As I planned for the arrival of my little one, I had no idea what essentials to buy before bringing the baby home . In fact, I was completely overwhelmed. I was one of those new moms that didn’t even know how to change a diaper, let alone know what a swaddle was or even how to use one. Then friends and family kept asking me if I had a baby registry, and I started to sweat.
Now, that I’m a mom raising two under two, I’ve had time and experience (okay, not a lot of time) to figure out what a new mom will need and what essentials to buy before bringing the baby home. This is the first of three articles on the baby essentials needed for any mom.
The recommendations I make are for things I used for both babies. And I asked expert moms to weigh in with suggestions. Although, anything that makes your life easier or stops a baby from crying is worth it.
Recommended Reading: Essentials to Buy Before Bringing the Baby Home - Part 2
As I mentioned before, I had no idea what a swaddle was until the nurse taught me in the hospital. Honestly, my swaddle didn’t get good until baby number two. My hubby had the magic fingers and mummifying technique.
But, regardless of who swaddles, you’re going to need some fabric to wrap the baby tightly. And when I say tightly, I mean tightly. The tighter you wrap your baby, the longer he/she sleeps.
I’ve had so many different kinds of swaddles, in search of the perfect one. In the end, what worked for both babies was the Muslin Baby Swaddle Blankets. The reason is that the fabric is breathable and soft, so you can roll and tighten, roll and tighten to a perfect fit. The size will fit any baby - slender or chunky.
You can also use the blankets to cover the car seat or scrunch one up and let your baby knead it. I found so many uses for them that they’re a great buy for the new mom. Can be pricier than other blankets and some swaddles, but they don’t break the bank.
Seriously, try one with your little one.
The first baby product my husband bought was a 4Moms Mama Roo 4 Infant Seat. At first, I snarkily thought amateur, but the 4Moms Mama Roo has been by far the most used baby item for both babies. We even lost the plug and my daughter or little bird, as we like to call her, will bicycle her legs to get it moving.
The 4Moms Mama Roo is perfect for soothing your baby, giving them a bottle or providing a place to set them down, so you can go hands-free. The quality is good, and it comes in colors that might match your house. So, my hubby did well.
The cost for the 4Moms Mama Roo varies depending on what bells and whistles you want. We first bought the most expensive one because we were desperate for sleep, but the cheaper one is great too. We’ve had both between two babies.
Another option in this category is the BABYBJORN Bouncer My friend bought two for her twins and swore by them. I love everything about this sanity saver - the color, the easy-to-clean fabric, and ability to hide under tables due to the design. Baby Bjorn makes outstanding products.
The third, cheaper option, in this category, is a Fisher-Price Baby's Bouncer. I randomly put this on my baby registry because of the excellent price, and it was a lifesaver. My daughter spent hours in its warm embrace when she was a newborn.
Even now, I’ll plop her in it to have a bottle. The Fisher-Price Baby's Bouncer is super portable, while the Mama Roo is heavier and stays in the living room. I can move the bouncer around quickly, which is another thing to think about when setting up your house for baby number one or two - you’ll want different stations in each room that you use.
Whatever bouncer you choose, this baby product will save your sanity.
A friend of mine got me a Fisher-Price Music and Lights Deluxe Gym when my son arrived. You always need somewhere to put your babe down on, and the baby gym is perfect.
It’s portable, makes funny sounds, and easy to clean. I’ve now used it for baby number two, so I can honestly say that the investment is worth the price.
A friend of mine gave Teething Rings to me a few weeks after I had baby number one, or Little Bug, as I like to call him. They are great chew toys, and you can attach them to his/her car seat when traveling.
I've used these for both my kids and Little Bug still likes them, and he’s almost two. Oh, and the other great use for them, is (drum roll) teething!
More: 7 Lessons Moving from Bottle to Sippy
I had no idea what a life-saver a Sound Spa Relaxation Machine was until my son wouldn’t sleep. I’d wrap him up into a sausage and let the beating heart or crashing waves lull him into dreamland.
When he got older, he tried to grab the machine and suck on it. But, I didn't care, he wasn’t crying. The sound machine is a cheap investment in your sanity.
I’ve had a few different pack n' plays for both little ones. They come in various sizes and levels of luxury. For those of you who don’t know, a pack n' play is a portable crib, used for sleep, diaper changes or playing.
The one I used (and still use for Little Bird) most was the Graco Travel Lite Crib with Stages. I wanted one that could easily fit next to my bed and in the living room with the other baby gadgets. I even saw a mom bring one to the beach the other day. She plopped her six-month-old in it, instead of on the sand.
If you're not worried about space and want all the bells and whistles, I recommend the Graco Pack 'n Play Playard Bassinet Changer with Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat
For Moms with no space issues but don't want to break the bank, I recommend the Graco Pack 'N Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer.
But, if you don't want to splurge AND you're concerned about space, I'd go with the Graco Travel Lite Crib with Stages
Whichever one you choose, I've honestly never known a mom who has regretted purchasing one. Graco is a reliable and affordable brand.
A friend of mine told me about Zutano Booties, and I’ve never gone back.
Baby socks never stay on and in my opinion a waste of money. Zutano Baby Fleece Booties come in fun colors, different fabrics, are super soft, and the best part - they stay on. I was tired of hunting for socks inside and outside of the dryer.
Not only that but they’re super cute and go with everything. I used the same ones for both kiddos. Now, when I need to buy a baby gift for a friend, I always include a pair.
I don’t know how many heartfelt thank yous I’ve received.
I didn’t know what a Boppy Nursing Pillow was either. Basically, it's a pillow that wraps around your waist, and you lay the baby on it while you breastfeed. The whole point is to make breastfeeding more comfortable. As the child grows, you can also use it for tummy time.
Another option in this category is the My Brest Friend . The biggest benefit of the this pillow is that it feels more secure around your waist. My Brest Friend has a strap that allows you to tighten the pillow securely around you.
The material isn’t as plush or soft as the Boppy Nursing Pillow, so the baby has more support and slides around less. I first used a My Brest Friend at my local breastfeeding support group.
MORE: 8 Things You Need to Know Breastfeeding with a Tongue-Tied Baby
Both have cool cover choices. I recommend buying at least two colors because your baby will spit up.
I resisted pacifiers at first because of the worry about how it’ll hurt breastfeeding. Don’t even get me started on breastfeeding. I know a few moms that didn’t have any problems, but for the majority of moms, breastfeeding is a dark time in early motherhood.
More: 8 Things You Need to Know Breastfeeding with a Tongue-Tied Baby
Regardless, of your breastfeeding woes or success, a pacifier can be a lifesaver. Newborns want to suck constantly, and when they can’t, they cry. Sure, you can let them suck your finger or give them a baby teether to chew, but in the end, a WubbaNub works like magic. When I finally gave Little Bug one, I thought why did I ever wait.
The ones that are the most common for newborns are the Philips Avent Soothie Pacifier. You can also get a WubbaNub, which is a small giraffe or other stuffed animal with a pacifier at the the end. Your baby holds on to the giraffe and sucks on the pacifier. Some moms swear by these because the pacifier doesn't fall out as much.
I used those for the first few weeks, then switched to MAM.
MAM comes in different colors, have a great design, and tend to stay put. Some of them even glow in the dark, so your little one can find and plop it back in without your assistance.
The other reason to use MAM is that they claim to be better for emerging baby teeth. But, I recommend getting rid of the pacifier by six - eight months, if possible. The long you wait the harder it will be to change. I discovered this when switching my son from the bottle to sippy.
I used a diaper bag a lot for Little Bug, but for Little Bird I never do. I finally got smart and loaded up my trunk with my diaper bag and accouterments.
The diaper bag that I have is a Skip Hop Baby Diaper Bag. It's such a practical bag that comes in funky colors and designs. There are plenty of pockets, and it’s easy to clean.
Now, I keep it stocked in my trunk. I then plop what I need from the bag into my purse, which usually isn’t much. If I do need something more, I can always run and get it from the car.
Wow, I had a lot more to recommend than I thought I would, but I've been in baby land for a few years now. I've found that it's best to buy now, rather than later for some of these items. When the baby comes, all you'll want to do is cuddle and sleep.
I would love to know which baby essentials you like best and why. Leave a comment below.
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