As a first time mom, creating your baby registry is a big deal.
You have some idea of the essentials you need – car seat, crib, high chair – and you’ve done tons of research (thanks Pinterest!)
But, what about the non essential baby items that make life so much easier?
I’m talking about the kinds of things that veteran moms pass on to their friends.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have some experienced moms in your circle of friends who can share their experience with the latest and greatest baby inventions with you.
If not, well, here’s my list of the nice-to-haves… that I’d hate to have to live without!
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I got deep into babywearing culture with my first little one.
I had all the wraps.
I had a stretchy (really nice for newborns).
I had a ring sling (deceptively simple)
I had a size 6 woven wrap (good for bigger babies.)
I had a size 4 woven wrap (good for some ‘carries’ that don’t require as many metres of wrap)
I even had a Baby Bjorn (but we don’t talk about that… :p)
And an Ergobaby…
Honestly, although I’d love to say I wrapped and carried my baby every day, I didn’t. I didn’t have the strength or the stamina. I was still recovering from pregnancy induced pelvic instability (which took over 2 years – I should’ve seen a physio way sooner) and I could barely walk 500 metres in the first 6+ weeks after delivery.
So, even though I didn’t love it, my Ergobaby was my most useful carrier. Why?
- it’s easy to throw on at the last minute and get out the door quickly.
- it’s really hard to do it wrong.
- it’s versatile, with several different ways to wear it.
- it’s easy to share with another person (husband, grandma, friend…)
This was my biggest regret not buying for baby #1… and I was starting to feel like maybe just maybe I could do without it with baby #2…
But, then I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and now I’m dealing with extra appointments, the looming constant threat of medication, inexplicable and totally random high fasting numbers (seems to be a pretty common problem) that ruin my day, along with the inevitability of an induction date…
…honestly, my anxiety levels are rising and I’m not sure I’ll be in any better state after this baby is born than last time.
Getting the Owlet is one thing I can do to take one thing off my mind.
The Owlet tracks heart rate and oxygen using similar tech to how they do it at the hospital. It attaches with a velcro sock to your baby’s foot (so it’s a bit harder to displace.) There’s also a version that includes a cam – I’m jealous, that one’s not out here yet!
However, personally I feel you get a free pass when it comes to your diaper bag and a diaper backpack is 10,000 times more practical!
The number of times I had to catch my messenger style diaper bag on my elbow when trying to get about with baby in one arm and everything else in the other…
A diaper backpack just makes way more sense.
This is the exact one I’ve got this time around. It’s not quite as spacious as my last diaper bag, but I know it will be big enough to fit everything I need.
Your baby will almost certainly get a cold in their first year or so. Unfortunately, babies aren’t born with the ability to blow their nose…
You can only do so much with a tissue.
You’ll probably get a ‘snot sucker’ of one type or another in a baby toiletries bundle at your baby shower – word of warning, it’s probably useless… unless it’s a Nosefrida.
I had two types. One looked like a big bulb with a pokey bit attached to go into the baby’s nose… it worked via suction, squeeze the bulb, release and suction happens. Voila! Seems clean, hygienic and easy.
The other was the Nosefrida. Originally, I was a bit grossed out because the nosefrida is basically a tube that you stick into your baby’s nose and then you suck the snot out… with your mouth.
(there’s a sponge to stop you actually getting any in your mouth though… so that’s something.)
But, it actually works really well. Once you get over the gross factor.
Breastfeeding doesn’t always go according to plan and even when it does it’s still messy. At least for me.
One of the most frustrating things as a new mom is when your milk lets down…
What’s a milk let down? Basically it happens when your baby is feeding (or you hear a baby cry… or you think about your baby… or… or… or… lots of reasons) and your milk ducts contract to eject milk. It happens on both sides at once which means while feeding your baby on one side, you’re likely to leak on the other.
This is why nursing pads are so important… but why waste that milk?
That’s why I grabbed the Gen 3 Haakaa. The bottom part of it is a bottle and it has an interchangeable top – I got the flange that makes it work like a manual suction-activated breast pump. I also have the baby bottle top with nipple attachment…
So, now, when I feed baby from one breast I can attach the Haakaa to the other and when finished I can pop the bottle top on it and top baby off with the saved milk.
6) Swaddle Bags
- those who can swaddle like a pro (you know who you are…)
- and those who can’t.
For those who can’t, smart people (probably moms) invented swaddle bags, suits, sleeping bags, sleeping sacks… these devices go by many names but I just like to call them “the best thing I ever spent money on” and “sleep you can buy from a shop”.
The first night I used my favorite swaddle, my little boy slept for 10 hours straight.
I almost felt human again.
There are lots of different types of swaddle bags you can get, some of the most loved are:
I love the Love to Dream Swaddle Up because it gave me 10 hours of precious sleep (and I will never, never forget it. Lol.) But, I also had several different types of swaddle bags that weren’t as good. I tried several that used velcro to keep the swaddle secure, Nested Bean Zen Swaddle, and something similar to the Miracle Blanket but I didn’t love them. I found the velcro was too easy for my escape artist baby to get out of, which was why the zips on the Love to Dream were so good.
Read more: How Many Swaddle Blankets Do I Need?
After my first baby I decided that my next would live in zip up pyjamas. Classy, I know.
I was very frugal with my first little boy because I had a dream and a goal to quit my job and stay home for good… and I wasn’t sure what that would look like yet or how long it would take to make it happen.
So, for baby clothes, I mostly just made do with hand me downs. My husband’s friend kept a ‘library’ of baby clothes that she loaned out to people all the time. I got to use her massive tubs of clothes from newborn to size 3 (saved a motza on clothes!)
Unfortunately, all the sleepers were snap style which is so painful at 3am when you’re running on 2 hours of sleep. The number of times I snapped them up all wrong…
When my little one was about 3 months old I decided to try some zip up sleepers. Wow! So much easier and it quickly became my favorite.
When I got my positive pregnancy test this time around I started watching out for sales on zip up sleepers… and now I’ve got way too many! Oh well. I’ll pass them on to another mom once I’m done.
This was the first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant with baby #2! I never really used bibs much with my first baby, because he wasn’t too terribly spitty or drooly. However, I always loved how cute my friend’s little boy looked in his bandanna bibs (seriously, they go with pretty much every outfit.)
This time around I grabbed a bunch of bandanna bibs in black and white (since we aren’t finding out the gender until birth.)
Useful and stylish!
Although I was sceptical at first about how much use my baby play gym would get, my little boy ended up loving it (and so did I.)
It was so cute watching him kicking and reaching for the toys.
The one I got was very similar to this one:
The play gym was really useful for a long time – when he was very little it was something to look at, when he started kicking and reaching it was even better and it was even good for tummy time too.
I spent more than few mother’s group meet ups at the park.
It was also nice to just get out and get some fresh air with baby.
A picnic rug is an amazing thing to have.
With my second baby, I think it’ll be even more of a non-essential essential. I’ll still be taking my little boy to the park to play and it’s nice to have somewhere to sit and somewhere for baby to play (it also tends to cut down on the number of leaves and dirt eaten.)
I plan to keep this picnic rug in my car and maybe another in my stroller basket. We’re ready for anything!
What About You?
Have you come across any overlooked non essential baby items that rocked your world? If so, tell us here and don’t forget to tell your friends!
Read more about preparing for baby: