Preparing for the birth of your baby brings about SO many emotions. You switch from fear to excitement multiple times a day, changing within seconds.
Forums become your best friend and your worst enemy. You go from relief of finding others going through what you are (or anticipating a health condition that could happen) to absolute terror that you are dying because your legs are a little itchy.
When it comes to finding the best baby products and brands that genuinely care about what they are creating for the most precious thing that could ever come into your life, it can be hard to know where to go.
Sure, there are plenty of newborn baby shopping lists, all the stores have their newborn baby needs checklists, and there are so many baby MUST HAVE’S for new moms.
But how do you know which ones are just big brands reaching deep into their pockets to pay these big health publications to feature their products?
How do you know if someone ACTUALLY uses these products, let alone recommends them?
Well, if you know me by now, you know I will tell it to you straight, and I don’t give recommendations lightly. So here is my honest list of my top baby products for new moms. Obviously I have a lot more products than this, but these are the ones I am really finding the most helpful with Bailey.
This selection might be what I consider the best new baby products for 2018, BUT I have a feeling these brands are here to stay, as they are just making such wonderful things. One caveat though, some products we use often are homemade gifts, so you obviously won’t be able to get the exact same things, BUT should give you some ideas 🙂
Now that Bailey is a month old, I thought I would share my favorites. These are the basic things to buy for a newborn baby from my experience:
I cannot even begin to tell you just how much I love our DockATot.
Funny name I know, and if you are English, it will be called a Sleepyhead in the UK (don’t ask me why the name is different), but this thing is AMAZING. Simply amazing.
Bailey sleeps in it at night, she has one nap in it each day (mostly because I can only really bear to put her down for one nap a day, I like the snuggles too much). She seems comfortable in it, I feel safe with her in it (thanks to the breathable sides), and it is so easy to transport around the house. Oh, and it has cute covers too!
If you do some research into DockATot, you will find some scary articles online about how you shouldn’t leave your baby to sleep in it at night. We swaddle Bailey in the Miracle Blanket inside it, so I feel pretty comfortable about her being in it, and the DockATot originated in Europe where it IS safe to leave your baby in it overnight. Not sure why the rules are different here in the US, but if you go to their website, you will see THOUSANDS of incredible reviews from people saying they do leave their babies in there for…well, some of them even 10-12 hours a night!!! Steve and I only leave Bailey in for up to 4 hours at a time before we pull her out, feed and change her, but I feel very comfortable with her being in there.
I have the Minty Trellis (and baby pink, no longer available).
Yeah, this one is a bit of a given, but I said I would give you my most helpful items, and this has been one of them…well 6 of them. We had burp cloths handmade from a friend, and they are so helpful for us, but I would recommend finding big ones that can handle lots of washes, but are also easy to put on you while burping them for lots of spit up opportunities.
I can’t promise your baby will love burping (mine certainly does not enjoy, as you can see above), but it keeps your clothes cleaner for a little longer 😉
Dr Browns Feeding Products
I had heard so many great things about Dr Browns products before I was even pregnant, and I knew that once I was, there was no doubt that Dr Browns would be my bottle of choice. Now I am there, I have to say, they do not disappoint! Thankfully, I have not had to use them too much as I am breastfeeding, but when I put the expressed milk into them, Bailey is happy to drink out of the bottle when Steve gives it to her. I use the Natural Flow Options Bottle (in pink for my little girl!), and love it. We try to have her drink out of it every few days to keep her used to it.
We use both the full microwaveable sterilizer and the bags, depending on how many things we have to sterilize. Most of the time we just use the Steam Sterilizing reusable bags, as we are only sterilizing a few things (and they are great for travel), but the tub is great for when you have bottles and other things to keep your baby safe.
The bottle warmer is small enough to squeeze into a tight corner on a busy countertop (cause we all know we have waayyy too many appliances already!), and it works well.
As for the breastmilk freezer bags, these things are so handy, and I have stored up milk in the freezer for times when I am going to leave Bailey for longer than an hour.
As you can tell, we love Dr Browns. I didn’t even list all of the products we have, but these are my favorites.
Medela Nipple Shield
I wish I didn’t have to have this on the list, but I must say this has come in so handy. If you are having problems breastfeeding, first you need to speak with a lactate consultant (and I have), but sometimes when you are a little sore, your baby is agitated and you just want to get it done (which realistically, happens a lot!!), these things help so much. They protect you, and also make it a lot easier for the baby to latch on.
I have two of these, one has the cutout, and the other does not, but I definitely prefer this one. Note, there are different sizes for these, so you may have to find one that works best for you. I have a 24mm one and it is far too big!
I intend to stop using these in the next week, but they have been lifesavers till now.
Chico Trio Bravo Car Seat and Stroller
When I was in the store looking at strollers, a new mum came up to us as we looked at this stroller and told us how it was her favorite purchase, and it was the BEST stroller. We saw the reviews were very good, and it wasn’t that expensive, so we went for it. We tested it out when my niece, Charlotte visited, and confirmed what the woman had said, this really was a great set!
Charlotte may have christened it (yes, literally pooping on it), but we have been very happy with it for Bailey, and it is one I would recommend for you too.
The nurses in the hospital made it pretty clear that swaddling was the best way to make sure our little love would sleep well and stay calm. They are like ninjas with the speed and grace they can swaddle. No matter how hard we tried, our swaddling attempts didn’t look anything like theirs, and Bailey would quickly wriggle out of it and get angry. Completely the opposite to what we wanted!!
I knew there were products that helped with swaddling, so of course took to reviews and others recommendations to see which one was best. Stumbled upon this one, and the comment “It is called the miracle blanket for a reason”. Thought that was a good enough reason to give it a try, so bought this cute one with owls on.
Now, Bailey sleeps in this every single night. She doesn’t like the few seconds we are putting her in it, in fact, we have a very short window to where we can get her pinned down before she starts to scream, BUT once she is in, she calms down immediately, and will sleep for 3-4 hours at a time in this inside her dock-a-tot, and not even really waking up, just making hunger cues and making noises, so we know it is time to set her free.
I absolutely love the Miracle Blanket, and I can’t imagine us being able to put her down at night without it. Definitely worth it!
Ewan the Dream Sheep
This was a gift from one of my best friends, and I had heard good things about it before. It makes 4 sounds for 20 minutes each time you push one of the legs. Bailey likes the heartbeat with the rain sound, and we find it comforts her before bed during the night as well as any time during the night that she stirs.
This does have a light if you want a nightlight as well, but we have other night lights that we like to use instead. Ewan the Dream Sheep and his sounds though, much appreciated. Mine is purple though, not grey 🙂
Boon Drying Grass
I don’t know where I heard about this grass, but I was so excited when I got it at my baby shower as I knew it would be handy. Now we have Bailey, it is great to have a drying rack of her own for her sterilized products and it dries really well. This is something so simple, and yes it is not a MUST, but it is one of my favorite products.
Baby Tracker App
Feeding a baby is intense to say the least. You have to be on call for your baby pretty much 24/7, and then when you throw dirty diapers into the mix, it can be hard to stay on top of it…especially when you are sleep deprived! I love this baby tracker app, and it makes it really easy to track, and easy to try to figure out when your baby is likely to want to feed next. Of course it is never going to be guaranteed, but we have found the Baby Tracker App really helpful and simple to use.
Sound Sleeper App
Babies get upset sometimes. I would like you to find me any baby who doesn’t. Bailey definitely has quite a few screaming fits, sometimes for hours on end and with no apparent reason after we try everything it could be. But babies cry, we know that, and as much as it is like a dagger to our hearts when it happens, we have to learn to accept that it is inevitable. When Bailey does get really upset, the “womb” sound on the Sound Sleeper app works wonders for calming her down. I play it for her anytime we are in the car, as it is not her favorite place to be, and I play it when she is upset. It does not work every time, but a lot of the time, which is very reassuring.
We also love many of the other sounds, and the lullabies are also really relaxing…enough to send any sleep deprived mama to sleep too! This app is free, although we have paid for the full version to have it on continuous play as opposed to the timed play you get with the free version.
We also love the Cradle app, the Chill combined with Heartbeat is what Bailey listens to as she sleeps at night.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a pacifier (or dummy as we call them in England) baby. In fact, I think I was against it before, but when you have a baby who is crying more than usual, and your lactate consultant tells you it will help soothe the baby, you are willing to try almost anything. Bailey was NOT a fan of any pacifiers at first, in fact she still makes a face when we first put it in her mouth for 2-3 seconds, before she remembers she likes it, and then wont let go of it!
Now Bailey is used to it, she loves it, and it does calm her down very quickly. My good friend, Erin gave me a list of her favorite baby products before I had Bailey, and this was on there. Erin had been right on with so many products that we gave it a try, and this is definitely the one Bailey has taken to over all the others.
We have the glow in the dark ones, which are nice and easy to find at night! Often babies spit their dummies out without noticing, then cry when they realize it is gone, these save a lot of fumbling around in the dark!
Skip Hop Activity Gym
We are only just starting to introduce this, but Bailey is really enjoying trying to hit the animals with her hands, which is fun to see. Yesterday, I even saw her giggling when she was on this mat, I think her first real giggle, and it was so cute!!
Steve chose this activity gym, but I also love it, and it goes with the theme of her room, which is animal and jungle themed. We also really like Skip Hop products, so this has been great. I also love my Diaper Bag from Skip Hop!
Looking forward to many more cooing hours on this mat!
Another one with no specific brand, although if you want to know ours, we have one from Etoile.
Bailey absolutely loves being wrapped in a soft blanket most of the day. We also give her tummy time on the blanket, and we can tell she enjoys the softness on her face.
A soft blanket is a must for newborns…well this newborn anyway!
We have many more products to really test out properly, and I will update with another report of our favorites next month, but for now, this is what we are using the most 🙂
New mama’s (or mama’s to be), if you haven’t already checked out my pregnancy and postpartum podcast series, this will help you feel SO MUCH better about your pregnancy and recovery.