In 2013, when I found out I was pregnant, a fastidious friend passed along a spreadsheet to me of all the baby essentials I’d need for the first six or so months. My secret skill is that I am a powerhouse Googler, so I ended up using my friend list as a jumping-off point to satisfy my need to obsessively research every possible thing on planet Earth. Now, two kids later, and as the founder of a maternity company, I am waist-deep in mama/baby/parent stuff all day, every day. I’ll admit that I’ve probably gone deeper than most (sane) people are willing to go and have since created my own Google doc that I email around to any friend of mine who I find out is pregnant. I’ve easily passed this on to 40 friends who have in turn passed it on to their friends in the sisterhood of the traveling spreadsheet fashion. I edited it once after the babe arrived, once more after babe No. 2, and then one more time after hearing from some of my best friends who had kids.
Even though this looks like a ton of stuff, you can absolutely survive with just onesies, diapers, wipes, a few swaddle blankets, and a car seat to start — the rest you can add as you go, or put on a registry and let friends and family treat you. (They want to! Trust me.) If some things look expensive, don’t worry; you can easily find a lot of the big-ticket items on Craigslist. (Local parent groups are also a great resource for lightly used UPPAbabys.) I’ve divided this into various categories and will be publishing this in two parts. Below, you’ll find products for sleeping, changing, feeding and pumping, and transporting. The second installment will feature clothing, bathing and grooming, playing, first aid, and gadgets. One thing to note: Baby-having is a deeply personal experience, so what works wonders for one person may be totally useless for someone else, which is why I’ll also include some things that other people swear by but I didn’t find particularly useful.