Wisdom Wednesday


New Moms: The Must-Have List

As my youngest, our last baby, approaches his first birthday, I have come to the realization that the baby days in our house are almost over (sob!). It’s a strange feeling, as when my firstborn outgrew toys and clothes, I simply cleaned them and packed them away cheerfully, knowing I’d likely have a 2nd child who would use them. This time, however, it’s different. I hear Semisonic’s “Closing Time” playing in my head as I pile tiny clothes into heaps to be donated to friends and Goodwill, wash the fabric seat of the exersaucer a final time before collapsing it, and sanitize the little rattles and teethers for the last time before passing them along to other people’s new arrivals.

Looking at my sizable inventory of baby gear, I am left thinking about what was really great– what exceeded my expectations and really did make life easier with a baby in his first year- and what wasn’t worth it. I have many friends who are expecting, and decided to make a list of what I would call the “worth it” purchases…

The Boppy

I nursed both boys and found the Boppy pillow fantastic and helpful as a nursing support pillow, but my husband also used it when giving occasional bottles to our sons or simply rocking them to sleep. It really saves your arms and back. It was also wonderful for supporting the boys for tummy time, as well as preventing many a baby tip-over when they were new sitters.

Rock ‘N Play Sleeper

When Nate was born, my mother gave me a beautiful Pack ‘N Play for him to sleep in during the early weeks. He hardly made a dent in that little mattress. It was bulky to set up and travel with, and I just generally didn’t get much use out of it. However, with our 2nd, we bought the Rock ‘N Play sleeper. It folds up flat in literally two seconds, with one motion, and sets up just as easily. It weighs very little, so we just tossed it in the trunk of our car whenever we visited friends and family and needed a place for the little guy to nap. The best part was if he started fussing, it rocked ever so slightly and rocked him back to sleep. He even slept in it at home in our room when he was tiny. It really helped keep his arms from flinging out when he had the dreaded startle reflex. So worth the money.


With both boys, I found the exersaucer was a great place to let them play while I made dinner, did dishes, etc. We started using it at around 4-5 months, and I still sometimes put Joshua in it at 10 months. Most have a snack and cup tray and many fun, attached toys (that you won’t have to pick up 500 times!). Both boys really liked it, and I liked knowing they couldn’t tip over or roll away like they could on a blanket while I was nearby but doing other things.

Nursing Cover

If you’re going to nurse, I highly recommend buying (or making, if you’re crafty!) one of these. Seriously. The first time around, I thought they were silly and a waste of money. I figured I could do the exact same thing with a blanket. I was wrong. The neck loop is key. The baby can’t pull this off mid-feeding. Especially with the 2nd child, I was always on the go. I had to feed the baby, even if he was hungry while Nate was playing in a children’s museum or at the park, and I didn’t want to sit in my hot car with a whining toddler while the newborn was snacking. This was a great purchase.

Zip-Top Boat and Tote Bag

For reasons that I’ve yet to determine, I hate diaper bags. I don’t know why. I carry one extra diaper and a small container of wipes in my purse and the rest stays in my trunk in this bag. The zip top is key (if you take the corners like I do when you’re driving, anyway!). I leave this in my trunk at all times stocked with lots of extra diapers and wipes, tons of non-perishable snacks, a full change of clothing for each boy, toys, and a clean shirt for me (when you have a baby…you’ll know why). I almost never actually carry it with me, but it’s there if we need any supplies. And best of all…it’s guaranteed for life and totally usable post baby days.

Joovy Caboose Stand-On Tandem Stroller

I’m a minimalist when it comes to baby gear. I like tiny umbrella strollers and front carriers. However…this is amazing if you have both a baby and a toddler. For the most part, my 3.5 year old walks everywhere when we’re out and about. But if you have ever carried an exhausted 40lb 3.5 year old whilst pushing a baby in a stroller, you can understand that sometimes, you just need a double stroller.  This one is genius. The front works just like a regular stroller- it has a snack tray, 5-point harness, etc. Behind the front part, facing the opposite direction so the kids are sitting back-to-back, there’s a small, unobtrusive little bench seat that the bigger kid can hop on and off of on his own. Tired? Hop on! Want to walk? Hop off! SO easy and smart!! It also fits in the trunk of my tiny Elantra, which isn’t an easy feat for many double strollers.

The Ergo

I really postponed buying this item, as it’s pricey. When Nate was born, I bought several different cheaper front carriers and used each one or two times. I sold them on Craigslist and didn’t even bother saving them for #2 because they were uncomfortable to wear and made me feel like the baby wasn’t secure in there. It was never really hands free. When Josh came around, I realized I needed my hands free for my toddler, so I broke down, shelled out the money and bought this. My only regret is that I didn’t buy it when my first son was born so I could have gotten more use out of it! I have worn Josh, at nearly 10 months old and 21 lbs, in the Ergo for over an hour and a half with absolutely no back pain at all. We haven’t tried the back carry option yet, but that’s because he still fits comfortably in the front. It’s made of all fabric parts (except for the plastic clips) and takes up almost no space in the car. Totally worth the price tag. My only caveat is that the “infant insert” is bulky and not comfortable if you have a tiny baby in the summer months because it’s so hot…but aside from that…amazing all around.

15 comments on “Wisdom Wednesday”

  1. Agree 100% about the diaper bag. I don’t think I know anyone who likes one and yet they are always pushed at prevent moms as a much needed item. We use a backpack or if only need a few’thints, I love the shoulder bag from simalacs I got from my obgyn while prego (every prego women in the practise gets one).
    One thing I would add, the Bath luve towel. Having a winter baby she was always cold in the baby tub, but once we got the Bath Luve it was all good.

    1. Ohhhhh that Bath Luve is SO CUTE! I am definitely keeping that in mind for baby gifts for friends with fall/winter babies. With Nate (a fall baby) we had to bathe him on the table with a space heater going nearby or he SCREAMED because he was freezing. This would have been awesome!! Thanks for the idea!

  2. Thanks for this. I agree with all your picks although we have the bjorn carrier, not the ergo. I don’t have any complaints but it was also pretty pricey. I love robeez and I love your idea about ditching the diaper bag and keeping a stash in the car. I just never thought of it! That dumb diaper bag takes up all the room in the stroller and is a nuisance to carry around. Also, I never bought a special nursing wrap, always have used a blanket and didn’t realize there was such a big difference. I may just have to take your advice and get myself one for #3.

    1. Yes, I used a blanket with Nate, and it was fine, but wow- the nursing cover is great. It even has little cotton pouches to store breast pads while you’re nursing (on the inside). Really helpful especially in the first weeks!

  3. I LOVE the boppy too! I’ve had the same with all three boys. The ergo is awesome! (We also do ring-slings which are fast and easy.) What a great list! Are you SURE you’re done? 😉

    1. Hahahaha yes..sadly done here 🙂

      I always wanted to try a ring sling but never got around to buying one. I tried an Infantino sling (later recalled!!) and a Hotsling (really awkward to wear…I always felt like Nate would roll right out). I’ve heard ring slings are amazing.

      1. I love my Ergo, my tie wrap and my ring sling. They all have pros and cons depending on the size of your child. My sons are 3 and 18 months and I can still use the ring sling with both of them. I actually have quite an assortment of different baby carriers and loved most of them, but some of them definitely take some getting used to. I feel like I should be hired by one of the baby carrier companies because I’m always talking about them and giving lessons! I hosted a baby carrier session a few months ago and might offer another one via Mothers’ Connection if there is interest.

        I definitely recommend Robeez, too. I never used a nursing cover though I nursed both my boys for a year. I was fairly discreet but I didn’t go out of my way to hide. I figured if people had a problem with it, it was THEIR problem, not mine.

  4. omg i just wrote a 4 paragraph response and it just got lost. ok…. here’s the abridged version:

    1.) LOVE the rock n’ play. jake lived in it for 3 months!

    2.) baby carriers are the best. the baby bjorn was one of the ways i credit getting anything done with jake at the same time 🙂 p.s. just ordered a BOBA 3G carrier to use. up to 45 pounds and works as a back packer? awesome!

    3.) 2 new products to add that were my lifesavers:

    Robeez- no velcro, no shoelaces, and machine washable. just bought jake a pair for summer:


    Skip Hop Pronto diaper changing mat. I don’t use a diaper bag, but a big Vineyard Vines Tote. this thing goes from handbag to VV bag, to whereev.


  5. Sarah- i think i have used over half of these with Jake and they were worth every single penny! First, i’ll hit up the rock n’ play. we had this NEXT DAYED from amazon the second day we had Jake home. It was amazing. it snuggled him, kept him cozy and sleepy, and it was a cinch to pick up, fold up and take from room to room, and to the grandparent’s. LOVED IT!!

    the boppy- this helped out with tummy time! i’d prop him up in the center of it on his stomach, and he’d squirm and look around. he didn’t stay in it too long, but it did help transition. oh, and it was a total godsend for me…. i used it as a seat cushion on my hard bent wood rocker in his room when i fed jake at all hours of the day. (and it was especially helpful during the first week post-baby!)

    we actually received that exact same exersaucer! but, from the moment Jake was introduced to the jumperoo at daycare, it was a goner! so, we donated the exersaucer to our daycare, and went back to amazon to buy the jumperoo. oh how he LOVES that thing!

    finally- the bjorn. after reading your post i just hopped back onto amazon (love free shipping and amazon prime!) and bought the Boba baby carrier. It takes up to 45 pounds, and while Jake’s not close to that yet, i love the idea of carrying him on my back! although i am going to miss my trusty bright green baby bjorn…. the baby carrier- one of the best baby inventions of all time.

    as for products that i’ve had great success with, outside of the bjorn and jumperoo, i go no where without my skiphop diaper changing pad case. i use a Vineyard Vines tote as a diaper bag (btw, i’m totally in your camp. for some reason i’ve always been very very anti-diaper bag. don’t know why, just a personal thing.) soooo….. that is why i love this thing!


    finally, Robeez. they don’t have velcro, they don’t have laces, they slip right on, are soft and beyond cute. Jake lives in his, and they are machine washable! hooray! just bought him a new pair for summer.


    1. Oooo that diaper changer looks great! I also LOVE Robeez. My first son had super wide feet and could never wear them…but Joshua LIVES in them. And I especially love the crab ones you posted!! We need those for summer!! Can you really machine wash them? I was just wondering about that…what setting do you use??

      1. Sarah- i just put them in on the delicate cycle with the rest of his clothes, and then let them air dry. But, i have also hand washed them, too. They’re so cute and so easy. two of my favorite things!

      2. Oooo good tip!! I will attempt to wash them this weekend 🙂 I’ve been afraid of ruining them!!

  6. I bought the Ergo months ago per your endorsement and LOVE it. I wish I could carry the baby everywhere with me, forever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Also, I totally agree with the Boppy Pillow. Used that thing multiple times a day, every day, until just recently.

    1. I agree!! It’s so easy to put on, even alone! I love it. I had so much trouble getting Nate in other carriers- slings, Bjorns, etc.- when he was a baby. So glad I got the Ergo this time around. And yea- we have two Boppys, both gifts from friends. I was wondering if two was silly and thought about exchanging one…so glad I didn’t! We just stopped using ours, too, except for when we rock Joshua at night…the end of an era!! 😦

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