Baby Essentials - The Montessori List
Simpler parenthood. Supported childhood.
We believe in buying right the first time and investing in gear you will use for a few years, not just a few months. And it turns out, these long-term essentials are not only great for parents, but are developmentally supportive for children and cheaper too! This is not an exhaustive list, but some key must-haves for your nursery.
'Montessori' is an approach to learning and education that focuses on supporting the child along their natural path of development and preparing a space that best supports that development. As parents ourselves and Montessori teachers, this list includes our top picks for each of your essential baby needs including:
- Personal Care Space
- Postpartum Essentials
- Baby Books to Read
Babies need to be carried - a lot. Pretty much until they are mobile (around 9 months), but even then they still need help getting to where they need to go! A baby carrier is a great way to get around, free up your hands, and keep baby close for bonding. This means no stroller parking, pushing or hauling needed! Just grab and go! A convertible carseat is also a great investment as it will last you about 5 years (whereas an infant seat will last only about 12 months). Taking baby out of the carseat (instead of carrying baby around in the infant bucket set) means more opportunities for touch, being carried, and your baby to practice moving their bodies!
No need to accumulate things you will use for only a few months! This set up is simple, developmentally aligned and will last you through your child's first year and beyond. When it comes to movement, babies learn by doing. When baby is alert and ready to play, giving the baby safe and unrestricted floor time is ideal for their developing mind and bodies.
A cushioned mat, a low mounted horizontal mirror, a pillow to support tummy time or the early sitter, and a low open shelf for a few toys is all you need for the first year - seriously! Want to see it in action? Watch a child from 4 days old to nearly 6 months in how they develop movement and use this playspace!
Our top set-up picks
our top books & language set up picks
When looking for a good book, look for books that have real words and real images (photographs or nice drawing/paintings) as much as possible. Avoid character-driven books as this will peak early interest in screen-related media and it gives them something that is not real (and they don't know the difference yet). Keep in mind that the baby is beginning to develop language, so the more you speak to the baby, the more they will have say later on. These are just a few of our favorites.
We all need sleep. It is essential to our processing and infants do a lot of it. A well prepared space can make you and your child's sleep life much easier.
The floor bed (read more in our blog post here!) adds snuggles, eases overnight nursing, avoids the dreaded "transfer," completely avoids a toddler crib transition, lasts for however long you want to use it, and let's your mobile baby go to their toys in the morning (instead of waking you up!). Its got all the benefits of co-sleeping, but in the child's room! Just prepare the rest of the room to be simple and safe and add a baby gate to the door - you will thank yourself later!
our top sleeping picks
Before starting solids, its most important to simply have a comfortable place to sit to feed your baby. The attention, closeness, affection, and care that comes with however the baby is fed is what gives the child the template of community.
Once you start solids, the right tools can support your child's growing independence and help them develop positive, pro-social eating habits - like the trayless adjustable high chair that comes right up to the table! This allows the baby to be part of the meal from the beginning - instead of off to the side. Pair that with a place-setting and the child will orient to the whole meal process. The more their mealtime looks like your mealtime, the more connected they will be to the social aspect of the meal and the less likely they are to become picky eaters. Want to know more? We have a tutorial to show you how to introduce all these tools right here.
Our top eating picks
Personal Care Space
Much of our time with a young infant is spent caring for their physical body as they have yet to be able to care for themselves. Each of these acts is a template for the child for how they will one day care for themselves. Our top picks help you best help your child with their daily needs.
Consider cloth! Cloth diapers allow the child to feel when they are wet or dry (instead of always feeling dry) which protects the important sensorial feedback for the child about what happens when they feel that sensation in their body. This supports the natural development of toilet learning. Cloth diapers are cheaper over the long run, result in earlier toilet learning, and are more eco-friendly!
Our top set up picks
our cloth diapering top picks
Postpartum (0-8 weeks)
These are short-lived but if they work, they are essential during the challenging postpartum time. Save your arms from bouncing and take a seat on the yoga ball to rock your baby to sleep. The baby does best in arms (for bonding) or on a floor mat (for developing their movements) so use the baby bouncer sparingly, but it can be a lifesaver when trying to get dinner on the table. If you opt to swaddle, our top pick focuses just on supporting the arms so legs are free to kick. If you opt to use a pacifier, consider waiting until breastfeeding is established (if breastfeeding) typically around 3-4 weeks and use it for sleep. Awake-time pacifiers are not recommended because they block communication from baby to parent.
our top postpartum picks
Baby Books to Read
These are our top picks for reading before baby arrives, after baby is born and to refer back to as you begin your journey as a parent.