As I did my Pregnancy Must-Have’s some time ago, I figure now’s as good a time as any to do my New Mama Essentials – which is a mix between our top Newborn and New Parent must-haves. I’m going to skip the obvious things like medical kits, hygiene kits, breast pads, and the like; and I’m going to go straight to the Top 7 things we’ve found to be both unique and useful — things that were not on any of the other lists I saw before that I’ve found I make most use of. So without further ado, here’s our list:
#1: Baby 411
This book was given to us kindly by our friends Martin and Bea. We’ve found it to be significantly more useful than the What To Expect series, and we’ve referred to it for tons of practical advice since Day 1. The best things about it are:
- It includes both practical, been-there advice from parents as well as the professional opinion of a world-renowned pediatrician (Ari Brown)
- It is written in a very relatable, readable manner, with an incredibly easy to use glossary, and compartmentalized advice based on where it comes from (Parental Experience, Pediatric Expertise, et al).
- It presents very balanced, objective facts and advice about topics most other books present certain subjectivity on (for example: circumcision, or breastfeeding, or bottle feeding).
#2: Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover
My godmother gifted this exact nursing cover to me at one of my baby showers, and I’ve found it to be one of the most useful new additions to my “wardrobe”. I use it a lot. What I love most about it is that it’s got the stiff collar so that I can look down and maintain eye contact and check in on my little one without having to lift or tuck or duck as I would with most other conventional breast feeding covers. I’ve since placed an order for another very similar one with Elin.ph (a lovely mama brand you should all check out yourselves!) done in navy blue eyelet cotton style. Excited to have a couple to choose from so I can match them with my outfits too!
#3: Built Convertible Diaper Bag
I love this diaper bag so much. It’s the perfect size with compartments for everything we need, a hard bottom so things don’t fall into disarray when you swing the bag around, and comes with a velcroed-down, pull-out-able changing pad. We bring this everywhere we go and it’s proven most useful. My husband in particular likes it because it’s got a subtle, unisex design that isn’t “babied down” with pastels and animal caricatures or too feminine (which most stylish baby bags are).
#4: My First Years Co-Sleeper
Jay and I hadn’t initially planned to co-sleep but it quickly became apparent that it would be useful: it would mean not having to get up, go to a crib, etc just to check on our little one in the middle of the night; and it makes breastfeeding more of an express/easy-access thing (especially, once again, for those super late night feeds where you just want to roll over, pick up your baby, nurse, burp, let him down, and roll over again to sleep in the same 1 meter radius). That said, we wanted to make sure we were co-sleeping safely, which is why we bought a sleeper with barricades: to ensure our son wouldn’t roll out and end up squished by one of us on the bed. This particular one was the best of the options because: 1) the base is firm, 2) the barricades are firm but well padded, and best of all: 3) it’s portable! We can bring it with us to friends’/family’s homes when there are parties and our son has somewhere comfortable to sleep. We also bought a Sleep Positioner (see #5) for additional security and as a portable bed as well. More on that up next!
#5: My First Years Infant Sleep-Positioner
I know most people simply use bolster pillows on either side of their little one to keep them in place in their beds/cribs, but we wanted to have something that was both portable, and would fit in our co-sleeper (see #4). This is a great little invention because it’s breathable, light (easy to carry around), and adjustable (the bolsters are connected with heavy duty velcro and can be moved to make more room for your little one or come in tighter for a snugger fit). We use it every night inserted in our co-sleeper for that added feeling of security (both for our little one – to mimic that snugness in the womb, and for ourselves as parents – so we can feel confident he won’t just roll around and run the risk of blocking his airways even in the co-sleeper). We also bring it with us any time we visit friends or relatives. As our little one came during the holiday season there were plenty of dinners and birthday parties to attend at family members’ homes, so we would bring this positioner with us and set it up wherever we went (on beds, in guest rooms) and it’s an immediate, comfortable “nap pod” for our son.
#6: Hillsong Music! (and praise music in general)
I’ve found that the most effective music to sing to our son is praise music, particularly hymns and Hillsong songs. He seems to enjoy them (both when I play them on Spotify, and when I sing them to him myself), and they are a great way for me to encourage myself during those tough moments. Nothing like singing a praise song in a moment of difficulty or weakness to give you some added perspective (like when he’s wailing and you don’t know why; or he’s having a horrible gas attack and you just want to pray his pain away)! In particular, we’re really enjoying Open Heaven – Hillsong Worship’s latest album. I would highly recommend it to anybody looking for some encouragement.
#7: Nursing Tops/Outfits!
This photo is care of Peachy Mama but the brand I use the most is Elin – the local Filipino brand I linked above that makes nursing tops, maternity clothes, and more. I’m really loving the basic pieces I’ve gotten from them (a dress, a 3/4 sleeved basic tee, and a basic tank). These are the most useful items of clothing I have now because not only are they simple, easy to wear, soft, and extremely comfortable, but they are unique in that I can breastfeed in them conveniently any time anywhere. They all have nursing flaps that can be pulled back so you can easily feed your baby wherever you are. I look forward to purchasing more of their pieces soon. I have my eye on a couple more nice dresses. And the best thing about the items is they don’t look like nursing clothing, so you can easily reuse them even when you aren’t pregnant!
So there you have it. My simple list of 7 favorites this past month. Many thanks to My First Years, Bebe Au Lait, Built, Hillsong, Peachy Mama, and Baby 411, who made these wonderful things, and from whom I took all these product photos directly.
If you guys have your own Essentials you’d like to share, or questions about ours, feel free to reach out in the comments!