During my first pregnancy, I spent countless hours on my phone researching the “must have’s” for newborns, babies, and mothers. Every single youtube video, blog post, Instagram story, and friend praised different products leaving me overwhelmed. I was “scared” to spend gobs of money on products that would not work for my baby and me. Two years and two kids later, I now know what works for one kid may not work for the next AND that is okay!
Now being a mother of two, I have compiled a quick list of the “must have” products that have been essential in our daily lives! No matter the amount of time a first time or third time mother spends researching, one product will be a holy grail for someone while being a total bust for another. Because of this, I recommend borrowing what you can from friends or simply testing out products before buying when possible!
These products are specific to caring for yourself AND your little one during your first year together. **I am not including the absolutely necessary and common sense items like diapers, wipes, a carseat, and crib.**
DockATot – I refused to spend the money on this originally. Our fifth night home with Miller and we purchased it without hesitation. We used it religiously with Miller until three months old and now use it for Layth to play in (see below). Instead of a pack n play, Miller slept in this (next to us) for the first four months anytime we traveled! We even own the next size up, which Miller slept in when traveling until he was fourteen months old! For some, this isn’t worth the money but it was ESSENTIAL for sleep with Miller.
DockATot Toy Arch – Because Layth does not need to be swaddled to sleep, we use our DockATot for playtime in our sunroom. He loves laying in it and playing with his toys that we attach to the arch! I found the arch on sale at Target and am SO thankful I splurged for it.
bouncer seat – My mother told me I needed this and added it to my first registry at the last second. If I had to choose my number one item I have owned, it is this. Thank you to my friend and old co-worker, Ali, who gifted this to me! Having a bouncer has allowed many supported feedings to take place (pre high chair stage), many moments of quick cat naps for my kiddos while I cooked dinner, and hours of entertainment for Layth while he watches his brother play. This has been the biggest “life saver” since transitioning from one to two kids.
Boppy – No matter if you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed, this is a must.
burp cloths – You will use these for absolutely everything. They are the best that I have tried.
nursing bra – After finally not being too shy to admit it, I and many of my friends realized we each hadn’t found a comfortable supportive nursing bra with our first babies. I have now found a couple that I am obsessed with. If you’re on a budget, go for these at Target and if you are willing to spend money on the absolute comfiest, try this one out!
bottles – While I have only tried the Tommee Tippee and Comotomo bottles, my boys both loved them! I chose them for their design with a naturally shaped nipple. I used this bottle as a transition to sippy cups and Miller now loves these!
Spectra Breast Pump – I first used the Medela Pump, but now use the Spectra. I prefer the Spectra for many reasons: it has a light, has a running clock so that you know exactly how long you have been pumping, has multiple settings, and even a cup to hold one of your containers. The best feature is how quiet it is!
Silicone milk saver – My best friend told me about this after her pregnancy and I am so thankful she gave it to me to borrow after Layth was born! I used this with every feeding the first two months of his life and was able to save so much milk for future feedings! Once Layth got much more wiggly, I stopped using it but it was SO nice to have in those early months.
Boon Grass Drying Rack – You will use this more than you think you would.
Ikea high chair – There are so many reasons to choose this over other high chairs. It is lightweight, simple in design, easy to clean and take apart to travel with, and it is SO affordable.
health and safety
NoseFrida – This may be a no-go for some but it has been the handiest tool with a sick and stuffy kiddo.
Infant Optics baby monitor – I will never not recommend this. Two falls down the stairs, multiple drops, and one tumble into my coffee later . . . it still works like a dream. I have been told it does not have as clear of a picture as the Motorola or others, but I felt everything else outweighed others. My number one reason for choosing it was that it could have up to four video cameras monitoring at once (no other monitor I found could have up to that many). This monitor has the most excellent reviews on Amazon, does not use wifi (which is a “pro” in my opinion), has a 2x zoom, and batteries are cheap to replace!
Medicine – This was not my list when registering for baby products, but I am so thankful a couple of my friends gifted many bottles of Tylenol, Ibuprofen, gas drops, and Vitamin D drops! I promise you, you will need them all at some point!
Kinsa Smart Thermometer – We first used a normal thermometer, then switched to a forehead thermometer once we realized how hard it can be to take an under the armpit temperature on an angry baby, and now use this thermometer. Since having an episode of Miller being sick with high temperatures, I wanted the best of the best thermometers that were designed for kids and could be used rectally with quick results. I love how quick this one is and how it can be linked to your phone with a free app to track temperatures and illnesses in your children.
Door locks – Honestly, our home is minimally baby proofed. We use these for our cleaning product cabinet and the candy drawer (Miller tries to open this often). We use this door lock on the door to our basement.
City Select stroller – I have so much pride for my stroller. I own almost every extra extension piece and love EVERYTHING about our stroller. We love that it can fit up to three kids, has wheels with suspension, has a large bottom compartment, is easy to break down and fold up, and has a lifetime warranty! This stroller is worth every penny.
Freshly Picked diaper bag – I knew I wanted a diaper back pack as my primary bag the second I found I was pregnant with our first. Of the two I have now tried, this one is my favorite by far! It has so much room to hold everything I need for two kiddos.
Pack ‘n Play – While we use this less than we do our DockATot, it was extremely handy for travel when Miller was age fourteen months to nineteen months. He now sleeps in a bed or on the floor when we travel.
bath seat – This is a win all around! It is especially nice when your baby decides to go to the bathroom in the bathtub haha.
dreft stain remover – This will keep you from having to throw away all of your outfits!
accessories – Both of my boys like and take pacifiers well . . . and drool! We use The MAM and Philips pacifiers, and love this bib set!
ITEMS THAT YOU DO NOT NEED BUT ARE AWESOME TO HAVE
snooze baby monitor – We were recently gifted this after a medical scare with Miller. I LOVE LOVE it. This monitor works by sensing abdominal movement and alarming when none has been sensed after a set amount of time and trigger vibrations. We use this on Layth during nights I feel unsettled (he sleeps on his stomach) and will use it on Miller the next time he is sick. If I had the owlet monitor, I still think I would prefer this one for his simplicity.
humdifier – We have one similar to the one I linked and have used it constantly during the winter season for our boys!
mamaroo – I waited to purchase this until we had Layth and I could get it on super sale for half of its normal price (I love Amazon so much). It was worth the splurge! In the moments Layth is fussy and I am needing to provide attention to our first born or dinner prep, the mamaroo gives Layth comfort.
crib wedge – I originally purchased this only because I got it on sale for less than five dollars. We now own two and even use it under Miller’s bedsheets in his full size bed when he is sick. Having a crib wedge has been essential for our kiddos during any of their colds or the winter season!
stroller organizer – This is a must have for any stroller. Thank me later.
swaddles – My favorite swaddle with both boys has been the Love To Dream, or as Brian calls it, “The Squirrel swaddle.” The Love To Dream is perfect for those babies who love their hands by their face. It’s a great transition swaddle because with the medium and large sizes, the arms zip off! We used these swaddles for Miller at 0-3 months – he needed his arms snug tight against him in those early months. We used the Zipadee-Zip as a transition swaddle from the Love To Dream to an armless swaddle and are currently using it for Layth. If your baby is like Layth and does not need swaddled, we absolutely love these sleepers. They are so easy to zip up in the middle of the night for quick diaper changes and they keep his hands from scratching or waking himself up.
baby carrier – I first owned a Boba carrier, but found it to be too thick in material for my naturally hot babies, so the Moby wrap has been our favorite! We also have this wrap which has been what Brian has used to “hold” either one of our kiddos while doing outdoor chores. Two year old Miller and four month old Lath both fit in it making it super versatile.
ubbi diaper pail – A couple of my friends do not own diaper pails and haven’t even noticed a need for one while we have loved having ours! I definitely recommend purchasing one if your baby’s room is not on the same floor as your outdoor trashcan. We chose this one because any type of trash sack can be used.
Items I bought or received as gifts and rarely used:
Breastfeeding covers – They are too dang hot for both baby and I!
Diaper cream – My babies have never needed it but in the early days. Both Brian and I prefer this brand best.
Cute outfits and shoes – Simple onesies and zip up outfits is all your baby will wear in the early days!
Blanket swaddles – We only use these for our kiddos to have tummy time on and really only needed one or two.
After working on this post, I feel as if I listed gobs of products . . . but . . . they have all been so essential in our daily lives as a family. It is my hope that you can find one product here that helps you narrow down certain products that you have been looking to purchase for yourself or that baby shower you have coming up soon!
Let me know your “must have” products!
love always, kylie