When I was engaged, I thought building my wedding registry was one of the most stressful processes.
And then I had to build a baby registry.
The market is overly saturated with “must-have” baby products claiming to make your life as a parent easier. For me, I found consulting with a couple of close girlfriends to see what worked for them the most helpful – there is no better resource for a new mom than other moms. But since we were between homes when Jude was born and majority of our baby stuff was in storage, I had to be super selective on what I brought into our Airbnb (you can read about our move here). I only had products that I absolutely needed because I knew the more stuff we brought in, the more stuff we would have to pack back up and move.
It was a great lesson in need vs. want, so I thought I’d share the top 10 items I used the most in Jude’s first few weeks of life. From diaper bags to sleeping tools to loungers, these items also all happen to be under $100 and made my life with a newborn easier!
Taking Cara Babies:
SLEEP. It’s probably the most talked about topic when it comes to newborns, and the question most people follow up with after they hear you have a newborn (“Are they letting you get any sleep?”). I’m not going to lie, I was never more physically or mentally exhausted than I was first coming home from the hospital. All I wanted to do was sleep for 24 hours, but of course those days were behind me. Half-way through the first week I broke down in the kitchen from being so tired and overwhelmed – the sleep deprivation was so real. My best friend Heidy recommended Cara’s course, and that night I immediately purchased it, and I CAN NOT RECOMMEND IT ENOUGH to new moms. The information is easy to digest and comes in quick, fact-based videos that I was able to watch while feeding Jude – because who has the time or the patience to read a book on sleep when you can’t keep your eyes open? Cara’s newborn course helped me build a solid, healthy sleeping foundation for Jude and taught me things I never would have figured out on my own. Even though he was too young to use all the tactics she explained in the course (she suggests you wait until baby is 4 weeks adjusted age), I was able to implement some of the tools immediately and saw such a difference. Since 4 weeks of age Jude is able to fall asleep independently on his own and always goes right back to sleep when he wakes for his late night feeding. He also just started sleeping 8 hours!
The Ollie Swaddle
I talked about this in my favorite pregnancy product post, but one of the books my husband and I read was The Happiest Baby on the Block which talks about the fourth trimester, and the power of the 5 S’s – one of them being swaddling. But how many parents does it take to swaddle a baby successfully with a regular blanket? The answer is a labor and delivery nurse, because we could not figure it out. The Ollie makes it very easy to swaddle your babe safely and snug, and the moisture-wick fabric ensures they won’t overheat. At first Jude cried being swaddled, but after a couple of nights of getting used to it, it quickly made a positive impact on his sleep. Now the second he’s swaddles in his Ollie, he instantly goes into sleep mode.
This is an item I didn’t register for but I wish I did! I’m currently borrowing mine from Heidy and it’s been HUGE help. It’s a great bouncer to put baby in so you can do a few things or while you’re getting ready. Jude loves it and gets so excited by the hanging toys. It’s also so light so it’s insanely easy to move from room to room!
If you’re breastfeeding or plan on it, this little silicone product is a life-saver. It’s also helped me build a pretty big supply of frozen milk for when I go back to work. Simply attach the Haakaa to the other side your baby isn’t feeding on, and it collects all the excess milk that would have been lost. So genius! F
Homedics SoundSpa Portable
Another thing I learned in Cara’s course and Harvey Karp’s book was the importance of a sound machine. Did you know in the womb babies were used to hearing the sound of the placenta, which is as loud as a vacuum? So silence when they sleep is super weird for them (and as someone who used to sleep with a TV on, #same). This little sound machine can be portable and offers various soothing sounds, although we find the white noise sound as the most calming.
The Wonder Weeks App
There are so many baby apps on the market but this one was the most recommended by other moms, and I totally understand why. Babies go through periods of times where they can seem extra fussy or needy for days at a time due to mental leaps. Using your babies due date, The Wonder Weeks app lets you know when to expect these leaps so you can prepare yourself for the worst. They also go into detail explaining what changes your baby is experiencing which include helpful videos.
Baby K’tan Carrier
When your baby is extra needy during those leaps it can be hard to get anything done, so wearing them around the house is a way to not only comfort them, but allow you to also eat a meal with both hands. Since I’m a swaddle failure there was no way I was going to try and use those complicated fabric wraps. The baby K’tan is fool-proof and extremely comfortable to wear all day, and comes in different sizes to give a better fit. It also grows with baby!
SkipHop Greenwich Diaper Bag
I was on the hunt for a diaper bag that didn’t look like a diaper bag, and really have loved this SkipHop backpack. It fits a shit ton of stuff, comes in so many colors, and the best part is it doesn’t look like the type of bag that’s meant to carry diapers and butt cream. I plan on picking up a second one to carry my pump and laptop for when I go back to work!
My best friend Christina is married to a dermatologist, so outside of being one of my go-to moms for advice, I always ask her questions when it comes to baby products. Jude had pretty dry skin on his scalp when he was born (which is pretty common) and using the DermaFrida paired with Mustela shampoo helped clear it right up. It’s also like a massage for his scalp and made him enjoy bath time so much more.
One of the funnest things about having a baby is getting to dress them up, but expensive clothing isn’t practical for day-to-day use. Especially at night or if you have a baby with reflux. These onesies are cheap, fit well, and perfect for hanging around the house and to put baby in at night. Because baby or not, it’s always a shame to waste a good outfit when nobody gets to see it. 😉
As Jude approaches three months and outgrows many things, I’ve already returned products that I read I absolutely needed but have never even touched. Everyone has their favorites, but I found these 10 items the most helpful as I navigated life with a newborn in a temporary home. I’d love to hear what other moms found as their top 10 favorite newborn products!