12 Second Baby Must-Haves That You May Not Realize You Need

Not everything you had for your first baby can be reused for your second, and there are things you can add to your list that will make life easier too.

Published October 26, 2023
Stylish scandinavian newborn baby nursery with natural rattan cradle and sheer white canopy hanging over it.

Having a second baby is an amazing experience. You've already been around the block, so there is less stress leading up to labor, delivery, and beyond; but just because this is your second child doesn't mean you have everything you need.

In fact, there are a few big-ticket baby essentials that you might not know that you need to purchase! If you want to know the top second baby must-haves to add to your registry, we're here to deliver the details.

What You Need for Your Second Baby

Contrary to popular belief, just because you have already had a baby doesn't mean that you are fully ready for your second. There are a few second baby must-haves to consider adding to your registry to help you prepare for juggling two kids.

1. Car Seat

While you may be thinking that you have an infant car seat that is ready and waiting in your storage closet, it's important to remember that your second baby will grow out of that seat much sooner than you remember. If you are putting together a registry for your second baby, then it can save you time and money to put a convertible car seat on the list.

However, if you are shopping for these items yourself, this is also a good item to keep in the back of your mind because sales will pop up throughout the year. It is usually better to buy early and save than to wait until you need the car seat and have to pay full price. 

Need to Know

Car seats expire. Even if you haven't had an accident, general use and extreme hot and cold temperatures can degrade the car seat materials. Take a moment to check that the infant seat you already have is still safe to use. If not, add this item to your registry as well.

2. Car Seat Mirror

Unless your first baby is a big enough kid to face forward, you will want to snag a second car seat mirror so that you can monitor both of your babies while you are on the go.

3. Double Stroller

Woman and stroller for twins.

This is another second baby must-have to add to your list. I recommend looking for a double stroller that is compatible with your infant car seat. However, if that is not in your budget, my family has loved the Graco DuoGlider Baby Stroller

The back seat folds flat, which creates an on-the-go bassinet perfect for your newest little rider. There is plenty of storage, it is lightweight, and it fits through all doorways! Why do I mention this last feature? The side-by-side strollers seem great — until you have to go to the bathroom at the mall or go through any regular doorway. 

4. Hands-Free Breast Pump

When you have to juggle a toddler and newborn, being tethered to a chair to pump is virtually impossible. Thankfully, most insurance companies will give you a free breast pump and they typically offer one or two hands-free models. I highly recommend snagging one of these so that you can pump anywhere at any time.

Need to Know

Breast pumps are intended to be single-user items. This leads many mothers to assume that they can reuse their old breast pump with their new baby, but that is not always the case. If you didn't take the time to sterilize everything before storing it away after weaning baby number one, then it is best to get a new one. However, if you are still pumping from your first pregnancy or took the time to sterilize everything, then it is likely safe to use.

5. Hip Carrier

For the independent toddlers who don't like the stroller, another option is a hip carrier. This can allow you to carry your toddler without breaking your back and push your single stroller with your newborn inside. 

6. Changing Pad

Father playing with baby boy on changing mat

Unless you plan for your two kids to share a room or your toddler is already potty trained, you should look into a second changing table pad for your sweet little baby. This can allow you to not have to bounce back and forth from the nursery to your toddler's room for the many diaper changes that are about to come.

Helpful Hack

As most experienced parents know, blowouts and sprinkler situations (with newborn boys) are inevitable, so skip the pretty diaper pad cover this time around and invest in puppy pads. Costco has great bulk deals and these can make cleanups quick and easy!

7. Diaper Pail 

Just like with the changing pad, a diaper pail is another second baby must-have if you want to keep the stink out of their room!

8. Crib & Crib Mattress

For parents who bought a convertible crib for their toddler or are having their second baby soon after having their first, a second safe sleeping space is imperative. You can either invest in a second crib and crib mattress — or if you plan to buy your older baby a big kid bed in the near future, you can also look into getting a playpen for the period in between. This can serve as a safe sleep space for an infant and they cost a lot less.

Need to Know

Your crib mattress should always be replaced between kids. Research shows that "an infant mattress previously used by another child was significantly associated with an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome."

9. White Noise Machine

Again, unless you plan for your kids to share a room, a second white noise machine can be another sound investment to ensure that everyone gets their best sleep.

Helpful Hack

White noise machines don't work for everyone. We are one of those families. My boys get distracted by the nature sounds, but they cannot sleep without our HEPA air purifiers running. I highly recommend looking into these because they not only clean the air in your kid's room, but they also create uniform white noise!

10. Pacifiers

Close up of baby with pink pacifier

Did you know that pacifiers should be replaced every two months? Since they are sucked and chewed on constantly, the integrity of the nipple degrades quickly. Not only that, but the inside of the nipple can house dangerous bacteria when it is not cleaned properly.

This means two things — first, toss your toddler's old pacifiers. Second, if you are registering for second baby must-haves, register for a handful of pacifiers for each age range. That way, you have a stockpile ready to keep your baby safe and healthy.

11. Bottle Nipples

Similar to the pacifiers, bottle nipples also need to be replaced every few months. Many people also don't know that you were supposed to upgrade the nipple levels. Those little numbers on the nipples dictate the flow rate — the lower the number, the slower the flow. Thus, register for a few sizes so that you are all set for your baby's first year!

Fast Fact

Can you reuse bottles for a second baby? Why, yes you can! According to the National Childbirth Trust, "as long as they’re not broken or warped, bottles are fine to reuse."

12. Diapers & Wipes

Every experienced parent knows that a new baby will bring the need for tons of diapers and wipes! This makes these two second baby must-haves to add to your registry. 

Quick Tip

Want to stock the diaper caddy quickly? Host a diaper tailgate party — provide guests with food and drinks and have them provide the diapers! You can also make things more enticing by raffling off a fun item. If they bring one pack of diapers, they will get one raffle ticket. Bring two packs and they double their chances of winning!

Don't Forget Your Older Baby

Once you have all your second baby must-haves added to your registry, there is one last thing to add to your shopping list — exciting items for your older baby! This is important because your attention is about to shift drastically and they will no longer be the center of your universe.

By having a stockpile of fun, sensory activities to enjoy, you can make sure that they can get the stimulation they need, while allowing you the ability to adjust to your new role as mom or dad of two without too many meltdowns along the way!

12 Second Baby Must-Haves That You May Not Realize You Need