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Top 20 baby necessities for new moms

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

What new moms need

As a new mom, you might have a hard time knowing what you really need for your baby. After all, the market is flooded with gear, gadgets and toys aimed at new moms and their babies. We're here to help you separate needs from wants and get down to the essentials. Check out our top 20 list of baby necessities for new moms.

11

Nursing bras (yes, plural)

Do you know what happens if you use a regular bra when breastfeeding and just pop out a boob? It will work — at first — but then it will be uncomfortable. And eventually, you will ruin the bra by ripping it down the center. So, invest in a few nursing bras — more than one so that you can wash one and still have one to wear.

12

A port-a-crib/playpen

Can we be realistic here for a sec? Chances are, you won't be comfortable having your baby sleeping a couple rooms away. You'll very likely want him close. And if you travel, you will need somewhere for him to sleep. So, look for a port-a-crib/playpen with a bassinet attachment. You can use it at home or on the road, and it's more cost-effective than a fixed bassinet or cradle.

13

A swing

Like the mobile, a swing can be fabulous for soothing a baby when you need a second. Choose a swing that goes side-to-side, such as Fisher-Price Cradle swings (Target, $111). That's a more comfortable and natural motion.

14

A bouncy seat

A comfortable — and entertaining — bouncy seat is a must-have for your family. One like this Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer (Target, $44) provides visual stimulation and play time for when you need to get dinner on the table or use the restroom in peace. It's portable, so you can take it everywhere.

15

A gift card for coffee — at the drive-thru

It's hardly a secret that new moms don't get much sleep. Getting your coffee fix is essential — and a gift card makes it painless.

16

Magazines

Your free time and attention span are severely limited when you have a baby. Reading a book can become a challenge with all the stop-and-go of your new lifestyle — so skip the book and stock up on magazines instead. An assortment (baby mags, gossip rags, etc.) is a good way to go.

17

Baby-friendly detergent

Babies have sensitive skin and need a gentle detergent. Charlie's Soap (Momys, $15) is just that. Keep it handy for washing your baby's clothes, and as a bonus, it's cloth diaper-safe as well.

18

Spray 'n Wash

As your baby gets older, the stains get tougher. Be prepared to spritz and spray to keep her clothes from being ruined by a surprise attack of spit-up.

19

Burp cloths

Babies spit (and spit up) often — and when you're burping them, guess where all that stuff goes. Yep, right onto your shoulder and back. The burp cloth gives it a place to land without making a mess.

20

A laptop or smartphone

Motherhood can be isolating, particularly in those long, lingering winter months. That's why having a laptop or smartphone is a must-have for new moms. You can stay connected with the human race on parenting websites, blogs and message boards. And don't forget to connect with your friends via Twitter, Facebook and email.

More ways to prepare for Baby

21 Ways to save on baby items
Shopping tips for a baby nursery
Baby nursery design on a budget

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