A midwife in my practice was particularly cheerful and talkative this morning, asking me as a "second time mom" what the items were that I could not live without. (She had a baby shower coming up and was clueless as to what items are still relevant from when she had young kinds, and what the hot new items are).

As a young mom who is still figuring out this parenting thing, I wasn't sure I was the best resource for her. Not to mention that my baby shower was two years ago, and we didn't do a shower or "sprinkle" for No. 2 (due July 4, 2018—eek!), so I'm sure there are hot new products I'm not aware of. But, I still felt surprisingly confident reeling off a list of my favorite products on the spot. Here's what came to mind:


Affordable newborn lounger and docking station

Nursing moms—and really all parents—are big fans of the Boppy nursing pillow, and for a good reason. In addition to making breastfeeding a more comfortable experience, it's great for tummy time, learning to sit up, and a million other activities.

Also in the Boppy family, but largely underrated is the Boppy lounger. I know parents who swear by the Dock-a-Tot, but not many people I know are spending $200 on a single baby item (you can get a crib for that much, amiright?). The boppy lounger allowed me to set my newborn down anywhere since it's super light and mobile, and also has dips and crevices in all the right places to keep a non-rolling baby in place.

Humidifier that doubles as a nightlight and oil diffuser

Humidifier is a classic baby item on every registry, and as someone who sleeps with one in my bedroom nightly as an adult, I totally get it. There's no need to purchase one of those cute duck or frog humidifiers now that they make a version that I can add essential oils to (hello lavender for relaxation) and serves as a subtle night light for late night feedings. 

Sound machine

For some reason people are worried about their kid getting too accustomed to white noise and unable to sleep without it. But as adults, I think most of us can agree we sleep better with white noise. In short, I'm OK being dependent on it, and I'm OK with my kid being dependent on it.

I like the one we use (find it here) since it had multiple sound options—Grayson preferred "rain"—and our 2-year-old version also had a projector with sheep, stars, and other soothing baby things we used occasionally. We also used the Sleep Sheep a bit when Grayson was an infant and were traveling. The only downside I found is that it's on a timer and eventually shuts off, but that may be a plus for some! I've also heard great things about the Baby Shusher (planning to try this time around!)

Rock 'n Play sleeper

Bassinets are clunky, take up space, aren't easy to travel with, and quite frankly aren't worth the investment for the few months you use them. Grayson slept in the Rock 'n Play next to my bedside for the first 10-12 weeks, which made for easy late-night nursing sessions while I was recovering. The swaddle-like effect and slight incline also seemed to feel more naturally for the baby. 

This time around, I splurged for the auto-rock function to avoid manually (and deliriously) rocking the sleeper until we both passed out.

Sleep gear that makes for easy late-night changes

To put it bluntly, snaps are the devil. Zippers are better. Elastic is best.

They're not that common in stores, but the little nightgowns with elastic bottoms (made for both boys and girls) were a godsend for late-night changes. You're just going to have to take my word on this one. The first time you have to change a cute little layette with 20 snaps or buttons in the middle of the night, you'll get it.

My baby did like being swaddled for the first few months of his life, so I layered HALO swaddles (and later HALO sleep sacks) on top of the nightgowns to make sure Grayson was nice and cozy.

When I think about my "must-haves" I also naturally think about the unneeded items I registered for or purchased that didn't get much use. Check out my next post for the baby items I could have lived without!


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