Ok. So I've got this friend.
Yes, this one right here.
Her name is Annie. She is my EXPERT. I trust her opinions implicitly. She is balanced and well-adjusted and accomplished and kind and gorgeous. She also happens to have gone to Stanford for undergrad and gotten her MBA from Harvard (nbd amirite?) AND she's like the best wife and mommy I know. Oh and she's a life-coach (have you ever met someone actually qualified to be a life coach?) Professional Mommy Unicorn. 'nuff said.
When I got pregnant, I was so overwhelmed by all the products, and tips, and marketing targeted to me in this new stage of life that I practically begged her to share her hard-earned wisdom about baby products because I just KNEW that she would have applied her rigorous research approach (perfected in B-school) to evaluating the very best products for her and baby. I practically walked around my house quoting her text messages and emails to my husband. (She has kindly agreed to let me share this collection of amazing resources in a series of posts here.)
Here is some of her sage advice and favorite things that #willwork as amazing gifts for new or expecting mamas.
- Register on Amazon - you can link products from any website. user friendly / easy for returns, 15% completion discount, etc. - or, BabyList is basically the same thing with cuter formatting / reminders for purchasers (example here)
- Join Cricket's Circle - great gear recommendations (they narrow it down to just a few products for you to choose from)
- Get on Lucie's List emails - she's funny and on point in the beginning - multiple times, her advice hit my inbox right when I was facing a dilemma
- Try to borrow what you can - bouncy chairs, plastic toys / gear (like giant Exersaucers)
On the go / around the house
- Stroller organizer (in addition to diaper bag - for easy access to small stuff like phone near stroller handles) - SkipHop
- Carriers - Ergo 360 (ergonomically designed, super comfy, not crotch dangling so won't cause hip displasia, can be worn for HOURS - I've done legit hikes / walked all day and love it - make sure to get the infant insert), and Moby Wrap (extra fun/snuggly when they're <6 months old and really helps them calm down when fussy in evenings during the early weeks - plus, truly amazing to be hands free while you do stuff around the house or out for errands)
- Bouncer - Bjorn - helpful for putting baby down around the house - in the bathroom while you're showering, etc.
- Swing - MommaRoo - great to have a more stable / versatile option for putting baby down - glad we had it even in NYC where space is limited (+ get or put in an infant insert - it's pretty big)
- Black / white / red toys for 1-4 months old while developing eyesight - this bumper (can put in stroller, use for interest while on blanket on floor, etc.) and this book (great to help keep tummy time interesting)
- Crib / glider / changing table - if you can spend the extra $, I think RH Baby & Child is great - at least for key pieces (i.e. glider chair). Giggle also has stuff (more modern - depends on your taste), and then there's always Pottery Barn Kids, Buy Buy Baby and Babies R Us for cheaper stuff
- Monitor - we just use the app on our phone called "Baby Monitor 3G" - super sensitive mic, works on multiple devices so our iPad is the Baby Station (lots of friends swear by the Dropcam - depends on how / how much you plan to use it)
- Changing pad - Keekaroo is the BOMB - super easy to clean (you'll have to do way more than you think!...), and way better than any options that require a cover (worth thinking about getting 2+ so you can change easily around the apartment / house - we have one in our main room and one in the nursery, which is great) - also consider using puppy pee pads on top of the changing pad - when he inevitably pees or poops in between diapers, you can just throw it away
- Wipes - use these until baby skin can handle something stronger / you the poop requires it (when you start solid foods ~6 mos)
- Travel crib - Bjorn - crazy light, idiot proof setup, great design (use it if optimizing for weight and really want to use it for lean travel). If you want to do mostly car trips / use at home, the Nuna Sena has an inlay for when they are under 15lbs, which is really nice - baby can sleep in your room, elevated, so easy to roll over and pull out of bed, and to see through mesh sides. Note: all travel cribs require a separate sheet - the mattress is just a thin board style thing... One other thing - we've used this for traveling with her as an infant so far - SO nice to break down and put in checked luggage - never having to worry about whether there will be a pack n play at hotel or with friends/family is priceless.
- Clothes - Baby Gap has cute stuff and great sales - has been my go to. Friends also swear by Old Navy, Zara, Hanna Andersen (good zip PJs - key when fussy at bedtime), Lou Lou company (cute newborn kits)
- Bow brands (on Etsy, for girls) - Little Crane, The Splendid Bow Shop, Freebabes
- Sleep sacks - Deedee - how you keep them warm while sleeping after swaddling for 1-2 years (you don't want them to suffocate on a blanket)
- Tub - Fisher Price - literally best $20 ever spent - have never seen or used a better newborn tub
- Washcloths - these have been our favorite (sidenote: any product with bamboo instead of cotton is UNREAL - so soft on baby skin and just as durable as cotton - has been my favorite material besides organic cotton - not always worth the extra $ but on washcloths and blankets and some clothing (like a robe), it's totally the way to go
- Diaper cream - keep it simple with A&D ointment - they used it at the hospital - if baby gets a rash, Desitin should do the trick
- Nail scissors - Piyo - crazy effective - do NOT waste your time with nail files (baby nails are too flimsy) or regularly shaped nail clippers (most parents have sad stories of making their baby bleed because they're not sized / shaped for little nails)
- Snot remover - NoseFrida - as effective as it is gross-sounding :)
Feeding - general
- Burp cloths (you'll want 6+) - Green Sprouts and Aden + Anais (burp cloth and bib in one because of the snaps)
- Muslin / bamboo blankets (Super important! Hard to have too many) - Little Unicorn
- Bottles - Dr. Brown's supposedly help with minimizing trapped air / gas - seem pretty good (just make sure to start with the Preemie nipple size in the beginning or baby will get used to faster flow of the size 1 nipple and may prefer it over doing the extra work to breastfeed). There's also this variety pack in case baby needs to try a few kinds.
- High chair - Stokke is great because you can also use it as a booster seat when they are a bit older, then a regular chair
- Mat for eating - Gathre has darling and easy-to-clean mats - might be just psychological but think it helps with cleanup...
- Teething - Sophie, Beaba spoons, Feeder Pops (stick frozen food in them and helps soothe pain), banana toothbrush (helpful for sucking on when gums hurt)
- Pacifier - Philips Soothies often are pediatrician recommended (less ergonomic so apparently better for their teeth in the long run if your baby becomes attached) - we love having animals attached so it can sit on baby's chest / won't roll away / get lost
- ASOS Maternity can be super cheap and cute.
- The other spot I'd recommend is Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity, if you have one near you - helpful to try on things in person, get basics like maternity jeans / work pants.
- ...and of course Willwork has the best maternity and nursing robe. hands down
THERE YOU HAVE IT.
"Annie says" has become my new magical two-word mantra that imbues credibility and truth and righteousness to any words that follow. It #willwork for you too. (Use it wisely :)