Growing a tiny human is hard enough, but add in Graco vs Britax, Rock ‘n’ Play vs Mamaroo, and Wubbanub vs Natursutten… and you’re headed straight for a Mommy-meltdown. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert (or anything close) on all things baby, but I do have a running list of products that have kept me sane on my own motherhood journey. And while I will say these particular products have proven to be my household favorites, don’t get bogged down in the sheer number of products and brands out there. In the end, your precious babe will be just fine without an all organic, gluten free, 100% egyptian cotton crib mattress. I promise. So relax, Mama, and check out my must haves!
- Fisher-Price Auto Rock ‘n’ Play
- The key here is AUTO rock. The standard Rock ‘n’ Play will bounce manually, but trust me, you’re going to want it to rock your little tot to dreamland while you catch up on other things… like sleep.
- A white noise and/or vibration function are added bonuses that I feel are absolutely necessary. In the first months, I was desperate for good naps between feedings, so this thing was an absolute MUST.
- There are more expensive options in this category, such as the Mamaroo, and moms have been dating the differences for years. In my mind, it all boils down to this: Your child will have a preference. Every child does. But while your tot may not love figure 8 movement or bouncing, they are highly likely to love simply rocking. And if it helps my wallet as well, then I’m all in.
- Before you say it, I know these are pricey. And believe me, I was skeptical at first. Could I not just put him on the couch with a circle of pillows around him? (Don’t try this). We got the DockATot from my in-laws, and it quickly became one of the most important things in our house. Although we let Gatlin sleep in his crib at night from the day we brought him home, getting him back to sleep after early morning feeds proved difficult. Putting the DockATot in our bed made Gatlin feel cozy and snuggled, while still protected from sliding around our bed, providing us all with much needed shut eye.
- The DockATot has a handle, is lightweight, and is super easy to travel with. Whether at grandma’s or just in the living room, Gatlin always had a place to relax and snooze in.
- ** I am aware the manufacturer’s instructions advise against putting the DockATot in a bed or crib, but it worked for us and gave me peace of mind with positioning. So, keep in mind these statements are just my opinions and own personal experiences.
3. Graco Pack ‘n’ Play w/ changing table and bassinet
- When designing your little one’s room, you never imagine how little time you will actually spend in there. And if you have a multi-level home, with baby’s room on the upper level, this time is even more brief. The Pack ‘n’ Play provides a “crib-away-from-crib,” so to speak. A place to sleep (the bassinet for newborns), play, have tummy time…and you will thank me later if you get one with a changing table attached.
- Why a changing table? The floor isn’t a viable option, especially right after childbirth, as you will still be healing and moving slowly. In addition, you need an easily cleaned surface with the numerous blow outs you will surely live through. Trust me on this one: Newborn poo is explosive and plentiful… don’t risk changing diapers on your furniture or carpets. You’re not fast enough.
- We went with the Graco, as it has storage on the side for diapers and wipes, and even a removable noise machine attached to the side. There are many other expensive options out there, but Graco gave us the most bang for our buck, which is MUCH appreciated.
4. Ergobaby 360
- Baby wraps are hard. There, I said it. I don’t know about you, but I do not have time to stand in various parking lots wrapping and crossing and knotting a piece of inconveniently long fabric around my body. And what about my husband? There is no way he would wear a baby wrap… or anything close.
- The Ergobaby is just two buckles, and you’re done. Its gender neutral, comfortable for mom/dad and baby, and grows with your little one. It buckles around the waist, taking a lot of the strain off of the wearer’s back and shoulders (a lifesaver for Mamas with bad backs), and the shoulder straps are cushioned and adjustable.
- We also decided on the cool mesh fabric, which allows for air flow even on hot summer walks!
5. Jogging Stroller
- If you’re anything like me, the thousands of stroller options out there are seriously intimidating. Connor and I knew we wanted a jogging stroller, for the off-roading and smooth driving features. We also love the big, rubber tires. They are more durable, easily maneuverable, and perfect for hikes or strolling on rocky terrain.
- Another awesome feature: Our Graco carseat clicks into this stroller, creating a travel system that easily transitions baby from car to stroller without unbuckling.
- In the beginning, I was leaning towards the Britax model. However, the lack of cup holders and storage was a serious deterrent. Looking back, I’m so glad I went with the Graco FastAction Fold Jogger, as the parent cupholders, child tray, and bottom storage make all the difference.
- My only complaint about the Graco jogger is the weight. Although it is easily foldable, lifting the bulky thing is a workout, and getting it into a trunk is like a real-life game of Tetris.
6. Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit
- YA’LL, I swear by this one. My child has hated having his arms swaddled since the day we brought him home. I tried countless swaddling options, but with his arms free, it took away the cozy feeling and didn’t help with the startle reflex.
- The Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit makes your baby look like a tiny Michelin Man (SO cute), while keeping him warm, snuggly, and secure. Best of all worlds!
7. Nose Frida
- I get it, you guys, this looks gross. In fact, I refused to buy one for the first two months due to sheer disgust. But it’s not what you think!
- The tube that goes on your child’s nostril is separated from the sucking tube by a piece of sponge. So, even if you have crazy sucking strength, you aren’t going to be able to “accidentally” get anything in your mouth. Whew!
- Babies get colds. And I can think of little worse than a baby who can’t sleep because he can’t breathe. Not only does this snot sucker have way more power than the bulb, but it’s also easier to clean and avoid mold, due to clear tubing and removable parts. Relief for baby with very little “ew” factor for Mama. Win!
8. Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water
- My son toots with the force of a full grown man. And very early on, we learned that gas was the culprit of most of his fussiness. This miracle product eases tummy troubles quickly and naturally!
- Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water can be used from one month old on, lasts for six weeks from opening, and can be used up to 3 times in 24 hours.
- I am not a super granola Mom, but the idea of giving medicine to my tiny baby was worrisome. Mommy’s Bliss uses all natural, gentle ingredients to relieve gas and discomfort. This stuff is liquid gold, especially when introducing new formulas, purees, and solids to your little taste tester!
- Bonus: Gatlin loves the taste!
- ** I personally don’t like to buy medications online, but you can find these products at Walgreens or Target! (I will link a picture below)
9. HoMedics Soundspa
- Every “Registry Must Have” list has some form or brand of white noise machine, as baby sleep experts swear by them. I am also a firm believer, but I initially made the mistake of buying a sound machine that was WAY too quiet. For me, The Marpac Dohm looked sleek, easy, and popular. We used it for the first month or two, until Gatlin started waking inexplicably throughout the night.
- After talking with other Mamas, I discovered the HoMedics MyBaby Soundspa. First, its CHEAPER than the Dohm. Second, its at least three times louder, with adjustable volume.
- According to the Mom’s on Call Method (I will link their book below. It has been a LIFESAVER for scheduling and sleep for Gatlin), you should be able to hear the white noise while standing outside of your baby’s closed door.
- I wondered if the HoMedics Soundspa would last due to how inexpensive it was, but we have now been using it for 6 months without problem! There are also other sound options for calming baby during wake time, and a timer if you only want noise for the initial falling asleep period.