As a birth and baby worker, I often get asked about the best baby items to have on hand. Prior to having my third baby (she is currently 4 weeks old), I would often come up blank as my older children are 7 and 9 years old and so much has changed in the baby industry since then. Now that I am a mother to a newborn once again, I can pass along my recommendations for my top 15 must-have baby items (note: I have no affiliation with the following brands/products).
1. Soft baby carrier (my fav: Solly Wrap, so soft and so comfortable for mom & baby). In the early days and weeks with baby, your little one is going to want to be close to you (at all times!). A soft baby carrier gives baby that womb-like feeling that is so comforting to them. Your baby will get additional hours of daytime sleep in a soft carrier! After the first month or so (depending on baby’s size), they can graduate to a carrier like the Ergo (a bit easier to get on and off).
2. Exercise ball! Newborns love to be rocked, jiggled, and bounced. In fact, as I write this, I am bouncing on my ball with my baby in the Solly wrap! This ball will come in handy especially during those growth spurts and fussy periods. Your back, arms, and baby will thank you! I got mine on Amazon (I’m 5’5, 130 lbs- size L(58-65cm) is perfect for me):
3. Bonsie onesies! I am obsessed with Bonsie, especially for the first month when baby and mom benefit so greatly from skin-to-skin contact. I personally love the one with the bag for the legs as they make diaper changes super easy and there’s more room to grow. They are expensive- but oh so worth it! They are buttery soft and make life a little easier!
4. My Brest Friend nursing pillow. In order to get the proper nursing position, baby needs to be positioned up high, right at breast level. This pillow has a large clip, so you can easily prop baby up to the optimal height for nursing without jeopardizing your back and arm muscles. Added bonus: it’s like a little portable bed for the baby. I’ve had several hands-free meals while baby sleeps on the nursing pillow!
5. Dr. Nice Nipple Gel. This gel absolutely saved my nipples (and my sanity) during the first week or so of nursing. It is lanolin-free and totally safe for baby, so no need to wipe off before feedings. The gel has peppermint oil in it, which offers the nicest cooling effect. My nipples were cracked and sore after the first 24 hours (my baby wanted to suck incessantly). This gel brought my nipples back to life!
6. Bamboobies (washable nursing pads)- Buy at least 2-3 packs of these! They are the softest, thinnest, most comfortable nursing pads on the market. For those first-time moms, when you nurse your baby on one breast, the other breast will leak milk and drench your clothes and your baby!
7. Nosefrida (snot sucker). Baby’s nasal passages are so teeny tiny so the smallest booger or bit of snot will make them sound super congested and can lead to difficulty nursing and sleeping. The most effective way to help baby clear their noses is with the nosefrida. It sounds disgusting but, I promise, it’s not!
8. Alba Botanica Un-Petroleum Jelly & Weleda’s Calendula Diaper Cream– These 2 products do not contain any harmful ingredients and are safe for baby’s very sensitive skin. I use the un-petroleum instead of something like Eucerin or Aquaphor (as a barrier cream) and Weleda’s for more irritated skin/diaper rash.
9. SNOO! I know, the Snoo is ridiculously expensive but I have to tell you that it is worth every penny so far! I decided to purchase it, as I loved that I could return it for a full refund within 30-days if I wasn’t completely satisfied (plus, there is a huge market for resale!). We started using the Snoo right around 2 weeks old and it’s been a lifesaver. Honestly, I’d pay twice as much for it! While my baby definitely prefers to nap in the baby carrier, at night time, she does SO WELL in the Snoo. It is truly like our very own night-nurse/postpartum doula- it gently responds to baby’s noises and cries, increasing its movement and white noise based on baby’s current state. 80% of the time (when it’s not time for a feeding), the SNOO will put my baby back to sleep. No doubt it has given me back hours and hours of sleep. Added bonus- it’s gently teaching my baby some self-soothing skills, so setting us up for sleep success down the line!
10. Diaper caddies (I love all of the pockets in the hyperlinked caddy). I have 2 caddies- one for the bedroom and one for the living room. Each has diapers, wipes, burp cloths (these are my favorite- SO SOFT!), changing pads (these are my favorite- waterproof, rollable, easy to use), pacifiers, etc.- anything I might need during and after a nursing session. This saves multiple trips around the house searching for those essential daily items!
11. Hand-held breast pump. I use this to relieve engorgement, especially at night, when my baby only feeds on one breast. A few squeezes with the hand pump relieves the perfect amount of pressure/milk to get me to the next feeding. A haaka serves the same purpose but I find it to be messier, more time consuming and a bit uncomfortable.
12. OverEasy breakfast bars for a midnight snack (gluten-free & dairy-free!). Something nutritious, yummy, and easy to eat in the middle of the night will become your very special treat. I save my snack to the 2-3 AM feeding, which makes it easier and more enjoyable! OverEasy bars are delicious & nutritious (my favorite flavor is the peanut butter dark chocolate bar!).
13. Bravado Nursing tanks! I live in these, day and night. By far the most comfortable and flattering tanks on the market.
14. Woombie swaddles: These swaddles are the perfect blend of softness and tightness. They hug the baby in that womb-like way while also being flexible and soft enough to not feel restrictive.
15. Supportive partner, family members and friends (cannot hyperlink this one!). I could not survive the newborn days without the love and support of my family and friends. To be able to focus exclusively on the baby and my own recovery, especially during the first two weeks, was such a gift. I relied on my loved ones to take care of the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and older children. My husband continues to take the baby every night from 9-12AM so that I can sleep uninterrupted, not having to worry at all about the baby. This is so key to me! Figure out the support you need and ask for it!