As a first time mom, I stressed about whether or not I had everything I needed before our daughter was born. Now, I understand that when it comes to baby products, there is not much that is truly “essential” outside of diapers and wipes of some kind (and formula if you are formula feeding of course!). Brands do a great job of convincing us all that we absolutely need all the newest and trendiest items for our little ones, when in reality all they really need is us. That being said, there are a few products for baby’s first year that truly do make life a bit easier.
Every parent’s list of “must-have” baby items is going to look very different. Parenting style, preferences, and lifestyle all play a huge role in what products you will find useful. As a mom who exclusively breastfed and did a lot of babywearing and contact naps, these are the products that I found the most helpful during the first year.
Buckle up, this post is a long one but I hope it’s helpful for those first-time parents out there who are curious about some of these products. Here are 11 of my favorite products for baby’s first year.
- Most Helpful in the First Month: HAAKAA Silicone Breast Pump
- Can’t Live Without: Baby Carriers
- Nice to Have: Wipe Warmer
- Unexpected Favorite: IKEA ANTILOP High Chair
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If you had asked me in the first 1 to 2 months postpartum what product I couldn’t live without, I would have said the Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump. If you are breastfeeding, you need one of these (and again, I don’t say that lightly!). It was an absolute must-have during those early days of cluster feeding while my supply was regulating and it helped me deal with engorgement and leaking. Plus, when I got mastitis during the second month postpartum the Haakaa was my best friend in helping me clear painful clogged ducts. Once my supply regulated around the 2 to 3 month mark I didn’t need it as much and now that we’re a year in I don’t use it at all, but it’s at the top of this list for a reason. A must-have in my opinion.
2. Baby Carriers
Like I said, there are not many products for baby’s first year that are truly essential, but I’d count baby carriers as one of those things that I couldn’t live without. Babywearing was and still is a huge part of our lives, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are three main kinds of baby carriers that we used during the first year.
- Our favourite brand: MOBY
- Used: NB to 3-4 month mark
- Our favourite brand: Sew Funky (a Guelph local!)
- Used: 4-5 month mark to current
- Our favourite brand: Baby Bjorn
- Used: 3-4 month mark to current
3. Nipple Butter
If you are breastfeeding, nipple butter is definitely essential in the first month or so. Honestly nothing else to add here, just make sure you have some. Any brand will likely do, but Earth Mama Organics has a great all-natural one.
We use this religiously and have since our daughter was born. While she may just have great skin that is not prone to diaper rashes, she has only had one or two minor diaper rashes and I’d say this diaper balm has a lot to do with that. I love that this balm is organic, it feels moisturizing, it works well, and a little goes a long way. A definite favourite in our house.
This is one of the few “trendy” baby items that we absolutely loved and I would say is worth the money. Instead of a changing table, we used a dresser with the Keekaroo Peanut Changer on top and it was a great set up for us. The fact that you can wipe this changer down is the number one reason that I love it. I can’t even count the number of times it was peed on or subjected to a blowout sans diaper. Constantly removing and washing a cover would’ve been annoying but instead I was able to quickly wipe it down and sanitize it, no laundry required.
Also, when our daughter was a newborn laying on this changer used to calm her down without fail. I think it had something to do with the shape of it under her back – the middle is slightly raised and it seemed to feel good. It could’ve been a complete fluke, but when you’re dealing with a colicky newborn anything that gives you a few minutes with a happy baby wins major brownie points.
6. Wipe Warmer
We received a wipe warmer at our baby shower and it was not something that we initially felt we needed. However, I was really glad we had it in the first month or two. It’s definitely not essential by any means, but it made diaper changes so comfortable for her as a sensitive newborn and she never cried when we changed her diaper in those early months. If you are looking for some items to throw on the baby registry, I’d recommend adding a wipe warmer for sure!
I did a lot of research when it comes to baby monitors and ultimately ended up settling on the HelloBaby Monitor based on the reviews on Amazon. I love that it has a camera, and I love that the camera angle can be remotely adjusted. It’s also not wifi connected, meaning it’s safer and less prone to hacking. There are lots of other features on this thing as well, like two-way audio, temperature reading, and an alarm function but I honestly haven’t utilized those much. The only thing I don’t love about this monitor is that the battery life of the handheld portion seems a bit short to me, but it’s not a huge deal and the monitor comes with a nice long charging cord which is handy.
Using pacifiers was not a part of our original plan, but after a few weeks of caring for a very colicky and miserable newborn it felt essential so that I could pass her off to someone else and get a couple hours of sleep. Our daughter really fought us on the pacifier for a while and we tried lots of different kinds before she began to slowly accept the BIBS pacifiers. Now she loves them and we continue to use them with her. Personally, I think they are super cute as well and they come in lots of different styles and colours.
9. IKEA ANTILOP Highchair
I’d heard lots of great things about the $30 ANTILOP IKEA high chair before our daughter was born but I ended up putting a fancier Graco high chair on our registry instead. If I’m being honest I just couldn’t see how a $30 plastic high chair could stand up to a more expensive high chair from a well-established baby brand like Graco. Boy was I wrong! Not that there was anything inherently wrong with the Graco highchair, but once we began introducing solids it quickly became very apparent to me that when it comes to high chairs sometimes less is more.
First of all, the fact that the IKEA high chair is entirely plastic is one of its biggest selling points. The fabric cover on the Graco highchair got so dirty so quickly and was tricky to remove and clean. We literally just use a wet cloth to scrub down the entire tray and seat of our ANTILOP after each meal and it takes less than a minute. It’s great. I also love how simple and open the seat is on the ANTILOP high chair – meaning our daughter has some freedom to sit forward and back in the chair. Lastly, I love how small and compact the high chair is. We can even throw it in the back of our car and bring it with us on trips or outings if we need to.
Overall, it’s 100% worth the $30. Plus, if you are wanting to spruce up the basic chair a little bit, lots of companies sell awesome products like leg wraps and tray covers specifically designed for the ANTILOP that completely transform the look of it.
10. Silicone Bibs
Once your baby starts eating solids you are definitely going to want a couple of these on hand. We did baby led weaning which was amazing, but boy oh boy not much food actually makes it into their mouth in the first few months. These silicone bibs have a little catch pocket at the bottom which literally catches so much food before it hits their lap. Plus, they are super easy to wash or throw in the dishwasher after meals. Definite must-have in my opinion. Personally we have the Mushie brand bibs which are great but I think any brand will likely do!
This nursing bra is super comfortable and relatively affordable. If I’m being honest I haven’t spent a ton of money trying different kinds of nursing bras so I’m sure there are some other great ones out there, but for me I really enjoyed these ones. They are racerback style so getting another kind of nursing bra with standard straps is probably a good idea as well so you can be versatile depending on your outfit.
Do you have any must-have products for baby’s first year? Share them with me below!
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