When a baby’s on the way, the number of products to invest in can seem overwhelming, particularly for first-time parents. It’s no surprise to you that you’ll need a crib, car seat, and probably some baby toys. But there are a number of items that beginner parents might never think of – until the baby is here, and it’s deemed necessary.

Stock up beforehand, whether by registering for these items for your baby shower or taking a trip to your local baby and kids’ store, so you’re ready to tackle parenthood as soon as your bundle of joy comes home from the hospital.


What items do you need to keep your baby happy?

Sound Machine

Parents praise white noise machines for their ability to help the little one sleep. Some say it’s because white noise reminds the baby of being in the womb, where there’s plenty of noise but it’s all muted. The sound blocks stimulation for the baby and helps them relax and nod off.

You can download a white noise app on your phone or iPod, but you can also invest in a sound machine so your gadget isn’t tied up every time the baby needs to nap. Look for one that doesn’t turn off in the middle of the night (unless you want your baby to wake up instantly).

Travel System or Snap-N-Go Stroller

Which option you go for is entirely up to you, but as a parent, you’ll want a way to connect your infant car seat to a stroller frame. Babies frequently fall asleep in the car, and there’s no way you want to wake him up to transfer him to a stroller. By investing in a travel system or stroller frame, you can simply remove the car seat, click it into place, and be on your merry way.

Nursing Pillow

If you plan to breastfeed, there’s a whole world of accessories you likely never thought about before. But one of the top items you need is a nursing pillow. This is so vital that it’s recommended you bring it to the hospital with you for delivery, so you can use it as soon as your milk comes in. Without it, you’ll have to prop up the baby to nurse for extended periods of time, particularly exhausting for middle-of-the-night feedings.

Baby Sling/Carrier

Sometimes, a baby just doesn’t want to be put down. This can really put a damper on any activity you want to do that requires use of your hands, whether it’s cleaning the kitchen, typing on the computer, or otherwise. A baby sling or carrier allows your baby to stay close to your chest without restricting your activities. Look for one that doesn’t hurt your back.

Nasal Aspirator

Babies come out of the womb really congested. (No one ever told you that, did they?) The hospital might give you a bulb syringe to help clear it out, but most parents suggest a nasal aspirator to help ease your baby’s congestion.


Babies are susceptible to upper-respiratory tract infections, but a humidifier in the nursery helps prevent that. Although you can purchase a standard cool-mist humidifier (choose cool over warm mist), they also come in adorable shapes and colors, perfect for a nursery.

You know you need toys, but what about a nasal aspirator?

You know you need toys, but what about a nasal aspirator?

Swing and/or Bouncer

The number of parents who have been saved by a swing or bouncer when their child can’t sleep are innumerable. They seem expensive. They seem like they take up a lot of space. But when it comes down to it, you’ll probably never regret purchasing them. Look for a swing that goes back and forth, as well as from side to side. These are perfect items to buy used.

Rechargeable D Batteries

Whether toys, swings, or bouncy chairs, sometimes baby accessories require a lot of power! You can spend your life savings on continually buying D batteries, or you can invest in rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. They just might save your sanity when it’s 2 in the morning, the baby won’t sleep, and the swing has been drained of batteries.

Baby Medication

Stocking up on baby medication before the birth will prevent a panic-stricken parent searching for a 24-hour drugstore during the first night your baby comes down with a fever. Pick up infant acetaminophen, gas drops, and even teething gel to soothe your infant when their first chompers poke through.

What baby items did you find invaluable as a first-time parent?

Kelsey Castle is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in home and family topics. She lives outside Washington, D.C.