My top 25 favorite items for baby and mama to help get them through those first days to the first years.
When you are a new mom it can be completely overwhelming to walk into a baby store. There are so many products it’s hard to know what you actually need and what is just extra. Today I’m going to talk about products that we used when Thor was a baby and what we are using again for Loki.
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First up, the carseat. We went with the Britax B-Safe carseat. We knew we wanted an infant seat that could easily be taken out of the car, in case there was a sleeping baby in it. Mainly we chose this one because it went with the stroller I picked, but I was happy with it. Although, it did seem super heavy. I would see mom’s with other carseats hanging in the crook of their elbow, no problems. And then there’s me holding my carseat with both hands and still having a hard time. But maybe that was just my lack of upper body strength.
The car seat went with the Britax B-Agile stroller. I love, love, love this stroller. It’s a smooth ride and, like the name suggests, it’s super agile. It’s lightweight, at 17 pounds, and you can easily collapse it with one hand. Plus the carseat attaches and detaches incredibly easy. You can get the carseat and stroller in a set, but it was cheaper to buy them separate when we ordered ours.
You can’t forget about a carseat cover. If you have an infant carseat a cover is a must. My mom made this cover for my carseat and it was wonderful. It basically hugs the carseat and keeps all the chilly air out. It has velcro on the sides so the flaps don’t fly up in the breeze. Which makes this cover perfect for keeping babies cozy inside their seat.
Aden & Anais Swaddlers are great for new babies. They are lightweight so they are perfect for layering. Plus they are the perfect size to swaddle a tiny baby. They are also super soft and they just get softer the more you wash them. And they come in all sorts of cute prints. Check out these adorable circus ones. They also have solids if that’s more your thing.
I LOVE my AngelCare Monitor. Not only can I hear what’s going on in the baby’s room, but the monitor also measures movement. There’s a pad that you place under the mattress that hooks to the monitor. So if for some reason baby stops breathing, I’ll know immediately. You do have to turn off the motion sensing feature when you get the baby out of the crib or else the alarm will sound, but that just became part of my middle of the night feeding routine. Go the nursery, turn off the motion detector, then pick baby up. I used the motion part until Thor was a year old. At that point he was moving around his crib too much and would crawl/roll into the corner in his sleep. Since he wasn’t close enough to the pad the alarm would sound.
We have our changing pad up on the dresser, as that is our changing station. This pad is inexpensive but sturdy. We’ve been using it for over two years now and it’s still in great condition.
We bought this super soft changing pad cover to use on our changing pad. Actually we’ve only ever purchased the one. Whenever it would get dirty we’d just take it off and wash it that day or throw blanket over the changing pad until the cover could be cleaned.
We use our Pack and Play a lot. We keep ours set up in our kitchen/dining room area and use it as a place where we can change diapers (and keep all the diapers, wipes, cream, etc) and where the baby can take a nap while I am cooking dinner or doing dishes. It also is a great play area for when the baby starts to move around and you still need a few minutes to get dinner going. We even take it on vacation as a portable crib.
A swing is a must in my book. We didn’t buy ours until Thor was a month old and we wondered why we waited so long. For a while the swing was the only way Thor would go to sleep, other than nursing. So if mama need him to take a nap the swing was her best friend. When looking at swings, be sure to get one that plugs in. There are some that run solely on batteries, but they can chew through D size batteries in no time.
For Thor we bought an Exersaucer. It was our first baby purchase and we didn’t really know what we were getting. It wasn’t a bad choice, but as soon as Thor learned that he could bounce in it I wish we had bought a Jumperoo. The Exersaucer was just SO LOUD when he would bounce. The Jumperoo doesn’t have quite as much for the baby to interact with and play with, but it is much quieter when they bounce. So if you have a bouncer on your hands a Jumperoo is probably a better way to go.
For bottles we chose Dr Brown’s. We looked at a ton of bottle options. The Dr Brown’s do have more pieces to clean than other bottles, but they are made in the USA. So ultimately we chose them based off of that. Supposedly the straw helps reduce gas and spit up. I didn’t notice that. But Thor was a very spitty baby. He spit up all the time even when he was exclusively breast feeding. So I can’t say one way or the other if they actually reduce spit up.
If you have bottles, you’re going to need a bottle brush. I actually have two different ones, but my favorite is my Munchkin Bottle Brush. It has a nipple brush in the bottom of the handle to help clean out the nipples throughly. The reason I like this one the best is because the bristles are nice and soft so they are easy to push through the neck of the bottle and clean the inside. My other bottle brush has stiff bristles so I get misted with soapy water every time I clean out a bottle.
We also got the Boon Grass Drying Rack. It is awesome for storing freshly washed bottles. Plus it’s cute on the counter. You can also get accessories like the flower pictured above or trees that you can hang nipples and rings on to dry. We still use it for sippy cups and our blender.
If you are nursing then a Boppy is another great thing to have. It curves around your body as it sits on your lap and make perfect place for baby to lay and nurse. It really helps in those early days when you are holding baby all the time because your arms will get tired and need a break. Plus it’s great for late nights when you are tired and need a break.
You are also going to need a good amount of burp cloths. You can buy them or you can make your own with my cloth diaper burp cloth tutorial.
Thor wasn’t in to pacifiers. He only took one for the first couple of weeks. Loki is currently taking one, sometimes. We’ll see how long that lasts. We tried many different kinds for Thor, but far and away the Wubbanub were my favorite. They have a simple pacifier with a cute little stuffed animal attached. The stuffed animal makes it easier for baby to hold on to the pacifier, you can tuck it in with them when they are swaddled, and it’s much easier to find it in the dark when it falls out of their mouth.
My favorite thing that newborns wear are the gowns. They have the fold over mittens on the sleeves to keep baby from scratching themselves. And they are open at the bottom so you can easily change diapers without having to deal with snaps. Plus it’s super easy to get to the teeny, tiny baby toes. Who doesn’t want to see those baby toes more often?
Another great item are the SwaddleMe wraps. They are super easy to get a nice, tight swaddle that lasts. Which is perfect for those blurry eyed nights when you are half asleep and swaddling in the dark. You just put their legs in and velcro the wrap tightly around baby.
The first high chair we got was the Fisher Price Deluxe Booster Seat. We received it as a gift and it worked great. For a time. The biggest issue is that our dining room chairs are little Ikea chairs. So Thor could easy get them rocking and scoot the chair across the floor. I found this to be scary, because I was afraid that he was going to tip over and hurt himself. So we purchased an actual high chair.
The chair we purchased was the Cosco high chair. (You can also buy them at Target.) It worked great for our needs and he hasn’t been able to recreate the rocking motion he had in the booster seat.
And of course you are going to need a good thermometer that you can accurately measure baby’s temperature. I love our forehead thermometer. It’s easy to use and nonintrusive to baby. You don’t even have to unswaddle them to get an accurate reading.
You also might need some hands free time. Especially when you are on the go. The Moby wrap is a great choice for this. It is easily adjustable to fit anyone as you tie it around your body. The amount of fabric can seem excessive and overwhelming at first, but trust me it gets much easier to put on. I borrowed my sister’s last time around and didn’t use it too much. I’m planning to use it much more this time as I have a busy two-year-old to chase after as well.
I love the Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags. I looked at them the entire time I was pregnant with Thor. My husband actually bought me this cute gray boxy backpack one from Buy Buy Baby because he was able to use a Buy Buy Baby/Bed Bath and Beyond coupon on it. I’m not sure if that is still allowed but it’s definitely something to check in to if you are in the market for a Petunia Pickle Bottom. I love how cute it is and that it zips closed. We actually used this bag when we went to Disneyland for Thor’s first birthday. We knew it fit all of his stuff and we could wear it as a back pack if we chose.
The Skip Hop Duo Deluxe diaper bag is another great diaper bag. I actually purchased it for Ricky in black as part of his Father’s Day gift one year. We have been alternating between the two diaper bags for two years now and the Skip Hop Duo looks almost brand new still. It holds up incredibly well. I would highly recommend it.
If you are breast feeding you are going to need some nursing pads. I LOVE LilyPadz. They are a silicone nursing pad that uses constant pressure to help prevent milk from leaking. They stick to your skin so you can even go braless if that’s your thing. The package says they are good for 2 months, but I used my last pair the entire 6.5 months that I nursed Thor. They were only sticky for about the first month but I just always wore a bra with them and never had any issues. I really liked that they don’t absorb any milk, so you never have wet pads rubbing on your nipples. I can count on one hand the number of times that I leaked out of the pads and it was because Thor hadn’t nursed in a while and I became really engorged. Don’t forget to buy the wash that goes with it. They do have a starter kit, but it is usually cheaper to buy them separate.
Another thing that I liked having, especially in those first weeks of nursing were nipple shields. They were wonderful on those days that I was really sore. I could still nurse while having a little bit of a barrier. The great thing about this NUK one is that it comes with a case. So you can keep it in your diaper bag without it getting all fuzzy and gross.
Lanoline. Get some. It’s great for when you are sore. It also helps baby’s dry lips. And it’s nice to put on before getting in the shower if you are sore.
My last favorite product isn’t something you can buy, but you can easily make them yourself. Padcicles. All you need are some pads and some witch hazel. Pour some witch hazel on the pad and place the pad in the freezer. Then when you are ready to use the restroom just pull one out and take it to the bathroom with you. The pad is still absorbent and now it’s nice and cold to soothe your lady area. First thing I did when I got home from the hospital was make up a few of these and stick them in the freezer in a ziplock. This may sound weird to first time mom’s but trust me. After delivery you will want some ice down there. It really helps.
What are your must have baby products?
This is such a great list!! Especially the last few things for moms. Nobody tells you all the not so fun stuff after having a baby. Definitely sharing with all my new mom to be friends!
Rachel @ The Stay At Home Chef says
Padcicles! hahaha, YES!
And the carseat cover. One of my friends made one for me and I used it all the time everywhere. We lived in a windy place so it was great for protecting my babies from the wind in parking lots. It also worked great when they were sleeping in public which kept the strangers away. No one dared peek behind the curtain!