Preparing for the arrival of a second child is a lot less stressful than the first since you’ve already begun to realize what things work best for your family and what may be incompatible with either your lifestyle or parenting philosophy. You most likely already have the basic necessities needed for the arrival of another newborn. As we look forward to welcoming our newborn daughter into our home this December, we took the time to re-evaluate what baby registry items have worked out best for us and what materials we wish we had known about before we had begun our journey into implementing Montessori at home.
NOTE: The below list seems like a lot. Infants actually do not require much from a materialistic standpoint. I’d love to direct you to read Amy’s beautifully written Montessori-Inspired Newborn Essentials post on her blog Midwest Montessori where she explains the most necessary items for a newborn are not ones that can be purchased.
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We love to create our baby registry on Amazon since it is a universal registry list, meaning items from shops outside Amazon can also be placed onto your registry. With our second child, we made a baby registry for ourselves to monitor prices and grab those last few items we needed when they were marked down. Amazon also grants a 15% completion discount on a single order that can be placed up to 6 months after the birth of your child.
Here’s our compilation of items we loved using with our firstborn daughter as well as some other things we’re eagerly anticipating trying with our second child:
BABY ESSENTIALS: The Second Time Around
A place to sleep, clothes to wear, a comfort object, a favorite bedtime story, and a memory book to record all those precious moments are some of our essential items for a new baby. Here are some of our favorite things:
ONE // Basic white apparel like these long-sleeve onesies are the quintessential wardrobe item in our house for babies. We have a hand-me-down stockpile of basic whites for every season (sleeveless, short sleeve, and long sleeve) to ensure baby’s comfort. Layering is made easy with white apparel, and it’s also a cinch to keep clean. Opt for “kimono-style” tops for newborns and infants to avoid having to place clothing over the child’s head. Montessori believes in freedom of movement for the child, so clothing should not be restrictive. Hands and feet should ideally be uncovered during wake hours so the child receives sensory input from her surroundings — the grain of a wooden teether or the smoothness of a silk lovey in her hand and the warmth from a blanket she is laying on.
TWO // You Belong Here by M.H. Clark is a simple poetic tale of unconditional love and belonging. Its lyrical text, beautiful illustrations, and affirming message ensure it will be a perfect bedtime story for both our daughters.
THREE // Chambray. Pram. Bear. I can’t resist. We won’t have to worry about our little one getting cold this winter with Gap’s quilted chambray pram.
FOUR // While we are opting to not swaddle this time around (read more here), swaddle blankets are still great for a number of other things. Lay one down on the floor or outdoors to serve as a small playmat, drape one over your shoulders as a nursing cover, keep one in your diaper bag to provide a bit of protection against the wind, etc. Little Unicorn has so many adorable prints that it’s difficult to choose just one!
FIVE // I also adore these gender-neutral swaddle blankets from Margaux & May.
SIX // We love using footed sleepers at nighttime. We live in an older home and our upstairs bedrooms are particularly drafty so it’s important we make sure our baby stays warm in the cooler months. Opt for organic cotton sleepers like these from L’ovedbaby to ensure your little one is comfortable and cozy all night long. When it’s cooler, layer a sleeveless onesie underneath and/or merino wool overalls on top.
SEVEN // Our Jellycat Bashful Bunny has been one of our daughter’s favorite stuffed animals. She’s affectionately been named “Bunny” and accompanies us almost everywhere. Jellycat’s stuffed animals are super soft and safe for all ages.
EIGHT // Our first time around we used the regular velcro bibs purchased at Babies-R-Us. Our daughter greatly disliked them, and I don’t blame her. The fabric was rough and the velcro itchy. This time we’re purchasing super soft cotton bandana bibs for when we enter the baby drooling stage. The two-snap system adjusts for ages 3 months – 24 months, and the chic design and variety of prints look stylish with any outfit. We’ve chosen this set from the Good Baby as well as this one from Copper Pearl.
NINE // We received multiple Sophie the Giraffes for our first daughter, and despite its popularity it never made an impact with our daughter. She always preferred to teeth on her wooden toys. Since we’re expecting our next child in December, I adore this simple Woodland Deer Teether from Clover & Birch.
TEN // Because I’m slowly learning how to sew, I’m going to attempt to make a Montessori Puzzle Ball for our newborn as one of her Christmas gifts this year. I love this chambray fabric paired with the blue floral. I’ll be following this tutorial from Little Red Farm. Don’t feel up to a DIY project? There are several beautiful ones to choose from available on Etsy, including this Winter Tale one from Idejukrelless and these organic ones made with Liberty of London prints by Timoetcie. Michael Olaf also sells puzzle balls on their website.
ELEVEN // The Interlocking Discs are a great first developmental toy that aids the infant in grasping and transferring between hands. It can be reintroduced later when the child begins to crawl since it gently rolls along the ground. Simple wooden teething rings can be used for a variety of purposes beginning at birth.
TWELVE // A beautiful heirloom baby blanket such as this one from Blabla Kids makes a wonderful registry item if you are not able to make one yourself. My husband and I still have our baby blankets. Mine was crocheted by my great-nanny, and it’s one of my most treasured childhood items.
THIRTEEN // These Disana Organic Wool Knitted Overalls layered over a footie should keep our newborn cozy and warm throughout the winter months. I only wish they came in toddler sizes because our daughter took one look at them and pleaded for her own pair to wear.
FOURTEEN // This C.R. Gibson Memory Book in Linen Tree is included on our registry for our second child. The neutral linen fabric paired with simple embroidery stitching is beautiful, and I cannot wait to begin recording our newborn’s most memorable moments. The memory book my mother kept for me is another treasured item I have from my childhood that I still love looking through from time to time.
FIFTEEN // We opted not to get a baby monitor the first time around, and we are still undecided whether to purchase one now. However, if a point comes when we feel it’s a necessity since we’ll have two children, we’ve selected the Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor. It’s well reviewed on Amazon and I like the interchangeable optical lens capability, although the wide angle lens must be purchased separately.
With our firstborn daughter we utilized cloth diapers on a part-time basis. We opted for disposable diapers overnight and frequently used them while traveling as well. Around the house we used OsoCozy prefolds (24) and Thirsties covers (6) until we transitioned to standing diaper changes during the toilet learning process, at which point we switched to pull-up disposables.
The system worked well for us and was very affordable. We plan to utilize roughly the same method this time around, although I plan on adding a few of the GroVia hybrid diapers to our stash for nighttime use.
ONE // – Eventually we transition to diaper changes exclusively in the bathroom, but for the first 8-10 months the floor or a nearby bed are the most convenient places for diaper changes in our household. A portable diaper caddy allows us to easily transport everything needed for diaper changes between upstairs and downstairs and from room to room. Bonus: Everything is neatly organized and arranged.
TWO // We purchased (6) Thirsties Duo Wrap Snaps with our firstborn, and they’re still in excellent condition. Paired with prefolds, these are a very economical choice when making the decision to cloth diaper your child.
THREE // These OsoCozy prefold diapers worked extremely well for us during the day. They are absorbent and easily contain messes. We’d use them underneath baby as a changing pad as well. Ours are still in excellent condition after more than a year’s worth of use.
FOUR // The GroVia Hybrid Diaper is a shell that can either be used with prefold diapers or GroVia’s own special insert.
FIVE // The GroVia Stay Dry Soaker Pads snap into the GroVia shell diapers. Made with a hemp/cotton blend and topped with micro fleece, the Stay Dry Soaker Pads are made to wick moisture away, so we plan on purchasing a few of these for nighttime use.
SIX // With our firstborn, we purchased two of these Planetwise Wet/Dry bags so we would have a convenient place upstairs and downstairs to toss used cloth diapers. It’s been nearly 3 years, and we’re still using them as mini laundry bags that we hang on the bathroom doorknob. Our daughter is able to easily toss her small clothes and washcloths in them for easy laundering. We usually wash the bags once a week, and they’re still in perfect condition. Note: They do get a little wrangled in the washing machine, so you may have to untangle them before hanging to dry.
SEVEN // We love these GroVia cloth wipes. They’re still in great condition after 2.5 years of constant use. We’ve used them for diaper changes, baby washcloths, and they are now being utilized as cleaning cloths by our daughter. Roll them up and they’re easily taken anywhere. We will be purchasing another set just to ensure we have plenty because they are a necessity in our household. Our daughter always prefers them to our other washcloths because they’re so soft.
EIGHT // For diaper changes, nothing is simpler than using a wet cloth wipe moistened with water. We opted for a spray bottle over a wipes warmer or container because of its ultimate portability. Stick one in your diaper caddy, and you’re set for the day. Once your child is a bit older, these simple spray bottles can be utilized in a variety of Montessori practical life and care of the environment activities, including washing windows, wiping the table, and watering plants.
ON THE GO
With our firstborn, we mostly preferred to just carry her when we were out and about. We always found the stroller cumbersome, and the baby carrier we had purchased was too bulky for quick errands. Our daughter was a very early walker, so once she was steady on her feet there was no holding her back from wanting to explore on her own.
ONE // We love the look of Guava Family’s ultra-modern and sleek Lotus bassinet. We already own the travel crib, so purchasing the bassinet conversion kit is an affordable choice. Our daughter ended up sleeping in a Rock ‘n Play for the first 5 months and then insisted on bed-sharing. She refused her crib from the beginning and was never shy about letting us know her complete disdain for it. We plan on trying the bassinet this time for the first few months and then hopefully transition our infant to a floor bed.
TWO // We purchased a Beco Gemini Baby Carrier with our first daughter, and while it serves its purpose for trips where there is a lot of walking involved, it’s a bit too long to comfortably fit my torso and it’s definitely not a viable option for household use. This time I’m purchasing a baby sling which hopefully will provide more comfort and still enable me to have both hands free to assist our older daughter when needed. This beautiful neutral chambray sling from Wildbird is my favorite because it’s super soft, easily portable, and the tail can be used as a nursing cover while in public.
THREE // If you travel a lot, a portable crib is a nice accessory to have. We love Guava Family’s Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib because it sits directly on the floor, allowing me to lay directly next to our daughter and nurse if needed. Additionally, it enables your child to crawl into it by themselves once they are mobile. The crib itself is extremely easy to set up and take down and a cinch to bring along on trips since its carrying case functions as a backpack. We often used the crib while traveling to grandparents’ homes and on family vacations. Our daughter now loves to set it up and use it as a fort in her playroom. If you are expecting your first child, the Lotus Bassinet + Everywhere Travel Crib is a nice bundle to invest in if you’re a family always on the go.
FOUR // We used the Skip Hop Pronto Diaper Changing Station with our firstborn for outings, but with two kids I have a feeling I might need a bigger bag. This weekender tote by Hip Cub is one I’m considering.
FIVE // Whether it’s for used cloth diapers or dirty or wet clothing, we’ve learned to never leave home without a wet bag if you have an infant in tow. This Thirsties Wet Bag rolls up so you can easily toss it into your diaper bag when not in use.
SIX // One of the only absolute necessities for a second child is another car seat. We have been extremely satisfied with the Maxi Cosi Pria 70 Convertible Car Seat as has our daughter. The fabric is soft and comfortable, the insert is machine washable, and the car seat itself is not difficult to install. We will be purchasing a second one for our newborn. NOTE: Make sure you select the Tiny Fit option if planning on using this car seat with a newborn.
ONE // Our attempt to introduce bottles to our firstborn when I returned back to work was unsuccessful for a variety of reasons — she had cow’s milk allergy and disliked the hypoallergenic formula, and unfortunately my breastmilk began to sour after just 12 hours so keeping a stash in the freezer was impossible. Needless to say, my husband had plenty of rough nights when I wasn’t available. We had tried a variety of plastic bottles, including Dr. Brown’s, but it never made a difference. She always preferred the breast to the bottle. Had we known then what we know now, we would have invested in these Lifefactory bottles made of glass. Maybe my milk would have stayed fresh longer in glass versus plastic, but even if we had run into the same problems at least the Lifefactory bottles could have been used as water bottles for our daughter when she got older.
TWO // We loved using these OsoCozy prefold diapers as burp cloths when our daughter was little.
THREE // As much as I’d love to be able to purchase Stokke Tripp Trapp chairs for our daughters, the price is simply beyond our budget and we’ve had no luck finding them via thrift stores or Craigslist so far. The Abiie Beyond Wooden High Chair is a slightly more affordable option that still allows children the ability to independently climb into and out of the chair. The highchair comes with a removable tray, an adjustable seat and footrest, and can easily be converted into a regular chair that will grow with your child through their teenage years.
FOUR // Our firstborn daughter began using small shot glasses to drink water at 6 months of age. By 9 months, she had developed enough strength in her hands to successfully drink from these Pokal glasses from IKEA. We’ve yet to have one break, even though they’ve been accidentally dropped onto the floor a few times.
FIVE // The Boon Grass Drying Rack is a great addition to your countertop. In our home, it’s been used to dry baby bottles and acccessories, breastmilk storage bottles, and our daughter’s small glasses and silverware. When Lilly chooses to wash her dishes after breakfast and lunch, she always opts to place her clean items onto this small drying rack as opposed to our larger one.
SIX // We were very pleased with the Bumkins Waterproof Bibs with our firstborn. The Bumkins Waterproof Long-Sleeve Bibs can also be used when your little one is finger painting or engaging in messy sensory play.
SEVEN // IKEA offers an affordable set of stainless steel children’s flatware that can be offered to the child when he/she is ready to begin eating solid foods.
EIGHT // A cube chair set like this one offered by Naturababy is a great investment for any Montessori home. For a more affordable but less sturdy option, IKEA offers the LÄTT Children’s table and chair set for $24.99, but you’ll need to trim the legs to match your child’s height.
NINE // It’s important to provide the child with small plates and bowls that they can successfully carry to their table and then to the sink. IKEA, World Market, and Amazon all offer affordable options.
Personal care and toiletry items are practical gifts for any family expecting a child.
ONE // The OCCObaby Natural Baby Brush set includes a wooden hairbrush with soft goat hair bristles, a massage brush, and a wooden comb. They’re also the perfect size for your child to use when he/she expresses an interest in personal care as well.
TWO // Since our daughter has sensitive skin, we try to avoid using any personal care products with harsh chemicals. Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo and Body Wash is sulfate-free, hypoallergenic, and gently scented. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can add it to your Subscribe & Save shipment to receive an additional 15% off.
THREE // If you’re in need of a nasal aspirator, FridaBaby’s NoseFrida the Snotsucker is the standard. It may sound gross, but it’ll clear your baby’s nose much more effectively and safely than the regular bulb syringe the hospital provides.
FOUR // We’ve been using the RADIUS Pure Baby Toothbrush since our daughter began eating solid foods. We just wet the brush with water and gently massaged her gums as an infant. Once she turned 18 months, we upgraded to the RADIUS Totz Toothbrush. Since we are Amazon Prime members, we simply added them onto our Subscribe & Save shipment. When she was younger and would spend more time chewing on the brush, we’d replace them every month. Now that she’s learning how to properly brush her teeth, we receive a shipment of three brushes every 6 months. Since she’s never complained about brushing her teeth, I’m assuming that she highly recommends them!
FIVE // Jack N’ Jill Toothpaste is fluoride-free, sugar-free, and SLS-free. It comes in a variety of flavors that are safe for toddlers to practice brushing their teeth. NOTE: For infants, you do not need to use toothpaste. A soft-bristled toothbrush and water is enough to gently clean food residue from the child’s teeth.
SIX // A low-hanging mirror has been a favorite of our daughter’s since she began standing. We have a large one attached to the back of our bathroom door, and our daughter has always loved its accessibility — from standing diaper changes to brushing her hair to brushing her teeth to washing her face. If you don’t wish to attach a full-size mirror, check out IKEA for the STUGVIK Mirror. It can be attached to any smooth, flat surface at child-height, making it a wonderful addition to any personal care space for your child.
SEVEN // I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but we used a nail file on our daughter’s fingernails for almost the entire first year. Neither of us was brave enough to attempt nail clippers in fear that we may hurt her. In light of this, I’d definitely recommend investing in a nice nail file rather than the cheap emery boards you’ll find at your local grocery store.
EIGHT // You’ll want a thermometer to monitor your baby’s temperature in the event he/she becomes ill. The OCCOBaby Non-Contact Infrared Digital Thermometer also includes a rectal thermometer to confirm any high temperatures.
NINE // For diaper rashes with our firstborn, we generally only had to use a dab of coconut oil. However, there were a few occasions where we needed something stronger, and Boudreaux’s Butt Paste always did the trick. Place it on a severe diaper rash at night, and by morning the rash would be almost gone.
A MONTESSORI MOM’S PROJECT LIST
While we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our second daughter, I’ve been busy making a few Montessori-inspired items for our home. With our firstborn, we didn’t really begin implementing Montessori until she was 10-12 months of age. As such, here are some of the things on our project list that we hope to complete in the next three months for our newborn:
ONE // A topponcino is a soft mattress that provides security and comfort to a newborn from birth. You can read more about the many benefits of the topponcino here. In order to help foster the bond between siblings, I hope the topponcino will also allow Lilly to safely cradle her baby sister in her arms. If you’re not interested in making one yourself, a topponcino is available for purchase at Michael Olaf and Etsy. UPDATE: Between house showings and my husband’s hectic work schedule towards the end of the year, we ended up purchasing our topponcino from Michael Olaf.
TWO // This time around we want a simple baby activity gym like this one that can easily be folded and put away when not in use. Our hope is to use the gym to hang at least some of the Montessori mobiles as well as the puzzle ball. UPDATE: See our Montessori-inspired DIY baby activity gym here. At only $15 dollars in material costs, it’s super affordable and a cinch to set up and take down!
THREE // I plan to make several Montessori-inspired mobiles, including the Munari, the Octahedron, the Gobbi, and the Dancer mobiles.
FOUR // The most complex project I hope to complete is the Montessori puzzle ball. Since I’m a beginner sewer, I’m worried this may be a difficult project for me to complete. I plan on following this tutorial by Rachael from the Little Red Farm blog. UPDATE: Another project we had to put on hold due to crazy, hectic life interfering! We purchased the small Montessori puzzle ball from Michael Olaf when we ordered our topponcino, but I do hope to make the larger 5-inch ball after Christmas. Perhaps it’ll be a nice addition to her Easter basket in April. I can already tell the puzzle ball is going to be a hit with both kids because our older daughter wanted to play catch with it for more than an hour when it arrived.
FIVE // We also plan to set up a small activity area for our newborn in our living space. We will include a low-hanging mirror on the wall as well as a thin mattress pad (specifically the Guava Family Lotus Crib mattress since we will not be using the travel crib while at home) for the baby to lay on. Mobiles and other toys will be introduced at the developmentally-appropriate times.
Included below are some of our daughter’s favorite books as well as some other titles we plan on purchasing for our newborn. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, The Carrot Seed, Everywhere Babies, and The Swing have been much beloved in our home since our daughter was an infant and are still among her favorites. Gerda Muller’s books are beautifully illustrated and would make a wonderful baby shower gift for any new parent. Other books that were much loved by our daughter in her first 12 months that are not included on the graphic below include Hands Can and Global Babies. Eric Carle’s books have also been popular as have most titles written by Mem Fox, Il Sung Na, and Margaret Wise Brown.