As all parents know, there are a zillion baby products on the market. Figuring out what products you need and what brands to buy can be extremely overwhelming, especially for a first time mom. I by no means am an expert, however now that my 2nd baby is almost 7 months old, I can give an honest opinion of my favorite items that worked for my two kiddos in the first 6 months of life. I’m not including things like clothes, bibs, bottles, or hygiene products because I feel like those are pretty obvious. Also, as a disclaimer, all babies are different. What worked for my two kiddos, may not work for yours, but these are the 10 products I couldn’t live without during the newborn phase of life.
A baby swing is ideal for the infant stage of life. We kept ours in the living room, and both Grayson and Audrey loved the gentle rocking motion of the swing. We have the Fisher Price Rock –n- Play (it is now discontinued) and the 4moms MamaRoo. We never let our babies sleep in either overnight, but the swings were perfect for supervised naps during the day or just a place to put the baby when we weren’t holding him or her.
Car Seat and Stroller System
The most necessary items for on the go are a car seat and stroller. For me it was essential to have a car seat that could move from the base directly into the stroller without having to disturb the baby. I went with the UPPAbaby stroller system because I knew we wanted several kids, and this set could be used for many years by our growing family. The set includes the infant car seat, one base, the stroller, a toddler seat and the bassinet. I also purchased the bassinet stand and kept it next to our bed for Grayson to sleep in as an infant. The car seat, toddler seat and bassinet all fit into the stroller and are interchangeable. You can also purchase the adapters so two seats can fit in the stroller at once. Also, there is a standing board that hooks to the back of the stroller for an older child to ride on. Even though it is pricy, we LOVE this stroller system and highly recommend it.
Tummy time is essential for a baby’s growth and development, and a floor mat is ideal for this. We have the Fisher Price Deluxe Gym at my house and love it. It lights up, plays music and has held up great for both of our kiddos. My mom recently got the Play Gym by Lovevery and it is amazing! This mat is designed to grow with your baby. It includes 5 developmental zones on the mat, removable accessories for the different stages of growth, interchangeable learning cards, and a guide for age appropriate activities. You can also subscribe to receive different play kits for each stage of your baby’s development.
Swaddles and Sleep Suits
I know some people say their babies hated being swaddled, but I swear by it. Both of my kiddos slept 10-12 hours through the night from the time they were 12 weeks old, and I attribute a large part of that to swaddling and sleep suits. For the first few weeks of life, I used a swaddle blanket like the ones used in the hospital. My favorite is the Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets because they are really big and so soft! They are also perfect to use as a blanket for on the go or can be tied to use as a nursing cover as well. When my baby got strong enough to bust out of the blanket (usually around 3 weeks), I then transitioned him/her to the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle that velcros for a more secure fit. Finally, around 3 months I moved them again to the Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit. It truly is magic! Audrey is still currently in this sleep suit at 7 months old.
While many parents put their baby straight into their crib as a newborn, I personally felt more comfortable having mine sleep next to my bed in a bassinet. As I said above, we used the bassinet that came with the UppaBaby system when Grayson was an infant and loved it. However, when I had Audrey I decide to purchase the Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper because I heard so many great things about it. Best purchase ever! It is much more spacious than the UppaBaby bassinet, swivels 360 degrees for easy access to the baby, and has the features of vibration and soothing sounds.
Sound Machine and Baby Shusher
Another must have when while your baby is sleeping is a good quality sound machine. We have the Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine. It is equipped to connect to your phone and has different features you can use as your child grows. To be honest, I haven’t completely figured it out yet! We use the basic white noise to help drown out sound when they sleep. We use this sound machine for both Grayson and Audrey. I also LOVE the Baby Shusher, which is basically an on the go sound machine. It is perfect for in the car or if you are out in public and your baby is fussy.
Pack n Play
A Pack n Play is a great item to have for several reasons. First, we used it next to our bed once both kids started to roll over and could no longer sleep in the bassinet. I kept Grayson in our room in the Pack n Play until he was 6 months old, and Audrey is currently still in it at almost 7 months old (we are waiting for big brother to move to a big boy bed!) The Pack n Play is also great for travel. It is super portable and easy to take when you go on overnight trips for your baby to sleep in. We have even flow with it!
Another very useful purchase for us was a baby carrier. We own both the Boba Baby Wrap and the Ergobaby Carrier. These items are perfect for those days when your baby just doesn’t want to be put down, but you still need to get stuff done! We also use these items a lot when traveling.
Baby loungers are perfect for daily use when your baby is still too little to move around. They can be placed on the floor, bed or couch for a soft resting place. When I had Grayson, we got the Dock a Tot as a gift and used it daily. My mom got us the Pello when we had Audrey, and I love this one just as much if not more. I featured the Pello on my Instagram page (@organized_chaosblog) a couple of months ago, and Audrey still loves it. It is super soft and big enough to be used through the toddler years of life. Another really popular option is the Boppy Lounger, which lots of my friends have and love.
Even though most of my friends disagree with me on this one, the Owlet is probably my number one pick for a must have baby item. I have a lot of anxiety at night worrying if my babies are okay when they are sleeping. It may not be for everyone, and to each his own, but this smart sock monitor helps me to sleep better at night, so I’m all for it! I got mine over 2 years ago, but they have since come out with the smart sock and video monitor duo, which is a great option if you are in the market for a video monitor as well.
There are many other great options on the market for babies, but these are just the top 10 that I love and used on the daily with my kiddos. Hopefully this list will be helpful to any first time mamas out there or anyone looking for ideas on great baby products. I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as any items that you can’t live without!