By popular demand! It seems I was just asking other mama’s for this advice myself, and now I’m being asked for my own advice and thoughts on baby gear. Here’s my two cents on the must haves and some advice on what to avoid, too!
The SNOO Bassinet: This. Is. Life. Changing. Without a doubt, the number one product I will always hype up. Do I have another baby to compare to? No. Did I constantly get told how amazing it was how long of stretches my baby was sleeping as a newborn? Yes. If you aren’t sure what the SNOO Smart Sleeper by Happiest Baby“ even is, it’s a responsive bassinet that boosts sleep for babies and parents. It is on the more expensive side, but so is a divorce. And I’m pretty sure this kept us *somewhat* sane during the newborn days. This wasn’t an option when we purchased, but you can now rent the SNOO month-by-month for a very reasonable price. It also tends to go on sale around the Holidays.
Hatch Sound Machine: White noise will become your best friend. Not only does this help your babe sleep as it mimics sounds from inside the womb, but it also helps mute out any outside noises from parents, siblings, pets, etc. This is the one that we have. It can be operated off your phone which is key! It is a bit more expensive then other models, but this can also be used as nightlight as your child grows and encourage healthy sleep routines. Since purchasing a new model has come out that I have only heard good things about which you can get for a bit more here. We also have this portable sound machine, and I highly suggest for on the go!
DockATot: Or a similar docking station like the SnuggleMeOrganic. Truth be told, we went with the DockATot because Carl liked the name better. #lifewithCarl. I have heard great things on both. Newborns sleep a lot and even though you may want all the snuggles, it’s extremely helpful to be able to literally.. dock.. the…tot… anywhere. The couch, counter, floor, you name it. That babe is going to be snug as a bug and you’ll have use of two arms. Winning!
Ubbi Diaper Pail: So. Many. Diapers. If you feel like you’re constantly changing diapers, it’s because you are. Believe it or not, research even had to be done on what to throw the dirty diapers out in. We went with this one because it doesn’t need specific liners (you can use any garbage bags) and it’s steel (odors get locked in, unlike plastic). *TIP* I sprinkle this in the bottom of the pail to help combat the smells.
Keekaroo Peanut Changing Pad: Speaking of diapers, let’s talk body fluids. There’s going to be a lot of them coming out of every hole on that baby’s body. Sure, this isn’t the cutest option for a changing pad, but it’s extremely easy to wipe down and there’s no pad to wash unlike with many other changing pads.
Cream Applicators: I’ve started on the body fluids and now I can’t stop. You’re going to be using a lot of diaper cream (this is my favorite and we also like this one as a preventive), and as cute as those little butts are, it’s very nice having a spatula like the Baby Bum Brush, to apply cream instead of your own finger.
Fawn Design Diaper Bag: No lie, I saw someone with this bag years before the thought of having a child even crossed my mind and I knew I wanted it. Fast forward a few years, a lot of research, and I still decided to go with this one. I love that it can be worn as a backpack or on the shoulder if needed (even though I have only ever worn as a backpack). Whatever bag you do go with, I do suggest finding a backpack style. You’re going to be carrying a lot of sh*t around, including a squirming baby. The thing you want is a a bag falling off your shoulder in the midst of it all. We also have this larger (*gasp* non backpack style) diaper bag from Pottery Barn that we use for weekend trips.
Muslin Blankets: I once thought you couldn’t have enough blankets. Wrong. You can. Especially after you get gifted a crap ton at baby showers. Even though we have more baby blankets than I can count, I always reach for these muslin blankets over the others. They work great to swaddle as newborns, covering the carseat while out and about, or to block the sun.
Car Seat Cover: We are still getting so much use out of this at almost 1 year. It doubles as a car seat cover and a cover if needed to nurse while out in public. As much as I am for #normalizingbreastfeeding, I don’t care to have strangers staring at my udders while we are in public. I know there are cheaper options on Amazon and the like, but I’ve heard from fellow mamas that they stretch out and don’t hold shape. This one by Milk Snob was 100% worth buying over the others.
Owlet Smart Sock: Another investment, but such a piece of mind. We used the Owlet Sock through at least 6 months and will still use anytime we think there might be a cold coming on. My ped told me that some experience more anxiety from this worrying about it too much, but for me it calmed (almost) all my nerves for safe sleep during the early days. We never had any false alarms, either.
UPPAbaby Car Seat + Stroller: We did a lot of research trying to decide which infant car seat and stroller would be best. We decided on the UPPAbaby Vista stroller (here) and the UPPAbaby Mesa infant car seat (here). We have absolutely loved both! They are lightweight, easy to manuever, and we have gotten tons of compliments on them both (and comments on ease of use by other mamas who have used other brands!)
For Breastfeeding: Another thing I spent a ton of time researching up on before purchasing. Most insurance companies will cover your breast pump, however ours did not cover the one I wanted so we purchased. I went wit the Specta S2. That being said, I never actually used it so I cannot comment much further on the topic of pumping.
However I HIGHLY recommend getting the Haaka (or two!) to catch your let down. Long story short, this simple little contraction suctions onto the side you’re not feeding on and catches letdown milk! I was able to get over 300oz in a freezer stash without ever once pumping in the first few months of breastfeeding.
For supplements if you are worried about your supply, Legendairy Milk Products work wonders. I bought these when my supply dropped due to a miscarriage and it came right back! Another tip: The “Pink Drink” from Starbucks also helps with supply (pssst.. it’s the coconut milk).
For comfort while breastfeeding, I preferred this over the boppy. We used the boppy more once Mack was older as a pillow/lounger for him and for tummy time.
PackNPlay: This was one of those baby products that always were a pain in the as$ for me to figure out. I wasn’t about to deal with that with our own! We went with the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib (here). This. Thing. Rocks! It packs up/down in literally a minute and is very compact which is great for when we travel.
Swaddles: I won’t even admit how many swaddles we purchased thinking I would use every single one. I didn’t use a single one of them. The Ollie Swaddle (here) is the only swaddle you will ever need, trust me. The material is super soft and stretchy, and it is so easy to get your little one wrapped up snug in seconds.
Baby Mattress: Ahh. The stress that comes along with safe sleep for your baby is like none other. I was nervous about this before Mack was even born, so I wanted to make sure we had the safest mattress out there. We got the Newtown Baby Mattress (here). It is 100% breathable (no, seriously.. I can stick my face straight into it and breath fine!) and also the entire mattress can be washed if needed. You can spray it down in the shower! Thankfully, we haven’t had to do that…yet.
TakingCaraBabies: WOW! This was another life changer. Learning Mack’s sleepy cues vs hunger cues, wake windows, and getting somewhat of a schedule down when I was clueless was so dang helpful. I haven’t talked to a single mom who regrets investing in the TCB courses. I highly recommend following their Instagram account (here) and also purchasing the Newborn Course (here).
I don’t want to bash any specific brands so I am going to make this more of a “word from the wise” and go on a little rant…
DO. NOT. BUY. BUTTON. UP. PAJAMAS. Yes, I know they are cute. But zippers (or magnetic) pajamas and sleepers are the way to go. It urks me that buttons are even an option. The last thing you want to be doing during a middle of the night diaper change is trying to figure out which buttons are a match. And it’s an entire new battle once they start getting squirmy and more active while you are changing them.
I know you are nesting and want everything prepared and perfect. I opened/washed/sanitized SO MANY THINGS that went completely unused that I could have returned. Prime example: my pump. I thought I needed to know how to use it and opened/tested it out before Mack was even born. I ended up never needing to pump and would have returned it.
And on that same note, you do not need all the burp clothes, bottles, pacifiers, bottle warmers, etc. until you actually know what your baby likes and doesn’t like. All those super cute pacifiers I bought? Mack didn’t like any of them and we ended up using the “not so cute” ones. Every baby is different and you really won’t know what your little one will take to until they are here.
Wipe warmers: Unless you plan on somehow heating up the wipes while you’re on the go, keeping a wipe warmer in the nursery is pretty pointless. Unless your keeping the wipes in a fridge, they don’t get that cold. That cute little bum will be okay without the warmed up wipes.