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Chester County, Pennsylvania & Beyond

My Must Have Baby Essentials

Motherhood, Newborn

August 2, 2019

Baby number two will be arriving any day now and since this is our second time around, I’ve been finding I’m getting a lot of questions about our “must-haves” for pregnancy, nursery and beyond. Below I’ve linked up some of our favorite products – I appreciate every purchase through these affiliate links because it helps support more of these posts that are somewhat outside of my normal content.

And before scrolling through all of my recommendations, I highly recommend that you start an Amazon Baby Registry or a Target Baby Registry even if you don’t plan on sharing it with friends and family! For baby #2, we didn’t have a baby shower but I still created a registry so I could get a good idea of what we needed. An added bonus is that they give you a nice completion discount so you can buy any leftover items still on your list!

Have you used any of these products? Is there something else you swear by? I love checking out new things (especially if they make life with a newborn easier) so leave a comment and let me know!


Krista Brackin Photography | Must Have Baby Essentials for Baby & Nursery



Marpac Dohm – This is the best sound machine out there! We started using this very early on to block out noise and we still use it with Lucy today! This sound machine is fan powered so the noise is consistent. It has a high and low setting and you can also adjust the fan openings to modify the sound.

Graco Pack-N-Play Playard with Cuddle Cove Removable Seat – We loved this version for Lucy! It comes with the changing station, removable seat, sleeping insert and playard. It also has the zip-up storage areas for goodies like diapers, wipes, extra blankets, etc.

Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs – We love these muslin burpy bibs! They’re super soft and absorbent. The contour is perfect for an over-the-shoulder burp cloth and it also comes with snaps so you can use these as a bib too.

Aden + Anais Blankets – These blankets are 47″x47″ and are the perfect size for a stroller blanket or even for a toddler (Lucy is already using one that we got for baby). Here’s a link to a 44″x44″ version that we also have and love!

Infant Car Seat & Stroller Set – This stroller also comes with the infant car seat. The seat is easy to get in and out of the car and also the stroller. We used this carseat for Lucy and plan to use it again for baby #2. If you’re looking for our double stroller, CLICK HERE. We love this one because it’s a front and back style rather than side to side and you can switch the seats around in a ton of different variations. The best part is that you can get an adapter to fit a variety of brands of infant seats!

Convertible Car Seat – Is this seat expensive? Yes. Are there less expensive options out there yes? Are those less expensive options rated as highly for safety? No. We actually got this seat while we were on the search for an option that might help with Lucy’s carsickness and while it didn’t necessarily help on that front, it does give us the peace of mind that we’re providing our kiddos with the safest ride possible. This is one of the only convertible car seat models in the United States that offers the ARB bar for safety which is a standard in Europe. Essentially what this does is help absorb collision impact for rear-facing seats. An added bonus – it’s WAY easier to install than other models.

Video Baby Monitor – The original monitor that we had was a total dud. We got this new monitor a few months ago to replace Lucy’s and we love it so far! It can zoom and pan the room, has day and night time vision and can expand with additional cameras when you have more than one kiddo.

Leachco Baby Lounger – This is a new purchase for Baby #2 and we’re excited to try it out!

Le Petit Baby Book – This book is so well thought out and creative! I love all of the prompts that keep you on track and it’s also visually interesting with beautiful illustrations, pop-outs and even pockets for things like ultrasounds.

Nite Nite Light Bulb – A fellow mama friend recommended this to us and it gets our stamp of approval! This bulb blocks out all blue light and is perfect for late night feedings or baby checks because it’s not as bright or harsh as a regular overhead light. We have this in Lucy and Baby #2’s bedside lamps.

Cushioned Baby Bath Towel – I wish they made this in an adult size. This towel is SO plush and it has little wings that you can fold in to cover baby up from every angle.

Pacifiers – We love these Cutie PAT pacifiers. They’re 100% medical grade silicone and they function perfectly as a pacifier and as a teether.

Lou Lou & Company Gowns & Swaddles – I wish I had known about this company when we had Lucy because their products are amazing! One of my newborn clients turned me on to this brand and I’m definitely a supporter now! Their gowns ease diaper changes and they’re incredibly soft and stretchy not to mention they come in the most adorable prints and patterns.

Sensitive Baby Wipes – we love these Sensitive Baby wipes. They’re way more affordable than the big brands like Pampers or Huggies and they’re free of things like fragrance, dye, alcohol, parabens, phthalates, etc.

Happy Baby Wrap – This was the only way I was able to get things done in the early newborn days. Lucy loved to be worn in her wrap and the best part is, it keeps then snuggled up close to you while you get your hands back to cook, clean or do whatever! Recommended for babies up to 25lbs.

Happy Baby Carrier – This carrier is great for wearing baby on-the-go. It’s comfortable and can hold babies up to 45lbs.

Breathable Crib Mattress – The first mattress that we got for Lucy was affordable but unfortunately it didn’t last much beyond the first year without getting an indentation in the middle despite being rotated and flipped. We invested in this mattress for Lucy and will also be getting one for Baby #2 when she transitions to sleeping in her crib because we love this one so much! It feels so much more sturdy than the first one and the biggest selling point for me was that it’s breathable yet waterproof. One of my biggest fears transitioning to the crib was that baby would roll over and not be able to breathe but this mattress has a breathable machine-washable mesh surface layer (I tried it out myself and there’s still airflow even with your face smushed into it). Another great thing about this mattress is that it’s “2-Stage” with a firm side for infant/baby and a slightly softer side for toddler. If you already have a mattress or aren’t able to splurge on this one, you can get a mattress protector pad from the same line that still has the breathable & waterproof benefits.

Krista Brackin Photography | Must Have Baby Essentials for the Hospital


Boppy Nursing Support Pillow – We love our boppy for nursing!

First Aid Antiseptic & Anesthetic – Let’s just say “things are tender”.

Medicated Cooling Pads – We’ll call this “things are tender 2.0”.

Flip Flops – You’ll want to take a shower after baby is born but think of your bathroom situation like summer camp. For me, flip flops that were able to get wet are a must.

Breast Pump – The lactation consultant at the hospital will show you how to use and clean this properly. Make sure it’s charged up and ready to go before you leave home. I did link up the pump that I used during my first pregnancy here so you can take a look but I highly recommend calling your insurance company to see what your plan covers – most insurances cover certain models of breast pumps at 100%.

Toothbrush & Toothpaste

Hair Brush

Phone Charger

A Pack of Gum

Krista Brackin Photography | Must Have Baby Essentials for Mom Pregnancy & Postpartum


Coconut Oil – This is one of the main moisturizers I used to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy and it works like a dream! Not only is it great for pregnancy but it’s safe to use for dry skin while nursing and also on babies and toddlers!

Belli All Day Moisture Body Lotion – This stuff smells like a dream! If you’re looking for a more creamy lotion that still absorbs extremely well, I’d highly recommend this!

NoMo Nausea Bands – These were a life-saver especially during my second pregnancy. These nausea bands work with pressure points and also smell like peppermint to help relieve nausea.

Pink Stork Nausea Lozenges – These nausea lozenges helped take the edge off of my nausea symptoms with baby #2 and they don’t taste horrible like many other options.

Bamboobies Nursing Pads – A Mama friend recommended these to me and this is a product I used daily while nursing. These nursing pads are super soft, leak proof and thin enough so they don’t show through.

Haakaa Manual Breast Pump – While this can be used as an individual breast pump, most Mamas use this to catch additional milk that would be lost while nursing on the other side. I use this every time I nurse and it’s great to help build your freezer stash!

Primally Pure Oil Facial Cleanser – This is really an “any time” type of cleanser. I started using this during my pregnancy when I was searching for a clean alternative and this stuff literally makes your skin feel like you just left the spa. It smells great and leaves your skin hydrated without being greasy.

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo – This dry shampoo is the only one I’ve found so far that doesn’t leave my scalp itchy. Added bonus – it smells amazing!

Nursing Bras – I’ve linked one of the brands I used after having Lucy and I’m trying out a new brand for baby #2 so I’ll update this post with my review after I’ve tested them out.

Cozy Nightgowns – These nightgowns are super soft and stretchy which makes them perfect for wearing during pregnancy and nursing postpartum. These are flowy enough that you won’t need to use a nursing cover and if you ask me, you could probably get away with wearing these to the grocery store if you knot the edge and throw on some leggings on underneath.

Kiinde Milk Storage Twist Pouches – These were my favorite pouches to use for freezing pumped milk. They lay flat to freeze and take up less space. You can use them with a variety of different pumps so you don’t necessarily have to use the full Kiinde bottle system. Use coupon code ref6452300 for $5 off a $10 purchase.

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