I’ve been so excited to tell you about the baby products I used daily during my first year with Grey. While everyone is so excited to tell you about what they think you need, you never know what you’re going to actually use until that little bundle of sunshine gets home. There are things you can’t imagine paying that crazy amount of money for, and there are things that are so inexpensive you end up buying multiple. Hopefully this helps any new mom that reads this in picking what’s most important!
So without further ado, these are the products I swear by for new moms.
This was something I knew nothing about until I had asked my coworkers what they couldn’t live without when they became mommies. I still don’t understand why they’re so expensive, but I honestly used this every day after Grey came, and used it frequently when traveling. This thing is basically a pillow with the middle cut out. It sat on my bed every single day for the first three months when I would pass out after feeding her every 2-4 hours. WIth this I could keep her on the couch with me when I went to visit my family without holding her all the time, and she could feel like she was being held in the hammock like bottom of the cushion.
This is one of the first things I tell new mom’s they need – especially if they’re breast-feeding. I didn’t take advantage of when Grey slept at first – I couldn’t get enough of her, and I literally had to wake her up every two hours so she could try and get back to her birth weight by constantly eating. This made that so much easier to feed, play, and sleep without leaving my bed or the couch. I strongly recommend, especially if you’re considering cosleeping for some time as well. We only did that when she was sick, but it came in handy for sure!
When Grey was in my belly, she never stopped moving. After she was born, it was clear that James and I really needed to perfect our swaddle. I personally love a perfectly swaddled baby. It’s like when people love the smell of freshly cut grass. However, when it’s night and it really begins to make a difference of whether you use a blanket or a velcro contraption, choose the velcro. We bought a Swaddle me at Target when Grey started to realize she could squirm out of her blanket and it was a life saver. When the sun went down and Mom and Dad needed a solid block of sleep, the swaddle kept Grey sleeping for 5 hours at a time. She was wrapped in a warm hug that was so easy to put on, that I got to the point where I probably was breast feeding, changing her diaper, and swaddling her with my eyes closed. Not really…but honestly you’re so delirious at that point they may as well be.
Looking back, I hate that I didn’t take advantage of all the baby snuggles. Sometimes you just need a moment to yourself though, or a moment to shove some food in your mouth with your SO. When I needed Grey to go to sleep so I could have 5 minutes to clean up the mess we had made in the living room, or to do the piles of laundry that seemed endless I would put her in her swing with her favorite blanket. She loved the mobile and the music it played as she swung back and forth, and eventually it would make her eyes heavy. It got her to sleep a lot during the time from about 3 months to 6 months. It probably could’ve lasted longer, but I started to have withdraw when I went back to work and wanted the snuggles back. I remember my nephews always falling asleep in their swing, too. It’s definitely worth giving it a try.
Rock and Play
I wrote this item off when we first got it because Grey was not for it. She wouldn’t sit in it, she honestly didn’t even fit in it she was so tiny when we first brought her home. It just didn’t seem like she was ever comfortable in it. As she got bigger and I could actually buckle her in, we discovered the vibrate feature of this little seat. This kept her happy for long periods of time and she really loved the mobile hanging off the top. She started to realize that when she kicked the seat rocked, and that was it for her. She kicked so hard it sounded like she was stomping on the floor. It was so aggressive you would get scared she was going to propel the seat so far it was going to flip over! Of course it never did. I think people were afraid of these for a bit shortly after Grey was born because they were recalled. This was due to some unfortunate events and not taking the warnings posted on all over the item seriously. As long as you’re using it properly, this could keep your LO entertained for quite a while! I know it kept Grey entertained!
Travel System Carseat and Stroller
I spent the most time picking a travel system stroller and read many different baby lists to figure out what stroller would be best for me. I knew I wanted a stroller that had a carseat that could easily click into place and I could keep Grey warm and comfortable while I ran out to get groceries, or go for a walk outside. The system I picked James and I had tested a couple times on our many trips to Target, and it seemed to check all of the boxes on my list:
- It had 3 wheels – this was something I wouldn’t compromise on because 3-wheel strollers are easier to maneuver when in crowded areas and in general are easier to steer. James could care less about this, and I think it is easily over-looked. I knew I would be visiting him at work as well as taking this to grocery stores. I know that he works in the hospitality business and we could be traveling to go to different hotels for a weekend. I just didn’t know what kind of life we would have after Grey came, but if we took her places and went on trips I wanted to make sure that I had a stroller that could handle it.
- It was lightweight – I think this is pretty self explanatory. Can you imagine having to take a stroller out of your trunk and barely being able to lift it up? Or what if I had to take it out of James’ car and put it in mine? It just needed to be light. The carseat, too! Could you imagine not only a heavy carseat, and then putting a 15 lbs baby in there and trying to haul that thing in and out of your car every day? Heck no! I didn’t have great upper body strength at the time either so I needed something as light as possible.
- It collapsed easily – Have you ever seen a person struggling to figure out how to open or close a stroller? It’s uncomfortable. I made James come test with me for this reason. For the most part, we had to dig through the instructions to try and figure out how to fold up or set up a stroller for every brand. This was the only one that before I could even get to the chapter in the manual James had already figured it out in the store. He showed me, we both did it a couple times and it was a done deal. This was what really sold us on this set. It was very highly rated on every baby list and safety list, but this was honestly the biggest deal to me.
- The details were functional – I didn’t realize it at the time, but there are little things about this stroller that really make me take it over the stroller James keeps in his car. The overhead visor that goes over Grey in her stroller went far enough over her that when it was raining it would keep her completely dry. It also had a little window on the top of it that I could look into and see her. This was helpful, too, if she was asleep and I didn’t want to wake her. When the carseat comes out, the stroller seat also reclines. Now, when Grey sits in her stroller at Target, if Mom’s shopping a little too long she can recline and take a little rest unbothered.
White Noise Machine
This was something I didn’t know I needed until I had it. I thought this was one of those dumb expenses parents that had money to spend bought just to say they had it, but we really used this for a good portion of Grey’s first year! I noticed one day Grey was having trouble falling asleep for her morning nap. I put her in her bassinet and hoped that she would start to get drowzy as I rocked it. It just wasn’t doing the trick. James was running late for work, so he hurried into the shower so he wouldn’t be late and so he wasn’t making too much noise while I tried to put Grey to sleep. Thank god he did, because it was as soon as the water turn on that Grey got drowzy. Within minutes she had passed out to the sound of James’ shower. When my boss had offered her son’s older one later that week, I couldn’t say no. The one she gave me must do so well at Pottery Barn because they still sell it. It connects right to the basinet or crib as well and is nice and soft on the outside so it won’t hurt them.
This was another thing that seemed so stupid expensive that I refused to spend the money on it. Then one day I just wanted to clean my house and I just couldn’t do it and keep Grey happy at the same time. I started researching carriers because I had always thought sling wraps were so pretty and there was something so extremely maternal about them. I didn’t know if they were really functional, though, and I just couldn’t wrap my head around how the wrap doesn’t become loose or just come undone with this child hanging out in it. My boss let me try her old sling, and it quickly became something I brought everywhere. I could start making dinner again while I had Grey with me. I could clean the place up all while doing a dance with my babe. I could have Grey with me without either of us feeling smothered in a bulky baby carrier or having tired arms. I still use this with Grey at one year.
A Trendy Diaper Bag
I know that this sounds so dumb, but I was not compromising on a bag. I knew I wouldn’t be able to have a cute little purse like I had pre-baby, but I wasn’t about to have a giant bag of crap that was unorganized and ruined the look I spent so much time putting together for that day. Sometimes you want to be a mom and spend the day in yoga pants and not brush your hair. Other times you’d like to put on some mascara and a pair of block heels to feel like a normal person again, and you do not want a gross diaper bag to pull you back down into a funk. I personally added Skip & Hop bags to my registry because their color palettes were neutral and their bags were functional and in the more affordable range. Spoiler alert: diaper bags are not cheap. You need a lot of compartments, a lot of space, and it needs to be comfortable to lug around while you’re also lugging around a 20 lbs human. If you’re going to spend the money to make sure it’s comfortable and functional, spend the extra $10-20 to make sure it looks pretty. Trust me, you’ll thank me when you mentally feel like you have it together when you see that you can at least look nice after pulling an all nighter taking care of a baby with a double ear infection.
Foam Play Mat
I wish I had gotten this sooner than when I finally bought it. I think I would’ve done much more tummy time and floor activities if I had a large padded mat to do it on. We had a tummy time mat that like a big flat pillow, which worked for when she was an infant. Once she started rolling, she literally rolled to get everywhere -across the room, to her fave toys, she’d follow the cats. I knew she was doing it at daycare, so because we didn’t have the safe space for her to do it at home it deterred me from doing it with her there. Once she was beginning to show signs that she’d be crawling very soon I got it for a Christmas gift. We couldn’t wait until Christmas to give it to her because she was crawling weeks before. Now, she plays on it every second of every day we love the print. I knew I wanted something that was at least nice to look at so if we had to leave it up and I didn’t clean it almost looked like an area rug. This is definitely what I had in my head.
This is SO necessary. I thought that you only use a humidifier when your baby is sick, or if they have asthma or other breathing issues. I turn this on every day. Grey went through a period of ear infections and runny noses – thanks day care – and I was only using it at first when she had those to help her be more comfortable. The day I switched to using it every day, she stopped having ear infections. I feel like I have a rare case because most babies I know always have ear infections. I think it balanced out though because it turns out my baby is just allergic to everything instead. I can’t say this enough times – buy the humidifier. You could get an inexpensive one – mine was like $30 at target – or you can splurge an extra $10 and get one that will match the nursery aesthetic. Get a portable one, too, while you’re at it! I’m adding one to my amazon cart now for our next trip to the grandparents!