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Products I Recommend for New Babies + Expectant Mamas

Hi guys! I know how helpful it was for me to read product recommendation blog posts from others when I was pregnant and putting together my baby registry, and then when I was scrolling around the internet at 3 a.m. with a brand new baby. So, I thought I’d throw my own recs out into the world in the case they might be helpful! Obviously every baby (and parent) is different, so what works for us/Riese may not work for you, but it’s worth a shot, especially in those early days when you will basically try/buy anything if it might help you get just a little more sleep. ;)

So! Whether you are putting together your baby registry, or reading this at 3 a.m. with a newborn asleep on you, I hope you find this post helpful. Feel free to add your own recs in the comments – the more the merrier! I left out obvious big stuff like a crib, bassinet, etc., and toys/clothes since those products change/go out of stock so often and are more personal.

product recommendations for new babies and expectant mamas

Let’s start with what you yourself might need when the baby arrives + immediately after, and then I’ll move into baby-specific product recommendations. Please note that there are affiliate links in this post.

Recommendations for expectant/early postpartum mamas

Hospital/recovery specific recs:

  • A nursing nightgown! If you’re stressing about packing your hospital bag, throw a cute outfit for the baby to go home in, a somewhat presentable outfit for yourself to go home in (I brought a casual long maternity shirt and leggings – pictured below – you want something cozy) a pair of slippers, your toiletries, and a nursing nightgown into your bag and call it a day. I packed all sorts of random stuff and besides toiletries and our going home outfits, the nursing nightgown was essentially the only thing I used in the hospital. Well, that and snacks. :) Everything else you need the hospital will provide!
  • If you have a C section, I found these under the bump panties that I bought while pregnant really useful for not irritating the C section scar area in those early days – they will not come up above it. You won’t need these until you get home, though, since you’ll rock the super awesome enormous mesh underwear the hospital provides while there (and probably for a little while afterward). (Related: here’s Riese’s C section birth story.)

leaving the hospital with newborn

Breastfeeding supplies, if applicable:

  • Cooling gel pads – the lactation consultants in the hospital gave me a sample of these and they are AMAZING for sore/painful nipples – I basically wore them nonstop in the hospital and then bought more and kept wearing them for the first two months of Riese’s life. Just wipe off your breast with some water before you feed the baby in case any residue is left, and don’t use them with any lotion or nipple cream – they won’t be as effective.
  • Bra liners are useful so you don’t leak through everything you own once your milk comes in. These organic bamboo nursing pads are washable/reusable and great for wearing overnight, and I also have these disposable nursing pads to wear when out and about just in case I want to swap them out – they are also less obvious than those first ones since they are smaller/thinner.
  • When you no longer need the cooling gel pads but still need a little something, switch to nipple cream – this Motherlove Nipple Cream is my fave; I still use it occasionally. When you start pumping, put it on your nipples before pumping to make pumping less irritating/painful.
  • Breastfeeding pillows. I have both the boppy and the brest friend. Both are nice but I like the boppy better because there’s nothing behind you, so when the baby falls asleep after eating you can slide down a little bit and recline without the back support on the brest friend sticking into you. 

feeding baby with dog helping

  • Nursing cover for getting out and about… I love this one that doubles as a car seat cover, too, and can also pretend to be a cute scarf. :)
  • Nursing tanks. You will LIVE in these (I still do – I wear them all day, and sleep in them, too). I like nursing tanks a lot better than nursing bras because then I don’t have my whole stomach hanging out when I’m feeding the babe. Plus, they are perfect for tossing another shirt or a zip up on over them when going out, or for wearing to sleep. So comfy.

newborn life

Pumping and bottle feeding supplies, if applicable:

  • If you haven’t already, apply to order a breast pump through Aeroflow. You put in your insurance info and they let you know what pumps you’re approved for (both free and “upgrade” options); you can order the pump directly though them, too. Crazy easy. I got the basic Spectra – I’ve heard it’s more comfortable than the Medela.
  • I also highly recommend the Haakaa – you put it on one breast while the baby eats from the other and you can catch a bunch of let down milk easily without having to deal with your actual pump. I used this for the first couple months when my milk production was really high and before I was ready to deal with actual pumping.
  • Bottles. Every baby is different, but we’ve had success with the Dr. Brown’s bottles (<- set that comes with a bottle brush, too).
  • You’ll also need breastmilk storage bags and I recommend getting some of these quick microwave sterilizer bags – so much easier than boiling all the bottles/pump parts before use.
  • Bottle and pumping parts drying rack. FYI if you have a cat… Zara thought this was a new toy for her and would knock all the bottle parts down onto the floor and bat them around, so now we keep the drying rack inside a cabinet. ;)

cat playing with baby bottle parts

Diaper bags:

  • I have 3 diaper bags… I know, kind of excessive, but I like having options. ;) I wanted diaper bags that looked more like purses than diaper bags, so I bought this diaper bag for winter (love the quilting and all the pockets, and the side pockets for water, an umbrella, or bottles of milk) and this adorable striped diaper bag for summer. Both were affordable, too. We also have this diaper bag as an option that Matt doesn’t mind carrying – it’s most utilitarian looking. ;) I’ve seen some cute backpack diaper bags, which would be nice so you are more hands free, but so far the messenger style ones are working well for me! They all fit underneath our stroller, too.

diaper bag recommendations cute

Baby Care Basics

  • Baby clothes! We mostly kept Riese in PJs in the early days – aim for clothes that have snaps or a zipper because putting something over their head is challenging. Also, we didn’t realize that size 0 to 3 months is not the smallest size – you can also get “newborn” size stuff (as well as preemie sizing) – just FYI in case you also didn’t know that, lol. We brought a 0 to 3 month outfit to the hospital for Riese to go home in and she was basically drowning in it.
  • A bazillion diapers and wipes. We love Honest company diapers (cutest prints ever and I like that they aren’t scented or made with chlorine and are more eco-friendly), and my favorite wipes are water wipes – Honest wipes are a close second.
  • Speaking of… the Diaper Genie is worth the investment so your diaper trash doesn’t stink up the house.
  • For their first cold – the NoseFrida is gross but helpful. (Here’s a kit version that also includes saline spray… very useful.)
  • The pediatrician will likely recommend giving your baby Vitamin D dropsthese are my faves because they don’t have random additives/flavors like a lot of the brands do (I mean seriously, why would infant drops include that crap?! so unnecessary) and you only need one drop (I just put it on my breast once per day right before she eats… easy).
  • Swaddles. Our faves were these velcro swaddles – sooo much easier than ones without velcro that Riese would escape from in seconds, and they really help babies to stay asleep so they don’t startle themselves awake!
  • Pacifiers. We introduced the pacifier around 3 or so weeks, and it was really helpful for soothing. Our faves are the wubbanub.
  • Burp cloths. I love these organic cotton burp bloths, as well as these. You will need a TON.
  • Bibs. These are useful once the baby starts drooling all the time, or if you have a baby that spits up a lot. Our faves are the bandana-style bibs – so cute and they stay put well.

baby bandana bib

  • This Red Cross baby care + grooming kit is helpful too.
  • Baby sound machine – we have this in our room, right by the bassinet, on the white noise setting every night. It’s amazing and you can either set the timer or leave it on all night (like we do).
  • Dock a Tot. This thing has saved our sleep… every baby is different so yours may not love it, but if you have a cuddly baby who won’t sleep in the bassinet/anywhere that’s not on you, try the Dock a Tot. It’s basically an outrageously expensive dog bed but it works!

Babywearing

  • We love babywearing and I borrowed a bunch of wraps to try out to see which ones I liked best. The overall winner was the Solly baby wrap – it’s comfortable, not super heavy or bulky (easy to toss in the diaper bag), and relatively easy to tie once you watch the videos on their website.

spring walk with the baby 2

  • I also liked the Baby K’tan when Riese was really small and I didn’t have the brain capacity to figure out how to tie a long, free-form wrap (although the Baby Ktan did still involve some video watching to figure out). The only negative was that the arm part comes down a bit over your arm, which means you can’t put on a coat over the wrap… annoying. So this is best for warmer weather/just wearing around the house.
  • For a more structured option, I like the Boba 4G carrier as well. I’ve also heard great things about the ErgoBaby 360 – I love that you can have them facing out in this too vs. just facing you. I’m probably going to buy one now that Riese wants to be looking at everything when we walk vs. sleeping!
  • For the guys – Matt (and Riese) loved the “Dad Shirt” – Riese slept in it a TON for her first couple months of life. Matt used it a lot for walks in addition to wearing her around in it in the house, and we loved that it was just a pouch you put her in vs. a complicated wrap/carrier. Once Riese got more alert and wanted to look out and see what was happening, she didn’t love it as much, but it was amazing for those early days and for Matt to get some snuggle time in. Here’s the mom version of the shirt, which isn’t really for walking but is nice for snuggles at home.

baby pouch

Place To Put the Baby While You Get Sh!t Done (because as much as you love the cuddles, you can’t hold your baby 24/7)

MY OTHER RECIPES
 
  • Our fave has been this BabyBjorn Bouncer – compact, lightweight, and nice for when you are trying to cook dinner or shower while keeping an eye on the baby!
  • The Boppy Newborn Lounger is another option, and a lot of babies also love swings and rock ‘n’ plays – Riese didn’t but I think she is an anomaly.
  • Activity gym – Riese loves this. Great for tummy time or for lying on their back and playing.

baby with dog friend

Okay! I think this post is long enough… I’m sure I’m forgetting something so just let me know if you have any other questions, or anything to add! I hope those of you in a similar life phase found this helpful. And for those who aren’t in a similar life phase, I’ll be back to the food on Thursday – stay tuned for a stir fry mix and match recipe post! :)

Comments

  1. 1

    This is great, thank you! Not pregnant yet, but bookmarking to hopefully reference in the near-ish future! :)

  2. 3

    Perfect timing, as putting our registry together is item #1 on my to do list after a big exam next week and every time I venture towards the internet I feel like I drown in options/info!

  3. 6
    Kaitlyn L. says:

    sooo random, but i see in the cabinet photo that you have a 4 or 6 inch granite lip and then a back splash. i thought that my husband and i couldn’t install a backsplash because of our lip. but now that i see yours im excited. are you happy with the look?

    • 7

      Yes, we love it! We didn’t design it ourselves – it was like this when we moved in – but it’s totally what I would have wanted anyway!

  4. 8

    I see so much of my experience in your post! I think we must be built similarly. I absolutely loved the Solly Baby wrap for my daughter’s newborn snuggly days, and then we switched to a Boba 4G using the infant insert around 3 months, until she was big enough to ride without it. It’s still my go-to carrier for longer rides because it has good structure without overwhelming me. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE my Connecta Solar for warm days especially (it’s also water safe!) – they can be hard to find, but well worth it. It’s SO lightweight and easy to use, and less bulky than the Boba 4G.

    My girl was also teeny at birth – she was born Christmas Eve, and I had brought a super cute 0-3mo Christmas outfit for going-home, because everyone told me not to mess with buying newborn sized stuff. Well… she popped out at only 6 lbs! We had to borrow preemie pants and newborn onesies/sleepers from friends for a few weeks until I could go shopping – she was in NB until she was like 3 months old! haha The hospital pictures are hilarious – pants rolled up, onesie tucked behind her, sleeves rolled up…

    And I’ve gone through several diaper bags (backpack and shoulder bags both) because I can’t find one I love – I’m super picky about having lots of pockets for storage, being easy to carry and not super big, etc. – I finally happened upon a SkipHop Duo at a consignment sale, and snagged it immediately. WINNER! Of course, it pretty much just lives in the car these days, I don’t carry it. haha

    • 9

      I have been eyeing the Connecta Solars ever since borrowing a friends – I loved how much less bulky it was too! Lol and yep in the going home from the hospital photo you can see Riese is essentially drowning in her outfit – little nugget!

  5. 10

    Velcro swaddles are the best! How do the nurses at the hospital do it!?

    • 11

      Right?! They are swaddle ninjas! Matt and I would watch and do exactly what they did and be like “This time for sure we have done the best swaddle job ever.” And then within seconds Riese had escaped. Lol!

  6. 12

    And I just added 80% of that stuff to my registry! ha ha thanks!

  7. 14

    WOW this is helpful! Thank you!!

    The cat comment (putting the drying rack in a cabinet) is hilarious but also very relevant to my household. Good call!

    It’s amazing to me to hear about a baby who didn’t fit into the 0-3 month size– my little guy is in the 90th percentile for all his measurements so far (due in July) and I am almost positive we have a 9+ pounder on our hands!

    • 15

      I brought both newborn & 0-3 month clothes to the hospital because you just never know how they’re gonna pop out!

    • 18

      Oh man!! I think it’s safe to say the 0 to 3 will be just fine for you guys! Congratulations! :)

    • 19

      My OB estimated that my daughter would be born weighing around 3.2kg (7lb) and she popped out last week, the day after her due date, at a tiny 2.8kg (6lb1oz). I had newborn clothes and she was swimming in them. I had to ask my mum to make an emergency clothes run on her way to the hospital so baby had clothes that fit. So scans can be out by quite a bit!

      • 20

        Yes, this is true! But we have family history on both sides of HUGE babies (every single sibling on my and my husband’s side was 9+ plus!, and cousins too, lots of c-sections for size), so we’re pretty sure our little guy is going to be on the bigger side.

        • 21

          Eeek! My brother was 10+ pounds when he was born… so intense! (I was 7 something, so that was quite the change – and my mom said the doctor thought he’d be about 8!)

        • 22

          Ouch :( on the bright side, one of my friends is a midwife and says bigger babies are usually born quicker cause they descend faster than smaller ones, so hopefully you will get a nice quick labour! Good luck :)

  8. 23

    Thanks, Anne! I’ve added lots of your suggestions to my registry.

  9. 25

    This is a great list. I’ve seen so many where i was like “whaaaat!? Who needs that?” but we use almost everything on your list! I love the Ergo carrier but have an older one :)

    • 26

      Glad you enjoyed it! I was like “I’ll just do a simple short list because I know how overwhelming they are!” and then this list still became a total beast, lol. I’m definitely going to check out the Ergo… might try to borrow one first to try it and see if I like it before committing!

  10. 27

    I’m wondering if you have started using the SpoonfulOne product you talked about on your blog a while back? I know someone had expressed concern over introducing so many allergens at once. I share that concern and was hoping to hear about your experience. I’m a food allergy mom and have been strongly advised to do one food at a time with my 5 mo, especially allergens. Perhaps people with no food allergy history get different advice?

    • 28

      Not yet because she hasn’t started eating yet! It’s recommended to start giving it once they are eating solids, so we are planning to give it to her then – so probably in a few weeks/a month. My understanding is with no food allergy history, and the fact that it’s such tiny micro-doses, it’s fine, though, so we will see how things go. Fingers crossed it’s okay!

  11. 29

    I loved your “My Favorite Natural and Organic Beauty Products” a couple years back. I would love a similar list for babies. My sentiment is exactly the same on Vitamin D (and other products). My goodness!

    • 30

      Thanks SMH! We haven’t really used anything on her yet (no lotion or shampoo or diaper cream or anything), just coconut oil! For baths we just do water. When she had a little cradle cap behind her ears, we just used baby wipes (the Honest wipes, or the water wipes) and then put some coconut oil on it and it fixed the problem! When she starts eating and getting messier/sweatier with summer coming up, I’ll start figuring out which lotions, sunscreens, shampoos, etc. to use on her and will definitely share. Stay tuned! And yeah I could not believe the ingredients on most of the Vitamin D baby drop products – flavors, colors, additives galore. Absurd!

  12. 31
    Heather C says:

    After much research, we use Dr Bronner’s 18-in-1 Hemp Baby Unscented Pure Castile Soap (made with organic oils) for all cleaning related to baby (baths, laundry, bottles/pump, etc).

    One of my favorite mom products is my Cake Lingerie Cotton Candy Sleep and Yoga nursing bra. I live in these – day, night, sleep – it is so ridiculously comfortable. Highly recommend if you need a bra. I have a couple structured bras for more “formal” occasions, but they aren’t very comfortable.

    You’re not the only one with 3 diaper bags – and I’ve found I need all 3!!! My husband thought I was nuts.

    It’s so nice to read through your list since I use many of the same products and my child is a day or two younger than Riese. Makes me feel like I made good choices.

    • 32

      Ooo I’m going to check out that Dr Bronner’s soap – thanks for the rec! I’ve used their stuff before but didn’t realize they had baby-specific items… love it. I’m going to check out that nursing bra, too – thank you!

  13. 33

    Question: What size did you get in the maternity nursing tanks? Did you feel they ran normal in size? I’ve had so much bad luck buying maternity stuff online and I’m so tired of returning stuff!

    I also loved buying disposable diaper pads at the beginning since it’s so messy and it eliminated laundry when I was exhausted. I loved them for going out too because they took up less space in my diaper bag.

  14. 35

    Thanks so much, Anne. I’m due in August 31st and I found this very helpful. I just added a bunch of stuff to my Amazon list to reference. I’ve been wondering about the Dock-a-tot, it was nice to see it was on your list. I’m also debating on baby monitors. My sister has the nest and did that one becasue cameras could be re purposed. What did you do for the baby monitor?

    • 36

      Congratulations! I totally forgot to talk about monitors – we have a nest as well, although we haven’t used it yet – Matt has it set up above her crib in the nursery for when she moves there. For now, we’ve been using a hand me down Philips Avent audio-only monitor for the bassinet in our room and it has worked out really well! We don’t really need the video until she’s older/moving around in there… all we need at this phase is just to know if she’s crying. I’ve liked having a monitor that’s not on my phone as well, because I try to be mindful of not being on my phone a ton outside of work time – so I think we’ll probably primarily still use the audio monitor when we move her to the crib, and just use the nest as-needed (to see why she’s crying once we get alerted to crying). Another thing to consider – if you will have childcare providers in your home, a monitor not tied to an app/your home network is helpful. Our nanny uses the audio monitor, not the nest, and I think we’ll keep it that way!

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