I often get asked about specific baby product: what we use, what we like, and what we don’t like. And I love sharing my advice, as well as getting opinions from other moms too. There are SO many items on the market for babies, it can be really overwhelming. You can’t buy everything, so how do you know what is worth the money and what isn’t?! I remember not knowing where to start when I was expecting my first baby. I took to reading blogs, researching online, and quizzing my friends who already had kids. Now that I’ve done this once already, I feel like I have a handle on what is essential and what is a pass. So I have put together a list of my top 10 must have NEWBORN baby products. These are my favourite items that I either loved with both my newborns, or recently discovered and wish I had them with my first!
I remember when my (now 2 year old) daughter was a few weeks old, I started seeing mommy bloggers posting photos of their cute little babes all curled up in these cozy little loungers. Not only were they adorable, but moms were raving about how much their little ones loved them. I was kicking myself for not buying one then, so this time around I knew a DockATot was on my to buy list. Unfortunately, they are not currently able to be sold in Canada due to Health Canada regulations, but I am hopeful they will be available in the north again soon! In the mean time, I found a way around it by shipping my Dock to a U.S. address and bringing it home that way. And I’m so glad I did, because Luca loves it, which means I love it! He has been struggling with reflux and I have found the DockATot is the sleep solution for managing his frequent spit ups, because we are able to easily elevate the head of the DockATot with a crib wedge, so he is more comfortable. Plus I tote it around the house with me, so wherever I go, little Luca has a comfy place to hang out too. Hot Tip: order an extra cover in the likely event that your little love spits up or has a blowout, so you don’t have to stress. I just ordered the Lush & Fern cover but was having a hard time deciding between it and the Palm Beach. We have the Deluxe and it is the perfect size for him and fits up to 9 months. After that, there is the DockATot Grand, for 9-36 months and you best believe we are ordering one of those when the time comes too! To provide some stimulation for the little guy, we attach the toy arch, which turns the Dock into a little baby gym. Although we haven’t tried it yet, I know lots of families like using the DockATot for travel as it is portable and familiar so babies are more likely to sleep well in a new environment. Some also boast about using the DockATot as a safer solution to co-sleeping. Is there anything this product isn’t good for?! I can’t say enough positive things about the DockATot. A definite must have.
A bassinet is a must have for all newborns, so they can be safe and right next to mom and dad for the first few months. For both babies I have used the HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper and found it super convenient. It was such a life saver the first time around when I was recovering from a c-section because it swivels 360 degrees and the sidewall lowers, so you can easily get baby in and out without much movement or effort. I also like that baby is at eye level and the sidewalls are mesh so I can keep an eye on him and make sure he is safe and sound. Our model also has a soothing centre, which plays soothing sound effects and lullabies, although, truthfully, we don’t really use that feature. We kept Bella in the bassinet until she was about 5 months and will likely do the same with Luca.
3. Swaddle/Sleep Sack
Babies are used to being snug inside mamas tummy, so most little ones feel secure when they are wrapped up tight. Luca definitely sleeps better when he is in a swaddle or sleep sack. Our favourite for the newborn stage is the Gro Company’s Gro-Snug. It is a 2 in 1 swaddle and sleeping bag; babies arms can be zipped up inside or left out, depending on their preference. Luca first liked having his arms inside, but lately prefers to have them free. It is made of super soft and stretchy cotton and has a long zipper, so it is quick to take on and off. Which is ideal because those newborn cries are no joke. Gro-Snugs are available in two weights- light and cozy, depending on room temperature. We have the cozy weight and also use the Gro-Egg to make sure the nursery is the right temperature for little Luca. Once he outgrows his Gro-Snug, we will transition him into a Grobag.
4. Baby Carrier
If your babes are anything like mine, they will love to be held and not really let you put them down. Although it can be hard to get much done when they are stage five clingers, I try to just soak it up as much as possible because I know one day they will be too big for me to carry them anymore. I LOVE baby wearing and have a few different style carriers in my repertoire. For newborns, my two favourites are stretchy wraps and ring slings. Both are easy, light weight, and keep baby close enough to kiss. By far the best wrap carrier is Beluga Baby. I have tried several styles, and none are as soft, stretchy, and easy to use as the Beluga. It is not nearly as long as some of the other wrap carriers, so wrapping is quick and fool proof. Plus it all folds up into a neat little pouch (which is attached), making it super convenient and portable. I have the Rachel Wrap in light heather grey and Bella has the matching doll carrier. A mama must have! My other favourite carrier for newborns is Poppy and Dave’s Ring Sling in Oatmeal. It is handmade in Canada of 100% linen and is very sturdy and well made. I love to throw it on in a pinch because it is fast and simple. Luca also likes it, as he is secure and close to mama. I didn’t have a ring sling with Bella, but they can carry toddlers up to 35 lbs- so they aren’t just for newborns! Excited to use this as Luca grows!
5. Breastfeeding Pillow
If you are planning on breastfeeding, you are going to spend a good deal of your time doing just that. Babies eat a lot. And eat often. Luca likes to eat every 1-2 hours, around the clock. So having a comfortable place to feed is key. I have breastfeeding ‘spots’ on each floor of our house and like to have at least two breastfeeding pillows on hand, so I’m not having to tote one around with me- carrying a baby is hard enough! I have tried several different pillows and my favourite is Choto Baby’s Posh ‘n’ Plush Nursing Pillow. I have it in Minky Ivory, which matches Luca’s nursery nicely. It is soft, plush, cozy, and just the right size. Sometimes I even find myself curling up with it after a late night feed. Bonus- it can be used as a pregnancy pillow too!
6. Breastfeeding Cover
I’m all about women feeding however they feel comfortable. When I’m with my friends, you might just find me proudly supporting the ‘free the nipple,’ movement, but there are other times when I feel more comfortable with a breastfeeding cover on. I only use Booby Trapper covers for several reasons. Not only are they a local company, but their design is genius; these covers have a dual rim, so you can easily see your baby while they are feeding, they are a nice, large size so you don’t have to worry about anything slipping out, they keep baby from being distracted, they fold up compactly, and come in a variety of colours and prints. We have the Citrus Burst pattern which is a perfect gender neutral print.
7. Breast Pump
While we are on the topic of breastfeeding, I have to give this little product a shoutout. If you follow me on instagram, you may have already heard me sing the praises of the Haakaa. It is technically more of a ‘milk catcher’ than a pump, but it serves the same purpose. It is one piece, made of 100% silicone, and extremely easy to use and clean. You simply breastfeed your baby on one breast, then suction the Haakaa onto your other breast and it catches your milk/ letdown. I usually get 2-3 oz in just a few minutes. Then you can easily rinse it/wash it with soap and let it dry. SO much easier than disassembling and washing all the parts of an electric breast pump. And it’s only about $35! I picked mine up at Cravings in Saskatoon! You gotta try it.
8. Shopping Cart Hammock
This is a cool little product I get stopped and asked about every time we use it! It is a Shopping Cart Hammock by Binxy Baby. We just transport Luca from his carseat into the Binxy, cover him with a blanket, and he is happy as a clam and usually just falls back asleep. Plus it is safe and attaches securely to the cart So much easier than lugging around his bucket seat, plus that carseat takes up all the space in the shopping cart. And you can’t get enough groceries using just a stroller. Sometimes I will use the carrier at the grocery store. but this is another nice option, especially if you are reaching up on shelves- not ideal while wearing a baby. It hammock folds up compactly and we just store it in our vehicle. The Binxy Baby is a perfect baby shower gift, mama will love. We have the tropical days print and love it.
9. Baby Chair/Swing
Even though your baby likely has a different opinion, you will have to put him down from time to time. And it’s nice to have a little seat to place them in. We have the mamaRoo in our bedroom and the Nuna Leaf on our main floor. The mamaRoo is a fancy electric ‘swing’ which touts being able to replicate the natural movements of parents. It has a lot of features like five different motions, five speeds, sounds, and option to connect to your phone or other device to play music. A lot of parents swear by the mamaRoo, but others say their babes didn’t care for it. It comes with a hefty price tag (around $350 CA), so it might be wise to try it out at a store or try a friends before you purchase (that’s what we did!). The Nuna Leaf on the other hand, moves in a gentle side to side motion with a push, for up to 2 minutes. Although we don’t have it, you can now also purchase a motor- which I am considering buying, so that we don’t have to keep pushing the chair. It is a sleek, simple, and modern design which I like, and as of right now, Luca seems to prefer the Nuna over the mamaRoo, but that could change over time. I will keep you posted! The Nuna retails for around $300, and the Nuna Wind (motor) is an additional $140
It’s obvious you need a stroller and a carseat, but since we love our stroller so much, I needed to include it too! We have the Baby Jogger City Select Stroller (which we first got when Bella was born), and recently added the second seat and glider board! If you have or are planning on having two children- both products are must haves! Bella is just over two years, but definitely still makes use of the stroller, especially now that she sees her baby brother in it. She is excited to go in it with him now! It is only slightly harder to maneuver with two seats but totally manageable. It is surprisingly compact and fits into the back of our SUV without a struggle. Baby Jogger recently released the City Select LUX which has 20 different riding options (the original has 16 options) and is 30% smaller- so if you are in the market for a stroller, that might be a nice option!
I hope you found this guide helpful! Am I missing any products? I will be writing more blogs about must have baby products, for the different ages and stages as Luca grows!
Thanks for reading,