Shopping for baby products can be overwhelming! There are a million articles and baby registry checklists, but what do you really need. We are no experts but I have talked to hundreds of mamas and made it through 14 months of life with our son Mason. Looking back I have found that the most useful baby items for first time moms are those that make YOUR life easier as a parent. In this post I will be breaking down the 10 most useful baby items first time moms need to decrease stress and increase confidence as you navigate new parenthood. I will give you the inside scoop on what products you actually need to make your life easier and kill it at the #momgame.
I am so excited to share the most useful baby items that truly made our lives so much easier. In a previous post I shared my full registry, what I really needed at the hospital and what we deemed our newborn essentials. Now that we have passed the one year threshold (check out Mason's COVID 1st birthday), I wanted to share the top products from the full year that took us from newborn to toddler 14 months old, I am sharing the top products that carried us from the newborn stage to toddler life with as little stress as possible.
Must Have Baby Items for Feeding
Feeding your baby is literally the only thing you are required to do. Feed your baby and love them. So, when it comes to feeding there are so many parts, pieces and products that claim to change your life. But for us it comes down to these 4 core products which makes parenting so much easier. Also, these bottles, bottle cleaners, food scale, seat and bibs helped us make meal time fun and less stressful as new parents.
1. Food Scale
Since our son is formula fed due to my breast cancer having this food scale helps us stay consistency with formula measuring. Also. it works great for other kitchen uses.
We tried over 5 kinds of bottles but settled on the Dr. Brown's bottles. So, Mason had a lot of gas and these bottles were so helpful for lessening his gas and related pain. The downside is that that Dr. Brown's Options + bottles have 5 parts per bottle which is a nightmare to clean. Also, about 6 months in we found this miraculous dishwasher container at a consignment sale that changed our lives. So, we now have 4 sets of the containers and it made bottle washing nightly so much less stressful.
We started baby led eating at 4/5 months and bought this chair around that time. We wanted somewhere that he could sit with us while we ate and take in the experience. So, the seat was functional for him from 4 months on and I love that it's convertible as he grows. Also, it's easy to travel with as the tray stows under the seat. I also used this daily in the bathroom so he could play and hang out while I get ready. So, when we were ready for a highchair we easily switched to the Antelope from Ikea.
We had been gifted so many bibs but when Mason started eating purees and baby led eating, we found they didn't do the job! So, most of the food went into his mouth and came right out and we needed something that did a better job catching the food.
Also, I discovered Modern.Mama during a push to shop more black owned brands in June and we have been loyal fans since. The silicone bibs are sturdy, easy to clean and hang open at just the right angle to catch ALL the food. So, Mason literally eats out of his bib as a 2nd plate haha.
Must Have Baby Items for Movement & Travel
Traveling with your baby as a first time mom can be overwhelming. When I talk about traveling, I don't necessarily mean vacations or getaways. Also, I am referring to the everyday travel you do with your child: a trip to the park, traveling to the grocery store or running errands. So, these must have baby items will make those everyday travel moments with your baby much easier.
When it comes to carriers, it's essential to find one that is both comfortable and convertible. So, when my son was very little my favorite carrier was this one as it was a perfect mix of soft texture and a more structured waist band. Also, as he grew and I needed more back support the Lille Baby carrier was so useful! It's carried us from age 4 to 14 months and it converts for all stages of growth.
As a first time mom it can be hard to decided on a stroller. So, I recommend testing the breakdown ease and weight of lifting the strollers you explore. Our favorite is the UppaBaby Cruz because it is SO easy to lift, breakdown and convertible from bassinet, to carseat to rumble seat (when they get bigger). Also, if you go with a carseat from another brand (we gor the Nuna Pipa Lite because it was SO light for me to lift), it's super easy to pop in an adapter. So, if you're looking for a stroller that is a 2 in 1, the Doona is a fantastic option! It is also ideal for traveling. We take this one on all our trips and my husband keeps it in his truck for easy errands and grocery trips.
Must Bave Baby Items for Sleep
irst time mamas, if you are anything like me the only thing you dream of is sleep. Every baby is different when it comes to sleep but these are the 4 most useful must have baby products that helped my husband and I get more sleep and be better parents.
There are so many awesome monitors out there but we fell in love with the Nanit. Also, we love the features of the app for monitoring and the ability to talk through the app to Mason or even play music. It also has great tools to track sleep patterns and gives suggestions. So, we have ours mounted on the wall in the nursery and bought a second stand to take with us when traveling.
Best money we ever spent!!!! It allowed us to get 10-12 hours of sleep in the newborn phase. Also, our only regret is not getting is sooner. We have now shared it with friends and they had a phenomenal experience as well. It is pricey. So, you can always look into renting it or check Facebook marketplace for used options. Learn more about our SNOO experience in this post.
Mason transitioned extremely well from the SNOO to his crib. But there were some growing pains when adjusting to sleeping without a swaddle and sleeping on his back. The Magic Merlin Sleep Suit helps your baby control their natural movement that can easily wake them at night and helps them get used to sleeping alone in a crib. So, this is meant to be used once the baby is rolling over and can no longer be swaddled. In addition to helping him sleep, Mason was just so adorable in his marshmallow Merlin suit. Also, we had two so one could stay at daycare and one was at home.
Baby Items You Actually Need - General
Make sure you go with a sound machine that does not auto-switch off. This is essential for long nights and car rides. So, we tried a few options but ended up returning or packing away most of them when we found we loved the Marpac Hushh sound machine. Also, we have two so one is always charged.
Mason didn't really take to pacifiers for the first 6 months but over the past 6 months they have been a necessity for nap time, car meltdowns and bedtime. Also, there are mixed feelings on pacifiers but for us they have been a helpful tool when used in moderation. So, the Wabbanub ones are particular helpful because they are attached to an animal your child can hold onto.
I put off buying this changing table at first because it is quite pricey. But after spending one week buying tons of changing table covers and pads along with the time spent washing them, we were relieved to switch to the Keekaroo. So, it's easy to wipe down right after diaper changes and it doesn't slip around on the table. Also, another benefit is that it has a securing belt to keep your squirming baby in place as they grow.
These are not only amazing for keeping pacifiers off the ground. But they are super useful for ensuring teethers and toys are close and easy to find.
The Baby Toys You Actually Need
I will start this section with a disclaimer. There are SO many amazing toys on the market but there are also tons of baby toys you don't need that do not contribute to your baby's developments. My #1 tip for choosing toys is look for items that will grow with you baby and support problem solving. Here are some of my favorite baby toys linked below and our all time favorite brand is Fatbrain.
I hope these recommendations help you narrow down the products you need for your baby's first year. Remember at the end of the day all your baby needs is food and LOVE. You are the best mom for your kiddos and these must have baby products are just helpful additions. Download the checklist below to keep these recommendations on hand as your baby grows.
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Breast cancer survivor, lover of style, beauty and all things pink! Inspiring you to thrive through adversity.