In the years between Henry and Sam, we got rid of a lot of stuff. Most stuff. But we also kept some of our favorite, tried-and-true items that we really loved through and through in case we were ever lucky enough to need them again. With the arrival of Sam, it’s been so great to be able to (finally) drag these things out of the garage and put them back into use. We have also discovered some new-to-us items that have made the entry back into Babyhood a little smoother after 5+ years away. Today, I am rounding up my very favorite products as a second-time Mom. If you’re expecting a baby or buying for someone who is, hopefully this will help you cut through the endless options and find some true essentials that are worth every penny!
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Out and About
- Bob Revolution Stroller – Whenever anybody asks me about a BOB stroller, my first answer is always: “worth every.single.penny.” Yes, they are expensive, but they are honestly the best, sturdiest and longest lasting stroller you’ll ever need or buy! We are still using the BOB Revolution we got before Henry was born. I trained for 3 half marathons and 1 full marathon with our BOB, and it still works as good as new. Sure it’s showing its wear in the form of mud and dirt, has some slight fading, and has needed new tire tubes every now and then. But this hard working stroller has been truly put through the test and is still going strong. Both for Henry and Sam, we used the infant carseat adapter until they were old/strong enough to ride in the stroller without it. This combination has allowed the BOB to be the only stroller we’ve ever bought or needed!
- Ergo – I wore Henry until he was almost three years old, and I wore Sam from the minute we brought him home…all in an Ergo. In fact, we kept the one we had from Henry and are still using it now (although I linked the one that now offers three carry positions). I get stopped ALL the time when I am out and about, by expecting Moms and Grandmas asking me how much I like it and use it. I always tell them they are worth every penny and more. In fact, just like the BOB, it is something that can transition from newborn all the way to toddler; is super well made and will last; and will get used a ton (I use mine every single day). I do all of my grocery shopping/errands with Sam in the Ergo, as well as walk to pick Henry up from school, attend Mass, and do all our playground dates the same way!
- Medela Pump In Style Breast Pump with On the Go Tote – With Henry, I was planning on being a stay-at-home-Mom and couldn’t fathom why on earth I’d need a breast pump, especially a fancy, electric one. Over the course of his first year, I think I ended up renting a hospital-grade pump at least 5 times for a variety of reasons (e.g., travel, surgery, etc). I clearly remember thinking: “With as much as I’ve rented this pump, I should have just bought my own from the beginning.” This time around, even though I am a stay-at-home-Mom again, I knew a pump was necessary and got one right away. I was able to use it during our “mini weight crisis” with Sam; and when he started sleeping longer through the night, it helped when I just need some relief! Thankfully, many insurance companies now cover the full cost of breast pumps, so getting one is pretty easy. I love that this one is built into a bag. Even though I am not lugging it to and from work, it’s been great for moving it about the house wherever I need it, and I can zip all the parts and extra bottles away when not in use!
- Nipple Care – I was pretty sore and damaged with both Henry and Sam. With Henry, I felt like I could never really get it under control in the early days and had to rely on a nipple shield in order to heal. This time around I relied on a VERY steady regimen of Lansinoh Lanolin ointment (after every single nursing session) combined with the Lansinoh Gel Pads (between every single nursing session, and changed them out every 48 hours). In about 5 days, I turned the corner and was able to nurse pain free. Yes, the pads can be expensive, but I found this brand much better than others. We bought them in bulk on Amazon to keep the price somewhat manageable.
- Burp Cloths – I shared these in My Favorite Sewing Tutorials for Baby roundup, but they are worth mentioning here again. I LOVE our terry+flannel burp cloths! They absorb spit up and drool so, so well; and the 9×17″ size make them so easy to use, toss in the diaper bag, and fold! You can never really have enough – I made 12 and probably could have used a few more!
- Boppy – With Henry, I bought the “My Breast Friend” pillow because it was #1 rated by Lactation Consultants. I always found the thing a bit rigid and felt like I was wearing an inner tube. I honestly couldn’t ditch that thing fast enough once Henry was fully weened. This time around, I wanted to give the Boppy a try (knowing I could always go back to the other nursing pillow if I didn’t like it). Although I did have to use extra pillows under the Boppy when Sam was brand new, I found the comfort, flexibility, and easy of the Boppy so much better. We also used it as a lying support for Sam when he is on the floor or couch to help with his acid-reflux a bit. Now 5 months in, I much prefer this nursing pillow and don’t mind lugging it around the house in order to feed Sam!
Baby Hygiene & Care
- NoseFrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator – I remember seeing this product on Oprah or The Today Show or something and thinking it was kind of gross but also intrigueing. We could NEVER get the squeeze-bulb snot sucker (I’m sure it has a real name) to work effectively with Henry, so I snagged this one while stocking up for Sam. We LOVE this thing. Well, I’m not sure Sam does…but it sure does an awesome job of getting sticky snot and stubborn bugars out of those tiny nostrils.
- PRIMO EuroBath – We bought this bathtub for Henry and we loved it so much that we intentionally kept it all these years (even though it’s a bit of a monster in size). We’ve even eagerly loan it out to friends with new babies because it is such a great way to safely bath a wide age range of little ones. On one side of the tub, the baby can lay down; and the contours of the tub hold baby perfectly in place…even when they are itty bitty. We started using this tub as soon as we could do submersion baths with Sam. Once baby can sit up, you place baby facing the other direction for safe playing and bathing before baby is ready for a big tub. You can place the bathtub into a larger tub; although we’ve just been placing it on our master bathroom floor since we have a huge soaker tub that is hard to reach into. Sam’s favorite time of day is his bath, and this tub lets us all help and participate while keeping him safe and comfortable.
- Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets – I’m pretty sure these are common “must haves” for most moms these days, but we used them a ton in the early days and even still, so I wanted to include them. We had 10 of these blankets from when Henry was a baby, and then were gifted 5 more. The are SO soft and have great patterns; and their jumbo size makes them really great for getting a full and tight swaddle. They also make for great stroller blankets, tummy time blankets, and carseat and nursing covers (which is more how we use them now). You can now find these in an array of super fun patterns at stores like Target, HomeGoods/Marshalls/TJMaxx, as well as online.
- SwaddleMe Original Swaddle – Sam liked to have his hands by his face; and at about 6 weeks, he started consistently wrestling his way out of the A&A swaddles at night. I recall Henry doing the same thing, and that’s when we transitioned to these SwaddleMe wraps. We LOOOOVE these Velcro swaddle wraps. Not only are the babies safe in them, but you can get a super tight swaddle that keeps babies calm and happy night after night. Since we had to stop swaddling Sam about 8 weeks ago (once he started rolling over at night), he’s now not sleeping as great as he was. There’s no way to know for sure (since he also cut his two bottom teeth around the same time), but I’m pretty sure these swaddle wraps were what helped Sam start sleeping through the night around 8 weeks old.
- Aden & Anais Bandana Bibs – I swear Sam was drooling the second he came out of the womb. I didn’t have any recollection of Henry drooling so much so early, but now we know why! He has his two bottom teeth before 5 months old! These cute bandana bibs didn’t exist with Henry, but boy are they a fun (and super absorbent) way to catch all that “slobber” (as Henry calls it).
Around the House
- Graco Pack N’ Play Playard Jetsetter – I never liked the pac’n’play we got for Henry so this was one baby product I was anxious to swap out once Sam arrived. This time around, I opted for a mini version that has a small footprint and packs up even smaller (great for travel!). Sam slept in his crib at night as soon as we brought him home, but this served as our “downstairs” crib and changing station for the first few months. I see a lot of these cute little cushion-like bassinets now, but we wanted something that would serve several purposes (i.e., a place to sleep, a changing station, and travel-friendly) to reduce the amount of things downstairs. This item has a wipeable pad that flips over the side and holds diaper-changing supplies, and was compact enough to move around the downstairs as we needed it (family room, my office, etc). Sam is now taking all his naps in his bedroom crib, so it’s been packed away until our first trip.
- Nursery – This one obviously isn’t a “product” that I’ve been loving, but I had to include Sam’s completed nursery on the list of things that made having a newborn so much easier. With Henry, we were due to move 3 months after he was born, so I never really setup a nursery; he just slept in a pac’n’play in our room in our small apartment. I can distinctly remember how hard those first few months were, having to swoop up Henry before he woke up Greg (who had a grueling work schedule at the time), feed him out in the family room, change his diaper on the floor, and then rock/bounce him back to sleep (for hours!) out in the family room before I could get him (and me) back into our bedroom. It was a hassle and disrupting and exhausting. As you all know, I hustled to get Sam’s nursery done before his arrival. At the time, I thought it was kind of silly, assuming he would sleep in our room just like Henry did. But when we brought him home, it felt ridiculous to do the whole ‘swoop Sam out of our room before he can wake up Greg’ routine just to nurse and change him in his room to bring him back to ours. We decided I would sleep in Sam’s room for the first few weeks to make the whole nighttime routine much easier; and then slowly transitioned back to my bed once he wasn’t waking up as much. All this to say – I’ve spent a TON of time in Sam’s room since we brought him home. Even now that he’s sleeping mostly through the night, I often go up to his room to feed and change him because 1) everything is there, and 2) it’s honestly my favorite room in the whole house. Having Sam’s room fully done, setup and beautiful before he arrived was worth every bit of effort so that we could truly enjoy it in those early weeks!
- Touch On/Off Lamp – Okay, so this was a fluke purchase at Target that turned out to be AWESOME! I somewhat hastily bought this lamp (in Navy) for Sam’s nursery because it was the right size and color and completed off his nursery from a style perspective. I did figure it would be nice to have a small lamp for middle-of-the-night feedings, but I didn’t know that this lamp was a touch lamp! Cue the singing angels! Instead of having to stumble around a dark room for the lamp switch, I can literally touch ANYWHERE on the base of the lamp and it turns on. I can’t over express how handy this feature in the middle of the night. It is SO incredibly convenient, and I’m now convinced every nursery needs a touch-activated lamp.
- Newborn Photos – This is another one that isn’t quite a product but I still wanted to mention it. I never did newborn photos with Henry (they weren’t as huge of a thing as they are now). This time, I found a great photographer who did both Maternity and Newborn photos for a really great “bundle” price. Not only was the newborn photo session super fun to watch (she came to our home so it was really convenient), but the photos we now have of him are some of my most cherished memories. Babies change SO fast in the early weeks. Combine that with the pace of life and the new-mom (or mom-again) exhaustion, and it can be hard to remember and picture how tiny they once were. Sure I can snap photos of my baby (and I do!), but these photographers know how to capture them in the very best way. If you have the means to do so, I highly recommend doing a newborn photo session.
- Baby Nursing App – Greg and I had to giggle when the hospital staff gave us a paper nursing log and pencil to record nursing sessions in the early days/weeks. I get that not everyone has a smart phone, so they have to do that; but boy has technology made tracking feedings, diaper changes, and more so much easier. Once we were home, I found and installed this app and used it diligently for the first few weeks. It was so easy to use and I loved the way it presented all the information. My only lesson learned here is that I wish we had downloaded it before we went to the hospital. Thanks to exhaustion and overwhelm, we were actually struggling to record the feedings and diaper changes in the hospital (every time they came in and asked us when Sam last ate or was changed, we were never entirely sure, lol!) I did ditch the app once we found our feeding/changing groove (about 3 weeks in), but I still use it to log his weight/height measurements at each checkup! (Tip! It’s worth paying the $6 or whatever it is to get the advanced features and ad-free interface!)
There are a lot of things you can buy for baby. But now having gone through the newborn phase twice, I have a better sense for the items you truly need. Although the list isn’t short, I’ve found that these items/services either stood the test of time for two children or remedied a shortfall we had with Henry the first time around. I am sure as Sam grows older, we will be able to add even more items to this list; but for now, I hope you find this roundup helpful if you or someone in your family is getting ready to welcome a little one!
So tell me – what are your “must haves” for baby? I’m always on the lookout for great new products that might make our life easier!
I hope you all have a great weekend! Back here next week, I’m launching my next printable kit, and I think you guys are going to LOVE it. If you’ve been asking me for printable chore charts (or are already going crazy with the start of summer!), you will not want to miss these kits! (Pssst – I’ve been sharing sneak peaks on Instagram over the last week if you want a preview!) See you Tuesday!Posted In Babies & Kids, Life