I’ve been MIA from blogging for…well…it looks like nearly three years. My, how time flies when you’re having fun! And fun I’ve been having as a new mom of a nearly one-year-old. I feel like there’s little I can say that does not ring cliche, especially to the “been there, done that” moms (or BTDT, as I’ve been learning the baby-message-board-mom-lingo). But I thought I could share some info about what “baby stuff” I’ve really found useful as a new mom.
We registered at Amazon and Target, both of which offer “goodies” in terms of gift samples and coupons off future purchases for starting a registry with them. Even if you don’t intend to share your registry with anyone else, start one and purchase the items you need off of it for those discounts.
For ease and because we’re an Amazon affiliate, I’m going to include Amazon links where available, but shop around for the best deal (and buy local if possible).
Breastfeeding: Take advantage of the services offered by lactation nurses in your community. If you struggle like I did, these items helped increase my supply (but check with your health care provider first):
- UpSpring milkflow breastfeeding supplement with Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. I purchased these at CVS.
- Spring Valley Brewer’s Yeast dietary supplement. I purchased these at Wal-Mart.
- If you’re exclusively breastfeeding, don’t forget a Vitamin D supplement, such as Enfamil D-Vi-Sol.
- The correct flange size for your pump. I needed larger flanges than what came with my Medela pump.
- Nursing bras. I much prefer wearing the “sleep” type bras 24-7 as opposed to the bras that have the clip for access, as the former is more convenient and I find the clips frustrating.
- Nursing-friendly tops and dresses. These made a huge difference in my comfort level nursing in public places and I believe are worth the investment. I’ve found clothing designed specifically for nursing at Target and Kohls, and on-line from Latched Mama, Kindred Bravely, Pat-Pat, and Amazon (I love this cardigan).
- A hand-free pumping bra is a must-have in my book. This one is basic and I only wear it while I pump so if you’re looking for something to wear all day, I wouldn’t recommend this as it “bulges” out a bit where it zips up.
- Pumping and bottle feeding require lots of washing! We love the Boon Grass Drying Rack and Twig. We use it ALL THE TIME!
- A Boppy! Really, any good quality nursing pillow but this is what we used and we found it useful in other applications (like when our little one was learning to sit without support). At nearly a year old, we’re still using this every day, around the clock.
Some breastfeeding advice I received from the lactation nurses that worked for me was to manually express after each pumping session to fully drain each breast, to always drink a large glass of water with each nursing/pumping session, and to vary nursing holds to make sure different parts of the breast were being completely drained. This all helped my supply and eventually I didn’t need to supplement with formula and have been exclusively feeding breast milk to my baby ever since.
Formula Feeding: Even if you only plan to breastfeed, sign up for the rewards programs with Similac and Enfamil–I needed to supplement with formula during our baby’s early months and the coupons you are sent through these programs (not to mention the welcome boxes with large samples) will save you a ton of money. Even now that we don’t formula feed, I’ll buy formula with the coupons I receive and then give that formula to a mom friend or donate it to the local food pantry.
I know baby-led weaning is big right now and I think it’s great if that works for you. We chose a more traditional route, making purees for our little one.
- The Wholesome Baby Food Guide has excellent suggestions for making baby food at home. A friend gifted me her copy and I’m so glad she did.
- Food Feeder Pacifiers: These are great for introducing pieces of fruit without having to worry about choking; the silicone pouches are easier to clean than similar mesh options.
- Chicco Booster Seat: We’re short on space in our home so we opted to use one of these, which is also great for travel. However, we recently upgraded to IKEA’s simple and affordable Antilop high chair because our baby likes to rock back and forth and we feel it provides more stability than the booster seat strapped onto a regular chair.
- Munchkin Stay Put Bowls. These are inexpensive and utilitarian. They do what they say!
- Weighted Straw Sippy Cup. So far, this is the only sippy our baby has been able to figure out. I’ve also been trying to teach baby to use a 360 cup, as that will be our preference as more teeth come in, but understanding the need to tilt the cup is still a challenge.
Diapers, Burps, and Boogers
- Instead of a dedicated changing table, we use the changing area that came with our Pack N’ Play (see below).
- These changing pad liners fit it perfectly.
- We use the Dekor Classic Diaper Pail and have been pleased with its odor-keeping abilities. It’s not super-large, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space but the small size does require more frequent emptying. They make a larger size also.
- Our favorite burp cloths were the most simple, prefold diapers!
- We splurged on this weighted wipe dispenser and find it really useful/convenient.
- While everyone says you HAVE to have a Nose Frida to suck out baby’s boogies, we agree they’re nice for travel but what you really need is…
- A Baby-Vac! It sounds a bit scary, but our little one prefers this over the Frida and it gets the job done much quicker. As our baby has gotten older nose-sucking (in any form) has gotten more difficult because baby will physically resist our attempts to get near that little nose.
- Aquaphor Ointment. So far, this is our favorite thing for treating drool rashes on the neck.
- For diaper rash, we were fortunate to be gifted a HUGE basket of more Dr. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste than we could ever use ourselves. This stuff works!
Our little one shares our bedroom and with limited space, we use a Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Snuggle Suite LX as our crib and changing table. The bouncer seat it came with also proved helpful–I put baby in it while I cooked, did dishes, even showered!
- Because our Pack N’ Play acted as our crib, we outfitted it with this foam mattress.
- We use this mattress cover and these sheets.
- The Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine and Night Light was one of our big-ticket registry items. Thankfully, my brother’s family bought it for us because we use this every night. As our little one gets older, it’s time-to-rise feature will also come in handy.
- For travel, we love this little sheep sound machine.
- Since baby shares a room with us, we make due with this audio only baby monitor. It works great!
- We got this little mobile to attach to our Pack N’ Play with this arm. Our little one loved this until about 7 months old; then we had to move it because baby could reach/grab for it.
- Our baby likes to sleep arms up and needed mitten to avoid scratches from sharp little finger nails. This sleep sack was perfect and we’re still using it at 10 months old.
- We’ve been really pleased with the Fisher-Price 4-in1 bathtub. We used it in the kitchen sink with sling and have since graduated to using it in the shower with green seat now that baby can sit up and enjoys splashing.
- Muslin Washcloths. These are so soft! We love them. And once we started solids, we go through a lot of washcloths.
- A baby hygiene kit. It’ll include items you use constantly, items you’ll want to have on hand “just in case,” and items you’ll probably never use. The comb has been helpful in dealing with cradle cap.
- Personally, clipping baby’s nails is still one of the most stress-inducing tasks we face. We were even gifted a very cool set of clippers with an LED light at the end but until recently, a simple glass nail file has been my go-to so I don’t have to worry about nicking baby’s sweet skin. I’ve seen them at our local Ace Hardware store for $2!
New babies are gifted so many cute clothes that there really is little that needs covered here. I’m just going to mention a couple of things we found ourselves looking for.
- Socks that don’t fall off! A friend recommended this cute set, which we quickly ordered and our baby is still wearing them. They started off thigh high but now fit under the knees.
- We also found these little booties to stay on well and were perfect for keeping little toes toasty through the cold winter.
Also, take advantage of garage sales and consignment shops! If there’ s a Once Upon A Child or something similar near year, check it out. Babies are in clothes for such a short period of time and sometimes you’re lucky if you get to dress them in that cute outfit just once! Consignment shops are full of *gently* used items that will save you a ton of $ and also offer you the opportunity to sell the pieces your baby has outgrown.
As soon as our little one could roll, we set up a containment space as we work out baby-proofing our home–a big challenge if you know the kind of rehab work we’re doing on our 120 year old home.
- Foam Tile Play Mat. We have hard wood floors, so this was a must!
- Baby Jail. We really love the quality and versatility of this one!
- We baby wear! We have a Lillebaby Airflow Complete, which has worked out great. We highly recommend visiting a local baby-wearing group for advice on fit and safety.
- We also have a lighter-weight Moby wrap. Depending on the situation, the wrap is sometimes more convenient/comfortable than our more structured carrier.
- I wouldn’t necessarily recommend these but they’ve served our purposes just fine: we went with an infant carseat–the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35, which works with the inexpensive and relatively light-weight Graco Pace stroller (available only from Target). I would probably choose a carseat with more head support and strap covers if I had it to do over again.
First of all, we use this cute 3 Sprouts tote to carry a selection of books from room to room. We received so many wonderful books from friends, I’m just going to highlight a few here.
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? The rhyming is a delight to baby’s ears.
- Little Blue Truck. Great message of how we need each other and fun sounds to read to little one.
- The Little House. A preservationist’s favorite!
- When I Pray For You. I recommend all of this author’s books! Great rhyming, sweet message, and beautiful illustrations.
Another thing to keep in mind–have some krinkly fabric books that baby can chew on without harming self (or book!).
We keep all of our toys wrangled in this 3 Sprouts Toy Chest. I love their whole line of cute storage solutions!
- Cuddle+Kind dolls. I cannot stress how beautifully detailed these well-made, hand-knit in Peru dolls are (of course, Peru is near and dear to us). I want them all. For myself. Haha! We chose this gift that gives back meals to children in need for our little one’s first Christmas.
- Tag Blanket. Babies love them! We were fortunate to be gifted one and it was one of the earliest “toys” our baby took interest in.
- Baby jumper. We found ours used on facebook marketplace for $30. It has been a great investment and we’ve used it for much longer than we thought we could.
- Fisher-Price Butterfly Shape Sorter. We got this in a package of three toys at Costco. Our little one loves knocking down the towers that mommy stacks. It’s great for building, and for practicing shapes and colors.
- Fisher-Price Stack & Roll Cups. These came in the set with the shape sorter and they’re brilliantly designed. Baby can nest bowls within each other, stack bowls (and each piece has ledges to help any other of the smaller-sized bowls fit perfectly), or join them together to make balls. Bonus: the little smiley face ball is a favorite cat toy, too.
- Discover & Play Piano. This musical toy cycles through various classical pieces, animal sounds, and numbers in English, French, and Spanish.
- Pop-up toy. It’s fun to watch your baby beam with pride when they figure out first how to close the pop-ups, then how to make them pop up.
- My Child’s Health Record Keeper. This is so handy for tracking all those pediatrician visits and immunizations.
- We gifted Grandma and Grandpa these lovely books for them to record their memories for their first grandchild.
Obviously, this list is not exhaustive! And every parent will find the products that work best for themselves and their special bundle. But I hope this helps navigate the overwhelming options a bit.