When I was pregnant, people got me all kinds of amazing and thoughtful gifts that are, basically, conventional first-baby gifts. A couple people, though, sent me stuff with notes like, “trust me, you’re going to need these more than anything else.” So I graciously accepted and man, were they right. So here’s a list of practical things that I either learned I needed (the hard way), or that people who had done this forced into my life. This is, by no means, a comprehensive list, and basically it’s all a matter of my opinion. But my opinion is usually the right one, so I’m sharing this with you.

The Basics

  • Gerber Birdseye Flatfold Cloth Diapers, White, 10 Count work great as burp cloths, hands down best cheat item ever, and cheap.
  • The Miracle Blanket (actually, get multiple!) for swaddling. Not a gimmick, super easy, truly a miracle. Unless youre just naturally skilled at good ol’ fashioned swaddling, which I am not. And yes, your baby will look like he’s in a straightjacket. Also look into a Woombie.
  • Blackout curtains. Because, sun.
  • Nursing pillow. Just do it.
  • Bins for everything in your changing table.
  • Medela pump or an equivalent. Quite a hefty price tag but a better pump will save you from (or lessen, at least) so many problems.

You Probably Want These

  • Nursing tanks to go with your nursing bra. Most convenient thing ever, and completely worth the investment. They clip into your nursing bra and clip out to fold down for discreet feeding without having to bare your tummy. Wear them under a shirt or alone, if you want. Make sure it fits very snugly. I usually wear a medium in everything but for mine, I got a small.
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save for diapers and maybe wipes. You save a good amount this way and they auto-ship them to you monthly. Cool.
  • Rock n’ Play. Get one from Craigslist. Good for everything! When you need a place for a baby to sit, sleep, etc., this thing will do everything. Stop using when your baby can pick himself up and roll, ’cause he’ll roll right out of it and onto the floor. Some people use these as a makeshift bassinet when baby isn’t sleeping well in the nursery. Have it by your bed and place baby in it. Add a folded blanket to the bottom to make it softer and help to avoid flat head, as using it by itself, I’ve been told by our old night nanny, causes flat head.
  • If worried about nipple confusion and using pacifiers, consider Soothie brand paci’s. They’re nipple-shaped and therefore make it easier for baby to transition from one to the other. When teeth are about to come in, I’ve heard that these can skew teeth. I’ve heard Mam paci’s are best at that point and we use those, now.
  • Plug-in Sound Machine and portable sound machine. Start using from day 1. A god send. If you get a battery-operated as your main machine, you will tear through batteries at an ungodly rate. I made this mistake.

Doin’ The Most

  • Video monitor. To ease your paranoia.
  • I never used my expensive earth momma nipple cream, but some might find this to be a good purchase. Or any lanolin nipple cream. I’ve heard that coconut oil is an amazing alternative for nipple cracking, diaper rash, etc etc etc.
  • Do not use baby powder, apparently. They breathe it in and it’s not healthy. Unless you move away from baby, put it in your hand first, and then apply it.
  • Boudreauxs butt paste.
  • Do your research but buy the best kind of milk storage bags for the freezer. And freeze milk FLAT and let out air prior to sealing and freezing! Make sure to label with a marker/sharpie the date at which you pumped.

There are 20,000 more things I could think of, but, you know, I have other glamorous mommy things to get to. Hope someone finds this helpful, and feel free to comment with any mommy must-haves you find invaluable.

This article originally appeared on DifferentReasons.com.