NEW PARENT GUIDE
I felt like it was time for me to share my personal opinion of a NEW MAMA's (or dad's) must have guide for baby. Let me start by stating that this is not everything you will need necessarily because each mama has their own preferences (which is totally amazing!) but these are my personal favorites based on what we feel works best for us and the girls.
This will consist of pretty much everything we used for the first 6-ish months and I will give a short description as to why we loved each!
I have a bunch of friends and family who are currently pregnant (YIPEE!) plus we have our littlest one, Lennon, and I am constantly getting questions about what products we LOVE! One of the biggest things I have found with having our second kiddo is that some things are absolutely essential (in my eyes) for every baby and others are just trending or fun to have. I think it is so interesting to see what I had to have for the first baby vs. my second and how certain brands fade and new ones come out
And YES, most of these pictures include my sweet girl because I mean.. She's freaking cute!
Must have for baby
These are essentials to me. From the baby monitor, feeding, soothing, and sleeping. Basically anything that gives you peace of mind and gives sweet baby just plain peace.
The Ollie swaddle: I LOVE this swaddle. I have used a lot of different swaddles for my girls and I do believe that some work better for certain babies than others and some work better at different ages BUT this baby is fully prepared to do its job. It truly helps keep baby warm, snuggled up, and we personally never had any breakouts.
If you continue to swaddle into the older months and need something a little different or with more leg room for wiggles I would recommend the halo sleep sack! However I prefer the Ollie for the first few months because it offers a more secure and comfortable (womb like) feeling for your newborn!
Dock A Tot: This is an easy one for us. I wish they had the thing in my size. I mean even Lo who is 2.5 years old loves it. Whether it is used for sleep or play I truly believe it is a key to the baby list. No matter what I am doing, if I lay Lennon in this I know that she is safe.
Arms Reach Co-Sleeper: This has been a huge benefit to us. I love having Lennon in our room with us, but for personal reasons I worry about her sleeping in bed with us so a co-sleeper next to the bed was perfect (for our needs). I love that it is a reasonable price, safe, comfortable, and even the side slips down if you wanted it to feel more close to the bed. Overall, It is like a small and elevated pack n play, which I love!
Boody Baby Clothes + Loved Baby clothes: I am combining these, not because they are the same product but because I love them equally. Boody baby clothing is beyond comfortable, stretchy, and the perfect type of bamboo fabric (which doesn't shrink!) While loved baby is equally amazing with their quality of product, they also add the more unique styles and thicker fabric for colder seasons.
myBaby sound machine: 100% needed. I honestly tried a more expensive sound machine ( 2 actually) and they both broke on me. Yet, Lo still uses the exact same one that she got as a baby, which I might add was a hand-me-down. It just goes to show that higher prices are not necessarily quality items.
VAVA cool mist humidifer: I love using a humidifier for my girls for many reasons but I honestly love to be able to mix in different natural oils depending on the climate, season, and health of each babe.
Comotomo Bottles: Excuse me while I silently sing 'Halleluiah" this bottle is was nipple dreams are made of. Any time I need a break or the hubby wants to feed the baby this bottle comes in strong. I was always told to find a bottle that's nipple is similar to your own but in all actuality the baby just needs practice, bottle feeding can be difficult too so take your time no matter what you choose to use. (yes, that was an unintentional rhyme!)
Avent Philips Pacifier: I am a pacifier mama. It is true and I am not ashamed. I never wanted my babies to get attached to my boob so that I had no time to myself (no shame to mamas who experience this either, I just knew I wouldn't personally be able to handle that). This is similar to a bottle in my opinion. But in reality, your baby either likes the paci or not and if not, find alternative soothing methods.
Zoli teether: This is THE teether of ALL teethers in my opinion. Why? Because it is simple and practical. A lot of times I think companies want to go far out and make a teether super cute and fun but babies are simple and need something that's easy to use when they first start teething. The zoli teether offers the perfect gripping area for small fingers and a simple two prong area for little ones to aim for their mouths. It is also small enough that they won't stab their eyes or choke themselves and large enough to help with aiming for the mouth.
Pumpkin Butt teething oil: This stuff was a blessing when Lo first started teething and we have begun to use it with Lennon as well. It is an all natural teething oil that you simply rub on babies gums to help soothe the inflammation beneath the surface. Sometimes it is hard to know for sure when baby is teething because a lot happens under the surface but this is a great benefit, although it doesn't taste that great it does help calm them.
Safetey + Health
Totokan Baby monitor: One of the reasons I love this is because it is travel friendly. Obviously I love that it works so well and I can connect it to my phone, which makes me feel more comfortable. But in the past I have used a few different cameras that were not easy to travel with or had too many parts to remember to bring that I always forgot one rendering it useless. Another reason I love it is because it can be off the adaptor for several hours which allows you to travel or go places more easily!
If you are more of a full set with the monitor next to your bed vs. connection to your phone (which I totally am for the young one) I would recommend the Project Nursery Camera! It even comes with a mini monitor so you can clip it somewhere onto you and bring it anywhere inside or outside the house rather than move the larger one. I like this camera because of the quality that goes into it. The camera is very clear but the overall settings on this are pretty awesome!
Owlette Smart Sock: I am going to be honest, we did not use this, but I definitely believe it is a great product and one that many parents would appreciate, especially as a first time parent. I personally didn't deem it necessary because we had already had one baby and I felt much more comfortable with Lennon being next to the bed. BUT I feel like as a first time mom, anyone who has anxiety, or needs the piece of mind while they aren't staring at their baby, this product is definitely for you and will benefit you.
Nose Frida + necessary add ons: I LOVE THIS! Both of my girls are always stuffy at random times and it can be hard for them to sleep or get it all out. Babies hate when mamas pick their nose (even though I love it hah) We use the nose Frida, boogie wipes, and nasal spray if necessary because they all go hand in hand.
Uppa Baby VISTA stroller & Uppa Baby MESA car seat: UMMMM AMAZING! Both of these products are what comfort, quality, safety, and style are made of. Basically a parents dream come true. The reviews and statistics speak for themselves but I truly advocate for the UPPA Baby brand as a whole. They put a lot of heart in to their products and truly want what is best for baby. ( Stay tuned for a full blog on the UPPA BABY brand!)
Dr.kea thermometer: Let me tell you right now that we have purchased at least 7 thermometers prior to this brand. Neither of our kids get sick very often, but it is so important to have a working thermometer in the home at all times and sadly for the first year or so with Lo we constantly had to go buy a new thermometer almost every time I felt like she may be ill because the current one wouldn't work. It made no sense to me because they would always have good reviews and they were not cheap. But this one is gold and not overly pricey either.
Angel Care bath support tub: A baby tub can range from a laundry basket to $100+ which seems nuts to me because its so simple but in all actuality it is so important to have a safe tub for your little one. Although, safety is priority I do not feel that you need a temperature thermometer built into the tub. We are parents and we have pretty good instincts when it comes to our babies. It's as simple as testing the water with your own hand and making adjustments if needed. This tub is my favorite because even when Lennon starts to try and roll she can't go anywhere. At a certain point she will grow out of this but I feel that she can sit up at this time while I am sitting with her. There are some tubs that offer more options for each age which is super cool in my opinion, we used to use this particular transition one for Lo that is 4-1 seating options. The only reason I don't love love it is because it was a lot of extra cleaning maintenance with so many parts.
Must have for mama.
These are things mama needs to make herself feel better and more put together. Basically anything that helps give you a moment to yourself or finds the middle ground so you can feel like you were able to pee alone for once.
Carriers ( providing different styles in my favorite brands)
Boba wrap: I love this for that new new baby and use it for the first few months after both girls were born. It is comfortable and so close to mamas chest, which makes them feel good at that age. It is also snug enough and supportive enough that I can get things done around the house without baby waking up or moving around (head support is phenomenal). The only negative to this is that if its 100 degrees outside you and baby will both be sweating like pigs so keep that in mind if you plan to do anything outdoors for too long.
Sakura Bloom ring sling: I have to admit that I am new to ring sling community but I wish I had found it sooner. I love the way it feels and how supportive it is for both mom and baby. I definitely prefer to wear it starting around 4 months when Lennon really wants to look around and interact with her world. I don't need to support her head as much and it keeps her booty secure. I wish I would have tried it earlier on to see how it felt with her laying cross body to sleep but I am sure that is comfortable too.
Tula Carrier: This thing is amazing because it offers so much back support for mom. I have always had back issues so baby wearing always made me nervous once they pass a certain weight but I can still use this to carry Lo (28 lbs.) and it is super comfortable. She even falls asleep in it sometimes, which is crazy to me! I also love that they are really stylish so no matter what you are looking for they have something to offer.
Lily Jade Diaper Bag: The diaper bag of ALL diaper bags. I mean seriously I could fit my entire life into this thing and I do. It is one of the MANY styles that they offer but I truly love the neutrality of a pretty leather brown bag/backpack option. It basically looks like a tote for mom so she can stay stylish but the inside includes multiple sections for all purposes geared towards babies needs. One of my favorite parts is that the insert comes out! I mean this is simply amazing because I cannot tell you how many times something spills out or Lo throws something sticky into my bag. It is also incredibly comfortable which is perfect for any parents carrying it around, especially because you likely have a baby or toddler on your hip. (Photos of inside insert, backpack strap option, and changing pad below!)
Binxy Baby: I am not even kidding when I tell you that everywhere I go people obsess over this. New mamas wanna know where to get it and older mamas wish they had it when their babies were little. It helps to keep baby safe and snug but still feel more included and a different option from the car seat or carrier. I love that it offers so much more space for things such as groceries while we are shopping at the store!
Charlie Crane Rocker : The rocker of all rockers. Honestly I love it. It is incredibly well made and offers safety, support, and comfort for baby. It honestly looks like it forms around baby so Lennon feels like she is being cuddled! I feel comfortable walking away from the rocker while she is in to get things done (when she allows me too!) It is also very easy to clean the fabric and can simply be thrown in the wash!
Boppy Nursing pillow: This is probably not a necessity in some people's eyes but as a first time mama and especially in the middle of the night the boppy nursing pillow came in handy for resting baby and helping me get the hang of nursing those sweet little babies. This is definitely helpful when your baby is so tiny because it helps you adjust and learn how to feed best.
Bumbo: I love a good seat for any baby but I know there is some controversy on sitting positions and hip displacement. In this case I say "do your research and find what is best for your baby." I really like this seat mostly because it is comfortable for baby but helps them learn to sit up and look around. I wouldn't recommend long periods of use but it helps mama get some things done too!
Freemi Pump: First- check with your insurance, because a lot of insurance companies will cover a specific pump. Mine covered Medela, however if you are paying out of pocket this wouldn't be my first recommendation, especially for the cost. The Freemi or Willow pump is my highest recommendation if you are a nursing mama and working mama because it makes pumping effortless and reduces the time you have to spend on it!
If your insurance does cover your pump but you want a cheap option while running around and still be able to save the milk as you go with no effort try out milkies! I use these every once awhile when I am away from Lennon for a few extra hours but won't have time to pump!
Lanolin nipple cream: Just get it, trust me. Push through that first week of caliccing over of your nipple because yes that will happen, your toes will curl in pain, and bleeding may occur but it wont last forever I promise. Just use this religiously and yes it is safe for baby.
Aden & Anais: I LOVE these bankets because they are so light and breathable but not sheer! I personally love them for nursing because they are so easy to throw in a diaper bag and so easy to clean! You can tie them around your neck or just go with it slightly over baby. They are super transitional too, for breezy days they make good baby blankets, for sunny days they make good shade over the car seat or stroller, and you can use them to swaddle baby up! I love versatile baby items!
Must have because...well it's cute.
These are the things that you probably don't need but absolutely want. Obviously I have girls so I can't give all of my best opinions on boys but I feel like most of these things are pretty gender neutral.
Freshly Picked moccasins: They are adorable, soft soled shoes that allow your babies feet to develop properly. They are great for first time walkers, babies who hate socks and kick them off, and even LO (2.5 years old) still likes to pick out a fun moccasin and strut it out around. They are also extremely durable and easy to clean!
Jelly Cat book + stuffed animal : This was an easy one for me because one of my best friends brought this to the hospital when Harlow was born. It is such a sweet gift and can be used over and over through the years with your little one. We have continued to buy these books and animals for ourselves and friends!
Best Ever animal mat: This is just too cute too pass up. It can be placed on any hard or soft surface for baby to lay on, its soft, easy to clean, and super simple to throw in the car if you need to travel.
Handmade clothing (just a few of my favorite shops that I have used for my girl recently)
Haltered thread, Joah love, Simple Sawyer, Ashley Rose Clothing, Vintage Vibes Kids, Pleiades Designs, Peyper Kids, This tribe of three, Miya and Ma, Beau Hudson, Cotton Bottom Designs, and soooo many more! For photos of my girls in any of these things check out my IG, a lot of these offer boys clothing as well!
On the fence...
This is stuff that I could live without but used on occasion ( I guess?) I feel like I was told I needed everything when I truly could have used things I already had... I am not going to link these things because I don't think it is necessary to hurt a particular brand in any way, however I do believe that as a first time mama it's easy to over do it based on what you think is necessary. Obviously there are a lot of things you can live without and some things may seem more useful than others but these things, in my opinion, I literally never use because its too time consuming.
Baby food processor- I purchased this when Lo was getting to the age of starting solids and for starters she hated every single thing I made, but alternatively I could have used my own blender to make the baby food. It was so unnecessary to spend the extra money on something I already had. The only reason I did was because the current "must have" list said I needed it, but why? Use your own mixers and purchase small jars for storing. It will save you time and money!
Diaper Genie- where do I begin...Honestly I think these things waste even more time than they are worth. Yes, they are a waste bin that covers up that stinky diaper, BUT, how long do you keep those stinky diapers in a bin anyway. Even when I was younger and babysitting I would change those things out within 1-2 days. So.. what's the point? I pretty much take the trash out once a day as it is so why not just throw it in the garbage vs. having an entire bag full of gross-ness? BUT the reason we have one is because my toddler loves to use it and throw diapers away. She thinks its fun and I am not about to take that away from her. My point is that they are useful but not necessary! I definitely prefer it to the diapers laying on the floor next to the trash can cause Lo would miss.
Changing Table- Okay, I understand that this may feel necessary, but only aesthetically. I admit I personally have had a changing table for both of the girls as babies, but I swear I only used them maybe 1% of the time. I honestly felt like I changed them so often in so many random spots of my home or while I was out in about that it was more time consuming to go to the nursery and do it there.
Bottle warmer- This one is probably controversial because all babies are so different. We don't use bottles that much either (maybe once a week) unless I am gone when Lennon needs fed. However, I do know that it is just as easy for me to fill a big cup up with super hot water and then let a milk bag sit in it for just a few moments. I found this out super quick once 2 of my bottle warmers broke on me. BUT some babies want a specific temperature, luckily my girls have been pretty chill about it but I would definitely try it this way first.
Wipe warmer- Okay, I did use one of these with Lo when she was born because I felt like since it's cold outside in the winter I didn't want her to be colder with wet wipes. I felt so silly. Wet wipes aren't going to be colder than the room temperature. If you live in an incredibly cold climate and your baby isn't getting enough warmth, then use it, but otherwise I don't think it's needed in any way. If you do decide you need I have 3 that were gifts and not being used...
Swing- I will most likely get some backlash from this but both my girls hated swings so obviously I don't think they are needed. I would say if your baby loves it then do it, but otherwise it's just more money. I WILL say that it is not necessary to buy one for $400+..Not gonna lie I bought like 4 off of a mom re-sale website for 1/10 of the store price and the funniest part is that most of the listings include, "my baby didn't use it more that 5 times at most"...definitely true. As lennon has grown a bit she likes to sit in it for a few minutes and look at the lights but that is it, she does the same thing with the ceiling fan, leaves on trees, or toys dangling over her.