More useful products (and some not-so-useful ones)

One thing you find with baby stuff is that different items are useful at different stages. For example, Harper didn’t seem to even notice the mobile when we got it for her. Now she loves it. When she’s having a meltdown, sometimes we just put her in the crib and she starts smiling at the animals. Okay then!

Note to self: Next time get one that plays more than one song. 

But then there are other things that your baby just won’t care for at all (or you won’t care for at all). So I thought I would compile another list of things that have been working for us, and some that haven’t. I’ll start with the most useful ones:

Breast pump

Initially we rented a hospital-grade breast pump. But I knew I wanted a more portable one to have permanently, so I got the Medela Pump in Style Advanced. It seems just as powerful as the other one to me, and it comes with a nice looking bag and all the accessories you need. Due to the timing of us renewing our insurance policy, we were not able to get Blue Shield to pay for this. But I think women having babies this year should be able to get breastfeeding supplies covered. It’s definitely worth a call to find out.

Wet bags

Now that we’re cloth diapering we use our wet bags all the time. We have one large zip bag by Planet Wise in the nursery. I would say it is just big enough to hold a load’s worth of cloth diapers. We have a small-size one to carry in the diaper bag. I might get a medium-size instead because the one we have is a little too small.

Vibrating chair

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I just want to emphasize how useful this little chair is. When you need to set the baby down so you can have both of your hands, something like this one we borrowed is great. Sometimes Harper watches me cook while she sits in it, which I love.

Video monitor

We have this one by Philips. When Harper was sleeping in our room with us we didn’t need it, but once we put her in the crib we checked it like crazy. It provides a lot of peace of mind when you can see them moving around.

Comotomo bottle

We each have our drinks.

When we were trying to transition Harper from bottle feedings to breast feedings, we struggled to find bottles with a slow enough flow that she wouldn’t devour the whole thing in 2 minutes. Well, we never found one of those. But I heard from other moms that these Comotomo bottles work best to imitate a breast, so your baby can go back and forth without getting confused. Lately Harper seems less jazzed about the Medela bottles, but still likes this one.

MAM pacifier

Every time we gave Harper a Soothie she just spit it out. So I thought I would try a different shape and see if that worked. She’s been using MAM pacifiers ever since. We definitely don’t leave home without them. They’re called pacifiers for a reason…

I also like that these came in a little case you can use to sanitize them in the microwave.

Aden and Anais swaddling blankets

I don’t think there is a single mom in my moms group that doesn’t use these swaddling blankets. They’re nice and soft and have adorable patterns. You can use them to swaddle, obviously, or as a regular blanket, or to cover a stroller when it’s windy or sunny, or as a changing pad, or a spitup rag, and on and on.

Zip pajamas

It didn’t take long for us to realize that the only baby sleepwear we would ever buy from now on would be zip pajamas. In the middle of the night when you’re bleary-eyed and need to change a diaper before your baby gets to screaming, you don’t want to mess with buttons or snaps. My favorite PJs are the Circo sleep n plays from Target. They’re nice and soft, come in cute patterns, and the new ones have reverse zippers so you can change a diaper without unzipping them all the way.

In the not-so-useful department:

Sleep Sheep

I heard that babies (and parents) will sleep much better with some white noise, so we got one of these adorable sleep sheep that plays four different ambient sounds. It may have helped a little in the beginning, but we never use it anymore. She doesn’t need help to get to sleep at night (woo hoo!), and as much as I wish it would help her nap during the day, it doesn’t at all. She laughs in the face of a sleep sheep. Oh well.

Travel bassinet

This one by Brica has actually been somewhat useful to us. We used it when she was really little, moving it to different rooms when she needed to sleep. But it’s too big to fit in bed with us (our original plan). And now that she sleeps in the crib we don’t need it. Can’t say we’re doing a whole lot of overnight traveling either, so the fact that it folds up nice doesn’t mean much. If I had to do it over, I think I would have either gotten a sidecar co-sleeper or one of those bassinets on a stand that you can rock.

Flannel blankets

The hospital sent us home with a flannel receiving blanket for swaddling, but we had our own blankets and swaddles for that anyway. These Gerber receiving blankets have just sat on a shelf for 10 weeks. They’re adorable. We just don’t really need them.

My Breast Friend

I heard such good things about this nursing pillow and I really wanted to like it. But it’s just not the one for me. I feel like I’m always trying to wrangle it around me and close the clip with one hand while holding a crying baby with the other. It’s kind of hard to get the cover off and back on when you wash it. I find myself wishing I had just gotten a Boppy, which can also be used to prop up your baby.

Baby T-shirts and socks

Until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off it’s nice to dress them in tiny T-shirts. But after that I found that onesies or zip pajamas are much easier to deal with than T-shirts and pants. I end up spending all day pulling shirts down over her big belly. It’s kind of the same thing with pants and socks. I put them on in the morning, but after a few diaper changes I get tired of taking them on and off and just leave her in a onesie. Also, with socks, they have to fit well or you end up picking them up off the floor all day long. My favorite socks are the little Mary Jane ones (similar to these) I got at Old Navy.

7th Generation diapers

Only the best for this butt.

Like I said before, we had tons of blowouts with these disposable diapers. If I had to do it again I think I would order the Honest Company diapers. For the amount we used they come out to about the same price, and theirs are so much cuter!

Graco car seat

I guess you can’t really know what you need in a car seat until you have a baby, but I wish I’d realized how hard all the clips on this thing were to operate before we chose it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled to get her out of the seat or the seat out of the car while she’s screaming at me. Not fun!

We got a Graco Snugride 30. It looks great, but it’s ridiculously heavy without a baby in it. I know most of them are heavy, but there have to be some that are more lightweight. We’ll have to buy a different car seat when she grows out of this one anyway, so I think we’ll just stick with it until then.

More baby must-haves here, and more to come, I’m sure.


  1. 1

    Margaret says

    We had a Graco infant car seat (from a friend) and it was awful, too. The straps got twisted every time and that was an absolute hassle. My MIL got a Graco convertible car seat for her car when our son outgrew the infant seat, and its straps get twisted all the time, too, and to make matters worse, the LATCH system on it is terrible (only tightens on 1 side). It is 100x easier to move our Britax back and forth between our car and hers than to wrestle the Graco and then deal with its awful shoulder straps!