I’m taking a break in our “pay attention to us and our products that we’re trying to sell!!!” scheduled programming as I got some lovely news today: an old friend and co-worker (at two companies now!) told me she was pregnant today. So, SO excited for her! She asked my advice for all the things she NEEDS for a baby versus the things that the commerce tries to get you to buy. Now normally I would just put this in an email to her but I have been asked for this list so many times that I thought I would grace you all with the Baby Product Checklist you need in your life (if you’re pregnant. Or just had a baby.)
If you’re past this point in your life or never procreated, well done. Your surfaces are so less sticky.
- Boppy Pillow: This thing is a goddamn lifesaver. Hell, get two (that way you’re not yelling at your partner while holding a screaming baby saying “Where the fuck is the fucking Boppy pillow!?”). It helps prop up the baby while you’re breastfeeding or bottle-feeding (Fed is best. Don’t let anybody tell you anything different. Breastfeeding is hard enough without feeling the pressure of everyone telling you that breastfeeding is the way to go. I had two MASSIVE babies and I had to supplement with formula. They’re smart as hell and they’ve both hit all of the milestones in growing that they were supposed to. So fuck off.). The Boppy is also great for letting your little one take a nap on the couch while you’re doing the same and stops them from rolling over. I highly recommend both the newborn one and the traditional one (both available at Target/Walmart/Amazon).
- Aden & Anais Swaddle Blankets: Get swaddling down and your baby will be a lot quieter. These blankets are so soft, work as a car seat cover, a stroller cover, a cover your boobies up when you’re trying to feed and they work long-term: my youngest still uses all of his for naps at daycare and my oldest uses hers for teddy bear picnics. A good cheaper alternative is the Cloud Island set at Target as well.
- Bottles and feeding crap: Look, I’m not here to tell you what bottles to get. Each baby is an individual snowflake and I’ve tried them all. Both babies settled on Tommee Tippee bottles which are available in fun colors. The microwave sterilizer is super easy (and cheap!) to use and sterilizes up to 6 bottles at a time. Well worth it. Also, you’re going to be hand washing these things constantly so invest in some hardcore hand lotion (may I recommend any of The Ghost Generation Solid Lotions that also contain Kokum Butter which has anti-healing properties, which means no dry, cracked skin. Nobody wants to deal with that while also struggling with sleepless nights).
- Ah, sleepless nights/Cribs/Sleeping Aids: My first baby slept through the night at 4 weeks old. My second baby didn’t sleep through the night until he was 10 months old and we had to hire a sleep trainer for $800 so we wouldn’t go insane. I WISH we had a Snoo Sleeper but at the time you could only buy that guy and it was close to $1,500. Your baby can only go in this up to 6 months and now there’s a rental option for $129/mo. which is SO worth it and might actually teach good sleeping habits. After that, you just need a basic crib, mattress and fitted sheet. You’re not supposed to have blankets or ruffles added to it for fear of choking or suffocating so you know, follow that advice. Both of our kids also had pacifiers (and our three year old still does…trying to break him of that habit is like trying to break someone of a cocaine habit: it’s nastiness and tears but it buys you the first two years of quiet. Not that someone is quiet when they’re addicted to cocaine. You know what I mean…) and I recommend MAM ones – the glow in the dark ones are fantastic if they lose them in the middle of the night (both kids liked them. Again, it’s personal preference). Sound machines are also rad (the Snoo Sleeper comes with one). The white noise helps them sleep and both of my kids still use them. Our daughter has this one and it’s also helped with letting her know when it’s ok to leave her room of a weekend morning.
- Jumpers/Swings/Rockers: This is a toss-up. You either have a baby who loves them or a baby who screams with the power of a thousand suns when you place them in there. Do not invest in an expensive Mamaroo. Get on Facebook Marketplace or find a children’s consignment store (Once Upon A Child is great if you’re living in the Atlanta area). That way you’re not dropping a shit ton of money for something that won’t work.
- Rocker for your nursery: It seems frivolous but you will ugly pass out on this thing A LOT for the first year. We bought the Baby Relax Hadley Double Rocker so that both Aaron and I could sit on it and hold the baby and MAN is this thing comfortable. It’s still used in our house today in Aaron’s nook and I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of it.
- Clothes: Look, you have a boy, I’m sorry, the clothes selection sucks. It’s all trucks and cars and blah blah blah. Baby girls clothes are FUCKING ADORABLE. You can’t go wrong. Put that little girl in some bow headbands, little mini shell-toes and ruffles and good god, it’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. However, the closest you can come for finding the cutest stuff for newborn, regardless of gender is Baby Gap (and I’m talking affordable clothing. Of course there are other options if you’re willing to spend $80 on a dress they’ll grow out of in 5 seconds but hey, you do you). Greys, beiges, yellows, organic clothing, all of the highest quality, washes well and perfect for the thousands of pictures you will be taking.
- Baby Monitor: Those first few weeks when you’re figuring out your baby’s nap schedule are crazy. You need a shower and the house looks like a bomb hit it. This clever gadget allows you to clean up, feel like a human being again and still keep an eye on your baby. However, there’s no need to get one of those uber expensive ones. We’ve had our Hello Baby one for six years and it’s still kicking. I know a lot of my friends who had the expensive one and had to buy replacements when their kids were still babies so don’t waste your money. Purchase one here.
- Playmat: Provided you don’t have a menagerie of pets that will climb over your baby when you put them down on a playmat, these things are awesome. Any will do provided they have toys that hang down and things that make noise. Hours of fun for the baby and you get to rest your arms and drink a coffee. Or whiskey.
- Strollers/Carseat/Travel System: I was incredibly lucky during my second pregnancy and became friends with someone who worked for Cybex. I was gifted a full MARIS kit – the infant car seat, the bed that looks like a 19th century baby carriage top and the stroller itself. It was glorious and super high end and I loved it. Just being able to click the infant car seat out of the car base, carry the car seat over to the stroller frame and clicking the seat in, all while my kid was still fast asleep?! FUCKING GODSEND. We also received the equivalent of their baby Pack-n-Play which was super easy to put together and their PockIt stroller. This bad-ass bitch folds down to the size of a suitcase and when your toddler still needs a stroller it’s perfect because you can just slide it under the driver’s seat. I’m aware I was super fortunate to get all of these (and also keep in mind it was about $1,500 worth of merchandise that my kid grew out of in two years so if I’d had to spend that money, so not worth it) so, with that being said, any travel system will do that has a car seat that clicks into a stroller frame. The longer you don’t have to wake that sleeping baby, the happier you and the people surrounding you will be.
- And finally, when you want to take this madness OUT of the house – The Diaper Bag: The Diaper Dude Messenger Diaper Bag was amazing to use. So many pockets it was like that pair of Union Bay Cargo Pants you wore in the late 90s (you know you did). It fit on the back of our stroller, we could bring multiple changes of clothes for our kids (because they’d inevitably mess up whatever t-shirt you put on them this morning less than five minutes after putting it on). You’ll need it. Buy it.
QUICK LIST FOR MOMS:
Coffee, Energy Drinks. Whatever. It. Takes. You’re going to be surviving off very little sleep and you want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself because you’re no good to anyone if you can’t do that. You’ll want comfy, flowy clothes because it does take a few weeks to drop the uterus weight (greatest weight loss ever though!), breastfeeding tank tops, disposable breast pads so you don’t leak everywhere (even if you’re not breastfeeding), a show to binge watch (mine was “New Girl” with my youngest) and plenty of time to hold on to those tiny hands. Speaking of, you’re going to need to trim their nails because they’re like tiny Ginsu knives and they’ll cut up their faces if you don’t get in there. Get this one, the light is magic. Also, if you haven’t had the kid yet, slather Rosehip Seed Oil all over your belly to prevent stretch marks (or lighten the ones you already have).
One last thing: this country is absolute shit for maternity leave. I have a friend who moved back to Germany and she’s getting 18 months maternity leave PAID (and she hasn’t worked for the past three months because she’s pregnant with twins and needs to be on bedrest). England and Canada get a year with their kids (and it’s interchangeable between you and your partner which means you can take six months off and so can they and you get paid 60% of your salary). It’s fucking disgraceful for anyone who sits there and says America is the best country in the world. Not for moms it’s not. I URGE you to take the full 12 weeks that you are federally protected to take. Make it work, borrow off your credit cards, sell some shit on eBay, because YOU’LL NEVER GET THAT TIME BACK. The ONE thing we can’t buy in this world is time and before you know it you’ll have a six year old who’s waxing poetical with you and you’ll think, “She was two weeks old like five seconds ago.” We all know that companies suck when it comes to giving that time off paid but tell your manager now you’ll be taking the full 12 so they can manage accordingly. If they give you a hard time, find another job on your maternity leave. Don’t work for a company that is already giving you a hard time the moment you become a mom because guess what? That kid’s going to get sick, or get lice, or just be having a hard day and you will have to stay home with them. Make sure you’re working for a company that understands you are a mom FIRST AND FOREMOST. Work does not come first.
Lastly, enjoy this. It’s hard, the standard phrase is, “the days are long but the years are short” and they really are. Love. Every. Minute. – Female GG (I wasn’t paid to mention any of these products, these are just the ones I like. No affiliate links, no advertising, just me)