Being a mom is the toughest thing I have ever done in my life. It’s so rewarding, but far from easy! Early in my pregnancy I was absolutely clueless about what many baby products were for, much less which ones I would actually need! I asked for help from friends, took friends with me to register, and read up on lots of new baby stuff. By nature Nic and I are both researchers, so we did our fair share of research to find what we were looking for or what we thought we would need. We also took lots of recommendations from friends. But, let’s be honest, even those recommendations can be a bit overwhelming! Throw out a post on Facebook asking, “What’s the best car seat to get?” and you’ll get 65 different recommendations, all for great car seats. So, after our first 6 months with baby Rachel and lots of trial and error, I thought I’d share my favorite baby products. Each of these things has helped me in some way as a new mom or just made life easier/simpler in general. In no particular order…
[[Thanks to Victoria
for creating this graphic for me! ]]
This blanket boasts that it will help lengthen sleep time and reduce colic. It is worth every penny! Rachel was a squirmer, but stayed in this until about 14 weeks. We tried a normal swaddle and the SwaddleMe velcro blankets. All of them worked for us, but this was by far the best.
2. MOMS ON CALL
Y’all. If I had to pick only one item, this would be it. Hear me when I say that sleep training and sleep methods are some of the most controversial aspects of motherhood (I had no clue!!!) Everyone has a different opinion, and different things work for different people, so if you have something that works for you, great! As a brand new mom who was clueless and exhausted, I needed a plan, a schedule, a goal to work toward. Moms on Call helps with a “typical day” schedule for baby that changes as she grows. Following their plan and their tips for sleep, along with their night time routine, Rachel slept through the night at 7 weeks, and has been sleeping 11-12 hours since about three months. She had hardly any trouble with the “4-month sleep regression” and we haven’t had to “cry it out” more than 10-15 minutes. Naps aren’t perfect, and every night isn’t perfect, but we love her schedule! It works! The Moms on Call book also helps with starting solid foods, first aid, bathing, and more! Their toddler book also addresses how to keep a newborn on schedule with an older sibling.
Once we “dropped the swaddle” when Rachel could wiggle out of it, we moved straight a sleep sack. She loves it! Sleep sacks are the perfect option after you are done swaddling. We love them so much that we currently have three!
4. PLAY MAT
We love our play mat! This has been a great tool for helping Rachel learn to play independently. She’s been playing on the mat since about 4-5 weeks. It’s good for tummy time as well as just laying on her back and playing with the toys above. I love that you can add whatever toys you’d like. Several friends gave us clip-on toys so we can change these out to keep her from getting bored.
5. BABY JOGGER CITY MINI GT
We did lots of stroller research and this is the one we landed on. We ended up scoring it locally at a discount store, still in the box, which was a great find! I love that the stroller is light and easy to maneuver. I take it on walks, to the zoo, shopping, etc. Because the seat reclines, I was able to put Rachel forward facing at about 4 and half months. You can also purchase an infant carrier or car seat attachment
, which I loved using in the early days!
A baby carrier is super to have when you need two hands! Since Rachel was born in November, I carried her in this quite often outdoors in those first few weeks. We went for short walks in the neighborhood and she would even sleep in it while I made dinner or worked around the house, or when Nic did work at the computer. The Ergo carrier is so comfortable, and a lot easier to use than I expected. The infant insert was great in the winter. For summer babies, I’m afraid it would be a little hot. We love it, and I still wear it to the grocery store or when I’m out running quick errands and don’t want to take in the car seat.
7. HONEST DIAPERS
Diapers were yet another thing I did researched quite a bit. Nic and I decided to give Honest Company diaper bundles a try and see what we thought. Right now, we love it! I can pick out the diapers I want for Rachel, and update sizes as needed. I can even specify which day I want the diapers to ship to us. I love that Rachel hasn’t had diaper rash (hello, mom’s ultra sensitive skin), and can wear cute, fun diapers that actually aren’t quite so bad on the environment. I knew I didn’t have the patience for cloth diapers, but these are a great alternative. Yes, they are a little more expensive than traditional diapers, but the difference isn’t as much as you’d think when adding up what you’d spend on name brand diapers and wipes each month.
8. ANGELCARE MONITOR
I really have a love-hate relationship with the Angelcare monitor. It tracks your baby’s breathing and movement, alarming when it does not sense movement for 20 seconds. In those early days, it helped me sleep so well, because I knew that it was going to alarm if something were wrong. However, we’ve had more than a few false alarms. The first false alarm even caused Nic a wrist injury as he lept out of the bed at 4am to check on her. Did I mention that he’s the best dad in the world?!?! That first alarm was so scary, which is where the “hate” side of this relationship comes in. When baby moves to the edge of the crib, where the pad can’t sense movement, the number of alarms greatly increase. Either way, we highly recommend a monitor, and we also love our video monitor
from Motorola. The Angelcare also works with the sensing pad turned off, as a normal monitor, which we enjoy.
9. SNAP AND GO STROLLER
I picked up one of these at a consignment sale for $10, and it’s been so nice! This super lightweight stroller allows you to just snap in your infant car seat. It’s perfect if I’m running inside the bank, or need to pick up a prescription. Those quick errands don’t really call for a big jogging stroller, or taking the time to get baby out of the car seat and into the Ergo, so I simple move the car seat from the car to the stroller. It’s so easy! And, the basket underneath is nice and large. This particular one works with most any brand of car seat.
10. BOON GRASS and STEM
If you’re a nursing mom who needs to pump, or you’re feeding baby with a bottle at all, you’ll need some place to put all those bottles and parts. I didn’t think I’d enjoy a silly accessory like this as much as I have, but it’s been awesome next to the kitchen sink. We recently found the stem attachment
which has been super for those smaller pieces! Early on, we started giving Rachel a nightly bottle, and I still pump a couple of times each day, so we use this like crazy! It also helps keep baby’s stuff from getting mixed up with all your other dishes.
There are so many more products that I absolutely love! Honorable mention has to go to a few more things:
- A good lactation consultant, if you’re going to breastfeed. Jackie came to my house the first full day I was home from the hospital… it was the best thing that happened to us that first week!
- A support group. I’m so thankful for many sweet friends who I can ask for advice. I’m also part of a Facebook Group of moms who help answer each other’s questions. Many of these ladies have used Moms on Call, so I can always ask about specifics, as well as random questions or suggestions.
- Lots and lots of burp cloths! My amazing mom made quite a few for us out of the old-fashioned cloth diapers with some rick rack or flannel sewn on.
- The 4Moms Mamaroo. Rachel didn’t love it as much as we hoped, but it helped for more than a few naps, especially in the early weeks.
- Consignment sales. I love shopping, and I love deals. This is the perfect combination!
- A photographer for your newborn and milestone photographs! I happen to know one! 😉
What were your life-saver items as a new mom? Leave a comment and share!