As a first time mom I was so overwhelmed with everything I needed from the time I got pregnant. There are millions of baby products out there to choose from these days and I didn't even know where to begin. Thankfully I had the help of family and friends to narrow down my list and to get some real advice about the essentials I needed. And now that I've had 3 months of experience (I know, not much), I wanted to share everything while it's still fresh in my mind. I've emailed this list to a few friends who are first time moms and they said it helped them a ton from what to pack for the hospital to things they needed when they brought their baby home for the first time.

Ariana ClareImage by Gayle Tiller.

Essentials

  1. Bump Nest Pillow (For pregnancy, breastfeeding, and for your baby. This was a lifesaver for me during the 3rd trimester. Post-pregnancy when trying to get my son to nurse in different positions, like the football hold, this pillow was very helpful.) 
  2. Puj Bath (Extremely easy to use, clean, and store, clean.)
  3. Nose Frida + Saline Spray (LIFESAVERS!)
  4. Ubbi Diaper Pail 
  5. Crane Humidifier essential oils (lavender, breathe, and tea tree)
  6. If nursing, a good quality pump. I have a Medela Breastpump + accessories (E.g. storage bottles, sanitizing microwave bags, cleaning wipes, freezer storage bags, and handless pumping bra)
  7. Rock n Play (He lived in this the first couple of weeks during the day. He also slept in it at night when he was sick so he could be elevated)
  8. Organic Detergent (I use babyganics)
  9. Waterproof Changing Pads (I use on top of the bed when changing at night and on his changing pad)
  10. Diaper Bag Organizer (I got one from Etsy and use it in any tote bag)
  11. Portable Changing Pad Mat
  12. Sound Machine 
  13. Video Baby Monitor
  14. Baby Carrier, Solly Baby Wrap
  15. Little Lamb Swing
  16. Gripe Water and Gas Drops
  17. Baby Lines (Washcloths, hooded towel, and burp cloths)
  18. Sleepers (I prefer without feet)

Ariana ClareImage by Ariana Clare.

Favorites 

  1. Slouch Beanies (So cute for baby boys) 
  2. Max + Moose (Love their swaddles and every purchases sends a blanket to the NICU)
  3. Pehr Designs (Obsessed with everything!)
  4. Modern Burlap (Swaddles)
  5. Hanna Andersson (Love the sleepers)
  6. Shop Bitte (Organic toys and clothes)
  7. GAP Clothes
  8. Burp Scarves (I love Guguberry, on Etsy)

For Mom

  1. If nursing, breastfeeding book: The Nursing Mother's Companion 
  2. Sleeping Books: So many to choose from but my favorite was Baby Wise. I needed a more relaxed schedule and I didn't want to get even more stressed out when things didn't go like the book but everyone's different so you have to go with what works for you. Another book I recommend for fun is Bringing up Bebe.
  3. If nursing, disposable nursing pads (must have during night when your milk comes in) and Mother Love nipple cream (great because you don't have to wipe off before feeding because it's food based)
  4. Belly Bandit (I got both S and XS-- lay on top of them and have your husband tighten it for you. I slept in it until it got uncomfortable and tried to wear it all the time except while showering)
  5. Depends Active Fit (These were honestly a life saver. I wore them until about 3 weeks after so I didn't have to ruin all my underwear with huge pads) 

Hospital Must Haves 

  1. Comfy robe and slippers 
  2. If nursing, breastfeeding bras (I love the Nordstrom brand ones)
  3. Pillow and blanket for your husband
  4. Comfy outfit for the way home (no leggings because you will basically be in a diaper and yes you need maternity not regular clothes).
  5. Cute swaddle and hat for a picture of your new baby (Pehr/Modern Burlap, see above)
  6. Car seat (installed!) and two baby blankets (one over the baby and one for over the car seat)
  7. Simple outfit for baby on the way home (make sure it has legs for the seat and it's not too thick)
  8. Simple makeup for when visitors come and a few toiletries (I just brought face wash, lotion, and body wash.)

Okay that is a lot but I hope you find it helpful. Here are just a few additional thoughts....Take advice from your mom friends and family. I was open to any advice and help. I wasn't trying to do it on my own. I had to learn from my mom, sister-in-law, and my husband's mom on how to do things. Also, don't hesitate to reach out when you're alone with your baby for support. New mama friends need to stick together because this is a hard adjustment but every mother has to go through it and just remember you're not alone. I texted my friends who had babies with questions probably everyday for a month. Being a mom is one of the best but hardest things I've ever done. Remember to take some time for yourself (a warm bath or a coffee run), let the little things go (there will be poop everywhere and laundry piled up), and keep in mind they won't be a newborn forever. And yes, you will eventually sleep through the night! 

Ariana ClareImage by Anastasia Serena.

Written by guest contributor Ariana Clare.

Ariana Clare is photographer and stylist who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband Michael and their son Mathis. She received her BFA in studio art with a concentration in photography and has interned with Design Love Fest'sBlogshop. Fashion styling comes naturally to her and she has worked with brands such as Anthropologie, Nordstrom, TOPSHOP, and Madewell.

Featured images by Gayle Tiller, gttillerphotography.com and Ariana Clare, arianaclare.com.