Weighing up whether that baby monitor is worth the investment?
Balancing your need to stay in budget with all the wonderful gadgets that promise to save you time, frustration, and help you get more sleep?
It’s a hard job planning for baby.
What should you buy new? What secondhand?
What do you want to get yourself? What should you put on your registry?
There are quite a few things I wish I’d bought for my first baby, but I didn’t I was trying to save money. I also bought a lot of things secondhand, and to be honest some of those things I should have bought new. (So, if you’re buying secondhand, be really discerning.)
As I’m looking forward to the arrival of baby number 2, I’m so glad I have this checklist of things I NEED to get before the big day… am I buying everything? I’ll tell you below!
Here’s the top items I wish I’d bought for my baby (and will definitely make sure to get for baby #2):
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1. Love to Dream Swaddle UP
✅ I’ve bought an entire set (2-3) of these in each size – mostly in the 1.0 tog range as it’s easy enough to dress baby up or down for our climate. If you’re having a winter baby, definitely look at the Warm style (it’s even great to have one of these for your hospital stay, regardless of climate).
A swaddle suit? Pfft! I didn’t need one of those. That’s what those receiving blankets are for… right?
Unfortunately, I failed swaddling class. (Or I just gave birth to a budding escape artist).
My baby managed to wriggle free of the swaddle no matter how well I thought I’d wrapped him. And that meant waking up. Again. And again. And again.
I ended up buying a Love to Dream Swaddle Up on a whim… and because my Pilates teacher told me about their awesomeness in passing once but I’d ruled it out because they were a little expensive… (they’re worth it!!!)
I wish I’d had it from birth.
The first night my baby slept for 10 hours. Hello, baby sleep jackpot!
That kind of sleep is priceless and worth its weight in gold.
And they look super cute too!
Another thing I KNOW you’ll love about the Love to Dream (because I do too!) is that they come in a variety of thicknesses (called ‘togs’):
- I bought the standard swaddle thickness. It’s perfect for most weather (just add or subtract layers to get the right temperature!
- They also have warmer versions for winter (2.5 and 3.5 tog) – which are perfect for your hospital stay (it gets cold in there!) and
- versions for older babies where the sleeves zip off so baby can learn to sleep unswaddled… one arm at a time!
2. A Haakaa Manual Breast Pump
Fun fact: in the early days of breastfeeding things can get very… leaky.
While your baby feeds on one side, the other side has a let down as well, and that milk gets wasted… either into a breast pad or all over your shirt.
But, not with a Haakaa!
I wish I’d had a Haakaa to use as a milk saver… for two reasons: 1. to give to baby and 2. to contain the mess! I was a soggy mess while breastfeeding on more than one occasion. Haakaa would’ve helped a lot.
You can also use the Haakaa as a manual breast pump if you need to do some one off pumping. I wouldn’t recommend trying to exclusively pump with this bad boy… but for the occasional night out, it’d work great.
You can collect ounces and ounces of extra milk just using it as a milk saver (enough to start a freezer stash!) I’m really looking forward to using this with my next baby. Yes, I grabbed this one (the Third Generation) that comes with a flange and a baby bottle top so it’s way easier just to swap the tops over and feed to baby!
✅ Pricey but beyond worth it for the peace of mind and the sleep. Glorious sleep! If it’d broken at any point, I would’ve bought another one immediately with expedited shipping, that was how much I loved it.
Real talk… I was a very, VERY anxious new mom. (And that doesn’t appear to be changing for this baby unfortunately…)
The first few months, I was terrified that the worst was going to happen.
Anytime my baby made a noise in the night, I woke up. (Baby’s can be noisy sleepers…)
Then I stayed awake to make sure he made another noise.
And then I got up and checked that he was still breathing.
It was incredibly hard.
I didn’t buy a baby monitor because I thought they were mostly all video (baby was right beside me in his bassinet… I didn’t need video). I also remember reading that the monitors on the market that measure breathing were so hypersensitive they were inaccurate.
I really regret not doing my research properly – I would’ve found the Owlet Smart Sock and bought it in a heartbeat.
It’s a little pricey but, I would’ve paid ANY money for the peace of mind (and the sleep, oh my, the sleeep.)
I 100% regret not buying this.
The Owlet monitors baby’s vitals (including oxygen levels and heart rate) and sounds an alarm in case of emergency. The sock attaches firmly to your baby’s foot (kinda like the ones they have in hospital) so it can’t fall off like other brands do.
The data goes to an app on your phone so you can check baby’s details whenever you feel the need.
If I could go back in time I would definitely get one!
And you better believe this is the next thing I’m buying for baby number 2!
3. A White Noise Machine
Babies love white noise!
And so do moms, because it means better sleep!
I wish I’d had a white noise machine from birth. When I was really tired the ‘shooosh shoooosh-ing’ was always the first to go.
It’s exhausting making the shoosh noise, y’all!
This is the white noise machine I bought for baby number two after endless research because I was SO over my previous white noise toys / machines running on a 20 minute-ish timer. This one doesn’t automatically shut off. Want white noise all night? You got it! It’s also perfectly portable and charges pretty easily so you can use it on the go in any situation. I love it!
4. A New Bassinet
✅ This bassinet is awesome – mesh sides for safety and visibility and it’s pretty affordable!
I bought my first baby’s bassinet secondhand (you can pick them up quite cheaply on Facebook Marketplace)… but that was such a BAD idea.
I loved how my bassinet looked… it was cute, sweet and simple. But, from the moment my baby arrived I was panicking about the SIDS risks of using a second hand mattress… and all those floofy fabric coverings.
Was it ok?
Did it have dust in it?
What about mould?
I got a new mattress but… it didn’t quite fit properly meaning there were gaps that were ALSO unsafe. Ahhh! Can’t win.
With baby #2 on the way, I decided I was NOT going through this stress again and would buy my bassinet new.
5. A Real Pregnancy Sleeping Pillow
I was 26 weeks pregnant with my first baby.
I hadn’t slept in days.
I was dying of SPD/PRPGP.
I felt like the walking dead.
It was so bad I told my husband that we would immediately be making the journey to the baby shop to buy the biggest most deluxe supportive pregnancy pillow known to womankind.
The shop didn’t have ANY pregnancy pillows.
Neither did the next one.
Or the next one. You’ve GOT to be KIDDING me?
It was a sad, sad day.
I ended up getting a long straight body pillow with no shaping. It was okay but next time I want to get a real one like this one <<< that’s the one I really wanted.
And I really needed it for the extra support because of my hip pain…
Next time around… I’m ordering it off Amazon as soon as I get a BFP!
6. The Mommy Hook
Babies use so much stuff, they can easily take up most of the storage space in your stroller.
And when it comes to Christmas time and you’re shopping for gifts, you can run out of space super fast.
That’s where the Mommy Hook comes in. It’s just a carabiner, but it’s genius! You can hook it around your stroller handle and use it to hold shopping bags, diaper bags, your purse… all kinds of things.
You can even disconnect it when you arrive home, hook it to all your grocery bags and carry the lot inside in one go.
(The next time I see one, I’m so getting it!) Update: I so got one! It’s brilliant. I’m using it to keep all the kindy bags together for kindy drop off.
7. A Baby Carrier That Fit
Baby is fussy, but dinner won’t make itself and you have so much to do…
What do you do?
A baby carrier is a wonderful tool to have in your new mom kit. But, a lot of them aren’t sized very nicely for ladies with petite shoulders. Huge bulky shoulder straps? Not comfortable!
I was eyeing off this brand of carrier for a while… I’d tried it and found it was narrower and just fit a lot better than others I’d used. I never ended up getting it (I’d already bought too many carriers… oops!) but I’m seriously considering it for baby number 2! I also love how pretty it is 🙂
8. Seat Strap Keepers
There is nothing more annoying than trying to put your baby in the car seat and the straps are twisted.
Not only is it annoying, it also decreases the effectiveness of the restraint (if you buckle them twisted).
I wish I’d had some of these – (so affordable!) to keep my baby’s car seat straps from tangling. This time around, I think my new ultra-safe car seat has built-ins (we don’t have the same models in Australia – but it’s THIS brand)… but we’ll see when we install it!
10. BabyBum Diaper Cream Brush
Looking like an oddly shaped mini spatula… this is for putting diaper cream on sore bottoms.
The only reason I discovered this was because I was given something very similar by a nurse when I took my little one to the doctor about a vicious tummy bug. It worked fantastically well!
It’s way more hygienic than using fingers to apply diaper cream and it’s so much better for really raw skin (even if you only use it when baby has a bad diaper rash, it’s still a great investment). It’s also much easier to apply a nice thick and even layer of cream.
My BEST Baby Purchases
Ok, I can’t leave you with just things I wish I’d bought… here are my favorite things that I DID buy and why I loved them:
- Baby Car Seat Mirror – the worst thing about rear facing car seats is not being able to see baby from the front seats. Solution: this mirror! It’s so helpful for peace of mind and for watching baby in the back seat.
- The Wonder Weeks book – so accurate it’s almost scary, the Wonder Weeks explains why baby has phases of crankiness before making developmental leap. This is a total MUST READ for new moms!
- My stroller – it is literally awesome. I loved that it came with a bassinet (so was suitable from birth) and had a reversible seat that could face me or out easily. Even better it’s a pretty cute stroller with a HUGE basket which is perfect for everything from picking up groceries to lugging sand buckets and spades down to the local park.
Now that I’m through the baby stage, I look back and I’m thankful. These things would’ve made life a little easier and a little less stressful. If I could do it again, I would gladly have spent more on things that helped my peace of mind and less on the cute stuff (like pretty bedding, clothes, wall stickers, and toys). But hey, live and learn right?
Psst… Are you forgetting about these things you’re going to need?
- Baby Registry Must Haves – The Ultimate Guide to Baby Gear Essentials
- Crucial! 14 Postpartum Products That Are Essentials for a Better Recovery
- 10 Non Essential Baby Items That Are SO Worth It
- Formula Feeding Must Haves – Essential Bottle Feeding Equipment
- Best Nursing Pads of 2020 – New Mom Favorite Breast Pads!