10 Things I Didn’t Know I Needed For Baby (but can’t imagine my life without)

imageAm I the only one in the world that found registering for baby items extremely stressful and exhausting? Maybe it was the hours days, who am I kidding, MONTHS I spent reading and researching to make sure I selected the best and safest products out there. Maybe it was hormones. Or both. Either way, even after all of that, there were still some essentials I didn’t discover until later. I hope I can save you some time and stress by sharing some of my favorite items that I never knew I needed! I’ve included all the links to each item for ease and to make it even simpler, there is a link at the bottom to my Baby Store where you can find all of them in one place plus a few more! Gosh I love Amazon! Quick sidenote, if you don’t already have an Amazon Mom
account or an Amazon Prime
account, you should really consider it. It’s like Christmas everyday at my house with Amazon boxes on my porch!

1. Rock and Play

This one I was lucky enough to have recommended to me by a friend BEFORE I had my baby. She told me that this is what her daughter slept in for the first 6 months or so. At first I was worried about the incline for sleeping because I had never seen it before, but I asked the pediatrician and she said it was fine.

After thinking about it more, it actually made me feel more secure because if he spit up or something he wouldn’t choke. It also has a vibrate setting which he loved. It has a 3 point lap belt which we tucked away. Didn’t find it was needed for a newborn, especially since he was swaddled. He slept in this for the first 3.5-4 months or so and then he seemed to be getting uncomfortable so we graduated him to the Portable Bassinet .

Even though he’s not sleeping in the rock and play anymore, I still use it everyday. It’s light and portable and I put him in it when I’m in the shower or “folding” laundry. It’s definitely something I couldn’t do without. In fact, I kind of wish I had a second one for downstairs. When he was a newborn, we toted it up and down the stairs each day, which wasn’t hard, but I’d consider getting another in the future because I’m lazy.

2. Snuggle Nest

My son LOVES to be held. All.the.time. In fact he, to this day, (5.75 months old) refuses to sleep longer than 30mins at a time during the day unless he’s being held, except on rare occasion in his swing. The snuggle nest is an oval-shaped basket of sorts that you set on your bed. Baby sleeps in the basket and can be near you without actually being in your bed.

My mom bought this for me when my son was about a month old and was having a lot a problems with gas pains. He was waking up a lot during the night and would go back to sleep on my chest, but would wake up again the second I put him down. I LOVED the extra snuggles and being able to soothe him, but because I was too afraid to sleep with him on me, I was pulling my hair out in the morning when I had to get up. Is it just me, or is not being a morning person extra tortuous once you have kids. Anyway, my mom is like the queen of finding solutions and she found the nest.

Unfortunately, because I’m such a worry wort, I was worried about having him on my bed so I avoided using it for over a month. Finally, both my husband and I tried to roll on the nest, we really couldn’t, and tested it out sans baby as far as placement so covers wouldn’t go over his face and what not. After some convincing from the husband, we agreed that it was probably safe. Well, he said it was safe, I said it was probably safe and then stayed awake the first few times we used it, then jolted awake the first time 10 or so times I fell asleep while he was in there. Oh well.

Once I could relax, it really was a godsend. He slept so much better and if he started to wake, I was right there to soothe him without even having to move. I still use it on occasion if he’s having a rough night and in the morning after his first feeding because he will go back to sleep for an extra hour or two sometimes, score! I also use it if I’m going to try to nap with him during the day because I get more like an hour than the 30mins if I put him down in something else. I’m convinced babies are like dogs and can smell or sense you. He’s getting close to outgrowing it and I’ll be SO sad when he does. I’ll definitely be using this sooner if we have another. The only thing I don’t really like about it, is it has a plastic panel at the inside top with buttons that allow you to play sound for the baby, like a heartbeat or lullaby. Personally, I never even put in the batteries and we already have a white noise maker in the room. Now that my son is a lot longer and squirmier, his head sometimes presses against the plastic, which doesn’t seem to bother him, but it can’t be comfy and I don’t like it. I’ve now flipped it around so it’s at his feet. However, it’s not really an issue until the baby is almost outgrowing it anyway, so I still recommend it without reservation.

3. Activity Bar

This is by FAR one of the most useful things I’ve gotten since my son’s been born. Another one of my mom’s finds, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a flexible activity bar that has clasps on either end that can attach to a car seat, stroller, rock and play, high chair, and I’ve even used it on the nest when trying to get a few more minutes in bed. It’s basically a portable arch that suspends toys like the ones on the baby floor mats. I didn’t even know these existed and now I use it everyday to entertain the baby while I shower and or get dressed. Because let’s be honest, sometimes the shower just doesn’t happen. When he was too small to use the highchair tray yet, I attached it to the high chair to entertain him while we ate. Yay for eating with two hands! Again, I wouldn’t mind having one upstairs and downstairs. Maybe I just need a one story…

4. Safer Bather (I call this the bath lounger)

This is an updated version of the foam pad that lies in your tub. It’s covered with a cute patterned fabric that resists sliding and is quick drying. It’s also angled so that baby’s ears stay out of the water. The absorbent material inside fills with water which keeps it stable and also warm for baby’s comfort. The shape also cradles the babies body which keeps them in place.

Originally, I had another in-the-tub bath product, that was hard plastic on the frame, and then a softer rubber with holes in it where the baby lays. My son HATED it. I tried using it a couple of times and he screamed bloody murder. I also have a Blooming Bath that I use in my sink that he loved, so I knew he wasn’t just hating bathtime. I think the problem was that it didn’t keep him warm enough, and it also had a hard plastic part at the crotch to keep the baby from sliding off. That can’t be comfortable for little boy parts. Anyway, after searching Amazon and reading a bunch of reviews I settled on this bath lounger, and he loved it from the very first time! He just recently began to outgrow it, he just got too squirmy, so I graduated him to this Bath ‘N Bumper.

5. Swaddle Me Blankets with Velcro

I really didn’t know much of anything about swaddling before delivery. The nurses showing my husband how to swaddle in the hospital was my first experience seeing it done. I knew that babies had a startle reflex and swaddling them for bed helps them sleep more soundly. It also has the added benefit of not having to worry about loose bedding.

I had registered for swaddling blankets, the muslin kind that are just one large piece of fabric. My husband quickly became an expert at swaddling, but I couldn’t get it to stay to save my life. On top of having a very squirmy Houdini-baby, I just couldn’t wrap it right or tight enough. So, I did some research online and discovered that there were swaddle blankets that came WITH VELCRO! WHY THE HECK WERE WE DOING THIS THE HARD WAY! Why anyone would want to do it the old fashioned way, I don’t know. I guess maybe it’s more cost effective because it’s one size fits all? Honestly, I don’t care. I’m willing to pay for convenience, especially if it means less time awake in the middle on the night. The one con really is the noisy Velcro if you are trying to swaddle a sleeping baby and didn’t have it unstuck already. We affectionately refer to these as “baby straightjackets”.

6. SleepSack /wearable blanket

At about 3 months, my son decided he didn’t want to be swaddled anymore. Unfortunately, it took me a couple weeks to figure it out. Poor boy. Now that I’m packing away those lovely swaddle blankets, I’ve ordered a sleep sack to try out. So far I’m loving it and he seems to be fine with it too.

It’s basically what it sounds like. It’s like a baby sleeping bag with arm holes like a tank top. I got a slightly larger size than his current weight because he was right on the edge and growing super fast. It still fits fine and doesn’t creep up over his face. He moves a lot in his sleep so I like that I don’t have to worry about him getting uncovered. It zips top to bottom, so you have to connect the zipper like you would a sweatshirt. This surprised me at first and I wasn’t sure I liked it, but I realize an older baby could unzip it if it were the other way around and it’s easy enough to connect it.

7. Baby Food Freezer Trays

I decided that I wanted to make the majority of my son’s food, so I did some research online and on Pinterest and settled on these. They are free of BPA and all those other things plastic shouldn’t have to be the safest. I like that there are more cubes than a traditional ice cube tray and that each one is an ounce. Works great for freezing breast milk too for thinning baby’s food and or topping off a bottle. They also have lids which make them stackable and prevent contamination. AND they are (top rack) dishwasher safe which is a must for me.

8. Jumperoo

I bought this when my son was about 3 months old. Now, when you can use something like this depends on your baby’s head control and stability. He was a bit on the younger side, but he had head control very early on and I had his Dr’s approval. That aside, he was small for it when we first got it so I had to put a box underneath his feet so he could reach, and roll a blanket to tuck around him to keep him sturdy in the seat. Once we got those two things in place, some epic jumping took place! He LOVES the jumper! And it’s great for me too, because it allows me to have both my arms for eating, or cleaning, or doing nothing. By 5 months, he was able to use it without my modifications and now at nearly six months, we are getting ready to raise it up. There are 3 height settings which means longer use. It also has a variety of activities/toys around the saucer for entertainment and it’s been fun to watch him experiment with them through the different developmental stages. It also makes sounds/plays music when he jumps. It can also play continuous music and has two volume settings and can be completely turned off. I’m really glad we got this when we did.

9. Space Saver Swing

This is one of the few places I could put my son down early on without him screaming. My mom got this for him when he was about a month old. I love that you can turn the seat to rock either front and back or side to side. He hated the front to back at first, but the side to side put him to sleep. He often took his morning nap in this the first couple months which was so nice. It gave me a break and or allowed me to get something done sans baby. He will still sleep in the swing on occasion and he enjoys it when he’s awake too. It has several different sound settings: soothing music, nature sounds, and playful music. It has several volume settings and can be turned off. One thing I do not like about it is the music is on a timer and it only plays for 20 mins if you don’t touch it. I wish there was a way to just leave the music on without the timer. It has 5-6 speeds and a 5 point harness. It has the option of using the cord or batteries and is lightweight and portable.

10. Boba Wrap

There are SO many baby carriers out there! We started out with the Ergo which I do like, but the Boba I got later on and is my daily go to. I chose the Boba out of other similar wraps because it was cheaper. I have been very happy with it. The fabric is sturdy but stretchy and also washes up great.

As I mentioned earlier, my son doesn’t like to be put down for long or sleep long without being held. This wrap has saved my life. It made me feel human again rather than a piece of furniture. I didn’t get one in the beginning because I was intimidated by the fact that I had to do the wrapping. I was afraid it would be too complicated or that I’d do it wrong and drop my baby.

Luckily a friend of mine had one and I made her show me how. I went ahead and ordered one and then watched like 10 YouTube videos on how to do it. Now, I could do it in my sleep. I still use the ergo for longer walks or hikes because I like the pockets and I’ll be trying it soon as a back carrier, but for in home use and shorter walks the Boba is my favorite.

I love that I can put it on before leaving the house, drive to the grocery store and then quickly slip my son into it when we get there. It’s so convenient and it also fits in my diaper bag or stroller basket easily. My only regret is not getting it sooner. I will definitely use it from birth with any future children.

I hope you found these reviews helpful. I know it’s not the most concise, but when I was researching products, I really appreciated what real moms had to say about the products they were using. Feel free to leave questions in the comment section.

Find everything I talked about here My Baby Store.

What are your must have products?

**affliliate links, all reviews and opinions are my own. I have personally tired all of these products that were purchased at retail price.