Baby Essentials for the First Year

Happy Birthday BannerHaving just celebrated my baby’s first birthday last week (and surviving through the first year), it’s nice to do a little recap of the baby essentials that I am glad I had, the items that I wished I had, and then of course those that are totally not worth the money (nor the space if you got them as gifts or hand-me-downs).

Newborn – 3 Months

Baby Essentials 0-3 Months

Photo Credits | 01 Kimono Onesies | 02 Weeblock| 03 Baby Bouncer |

Everyday Essentials

  • Kimono onesies for sleeping – They make nighttime diaper changes so convenient!
  • Lots of 0-3 month onesies – There will be a lot of accidents and you may not want to do laundry every other day.
  • Newborn diaper that last 2 weeks, then use size 1 diapers
  • Lots of wet wipes
  • Waterproof changing pad & multiple changing sheets
  • Big swaddle blankets (for cooler weather) – They need to be BIG to securely swaddle the baby, otherwise the baby will eventually kick off the blanket, which is a suffocation hazard!
  • Muslin swaddle blanket (for warmer weather) – You need it if your baby needs to be swaddled during the warm weather without overheating.
  • Teething toys & bibs with waterproof backing (for drooling)
  • Hand mittens
  • At least 2 pacifiers & pacifier clips – You don’t want to be trying to look for the only pacifier while the baby is crying nonstop, have a few handy.
  • Diaper rash cream
  • 2 waterproof mattress protectors & multiple changing sheets

Cleaning & Hygiene

  • Nail clipper & filer
  • Bath tub (convertible from infant to toddler)
  • Shampoo, body wash, comb, bath towels, wash cloths


  • Breast pumps, bottles, drying rack, cleaning supplies
  • Lots of burp cloths
  • Lanolin cream

Going Out

  • Infant car seat & stroller
  • Stroller / car seat toys
  • Stroller tray – For Mom to put all the random stuff
  • Diaper bag with many compartments


  • Playmat, activity center, crib mobile, soft toys, rattles
  • Diaper change & feeding log
  • Baby bouncer
  • Sleeping routine – I started the sleeping routine right before my baby turned 1 month.  It’s never too early to let the baby know when it’s time to go to sleep.
  • CPR / FirstAid class – I never had to practice this on the baby, but I feel so much better having the knowledge if anything should happen.
  • Newborn photography session – Babies grow up way too fast, I wish I had scheduled a professional newborn photography session to capture those early moments, and to have a “first family portrait” with all of us looking good (instead of that hospital photo where I looked horrible).
  • Boy diaper change Weeblock – If you have a boy, you will understand.
  • An easy to clean nursing chair – Instead of a leather nursing chair, I got a fabric armchair, which is not the greatest when it comes to cleaning up spit-ups.
  • More than 3 newborn size clothes – Baby grew out of newborn size in a few weeks, I wish I didn’t go crazy on them (but they all look so cute, don’t they?)
  • Nursing on the bed – Spit-ups do happen, and when it happens in the middle of the night, you’re not going back to sleep until after you cleaned up.
  • A fancy baby bouncer – Didn’t matter how fancy it is, my baby wanted the simple one, not the fancy one.  Babies really do have a preference even at this young age!
  • Dishwasher basket – I don’t run the dishwasher everyday but I washed bottles after every feeding, which makes the dishwasher basket useless.
  • Hand mittens – I would use it less than I did and started cutting nails early (which was pretty nerve-whacking at first).  The baby learned to grab onto things much better without hand mittens.

4 – 6 Months

Baby Essentials 4-6 Monthsp

Photo Credits | 01 The Wonder Weeks | 02 Standing Activity Center | 03 Sleep Sack |

Baby essentials

  • More diapers & wet wipes – It is never enough!
  • Lots of 3-6 month onesies – Time to spurge on some cute onesies, but not too many.
  • Hats / jackets
  • Sunscreen lotion

Cleaning & Hygiene

  • Tooth brush – The first tooth is coming out and you need to start the brushing routine.


  • Board books – They will be drooled on, chewed on, and ripped apart.
  • Learn a lot of nursery rhymes
  • More soft toys & rattles
  • Playmat or padded surface – Baby is starting to rollover and practice crawling
  • Crib rail guard – Protect the crib from bite marks early!
  • A standing activity center – It was useful when the baby was not yet ready to sit up on his own and I didn’t want him to be lying down the whole day.
  • Go to storytime offered by local libraries – They were fun and my baby was paying a lot of attention to the story teller.
  • Sleep sack – I still use swaddle blanket but wished I had invested in a sleep sack early on, it’s not easy swaddling when the baby gets bigger and stronger.
  • Started practicing tummy time shortly after birth instead of waiting till later – It’s still ok but my baby obviously didn’t enjoy tummy time early on.
  • Knew about The Wonder Weeks – I got the app after I learned about it and it is very fun to read about what kind of development the baby is experiencing and what skills he acquired.
  • Advice from family and friends about not holding the baby whenever he cries or else he would demand you holding him by crying – Hold the baby as much as you want!
  • Reading up too much on sleep training – Every baby is different, I should have insisted on doing what I felt comfortable with.  But I am glad my husband and I had some sort of a plan of action and stuck with it.
  • Any kind of classes – Honestly the baby just wanted to be with me and really wasn’t enjoying the classes in particular.

7-9 Months

Baby Essentials 7-9 Monthsp

Photo Credits | 01 Walker | 02 Suction Bowls | 03 High Chair / Cart Cover |

 Baby Essentials

  • 7-9 month clothes, even 10-12 month
  • More diapers & web wipes
  • Shoes with soft sole – Baby started standing and cruising and it’s important to get soft sole shoes so they learn how to use the toes to balance.


  • More board books
  • Hard plastic & electronic toys – Once my baby learned not to bang everything against his head, I could safely introduce hard plastic toys.
  • Playpen – Before I got the playpen, there was a couple weeks where I basically could not do anything other than standing over the baby to make sure he didn’t crawl to where I didn’t want him to.  It was tiring, just get a playpen.
  • 2 baby walkers – One for use in the house, one for outdoor in the yard.

Solid Foods

  • Blender / food processor, ice cube trays, baby food recipes
  • Sippy cups, spoons, bowls
  • Table mat – For eating out, it’s easier to put a table mat on the table then to have to wipe clean the table every time
  • High chair
  • High chair / shopping cart cover – For eating out at a restaurant and for grocery shopping
  • Bibs with a pocket to catch foods & a lot of cloths


  • Go to a petting zoo – Introduce the baby to real animals so he can connect the animals to the ones in the books, and touch the animals too!
  • Go out and socialize with other babies
  • Feeding log – Document all the foods the baby tried and note any allergic reaction.
  • Research daycare – Start early, the good ones have a long wait list!
  • Childproof the whole house so the baby is not confined to the playpen only
  • Started part-time daycare – To promote social interaction early on and less dependence on me.
  • Learn a little more about baby-led weaning and got a suction bowl – My baby was eager to grab the spoon early on but I didn’t give him the chance to feed himself and make a mess, and spoon fed him instead.  Now he is not quite willing to hold the spoon and it’ll take time for him to feel comfortable with self-feeding.
  • Diaper pail – Instead of a normal trash bin I currently have, I wish I have a diaper pail that keeps the odor sealed
  • Gotten the clip-on high chair earlier – I was scared the clip-on high chair isn’t stable and worried that the baby would fall, but it’s actually pretty sturdy when installed correctly, and very convenient, especially when we went to a restaurant without high chair (yup, it happens).
  • Worry about getting dirty – Making a mess is the quickest way to learn.

10 Months – 1 Year

Baby Essentials 10-12 Monthsp

Photo Credits | 01 Bead Maze | 02 Lightweight Stroller | 03 Photo Book |

  • Planning for the first birthday party – It’s really for the Mom, not the baby.  Definitely celebrate surviving one year of motherhood.
  • Bead maze and simple puzzle games
  • Having my parents help with babysitting while I worked part-time at home – It’s not that I love work more than taking care of my baby.  It’s just nice to have someone else there to relieve me when I need a break.
  • Printing out photos for the photo collage, creating photobooks and scrapbook
  • Lightweight stroller – I just got one now but wished I had it earlier.  The normal stroller is really heavy.
  • Large empty space – We moved the playpen to another area so now the baby spends time with us in the living room while we watch TV before bedtime.  As soon as that happens, he started walking way more frequently and improved so much over the last week.  I think the fact that there’s a lot more space to roam around forced him to want to walk more.
  • Too many electronic toys – Even though I got a lot of toys from hand-me-outs, I want my baby to grow up with more traditional wooden toys and books.

It’s hard to believe the first year is over and I’m in Year 2 already!  So much good memories and so many photos to go through to finish off the scrapbook and photo books!

Photos taken by Vean Chen except otherwise noted


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