Before I had my first child, I had no idea which baby products I would want, or even really what options existed. I looked to friends and family with children to help guide me with what they liked best, as many first time parents do. After my daughter was born, I developed my own list of infant must haves that I share with all the moms-to-be I meet, and now I get to share them with you!
These things are the softest and thickest burp cloths I have ever encountered. I often use them as a bib during feedings, since they provide more coverage than most traditional bibs, and then when its time to burp, I just toss it over my shoulder. They are thick enough that they really do a great job of absorbing any spills, but they are also so soft that I don’t worry about wiping baby’s chin with them. Click here to check out the Comfy Clubs Burp Cloths
It quickly became clear that having a safe and comfortable way to baby wear was crucial to the early days of motherhood. Being able to hold her close, without worrying about physically holding her all day, and having my arm free was amazing. I would baby wear not just for daily outings, but around the house too, if I needed to get things done. I tried several backpack style baby wearing devices like the ErgoBaby360 and the Baby Bjorn, and found them all to feel bulky and uncomfortable to wear, and I didn’t like that I needed someone else to clip the back for me. Next I tried some wrap options like the Moby Wrap and the WildBird Ring Sling. These options felt more comfortable for me, but I struggled to wrap them as tight (and keep them tight) as I thought they should be, and worried my baby would slip out accidentally.
Finally, I found the perfect middle ground, the Boppy ComfyFit Carrier. It’s made of stretchy fabric, so it’s super comfy, and feels almost like a wrap, but it has more structure, and it’s super easy to put on completely by yourself without feeling like you will drop your baby in the process. Brand new babies can face inward to snuggle, older babies can face outward with (literally) a snap. Click here to check out the Boppy ComfyFit Carrier
Something I didn’t appreciate as a mom-to-be was just how many diaper changes happen in those first few weeks, and when you are trying to figure it all out, that means a lot of accidents on the changing table. We started out with a traditional changing pad and cover, but when we found ourselves going through multiple covers a day, we quickly decided the price tag for a wipe clean pad was well worth our sanity. This one is made of a squishy foam so it’s comfy for the baby to lay on and also has a built in scale, which can bring great peace of mind to new parents. Click here to check out the Hatch Baby Grow Smart Changing Pad and Scale
A reliable video baby monitor was really helpful to us when my daughter was young to give me the peace of mind of seeing her safely asleep in her bed (and continues to be helpful now in the toddler years). There are many baby monitors that connect to your phone, allowing you constant access to watch your beloved child while asleep, however I didn’t want that accessibility for myself because I didn’t want to be able to obsessively check my phone wherever I went.
It has the standard things you want in a monitor. The screen is nice and big and has a good, clear picture, both in daylight and night vision. The camera itself can be controlled from the handheld unit to pan the crib and zoom in when you need to see their little bodies breathing before going to sleep yourself. There is an intercom function so I can talk to my daughter through the monitor, which has been increasingly helpful as she’s gotten older. It was easy to set up and the battery life is good even when I don’t have it plugged in. But my favorite feature is the music it can play. When my daughter is having a hard time falling asleep, or wakes up earlier than I’d like, I turn on one of the pre-loaded lullabies and she lays right down and shuts her eyes. This thing is magical. There is also a 2-camera version, if you have multiple spaces, multiple kids or plan to! Click here to check out the Motorola Comfort75 Baby Monitor
I started using this device when my daughter was just days old, and we still use it now, at 2 years old. It’s use has changed over that time, which speaks particularly to its utility. In the beginning, I used it as a nightlight. It turns on with literally the tap of a finger, and you can adjust the brightness of the light, so when you are waking every couple of hours for a feed, you can keep the light dim, so everyone falls back to sleep easily.
Now, we use it primarily as a sound machine, and it helps to keep my daughter from waking during naps, especially. When she is a little older, there is a time-to-rise feature, where I can set the device to change color or turn on at a certain time so my daughter knows when she can get up for the day. There is also a Rest+ which has added features that I didn’t think we needed, but they include a clock, audio monitoring and voice control via Alexa. The Rest+ requires Wifi to operate, while the Rest (original) works through Bluetooth, one of the reasons I went with the Rest instead of the Rest+. Click here to check out the Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise
We tried several swaddle options that were recommended to us before we found this one and since then we have never looked back. Aside from being a really safe option, it also puts the hands in a position where the baby can suck on them through the fabric to self-soothe. My daughter loved having her hands near her as a ready pacifier, and it totally helped her get to sleep in her bassinet. But that isn’t even my favorite part. My favorite part is the simplicity. I remember those early nights postpartum, exhausted at 3am trying to remember how to wrap other swaddles just to change her diaper with ‘minimal disruption’. The Swaddle Up could not be more simple, it just zips up the front and you’re done. It also has a two-way zip, allowing you to unzip from the bottom for easy diaper changes, which I’m all here for. Click here to check out the Love to Dream Swaddle Up
Parents-to-be pretty much universally have some sort of baby gym on their wish lists nowadays. We ended up with 5 different versions in the early months of my daughter’s life, so I have lots of experience with what worked and what didn’t, and the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym is the king of play gyms. Many activity mats have arches that are too high for the baby to focus on or reach the hanging items, but this one is the perfect height.
It comes with mirrors and rattles, and other fun add-ons to keep the baby’s interest during tummy time and playtime. The piano plays music and has 3 different settings to grow with the baby as their ability to interact with the keys changes. It also lights up, which kept my daughter’s attention much longer than anything else I put in front of her during tummy time. I could position her head towards the keys so she could watch the lights, or position her so that she could kick the keys with her feet to mix it up. Overall, a great play gym that grew with my child throughout the first year. Click here to check out the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
When we first started feeding my daughter purees, traditional spoons didn’t fit easily in her little mouth and it seemed like it was putting her off wanting to try solids. Then I found these silicone spoons from OlaBaby, and they were perfect. They are rigid and contoured enough that the food stays on them, but are moldable enough that they fit comfortably in my daughter’s mouth. When she was ready to start feeding herself, I didn’t worry about a rogue spoon to the eye, because this one is so bendy. Click here to check out Olababy Spoons
Like many products on this list, I went through a lot of duds before I landed on this winner. They velcro shut, which allows me to put them on easily, without having to fiddle with a snap or fit over the baby’s head. They are absorbent and hold more liquid than you would expect for its size. These bibs have a waterproof inner lining that keeps all the dribbles from soaking through. One important care instruction is that dryer heat will destroy the waterproof inside, so these are hand wash or air dry only! Learn from my mistakes and save yourself having to buy a second pack 🙂 Click here to check out Green Sprouts Bibs
By the time my daughter was 9 months old, we had tried 3 different standalone high chairs and 3 different chair attachment or clip-on seats. Some weren’t easy to clean, some were cumbersome to adjust, and others just didn’t look comfortable for my daughter. Finally, we landed on the OXO Tot Sprout High Chair and we love it. It’s comfortable for my daughter, adjusts with a simple click, the buckle is easy to do, (my daughter can even do it now), it easily wipes clean, and perhaps my favorite feature, the tray installs and removes like a dream – one-handed! It also comes with an insert so when things get messy you can just grab that insert and keep the mess from spreading. Click here to check out the OXO Tot Sprout High Chair