My wife and I put together a list of items we felt made a big difference for us as new parents. Most of our research was a combination of advice from friends, advice from books, and checking with the ratings for these items on Amazon.
This list is by no means a comprehensive list of everything you will need as a new parent, but it contains items we would certainly recommend to someone else. Also, we are not getting a referral commission on the purchase of any of these items. Feel free to make new suggestions if you see something not on the list you would recommend.
Marpac SleepMate 980A Electro-Mechanical Sound Conditioner
Not only does this machine simulate a sound similar to what the baby heard in the womb, it also works great for a husband who has a minor snoring problem (hah)!
Honestly, this device will help you sleep better in addition to your baby. If you live in the city, it will help drown out those elements as well.
Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Soothe and Glow Seahorse
We use this little toy when we are putting our son down for a nap. He associates it with sleep time and it works very well when we are trying to calm him down. Typically, we just set it in his crib (far enough away from him) or set it on an end table near where we are rocking him to sleep. Works great!
Lamaze Jacques the Peacock
Our son loves this toy. The toy has bright/vibrant colors on the front, and printed black and white patterns on the back to satisfy until their vision becomes clearer. The wings make a crinkly noise that he really likes, and there is a squeak feature on the front. We use this a lot in combination with his bouncy seat.
Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer
These seats are a great way to calm a baby and/or to have your hands free safely for a moment and know your baby is safe. The seat vibrates, so it soothes the baby. The forest toy feature disconnects if you just wish to use the seat on it’s own.
Moby Wrap Baby Carrier
There are a lot of studies on the benefits of “wearing” your baby. The moby wrap looks like an oversize scarf, but there are several YouTube videos that show you how to wear it properly for a newborn. I personally like the Baby Bjorn, but when wearing a newborn, they don’t have the head strength yet for a Bjorn carrier. This is a great product, and it’s very versatile. An added bonus, is you’ll have both hands free to move around the house with more ease.
BabyBjorn Baby Carrier
This is by far one of my favorite purchases. It’s easy to use and our son loves it now that he has the proper neck strength to hold up his head. He enjoys looking around, and falls asleep quickly and easily when wearing it. Plus, it gives dad time to put up some new posts on the blog. He always sleeps longer as well in either the Moby wrap or the BabyBjorn than just lying in his bassinet. Can’t beat that, right?
Summer Infant Best View Handheld Video Monitor
I believe a video monitor is a personal preference. A monitor is not needed if you are attentive to and can easily hear your child around your house, but we enjoy having it with us regardless. My wife and I enjoy being able to see if he has worked out of his swaddle, or if the noises he is making a just a normal part of his sleep/dream process without having to enter the room.
The First Year’s Infant to Toddler Tub with Swing
This tub is great, and our son loves bath time! The design of the tub accomodates both newborns (on the more slanted side) and toddlers (on the flatter side). The sling is also useful if you are just doing a spongebath during those first weeks. There are spots for your soap and shampoo, and it drains and cleans up well also.
Tommy Tippee Newborn Starter Set
Our little guy had a hard time latching at first while we were trying to feed him, so we ended up pumping and giving him a bottle. The other bottles we had (can’t remember the brand) ended up giving him some gas and hiccups quite often. We switched to these bottles, which closer mimic a woman’s body, and the problem resolved quickly after that.
The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer
Let’s just say, if you are bottle feeding breast milk, this is a must. Before we were trying to warm the milk under a warm faucet and it took too long and produced inconsistent results. Tip: let the bottle warmer sit for 1 – 2 minutes after the light clicks off. Always check the milk to make sure it isn’t too hot, but having it slightly warm will make feeding so much easier.
Fischer-Price Rainforest Melodies and Lights Gym
This toy has provided a lot of entertainment to our little guy. He did not take to it at first intially, but with some reassurances from us and some more exposure to it, he has really enjoyed his time in the gym. It provides a lot of stimulation for him, so it’s good for about 30 minutes, but you can tell he is very captivated by everything around him.
This item, if you can afford it, is a must have. Being able to read, watch a movie, etc. with one hand is important when you are carrying around a baby, or feeding a newborn. As a gadget geek, this item has made (and will make) parenting so much more enjoyable. When he gets older, we can read Dr. Seuss books interactively together, or download apps like Crayola ColorStudio HD.
Bonus: Buy your parents a webcam (or an iPad), and use the Skype/Facetime app that comes with the device to video conference with them. It’s great if they live far away or vacation frequently.
Stork Craft Tuscany Glider and Ottoman
This product review isn’t as much about having this specific glider, as it is just having a glider. This model is inexpensive in comparison to others, and it is comfortable for us. The gliding motion is ideal for calming him when he is uncomfortable. Tip: another good calming technique is to (gently) bounce on a stability ball.
Summer Infant SwaddleMe Blanket (3-pack)
These things are perfect for the baby ninja escape artist. Our little guy can weasle his way out of any swaddle, but not this one. We tuck him in good, and he sleeps very soundly through the night as a result. Be sure to buy a few as ours pee’d through several of these in the first weeks, so we were washing them frequently. Highly recommended.
Keurig Coffee Machine
I’m not so much recommending this machine, as I am just recommending one in general. Drinking coffee in moderation, can have numerous health benefits. Also, the Keurig machine makes enjoying a cup of coffee a very hassle free experience. Our Keurig goes from zero to awesome in 20 seconds flat.
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump
I can’t personally vouch for this device, but my wife is a big fan. As I noted earlier, our little guy wasn’t taking well to the natural process at first, and this helped aid us along in the process. It travels well, can operate cordless, and it is relatively (so I hear) comfortable. I would recommend a hands-free pump if you plan to use one.
The First Years Soothie Newborn Pacifiers
This little things are great. For one, they are safe if they fall out of the little ones mouth while they are sleeping at night and happen to roll onto them. Two, you can gently use your finger to help guide the pacifier and hold it in place if necessary.
These pillows are great to use when you are feeding your child. They gain weight quickly, and either your arm will get a workout, or you’ll want to use something like this. There are lots of colorful covers, so you can pick one that looks good in your nursery. Also, they come in handy for tummy time as they approach 2 months.
Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Coldplay
There are other Rockabye Baby! cd’s available (The Beatles, Radiohead, Dave Matthews Band), but we felt that Coldplay as a musical act was already very melodic and soothing, and that definitely translated to the CD as well. The music is all instrumental and surprisingly well done. After listening to this several times while he was a sleep it seems to be very familiar to him and soothes him to sleep faster now.
Huggies Little Snugglers Newborn Diapers
The color changing stripe in newborn diapers is a blessing for a new parent. I honestly had never changed a diaper before in my life and was terrified of knowing how, when, or what to do. The stripe is a nice way to quickly check without having to do the sniff test if your baby needs a change.
I’m not advocating this particular item, but I would recommend using rechargeable batteries if you can. There are a large number of kid items which all require batteries. You’ll save yourself a load of money and help the environment by using rechargeable batteries if possible.
Sony HDR-CX110 High Definition Handycam Camcorder
Use iMovie or Windows DVD Maker to make home family movies (post on that coming soon). A great way to record all the early moments from the first smile, to crawling, to walking & talking. You might even get a good shot of them making daddy laugh.
These devices are really handy for storing burp cloths, swaddle blankets, and bibs. They store easily on or in a bookshelf. You’ll find they are very helpful for these items you use every day on a frequent basis.
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