I'm often asked by friends and family, "'what should I put on my baby registry,' 'what would make a great shower gift,' or 'what mom and baby products did you like the most?'" You need diapers, lots of them. Wipes too. And burp clothes. Yes, yes. All of that. But I also thought it would be fun to compile some of my very favorites that aren't the obvious; they may not necessarily be basic essentials, but they are quality products you won't regret having. In fact, the items in the list are of such good quality (and often really fun!) that I've passed many of them down to my sister who has twins. Enjoy!
- A really good nursing bra
Check out these awesome bra's from Nizo Wear. There are a lot of bra options on the market; a great nursing bra is key to a successful breastfeeding experience. It's important for pumping too! While I was pumping, I would wear a nursing bra and also bring a hands-free bra with me to work. I'd unsnap the nursing bra, pull down the flaps, strap on the hands-free bra and pump (if I had a regular bra on I'd have to take my shirt off and my bra off or have a regular bra pulled up over my breasts, which would have been really uncomfortable since I wear underwire!). My favorite part of the Nizo bra's are the patented pocket for a cold or warm pack, which I definitely needed when I started out breastfeeding and had some pain. Available here or on Amazon; $19.99 - $26.99.
2. A "snap and go" style stroller
All you really need to start off with a newborn is a "snap and go" style stroller that allows you to transport baby in their infant car seat. My husband I bought way too many strollers before baby arrived; we were sucked into the idea of a huge travel system. Eventually you will want an umbrella stroller, but with a new baby, the key is a stroller that allows them to stay asleep in their car seat. I've been really happy with the quality of Joovy products - check out their infant car seat stroller at Amazon; $59.99.
3. Lots of footed pajamas
When I found out I was having a daughter, I will admit: I went on a cute clothing shopping spree. (And in recent years, the boys clothing has totally caught up too; adorable!) Indulge a little, but truthfully, in the early days with baby, all you'll need are footed pajamas. And LOTS of them (because they will be pooped on and spit up on constantly). The footed pajamas specifically keep them warm and are easy to take on and off. You do not have to spend a lot of money on these; I am a fan of Carter's, which are soft and come in a range of adorable prints. Available on Amazon; prices vary greatly ($9.99 and up, look for sales).
4. A set of Velcro swaddles
Not all babies love to be swaddled (you'll have to try and learn), but many do; and if your baby enjoys the swaddle, this can be a lifesaver for sleep and comfort. I'm a huge fan of making swaddling easy and we regularly used the Summer Infant Swaddleme. Lay your baby down on the open swaddle, Velcro and voila! You have a baby burrito. Available on Amazon; prices vary greatly (for example, $25.00 for a pack of three).
5. A reliable breast pump
If you plan on breastfeeding, you'll likely need a breast pump for the return to work or when you need (or want!) to step away from baby for a period of time. Good news: many moms can now get their pumps for free or very low cost under their health insurance plans as a result of a mandate in the Affordable Care Act (health reform). To see if you can get your pump covered on insurance, fill out forms provided by medical equipment providers such as Lehan's Drugs or Aeroflow Breastpumps. If you need to buy a pump out of pocket, you can still get them in a number of boutiques like Becoming Mothers and Future Generations, in big box stores like Babies 'R Us and online at Amazon. Working with a lactation consultant can be a good way to get input on what pump is right for you. I used the Medela Pump in Style (the one that is a box shape, like in the picture) for months and months and had a really good experience with it.
6. A ton of pacifiers
We could not live without my daughters pacifiers. Again, not all babies love them and parents have differing feelings about them, but for many of us, they are a must-have. This is the kind of product where you should get a couple different kinds and try them out to see what your babies preference is and then stock up once you figure it out. Don't bother spending hours reading reviews for these; just get a few different kinds to test and go from there. Our daughter very specifically liked the Playtex Ortho-Pro Latex Pacifiers available on Amazon; $5.25.
7. A simple toy that entertains
There was no shortage of toys for my new daughter to play with; things that attached to the car seat, the classic plastic keys, and so on. By far her favorite first toy was the "winkel." We took it with us to a new moms group and after Maddy made quite the display in front of everyone loving on that toy, soon there were a slew of babies with winkels. Available on Amazon; $12.39.
8. A bottle drying rack
If you use bottles, for formula feeding or pumped breastmilk, you'll be washing a lot of them and often. A good drying rack is a must. I came across the Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack when my daughter was a few months old. It's super cute, easy to clean and all those "grass" spears make it really versatile, holding any kind of bottle and all sorts of other little pieces and accessories. The grass (and white dish it sits on) is dishwasher safe (I put on top rack). Available on Amazon; $14.98.
9. A comb and a brush
Truthfully, my daughter didn't need this right at the start - she was BALD! But as her hair came in, we did need a small brush and comb. And I don't think a brush/comb set could be any cuter than the Skip Hop Hare Brush/Comb Set. The quality of the brush and comb are top notch and this is so cute to display in a nursery. My daughter is almost three-years-old now and we still use this for her hair. We also never lose the brush and comb because of the rabbit holder. It makes a great gift; and I love when something practical is made really cute. Available at Amazon; $20.00.
10. A stylish breast pump bag
I schlepped around my Medela Pump in Style in an ugly nylon bag. Even if fashion isn't of critical importance to you (carrying a nice bag is something I care about), efficiency and space to carry everything is a must. I designed the Sarah Wells "Maddy" breast pump bag for style and function: a classic satchel shape in neutral colors, large enough for your pump equipment and accessories AND all your purse items, including an iPad or eReader. My bags are compatible with most brands and styles of portable breast pumps. Available on this website or Amazon; $145 (and if you checkout on my website, use code LUCKY through 3/17/14 for 15% off!)
What items did you buy for yourself as a new mom or for your baby that you LOVED??