Whether you’re a soon-to-be-parent, already have a baby in the house, or have a shower to attend soon, this post is for you! I was cleaning out old drafts and this was one I started while on maternity leave that never made it to “publish” button, but it has too much time and too many good products not to share! After all, there’s never a shortage of new babies to buy for (especially after all this quarantining), and we are closer to Christmas than seems possible – and it’s never too early to start a Baby Registry for a future shower or Christmas ideas for family! https://amzn.to/3jV4CZ3
Looking back through, I made sure only our favorites made the cut, and threw on a few more that deserve some love. I am currently two years postpartum, and four months from baby #2, and all of these items will be getting brought out of storage or repurchased as I enter my “nesting” stage. I was an early nester last time around too, blaming the hormones on the extra expression of Type A-ness. 😅
So here they are! – my top recommended products good for any newborn caregiver, with a few suggestions especially for mommas (I added lots of pictures if you’re more of a scanner than a reader!).
1. Graco Pack ‘n Play: I would rank this as my #1 item to put on your registry or buy for yourself. You will not only love it, but USE it constantly. Starting first day home, easily through the first year. It adapts with your baby. Baby can start out in the bassinet portion, which can pop out and stand alone on the floor with the touch of two easy buttons. Right next to that you can see the diaper station. Curved edges here help keep baby where he’s supposed to be, and the plastic is easy to wipe down from the inevitable messes. The side has storage for diapers, wipes, cream, etc. Once baby has outgrown the bassinet, remove and you have the play-yard area for sleeping, with two depths to choose from. We started out with this in our bedroom, and once he was ready to move to his crib in his own room, we moved the pack ‘n play to another room of choice (for us, the living room) for a nice area to corral for naps, as well as a diaper station! It is also extremely simple to fold up and “pack”, we have taken on two vacations already, and it was very compact and set back up with ease.
This bad boy can be found on Amazon, linked below! This is a great “big gift” from grandparents, or absolutely worth every penny if buying yourself. I am excited to get this back out for baby #2! https://amzn.to/3vCZefa
2. Graco Snugride Snuglock Car Seat &
3. Graco FastAction Fold Jogger/Stroller: If you havent noticed a theme, I am Team Graco all the way! After being so impressed with the pack n’ play, I decided to look into other Graco items. I was so excited for the quality of these along with the price! We went with the Snuglock 35 to allow for a little extra weight if we decided to do extended-rear-facing. I loved the design of this system – there is a separate base that you secure into your vehicle, by seat belt or latch method, and then the car seat itself simply “clicks” into the base! It is extremely secure, while allowing you to easily pull a latch to release the seat when you are ready to get out. This made getting in and out of the car a quick process.
I knew we wanted a stroller, so this stroller + carseat combo was a no brainer. The coolest part is that the carseat will actually click into this stroller so you can use while baby is still tiny! It even keeps baby facing you. I loved this for postpartum walks and even used it to go into appointments! The stroller itself folds down easily and is very light for getting in and out of vehicles.
https://amzn.to/3hqhW2v (Snuglock 35, $150)
https://amzn.to/2Sjw5bq (Stroller + Snuglock 35 Combo, $180)
4. Philips Avent Bottles + Bottle warmer + Sterilizer: I’m cheating on this one with multiple items, but Philips was my favorite brand of bottles and accessories, and you can steal all of these in a super affordable value pack! The nipples had several flow options for as he got bigger, and I loved the variety of sizes. Our close second were the Medela bottles that were directly compatible to my pump! I was also a typical first time mom and, if anything, over-cleaned EVERYTHING, but especially bottles. I absolutely loved the sterilizer by Philips, it could fit several bottles and pump parts. All you did was add some water to the bottom fill line, place and load the tray, pop the lid on, and microwave! All sterile, and no boiling pots of water.
https://amzn.to/3qOfwku (Medela bottles)
5. Diaper Bag Backpack: Your shoulders and neck will thank you so much for opting for a backpack-style over a tote, I promise! I loved this brand, Qimiaobaby, and my best friend used the same bag! It had tons of space, we still use for overnights to grandparents. It can fit a big stack of diapers, change of clothes, and toys. It has multiple insulated pockets for bottles, an outer pocket for easy wipes access, and the exterior is a semi-water-resistant material that is good for wiping down after being set on the ground or any spills! The back and straps were both padded to make for comfy, hands-free carrying so that you can focus on the carseat and your coffee instead. ☕ And while he would have carried whatever I gave him, I know my husband enjoyed the neutral bag! Looking back at their stuff now though, they’ve added so many colors and patterns I’m considering a fun new style for the next baby!
https://amzn.to/3r2tAY1 (grey above, closest to what I had and best price, $30)
https://amzn.to/3qOftFz (blue and coral above, new style, 4 color options, $40)
6. Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier: AKA a baby harness, this was a favorite for everyone! Mom, dad, baby – we all loved this. It was super simple to get baby in and out of, he always felt completely secure, and it was easy to adjust back and forth between fitting my husband or me. This was a great option for parents if you’re wanting to move about the house with your hands free, or for us it was a lifesaver during some baby meltdowns. We went through a witching hour phase where this was his favorite way to be soothed, it almost always put him to sleep! As he got bigger he loved being able to face outward and see where he was going. This also helped me offset some of the back pain from constantly carrying a little, wriggly weight. https://amzn.to/2Vf3GEv
7. Boppy Newborn Lounger: Think Dock-A-Tot, only $30ish instead of $100+. This is only recommended up to 16 lbs, so you may only use it a few months, but we used it ALL the time before little man was able to roll over. https://amzn.to/3wmnm63
If you are interested in checking out the real deal Dock-a-tot, I have heard great reviews, I just couldn’t get myself to spend the money. https://amzn.to/3wkOO4h
8. Nursing Bras: good for nursing or pumping moms, I lived in these for almost a year, and they’re still in good shape for this next pregnancy! With the growing girls they offered enough support without being constricting (we don’t need anything to encourage clogged ducts!). They fit like a low-intensity sports bra, but I enjoyed the hooks for when there was any tenderness as the fluctuated sizes. The claps at the front made for easy access to feed or pump! I am also linking some camis that have tops just like these bras, so you don’t need a bra too. They are a super soft, stretchy material, almost with a slight compression. This gave for a very supportive feeling on your tummy area post-birth. I especially liked them after my c-section as they stayed in place versus a t-shirt that would brush back and forth over the incision. I still wear these years later as undershirts or to layer with cardigans! Both come in 3-packs with multiple color options.
9. Breast Pump: Turned out to be a 100% necessity for me, and will be for any breastfeeding, working momma. Mine is Medela’s “pump in style advanced”, double electric pump (what a mouthful). If you have insurance, check in when you are in your last month of pregnancy. I think most cover one at least partially. Mine was 100% covered, and I can get a new one every 3 years. Mine plugged in, but had the option to buy a battery pack. It was very simple with only a few buttons, and had great suction. No complaints with the machine, and it had several bottle and accessory options that I enjoyed and will link below! The exact model I had is now comes with a tote or backpack and a small cooler that fits four bottles and an ice-pack. I had to purchase these separately before, but they are great for the working mom. They also have a 2020 model that looks super sleek if you’re interested in the newest version!
https://amzn.to/36ePptt (Pump in Style + tote, $156)
https://amzn.to/3AuDGVT (Pump in Style 2020, $200)
9+. Pump Accessories!
Hands-free pumping bra: If you’re going to pump on any kind of a regular basis, this is fantastic. It goes around your breasts and zips up in the front, and your shields inset through and attach to the bottles. This means you have hands to still help baby, to play on your phone or laptop, or to just relax! https://amzn.to/3wgk4S1
4 Bottle Cooler + Ice Pack https://amzn.to/3hjgvpK
9 Volt Car Adaptor: came in handy so many times if you’re breastfeeding after maternity leave! https://amzn.to/36eJULu
Pump Spare Parts: nice to have backups for when you lose something (or if you’re like me and don’t want to have to wash as often!) https://amzn.to/36hRNQw
10. Baby Monitor: I have always been creeped out by baby monitors, I blame too many Paranormal Activities (👻), but this has definitely been a must-have for us. I had thrown a mid-line option on my baby registry and that’s what we were gifted, so it’s my only one to review! HelloBaby is the brand, and it’s a pretty simple camera + handheld setup. The video is clear quality, even in the dark, and the sound has two sensitivity levels. I really enjoy the “vox” setting, which is where the screen will timeout until it hears a sound over the selected threshold. It also has a temperature display that is pretty accurate, and has the option to talk to baby from your side or play music. Battery life is good, so you can carry it around the house with you. They also have updated versions, or the one we have is still available for $50!
https://amzn.to/3hh67Po (HelloBaby, $50)
https://amzn.to/3hJR53s (Updated handheld, $65)
https://amzn.to/36eK6uc (Updated handheld and camera, $90)
11. Sound Machine: This was a product that was suggested for my registry that I wasn’t sure if I would use, but we use this EVERY NIGHT! And have since he started sleeping in his own room which was about two years ago. Ours is “Big Red Rooster” brand. There are six sound options, my favorites are the waves or white noise, and the volume has a large range. It really gets loud enough to block out foot traffic from our creaky floors while we are still up and around after his bedtime. It plugs in, or there is also an option to run it with batteries which is awesome for traveling. It’s a fantastic option, especially for the price!
Since having Ash, I have seen people use the Hatch Rest or Rest+, which seem like really cool options that will grow with your child. I am thinking about switching to one now that he is a toddler and it has more cool features for his age. The Hatch systems are a sound machine + night light + time-to-rise. Time-to-rise is set up with a parents smartphone, and you have a night light color “sleep-time” and a different color for “rise-time”. Once children are a bit older, they can learn that if they wake up and see the “sleep-time” color they need to stay in bed and continue resting or return to sleep. If it is “rise-time” they know they are good to get up and go to their grown-up! Ash being 2, I think we are still a bit early for this, but I am interested in trying to work on soon! They also have a Rest+ version which also includes an audio monitor, child’s alarm clock, and more sleep training options!
https://amzn.to/3jOLL1B (Big Red Rooster, marked down to $20!!)
https://amzn.to/2TxW5QZ (Hatch Rest, $60)
https://amzn.to/3jKLa0V (Hatch Rest+, $90)
12. Nasal Aspirator: AKA a snotsucker. YUM! Possibly the least exciting thing on this list, but I could not leave out. You will definitely want at some point, especially that first winter/cold season when you can hear their little stuffy noses that they can’t do anything about. After failing at using the bulb-type suckers, I thought the kind where mom uses her mouth to suction worked very well, they just are not the easiest to use with a squirmy baby (they’re so much stronger than you think); plus the chance of getting snot sucked down your throat is never completely zero. 🤢 After a day or two of our first cold, I Amazon prime-d this electric one and never looked back!
https://amzn.to/3ytX6Ix (BabyComfy brand, non-electric, might gross you out a little but still works WAY better than the bulb!)
https://amzn.to/3qUwca3 (bulb if you’d like to try, it is the cheapest option at only $3!)
~BONUS must-have for my boy mommas~
Non-stick gauze pads: If baby is going to get circumcised, you’ll want a big ole tub of Vaseline and non-stick gauze pads. The non-stick kind were such a relief after normal gauze sticking (no matter how much vaseline I used) made me want to cry for baby boy. (I know with all the hormones I did cry.) These are available on Amazon or at your local drugstore. Shout out to Rexalls! https://amzn.to/3qRlod1 (20 for $4 and I would have paid twice as much for the relief they brought me!)
~Honorable Mentions~ not 100% necessary, but these are other items I enjoyed! (especially if you can snag at your baby shower 💁🏽♀️)
Graco Simple Sway Baby Swing: This was a nice option for putting him down to sooth, he enjoyed the swinging motion. It also has straps to fasten in, has several swing speeds, and plays music! It is an even better option now that they’ve recalled the Fisher Price Rock n’ Play. https://amzn.to/3hixmJq
Desitin Diaper Cream: We were lucky and never had any crazy cases of diaper rash, but anytime we had any kind of flare of redness, this stuff worked like magic! Especially if applied before bedtime. The 16oz is a great deal, and since such a small amount it will last you forever. (Like literally, I need to go look for an expiration date because I know we still have this from when my two year old was born.) The 4oz tube is a great size to stash in the diaper bag. Also linking a silicone applicator that is a pretty cool invention if you’re someone who’d prefer to not use their fingers (maybe momma just treated herself to a manicure?). You can use this to scoop straight from container and use a wipe to clean after!
https://amzn.to/3qXiaob (2 applicators + travel case, brand I liked!)
https://amzn.to/36hqyFA (1 applicator + case, cheaper option!)
Baltic Amber Teething Necklace: Raw amber necklaces are a natural way to soothe baby during teething fits. We picked ours up at our local Miller’s Rexall, but they are everywhere! We liked to double ours up around an ankle so wmaintaineded skin contact, but I liked not actually having it around his neck. https://amzn.to/3xhfjsB
Boli Ball: Our poor little dude started teething super early, and he was small enough that most of the teething rings and things we had were just too big or too tough for him. Then we found this little GEM! It is silicone and the perfect little width for tiny hands and mouths. Also available at Rexall’s! https://amzn.to/3dL23EQ
Gripe Water: Advertised mostly for tummy troubles, we used this to help with the hiccups my little man got almost daily! Made them go away instantly! I also tried a few times when he seemed like his stomach was maybe upset, but I can’t vouch for it in that way. https://amzn.to/36h2anr
Diaper Genie: We have a diaper genie in our room. It does its job and works great – no smell, and it’s kind of incredible how many diapers can fit in it. And we only empty it like every 1-2 weeks (since it’s mostly nighttime/first morning diapers). However, with the price of the refills, I’m not convinced it works better than our Walmart step trash can. https://amzn.to/3As0jtQ (diaper genie) https://amzn.to/36g05bg (refills)
Elephant Ears: These were a great little addition for the little man’s car seat (remember you are always advised to be *very* careful adding anything in to a carseat as to not impede it doing its job). We always got him situated and tightened in without these first, and then slid under his head. I felt a lot better knowing his head wasn’t bouncing around too crazy while his neck was still strengthening. Rexalls was where we found this gem! https://amzn.to/3jLktJu
And there you have it, you lovely people! Thanks for reading or skimming through, I hope these products can be as helpful to you as they were to me! If you’re interested in any of the products, check out the free trial month of Amazon Prime and get free two-day shipping! https://amzn.to/3hiqkEv
Let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything new I should try out for baby #2!
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For other recommendations, here are my Amazon idea boards! Happy browsing ☺️ https://www.amazon.com/shop/nicolelucashall?ref=inf_own_nicolelucashall