New Mama: 25 Essentials for Every New Mom
So many of my beautiful friends are currently pregnant, and I wanted to share my 25 essential items for every mama and baby. These items I are everything you need to get you from pregnancy to birth to the Fourth Trimester at home with baby.
YOGA BALL Great for bouncing before birth to strengthen the pelvic floor, during birth to ease discomfort, and after birth to soothe a crying little one. I couldn't have survived any of those stages without mine! Especially because our little one had colic, and the ball was the only thing that helped her get her bubbles out.
PRETTY, COMFORTABLE, FUNCTIONAL NURSING BRA Something that doesn't look like a flashback from 1940, provides easy access, and doesn't have underwire (which can cause complications like mastitis) but keeps everything in place. I had tremendous luck with these ones because I really grew bigger than I could have ever imagined-- I went from a 34C to a 38G. This brand's bras are smoothing, comfortable, and easy to throw in the wash.
NEUTRAL NURSING TANKS For wearing under everything from a button-down shirt to a sweatshirt that makes nursing in public a little less daunting, since they are specially designed to keep things discreet with a double layer fabric and peep-hole opening. I also wore these under cardigans or even alone with some wide-leg palazzo pants.
BOTTOM SPRAY A cooling, soothing, healing spray you'll want to pack for the birth-day. Don't rely on the hospital or birth center to supply the good stuff. Trust me. My nurse gave me an aerosol can of stuff used to soothe mosquito bites. Really! So glad I packed my own. (Get more than 1!)
SHELF BRA NURSING TANKS To wear at home most days without the fuss of a bra. And, black, definitely black to hide the stains. Most often I wore these under gauzey loose-fitting tops that I found at places like H&M, Gap, and Forever 21 while I was still pregnant. One of my girlfriends encouraged me to buy a few things before the baby was born because I would be glad to have them after the birth and not be in the mood to shop. Boy, was she right!
CHEAP JEANS 1 OR 2 SIZES BIGGER THAN USUAL After birth I did not want to go around in my maternity jeans any more, and they didn't fit the way they had. So, I trekked to Forever 21 to buy a few pairs of high-waisted black jeans that fit, even though they weren't my usual size, and it was the best decision. I felt confident to go out wearing actual clothes, and not worried about getting spit up on them when they were under $18.
NURSING DRESS After birth my body was not the same as my pre-pregnancy body. There were lumps and bumps, and pants just weren't comfortable all the time. Jojo Maman Bebe makes a few dresses (I love the long sleeve ones) that were perfect for days when I wanted to feel a little more feminine. There was no worry of tucking myself into a skirt, or finding a top that matched. I ordered a size up to be extra comfortable, and I wore the heck out of that dress. Nordstrom has an excellent selection of quality pieces, and I hate to say everything now looks much more stylish than even 3 years ago!
SLIDE-ON SHOES Leaving the house was hard enough, so bending down to fix my shoes or tie laces was not happening. I favored Bass Weejun loafers, Sam Edelmen low-cut booties, adidas slides, and ballet flats because I could put them on without looking down.
SLIMMING UNDERWEAR Before the postpartum time of my life I had never worn Spanx or anything even close to them. After baby, I needed help holding my abdomen in because the muscles were very weak from something called Diastasis Recti, and these high-waisted slimming undies were lifesavers.
FAVORITE CANDLE Anthropologie stocks my favorite candle - ever - Capri Blue in the Volcano scent. It's so nice to smell something beautiful when you're getting adjusted to the new baby and spending lots and lots of time on the couch.
MAKEUP YOU CAN DO WITH ONE HAND Stick foundation, cream blush, eyebrow gel, longwear cream shadow sticks, and rich black mascara were my absolute go-to products for a quick, one-handed, 5 minute face.
MANUAL BREAST PUMP We nursed on demand right from the start, but having the breast pump on hand was super helpful when my supply came in and my little one was still learning to feed properly. I could pump into the bottle, and use a glass eye dropper to feed her the milk, slowly but surely. This Medela pump came with a few bottles, which was a great starter set.
SOLLY BABY WRAP These wraps were made for newborn snuggles and hands-free skin-to-skin time. I was only able to try one out once my girl was nearly too big for it, but I definitely have my eye on one for the future. These are made of super soft material in incredible colors, and it doubles as a scarf or nursing cover in a pinch. They also hold up well to frequent washing- win!
RING SLING CARRIER Rather than toting the carseat in the grocery store, I would pop my little one in the ring sling to be close and snug (without having to tie a wrap). I found this my favorite of all of my carriers in the first six months of my daughter's life because all I had to do was throw it over one shoulder, slide her in, and gently tug on the loose end to tighten it up. She could snuggle, nap, and stay close while I shopped.
ERGO CARRIER This is the most secure of all 3 carriers I used, and I loved it for exactly that reason. Once my girl had full head control, she loved hanging out in the Ergo. I could take a brisk walk, vacuum, or have a hot cup of coffee in one hand and my phone in the other without worrying she'd pop out of position with an unexpected tantrum. We also learned to nurse in the Ergo, so rather than finding a place to sit down when I was out and about, I could adjust my nursing top, put the hood over her, and she would settle in, most often ending in a nap. That meant more time for me to browse the store I was in, or continue my walk, or whatever, without making her wait until the crazy hunger cries began as I searched for a suitable place to feed. Also, this Rain Cover is genius if you live in a city or spend a lot of time outdoors.
MUSLIN BLANKETS Tons of different brands make these, and some of my favorites were from Aden & Anais because they got softer with every wash. We used them as a napping blanket, to swaddle, to cover up while nursing, to clean up spit up, to cover the carseat from the sun or rain, to lay down for diaper changes, and as back up clothes in a diaper-explosion-emergency. You need these.
TRAVEL DIAPER CHANGING PAD Something thin and sleek that fits into any size bag is great for diaper changes on the go. There were a few scenarios with diaper explosions and having one of these handy was great because I could put her on the pad to wipe her down and then throw the pad in the washer or wipe it down with a travel pack of Clorox wipes before putting it back in my bag. That said, grab some mini travel packs of Clorox wipes next time you're out.
A ROOMY MAMA BAG I bought a diaper bag, hated every minute of it, and resorted to the Un-Diaper Bag which you can read about here. Basically, you need a bag that makes you feel like the Super Mama that you are, and that can fit extra diapers, a change of clothes, a small toy, wipes, and your stuff all in one place.
COLLAPSIBLE TUB We've always been in a small space, and I never wanted a gigantic baby tub taking up space we didn't have. We loved the Boon tub because it propped up at an angle for newborns and you could push the whole thing through for a larger space. Our girl used the tub from birth until she was about 2 years old. It travels well, cleans up easily, and is the perfect size to stow.
HONEST BABY PRODUCTS For soap, nipple balm, diaper rash cream, body oil, and healing salve we went with Honest Company. I love their mission, their devotion to quality ingredients, and how gentle they are for the most sensitive baby skin. Now you can find their products on their site, at Target, Nordstrom, and even on Thrive Market! We still use their detangler, soap, conditioner, and body lotion every day!
DIAPER CHANGER As soon as I saw this product, I knew I'd love it. Rather than buying the pad, the waterproof pad, and the fabric covers, we purchased a Keekaroo Peanut Changer which is made of hospital-grade rubber. It has a lipped edge, which was great for catching accidents and containing them, and it was easy to wipe down with disinfectant after blowouts. Because of the solid form, baby can't easy roll around which makes changing much faster. We even brought it on a few road trips to put on the backseat for changing diapers at pit stops.
NURSING PILLOW In the early days of getting the hang of breastfeeding, I loved having the support for my back and shoulders with the help of a nursing pillow. We used the Boppy with great success. As she grew, the pillow was her favorite cozy place to play or read, or rest her head.
BABY ROCKER There are so many options out there for these, but we loved the affordable, and amazing little Fisher Price Rocker. The seat is angled so baby can sit propped up, but it's just far back enough that they can sleep. The vibrate function was amazing for soothing our girl back to sleep, and I loved that it could be folded and easily put away. I was actually a bit sad when she grew out of this one!
BABY MONITOR I couldn't go a day without a shower, so while baby slept I used the monitor to make sure I could hear her (even though she was only a room away). Call me crazy. As our girl got bigger, it was great to have a simple monitor on hand to hear her in her room for naptime.
25 Things! And this list is just what worked for us and our parenting choices. I know just how overwhelming it is to walk into a baby store and wonder how much of that stuff you actually need, so I hope this list helps you as you get ready for baby! Any seasoned mamas, please leave a comment with your top 3 baby items to help a sister out.