So I suppose I am writing this for new moms, but it might also be useful information for moms who are curious to see if it really is worth it to buy another product to help with her day to day. I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and feeling extremely overwhelmed by all the items that are out there! Also because all the advertisements are telling you that you need that product for your baby or you will basically be a terrible mom. What is a mom to do?! I listened to some podcasts where other moms shared what their essentials were and I bought a book called, Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving. It gave great ideas on where to look for deals and what things are essential versus just nice to have.
Well I am now taking care of my second baby and I am fortunate enough to know this time around the things I absolutely couldn’t live without. These items are things that I have needed from my personal experience. I am only mentioning products that I have tried although I am sure there are other things out there that I have yet to discover!
So I give you-
My Top Ten Favorite Baby Products
*Most of the items I am referring to are generic and I just give you an example, but a few are brand specific
1. Changing Mat
The baby stores and catalogs will make you believe you need to have a changing table at home. Changing tables are one of the pieces of furniture you really don’t need. You can put a changing pad on top of a dresser, or you can just have a changing mat that you place on the bed or floor and change your baby there. I am a big believer in the travel changing mat because you can use it at home or on the go! I always have one in my diaper bag and use it any time we are out. Whether we are at a relative’s house or in public. The baby changing stations in public bathrooms are nice to have and all, but I love having my changing mat to put on top to make sure we aren’t picking up any germs.
Obviously there is a wide array of options out there. And maybe you don’t need anything fancy if you are using one at home. But for use on the go the one I recommend is the Brica On The Go Diaper Changer. It has a sturdy outside, a mat that is detachable, a flap that folds over, mesh pockets, and a little dispenser for trash bags to put dirty diapers in!
2. Diaper pail
We all have a universal understanding that dirty diapers are stinky! It would be great if we could just run them out to the trash outside all the time, but that usually doesn’t happen. So your inside trash might end up reeking by the end of the week.
There are basically two main brands of diaper pails out there. The Diaper Genie by Playtex and Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail. I actually own both and between the two the winner to me is the Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail. The reason I like it better is that it has a little container attached to the lid that dispenses a little bit of baking soda each time you close it which helps eliminate odor. Also, the bags are easier to change. With the Diaper Genie you have to basically make your own bag by putting a knot at the end and cutting an end off when the pail is full.
However, both do a good job of taking away a great deal of the smelliness that dirty diapers bring, so if that is your main goal, you would probably happy with either one. But a diaper pail is a must!!
3. Puj tub
Here is one of my brand specific items. Giving a baby a bath is something a mom does very frequently so it just makes sense that you need a baby sized basin to do it! But most baby tubs that they sell are very bulky and take up a ton of room. It might work if there is a spare tub in the house that only the baby is going to use, but often that is not the case.
Well my sisters-in-law gave me the best gift at my baby shower for my first baby and that was a Puj Tub . It is a soft infant tub that folds into a basin and fits in the sink! That way you aren’t bending over into the regular tub. It is awesome because once you are finished you can unfold it and hang it up and out of the way. It takes up almost no space. It is one of my favorite products and I think everyone should have one! It makes life so much easier.
4. Baby carrier
There is a huge movement with attachment parenting in which you keep baby close most of the time. You don’t have to believe in attachment parenting to be a baby wearer though! Why am I pro-baby wearing? Because babies like being close to mom and my arms get tired after holding my baby constantly. Plus there is always so much to do, it is nice to have my hands free. I think baby carriers are very useful for those purposes. I own the Boba Baby Wrap, which is a soft and stretchy cloth baby carrier. The reason I really like it is because it folds up almost like a small blanket which is great for traveling, and is comfortable material. It can hold a baby that is up to 35 lbs! And it comes in a wide array of colors (I have the grey one because it goes with everything). It is also useful for nursing, if you are a nursing mom.
*The one stipulation I will inform you of, is the Boba Baby Wrap takes some time to learn how to tie it. It may seem a bit complicated at first and it takes a minute or so to get it tied correctly before you can put baby in. So if you are looking for something easy and quick you might want something more like the BABYBJORN Baby Carrier which is more like a backpack and snaps quickly in place.
5. Swaddle blankets/sleep sacks
There is a well known book called, The Happiest Baby on the Block, written by Dr. Harvey Karp. It is very useful when trying to figure out how to help newborns and deal with the crying that usually occurs. He has something called the 5 S’s-
- The 5 S’s: Five simple steps that trigger the calming reflex (swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking).
* For more info from Dr. Harvey Karp visit his website-http://www.happiestbaby.com/ (I think he is awesome!)
Anyway, I am a big believer in swaddling. Both my daughters have absolutely needed it in order to be able to sleep between the months of 0-3. There are lots of options for swaddling. There are many basic swaddling blankets you can buy, but I have never been good at swaddling. My girls were always able to escape and wake themselves up mid-sleep. So I invested in sleep sacks. The one that is my favorite is the HALO SleepSack.
The reason I like the HALO the best is the velcro portion is tall and harder to escape from. Also, when baby outgrows the arm swaddling part, you can wrap them with their arms out and the sleep sack still acts as a wearable blanket. They come in all different materials too. From fleece for cold weather, to lighter weight cotton.
6. White noise machine
This is another thing I don’t know how I would live without it. Again, regarding the “shushing” part of Dr. Harvey Karp’s 5 S’s, white noise simulates the sounds that the baby heard while in the womb. You as an adult might still get a better night sleep with some ambient noise in the background versus absolute quiet! Both of my babies have needed white noise in order to help them sleep.
I have the MyBaby SoundSpa. It has 6 different sounds (we like “Ocean” the best), is portable, and has the option of battery power. We have two of these in our household now, and have taken them with us when staying over night away from home. They are great!
7. Rocker bed
I received this as a gift from my sister when my first baby was born and it has seen lots of use since! My first born pretty much slept in the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper for the first couple months of her life due to her acid reflux because it is angled. The reason I think it is a must have is because it is also portable. It folds up and is easy to move around. Currently, it is the place down stairs where baby naps. We also used this as a place for baby to nap when we are away from home. (Certain ones even have a soft vibrate option that will lull baby to sleep).
8. Burp cloths
In the early stages, babies spit up A LOT. I sort of had forgotten just how much, and then my new baby reminded me by both of us needing constant clothing changes. Spit up gets everywhere too! Burp cloths are a must. And it helps to have a lot of them. A product that is really pretty cool is the Baby K’tan Burp Cloth. It is super soft and is fairly long. The thing that sets it apart is the unique open-pocket design that helps catch spit ups. Any burp cloth that helps eliminate multiple clothing changes is wonderful!
9. Pack n play
I believe every home should have a Pack N Play Playard. The ones with the bassinet attachments are great because you can use them for babies of any size. In fact, notice that “crib” is not on my list of top 10 things. That doesn’t mean we don’t own a crib, but we didn’t even use one until my first born was about 5 months old. Up until then, she either slept in the Rock n’ Play Sleeper or the Pack N Play in the bassinet. The reason I love Pack N Plays are their portability. (Portability is kind of a big deal to me, can you tell?)
When we visited relatives in other states, or stayed in hotels, we always bring a Pack N Play along. There are just so many ways it is useful.
*One thing I do advise you on though, if you are going to use it for a toddler, the mattress that comes with it is pretty thin and it can be a pretty hard sleeping surface when it is against the bottom. So it is totally worth it to buy the Dream On MeFoam Graco Pack and Play Mattress.
It inserts directly into the play yard and feels a lot more like a crib mattress. I was very nervous about my toddler sleeping well on a vacation we went on, but she did great because of the comfortable Dream On Me Mattress added to our Pack N Play.
10. Nose frida
I could probably write a whole separate post on things to help when babies get sick, but this item is something I recently came across and it changed my life! It is rough going when babies/toddlers get sick. It is usually even worse for them because they can’t tell you what hurts or why they don’t feel well. When they get congested there is almost nothing you can do to help them feel better since they are unable to blow their noses. Enter NoseFrida!
I know what you are thinking…”That’s gross!” At first I wasn’t sure what to think of it either. How can it be sanitary? Well I was so overly exhausted after being up with my toddler for several nights in a row due to her not being able to breathe through her nose. I was desperate and was willing to try anything. The NoseFrida does a wonderful job of sucking out the snot. I know it is gross, but it helps them feel so much better! And there are filters within the tube that keep you from inhaling any of the germs.
It may not sound like something you are willing to try, but believe me, if you get to that point like I did, you will find that it works really well! It also has been helpful with my 2 month old when she is stuffy.
So these are my top 10 items. That doesn’t mean there are not dozens of other things I use on a daily basis, but these were the ones I thought were most important to share with you. I will be writing a post on honorable mentions or items that are very nice to have (but not necessarily necessary).
What are some things you absolutely can’t live without for your babies? Let me know in the comments below! I love to try new things.