A Comprehensive List of Baby Things.

A couple of months ago, I took a little poll on Instagram asking what people would like to see more of on DHDG. Though I don't identify myself as a lifestyle and/or mommy blogger, the overwhelming majority of people asked for baby-related posts, and I'm happy to oblige since that's certainly on my mind these days, too! 

The #1 request was for a list of baby product recommendations. I've already put together a list for girlfriends of mine, so I thought, why not share? I've tried to give you my "best of," broken down by category, but it was also important to me tell you why the product worked for me so that you can decide it you need it. 'Cause I SHO did not know what the hell a Mamaroo was before I had a baby. All of the bold product titles are links to the product itself for easier purchase. 

And if you're a person who doesn't have children, hopefully this will give you an idea of great gifts you can buy that aren't clothes for the moms-to-be in your life! 

For those of you who are SUPER TIRED of baby-related posts, here's a GIF for you: 

 I hear you, normal people. I hear you. 

I hear you, normal people. I hear you. 

If you're still pregnant...

Visit this post for my recommendations about products to use! 

 

Sleeping.

Moms on Call or BabywiseOkay, this is a very personal choice for everyone, but I'm gonna just tell you that sleep-training your baby as quickly as possible is the key to not losing your damn marbles. You can read all about the benefits of sleep training in this post, and (as an added testimonial to how effective these practices are) since I wrote the post, 3 different mama friends of mine have started sleep training their babies to WILD. SUCCESS. 

Rock-n-Play Sleeper. This thing is absolutely crucial if you aren't planning to use a bassinet. Jordan and I chose not to buy a bassinet given that we'd decided to move Mac to his crib during week 3 of his life, so we used this product as a bassinet during Mac's first two weeks at home right next to the bed. It auto-rocks and has white noise built in. Killer. It's also extremely lightweight, reasonably priced, and easy to travel with - anywhere we went during the first 8 weeks of Mac's life, the Rock-n-Play also went. We almost didn't register for this because it seemed like it was too similar to the Mamaroo, but it couldn't be more different; I used this 10x more than I used the Mamaroo. It's easily a Top 5 product for me.

White noise machineAnother must, especially if you're sleep training. We use a DOHM white noise machine in Mac's nursery. Sleep training system will tell you that you don't want a "sound machine" with features like ocean waves, heartbeats, etc.; you want an adult-style white noise machine with one sound: white noise. 

Halo sleepsack swaddlesYou'll know these because they've got Velcro on the "wings" that you wrap around the baby. Swaddling that little baby is a big part of sleep training/comforting newborns, and these are awesome. I've also heard people rave about Woombies. These are crucial in the middle of the night because you don't want to have to deal with a giant piece of fabric to swaddle at 2 AM (although you should also buy swaddle blankets and learn how to swaddle the "old fashioned" way so that you're always prepared in a pinch. Here's a great video that shows you the correct way to swaddle! 

Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit. This thing looks like a giant space suit/snow suit and is so hysterical and SO EFFECTIVE. We put Mac in it when he was around 12 weeks old and never looked back. Babies love the weighted, cozy feeling! Mac will be 8 months old tomorrow and is still wearing his!
*An edit: Magic Merlin Sleep Suits are not technically recommended for babies who are rolling over on their own. Our baby is extremely strong and capable of not only rolling front to back/back to front, but also crawling, while in this suit - so we feel comfortable putting him in it having carefully observed him on the monitor. That being said, I don't (and neither does the company) endorse putting a baby who can roll/crawl in this suit as it might be a hazard to your child's safety.)

Nuk/Wubbanub/whatever pacifierHonestly, we didn't go super trendy with the pacifier thing because...it's a paci. And it's going to get lost and dirty over and over. But people are crazy about Wubbanubs (they're the ones with a stuffed animal attached to the end) and say that they lose them a lot less. To each her own! 

 

Gear.

Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat. This was the most recommended car seat we found, so we got it. Super easy to install and to get out of the car. My only complaint about it is that it is on the heavy side, so when you add the weight of a baby in, it can get extra heavy very quickly. That said, we've loved it and I'd buy it again (and I had a heavy baby!).

Uppababy Vista. Let me level with you: this is an insanely expensive stroller. HOWEVER - it accommodates up to three kids, so it's the only stroller you'll ever need to buy. Several people told us that when they had their first child, they bought a one-child stroller, and wish they'd gone ahead and sprung for one that accommodated at least two children because they eventually had to sell the one-child stroller for much less than they paid, then buy a second stroller. The Vista is extremely durable, gorgeous, and handles like a dream. The stroller base stands up on its own (almost like a kickstand) so you never have to worry about propping it up on anything. Extremely easy to assemble/break down, and comes with both a bassinet and a rumble seat, so it grows with your baby. In fact, I know several people who've used the bassinet of this stroller as the bassinet in their bedrooms - double duty! We asked the women in our families (aunts, sisters, grandmothers, cousins) to put money toward this stroller instead of buying a baby gift, and they generously funded a large portion of it. 

This is not a jogging stroller, so if you're interested in one you can run with, there are lots of great, lightweight ones on the market. The Bob is one that I've heard really good things about from several friends.

MomarooPeople either swear by this product or don't use it much. I was very glad I had this for the times I needed it, but Mac spent more time in the Rock-n-Play or in his crib. If you aren't sleep training right away, the Momaroo is wonderful for little naps and having a place to put the baby so your hands can be free during the day. It was 6 different swing motions, a built-in sound machine, and is Bluetooth enabled so that you can play music through it. My only "con" about the Momaroo is that it is heavy and cumbersome to move to room to room, so I wouldn't buy it if it's going to be your only swing. If you have a Rock-n-Play or another lightweight rocker/swing (like a Baby Bjorn bouncer, for example), you'll be set! 

Graco Pack 'n' PlayI love this product, but I've also heard people swear by the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib (which is more expensive, but much lighter-weight). You need something to take with you when traveling.

Boba wrapsLove these things so much. Easy to use (once you get the hang of it) and easy to roll up and stuff in a suitcase or diaper bag. People also love baby slings.

A 360* carrier. This is another must. At a certain age, many babies stop tolerating facing inward in carriers and want to face out so that they can look around! If you get a carrier, make sure that it's capable of front-facing when the baby is younger, then facing out when it's older. Any brand will do the trick - we have an Infantino.

Diaper bag backpack. This style of diaper bag is great because you're not carrying it in addition to a baby. Find one that stands up on its own (maybe even has feet on the bottom) - great for doctor's appointments when you can't fool with using both hands to go digging through the bag. We have this one and love it. 

Nest Cam. We use this as our baby monitor and I truly don't know why people use anything else. Nest Cam is the same price as other monitors, but doubles as a beautiful, sleek, and aesthetic home security system. It's accessible from ANYWHERE - it never goes out of range because it's connected through your WiFi - so you can access it from dinner or a movie if you go out and leave your baby with a sitter (not that I've done that...hehe!). It has night vision and the a microphone feature so that you can talk through it if necessary. It's so lightweight that we always travel with it and it's a cinch to set up anywhere we go. A Top 5 product for us. I recommend it to everyone. 

 

Feeding.

Clary's All Purpose Balm. This amazing product functions as a nipple butter/balm. It is a LIFE. SAVER. Bring it to the hospital with you and never let it out of your sight. Apply after each feeding. I've used it from the start and have never had any problems with bleeding or cracking (sorry for that horrifying TMI). Safe for baby to ingest because it's made of natural products. 

Medela HydragelsThese are fabulous gel pads that you put on your nipples after feeding - they just stay inside your bra until the next time. Unbelievably soothing and cooling because HELLO, breastfeeding hurts like a bitch at first. 

Washable breast leak padsNo particular brand. Just eco-friendly not to be trashing a bunch of pads over and over. 

My Brest Friend nursing pillowStupid name, amazing product. People will try to tell you that the Boppy nursing pillow is better. Not even CLOSE. I've used both and it's just no contest. I remember the first time I used MBF and what a game-changer it was; Mac had been slipping down between the Boppy pillow and me, and nursing had been terrible. MBF changed my life.

Cheap-ass Target nursing brasSO comfortable, so inexpensive, and you can sleep in them. Because ya sleep in your bra when you're nursing so you don't leak breast milk everywhere in your sleep. Charming.

Hands-free nursing braI bought a cheap one on Amazon and it's been great. Having to hold two pumping nozzles onto your boobs makes you feel like a straight-up clown. 

Electric and hand breast pump. Get a hospital-grade electric (or, better yet, battery operated) pump (most of them are covered at 100% by your insurance company!) and a hand pump. My electric pump malfunctioned early on in the first week we were home and it would have been TRULY DISASTROUS without the hand pump.

Storage bagsFor the moments when you have too much and need to throw some in the freezer! 

Cloth diapersNo, not for diapering - for burping/spit up! Buy these in bulk and use them as burp cloths. So absorbent and can take a beating. 

Doctor Brown's Slow Flow BottlesWhen you start your baby on a bottle, you'll want the style to be "slow flow." This prevents your baby from getting spoiled by how quickly they're able to suck down a bottle, then getting frustrated when they have to wait a little longer for milk while breastfeeding. They also are a lot less likely to swallow air if the bottle is slow flow, and preventing gas bubbles will be crucial to your sanity. 

Boon grassThis is that adorable little bottle drying station you can sit right on your countertop. It's aesthetic enough that you don't feel like you're junking up your kitchen, but when you have multiple bottles at play, it's a life saver. 

Inglesina Fast Table High Chair. This thing attaches to virtually any tabletop or countertop, is easy to travel with, and pretty easy to clean. Make sure you get the tray, too!

Doctor Brown's Bottle WarmerYou don't think you need this, but the first time you actually need it, you'll be so glad you have it. 

Clothes, diapering, and bathtime: 

Onesies with long sleeves/mittens on the ends: Mac's favorite newborn nursing activity was to slice his entire face to ribbons with his razor-sharp fingernails. Mittens are essential to my child not looking like he is mauled at home. 

Old Navy newborn baby socks: Weirdly specific, but they make socks that are actually elastic and stay on Mac's feet. The standard white baby sock has no elastic in it and just falls off. Why they even make these I have no idea. 

Ubbi diaper pail. Great. We love ours. 

Boudreaux's Butt PasteDiaper rash cream that is excellent. 

Weighted wipe dispenserYou don't know it yet, but there will soon come a day when you need one hand to hold your poop-covered baby and only have one other hand with which to get a wipe and a diaper out of the changing table. Because of this impending reality, you'll want your changing table to be set up so that it's easy for you to do things one-handed. A weighted wipe dispenser keeps you from having to wrestle just one wipe out of the plastic dispenser (they have a tendency to get caught on each other like Kleenex, and before you know it, you've pulled 8 wipes out of the bag. Disaster.). 

For circumcised boys: Vaseline. They'll explain why in the hospital, but go ahead and buy some in advance. 

Boon Naked Collapsible Tub. This collapses into an angled setting for newborns and into a flat setting for babies ready to sit up. It also folds completely down making it incredibly easy to store when company is coming over. You can buy an insert to go in it so the baby doesn't slip down the sides. 

Keter Bath SeatAnother option for babies who can sit up and hold their heads up that you can just put straight down in an adult-sized tub. 

 

Toys and Accessories:

Before baby is sitting up: 

Boppy newborn loungerDifferent from the nursing pillow; this looks like a big doughnut with a place in the middle for the baby to sit. We used to put tiny baby Mac in it right on the dining room table while we were eating dinner. Easier than the swings (like the Rock 'n Play/Momaroo) because it's so easy to move from place to place! 

Dock-a-TotWe were late to this party because I felt like this was a little extravagant for a baby pillow. I don't think it's a must, but it's certainly nice to have. We used it the most when we were traveling - we checked it at the airport and picked it up at our destination. It helped Mac acclimate more quickly to new surroundings because he felt nice and hemmed in while he was napping/sleeping at night. At home, we mostly used the Boppy pillow or the Rock 'n Play when he was a tiny baby. 

Floor seatI don't personally have this, but I wish I had gotten one! This is a great transitional place for your baby to sit before they can sit up on their own, but after they can hold their head up. Anywhere you can safely contain that baby is a win.

Beach tent. This is amazing if you're a beach family! Also grab a battery powered fan to take with you on the beach. Makes for great naps! 

After baby is sitting up: 

Graco Doorway Jumper. Mac loves this so much and I use it in the doorway of our bathroom when I'm getting ready every morning. The only catch is that you do actually need a doorframe to use it, so if you have a more modern house without door frame molding, it won't work.

Baby Einstein Walker. Y'all, my child loves this so much it hurts. He cruises and coasts around our entire house in it. It's also great because it teaches your child the mechanics of walking without the risk of them falling on their heads! SO great. A Top 5 product for us. 

Below are some great toys, just listed randomly with no explanation other than they're fun, educational, or just plain cute! 

Skip Hop Activity Gym/Playmat
Jellycat Garden Tails Cloth Book
Baby Xylophone
Taggies
Teething Necklaces

Baby Paper
Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder

Hopefully this has been helpful! I spent a lot of time thinking about what we used most often, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that someone out there can use this to make the process of registering a little easier. And by the way - a products NO ONE needs? A formula Keurig. Just say no. 

 

Life Lately

Mac has woken up again from his 2:30 nap (and, as such, has also woken me up from a rare nap time of my own), so I’m sitting in his nursery writing. Maybe this was a gift. 

This post is inspired by the husband of a friend of mine. Charlie Peters is chronicling the life of a stay-at-home-dad, and reading the loveliness he’s been writing has made me itch to sit down and write my own account.  

We’ve hit a new phase of sleep training this week: the cry it out phase. Mac is officially old enough, according to the nurses who wrote our sleep training books, Moms On Call, to sleep through the night without a middle-of-the-night feeding. He’s getting all the calories he needs during his waking hours, just like we do. He can also see as far and as clearly as we can, which has blown my mind. I’ve been testing this theory by making faces at him from a distance, across a room. It holds up. He thinks I’m just as funny from 7 feet away as he does from 7 inches away. 

This new crying it out thing has meant we’ve had to listen to Mac crying and not do anything about it. Hard for me, but harder for Jordan, who is the most sweet-hearted and wants to rush to Mac’s aid at any opportunity. I love that about him. But it also means that he has had to be in a separate room from me during the crying, because his sweetness would’ve made me cave. I’m so glad we didn’t. Mac slept through the night - from 7:30 PM to 7 AM - last night without incident, tantrum, not even a squeak. I am so proud of him, and this means I get to finally move back into my bedroom.

I’ve been sleeping in the guest bedroom since he moved to his crib. Initially, it was because I couldn’t climb up and down the stairs in the middle of the night with the incision, but now it’s been out of sheer laziness. Walking across the hall is much better than traversing the stairs at 4:30 AM, and Jordan is a champ who falls asleep with me, then goes downstairs when I get up to feed Mac. 

Now, though, that’ll be different. I think it’ll be weird to actually sleep in my bed again. I wonder if it will make me feel a little lonely to leave my pal upstairs alone! But he’s not alone. Not really.  

I wonder if he’ll totally blow the whole “sleeping through the night” thing to bits tonight and just explode with fury, just to show he’s still in charge.  

Before I got pregnant, I worried that I would get the post-partum blues because I’d be in the house with Mac all the time. I’ve been delighted to discover that I adore this phase of life, so much so that when we do go out, I find myself overly protective of him and eager to get back home. I’m also finding myself increasingly judgmental of other parents. I saw a young mother actually slap the arm of her 4-year-old daughter in Target yesterday when the little girl reached for something. With Mac sleeping in the buggie I was pushing, I stood at the end of an aisle and craned my neck, hoping she’d see me so I could give her a disapproving look. (I could hear Jordan in my head saying, “Girl, don’t you get yourself into trouble by starting something you can’t finish!”) She never looked up, which is probably good, because she ended up in the checkout line directly behind me. It looked like she’d been crying. I guess we’re all doing our best. 

Getting showered and dressed is a new series of self-care tasks - making sure my breasts are cared for so I can continue to feed my soon, putting ointment on my incision and massaging it so that I don’t get toughened scar tissue hanging over the top of it like a bad beer belly. The massage hurts a little still, but I reward myself with the prenatals I’m still taking. Gummies, obviously. Because I am 8. 

Mac is obsessed with music and percussive sounds. The “motorboat” sound, the bass in a pop song, drums - he is totally soothed by all of that. The night of his 2-month shots, he threw a MAJOR fit and was only consoled by the song Makeba by the artist Jain. It was in a Nike commercial and a friend of mine sent it to me. What would we do without Makeba?! We find a reason to play it nearly every day. That particulars night, we played it 70 times in a row. Conservatively. I can still picture Jordan, shirtless  from having jumped out of the shower upon Mac’s screaming a story away, hair wet and towel slung around his waist, maniacally dancing for Mac in our guest bathroom where we tried to bathe him to soothe him. He said his dad danced for him when he was a baby, and that that’s how his dad threw his back out for the first time. Laughing with him in the midst of Mac screaming has made for some of the sweetest memories. Especially when, as he was rocking Mac in a small moment of relief, his towel dropped. And he couldn’t stop to adjust it. Best. 

I keep wondering when the Mamaroo is going to just heave a sigh and give up. I can’t imagine it’s easy swinging a 15-pound 3.5 month old for 45 minutes in a row. (I actually don’t have to imagine, I know.) I think it might actually start swearing at me before long. 

Mac has started to really enjoy being rocked while vertical instead of in the “normal” baby hold with his head in the crook of one arm and his feet in the other. I find this particularly delicious because I get to hear his nighttime sounds - the little coos and tired whines that are just his way of winding down. It makes me wonder what we as adults would do if it hadn’t been beaten out of us by propriety. What sounds would we make and reactions would we have? Would we blow spit bubbles at people we like? Okay maybe that’s too far. That’d probably be a reason to suspect brain damage. But you get my point. The sweet sounds and the unhappy sounds - they really are so natural. He reminds me of everything pure, as he’s the purest form of person. His face rests against my cheek so that when I put him down in the crib, carefully, slowly, he has a red circle on near his eye from the warmth of our connection. I can’t imagine him ever being older and bigger than this. 

He doesn’t care about toys. At all. He cares about talking, music, eye contact, and human touch. He likes being read to, dancing, splashing in his bath. I’m afraid he’s his mother’s son. 

He and Tom Hanks are starting to discover each other and it’s fantastic.  

I’m sitting in the rocker now typing all this, looking at the bottle on the bookshelf that needs washing, thinking about how I need to go chop off another 2 oz of breast milk from a 6 oz storage bag. Mac likes what Jordan calls a “topper” each night - both boobs and 2 more ounces. Works like a charm. Sleeps like a...well, baby. Although he hasn’t napped well today. But he does, for the most part, keep himself on a schedule. Why anyone doesn’t sleep train their kid I’ll never understand. I am so comforted by the schedule. But here’s where I’ll remind myself of the Target lesson. 

Today marks 15 weeks of knowing and loving this little person. Unlike many, I can remember life without him. It’s like an old song I still know all the words to.  But I sure like singing this new one.