Becoming a new mom is overwhelming for a variety of reasons, one of them being the endless number of products that are marketed. How do you know which ones are safe? How do you know what you really need? What do you need more of/less of? What products look amazing but are absolutely useless? What products are life-saving but not well advertised? Thinking about this can make you feel like Matilda with objects swarming around your head.
I don’t claim to know it all, and I certainly have not tried and tested all of the baby products that are available in the world, but I can tell you the top 10 that I have learned can be life-saving over the past year.
Before I became a mother, I had never even heard of such a thing. My son was born prematurely, and therefore his digestive system was not made of the strongest stuff at first. He was an extremely gassy baby, and by luck a veteran mama had given me a few products at my baby shower. Doctor-recommended, we began to give my son gas drops with every bottle (and sometimes in between!). It made such a difference with both his digestion and his temperament. I would recommend that any new mom have gas drops on hand- just in case. There are various brands of gas drops, but here are the ones that we used.
2. Dr. Brown’s Bottles
As they say, hindsight is 20/20. For my baby shower, I had registered for one type of bottle in varying sizes and colors. Low and behold, they did not turn out to be the kind that my little guy needed, and they remain in a kitchen cabinet untouched, to this day. We ended up with Dr. Brown’s bottles due to the digestion issues, but they are for any and every baby. I tell every mom-to-be to register for these bottles because gassy baby or no, I have yet to meet a mom that doesn’t love them. Don’t worry we also have these bottles in varying colors and designs as well. You don’t have to trade style for practicality. I would also say that I prefer the “Options” line of Dr. Brown’s because they can transition with your baby as he grows! Check them out here.
3. Windi Pipes
I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking that too: you want me to put what, WHERE?
Let me reassure you ladies, little trauma for a whole lot of relief. When my son was a newborn, he had a difficult time pooping. Sometimes two or three days would go by and there was still no action. My poor, little guy was so uncomfortable, grunting and squirming constantly. I got to the point where I was willing to try anything, and so to Windi Pipes I went. They really do work- a little too well. You need to be prepared to cover with a diaper quickly…or wear a poncho. I only ended up using them a handful of times when we were desperate, and I am so glad that I did. Read more about Windy Pipes here.
4. Gripe Water
Gee, there seems to be a theme here, huh? Laughter aside, baby boy was on a regimen of gripe water in addition to the gas drops. Think of them as ginger-ale for babies. The gripe water worked so well, it was as if my son knew their purpose very early on. He would see the syringe and get a taste of it, and he would down it, hungrily. Soon thereafter, he would seem so much more comfortable. Even though he is 13 months now, we still sometimes use them. Again, there are a lot of choices, but we typically used this brand of gripe water for our tummy troubles.
5. Nuby Teething Nets
These are great for both helping teething babies and letting them try new foods. If you’re unfamiliar, it is a net attached (safely) to a plastic handle in which you can put ice or small chunks of food. This allows baby to munch on new foods without worrying about choking hazards. For teething, it can be so hard to get a teether to say cool longer than 2 minutes. We put ice cubes in the net and let my son go to town. It has also been useful to put slices of apple, watermelon, baby carrots, etc. This allows me to spend less time cutting foods into tiny pieces, while allowing baby boy to share what we are eating. One word of caution: banana is VERY hard to clean out of the nets. I would recommend purchasing additional backup nets ahead of time. Check out the nets we use here.
6. Nuby Silicone Teether
When I was purchasing teething rings for my son, I did a lot of research about which were safest and which babies liked best. This teether was a fan favorite, so I decided to give it a try. This one is a close tie with the next product for my son’s favorite teether. It has bristles that massage the gums when baby bites on it, it is easy to wash, and it comes with a case for travel! We actually own three of these in three different colors because he likes it so much!
7. Nuby Wacky Teething Ring
Wacky is exactly how I would describe this teething ring. It’s crazy looking and made out of different materials: silicone, plastic, and fabric. I can tell you that the number one reason why my son loves this teether is for the fabric pieces. As much as it makes me cringe, he loves chewing specifically on the fabric. If you’re looking to help move baby’s gag reflux back, this teether is great for that too. It remains in first place with the aforementioned teether after months of use. This is also easy to wash, but it does not come with a case. I’m just seeing now that they sell these in a two-pack– trust me, you’ll want both!
8. Safety 1st Baby Nail Clipper
When my little monkey was a newborn, he was an expert at clawing his face. We kept mittens on his hands, but he would inevitably get them off. I learned very early on to constantly clip his nails. Now that he’s a rough-and-tumble, robust one-year-old, I clip them so that he doesn’t gouge my face. Clipping the nails of a baby of any age can be scary because we are so afraid them hurt him. These clippers come with a light which makes it so much easier to see what you are clipping, and the hefty handle allows you to get a great grip. I can honestly say that I have NEVER caused my son injury using these.
9. Battery-Operated Clip-On Stroller Fan
My son runs hot in general, so add in summer heat and he is an angry little man. Last summer, my son was still in his carrier that clicks into our stroller, and the fabric in the carrier would overheat him almost instantly. I felt so guilty taking him out for a walk because he would become uncomfortable so quickly. I finally invested in a stroller fan, and what a difference it made! The one that I purchased is battery operated, and the battery life lasts a really long time. (I’ll have to get back to you on an exact amount of time after I use it again this summer; my memory isn’t serving me perfectly right now and I don’t want to guestimate!) It clips right onto any surface, adjusts direction, and has multiple speed choices. It’s a pretty powerful little bugger. If it helps, it would probably double as a great gym or beach fan for mama as well!
10. Stroller Cell Phone Clamp
This one is actually a recent investment for us. Every time I took my son for a walk, I was looking for a place to put my phone. If I put it in the bottom basket, it was difficult to access while moving. If I put it in a cup holder up top, it could easily be jostled and fall out. Finally, I purchased a clamp-based holder so that I could have it safely secured and easily accessible. Now that my son is facing outward, I don’t feel as guilty about answering an email or text message while we walk. This clamp allowed me to do so.
I know that this is not the only list I could make of useful products, but a new mama’s got to start somewhere! These items are typically things that we do not think or know to register for. It didn’t take me long to figure out that these were things I needed, but I hope that I can help someone else skip some research and save some time.
What are your favorite products? Please feel free to share in the comments section. I love learning from all you mamas out there!