There’s no doubt about it – there are TOO MANY baby products out there! And when you’re expecting, you’ll stop at nothing to get everything you THINK your baby will need. Now, I know these types of lists are very much so based on opinion, and this is merely mine. But, I have to say that with a toddler and an infant I have come to find that a huge majority of the stuff I thought I needed turned out to be a waste of time and money. Luckily though, for all the wipe warmers and designer cribs out there- there are more affordable and more practical items you’ll be so happy to have. So in my experience, here are 8 items I think every parent must have! These are products I actually use day in and day out.
My Brest Friend throw pillow
Some will tell you that you don’t need a special pillow for breastfeeding. “It’s so easy!” they say… “Just put the baby on your boob!” they say… Well they are so wrong! Breastfeeding is not an easy thing to get the hang of. With my first baby, it took weeks of frustration and awkward positioning before we both got into the groove of things. While I was struggling to get the hang of nursing – I visited a lactation consultant. She had me put on the My Brest Friend nursing pillow and I ended up buying one before I left. Here’s why I like this one over the more popular U-shaped pillows: it wraps all the way around your body and clips into place (with an adjustable belt). This gives your back support while you’re sitting and it also keeps the pillow in place. Newborns are tiny! Jack used to slip right between the pillow and my belly when I tried to nurse him. With the My Brest Friend I didn’t have that problem at all. It also has a nifty little pocket that I’d slip a water bottle, my cell phone and the remote control into. Then I’d plop myself on the cozy couch to nurse and channel surf. My pillow also had little humps for baby’s head to rest on so he was propped to the perfect position for me. Granted, you’ll only need this for a couple of months, but considering how often you’ll be nursing during that time, it is SO worth it to have a pillow that makes it as easy and comfortable as possible.
The Graco Little Lounger is my favorite option for sleep. It has a slight incline to it which is a bonus for a refluxy baby. The pillow insert is machine washable and it has a cool vibrating attachment to help soothe baby. Charlie is 4 months old and we still use this every single day for naps and at night too. It fits right next to the bed so I can keep an eye on him and easily grab him for nighttime feedings. But one of my favorite things about it is that it’s portable! It folds with one button – that makes it simple to bring into whichever room you’re in or put away when you’re not using it. And it’s great for travel! We’ve taken it to hotels, family gatherings, we even took it to a friend’s house for dinner one night. We got to eat and Charlie got to sleep in his familiar and comforting bed. I also like the length of this one – other “rocking sleepers” we’ve used have been so short that baby’s legs seem all scrunched up inside. This one let’s him stretch and sleep soundly – something every new parent wants!
Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle and Food Warmer
I only recently discovered this after having Charlie- and I wish I’d had it back when we had Jack! I seriously can’t shut up about this bottle warmer. Whether you use breastmilk or formula, you need hot water to warm up the milk for baby. At least we do – neither of our kids would tolerate cold milk. Believe me, we tried! So instead we’d have to search around for hot water while we were out. We’ve stopped in restaurants, convenience stores to use the coffee/tea station, even public restrooms with sinks that didn’t get hot enough… Well – Tommee Tippee to the rescue! Before we head out the door – I fill it with hot water. The bottle is insulated and the lid doubles as the cup to hold the hot water when you need it. You just pour it in the lid and put your bottle/breastmilk bag right into the hot water to warm. Or – if you use formula, you’ve got warm water ready to be put in the baby bottle and mixed (as always, make sure to test the temperature before giving it to baby)! This thing keeps water hot FOREVER. I tested it! I’m not sure what the product claims are, but one time I filled it up and didn’t end up using it. The next morning I went to dump it out and it was still HOT. Not warm, HOT! Ugh – I love this product!!
It’s widely known that loose blankets aren’t recommended for babies while they sleep- they can easily cover an infant’s face and interfere with their breathing. But, they can wear one! The HALO SleepSack keeps baby warm like a blanket and they can’t kick it off at night. Because he’s wearing it, it stays put so baby can sleep safely. I picked the swaddle SleepSack because both Jack and Charlie were experts at wiggling free from our attempts to swaddle them with a regular receiving blanket. So this makes it easier for you and helps your little one stay asleep. Everybody wins!
This little diddy is right up there with the bottle warmer. I LOVE it. I feel like such a genius using this in FL. I know I’m not, but I feel like I am. Florida is super hot and super humid. And since we have a three year old, we are always out and about. We love to go to the beach or the park. But I was always worried about keeping Charlie cool. It can get really hot in a car seat/stroller. And if you use the visors to block the sunlight, you inadvertently block the breeze. So, I found a portable fan to clip onto, well, everything! I put it on his car seat, the stroller, the table, heck I’d clip it to my own face if that was socially acceptable! But seriously, the batteries have lasted for weeks and we use this daily. It’s just enough power to keep the baby comfortable while we’re out. The other weekend Charlie was laid back, sleeping in his stroller with the wind on his face while we enjoyed the pool. There are lots of different types out there – some take D batteries, others have rechargeable ones. Either way, it’s a necessity if you live somewhere hot!
myBaby SoundSpa Portable
We started using this for Jack because the house we lived in at the time carried sound really far. We didn’t want to have to sneak around and shhh people all the time, but we also wanted Jack to get a good night’s rest. So we set the SoundSpa to white noise and never looked back! It was perfect for drowning out any loud noises and the constant sound worked wonders to calm him down and make him drowsy. Jack is three now and he will actually ask us to turn it on for him at bedtime. Quite simply, he associates the sound with sleep. And because it’s so lightweight and portable, we take it with us every time we travel. Jack has never had an issue falling and staying asleep when we’re not at home. I give this little gadget a lot of credit for that. There are other sounds like a heartbeat and nature, which we’ve never used, but many people like them. It also has a timer you can use if you want it to shut off after a set amount of time. We bought another one when Charlie was born and have been using it every time he goes to sleep.
Obviously baby wipes are a necessity. You’ll go through more than you imagined. And if you’re like me, you’ll use them for more than just a stinky baby butt! We use wipes for sticky hands, snotty noses, dirty tables and more. BUT I love these Babyganics wipes because they don’t have any yucky chemicals (No: alcohol, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial dyes or fragrances), they’re gentle on sensitive skin and you can use them on face, hands AND stinky baby butts. We keep a few packs all over the house and in the car, too.
And finally – the most talked about baby product in our house – the Snotsucker. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A small tube you put at the end of baby’s nostril, then a small hose for you to suck out all the yucky junk stuffing him up. I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING AND I SEE THE FACE YOU’RE MAKING. It seems gross and you probably think you’d never do it. Well guess what? Babies can’t blow their noses and their nostrils are so tiny. Newborns get super congested. The first moment you realize your tiny little newborn is so congested he can’t breathe, you’ll be sucking snot like it’s your job! This thing is AH-mazing and it runs circles around those old school suction bulbs. And I’m telling you, you will NOT get anything in your mouth. It’s unbelievably sanitary. It uses disposable filters that are clinically proven to prevent transfer of mucus or bacterial germs. We’ve used this countless times and nothing has ever even come close enough to need to be filtered. Trust me, you’ll want one of these, check it out and read the reviews if you don’t believe me. And by the way, this is probably the least nasty thing you’ll find yourself doing once you become a parent!