This blog post was, by far, the most requested one from you guys when I asked if you guys had any questions you wanted me to address on the blog via Instagram Stories a few weeks ago. I made a mental note to keep track of all of the baby-related things we found ourselves using on a daily or almost-daily basis and today I’m writing more words about baby products than I ever imagined.
I wanted to be sure to not only give a list of my favorite items but also provide a little more detail as to why certain items made our list. My goal for this post was to make it helpful for those of you who might be creating baby registries or those who might be looking for insight on certain items. I’m also happy to answer any questions about anything I’ve detailed below, so definitely let me know if you’d like me to expand a bit and give you more information about anything included on this list of our newborn baby must haves!
Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and no company paid to have a product included in this post, however, please note that my friends at Chicco sent me the two Chicco products mentioned below as part of an ongoing relationship. I truly love both products mentioned and was not required to write about them.
Newborn Baby Favorites
The Owlet is, without a doubt, my favorite new baby item purchase for baby number two. I cannot tell you how much we LOVE The Owlet Smart Sock in our house and the peace of mind this thing gives me on a nightly basis makes it worth every cent. So what does it do? The Owlet tracks heart rate and oxygen levels using clinically-proven technology. We actually ordered our smart sock when we were in the NICU with Ryder because I knew I was going to be a mess and very stressed out about his breathing once we learned he would be released.
The Owlet Smart Sock connects to a base station that glows green to let you know everything is okay with your baby and uses lights, sounds and app notifications if heart rate or oxygen levels are too high or too low. We haven’t had any issues with false alarms other than one time when I forgot to charge the sock. The Owlet is not cheap so definitely do your research before purchasing this one or adding it to your registry (the reviews are very helpful and also very positive!) but if it’s on your radar at all, I cannot recommend it enough. It truly helps me sleep more peacefully at night since I can roll over at any moment and look at the soft green light glowing next to my bed and feel instantly reassured.
The bassinet Chase slept in was a cheap co-sleeper we found at Marshalls that we rigged up on top of a wide ottoman. It worked well enough but now that we have a legit bassinet I am kicking myself for not getting a bassinet with our first baby. I LOVE our Chicco Lullago Portable Bassinet for a myriad of reasons. The height is great and sits level with our bed and I never feel like I’m bending too far over to scoop Ryder up for feedings.
The bassinet is incredibly simple to clean (you can simply toss the sleeper pad cover in the washing machine) and it easily collapses should you need to travel with the bassinet. We brought it to Atlanta and will be packing it for our trip to the mountains at the end of October, too.
We first discovered the Ollie Swaddle when our newborn photographer recommended it to us after Chase was born. It is, hands down, the best swaddle going and worth every penny! They’ve somehow improved the swaddle from when Chase was a baby so it’s even better than before and makes creating a snug swaddle a breeze thanks to durable velcro.
It’s the only swaddle we’re using for nighttime sleep these days because it keeps Ryder securely swaddled through the night. (It’s also the only swaddle Ryan will use because the other ones frustrate him too much and allow Ryder to break out too easily.) I also love that with the Ollie Swaddle we can swaddle only Ryder’s chest and let his arms free because sometimes he wants an arm or two out and this works well for some swaddle flexibility. Oh and you can also change a diaper with your baby’s arm’s STILL swaddled. GAME CHANGER. This is also a go-to baby shower gift from me these days as well!
This was a random discovery that ended up becoming a big-time favorite! We initially bought the Munchkin Nursery Nightlight for Chase to use in his room but I ended up snagging it for myself when I saw someone on Instagram rave about the exact same light as a great nursing light to use in the hospital after she gave birth to her son. Genius! I remembered the hospital lights being SO bright after I had Chase and hated such intense light during middle-of-the-night feeds, so I knew I’d love having this soft nightlight as an alternative source of light during our time in the hospital.
Well, fast forward three months and I’m STILL using this light at home for our nighttime feeds. I swore by my salt lamp for nighttime nursing light after I had Chase and we bought one for Ryder’s nursery as well. My intention was to move the salt lamp from Ryder’s room into our room while he’s temporarily with us but that never happened thanks to this handy little nightlight! (I do plan to go back to using the salt lamp once we transition Ryder into his nursery but for now this nightlight is working great.) One important note: The nightlight turns off automatically after 20 minutes but since my nursing sessions are relatively short, this doesn’t bother me at all.
On The Go
If there is one product I could recommend to a family with an energetic toddler and a newborn, it would be this stroller. Right around the time I found out I was expecting again, Chase went on a bit of a stroller strike for any walks over a mile. He wanted to be out of the stroller and have the ability to run around. The brains behind this stroller clearly understood children when they set out to create it, because the way the stroller is made makes it easy for the “big kid” to stand on a platform and hop on and off the stroller but it also has a pop-down seat so they can rest and ride along when they’re ready to relax.
We had the Bravo stroller for Chase (and I still use it all the time with Ryder) and the Bravo for 2 does a great job of taking some of the best features of the original Bravo stroller — it’s easy portability, durability and compatibility with our Chicco car seat — and expands on them for two kids. Ryder’s Fit2 car seat easily clicks into the Bravo for 2 stroller and it collapses with the press of one button. The stroller was also simple to put together and Chase thinks the standing platform is the coolest! It’s great for travel, walks to the part or just running around town.
This item was a baby sprinkle gift that ended up being one of those unexpected treasures! I use this wristlet constantly because it makes transferring diapering essentials from one bag to the next a breeze. The JuJuBe Legacy Be Quick Wristlet Pouch is big enough to hold a few diapers, a pack of wipes, hand sanitizer and a small diaper rash cream. I also love the Skip Hop Portable Changing Station (this was my go-to portable diapering find after I had Chase) but I find that I’ve recently been opting for the wristlet pouch simply because it’s smaller and less cumbersome. It fits into my mini backpack with ease and keeps diapering essentials all in one organized place.
The Aden and Anais muslin swaddle blankets are another favorite carryover from baby number one! These muslin swaddle blankets are something I have with me at all times. They’re great to use as a nursing cover when we’re on the go and they’re the lightweight blankets I bring with me whenever we’re out and about and I might need/want to swaddle Ryder up. (They also work well as a make-shift burp cloth in a pinch!) I also use them to swaddle Ryder for his daytime naps (I try to reserve the Ollie Swaddle mostly for night time until we establish a real schedule) and love the way they seem to get softer and cozier every time I wash them. We probably have at least eight of these blankets and I still feel like I could use more!
Around the House
Bless this handy little invention! We loved our Rock ‘n’ Play with Chase and it still is a “must have” for us with Ryder. We keep our Rock ‘n’ Play in our family room and right now it’s where Ryder takes all of his daytime naps. It seems to almost hug Ryder when I place him in it and the rocking motion does a great job of lulling him to sleep in the bright daylight hours.
My one complaint is that the music/white noise button you can press to play when the Rock ‘n’ Play is on turns off automatically. I wish it would play continually since continuous white noise is GOLD for baby sleep over here.
I’m fairly certain the DockATot wasn’t around when I was pregnant with Chase but it clearly made its debut on the newborn baby product market with a BANG because all of the sudden this thing was everywhere! And everyone was raving about it! I initially balked at the price tag — almost $200! — but I can now say it’s one of those items that does seem to live up to the hype.
I lucked into borrowing one from a friend who had a baby last year but it’s something I’d absolutely buy now that I know just how useful it is on a daily basis. Ryder chills in the DockATot all over our house all day long. It’s perfectly portable and the perfect little thing to bring into the bathroom with me if I need a shower or lay down in the kitchen while I make dinner.
I remember people encouraging me to register for a bouncer seat when I was pregnant with Chase but I decided against it because I figured the Rock ‘n’ Play would serve that purpose. Well, fast forward to giving birth to Ryder and both the Burn Boot Camp and YMCA child care rooms have bouncer seats and 90 percent of the time I walk into the child care rooms to pick Ryder up after a workout, he’s happy as a clam in a bouncer seat.
My friend Lauren just passed her bouncer seat along to us and it’s such a useful little thing, especially now that Ryder is more alert and wants to be able to look around and see everything that’s going on around him. Now that he’s less content to want to lie on his back all the time, it’s great to have to prop him up in and makes it feel like Ryder’s more of a part of the action. Plus, Chase loves “reading” to his brother when he’s in his bouncy seat.
I discovered this wipe dispenser thanks to my sister’s baby registry! When I was perusing her registry, I noticed the OXO PerfectPull Wipe Dispenser had a ton of great reviews and since I had recently broken the top off our old dispenser and was in the market for a new one, it caught my eye! You guys, this wipe dispenser puts all other wipe dispensers to shame! You can completely unpack your baby’s wipes and put them in the dispenser underneath a weighted plate that allows you to access one wipe at a time. The top pops open with the press of a finger, you can grab a wipe with one hand (a crucial new mom skill!) and this dispenser keeps the wipes moist and like-new. I love this thing!
This is another one of those products we bought when Chase was a baby that we used for a completely different purpose than the one intended. Initially intended to be a co-sleeper, we ended up using the Snuggle Nest as our downstairs diaper changing station and it was perfect! We’re using it for the same purpose with Ryder and love the way it gives us a soft and semi-secure place to tackle diaper changes when we’re away from the changing table in his nursery. An added bonus: It folds up and travels easily!
A blog reader recommended these to me and all I have to say about these reusable waterproof changing pad liners is that they are genius! We almost always have one positioned on top of the Snuggle Nest or changing pad cover to help with any surprise poops or pees that might happen during a diaper change. They’re especially handy during the first two months with a newborn when you’re changing a bazillion diapers a day and something about a baby’s private part hitting the air seems to inspire them to instantly begin peeing or pooping.
When I put out a call for terrible diaper rash cure recommendations on Instagram Stories, by FAR the most recommended product was Triple Paste. I went through a ton of other suggestions — many all-natural and even prescription recommendations — and Triple Paste worked the best on Ryder’s sore booty. It’s thicker than most diaper rash creams and seems to be more powerful, too. We’ve loved Buttpaste in the past and still use it all the time on red booties but when a severe diaper rash surfaces, Triple Paste is worth having on hand when you want to bring out the big guns!
This is the best nursing pillow for breastfeeding a newborn and I am so glad I discovered it during my first meeting with a lactation consultant after I gave birth to Chase. My Brest Friend is easily the most supportive nursing pillow I’ve tried and wraps all the way around you for a snug fit that keeps your little one in the perfect nursing position. It closes up the space between you and your baby (this is key when they’re so teeny!) and almost acts as a soft platform for them to lounge on as they nurse. I cannot recommend this pillow enough, especially in the early newborn nursing days!
The Boppy is a staple for me for nursing, especially as Ryder gets bigger and continues to grow. I keep one in my car for on-the-go nursing and also always have one chilling on our couch to grab when I need to nurse Ryder throughout the day. (I keep My Brest Friend in our bedroom and mostly use it for nighttime nursing now that Ryder is a bit older and bigger.) While the Boppy does a great job of helping to get Ryder into the optimal nursing position with relative ease, it’s also wonderful for travel. I brought it on the plane with me when Ryder and I flew to Florida when he was six weeks old and thought it was great both for nursing and for the way it offered support for my arms as I held Ryder when he snoozed away on the plane.
Ask pretty much any new mom who is just beginning to navigate nursing and I’m pretty sure she’ll tell you she’s always hungry and always thirsty. That’s where these lactation cookies come in handy! Jessica’s recipe for lactation cookies is the best I’ve found and I make them for all of my new mama friends… and myself! They always get rave reviews! They’re freezer friendly which I love since the recipe makes a ton. If you’re in the nesting mode before baby, whip up a batch of these cookies to throw in your freezer before your little one arrives. I promise you’ll be grateful you did when you’re feeling particularly ravenous!
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse by now when I talk about these pajamas on the blog so I’ll keep it quick. These pajamas are the best thing going for the postpartum period (and beyond)! They’re nursing-friendly and incredibly soft and the perfect pajamas to pack with you for your hospital stay. I practically lived in mine for the first few weeks after Ryder was born and love that there is both a shorts and long pants version. (Yes, I have both. I told you, I LOVE these pjs!)
After Chase was born, I realized I didn’t buy much in the way of nursing-friendly bras or tops, so I went on a mad dash to stock up on some nursing essentials. My favorite tanks are the Gilligan & O’Malley camis so many of you highly recommended to me. I’m wearing the same tanks I bought after Chase was born and they’ve held up well.
As far as nursing bras are concerned, without a doubt my favorite nursing bra is the Bravado! seamless nursing bra. It’s incredibly soft and comfortable and doesn’t make your boobs look weird through clothing. All the important stuff! For sleep or just to wear under casual clothing, I also really love the Bravado! ballet sleep bra. It’s a pull-on style bra that doesn’t dig into my sides at all. It’s a great go-to nursing bra to have in a few colors.
Shop This Post
Thank you for sharing! As a long time reader I have always appreciated how paractical you are in the items you purchase. I am in the process of putting together my registery for baby #1 and have definitely added a few of your items. Still on the fence with regards to the dock-a-tot. Your boys (and girl) are adorable 🙂
I have a 3 week old and the doc-a-tot is one of our most used items! Worth every penny.
Rachel @ Never Enough Novels says
I’m in the same situation – just starting to put together a registry for my first baby!
Grandma Honey says
I really enjoy your blog and especially when you share practical things we can use. I’m a Grandma of many and found 2 to order just from this post alone. Thank you!!
Thank you!! I’m so glad you found it helpful!!
I loved this post! I’m currently preparing to register for our first baby and it seems like there’s just so much! Like the other comment said, I’m on the fence also with the Dock-a-Tot. I can’t decide if I should register for it or not! Everyone seems to love it though!
Do you have the rock and play that rocks itself and plays the white noise/music? We have that one and if you download the app and connect to it that way you can set the white noise or anything else to continuous so it doesn’t stop.
We do! Do they all connect to an app? Or is that a new thing? I saw that some now have that feature but I’m not sure ours does since we got it 3 years ago. I’ll defintiely look into it today though bc that would be great!!
Thanks for the recommendations! I am pregnant with baby #2, and I’m trying to go minimal since I already have so much stuff, but those pajamas are calling my name. Did you order your normal size, or size up for prgenancy/post-baby?
They definitely run a bit big so you might be able to do your normal size. I’m usually a small in tops and a medium in bottoms and got the medium. If you’re between sizes, I’d size down though!
Thank you so much for taking the time to compile this list. In case you ever wonder if these lists are worth posting, let me just say that I literally added each of these items (except for stroller) onto my baby registries as I’m registered at both Target and Amazon. 🙂 I’m due in February and am clueless at what is actually useful for newborns so I feel so much better reading your reviews and personal experiences. Thank you!!
On an unrelated note, have you had any experiences with being able to return or exchange baby registry items in case you end up with duplicates or change your mind about items? I have been adding away with the hopes that if I requested too much I can exchange for diapers etc.
I’m so glad this was helpful for you, Janice! And thank you for taking the time to let me know! I was SO overwhelmed when I created my baby registry and truly felt clueless so I’m so happy to hear this has helped you! As far as returns, I didn’t have any issues returning items to Target and Amazon (that’s where we registered, too!) but admittedly it was easier to return things to Target just because you can walk into the store and if you happen to not have a gift receipt, they can look up your item if I remember correctly!
Megan O says
Love the owlet! It’s spendy so it’s worth nothing that you can use FSA funds to pay for it (that’s what I used).
Yes, or HSA funds if that’s what plan you’re on 🙂
Those PJs were a godsend! I live in them with my 5 weeks old! Thank you for the recco! Also agree that the owlet is worth every penny! One item I have also loved is the Kekaroo changing pad. It is completely wipable so you don’t have to worry about changing anything. A little pricey but worth it!
Mrs B says
We are trying the dock a tot this time around too!!! I am really hoping it works well. I figured if he hates it, I can sell it to someone as those things are hot commodities.
I think we are going to end up buying a traveling bassinet as well…. Will keep these things in mind. My husband and I were laughing at holy crap the next time we go on a trip we are going to need TWO pack and plays! The joys of 2 right?
Laura Swanson says
Instead of the Owlet, we use the Snuza on our children and love it! It’s cheaper an an Owlet. It clips onto their diaper monitors their alarm. It will vibrate first if it doesn’t feel any motion after X seconds and then sounds an alarm if still no movement. It went off with our daughter when she was a newborn and I reached over and shook her chest and she took a huge gasp of air. I am convinced it saved her life that night!
Thank you, Julie , for this great list. I am a grandmother with twin grandbabies arriving soon. New products have arrived since our last grandchild so I’m happy to get an update. These twins, like Ryder, were an answer to prayer after several miscarriages.
We are so grateful to welcome these babies!
Just wanted to let you know (in case you haven’t seen it) that Fisher-Price Rock n’ Plays have been recalled as they were found to have caused infant fatalities:
I”m a longtime reader and saw a news article about this and recalled you had mentioned this product on your blog. Thought it’d be good to let you know in case you missed this / so you can warn others 🙂