Baby must-have products every new mom needs for the first year
Our second bundle of joy arrives in just a few more months and yet there are so many things I still need to do to prepare for the big day. Of course, we’ve stocked up on the basics like diapers and wipes — which is 10x easier with the help of our favorite resource and two-day delivery method, Amazon Prime!
But it got me thinking to that first time as a new mom and the dozens of baby products we had in anticipation of baby’s arrival. Some of those products were a God-send and were what I would really call must-have baby items…especially for surviving the early months as a new mom.
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Those essential baby products really helped a mom like me survive having a new baby in the house. But I’m not talking about the standard things babies obviously need like a crib, diapers or bottles…but some of the more specific things you only notice once you’ve gone through the experience with baby number one.
Here are 5 baby products I could NOT have done without
1. Side-snapping shirts or onesies
Also known as “kimono” style onesies these side-snapping shirts are a MUST. Newborns are so fragile and still lack any sort of head and neck control so you really want to minimize the times you have to pull a onesie over their little heads. Trust me. No matter how adorable the outfit is any experienced mama will tell you how much easier it is to dress baby with one of those side-snapping onesies. I was fortunate enough to have received a few of these as gifts, but for those new moms shopping around, make sure to add this to the top of your list. Note: Most hospitals will use these anyhow, so you can probably grab a few from there too!
2. Bulb Syringe
When you’re at the hospital you’ll be provided with a few essential items to care for baby during your time there. Diapers, wipes, cream and a BULB SYRINGE. This little tool is literally a life-saver for babies. Most newborns accumulate mucus in their nasal passages and mouth after being born. After you feed them, burb them and lay them down, sometimes they can still accumulate extra fluids in their passageways and need help. The bulb syringe is a must to clear the path. Make sure you have a couple handy so you can help baby when needed. Get the standard one here!
Because your baby is bound to develop a stuffy nose or become congested at some point, it’s imperative for every new mom to have some type of humidifier handy…especially during the dreaded cold season. I’ve definitely put both our cool and warm-mist humidifiers to good use over the last two years. The cool one is safer when you have little kids in the home, but the warm-mists are essential come cold season. I own this one and have used it through different seasons.
4. Sound machine
I never really gave much thought to adding a sound machine to my must-have list, but am so glad it was recommended. I love the simple Graco one I have that features natural sounds like that of gentle ocean waves or the whooshing sounds a newborn has heard for months in the womb. The sound machine has made it painless to drain out little noises that can keep the little one up at night. Even to this day, it lulls my toddler to sleep! This one on Amazon is quite comparable and even has a little night light to help guide you in the dark.
Every new mom should have some type of playard sleeper where they can keep baby in. Whether it’s for napping, sleeping while traveling, sleeping at night or just playing in, these things are AMAZING! Not only do they act like an affordable crib (if you don’t have one yet) they are the perfect, safe place to keep baby when you have to step away for a moment, say to cook a meal, run to the bathroom or just take a quick break. The Pack-n-Play is portable so you can travel with it wherever needed. Make sure to add one of these to your baby registry too!
5 baby products I WISH I had the first time around
1. aden + anais swaddling blankets
I remember hearing about these blankets and seeing them on some registries, but decided not to include them in my own registry due to the high price. I just thought the standard soft swaddling blankets at BabiesRUs would work just as well so I opted for those. However, I now know why so many other moms went with the aden + anais brand. For starters these muslin swaddling blankets are super soft and breathable. They are perfect for gentle and sensitive skins. They are also HUGE. That’s a plus when you are looking to use them for things other than swaddling: nursing cover, burping cloth and stroller cover to name a few. Definitely one baby item I regret not getting the first time…but happy to have the second time!
2. Video baby monitor
Even though I did a TON of research before finalizing my must-have baby items, I thought that a standard yet good-quality audio baby monitor would cut it. I didn’t really think those fancy and typically over-priced video monitors were necessary…until experience taught me otherwise. Sure the audio monitors are great for letting you know when baby is up and needs you, but if you’re worried about gas, reflux or simply making sure your child is breathing okay, a video monitor is a MUST. You’ll be able to allay your fears and come to baby’s assistance immediately if anything looks out of the ordinary. Because as scary as it sounds, no audio monitor can clearly tell you whether baby’s blanket has drifted a little to close to their head.
3. Umbrella stroller
Yes, I’m sure you already have some time of stroller on your baby item list — but did you remember to include a simple umbrella stroller you can use as baby grows? Umbrella strollers are typically inexpensive and can be much easier to handle when you’re traveling. This Summer Infant 3D stroller seems to be a favorite among moms for it’s durability and convenience for traveling. But if you won’t be traveling much and just need a quick simple stroller for say visit to grandmas, the fair or a weekend away, I find this one to be a nice cheaper alternative.
4. Portable high chair
The first time I saw one of these chairs I was amazed how convenient and easy they made traveling with a little one. These portable high chairs can clip on and easily attach to a table or counter top so you can feed baby anytime you visit friends and family who may not have a high chair handy. Plus, they are much less bulky than the standard high chair crowding your kitchen. I learned about this one a little to late, but now see moms everywhere with them. They are a hit!
Despite their popularity, I also know that many people don’t like to clip on furniture to their nice family tables, making this high chair off limits. For no-fuss, easy to use anywhere chairs, I think these portable booster chairs are an excellent alternative and very affordable. Just leave them low to the ground and you’re good all set!
Make sure you add one to your list if you are still shopping around!
5. Diaper Bag
Let me just be clear here: yes I did have a diaper bag as a first-time mom, BUT I didn’t really give much care to the type of bag I added to my baby registry. I just chose a simple one that was affordable. However, I didn’t realize that a high-quality bag was actually quite important because it would take on a lot of wear-and-tear. Those first few months entail many trips to the doctor for check-ups and postpartum visits. You’ll also be inevitably running errands with baby or traveling to visit family. So you’ll need a large enough bag to store extra diapers, wipes, creams, blankets, clothing, bottles etc. You want to make sure you also like the general look of the bag. I’m not saying it has to be bright and beautiful, but it should be something you enjoy carrying around and something that even doubles as a mom bag so you can put it to good use. I initially had this one but really didn’t like it in the end. The bag would never stay closed because it had a button instead of zipper and it just wasn’t sturdy enough to keep it’s form. I ended up getting this one a few years later and absolutely loved it!
Make sure you add these must-have baby items to your baby registry, so if you aren’t able to grab them for yourself some thoughtful friend or family will!
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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.