Let’s be honest here. There are very few items that you actually “must have” when it comes to a newborn. They eat, sleep, poop, and repeat—not much needed to complete these things successfully. Still, we live in an age where innovation and technology have made parenting that much easier … and yet it’s still so hard! I have so much respect for moms back in the day who didn’t have the products and resources that we are blessed with today. I don’t think I could parent without the existence of Google (I literally look up something new each and every day). So, with that said, below are ten products that have made life with my little Sophie a bit easier. Even as I edit this, I’m already thinking of a few more (hence the part one in the title). Enjoy, and remember that every mom and every baby is different. What works for me may not necessarily work for you and vice versa!
- Graco Pack n’ Play
Up until a few weeks before Sophie arrived, I was still stressing over whether or not to invest in a bassinet. I know there’s inexpensive ones out there but, of course, I was drooling over the HALO® Bassinest® Swivel Sleeper. Almost everyone advised me against co-sleeping at all, saying that I would never be able to get baby into her own room. On the one hand, they were right—she’s still in my room (more on her sleeping habits in a future post). On the other hand, I knew breastfeeding would be insanely easier if we co-slept … not to mention my peace of mind by having her near me so I can check her breathing every 5 seconds, lol. Still, I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend so much on something I’d only be using for 3-6 months. Then, I had an idea. My aunt bought me the Graco Pack n’ Play for my baby shower and I realized that I already have a bassinet! Not only that, it also comes with a changing table attachment. Stationed right next to my bed, this makes late night feedings and changings that much easier. Oddly enough, my tall girl outgrew the bassinet just a few days ago. I simply detached it and now she sleeps in the “upper level” of the Pack n’ Play. Once she outgrows that, we’ll use it as a traditional playpen and (maybe) transition her to the crib in her own room. I would say that this is my #1 most used product by far.
2. Medela Freestyle Double Electric Breast Pump
I wasn’t going to buy a pump until it was closer to the time I had to return to work (D-day is fast approaching BTW :: insert sad face here ::). Thank God I talked some sense into myself and purchased one earlier. It has become a life-saver during times when I’m engorged (more on breastfeeding woes in a future post) or planning to be away from baby (so rare). Not only that, I wasn’t aware how long it would take for me to stock up on a frozen supply of breast milk. This pump is absolutely amazing because it’s fairly small, not too noisy, and you can pump both sides at the same time. While I got it during a 20% off Medela products sale at Babies”R”Us, I was ready to pay full price. My timing just happened to be perfect in this case. Either way, this pump is so worth it. For even more ease, invest in a pumping bra or two so you can go hands-free.
3. Original Boppy Pillow
I was worried that this would be a product I wouldn’t end up using like some people suggested, but I absolutely love our Boppy. Not only do I use this when nursing on our insanely uncomfortable couch, but if I need to be hands-free for a quick minute (she’s always safely within my reach), I can prop her up momentarily. Sure, I have to adjust her every now and then to stop her from sliding, but as she gets bigger that will stop being an issue. It can be used for tummy time and sitting too. I love setting her down and reading/talking to her. As a bonus, they have such pretty slipcovers. We have the double-sided chevron one pictured. Be sure to take advantage of the Shutterfly offers that come with your purchase! We got tons of free prints of our little lovebug.
4. Gerber Cloth Diapers
No, I am absolutely not washing poopy diapers—props to the resourceful mommies that do—disposable all day, every day in my house. Still, I find that having spare cloth diapers is a must. I purchased a pack off of Amazon because these little things are life savers. Use them as bibs, burping cloths, wipes, whatever. They are so versatile, absorbent, durable, and much cheaper than buying decorative burping cloths. I usually have 2 or 3 just lying around the house in different rooms. You never know when you’ll have a spit-mergency.
5. Padded-Collar Bibs
Note to self: never buy any other type of bib again. These are the bee’s knees. Not only are these the only bibs that prevent Sophie from getting milk down her neck, but they’re soft, absorbent, and double-sided. They’re so substantial that when one side gets wet, it doesn’t even leak to the other side. There’s not too much of a mess when it comes to breastfeeding, but when I used to use a nipple shield, there would be milk all over the place unless I used these babies. Also, on the few occasions where she’s had bottles, these were absolutely wonderful. I’m not sure how many companies make bibs in this style, but the two brands I currently use are Tommee Tippee and green sprouts.
6. Nursing Bras
If you’re breastfeeding, you absolutely positively need nursing bras. You will drive yourself crazy without them. I have a few different kinds but my absolute favorite is this 3-pack that I found for a bargain on Amazon. At just $29, this set really is a steal. They’re made of a comfortable, stretch-microfiber material. They’re also seamless, adjustable, and extendable at the back. They offer wonderful support but feel like you’re wearing nothing. I know I’ll continue using these even when my breastfeeding journey is over. They’re fantastic.
7. 4moms® Infant Tub
Everyone made fun of me when I said I needed this tub. People insist that sticking your elbow in the water is good enough to detect if the temperature is OK for baby. I have two issues with this. 1) Warm water feels cold to me. I prefer hot steaming baths, which makes me a terrible judge for determining warmth. 2) Have you ever taken a bath and suddenly the water becomes hotter or colder than you originally set it? Yeah, I’m not taking the chance of burning or freezing my kid by accident. This tub was an absolute must for me. Just knowing that the temperature is safe and comfortable for Sophie makes it worth every cent. I also love the overall design! Clean water goes in, while dirty water drains out. This was definitely ideal during the few accidents we had during bath time.
8. Baby K’tan
I know there are a ton of different sling carriers that people swear by. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried them all so I can’t really compare. For whatever reason, I went with the Baby K’tan and never looked back. I absolutely love this carrier. I knew I wouldn’t have the patience to figure out how to tie a traditional sling or wrap. There’s no need to tie anything with the Baby K’tan unless you’re wearing the extra waistband (and even that’s a no-brainer). I love the lightweight stretch-jersey fabric and so does baby. On our first outing with her, we brought this in lieu of our stroller and she slept the entire time. She was so comfy! I love being able to wear her around the house and get things done without having a suffering back.
9. 4moms® MamaRoo Infant Seat
I was so upset when no one purchased this off of my registry, but it’s understandable. $250 is pretty steep for a “swing” … even if it is (in my humble opinion) the Cadillac of all swings. This was the one luxury item that I was not willing to go without. I bought it myself and played around with it so many times before Sophie was even born. It’s so stinkin’ cool! There are five different swing settings with adjustable speed, five different sounds with adjustable volume, and even a port where you can plug in your phone or MP3 player and play your own music. I do have one tiny complaint. You can download the 4moms® app and power on/off the seat and change any of the settings from another room right on your phone. Awesome right? Why, oh why, couldn’t they figure out how to play your music wirelessly as well? I’m never going to plug my phone into the port because 95% of the time I’m ON my phone. Still, I don’t regret this purchase. Unless she’s literally on top of me, this is always where she naps throughout the day.
10. NoseFrida® The SnotSucker
Here’s another product I thought I’d never use even though I requested it on my registry. When the hospital sent me home with the standard bulb syringe, I figured I’d just continue using it going forward. Up until just a few days ago, that’s exactly what I did. However, I started noticing that I was clearing out her nostrils way too often. Not only that, I was doing it over and over again because I could never get all of the boogies out. Finally, I went looking for my unopened NoseFrida and gave it a whirl. To think of all the cumulative minutes I’ve wasted using that stupid bulb syringe! Within seconds, her nostrils were completely cleared and I haven’t had to repeat it since! I know the concept is kind of gross. I had reservations too. I can assure you that nothing gets into your mouth. I promise. Thank goodness I never returned my NoseFrida. It’s such a simple little device, but it makes a world of a difference. In fact, I highly recommend the entire Fridababy Bitty Bundle of Joy Gift Set which is what I requested for my baby shower. The nail clippers in this set are fantastic!