Monday, May 21, 2012

Top 10 Must Haves for a Brand New Baby

I love newborns. Ohh those sweet little squishies!

My first son was a tough newborn, so I was nervous to do it again...but son #2 excelled at newborn-hood and now that he's 10 months old I'm slowly developing a case of baby rabies.

The good news is - I'm due to have a niece any day now. Like, seriously - ANY DAY! By the time you read this, she could already be here! My sister's due date was Saturday, so now we wait and see how stubborn this little gal is! :)

In honor of my niece's impending arrival (and in hearing my sister's concerns over being prepared in time over the last few months), I'm highlighting my top 10 newborn & new mommy products!

10. Vera Bradley Baby Bag
Oh yeah! My list starts out for Mom! You're gonna need a baby bag - what, with ALL those doctor's appointments when your squish is really little and the trips to meet family members. I know there are a lot of varying opinions and tastes on which baby bag is the right one, but I LOVE Vera Bradley's Baby Bag! I used one of these, but I'm now at the point where I can just stick a couple diapers & some travel wipes in my purse - which is of course, Vera Bradley. I also gifted one to my sister for her baby shower, and the new version was EVEN BETTER than the one I had! TONS of exterior & interior pockets, easy to wash lining, a matching changing pad, even a place to hook on your keys or a pacifier holder. They come in so many prints, you're bound to find one you love!

9. Gym Mat or Tummy Time Mat
If your newborn is anything like mine, he'll never want to be put down. Both of my babies preferred to take every nap in my lap, and hated it when I had to set them down so I could do something on my own - like, ya know, go to the bathroom! Neither of my kids loved being in a swing, or a bouncy chair, or a papasan - or any other baby object. But what they would tolerate was their Baby Einstein Adventure Ocean Playmat. It had things to reach for, stare at, listen to - it was interesting! So I could set them down and knowing they wouldn't travel far at their tiny age, and run to the toilet or grab a drink. It's a great spot for tummy time, too, since there are things to look at when facing downward, and the mat is very soft and smooth. The one my boys had even had different textures on it for them to explore! Nowadays, my oldest uses it as the skeleton for a tent by draping a blanket over it. Double duty! haha

8. Johnson's Nursing Pads
Yes, specifically Johnson's! I've tried other brands, but these were my favs. I suppose brands with a plastic-y waterproof lining would work better (though I don't really know, honestly, because I never had a huge leak issue). BUT, I battled trush like nothing else with my first son, and my nursing pads were partly to blame. Switching to Johnson's nursing pads (which don't have the plastic-y layer) made a huge difference. They just feel more comfortable and breathable, too! I don't use them any more, I don't leak very much anymore at this point (I know you wanted to know that!), but with a brand new baby - I used them daily. They're really affordable, too - $5-7 depending on where you shop!

7. Gymboree
Well, okay...this isn't a product. It's a company, obviously, but oh my goodness - Gymboree!!! I love their stores so much, especially their Crazy8 stores. I have always found the most adorable outfits for my boys, and I do most of my shopping online. With $5 flat rate shipping at both and, easy to find coupons, and a flawless record for accuracy (for ME) - it's really simple to re-stock my babies' wardrobes with adorable high quality stuff! This clothing hands down really well! Henry wore the most adorable shark-themed outfit on his maiden voyage from the hospital - his adoring fans raved about it! This is definitely the most frivolousness item on my list, because there a ton of other alternatives - some that are much more affordable - and this is by no means a necessity. BUT, any time I'm planning to bring a new baby home - you will no doubt, find me hunting for their upcoming lines and plotting out how to obtain most of them!

6. Udder Covers
These are very simply designed, but wonderful! They are lightweight, so you and baby don't get overly sweaty beneath them (one of the hardest things about covering up to nurse, if you chose to), and they have a structured neckline so you can look down in at your baby while the rest of your company cannot! They come in totally adorable designs, too. If you're a nursing mom, one of these will be 12 of the best $22 you can spend (you'll see what the other $10 accounts for next)! Yes, they only cost $12! And they are so wonderful, you may want to invest in a bunch. I only have two (one for my purse that goes everywhere, and one at the recliner for when guests pop in), but I wish I had more! BTW, you need a promo code to get them at this price - there is always one somewhere, but currently you can use CCMOTHER on if you want one (or three!). I really love these, and use mine almost every day!

5. Lansinoh lanolin
This is where your other $10 is going! I love this stuff! Truly. Simply put, it's nipple cream that is safe for your baby to ingest. It is a total life saver for the beginning of nursing when your poor girls are hurting and getting used to near constant use! For the first few weeks of both of my babies' lives, I put this stuff on after every time they nursed. and you know what else? It can play another role! It's a safe "chapstick" for little ones, if you run into that problem. AND - my oldest son had horrible pacifier rash from getting drool stuck between his pacifier and his cheeks when he was about 10-12 months old. I didn't know what to do about it considering it was on his face, until I realized I still had some lanolin and it was worth a shot! In a couple days - after weeks and weeks of battling it - it was GONE! So even after the pain of nursing is over (usually after the first 6 weeks), hang onto your lanolin! It may come in handy!

4. Boba
If you plan to wear your baby - check this carrier out! I LOVE IT! It's an extremely easy to use, comfortable carrier. I have taken my littlest everywhere in this - and I still do at 10 months old. It's kind of the only way I get out of the house with two little ones! I can spend hours wearing my 20 pound baby without having any back pain! My husband bought mine for $50 on Zulily for my birthday last year, which was an incredible discount. I didn't realize it was because they were re-designing them! The new generation of the boba carriers include pockets, and a smaller weight minimum for usage. It was previously 15 pounds, and now it's 7 - meaning you can probably start using one of the new guys right away. I still didn't have to wait long for Henry to be ready for it with my old version - both of my kids were 9+ pound babies at birth! Although the new ones are so pretty and sound so's on my wish list for whenever #3 is on the horizon!

3. Recliner, Rocking Chair or Glider
I really don't have anything too specific in mind here, though I really LOVE my La-Z-Boy! All you need is something to help you make that rocking motion to get your baby to sleep, and act as a comfy spot for you to sit and feed your little in the early days. This is so high on my list, because I really don't know where I'd be without it. I usually live in my recliner for the first 3-4 months of my babies' lives! I also keep a glider in their nursery for getting them down at naps and bed time, and once in a while overnight (thought admittedly, I usually just take Henry to my bed because I'm too tired to sit up and stay awake in his room at 2am!). As far as equipment goes - this is more "must have" than a crib to me for the first couple months!

2. Boppy & 2-3 Covers
What a lifesaver the Boppy is! How did moms deal before the invention of them?! Whether you're nursing or bottle feeding, babies can be heavy (especially mine!) - so support is a must! I love how many uses the Boppy has, too. I brought mine to the hospital, and in addition to using it for feeding, I hooked it over my shoulder so I could sleep semi-upright (I had a c-section, and laying flat on my back hurt more). Visitors that came to meet the baby used it, too - which made us all more comfortable. At home, we used it constantly. Nearly every feeding, in the recliner and in bed. It was great for tummy time support, or setting him down slightly propped up after a feeding (you know how it's good for newborns to spend 10 or 15 minutes like that after a feeding to help keep their food down). As he got older and was learning how to sit on his own, the Boppy acted as his support system - comfortably wrapping around his little body. You definitely get your money out of this product! And especially if you use them for multiple babies, like I did. It's a good idea to have 2-3 covers on hand so you can easily switch them out when baby spits up on it (or does something more gross on it, haha).

And my number one must have for a newborn is.......

1. Swaddle Me Blankets!
One thing both of my boys agreed on when they were newborns is that swaddling is awesome! And swaddling isn't that difficult to learn how to do, but when you have large, strong, overly-active newbies like I did, keeping them IN the swaddle is a challenge. I love these so much because they make swaddling incredibly easy, AND I can trust them to be swaddled overnight. It's simply too stressful to trust a baby to sleep swaddled in a regular-old blanket for fear of them breaking free and getting tangled up in it. With Swaddle Me blankets, you just velcro them in, and trust that they'll spend the night nice and snuggly! You know what else I love about these? They make them in big sizes (up to 22 pounds!). And once your baby outgrows the full-swaddle, you can leave their arms out and just use it as a sleep slack with it fastened around their torso. This way, they can use a blanket overnight in chillier months if they are still too little for regular blankets. In fact, my Henry (who is now 10 months) was still using these as a wearable blanket through April. Get a whole bunch of these, because newborns will wet through them overnight many times, and you don't want to get stuck at 2am without one!

A few other useful things that just barely didn't make the top 10 (and also bonus because I know I chose a lot of breastfeeding products, and not everyone breastfeeds!):

Bravado Nursing Bras - super comfortable, high quality, holds up through many uses and multiple babies! They're a little pricey, but very worth it - especially in the early stages when your bust size fluctuates so much and you just want to be comfortable!

Soothie Pacifiers - My first son LOVED these. My second? Not so much. But that's not Soothie's fault - he won't take any pacifier. There's some debate about nursers and nipple confusion, but I believed it helped my oldest work out the right muscles for nursing. Just watch out if you have a cat - they LOVE to chew these, and if they end up biting off the end of them - they could pose a risk to your kitty's GI tract!

Weleda & Burt's Bees shampoo & body wash combos - I am a weirdo about scary ingredients in body care products (and by weirdo, I mean I obsessively avoid them). I'm not an expert, but I make sure everything I chose to use has no parabens, lauryl sulfates, or red 40 in them, and that they have low cancer risk scores on the Skin Deep cosmetics database. These are my two favorites for my boys - and it's really convenient that I can wash their hair and body with one product!

Boogie Wipes - I really thought this was kind of a silly purchase (special wipes? for boogers?), until I was given a free sample. I was totally sold! The reason is that, there's not a whole lot you can do for a newborn when he or she has a cold. Propping up their head and sitting them in a steamy bathroom is pretty much it. But Boogie Wipes give you a much easier way to clear those little nostrils when they start getting crusty and gross!

Okay, so my bonuses still had some nursing products in there - sorry!

I hope this helps if you're a new mom looking for a list of the absolute essentials! Every mom's opinions will differ, of course, and what you need depends on the types of things you chose to do with your newbie. Always follow your own intuition, but remember that you really need a whole lot less than you think you do! With a few essentials and a whole lot of love, you'll do just fine!

BTW - I was not compensated for this post in any way! I just truly love all of these things, and want to make it easy for you to find them!

Veteran Mamas - what are your favorite newbie products?


  1. *A good humidifier always helps my kiddos when they have colds or stuffy noses, *Gerber Grins & Giggles (I now use Berts Bees, but Gerber worked great when they were little and it did not have parabens
    *Large sized Swaddling blankets (great for swaddling, burp rag, and impromptu floor mat)
    *Aquaphor (great for regular diaper care, chapped skin or lips)
    *Triple Paste for hard to get rid of diaper rash
    *Music--we had a mobile that was sometimes the only thing that would soothe

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head!
    Sarah @

  2. #5 Yes! I have lanolin on Amazon auto-delivery. I also use Bravado nursing bras.

    I use the Miracle Blanket for swaddling and a Beco baby carrier, both of which I love, but I haven't ever tried the brands you use, so I can't compare. A baby carrier and swaddling blankets are tied as my number one must-have baby product. Number two is Mommy's Bliss Gripe Water. It magically makes the crying stop. I have this on auto-delivery too.