December 02, 2016

A dozen baby products I wish I’d known about with baby #1 (or still love with baby #2)

While I’m certainly far from an expert on motherhood, two babies worth of 2 am breastfeeding web surfing (and maybe a bit too much Amazon shopping) has turned me into a bit of a baby product connoisseur of sorts. I have so many other friends and family co-existing in this newborn world with me, and I’ve helped many of them create registries and pick out great products. It’s inspired me to create my list of products that I wish I had found before baby #2 as well as some that I did find with baby #1 and still use the heck out of.

I should warn that I’m one of those moms that’s a big fan of breastfeeding, babywearing, and cloth diapers, but I think I rounded out this list with at least a little something for everyone. In no particular order (because we all know babies need A LOT of stuff), here are my favorites.

1) I worked my way through a few nipple creams before discovering Motherlove nipple cream. At a price point above most others, I debated buying it after the ones I already had lying all over my couch weren’t giving me the relief I hoped for. I was so glad I eventually gave in. It saved my poor sore nipples a few weeks into breastfeeding my first, and it was the only nipple cream I bought to have ready for baby #2. I usually buy it on Amazon, because they will sometimes sell a 2 or 3 pack that saves a few bucks.

2) I could never get used to disposable nursing pads. They felt rough and looked bulky. I quickly started using Bamboobies reusable pads exclusively. They are super soft, easy to wash, and plenty absorbent with both a day and night option. They are much more discrete under my clothes. I have about 7-8 pairs that I rotate through, and that is plenty with as much wash as I do with all the laundry my little monsters make. They even run a promotion to get a free pair for just the cost of shipping a few times a year!

3) I hate, hate, hate pumping. I pumped quite a bit with my first daughter because she wasn’t even 6 lbs at birth, and I needed to get her weight up sooner rather than later. I vowed to pump less with my second daughter as I didn’t want to waste what little time I had to split between the girls washing bottles and pump parts. I still, however, wanted to build up a bit of a stash before I returned to work and had no choice but to pump. Enter Milkies Milk Saver. The packaging states that most mothers waste 1-4 oz each time she breastfeeds. This is definitely an overestimate for me, but over the course of 2-3 days, I was able to collect enough to create and freeze a full bottle. The silicone oval-shaped device slips into any bra or tank, and you can just rinse between breastfeeding sessions. You’ll start to notice a theme here, but I also bought this on Amazon. Prime 2-day shipping has saved me more times than I can count.

4) Whether you pump or not, the Rumina pump and nurse tank is one of the most supportive nursing tanks I’ve found so far. And if you do pump, being hands-free is a game changer. I wear these tanks most days at home, and I also grabbed it to wear under a cardigan most work days. It’s great to not have to change into some form of pumping apparatus at work. I also love how quickly I can grab my babe once I get home and latch her on after missing her from a day at work. The tanks are really easy to wash and dry without having to worry about pilling, which is an issue with many others that I own. Rumina runs a factory-seconds sale occasionally and I love to stock up then so I am never without one before laundry day.

5) With baby #1, I got quite a bit of use out of a babywearing shirt and stretchy wrap. With baby #2, I discovered Vija Design shirts, and now it’s just about all I use. I loved the convenience of my first babywearing shirt, but it lacked the support that I would have liked in order to have my hands truly free to get things done. The Vija Design tops combine the support and the convenience I needed. Beyond that, it’s skin-to-skin for added bonding. And they even make one for Dads! My husband and I both have one, and they are worth their weight in gold. My daughter immediately calms down whenever we slip her in. It’s super convenient when I have to make my toddler dinner or I want to be able to play with her on the floor and still hold my newborn. You can find a great variety to choose from at http://www.milkandbaby.com/collections/kangaroo-care. (I have the t-shirt and nursing top in coral.)

6) We’ve all been there. Struggling to get from parking lot to grocery store with a baby (or 2), a diaper bag, and various other paraphernalia in tow. And when you finally get inside and prepare to tuck your babe into the shopping cart, you realize you forgot that bulky cart cover. If you’re like me and cart germs give you a bit of a panic attack, this means another trip back and forth to the car when you’re already counting the seconds before you have to get back home before nap time. There has to be a better option! And there is, but I didn’t find it until baby #2. The Covered Goods multi-use nursing cover can be worn as an infinity scarf, but it’s also compact enough to keep in a diaper bag. It also can be used as a car seat cover and does a great job blocking out wind and rain while also allowing a view of baby. And of course the name gives away that it’s also a stretchy and light cover for nursing.

7) For my first Christmas as a new mom, my husband bought me a beautiful pendant necklace surrounded by tiny little inset diamonds. I wanted to wear it all the time – until my daughter’s hands figured out how to put it in her mouth, and I feared I’d be on a treasure hunt for the diamonds in her next diaper. And then I found The Vintage Honey Shop! I got a couple of necklaces from them with my first daughter, but I became obsessed with my second daughter. I wore her constantly to survive life with two babes, and so her little hands needed to be occupied all the more. I’m pretty sure there must be baby hand magnets imbedded in those wood beads! But, be warned, they’re kind of like Lay’s potato chips – you can’t stop at one!

8) Earth Mama Angel Baby New Mama Bottom Spray. It sprays upside down and smells nice when your postpartum lady parts, well, just don’t. If you’ve had a baby already, I’m sure you recall how much you need a little something soothing down there. And if you’re expecting your first baby, just trust me on this one. Enough said.

9) White noise is a great tool for keeping baby asleep a bit longer. And every minute counts when you have a newborn. We bought a Cloud B sleep sheep sometime after we transitioned my first daughter into her crib because I was looking for a sound machine that would turn itself back on if she started crying. Cloud B makes both a sheep and owl “smart sensor” version that does just that. My daughter is so accustomed to it now that I think she yells out in her half-asleep state because she has learned that she can get it back on. We had to buy a second for baby #2!

10) Babies go through A TON of diapers. That moment when your newborn poops in the diaper you JUST changed is enough to drive you crazy, especially with the cost of disposable diapers. With my first daughter, we used up the diapers given to us by the hospital, and then we transitioned into cloth diapers. With my second, we started cloth diapers even sooner. We settled upon a combination of newborn gDiapers and Chelory Mini-Cs for her and this allowed me to exclusively cloth diaper her even when she started sleeping longer stretches at night. I found that the newborn gDiapers (which we continue to use in the bigger sizes as the girls grow) actually fit those curled up tiny little babies better than disposables, thus preventing blow outs. The Chelory Mini-Cs are far more absorbent and thus a great night option, especially when paired with a doubler. Both are quite easy to wash, and with all the laundry babies make, it’s not all that much more work to care for.

11) Maybe I was a bit behind on this one, but stain removal is loads easier with Oxiclean. I have so many outfits from baby #1 that I love, but they were stained and ruined for baby #2. Until I discovered Oxiclean. It gets out spit up, poop, and even fruit and veggie stains in the very messy early days of starting solid foods. They even make a baby version, so you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals. You can find baby Oxiclean at Babies R Us and other baby stores.

12) My first daughter had VERY tiny feet. Even newborn socks were huge on her. I struggled to find anything that stayed on her feet other than boring plain white socks. With my second daughter, I discovered Zutano fleece booties. They run smaller than you might expect from other brands, and they are constructed with a great elastic and snap design that actually makes them stay on.

There are plenty of other products I love, and I will probably find more in the coming weeks. And I’m sure there are even more that other moms would tell me they can’t live without. But, in my 26 months of using and abusing baby products, these 12 are the ones I reach for the most! I hope they can make your life at least a little bit easier.

written by VHS contributor// Kendra St. Hilaire
@marebearmom