Must Have Baby Purchases (Including the Returns)

Must have baby purchases before you bring home your newborn.
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Top of mind for any first time parent is buying everything in preparation for bringing home an infant. Everything needs to be perfect and my wife spent a lot of time researching before purchasing. It's a lot of work, so I figured it's worth sharing what we bought, and what we ended up returning.

We got our crib as a hand me down, so I won't review it, as it's not actually available for purchased.


The main concerns here were ease of use, how small when folded up and placed into Toyota RAV4 trunk, general size, and long term ability to handle to babies (we had a hard time imagining each pushing a stroller). We ended up going with a larger size, which met all our needs.

  • UPPAbaby Vista 2019 - We ended purchasing this stroller brand new as an end of year model (current model is the UPPAbaby Vista V2). It's expensive, but comes with a detachable bassinet that we use around the house. Vista usage is smooth and easy, and fits nicely into our Toyota RAV4.
  • Mockingbird - We found this brand after we had already purchased and setup our UPPAbaby, but had I waited a couple of months, I may have opted to go with this startup internet only brand. The configurations very closely match UPPAbaby Vista, but for nearly 1/2 the price!

Infant Seat

Even though we have two cars, we decided to purchase only one infant seat. Whoever needs to drive the baby would take that car for the day.

  • Chicco Keyfit 30 - Gifted, as a popular infant seat. It was easy to install the base into the passenger rear seat of our Toyota RAV4. The seat itself easily snaps in and out of the base. We also purchase an optional UPPAbaby adapter to fit the Keyfit 30 into the UPPAbaby Vista, which works identically to the infant seat base.

Burp Cloths

These are super handy. For cleanliness, the hospital uses disposable napkins. But at home, we end up using burp clothes to wipe up spit up from formula or breast milk. Looking for soft material and cheap so you can have a lot on hand. You'll end up feeding every 2-3 hours for the for 2-4 weeks for your infant.

Diapers (and everything related to diaper changes)

As much as a strain disposable diapers are on the environment, I couldn't imagine using cloth diapers. That's just gross. But like most deal-finders, I purchased the first box of diapers for each size the moment there was a sale. As it turns out, there are some differences that make one brand of diaper stand out.

  • Pampers - This appears to be the most popular brand, and also the brand the hospital birthing center uses and provides. And the one feature I learned from the nurses is there is a stripe along the diaper that changes colors when the baby pees (doesn't detect poop). This became a huge advantage, especially late at night when determining if an extra diaper change was necessary. Note that we left the hotel with a small pack of diapers.
  • The Honest Company Diapers - This is the brand that went on sale. It works perfectly fine, except that I have to feel for pee instead of simply looking at a color indicator.
  • Pampers Aqua Pure Sensitive Water Baby Diaper Wipes - We wanted a water based wipe without scents, as we didn't want to introduce too many chemicals at such a young age. These went on sale and actually work really well. Linked is a particularly large pack, because we assume we'll need a ton of wipes far into the future.
  • Ubbi Diaper Pail - One of those fancy (really just a rubber seal) garbage cans to keep pee and poo smells locked in. It's not perfect, as you'll smell it as you toss soiled diapers in, but works perfectly when closed. The key to this diaper pail is that is uses one standard garbage bag... in fact its the same size as the bags we use in the kitchen from Costco. Some of the competitor diaper pails require one proprietary small-sized bag per diaper, which really racks up the costs.

Infant Formula

You may need to purchase infant formula if you don't plan on breast feeding or need extra to supplement. At a high level, we considered either powder or pre-mixed. Pre-mixed is obviously much easier, but comes at a higher cost.

The pre-mixed variety also comes in different bottles sizes. 2 ounce to match a feeding vs a larger bottle that needs to be poured into smaller bottles. Once a bottle (either size) is opened, it has a lifespan in the hours before it should be consumed or discarded. Working with a larger bottle means saving money, but also additional planning in making sure the bottle is consumed. The risk is unused formula may go spoiled, which may cause a fussy or sick baby.

The hospital ended up using Similac Pro-Advance and our baby didn't have any problems with it. So to not cause any problems, we decided to continue using the same. If your baby has colic (prolonged fussyness), several of our friends had success using Enfamil Gentlease.

  • Similac Pro-Advance 2oz - The most expensive option, but also the one likely to cause the least problems. In general, we either feed our baby the full 2oz or 1oz. The last 1oz we refrigerate and feed within 24 hours (per our birthing center nurses). This is honestly the most convenient during the first few weeks. I am considering switching to the larger pack as he gets older and is drinking more formula per feeding.

Baby Monitor

We decided we wanted a baby monitor over the crib, which is in the baby room. This way, we could keep an eye on the baby even while sleeping at night, downstairs in the kitchen, or out in the backyard. As it turns out, we end up using the Pack and Play in our bedroom for him to sleep at night and the UPPAbaby bassinet as a floater bed. However, as the baby grows up and out of his bassinet, we'll more than likely have to use the crib more often.

  • Miku Smart Baby Monitor - The installation (includes wall mounting) instructions were prefect... as if an Apple employee had put it together. The box comes with everything you'll need to install it down to the measuring tape and screwdriver. And even if you didn't have any building knowledge, you could successfully wall mount the Miku. Unfortunately, the app itself is pretty bad. The video feed constantly disconnects (both on Android and iOS). Notifications are routinely 5-10 minutes delayed making them worthless. My poor experience with those two core features of a baby monitor makes me doubt the ability to properly measure breathing RPM. Honestly, if I could, I would return this device.

Breastfeeding & Breast Pumping

If you plan on breastfeeding (and the birthing center heavily pushes it), then you may find that certain tools can help in that journey. The benefits of breast milk make it a no-brainier to attempt, but everyone may have different results. Regardless, these are some of the products we used to help us in our journey.

  • Spectra S2 Plus - This pump is the one we ended up getting, which was free with insurance. We had to dig through and call the many providers of our insurance to determine which company offered the Spectra S2 Plus, as everyone offers different products. Also worth noting that the hospital birthing center's breast pump for in-stay use only is hospital grade and designed to more closely simulate baby sucking for milk production.
  • Brestfriend - Very useful for breastfeeding, as this pillow wraps around just above your waist to allow the baby to rest on the pillow while breastfeeding. For us, it helped immensely with positioning the baby, especially in the beginning when our baby was still learning how to latch.
  • Storkcraft Premium Hoop Glider and Ottoman - A comfortable glider (a glider only moves forwards and back as compared to a rocking chair which also swivels) is a nice to have during breastfeeding. Just keep in mind our nurses suggested to not "glide" while breastfeeding, as this may put the baby to sleep. Putting together the chair was straightforward except for one dented snap button which a quick email to customer service resolved by sending out a new snap button.

Baby Bottle Sterilizer

This was one of our last minute purchases that we did not plan on purchasing. We were planning on just hand washing with soap and water and air drying. In fact, we had already purchased a "cute" drying mat.

  • Baby Brezza Baby Sterilizer and Dryer - This sterilizer worked well. Honestly, anything smaller than this unit would make fitting in the breast pump accessories (which we sterilize after every use) a bit tight. We wash all our bottles and nipples after each use, and this device has worked without issue. It's one click to run the wash and dryer. Note, that it was advised we wash the accessories with soap before loading it in the sterilizer.
  • Boon Lawn & Twig & Stem Drying Rack - This was the "cute" drying rack that we bought for holding baby bottles and pacifiers. We had purchased and set this up before purchasing the Baby Brezza, so this unfortunately gets less use than originally planned.
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