Are you about to become a first-time grandma? CONGRATULATIONS, you’re gonna love it! Or perhaps you’re a grandma welcoming a baby after a long time without one in the family. I have experienced being a first-timer and getting another grandbaby after we thought we were done as grandparents of six grandsons. So, since being a grandma is something I know a little about, and I had a do-over and could pick only the essentials, I thought I’d share what I think are the most helpful baby items for grandma’s house.

I’m dedicating this post to my sister, who recently became a grandmother for the first time.

We had our first grandson in 2010. Where does the time go?

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You will never truly know what being a grandparent is like until they arrive. Oh yes, you think you know, but it’s indescribable until you see your child become a parent and see your child inside this new little life that’s about to change yours.

It’s like a parenting do-over because you can be the best version of yourself. You now have more wisdom, hopefully, more patience and time, and you don’t have to be the disciplinarian.


Because being a grandparent is so awesome, you’ll want to see your grandchild as much as possible. My NUMBER ONE TIP for making sure they bring that baby over to grandma’s house as much as possible is:


We’re not so old that we don’t remember what it was like to be a new mom and have to pack everything except the kitchen sink to get out the door. As a grandma, I always wanted my kids to be able to come and stay without having to pack a thing.

Also, having some basic baby gear at grandma’s house makes it safer for the baby or toddler and easier for you as a grandma, especially if you are keeping the child for any length of time. I’ll explain more when I tell you why I recommend these particular types of products.


Okay, before I start the list, let me give you my grandma “qualifications” and explain how the items I’m including made the list.

I had too much “baby gear” when we had our first grandchild. Some of it was given to me, some I bought, and of all that, some I thought would be helpful ended up being unnecessary. So, after getting rid of almost everything after grandbaby number 6 and then five years later, we had our 7th grandson, I acquired only the things I knew were must-haves for me.


One last caveat—depending on your storage space and whether your children live away and only visit occasionally, you may not need everything I’ve included. Or do they live nearby, and you will care for the child for extended periods and need it all?

Our first six grandchildren lived close by, and I cared for them often. The final grandbaby now lives three hours away, so my needs look a little different this time, but not as much as you would think because when they visit, they stay for several days at a time.

The two most important things to consider when deciding what baby paraphernalia to purchase for your house are the child’s safety and your comfort when caring for the baby.

For example, if you have mobility or back issues, you might not be able to get on the floor to change the baby, so one of your must-haves would be somewhere you can stand to change them.



A safe place for the baby to sleep is a must-have item for grandma’s house. What baby bed you choose depends on your space and budget.

At our previous house, we had a nursery with a full-sized crib. In this house, I had this small commercial crib. This particular crib is used in daycare centers to meet current safety regulations. It’s the size of a pack-play, yet the mattress is higher off the floor, meaning Grandma’s back is saved from bending low.

Note: I always upgrade to a thicker mattress for comfort.

Since my seventh grandson isn’t here that much, I got an inexpensive pack-n-play and an upgraded mattress this time.

Of course, your kids could bring their pack-n-play, but remember, we’re making it EASY for them to come over anytime. 😉


You do not have to have a full changing table to have a baby changing station in your house. But if you have back issues like me, here’s a diaper-changing station hack that will save your back:

Put a contoured changing pad on a table, sideboard, or clothes dryer. Instant changing table!

In my last house, I had it on a sideboard. I stored the pad underneath when not in use. At this house, it stays on the clothes dryer all the time.

If you don’t have mobility issues, you could forgo this item and opt for a protective changing cloth on a bed, couch, or dining room table.


To make it easy for the parents to bring your grandchild over, I advise you to keep a supply of current-sized diapers, baby wipes, and diaper cream on hand. This way, you can change that baby as much as you want without worrying about using too many diapers.

I keep changing supplies in a neat caddy or tote bag that I store away and bring out whenever the babies are at Grandma’s house. The caddy is extra essential if you have a traveling changing station.


A baby swing is a non-negotiable to me!

Physical “conditioning” happens when you start caring for a new grandbaby. Muscles you haven’t used in a long time will be screaming when you pace the floor, trying to calm a fussy baby. Having a baby swing that swings and vibrates has been a lifesaver many times over in our house.

Opt for a simple baby swing that moves forward and backward and vibrates—NOTHING FANCY! The vibration has lulled my grandbabies to sleep as often as the swinging movement.

They don’t make my (and my daughter-in-law’s) favorite Fisher-Price baby swing anymore. My first one came from a garage sale, and I was fortunate enough to find the same one for THREE DOLLARS at another garage sale!

However, THIS ONE has everything I look for and even folds up for storage.


Besides a changing area, a highchair is an item you will use most often and for the longest duration with each grandchild. Therefore, I like one that will grow with them and be multifunctional for most ages. I like one with a contoured, reclining seatback; it’s more practical for feeding younger babies and one that folds for storage.

Bonus points if it has a one-handed tray removal mechanism.

I also have one portable baby seat, which can be attached to a table or countertop. I saved mine from our first grandbaby go-round in case we had younger guests. It’s not a favorite of mine, but it has come in handy occasionally.


Grandma, baby gates have come a long way since we had our babies, and these new-fangled ones are so easy to use and can even be left in place all the time because they have a gate. Depending on your house layout, you’ll need one or more gates. Remember, SAFETY is key with those grandbabies!

We had a built-in baby gate put in when we remodeled our current house. But we had the one pictured above in our previous house and loved it. It’s now being used at our son’s house.


Depending on how much you’ll keep your grandkids, you could get away with only needing those first six items and maybe even fewer if you won’t have your grandkids that much. If budget is an issue, you should also consider borrowing pack-n-plays and swings from your other grandma friends.

But if you’re in that “over the moon, I must get all the things” stage or anticipate having grandbabies at your house often, you may want to snag these next baby items for grandma’s house too.


You can get away without a baby monitor, but I think you will find it helpful and soothing for you, Grandma.

I always worried I wouldn’t hear our grandkids if they were staying over. The truth is, I wasn’t sleeping that much anyway. 😉

We still use our baby monitor today if a baby is napping while everyone is out at the pool and when the littles stay over since they sleep on the opposite side of the house from us.


A basic infant-to-toddler car seat can come in handy whether you will be caring for your grandchild often or occasionally need to help by picking kids up from childcare or school.

You will not need this immediately because your kids will bring the baby in a car seat/carrier combination. However, you might want to buy the coordinating car seat base to make snapping it in your car a breeze. Booster seats can be purchased as they grow.


A baby walker might be controversial, but our grandbabies always loved it.

Let me remind you about babies, especially if you watch them for long periods: a young baby’s attention span is SHORT!

Having an activity area to help them play more independently (or to put them out of harm’s way if you need to do something like go to the bathroom) keeps them happy. I’ve wheeled mine into the loo with me more times than I can count.


A small, lightweight stroller will come in handy if you plan on outings with your little one or if you want to stroll around the neighborhood.

Some strollers are heavy and bulky so choose a lightweight one. But you can save money by checking garage sales and baby-item resale shops.


Speaking of Grandma needing to go to the bathroom, a baby bouncer seat can be handy. It can be carried into the bathroom so you can tinkle with the baby in sight. It’s light enough to carry with one hand while you carry the baby in the other.

However, since the swing I linked above may be able to do the same thing, this is not a must-have.


Of course, over time, you’ll also want to gather some infant pain relievers, liquid allergy meds (hello bee stings), baby spoons, bibs, kid-friendly drinking cups, and some books and age-appropriate toys for your little ones.

Oh, and as they age, don’t forget to keep extra undies, pants, and shirts for accidents. As well as a pair of pajamas for those impromptu sleepovers. It will happen! We even have a toothbrush for each boy here at ours.

If you’re like me, you’ll want your house to be a second home for you Littles.

All SEVEN of our beautiful grandsons! “hashtag, BLESSED”


I’m so excited for you; you’ll be a wonderful grandma!

You’ll give that baby the most important thing: A grandmother’s LOVE!

Honestly, you could get away with buying absolutely nothing and snuggling that baby in your arms all day- you’re going to do that even if you outfit your home with an entire nursery. 😉

But I think you’ll find that these are the most helpful baby items for grandma’s house. They will only make it easier for both you and the baby’s parents (we’re calling our kids that now) 🤣 and you’ll likely see them bunches more.

And that’s all we want anyway!


If your becoming a grandma for the first time, CONGRATS and I've got a your back. Here's a list of 11 of the most helpful baby items for Grandma's house. #bestbabyitems #firsttimegrandmatips


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  1. JoAnne

    Run all purchases by the parents. They may have strong protective feelings and ideas about what is acceptable. Ask about the baby’s schedule. (Advice from my young hair stylist when I asked for what a DIL wants when the MIL watches baby)

    Love the $20 highchair from IKEA.

    • Paula

      I agree JoAnne, each parent has a schedule and ideas what they like. In fact, perhaps that’s the next post, “Finding Balance and Boundaries as a New Grandparent.” 😉


  2. You are so right about not really knowing what it will feel like being a granny for the first time until it happens. You can listen to everyone talk about it til the cows come home, but until it happens, you really don’t know. And, then, you know! There is nothing like it in the whole wide world, and I only have three here on Earth with one waiting for me in Heaven. He’s entertaining his great-grandparents, I’m sure.

    My daughter and her kiddos lived with us a couple of different times. The first time was when she had just our first granddaughter and was pregnant with her son. Her husband was in the Navy at the time and was going to be deployed. So, they moved in with us in February and didn’t go home to Virginia until after Thanksgiving. It was one of the best years of my life. The second time the whole family lived with us for several months after he got out of the Navy and was trying to find a job he liked. That resulted in us relocating to Brownsburg after they finally moved there.

    I think all of your items are really good. But, the most important one is love!

    You are so blessed with that beautiful…nope…handsome bunch of grandsons! I think we are done until great-grands come along which won’t happen for several years more!


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