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.
Psst: check this post out, too: Best Natural + Organic Personal Care Products for Babies + Toddlers
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.)
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.
- 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.
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. 😉
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.
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.
- And also speaking of – this diaper rash cream is the only one we tried that actually worked.
- 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 drops – these 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.
- 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!
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.
- 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.
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)
- 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 – 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.
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. I’m updating this post with some other posts you may want to check out, or bookmark for later:
- Best Natural + Organic Personal Care Products for Babies + Toddlers (our favorite non-toxic sunscreen, toothpaste, body lotion/oil, shampoo and conditioner, bug spray, and more)
- What is baby led weaning?
- At-Home Activities for Toddlers