Expecting your first baby is a time of your life filled with the excitement of baby’s arrival, feeling pretty darn nervous that you might make mistakes along the way, and also a deer-in-headlights moment or two of Uh-oh, there’s no turning back! Rest assured, so many of us have gone through it and have lived (happily) to tell about it. Even if our eyes are bloodshot from the exhaustion of a baby who has his sense of time all wrong. Sun up, time to get up. Sun down, time to sleeeeep. If only it were that simple. I’ve gathered some of my favorite things that made life a little easier in the beginning and that still come in handy with older kids. I’ve used and loved all of the things I’m recommending. The exception is the toy websites – I’ve purchased things from them but, of course, I haven’t tested out every toy they offer. (You probably figured that out on your own.) Any favorites of my kids I’ll be sure to point out. One last thing, without getting on a soapbox about using natural, chemical-free products in our home, I’ll just say that I’m a nut for that kind of stuff so I won’t be recommending anything body or skincare-related that doesn’t fit that description. Hope this helps and if you need any other info please feel free to get in touch.
Burt’s Bees Shampoo & Wash
I love this stuff and use it on my kids as well as myself. It’s great as a face wash for mama and gets baby clean without stinging her eyes.
They also make a fragrance-free version for babies with especially sensitive skin.
California Baby Shampoo & Body Wash
Smells great, works great. This company has so many products that are effective and delightful to use. Try it, you’ll like it.
California Baby Everyday Lotion
When I want a light moisturizer with a fresh scent for myself or the kids, this is my go-to. It works as a facial moisturizer as well.
California Baby Calendula Cream
I’ve already gushed about this in the Love it, love it section, but here it is again. When you or baby get itchy spots or a rash, this feels nicey-nice.
Burt’s Bees Diaper Ointment
They should call this Magic Diaper Ointment. In my experience, a few dabs of this fixes diaper rash super fast.
And in the case of…uhem…hemorrhoids…as unsexy as it is to mention, this stuff helps soothe that, too.
Badger Baby Sunscreen
Me again. About the non-chemical blah, blah, blah. I know it’s not the kind of sunscreen you put on and it’s invisible and you feel all beachy and oily and coconuty.
Nope. This is straight-forward, it’s not seeping into my skin and poisoning me kind of sunscreen. For more info on why some kinds of sunscreen can be creepy and bad for your health check out ewg.org
The Honest Co.
Honest Healing Balm
I have crazy-dry skin and eczema to contend with and this balm is thick enough to soothe my cracked skin but also absorbs quickly leaving a non-tacky finish. It’s good stuff.
I’m also not a freak for celebrity brands but this company happens to be Jessica Alba’s.
DIAPERS & WIPES
The Honest Co.
Since I’ve discovered The Honest Co. diapers I’ve been very happy. These diapers are biodegradable and plant-based and they don’t contain petrochemicals. And since they’re priced right I’d rather spend my money on diapers that are as natural as disposable diapers can be. They are absorbent and appear to be comfortable because I don’t get any complaints from the little tushie in our house.
Earth’s Best Chlorine-Free Baby Wipes
A chlorine-free option in baby wipes works for me. I like to avoid phenoxyethanol and methylisothiazolinone in any products I use and these do not contain those ingredients. Side note: since I stopped using wipes containing phenoxyethanol and methylisothiazolinone I’ve seen an improvement in the eczema on my hands, for those of you who also have this problem. I guess my skin super-sensitive.
The Honest Co. Baby Wipes
These wipes fit the bill when it comes to being gentle and biodegradable. The reason they’re my second favorite is that they’re thin and I need several to get the job done with a poopie diaper. They are, however, terrific to throw in your bag for cleaning little faces after a yummy lunch on the go. Or at the playground or pretty much anywhere your kid gets dirty.
I breastfed and it worked for me and my babies. If you don’t, that’s fine too. I’m not the one to ask about formula because I never used it, but this section will work for anyone using their boobs.
I’m not being dramatic when I say this. I don’t think I could have lived without this thing!
It increased my comfort and baby’s comfort immeasurably while nursing and while it looks too simple to be useful, trust me, you’ll love it.
Lansinoh Nursing Pads
Ever wonder what women do when their milk lets down (which is code for squirts all over the damn place!) and they’re not actually nursing their baby?
Whether you’re food shopping or you’ve gone back to work, you’ve got to keep those boobs covered so that you don’t spring a leak in a very inconvenient situation. I went through so many boxes of these nursing pads. I wore a bra to bed and shoved these in there before drifting off to sleep. Truthfully though, if you have a high milk supply you will probably wake up with a wet chest no matter what you do. My solution was to sleep on a washable changing pad with a waterproof backing. It saved me from changing the sheets every morning!
The Lansinoh nipple ointment works great, too, for all the soreness and cracking that can come along with nursing in the beginning. Hope I’m not scaring anyone. You’ll live, I promise.
Medela Breast Pump
If you’re going to nurse I highly recommend purchasing the best breast pump you can afford. I used Medela and it worked wonders.
I tried a manual pump with my first baby but soon realized that it took me waaaay too long to pump as much milk as I wanted to store. I mean, new parents have to go out to dinner a rekindle the flame at some point.
Born Free Baby Bottles
I love glass bottles because I don’t even have to think about what’s in them. Just plain old-fashioned glass.
I have used various BPA-free/Phthalate-free plastic bottles that worked fine. But glass is my favorite even though it’s breakable.
Earth’s Best Baby Food
This baby food is so delicious that I used to steal spoonfuls while feeding my kids. They have lots of flavors and different stages depending on your child’s age.
While making your baby’s food is a great idea, this is a delicious back-up when you don’t have time…or energy.
Let’s start with the stroller. You will depend on this sweet ride for year to come. I’m showing the double stroller version because it’s what I have (thanks to my mom and mother-in-law who gave it to me), but they make a single and everyone I know loves their single, too. I LOVE this stroller because it folds so easily. It has idiot-proof handles that say PULL HERE so you can fold it in a flash. I will admit that I am the idiot here because in a moment of frazzled-freak-out I didn’t read the PULL HERE handles and had to call my husband to see if he knew how to collapse it. Looking back, they do really make it easy for you. Hopefully, you are more observant that I.
This stroller also handles beautifully and glides over bumps that some other strollers might smash into, giving your kids whiplash. The double version is perfectly sized to fit through standard doorways, so you won’t get stuck. Love, love, love it!
This is not a picture of me, although I’m sure this lady is very nice.
Anyway, I enjoyed being able to hold close my bundle of joy while having the freedom to check e-mail or fold laundry.
It’s such a special time, when baby is so very tiny, and your warmth and closeness is so comforting to them.
I still love to squish and hug and kiss my kids constantly, only now they wriggle away and say Go away, Mommy. I doubt they’d allow me to wear them in a harness these days.
Pack n’ Play
I’m not saying it has to be the Graco one in this photo, but get yourself a pack n’ play, for heaven’s sake! I know you’re going to want to cuddle and kiss your little one forever and ever but at some point you will need to change out of your pajamas or make yourself coffee or I don’t know…eat something! I’m glad I got the kids used to being in here at certain times of the day, especially when they became mobile. It’s easy to turn your back for “just a second” and find that baby has discovered something potentially hazardous that you forgot to baby-proof. You’re not perfect and you may miss something. I’m just saying. Having a safe place for baby to play or rest is a great thing.
Fisher-Price Rainforest Gym
I love this thing! I even got under there with both my babies and enjoyed all the cute dangling toys and soothing music. It was a great spot for them to have tummy time. This way I could get a few things done around the house while keeping an eye on baby, knowing that he/she was having fun. Family and friends would call me and hear the “rainforest” music in the background and say, “Let me guess, you’re on the mat again?” The two arches disconnect easily and the mat is machine washable.
The following are some toy websites that I think you’ll find helpful and fun
Melissa & Doug
Fish Bowl Fill & Spill
Sorry to say I can’t remember the origins of the other toys listed below but I’ve added a few websites you can check out. All of these toys are fun and exciting to little ones, with the added bonus of helping them develop those very important motor skills.
These sites are great for price comparisons and one-stop shopping:
So there you have it! I hope this was helpful and, as always, if you need more info please let me know.