There are always new gadgets coming out to make life easier or better when having a newborn, but there’s also just flat out a lot of stuff! I can’t say I’ve tried everything out there, but I listened intently to other moms and did my best to read between the lines on reviews. Ultimately, I decided to stick with what worked. As someone who doesn’t have the space or mental bandwidth for all the endless baby gear, I have collected a few tried-and-true newborn essentials that aren’t on the standard baby list of must-haves, and these certainly made my life easier or better during that rollercoaster of a first year.
1. The Perfect Bottle
Such a simple necessity never had so many options! There are a lot of mechanisms for feeding babies these days, but after careful research, and several trials, these two were by far my favorites:
- For breastfeeding moms – Kiinde is a must for efficiency. Pump directly into the bag and it becomes the bottle. So simple, so perfect.
- Como Tomo bottles. They were a lifesaver for those random (non-Kiinde) bags of pumped milk and especially useful for the switch to whole milk. (In full disclosure, I never formula-fed, but I imagine these would still work great.) I love the softness of the bottle because my babies could grip them and the wide tops make them easy to clean.
2. Wearable Wraps
These were magic. Wrapping my daughter tight to me was the only way to console her for many months, although it felt like years! She was anti-swing, anti-bouncer… anti-anyone but me. I strapped her in a Solly close to me and got a semblance of my life back (like a clean kitchen!). When my son came along, he hated the tight wraps until I came across the K’tan. Even though he didn’t like snuggling up to sleep facing me, the K’tan can be worn many ways and helped tremendously to support his weight on my hip or when he was forward-facing. The ready-made loops make it easy to put on and gives my arms and wrists the break they need!
3. Sound Machines
Initially, I thought they were a little over the top. A little too “extra.” A new trend that many generations before us didn’t have the luxury of, so why would we need them? Well, like all the moms who swore by them, I’ve changed my mind. I suggest not just opting for the battery-operated ones (like I did for so long) but buy the plugin next level reliable sound machine. Better yet, look for the BOGO if you plan on having more kids. I learned you can’t put a price on sleep, and I have tried every trick in the book. This is from a Mom that put aluminum foil and foam insulation board over the windows to get my child to nap.
4. Scalp Brush
I didn’t even know this was a thing until it was almost too late! Fortunately, I learned it was certainly not too late, and it’s cheap and easy. Babies have weird skin issues, period. Both of my babies had some sort of version of cradle cap. You know, thick yellow dragon scales that formed on their scalp. And this inexpensive scalp brush we used just a couple times during the bath did the trick.
5. Electric Nail File
Again, not a luxury “back in the day,” but so glad it’s available now. No one told me about this with my first, so I would sneak up on my baby when she fell asleep in the car to clip her nails. This electric nail file cuts the time in half, and I no longer hurt my back doing Cirque du Soleil maneuvers around a sleeping baby in a car seat.
6. The Perfect Diaper Bag.
There are so many fantastic options out there, but I have to give this bag credit. Not only because it’s sporty, so dads love it, but it also has an insulated pouch on the side to keep milk or snacks cool on the go. Also, it has buckles to attach to any stroller. I have to admit; it became the go-to bag over my super cute and fashionable diaper bag.
*Bonus Item for Managing Multiples
The carrier cart: snugrider. We have the Graco, and it is so lightweight and easy to pull out of your car and can be steered with ease with one hand. Dropping kids off at school has never been easier!