There are so many products out there geared towards babies and parents that as a first time mom it can be downright overwhelming to figure out what you actually need. I’m so happy I asked around and got opinions from as many moms as possible regarding what I should buy. That said, every mom and baby will differ and new products are constantly coming out making it hard to keep up. Below are ten items that have worked for our family and that I would highly recommend.
We were fortunate enough to be gifted the SNOO, i.e. the fancy pants smart sleeper bassinet that’s all the rage. While it’s brilliantly designed, we haven’t found Levi sleeps better in it than in the simple Dock-a-Tot ($175). The dock is essentially a super cozy baby lounger with no legs that babies can use to sleep virtually anywhere. We’ve been using it mostly in our bed but Levi has slept in it on the couch and even once on the dining room table during a family dinner. It’s very portable making it ideal for moving around the house or for travel. It was originally designed for co-sleeping and is especially great for moms recovering from a C-section who struggle to get in and out of bed initially.
These last two months Levi has been sleeping in our bedroom because I find it more convenient given his frequent night feedings and because he’s still so little I want to keep him close. However, now that he’s eight weeks I’m going to try to move him to his room so he can get used to sleeping in his crib. I would say get the dock in lieu of a bassinet to keep in your room if you like the idea of sharing a bed, or if you don’t, I suggest getting an inexpensive bassinet to keep in your room as well as the dock for its convenient portability.
Side note: the Dock-a-tot cover is annoying to wash so we just put a blanket over ours and wash that when/if it gets wet/dirty.
I’m breastfeeding, but since Levi turned three weeks he’s been taking one bottle of expressed milk per day. David usually gives it to him so I can get some rest. Or if I need to go out whoever is babysitting can give it to him too. The lactation consultants tell you to wait a couple weeks to offer the bottle so that breast feeding is well established. I was nervous as to how it would go but Levi liked the bottle right away. I’ve been using the pretty Comotomo bottles and their design makes it super easy to feed him. The wide shape of the bottle also makes them a breeze to clean which is another key element. For newborns start with the smaller, slow flow bottles.
Nowadays car seats can clip onto strollers for a complete “travel system”. This means if your baby falls asleep in the car seat (which they often do) you don’t have to take them out of the car seat and put them into a stroller — you just clip the car seat onto the stroller. That being said, you still need to have your stroller in the car with you for this to work. With the Doona, however, it’s a car seat and stroller all in one piece so you don’t even need to pack your stroller in your car! I’ve never put my stroller in my car with this and the only time I will is if I’m taking Levi on a long outing where I know he will be more comfortable in a bigger stroller, or if we’re going somewhere where he will be sleeping for a while in which case I’ll pack the bassinet stroller attachment so he can be flat on his back. The Doona is expensive at $499, but incredible convenience always comes at a price.
Babies love to be carried and held, but for those times when parents need to actually get stuff done (or just need a break) you need places to park your little one. Levi has daily chill sessions in his bouncy chair while I eat breakfast, apply makeup, read him a book, etc. It vibrates and plays music and the best part is I can move it all around the house depending on where I need to be. We also bought the Fisher Price cradle ‘n’ swing which is a great product and Levi has had some good naps in there when he wouldn’t sleep anywhere else. However, I’m not listing it in my top ten because it’s super bulky (read: unattractive) and can’t be moved easily thus making it less convenient than the chair. If you have the space and funds consider getting both (you can sell them later or use for subsequent babies) but if you’re just going to buy one I suggest the bouncer.
Newborns, especially boys pee through their diapers and clothes frequently meaning there are many diaper and outfit changes throughout the day. I love footed pajamas because socks are annoying and they’re the easiest to put on (no need to put anything over baby’s head). I especially like zippered footed pajamas because they’re even faster to put on than ones with snaps and make outfit changes less of a hassle — especially in the middle of the night when you’re half asleep. I stocked up on ones from Old Navy.
I decided to buy a smart changing pad from Hatch Baby because for about $100 more than a regular changing pad you get a product that doubles as a scale. As a first time mom who is breast feeding this helps reassure me the baby is gaining enough weight. For more superficial reasons, I like the sleek look of the Hatch Baby Grow and the fact you can easily clean it with a wipe rather than having to wash countless changing pad covers (anything to do less laundry!). Plus, the accompanying app is amazing and lets me time and keep track of Levi’s feedings, sleep duration, and even pumping sessions.
Babies spit up all the time so it’s wise to have many burp clothes scattered throughout the house. I put them on my shoulder to burp him and give them to anyone who wants to hold him. I also use them to pat his bum dry. I use the Gerber cloth diapers as burp clothes.
If you’re going to be pumping breast milk, a hands free pumping bra or tank top is bound to be your best friend. I pump from both breasts and with my free hands I can blog, shop online, or check my emails. I never would’ve thought my 15 minute daily pumping session would turn out to be one of the most productive parts of my day!
Did I mention that babies pee a lot? Yup, even through their clothes. I have a changing pad in Levi’s room but I bought disposable diaper pads to set up a changing station in our bedroom. I also always put one down in his stroller’s bassinet attachment because washing the bassinet’s mattress cover is a pain. It takes time and it has to air dry, however, when a diaper pad gets wet I can simply toss it. These are also practical to have in your diaper bag.
The Puj compact infant tub was created for traveling but I’ve been using it as our regular bathtub since Levi graduated from sponge bathing to real baths (after his circumcision and belly button healed). It fits perfectly in our under mount sink so we can bathe him without any uncomfortable kneeling. It has good grip and there’s a line that indicates how much you should fill it. The tub also has a convenient hole, so once we’re done I simply hang it to dry in our shower. It’s only good till they’re six months, after which I’ll be using the Boon Soak infant tub in our adult bathtub. I’ll definitely have to get a pad for my knees.
Other products I like:
Corn starch for diaper area
MZ Wallace backpack (to use as a diaper bag)