc ©
By Juliet Spurrier, MD ⋅ Mom-in-Chief
Tuesday July 24, 2018

The two months after your baby is born represents a crucial window for your little one's health. During this time, your baby will largely be at home "cocooned in a bubble", where it is important that only healthy people come inside to contact your baby. Ask visitors to wash their hands when they come in, or use hand-sanitizer (our favorite is EO Natural Hand Sanitizer Gel), when entering the "baby bubble." Advise sick friends or relatives to wait on visiting until they are well.

Once home from the hospital, you will need some "stuff" to keep the ship afloat. If possible, purchase and organize your essentials before your baby's birth so you can focus on the baby after discharge. Early days with your newborn are a continuous cycle of feeding and changing, sleeping, and mom getting enough fluids and calories for breastmilk production.

Like our other essentials articles, we've separated this article into "Must-have" and "Nice-to-have" sections for mother and baby.

0 to 8 Week Must-haves for Mom

Whether you have a vaginal or cesarean birth, you'll require some well-deserved pampering after bringing your little miracle into the world. Be it swelling, bruising, an episiotomy, or an abdominal wound, TLC is necessary. Here are some helpful hints and products that can help soothe and ease mom in recovery.

  • Disposable Panties — You may be able to take a small supply of these home from the hospital. However, as lochia occurs for some time, it is nice to have additional panties on hand with this 5-pack of Althea & Anesi Brief Transitions. These are comfortable, seamless, disposable and washable for postpartum use, so you don't have to roll the dice with your fancy knickers.

  • Extra Absorbent, Thick Pads — After your baby is born, you will need absorbent pads for several weeks. We suggest keeping a pack of Natracare Maternity Pads at home.

For help with swelling and irritation, lightly spray a few pads with water and put them in the freezer to chill. Voila! Instant relief right where you need it.

  • Herbal ReliefEarth Mama Organic Herbal Sitz Bath might be what the doctor ordered to relieve hemorrhoids or your sensitive girl bits after birth. It is a toxin-free, organic, and herbal postpartum healing pad formulated with wound healing, antibacterial, and styptic herbs including witch hazel, yarrow, and plantain leaf. Made by a nurse and herbalist, it is free of synthetic fragrances, phthalates, parabens, petroleum products, mineral oil, and Vitamin E, and is naturally vegan and gluten-free. Postpartum, brew an herbal sack like tea and pour it onto maxi-pads. Place both the wet herbal bag and pads into the freezer for use later to relieve swelling and promote healing. They can also be used in a warm sitz bath once you are ready to submerge your lower end in water.
Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Bath Herbs
Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Bath Herbs
Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Bath Herbs
Earth Mama Angel Baby Postpartum Bath Herbs

  • Perineal SprayEarth Mama Herbal Perineal Spray is a cooling perineal mist that can ease discomfort related to postpartum vaginal soreness, swelling, episiotomies, and hemorrhoids. It uses all-natural ingredients including, witch hazel, lavender, and cooling peppermint pure essential oils, to give moms the relief they need.

  • Bottom BalmEarth Mama Organic Perineal Balm is a cooling salve for the perineal area. It is formulated with organic oils and herbs to help relieve discomfort.

  • Healing Ointment — We like the C-Mama Healing Salve for use once the cesarean incision is clean, dry, and intact. We do not recommend it for a fresh incision. However, we think its unique blend of oils, including olive, tamanu, sea buckthorn, and rosehip, hits the spot for giving new and old scars, stretch marks, rashes, and burns some extra TLC for optimal healing.

clean baby, happy baby!
Clean baby, happy baby!
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

0 to 8 Week Must-haves for Baby

naturepedic no compromise organic cotton changing pad
Naturepedic No Compromise Organic Cotton Changing Pad
Credit: Naturepedic


  • Changing Pad — If you're cutting corners, or hesitate to register for everything, you might hold back on adding a changing table to your registry. However, a changing pad is a different story, and we think it is important to support new babies while you learn the finer points of diapering. The Naturepedic No Compromise Organic Cotton Changing Pad is a comfortable, 4-sided pad with a safety buckle and snap screws to secure it to a dresser. With organic fabric and filling, and a waterproof 100% food-grade polyethylene coating, it is comfortable and easy to clean. There are no polyurethane foam, flame retardants, vinyl, or phthalates here.

aden + anais classic changing pad cover
Aden + Anais Classic Changing Pad Cover
Credit: Aden + Anais

  • Changing Pad Cover — No changing pad is complete without a cover. The Aden + Anais Classic Changing Pad Cover is two layers of soft 100% cotton muslin tailored to fit most changing pads, and durable enough for regular washing. If that isn't enough to sway you, the cute and stylish patterns will.

Disposable Diapering

  • Disposable Wipes — Most parents use disposable wipes (though the trend for reusable is rising), and WaterWipes is an excellent choice made with water and a touch of grapefruit seed extract for a quick, disposable wipe with zero chemicals.

  • Diaper Cream — At some point, every baby will need a little help keeping their bottom in top-notch shape. The best diaper cream review can offer recommendations. We like Weleda Calendula Diaper Rash Cream because it has natural ingredients and is incredibly effective with a pleasant smell.

  • Diaper Pail — Not all diaper pails work well, so it can be more challenging to choose a good one than you think. The best diaper pail review gives you the skinny on everything that stinks or, more importantly, shouldn't stink. In our throwdown of diaper pails, the top contenders impress with virtually no smell and quick bag changes.

Cloth Diapering at Home

The world of cloth diapering can be intimidating at first, but it can also be as easy as responsible disposable diapering. For detailed information on cloth diaper fundamentals, please see Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables: How and What to Choose? and Cloth Diaper Laundering Basics & Helpful Hints. We also highly recommend Kelly Wells book titled Changing Diapers: The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering.

Our recommendation is to use a green disposable until your baby fully transitions to breast milk or formula stools. This way, you won't need to deal with meconium staining your cloth diapers. Because most newborns won't fill out one-size cloth diapers right away, this is a good time to invest in newborn covers with pre-folds or green disposables until your baby is ready for one-size systems. We discuss our choices for newborn cloth diapering with newborn pre-folds, covers, and liners in the Baby Essentials: In Hospital with Baby article.

An amazing benefit of exclusively breastfeeding with cloth diapering is that you don't need to rinse the poop off the diaper before putting it into the washing machine until your baby starts eating solids. Why? Breast milk stools dissolve in the wash, and diapers come out sparkly clean. Breastmilk protein is approximately 60-80% whey, with the remainder being casein which is harder for baby to digest. Alternatively, formula poop has a greater percentage of casein, so formula-fed stools need rinsing.

Now, let's get some cloth diaper accessories you'll want to make this process a heck of a lot easier and ensure success!

  • Cloth-Safe Diaper Ointment — Not all diaper ointments and creams are safe to use with cloth diapers. Traditional options containing zinc oxide or petroleum leave a messy residue that can decrease the absorbency of the cloth, even after laundering. We like Thirsties Booty Love and CJ's BUTTer Plus. The latter contains shea and cocoa butter, coconut, olive, neem, sesame oils, beeswax, and vitamin E derived from soy.

rockin' green laundry detergent
Rockin' Green Laundry Detergent
Credit: Rockin' Green
  • Cloth-Safe Laundry DetergentRockin' Green Laundry Detergent is an earth, and baby-friendly cloth diaper detergent available in Hard Core and Classic Concentrate versions depending on your water type. Rocking Green has a laundry guide to help find the right detergent for you. It is great at neutralizing stinky smells and comes in unscented as well as smashing watermelons, lavender mint revival, and motley clean scents that use essential oil created for sensitive skin.

  • Flushable Diaper Liners — Select a super soft and breathable cloth diaper liners that are sized well and won't stick to the baby's skin. They will help reduce staining and the need to spray, wish, or soak-off solids before putting the diapers into the laundry. Some liners are even flushable (but not all!), making dealing with poop much easier. We suggest finding a product that's chlorine, dye, and fragrance-free.

  • Cloth Wipes — After testing numerous cloth wipes, we list our favorites in the best cloth baby wipes review. The top contenders are super absorbent and soft, and they excel at cleaning up stinky messes. They are also durable and withstand launderings time and time again, all while keeping our Earth green without contaminating landfills with human waste.

  • Diaper Pail — Cloth diapers necessitate a different kind of diaper pail than disposables because they hold dirty diapers until laundering. Cloth is bulkier than disposables, and traditional diaper pails tend to fill too darn fast. Check out the best diaper pail review to see which contenders work for cloth diapering.

  • Pail Liner — We tested machine-washable pail liners, including FuzziBunz, Thirsties, Planet Wise, Kissaluvs, GroVia, Ubbi, and Dekor, and found that the Kanga Care Cloth Diaper Pail Liner excels. It is cylindrical with a narrow base and fabricated of soft, stretchy fabric with an elastic drawstring and toggle. Manufacturer care and attention to detail are evident in durable TPU waterproofing and unique seams that help keep wetness and smells inside the bag instead of seeping onto the pail's interior. Throw it in with the diapers on laundry day, and you are good to go. If you are getting the simplehuman trash can, be forewarned that it will require a bit of extra effort to get the Kanga Care Pail Liner inside so the lid closes properly. If you are looking for a more simplistic liner, then we recommend the Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liner.
P.S. You will want two pail liners.

kangacare wet bag
KangaCare Wet Bag
Credit: KangaCare
  • Cloth Diaper Wet Bag — Small wet bags are essential when cloth diapering on the go to keep dirty stuff separate inside the diaper bag. The Kanga Care Cloth Diaper Wet Bag though "standard" in size, holds some serious volume when necessary, about 12-15 cloth diapers and inserts. These features make it great for daycare or travel. These bags have a nice zippered closure that keeps the stink inside and prevents messes from accidentally tumbling out. There is also an external strap with a heavy-duty zipper for hanging the bag when needed.

You will want several wet bags on hand. Send two wet bags to daycare, one filled with clean cloth diapers and accessories and one empty for the dirties.


Whether breastfed or formula or somewhere in between, babies tend to have loose esophageal sphincters, which directly equates to spitting up at varying frequency and intensity. Thus, a standard rite of passage for parents is having lots of soft, absorbent burp cloths at the ready in addition to an extra change of clothes for you both.

  • Burp Cloth — Our lineup of the best burp cloths can offer recommendations for every need and budget. We like the Aden + Anais Burpy Bib, which is a great solution for burping your baby and catching spit-up mishaps. It has absorbent fabric that's nice and soft for your baby's skin.

Primary First-Aid Kit for Early Infancy

Bringing a newborn home, especially as a first-time parent, is an incredible life change and one you will always remember. Being prepared in mindset and supplies can create calm amid the storm. Besides what we detail here, our baby health and safety gear list offers some additional recommendations for each age and stage.

  • Hand Sanitizer — For yourself and any visitors, you'll want some EO Natural Hand Sanitizer Gel on hand the moment they walk through that door to prevent fomites on surfaces. Then, BEFORE anyone holds your baby, ask them to wash their hands with soap and warm water. Seem like overkill? All we can say is you'll be glad you did.

It is important that all visitors do not have signs of infection, including a cough, runny nose, congestion, fever, or a sore throat. Pertussis (a.k.a. whooping cough) is a vaccine-preventable disease that is on the rise due to low herd immunity. It's important to have all who are eligible for Tdap or DTaP vaccination in the household (including caregivers) be vaccinated against this preventable disease, preferably before your baby makes her grand debut.

american red cross digitial rectal thermometer
American Red Cross Digitial Rectal Thermometer
Credit: The First Years
  • Digital Rectal Thermometer — Having the right baby thermometer makes all the difference between guessing and knowing when to be concerned. The standard for accurately checking a newborn's temperature is rectal. You'll need a good digital rectal thermometer for infants. Don't panic; it is easy to do with water-based lubricant, and thermometers like the American Red Cross Digital Rectal Thermometer are straightforward, with an accurate reading in 60 seconds. It is shaped with a flex-tip for comfort and comes with a storage case.

For newborns, fever or low temperatures (hypothermia) should prompt an immediate call to your baby's doctor. Fever in this age group is considered a rectal temperature of > or =100.4F/38C, and hypothermia is < or =96.8F/36C. Typically, this is a "do not stop, go now" situation that requires immediate medical evaluation, day or night. Do not take a "call the doctor in the morning" approach, and do not give the baby a fever reducer (acetaminophen/Tylenol) in this age group. Your baby needs attention PRONTO! If the baby appears well and there is a question about the accuracy, the doctor or nurse may want to give you specific instructions on how to recheck their temperature at home before deciding whether or not the baby should come in.

When taking an infant's rectal temperature, clean the tip with rubbing alcohol, then apply a water-based lubricant like K-Y Ultra Gel to the thermometer tip. Lubricant allows the tip to be inserted gently into the baby's rectum; one-half to one inch (1 to 2 centimeters) is sufficient.

  • Temporal Thermometer — Temporal artery thermometry is a quick and accurate method of taking a temperature, even for a newborn. This process entails a well-performed swipe across the forehead and a tap below the earlobe, which works even on a sleeping baby. Temporal options can be more expensive, so consider them a long-term investment. We are big fans of the Exergen Temporal Thermometer.
exergen temporal artery thermometer
Exergen Temporal Artery Thermometer
Credit: Exergen

  • Nasal Saline — Saline combined with a functional nasal aspirator are essential for keeping baby's nasal passages open when congestion occurs. Having these items handy can mean the difference between a happy baby who can feed and a miserable one. Simply Saline Baby Nasal Relief is a fine mist spray that clears congestion to improve baby's ability to breathe. Simply Saline doesn't contain preservatives or CFCs, so there is no uncomfortable burning or stinging.

  • Nasal Aspirator — Because babies don't know how to blow their nose, they depend on an outside means for clearing out congestion to breathe, eat, and sleep properly. Do your little one a favor by replacing the bulb aspirator with a NoseFrida the Snotsucker. Designed in Sweden by an Ear Nose and Throat doctor, the NoseFrida is an absolute necessity. By operator-generated suction, mucous is sucked out non-invasively and hygienically via a replaceable filter that prevents goop and microbes from traveling. BPA and phthalate-free, this gem is hand washable in soapy water and is top-rack dishwasher safe.

  • Humidifier — When your baby gets a cold, a humidifier can help keep mucous membranes moist and secretions loose, potentially improving sleep. We tested several humidifiers over the years, and our lineup of top-ranked baby humidifiers can guide you to the best choice for your family. Also, we recommend reading up on proper humidifier care.

Umbilical Cord Care — It is essential to properly care for baby's umbilical cord stump before it falls off, usually somewhere between 1 to 4 weeks. (If it hasn't fallen off by eight weeks, let baby's doctor know.) Recommended care includes sponge bathing baby until cord separation. The cord can be wiped with warm water and then dried with a clean towel or cool blow drier. It is helpful to keep the diaper front folded below the umbilical cord to prevent chaffing and urine from soaking it. During hot weather, dress your baby in a diaper and t-shirt to improve airflow around the cord to keep things clean and dry. As it dries up and separates, you'll notice that it stinks; this is normal. While uncommon, infection of the umbilical cord is very serious and needs a doctor's attention ASAP. Signs of infection include redness and warmth around the base of the cord, foul smell, yellowish discharge, baby discomfort, or crying when you touch the area.

  • Nail Care — As much as you may agonize over clipping your baby's nails, you need to do it as your baby can scratch their face something fierce. The best nail clippers review presents recommendations that are ready for the challenge.

  • Vitamin D Supplementation — For proper bone growth, it is crucial that infants, children, and adolescents receive an adequate amount of Vitamin D daily. The AAP recommends 400 IU/day from birth on for breastfed and partially breastfed infants drinking less than 32 ounces of vitamin D-fortified formula/day. Baby Ddrops provides the recommended daily amount in a liquid dropper that is easy to use. Baby isn't likely to turn up their nose at these tasteless drops, and they are easily placed upon a nipple right before breastfeeding or onto a finger or pacifier for quick administration.
Credit: ©


  • Educational Materials-- The Happiest Baby on the Block DVD is a life-changing video with advice every parent needs in a baby's first four months of life. The so-called "fourth trimester" is a transition period when all babies are learning how to adapt to life outside the womb. This phase includes lots of crying due to self-soothing difficulties. Dr. Harvey Karp's Five S's are just what the doctor ordered (literally) to soothe a cranky newborn. Of course, by the time you really need this information, you may find yourself too tired to read a book. Our advice? Have this DVD on hand, cuddle up with your significant other and some popcorn, and watch the master lull crying babies into a calm Zen-like state. Another tip to keeping your cool and getting some shut-eye is The Baby Sleep Book: Top 250+ Essential Tips To Get Your Baby To Sleep Through The Night and Find a Permanent Solution To Your Child's Sleep Problems. We really like this book because instead of promoting one particular technique or method of sleep training, it provides a plethora of well-researched, common sense, helpful tips. Why is this so great? Because every baby is different, and what may work for one may not necessarily work for another. Also, what feels right for one parent may not feel good to another. In the end, experimentation is key to discovering the right combination of techniques that work best for your little nugget and your family's lifestyle.

SIDS Prevention
The most important component of SIDS Prevention is placing your baby on their back to sleep. For further information, please read How to Protect Your Infant from SIDS and other Causes of Sleep-related Deaths.

When your baby is eight weeks, it's important to discontinue swaddling for SIDS prevention. At this time, we recommend changing to a sleep sack such as the Woolino 4 Season Baby or the HALO SleepSack Swaddle. A sleep sack provides breathable warmth in a safer design than a blanket, and it allows for a full range of arm movement, which is important at this age should the baby roll over unexpectedly.

the tommee tippee closer to nature pacifier offers an orthodontic...
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier offers an orthodontic nipple and is easy to grip.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

  • White Noise — Cloud B makes some entertaining soothing white noise products. The Cloud B Twilight Turtle is cute, soft, and baby-friendly, with multiple settings for soothing even the toughest customers. In addition to a variety of sounds, it projects soothing lights on walls and ceilings to help lull little ones to sleep.

  • Baby Swing — Most moms will agree that a good baby swing is a must-have item for soothing a baby. The best baby swings review breaks down the good, the bad, and the so-so swings, so you don't have to. Some offer loads of soothing settings, music, nature sounds, and white noise.

  • Baby Carrier — We think a baby carrier is an important staple in any parents baby soothing and bonding gear. It is also a great way for parents and caregivers to negotiate errands without extra gear to push or navigate. We've tested several and compared the top baby carriers head-to-head.

tula ergonomic baby and onya baby outback: after months of testing...
Tula Ergonomic Baby and Onya Baby Outback: After months of testing, BabyGearLab chose these as dual Editors' Choice Award winners.
Credit: Adrian Hogel

0 to 8 Week Nice-to-haves for Mom

More Nursing Supplies

Breastfeeding may be natural, but it isn't always easy. Our nursing gear list can help support your nursing journey. Don't hesitate to seek the professional advice of a certified lactation consultant to troubleshoot problems or seek answers to your questions. In addition, online resources like La Leche League and Kelly Mom can provide loads of reliable and pertinent information.

our editors choice award winner, the spectra s1. the pump includes...
Our Editors Choice award winner, the Spectra S1. The pump includes bottles, flanges, back flow valves and tubing, AC adapter and rechargeable battery. The insulated bag can be purchased separately from Spectra.
Credit: Micah James
  • Breast Pump — A great breast pump can be crucial to success when nursing a baby. Whether returning to work, running errands, or heading out with your significant other for a much-needed date night, a breast pump gives you the freedom to continue breast milk feeding while you are away. Our review of top-ranked breast pumps includes comprehensive and side-by-side testing to find the best. We like the Spectra S1 Plus for its strength and hygienic closed system. On a budget, however, the Medela Pump in Style Advanced is an excellent value for a double electric pump, though it is an open system. If you won't be pumping much or need something light and portable for travel, the Medela Harmony with Flex is a great option.

  • Breast Pump Bag — With a pump in tow, having a specially designed breast pump bag can make carrying a breast pump a little less conspicuous and pumping less of a chore. The bags have a design with storage compartments for pumps, insulated areas for pumped milk, and some room to spare for personal items. Our review of the best breast pump bag has multiple bags that go head to head against one another in the challenge to carry it all with style and convenience.

  • Pumping Bra — While a pumping bra may sound like an extravagance, it comes in handy if you are double pumping. If you want to do anything else while pumping, like eat, drink, or work, you should consider this an absolute necessity. We like the Simple Wishes Signature Hands Free Pumping Bra.

  • Milk Storage Vessels — Where there is breast milk, there is a need for storing it. We encourage you to read our article on the Best Practices for Handling Breast Milk for an introduction to the topic. If possible, storing breast milk in shatter-resistant, borosilicate glass baby bottles like Lifefactory Glass are a great way to go because glass is inert, and there is no potential for plastic chemicals to leach into the breastmilk. However, this may not be possible or convenient due to limited freezer capacity, potential breakage issues, or the extra expense. The alternative is to use storage bags such as Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags. These bags are budget-friendly and easy to use, with useful volume markings and a place to write the date, time, and quantity. The video below nicely illustrates the best use practices with these breastmilk storage bags.

  • Freezer Organizer — Once expressing breast milk, moms quickly learn that losing milk by spillage, a bag puncture, or, dare we say, a thawed freezer (gasp!) is downright heartbreaking. Thus, methodical storage care can pay big dividends down the road. The Kiinde Keeper helps keep milk storage bags flat, which increases surface area for quicker thaw times, and it helps organize bags, keeping them separate from other items to prevent damage and misplacement.

As painful as it is to say it, you should toss any breast milk storage bag with a puncture hole due to potential bacteria contamination. For breast milk that has thawed in the freezer (i.e., power outage, freezer malfunction), there is little science, but a good rule of thumb is to use the milk within 24 to 48 hours. It should not be frozen a second time.

  • Breast CareEarth Mama Angel Baby Booby Tubes can be used either warm or cold for pain reduction and relief associated with engorgement or plugged ducts. The outer covers are 100% organic cotton with a flaxseed filling. They can be chilled in the freezer or warmed in the microwave or oven for great, gel-free, topical relief.

  • Nursing Top — The best nursing top can be a lifesaver. It provides easy access to feed your baby, yet privacy and coverage. Some even cover your back, belly, and sides when you lift your top, which may be important to you if you're nursing your baby in public.

0 to 8 Week Nice-to-haves for Baby

Cloth Diapering

We've tested various diapering must-haves for disposable and cloth diapers. However, we'd like to skim over other styles of cloth diapers and helpful accessories you might want to consider if you intend to embrace cloth diapering.

  • Newborn All-in-One — All-in-One (AIO) cloth diapers eliminate complexity because they are similar to disposable, except that the dirties go in a dry diaper pail for laundering instead of the trash. Newborn AIOS is a great place to begin and something that helpful grandparents, friends, and sitters can do without much explanation or fuss. Potential drawbacks? AIOS tend to be much more expensive than prefolds and covers, running around $300 more. Because they are one-piece diapers, they also take longer to dry. Thirsties Newborn All In One (fits up to 14 pounds) is a good start for those hesitant to take the plunge into more involved systems. Although more expensive, they are pretty dang cute and simple to use. To diaper a newborn, you'll need to purchase about 30 diapers, so make sure there is room in your budget for a $450 purchase that only lasts until your baby is about 14 pounds. Good news? If they are in useable condition, you can recoup some of the investment by selling them secondhand. You can also reuse them for the next baby that comes along.
  • One-Size Cloth Diapers — Most of your baby's time in cloth will be in a "One-Size," which fits babies in a range of 8 to 35 lbs. Be forewarned, however, that an 8-pound newborn may need to fill out in the thighs and waist before a One-Size will fit properly. Without the correct fit, leakage is an issue in any diaper. Before making a big purchase, we highly recommend trying a few different styles and brands to determine which One-Size option fits your baby and suits your lifestyle best.

  • Prefold Fasteners — If your folding repertoire with pre-folds has expanded beyond the tri-fold, you will need some fasteners to hold it in position underneath the waterproof cover. A 5-pack of Snappi Diaper Fasteners is an economical choice you can reuse.

  • Cloth Diaper Sprayer — Properly pre-rinsing cloth diapers is essential to reduce stains and odor. The Bumworks Cloth Diaper Toilet Sprayer Kit easily sprays gunk into the toilet with its high-pressure nozzle.

  • Sprayer Shield — Because high pressure promotes better rinsing, the Spray Pal Splatter Shield is pretty sweet as it helps contain mess in its plastic "sleeve" during spraying. It is easy to clean and folds flat for storage next to the toilet tank.


If nursing, it is a good idea to refrain from bottle-feeding until breastfeeding is well-established if possible. Every mother-baby duo has a different experience here, but this typically lands between 3-6 weeks. If you have questions, we recommend speaking with the baby's doctor or a certified lactation consultant.
Credit: Wavebreak Media Ltd ©
  • Baby Bottle — Not all baby bottles are the same, and not all babies love all bottles. With that in mind, we tested some of the most popular options and included our favorite options in the best baby bottle review.

  • Bottle Warmer — Thawing breast milk in warm water or warming a bottle of formula can take a while, and using a microwave or stovetop is out of the question, as overheating and hot spots can create too much burn risk and quality degradation. Whether you happen to have a wailing baby who needs a warm bottle stat or you just don't feel like standing over the sink in a middle-of-the-night fog, a bottle warmer can make life a heck of a lot easier. We tested top warmers side-by-side in the best bottle warmer review.

  • Dish Liquid — Having a trusted dish liquid is essential to hand-clean baby bottles and pump parts of milk residue and odor without leaving behind a chemical-laden, perfumery odor. Dapple Bottles & Dishes Dish Liquid does a good job on both counts and is available in lavender and unscented.

  • Bottle Brush — You won't get very far in the cleaning process without a bottle brush. While it isn't an exciting gift to get or give, it is a nice addition to a theme basket of feeding or cleaning items. We recommend replacing bottle brushes at least once a month for best hygiene practices.

  • Straw Brush — While one of our favorite baby bottle brushes can usually get the body of a bottle clean, some bottles have venting straws or nooks and crannies in nipples or other extra parts that need a thin cleaning tool to get them clean. Dr. Brown's Natural Flow Cleaning Brush works well for this. However, as with all bottle brushes, you'll want to replace them at least once a month to keep things sanitary.

  • Music — Looking for the right music to soothe your savage beast? Elizabeth Mitchell's You are My Little Bird is a lovely collection of songs designed for babies, but parents and the rest of the family will love it too. It has an acoustic, bluegrass feel, and you'll find yourself listening even when your baby isn't around. The music includes songs you'll recognize and soon-to-be new favorites. Some tracks include little child singers chiming in that may capture your tiny one's interest and make them smile and coo.

Credit: acik ©


  • Bassinet — Many parents use a bassinet in the first few months to sleep near their baby. Plus, many bassinets are portable so that they can move around the house. The best bassinet review can help you select the best option for your lifestyle and budget.

oeuf elephant crib. available in grey and white.
Oeuf Elephant Crib. Available in Grey and White.
Credit: Oeuf

  • Crib — Looking for a chic yet compact crib that excels in simplistic beauty? The Storkcraft Equinox 3-in-1 has this in spades. It is one of the easiest cribs to assemble and has a clean finish that will go well with most nursery decor. With dimensions of 29.5" x 58", it has a more compact footprint than other options, and an adjustable mattress allows for easy baby access.
  • Crib Mattress — In the world of the best crib mattresses, you absolutely get what you pay for. As this is the one place your baby will be spending most of their time in the first few years of life, we highly recommend choosing a crib mattress that is free of polyurethane foam which usually contains flame retardants and vinyl chloride, potential sources of noxious off-gassing. Unfortunately, this is not easy on a budget. We recommend taking a look at the Naturepedic Organic Cotton Classic 150 Seamless 2-stage, a well-regarded product that is free of flame-retardant chemicals and is hypoallergenic. This 2-stage mattress offers a firmer side for infants and a softer stage-2 side for toddlers. One caution, the Naturepedic mattress uses square corners for a tighter fit in the crib. This design reduces the risk of a baby getting stuck in the corner, but the unintended result is this mattress doesn't work with every crib (in particular, cribs with hardware in the corners).
  • Mattress Pad — A quality mattress pad protects the mattress from bodily fluids. Our favorite is the Naturepedic Organic Waterproof Fitted Crib Pad which is devoid of vinyl chloride and phthalates often found in lower-quality waterproofing materials. It combines 2-layers of certified organic cotton on the top and bottom with a thin waterproof layer in between. Naturepedic's DrySleep prevents liquids from getting through while retaining breathability. It also helps block dust mites and other allergens from the crib mattress while being machine washable and dryer ready.

Crib bumpers are not recommended as they have been shown to increase the risk of SIDS. This recommendation even includes "breathable" bumpers with mesh siding. Cribs should not have blankets, stuffed animals, pillows, or other decorative bling. Period. No, really, we mean it.

  • Crib Sheets — A fitted crib sheet is the only thing that should be dressing up your baby's crib other than your baby! With lots of styles and patterns to choose from, the Aden + Anais Classic Crib Sheet is a winner with designs that fit into any nursery decor.


While some of the items below are arguably optional, some parents prefer to have them for either peace of mind, comfort, or to complete the nursery of their dreams. One of the essentials we recommend is getting a baby monitor, and there are several flavors to consider. We've extensively tested several options over the years and have compiled a list of our favorite baby monitors. It's a good place to start and find recommendations.

the nest cam won our top pick for wifi video monitoring
The Nest Cam won our Top Pick for WiFi Video Monitoring
Credit: Abriah Wofford

  • Video Monitor — Video monitors have come a long way in the past few years both in technology and cost. Get all the details on monitoring your baby and our favorite products in the video monitor review.

  • Sound Monitor — The sound monitor review can give you the skinny on the best sound monitors and help you pick the right one for you.

  • Movement Monitor — Movement monitors differ from traditional baby monitors. They follow your baby's breathing movements and general movement during sleep and alarm when they are outside the "normal" range. While they can help soothe parents' nerves, they can also interrupt needed sleep for the baby and parents with false alarms, which create unnecessary worry. Nonetheless, they are popular products that parents buy, so we tested them. The best movement monitor review can give you insight into movement products and how they work. None of the movement monitors are considered medical devices, and manufacturers have sidestepped FDA testing and regulation by not promoting these as SIDS prevention devices, which they are not.

While movement monitors can provide anxious parents with some reassurance that their baby is sleeping peacefully, by no means should they replace safe sleep practices such as placing baby on their back to sleep on their own firm sleep surface without any soft bedding or toys. In fact, the AAP does not recommend using any form of movement or vital sign monitor in a healthy baby at home.

  • Glider — Whether nursing a little one to sleep or soothing a fitful baby, a glider can quickly become one of the most used items in the home. This product is another personal choice where it just so happens that price and quality will vary drastically. Finding a well-made glider for a reasonable price is similar to discovering the holy grail. Nonetheless, one where price and quality seem to be in balance is in the Nursery Works Sleepytime Rocker.

  • Changing Table — We feel that a stand-alone changing table is not a necessity and typically takes up a bunch of room. If you feel you'd like something more formal that your changing pad fits inside without the whole table per se, consider the Oeuf XL Changing Station, which will fit on top of a bureau for proper changing ergonomics but can also be multi-purposed into a wall-mounted shelf once diapering days are over. However, if you want a dedicated changing table on a limited budget, take a look at the Delta Children Eclipse Changing Table that comes in five colors.

Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Bathing & Skin Care

  • Baby Bathtub — You can bathe your baby in the sink, but it isn't safe or sanitary. Bathing your baby can be one of the most stressful activities for new parents. Our favorite baby bathtubs can help make bath time easier and safer.

  • Shampoo & Body WashCalifornia Baby Calendula Shampoo & Body Wash is a gentle, natural, vegetable glucoside-based cleanser for babies and kids. Allergy-tested, non-drying, and non-stripping, this sulfate-free wash is biodegradable and made without synthetic fragrances.

  • Baby Kit — Want to get a little of everything superfly for baby bath time? Try the Earth Mama A Little Something For Baby, a neat assortment of baby shampoo, body wash, bottom balm, lotion, and oil. It is organic, natural, and has toxin-free ingredients. Along with one of the towel items below, it is a perfect baby shower gift.

  • Baby Bath Towel — Nothing is cuter than a baby wrapped in a hooded towel after tub time. Aden + Anais Hooded Towel Set offers a large terry hooded towel (32" x 32") with a washcloth (12" x 12") made of soft, cotton muslin for which Aden + Anais is so well-known. If you are looking for a cute, gift-wrapped package with a definite "wow factor," then the Little Giraffe Splash and Dry Towel and Washcloth is a clear winner. It blends soft cotton with plush chenille lining for a towel you will be grabbing for your baby over and over.
california baby calendula cream 6 ounces
California Baby Calendula Cream 6 ounces
Credit: California Baby
  • Baby Lotion — For a thick, moisturizing cream without an oily residue, we recommend California Baby Calendula Cream. It soothes with organic calendula and smells heavenly with a light french lavender scent. Steering clear of scented products is a good rule of thumb for babies with ultra-sensitive skin. Earth Mama Simply Non-Scents Baby Lotion is a nice, natural choice. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth, this unscented moisturizer has a base of olive oil and shea butter and also includes aloe, calendula, and rooibos extracts for soothing delicate or irritated skin suffering from rashes, allergies, and eczema. Find other great lotion options in the best baby lotion review.

  • Non-Petroleum Ointment — We recommend substituting petroleum-based healing ointments such as Vaseline and Aquaphor with non-petroleum ones. We like Honest Organic Healing Balm; intensely moisturizing, this balm works wonders on chapped or irritated skin without the potential for absorption of petroleum products. With a base of organic sunflower, olive, coconut, tamanu, and chamomile oils, it combines beeswax, shea butter, calendula extract, and non-GMO vitamin E for effective healing.


A layette is a fancy way of saying all of the clothing that a baby will need during early infancy. While less is more when it comes to clothing, babies certainly can't go naked. So we suggest you keep it simple and gauge numbers depending on your laundering schedule. Suffice it to say, because newborns spit up and have blow-outs or leaks more often than not, you may need to factor in anywhere from 1 to 4 outfit changes a day.

We recommend that you consider registering for a limited quantity of seasonally appropriate 6+ months clothing items so that a few pieces are ready to go for this stage.

  • Footed Pajamas — Footed sleeping pajamas help newborns feel cozy with fewer exposed body parts. They are also an excellent option for on-the-go car seat harness strapping. Our favorites include Babysoy O Soy Footies (below left) and Kissy Kissy Footed Pajamas.

  • Cap and Gown with Attached MittensKicKee Pants Print Gown & Knot Hat Set (below right) is a cute little number with a gown that allows for easy diaper changes with an elastic bottom design and prevents inadvertent face scratching with built-in flip mittens. The matching hat is available in either a single or a double knot. Made of 95% bamboo viscose and 5% spandex, this is a comfy outfit perfect for lounging around the house. Pair it with some leg warmers (below) for complete coverage at night.

Babysoy O Soy Footies
Babysoy O Soy Footies
KicKee Pants Basic Layette Gown and Single Knot Hat
KicKee Pants Basic Layette Gown and Single Knot Hat

  • babylegs &#039;lil organic newborn legwearmers
    BabyLegs 'Lil Organic Newborn Legwearmers
    Credit: BabyLegs
    Legwarmers — Flashback to the 80's and you'll fall in love with these little BabyLegs Newborn Lil' Leg Warmers. They've made a comeback, and are a hit with the cloth diapering crowd. Made of 87% organic cotton, 7% nylon, and 6% poly, they are designed to stay on even the most active babies and are a great addition to any legless onesie or gown. Machine washable and lay flat to dry.

  • carter&#039;s long sleeve side snap 4-pack tees
    Carter's Long Sleeve Side Snap 4-Pack Tees
    Credit: Carter's
    Long Sleeve T-shirts with Mittens — Made of 100% cotton, Carter's Long-Sleeved Side Snap Tees are a classic item for the newborn period. The t-shirt prevents rubbing of the umbilical cord like a onesie would and they have built-in, fold over mittens to keep baby's nails from scratching their face.

  • babysoy o soy footie pants
    Babysoy O Soy Footie Pants
    Credit: Babysoy
    Easy Outfit Sets — Having easy to use and comfortable outfit sets for baby make daily dressing easy. Short-sleeved, wrap-around tees like Babysoy Kimono Tee, long-sleeved onesies like Babysoy O Soy Kimono Bodysuit, and Babysoy O Soy Footie Pants are favorites. Made from a soy-based fabric called Azlon, Babysoy clothing has natural moisture transmission qualities that keep babies warm and dry.

  • Short Sleeve OnesiesGerber Organic Short-Sleeved Onesies make a classic base layer for baby. Made of organic cotton, these onesies wash and wear well, and are a staple of any baby closet.

  • Mittens — No matter how diligently you trim baby's nails, they will still find a way to scratch their beautiful little faces. Guomi Kids Guomi Mitts are knit fleece mittens made from 70% bamboo, 30% organic cotton with a soft velcro strap for baby proof attachment.

trumpette 6-pack dots &amp;amp; stripes socks
Trumpette 6-Pack Dots & Stripes Socks
Credit: Trumpette

  • BibAden + Anais Burpy Bib are soft 100% cotton muslin and serve a dual purpose as a bib with a snap and burp cloth in one. Kidney-shaped for maximum coverage, they are both absorbent and easy to wash.

  • BootiesRobeez Classic Soft Soles Boots (below left) are a great warm shoe for baby from infancy to early toddlerhood exploration. With a leather exterior and faux fur lining, they have soft suede soles perfect for developing little feet. These are indeed classics and for a good reason.

  • Sweater — Consider having at least one cozy baby sweater for chilly outings. The Zutano Cozie Fleece Contrast Hoodie (below right) is a casual, zippered sweater worn alone or as a nice layering piece in colder months. The cuffs, waistband and hood lining are made of 100% interlock cotton while the body is 80/20 cotton/poly. With snaps up the front, this is a fresh, layering piece you'll use daily.
Robeez Classic Soft Soles Boots
Robeez Classic Soft Soles Boots
Zutano Cozie Baby Contrast Hoodie
Zutano Cozie Baby Contrast Hoodie

Strolling with Infant

A lightweight car seat frame stroller is useful for clicking the car seat onto for strolling on smooth, hard surfaces. They typically have adequate storage, so a quick trip to the grocery store is simple to achieve. More importantly, the frames are easy to fold/unfold and load/unload into and out of the car for multi-stop trips with a baby.
columbia infant frosty freeze bunting
Columbia Infant Frosty Freeze Bunting
Credit: Columbia
  • Outerwear Bunting — Consider registering for a cold weather bunting to keep baby cozy while strolling in the great outdoors. The Angel Dear Baby Fuzzy Footie is soft and warm. For a more substantial piece for colder weather, the Columbia Infant Frosty Freeze Bunting comes with an ample hoody, water-resistant shell fabric, plush fleece lining in the body, and has high-loft faux down insulation, which makes it easy to wash. You will definitely want some warm socks and mittens with this number, however, as the fold-over hands and feet are not insulated.

  • Bassinet Strolling — If you love the idea of strolling with your baby in a bassinet, we highly recommend the UPPAbaby Vista v2, but don't recommend using the bassinet for overnight sleeping.

NEXT: Baby Essentials: Out of the Bubble (2 to 6 months)

Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.

BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.

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