young Asian mom holding newborn baby (must haves for new moms)

The first few weeks with a newborn are simultaneously stressful, emotional, panic-inducing, and joyful. And when you’re living in survival mode, it can be difficult to determine which shortcuts and products might make motherhood a bit easier. Let us remove some of the guesswork for you! Here are a few real moms’ “must haves” for new moms.


As much as you love holding your snuggly newborn, eventually you will have to put them down. Make sure you have a safe place to secure the baby wherever you need to be hands free. For an affordable option, I love the Ingenuity bouncer because it offers a bit of longevity past the newborn stage. If you are willing to splurge or purchase secondhand, the BabyBjorn bouncer is known as a mom favorite. My son and I loved the Ingenuity swing since it was easy to fold up or move around, didn’t take up a lot of room, and ran off batteries instead of cords. (Keep in mind some moms prefer a swing that offers side-to-side motion instead of just front to back.)

Electric nail file

I wish all those prenatal classes had taught me how difficult it was going to be to trim my baby’s nails! After weeks of trying to keep my son’s talons from clawing him (or me) to oblivion, I finally asked some friends — everyone suggested an electric nail file. What a game changer!

Velcro swaddles

Even if you feel like the nurses in the hospital have helped you master your swaddle technique, it will be no match for a fussy newborn in the middle of the night. Save the few shreds of sanity you have left and get yourself (or a new mom friend!) some velcro swaddles. We loved the Aden + Anais swaddles and even brought some to the hospital. Buy more of these than you think you need for those inevitable middle-of-the-night messes!

Baby wrap

While a wrap comes with a bit of a learning curve, it’s nothing a YouTube video or seasoned mom friend can’t solve! Having a wrap is much less bulky than traditional carriers (also highly recommended!), so they’re great to throw on around the house for a hands-free contact nap or while bouncing a fussy baby on an exercise ball. They’re also nice to throw in a diaper bag for an easy solution on the go! I was a fan of the Boba wrap I received as a gift, but Moby, Solly Baby, and many other brands make these in a variety of fabrics and prints to fit your style.

Portable sound machine

We swear by our Hatch, but this portable sound machine was a game changer during the newborn phase. We brought it with us to the hospital, and after our son slept a three-hour stretch the second night my husband proclaimed it could never be left uncharged. We found this little device to be so useful for in our room next to baby’s bassinet or downstairs by the pack and play. We brought it with us on car rides, strolls around the neighborhood, and laps around the house with the baby wrap. We still use it any time we travel as a small and effective tool for sleep!

Baby tracker app

As someone who loves data and information, having a place to track all the baby things was a lifesaver for me the first year. Although tracking every single pee and poop was not for us (no judgement if you like this feature!), being able to track feeding times, which side baby last nursed on, bottle volumes, pump volumes, and naps was invaluable when my mom brain couldn’t keep it straight. I still use the app for growth milestones and for medication and temperature tracking any time my son is sick. We ended up with Huckleberry’s paid version for the SweetSpot sleep recommendations after several friends shared that they swore by it. The free version has all the regular tracking features, and you can share a login across multiple devices so multiple caregivers can track events.


Every single mom I know who has used formula recommends the BabyBrezza Formula Pro as one of their must haves for new moms! Many of them said they initially didn’t think it would be worth the investment, but after a few nights of making bottles they were convinced this was not a luxury but a true survival item. Think of this as a baby formula Keurig that quickly dispenses a perfectly mixed and warmed bottle for almost all formula and bottle types!

Aveeno Nighttime Balm

We tried so many baby lotions looking for the solution to my son’s sensitive, dry, crackly newborn skin. We keep coming back to the Aveeno Nighttime Balm because it truly melts into his skin and leaves it feeling like the moisture is locked in. I love that this tub is large and you only need a small amount, so it lasts forever. Also, since it’s considered an eczema therapy (though you don’t need to have eczema to use it), it’s FSA and HSA eligible through Amazon and other retailers.

Burp cloths

If you have a baby with reflux or just a “happy spitter” (IYKYK), you will be Amazon Priming yourself extra burp cloths the first week you are home. After quickly exhausting the pile I received as gifts, I ordered some of the tried-and-true Gerber cloth diapers because they are larger and thicker. I wish I had managed to sneak a few extra swaddle blankets home from the hospital — these were so useful for visitors who wanted to hold the baby but also wanted to avoid becoming covered in spit up. We never left home without these for about six months and are still known to have them on hand, just in case!

Snacks for mom

One of the best things I did for myself was to stock my nursing cart with snacks I could easily grab and eat one handed during feeding sessions. I loved these granola bars and convinced myself the oatmeal was good for my milk supply. I was constantly restocking nuts, snack mix, crackers, and anything else that came in individual packages on Target runs and surviving mostly off nourishing snacks the first few weeks. While this is not a meal strategy I endorse, do yourself a favor and stock up!

Nursing tanks

I preferred a nursing tank to a bra, especially for the first few months. It made it so much easier to get dressed every day — tank, leggings, cardigan, check! And it felt more manageable when getting the hang of breastfeeding. Plenty of friends who did not breastfeed say they enjoyed these during the postpartum recovery phase as well! My absolute favorite nursing tanks are from Aerie since the fabric feels extra soft and the length is a bit shorter, but the Auden brand from Target makes tanks that are soft, cheaper, and a longer length.

Support system

Of all the “must haves” for new moms, this one may be the most essential! Building a support system before you have a baby is critical. While some are fortunate to have familial help, many people will need to outsource. Consider hiring (or gifting a new mom) a postpartum doula or night nurse who can help put fears at ease and ensure a good night’s sleep for everyone. Also, find a parent group on Facebook to seek out other expecting moms nearby before you deliver. It’s true what they say — it takes a village. (And maybe a few extra orders from Amazon.)

This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated for 2024!


Stepheny Roman
Stepheny was primarily raised in Maine after moving around as a young child since her father was in the Navy. She came to Boston in 2013 for work excited to be part of the city lifestyle instead of the small town she grew up in. After years of living in the city, she and her husband Steve moved to Dedham in the summer of 2022 shortly before welcoming their first child, William. She has spent most of her career working in various areas of retail and e-commerce, which has made her incredibly passionate about small and local businesses. However, she has been embracing being a stay-at-home mom since her son was born. Her hobbies include crafting (knitting and crocheting, as of late), rediscovering her love of reading when she can sneak it in during nap time, and finally having the opportunity to learn how to garden. Stepheny is looking forward to living out her high school dream of being a writer and having more opportunities to meet and connect with local moms.


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