The Must-Have Baby and Mama Products
Everytime I do an Instagram story that's baby related, I get a bunch of DMs asking about the baby product in the story. There are SO many baby products out in the market today, and it can be pretty overwhelming to know which ones are the best quality, and not to mention, necessary. I've learned a lot in the past 3 months since having Chase, including what products we LOVE and which products we wish we had on our registry. Sooo I figured I would include the entire list on here, including where you can get them (most are available on Amazon) and why I love it. If you have any questions or additions you would like to add to the list, comment and let me know! ENJOY!
(note: none of these products are sponsored. they are all products that I use and love! every baby is different but these products are ones that I personally had a great experience with)
Why I like it: I originally had a different bassinet on our registry, and quickly learned that this one was a better option. I love it because it swivels so you can swivel it closer or further away from your bed. I swivel it close to the bed so I can reach Chase without even having to get out of bed, and I swivel it away when I need to easily get out of bed. This is especially great in the early postpartum days when getting around can be a little challenging and crawling in and out of bed isn't an option. It also vibrates and plays music.
Why I like it: if you are looking to co-sleep, or have the baby nap in bed, this is a great option. It separates the baby and provides a barrier which provides baby (or you) from doing any rolling in the bed, plus it keeps them cozy and confined. I personally don't co-sleep, but I have found this to be great for the occasional day time nap, or for Chase to hang out in while I'm doing stuff in the bedroom.
Space heater or fan
Why I like it: depending on the time of the year will determine which one of these is necessary. Especially being in the northeast where the weather changes frequently. When we first brought Chase home from the hospital, it was March and he frequently cried because he was cold, especially during diaper changes. Having this space heater in the room made diaper changes so much better for him (aka no more crying!). The fan is great in the really warm summer days, especially during feedings when our body heat is making us both overheat.
Why I like it: This is a must-have during night time. Babies are used to hearing white noise in the womb so it makes them feel like they never left! It also allows you from having to tip-toe around the room when the baby is sleeping. Win/Win.
Why I like it: easy to set up through wifi and comes wth two cameras, in case your baby sleeps where different during the day than at night (or if you have two kids!)
Why I like it: this is great for when Chase is just hanging out on the couch with us, or for daytime naps.
Why I like it: this should really say why I LOVE IT. Chase is absolutely obsessed with this swing and pretty much does most of his daytime naps in it. It rocks, plays music, and has a mobile that keeps him entertained. I honestly don't know what we're going to do when he outgrows it!
Why I like it: there are so many perks to buying this. First, it's great for naps. Second, it's completely portable, so we can easily fold it up and transport it if we need to spend the night away with the little guy and need a crib for him to sleep in. Third, it comes with a changing table. Forth, it comes with a bouncy seat which is great to keep Chase in, especially when I need to take a shower or go to the bathroom. I just stick Chase in the bouncy seat and he entertains himself (or passes out) while I do what I gotta do. :) My bouncy seat didn't come with a mobile, which is the only thing I would change about it. I know other models do come with one.
Why I like it: Not only is it a nice crib, but it comes with an attached changing table, AND transitions into a toddler bed for when Chase gets older.
Musical Crib Mobile
Why I like it: Chase loooves his mobile. It keeps him entertained for a while!
Sorelle Berkeley Double Dresser
Why I like it: it matches the crib, and it's a great dresser for the price.
Why I like it: We love using the glider during the last feeding of the day before we put Chase to bed. It makes for a relaxing bedtime routine and he quickly and easily falls asleep. Plus it's super comfortable!
Love to Dream Swaddle Up Original
Why I like it: We call this swaddle "flying squirrel" because that's what Chase looks like when he's in it! We use the swaddle only for day time naps, as it's different than the night time swaddle. It keeps him secure yet his arms are above his head, which is different than the traditional swaddle.
Why I like it: aka the "cheater" swaddle, we would be LOST without these! We have about 10 of them and use them every single night when Chase goes to bed for the night. Dan and I really struggled with learning how to swaddle with a receiving blanket, and Chase kept breaking free and waking up every time we tried. It wasn't pretty. With these swaddles, they are practically error proof so Chase sleeps SO well in them. I'm actually terrified to start transitioning him out of this swaddle because he loves them so much.
Why I like it: WubbaNub has a bunch of different varieties of things with different animals, but we bought the monkey one. We appropriately refer to it as simply, "Monkey." Chase LOVES MONKEY. He's either using it as a pacifier for naps, or when he's not in the mood for a pacifier, he wants to snuggle with Monkey or suck on Monkey's limbs. We joke that Monkey is Chase's brother as he never leaves Chase's side. We also like it because Monkey's weight helps keep the pacifier in Chase's mouth a little longer, which is helpful when he's nodding off to sleep.
Why I like it: of course a diaper bag is a necessity. I like this one because it's a backpack, which makes for easy carrying (especially when I'm already carrying Chase!). It's not ridiculously large, yet still has a lot of compartments for everything I need (diapers, bottles, wipes, etc.) I also got the plain grey color, so it's not super girly looking like some diaper bags, which means Dan doesn't mind sporting it either! The only down side is that due to the fact that it isn't huge, it doesn't fit a large breast pump like a Spectra, so i have to bring a separate bag if I need to bring my pump with me...though it does fit a small pump like the Willow!
Diapers in various sizes
Why I like it: well, this one is a little obvious. I've been personally using Pampers, because it has a little yellow strip that turns blue when the baby pees, so you know if they have a pee-pee filled diaper without having to take it off. I also like to use brands like Honest and those that make diapers without any chemicals, though sometimes those brands aren't readily available everywhere and the last thing you need is to run out of diapers. Now if cloth diapers are your thing, that's AMAZING....but I don't have any advice on that one!
Why I like it: no one likes the smell of stinky diapers radiating throughout their house. This makes throwing diapers away super easy, as it has a small compartment to put the diapers in, and then locks shut so no stinky diaper smell. When it fills up, you tag the bag out just like you would take out the trash. I'm actually considering getting two of these - one for upstairs and one for downstairs. Right now we just have one in Chase's room (upstairs).
Why I like it: these are my favorite wipes because it's basically just water and a little bit of fruit extract. Awesome! So many other wipes are filled with toxic, unnecessary ingredients. On top of that, a lot of the other brands gave Chase diaper rash, but this one does not! No brainer.
Why I like it: this is especially helpful in the winter months, when wipes will get really cold. Most babies do NOT like being cold, so the last thing they want is being wiped with a super cold baby wipe. This is also very helpful year-round for little boys, as wiping them with cold wipes tend to make them pee....allllll over you. ;)
Why I like it: I keep this in our diaper bag for whenever we have to travel with the little guy. It's foldable and great for diaper changes on the-go.
Why I like it: great for preventing or curing diaper rash.
Why I like it: great for applying diaper cream on the baby's little butt without having to touch it with your hands!
Why I like it: it's a infant car seat and stroller all in one! The car seat can be easily clicked into the jogger or the car for easy transport. When the car seat isn't in the stroller, it's a great stroller for a toddler, so we'll be able to use it for quite a while. Also, it rides so smooth so you can use it for a nice stroll around the neighborhood, or take it for a parent/baby 5K run! It also has compartments for drinks and phone and a storage area below the stroller.
Why I like this: this is great for the chillier months of the year, so you can keep baby warm while in the car seat. It fits perfectly over the car seat and is a a warm, fuzzy material. It zips so you cover up baby as much as you'd like.
Why I like it: this is great for the warmer summer months where the bugs are out. The last thing you want is for the baby to get bit by a bug, so this net encloses the entire stroller so the baby is out of harm's way.
Why I like it: there are a lot of play mats out there that you can't go wrong with. I like this one because it has a lot of bright colors and dangling pieces that keep Chase entertained for a while. Seriously - he'll play in this gym for a solid 20 minutes on his own and loves every second of it! It's also great for tummy time as it gives him things to try to look for.
Why I like it: Chase is just starting to get strong enough to use this jumper. It'll be a great way to keep him entertained while also being able to sit upright and use his neck strength. Chase personally loooves being upright, so I already know he's going to love this. Note: typically babies start using this at around 4 months old.
Why I like it: reading to a baby is so important, and a great part of the daily routine. Some of the classics we love are: I'll Love You Forever, Pat the Bunny, Baby Signs, and Goodnight Moon. There are so many awesome ones out there and you can't go wrong with any of them! I had two baby showers (one with my family in CT and one with my in-laws in NJ), and in-lieu of cards we asked for baby books at one shower, and for the other shower we asked for diapers. As a result, I ended up with a ton of awesome baby books and diapers! Score.
Why I like it: once the umbilical cord falls out and the baby can be put in water, this tub is perfect for easy baby bathing. I put it in our tub and give Chase baths right in there. It has an infant sling attachment for babies that aren't able to sit upright, and when the baby is able to sit upright, the sling can be taken out and it turns into a sitting tub. It's super quick to fill up and can't overfill either as water will just begin to spill out.
Why I like it: I wasn't very picky on the brands for these, just the fact that you'll need a lot of washcloths! I probably have 20 of them. The more you buy, the less frequently you have to do laundry.
Why I like it: first, there's nothing cuter than a baby folded in a towel with an elephant hood. Second, it's perfect sized for baby and will keep him/her nice and warm post-bath (which is especially important for little boys because like I mentioned earlier....cold boys = pee pee). I have about 5 of these that I use on rotation for bath time.
Baby Bath Silicone Brush by Fridababy
Why I like it: this is great if your baby has cradle cap or dry skin. It very gently brushes off the dry skin without hurting or irritating the baby or his/her skin. It has very soft bristles so Chase LOVES having his head brushed with this because he finds it to be super relaxing. He did have some dry skin after he was born but even if he didn't, I'd probably still use it because he enjoys it so much!
Sleeper Onesies with Zippers
Why I like it: zip-up onesies > button up onesies in my opinion. Button up onesies take foreverrrr to do, especially when you're in a sleepy daze in the middle of the night. Zip-up are so much faster and easier, and doesn't disrupt baby as much. Whenever you see brands that have zip-up onesies...buy them in all different sizes!
Why I like it: these are great in colder temperatures when you want to keep baby's feet warm, and also want to ensure they stay on their feet! Socks somehow slip off so easily, but these bad boys don't go anywhere.
Why I like it: whenever we go outside in the warmer summer months, we always have this hat on Chase. It keeps the sun off of his head/face/neck, and out of his eyes. Protecting babies from the sun is super important so we love this hat.
Why I like it: this pump was mostly covered by my insurance (it was an upgraded model, the S2 model would have been completely covered). I upgraded because unlike most breast pumps, this one has a rechargeable battery and does NOT need to be constantly plugged in to use it! This was a HUGE plus for me, and totally worth the upgrade. In case it's not covered by your insurance, t's $200 normally. The only downside is that I noticed I get more frequent clogged milk ducts using this pump than I do when I use the Willow (see below).
Why I like it: you're probably wondering why I have two breast pumps. Well, the Willow is NOT covered by insurance (though you can purchase it with an HSA) and it's just short of $600. On top of that, it has proprietary milk bags that cost 50 cents each, which means each pumping session is $1 on top of how much you already paid for it. Now that you probably think I'm crazy for purchasing this - let me tell you the benefits. The Willow pump consists of two, CORDLESS breast shape pumps that fit RIGHT IN YOUR BRA. You put the proprietary milk bags in each pump, set it up against your breast to allow it to properly latch, turn it on, and then snap your nursing bra back on and you're literally good to go. This buys me so much freedom to be able to do whatever I want while pumping, because it's all underneath my clothes so no one knows I'm even pumping. I've pumped openly at coffee shops, fundraising events, NYC trips, in front of family and friends...you name it. The challenge with most pumps is that you typically have to hide in a room (or even worse, a bathroom) for up to 20-30 minutes every couple of hours to pump...which takes away a ton of your time and completely interrupts your day. I was about to go to NYC for my mom's birthday. and wasn't sure how I was going to be able to pull it off with having to pump all the time. I got the Willow and every two hours I would discreetly go to the bathroom, put the pumps in, and then come back out and continue enjoying whatever we were doing. After 25 minutes of pumping, I went back to the bathroom to take them off, threw them back in my purse, and was good to go.
Some questions that I frequently get about the Willow:
Can you feel it? YES, in my opinion it does pinch a bit and definitely feels like you have a pump on. That being said, after a while you get more used to it. You'll also want to be sure that you purchase the correct size and latch properly, because that can make a big difference about whether or not it's uncomfortable.
Is it obvious you have a pump on underneath? Yes and no. If someone knows you, they may pick up on the fact that your chest suddenly looks substantially larger than it was before. ;) If someone does not know you, then they would have no idea. I was at a fundraising event, picking out the winning raffle ticket in front of 30+ people, WHILE PUMPING....and no one had any idea (including the people that came there with me!).
Can you hear it? Yes, but it's a lot quieter than most pumps, so if you are somewhere with any white noise then you won't be able to hear it. Whenever I've been out and about no one has ever mentioned hearing the pump.
Can you sleep with it on? Sure! I typically can't since the feeling of my nipples being constantly tugged at doesn't exactly put me to sleep (haha), but one time I was so exhausted that I did fall asleep. It automatically shuts off at 25 minutes of pumping. That being said, I would set an alarm after 25 minutes because wet nipples in a enclosed space for a period of time could cause bacteria. No bueno.
What's the downside? Well if you pump often, it can get pretty expensive. I find it to be worth it, but others may not. Also, the bags fit 4 oz of milk per bag, so if you produce more than 4 oz per breast per pumping session, you may need to use more than one bag. I personally don't have this problem.
Why I like it: If you end up buying a traditional breastpump (like the Spectra) then this is a necessity! I learned this the hard way. I spent quite a few late nights holding each pump to my boobs for 25 minutes and staring into the darkness, hoping that time would go by faster. With this bra I could put the pump flanges into it and was totally hands-free while pumping, which means I could go on phone, get work done, etc.. I actually redesigned my entire website while pumping!
Why I like this: this bra is SO COMFORTABLE, and it perfect for breastfeeding at night. It's not as supportive as a traditional nursing bra, but a lot easier to sleep in. Since having Chase, I have to wear a bra 24/7 (for support reasons and also leaking), so it's nice to have a bra that's actually comfortable to sleep in.
Why I like this: these are the nursing bras I wear during the day. They are supportive, wireless (underwire + breastfeeding is not good), and pretty comfortable. I can easily keep my Willow pump in them as well.
Why I like it: I used these as undershirts and I found them to be so convenient, especially during the early days of breastfeeding when the baby feeds often and you're still trying to figure it all out. I like that you can BF or pump without having to lift up your shirt and expose your entire midsection. They're also pretty comfortable and flattering for the postpartum bod.
Why I like this: in the early days of breastfeeding, having sore nipples is a pretty common reality. The hospital gave me lanolin to use, but I personally didn't find that to provide me much relief. This nipple balm on the other hand, did. I applied it after every BF sesh, and you don't have to take it off prior to the next feeding as it's baby safe and organic.
Why I like it: it has herbs that are known to help support lactation, plus the tea tastes good. What's not to love? I would drink this every morning (and sometimes in the afternoon as well), especially during the first 6 weeks of breastfeeding.
Swason’s Brewers Yeast
Why I like it: brewers yeast is known to help support lactation. It comes in both powder and pill form, but I bought the powder as I wanted to use it in recipes (hellloooo lactation cookies!). Oats and flaxseeds are also known to help support lactation.
Why I like it: these are a necessity for me. I'm 3+ months in and still need to wear nursing pads everyday. In fact, I need to change them out about twice a day as I leak fairly often and don't want to expose my nipples to bacteria. If you use the reusable cloth ones, you can wash them and reuse them, but will have to change them more frequently as the risk of bacteria is higher. If you use the reusable ones, you may not need to change them AS frequently but will have to constantly throw them away and buy more. I personally bought some of both.
Why I LOVE it: this was another necessity for me. During the first 2 months of breastfeeding/pumping, I was constantly engorged and getting clogged milk ducts at least every other day. I was in constant discomfort, and even got mastitis once (which is awful). I wasn't sure how much longer I was going to be able to keep up with breastfeeding, because the discomfort was bad that it was preventing me from sleeping, and I already wasn't sleeping much as it was. Plus I was barely producing any milk as a result of the frequent clogs. My life completely changed when I started talking a lecithin supplement. I went from getting clogged ducts every other day, to once every two weeks. The clog used to last 24+ hours, and now it lasts no more than a couple of hours (especially if I increase my dosage when I realize I'm getting one). This was a total game changer for me, and has allowed me to continue breastfeeding. If you get clogged ducts, BUY THIS. You'll be SO happy you did!
Why I like it: Prenatals (or postnatals) are very important if you're breastfeeding, as it gives you the vitamins and nutrients needed for your body to go through the taxing process of recovery and producing milk. I like Garden of Life because they use real foods (superfoods, fruits, vegetables, etc.) and there isn't any unnecessary crap ingredients in the pills. You should continue to take prenatals for as long as you breastfeed.
Why I like it: there are so many benefits to magnesium, especially during pregnancy and postpartum. First, it helps me relax/sleep. Second, it keeps me regular (which is really important postpartum when you tend to be backed up). I take this right before bed for maximum benefits.
Thermacare Heat Wraps
Why I like it: I use these every time I get a clogged duct. I apply it directly to the clog, and not only does it help me feel more comfortable (especially when trying to sleep) but the heat definitely helps gets the milk flowing. A warm shower also helps clogged ducts, but let's face it, sometimes that's hard to fit in when you're taking care of a newborn!
ADDITIONAL FEEDING PRODUCTS:
Why I like it: these bottles were recommended by my lactation consultant, because they have the slowest flow and are the closest thing to the breast. This is especially important during the newborn phase, if you are giving your baby a bottle but also want to continue to breastfeed.
Why I like it: warms up bottles with milk or formula in just a few minutes. Just add water, hit the button of which one it is, and it'll beep when it's done! There's also the option to sterilize bottles as well.
Why I like it: no explanation needed on these. Buy a ton of them, because you'll need it. I have a bib on Chase all day because between frequent spit ups and his constant flow of drool, he's outfits would be constantly SOAKED if we didn't have a bib on him.
Why I like it: if you are planning on making your own baby food like I am, then this is such a convenient tool. It steams, cooks and blends the food all in one! I haven't had to use it yet since Chase isn't at the solid food stage, but I can't wait to use it when he is.
Why I like it: Chase isn't eating solids or using a hair chair just yet, but this will great when he does!
Why I like it: super convenient rack for drying off baby bottles.
Why I like it: cleaning bottles can be a pain in the butt, getting a brush specifically for baby bottles is key!
Why I like it: you're probably wondering why I have formula on here if I'm breastfeeding. Well, I've been on quite the breastfeeding journey (which should be another whole blog post in itself), but the quick story is that I was initially hyperlactating which was causing an imbalance of foremilk and hindmilk, which ultimately caused Chase to have GI issues and I was constantly engorged. My lactation consultant recommended that I work on decreasing my supply, which resulted in me not producing enough milk (frustrating, I know). Therefore, I am forced to supplement one bottle a day with formula. I was pretty bummed about this in the beginning because I definitely believe breast milk is the best for baby, however the most important thing is that baby is FED. So many women struggle with breastfeeding, and there should be NO SHAME in having to supplement and/or give your baby formula if needed. Every mama and baby are different, and you have to figure out whatever works best for both of you....whether it's breastfeeding, pumping, supplementing, formula feeding, etc. Try to remember that no one else's opinion matters. :)
Anyway, of course I wanted to give Chase the best formula on the market, as most formulas are pretty horrible. Most formula brands are filled with corn syrups, GMO soy (which is a major hormone disrupter), and other pretty scary ingredients. It's absolutely horrific that they would put some of these ingredients into something we feed BABIES. I did my research and found Holle, which is a German brand. All of their ingredients in their formula are REAL, ORGANIC ingredients. I believe they also have a goat milk and non-dairy version for babies that are daily intolerant as well. I order this online and though it's on the pricey side, I absolutely believe it's worth every penny. Chase likes it and though my supply isn't where I'd like it to be....we're both healthy and happy now and that's ultimately all that matters.
Why I like it: I loved having my own robe to wear when I was at the hospital. I felt comfortable, and more stylish. I found these robes to be super comfortable, airy, and flattering.
Why I like it: CocoKind has all non-toxic skincare products that I LOVE. On top of that, they even have products for babies! I absolutely love that they're products are made with real, not harsh ingredients which are perfect for both mama and baby skin.
Why I like it: babies love snuggling and skin-to-skin contact, so the baby wrap is perfect for allowing your baby to snuggle/sleep on your chest while also being up and about and being able to get things done. Chase always immediately fell asleep when I put him in this wrap.
Why I like it: this carrier isn't as snuggly as the Ergo Baby, but it's a lot heartier. I use it when I want to workout, go for walks, go shopping, etc. with Chase on me. It's also a great option for Dads and grandparents....Dan uses this all the time with Chase!
POSTPARTUM RECOVERY PRODUCTS
Why I like it: though this product is intended for breastfeeding, I actually used it as a seat during my postpartum recovery! I found sitting to be super uncomfortable post-vaginal delivery, and be able to sit in a comfortable pillow with a hole in the middle was PERFECT for me. I sat in it all day, and even brought it in the car with me and sat on it during car rides.
Why I like it: this helps prevent stretch marks and helps fade new stretch marks. I am thankful that I didn't get many stretch marks, but I do have one right where my belly button was pierced, due to that skin being thin from getting that piercing 15+ years ago. I apply this cream twice a day and have noticed a dramatic difference in the appearance. Plus it keeps my skin moisturized and it's made with real, nontoxic ingredients.
Why like it: I used coconut oil every single day while I was pregnant to keep my belly moisturized and to help prevent stretch marks. I still use it on my entire body after I get out of the shower to keep my skin soft. It's one of the best nontoxic moisturizers you can use!
Why I like it: this was a total necessity for post-vaginal delivery. I applied it every time I used the bathroom, and it made my choo-cha feel refreshed, cool and tingly. I honestly don't know what I would have done without this! I went through about 3 bottles of it, so don't be afraid to stock up! I also love that it's made with nontoxic, non-irritating ingredients.
Why I like it: another postpartum necessity. In addition to using the perineal balm, I applied the witch hazel directly to my pads every time I used the bathroom. Not only does it help with recovery, but helped keep me cool and clean.
Why I like it: most hospitals will provide this for you. Chances are, you'll probably do a lot of bleeding postpartum, so having these comfortable, throw-away undies are amazing. I used them for close to a week postpartum!
Why I like them: well needless to say, you'll need maxi pads during the recovery process. Especially for a vaginal delivery. The hospital will provide you with giant, industrial-sized maxi pads which are really helpful, but you won't need those for very long. Within less than a week regular maxi pads should do the trick.
First aid kit, baby thermometer, baby nail file, Fridababy NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator, baby clothes, socks, hats, baby blankets
OTHER GIFT IDEAS:
If you are looking for something to give an expectant parent, you can never go wrong with Amazon gift cards, or a gift card for a meal delivery service in their area. If you do the meal delivery service, just make sure it's available where they live first (aka UBEReats, EAT 24, GrubHub, Favor, etc.)
If you are an expecting parent and are creating your registry, don't forget to put things for yourself on the registry as well! Gift cards for a massage/facial, gift cards for a post-baby date night, gift cards for new clothes, a kitchen gadget you've been eyeing up for a while...anything your heart desires! Having a baby is no easy task, so if there's anything that make your life easier (or happier) during the process, don't be afraid to ask for it!