It’s the age-old question of every modern mother: “What do I really need for my baby?”

In a fit of excitement that only a first-time mother can understand, we scour the internet and pose questions to the Facebook world looking for the “right” list that will help us survive both the months leading up to the baby, plus after our baby gets here. Trust me, no matter where you turn, the list could potentially be endless! There are a million products and books out there that claim to be just what you need, but hear me when I say you need very little of it.

Let me start out by saying that every baby (and parent) is different, therefore there is no formula for what to get. Don’t stress out! Through lots of trial and error you will eventually get in a groove and figure out what works for you. You will also realize what you wish you had and what you wish you would have left on the shelf. This is a list of things that we loved and made the transition from “couple” to “family of 3” a little easier. Each header is a clickable link to that product and more info. Hope it gives you some direction!

1. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets :: No joke, I had my doubts on these since in my mind a blanket is a blanket, but these really are the best. They are made of a lightweight muslin cotton that has the ability to keep your baby warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. They are ultra breathable, and Jude was wrapped in one for about 3 months straight! You can pick them up in regular cotton, bamboo, and organic cotton depending on your preference. They stay put if you can get your swaddle down, and when he eventually stopped being swaddled, these blankets are still a staple in his bed and suitcase. Not to mention, they come in a ton of different styles and patterns that are super cute!

2. Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller :: If you are looking for the best bang for your buck in the stroller world, this is it. It is the only stroller we used for about 6 months since it held Jude’s carseat. It is ultra-lightweight, packs up easily, and is much less of a hassle when you have a non-walking infant. There are other brands out there that have something similar, but this just happened to be the one that we used. The carseat easily snaps right on and off of the frame, making the whole stroller process easier! I had a hard time when Jude started using a regular stroller when we went out. 😉 It took up so much more space and required a few more steps to get him in and out.

3. BOB Stroller :: I’m pretty sure that you could spend thousands and own dozens of strollers in your child’s lifetime, but this one is definitely worth the investment. I am no runner, but this stroller is a great all-around option that can go literally on any surface. It has real tires and is so easy to use. It’s also pricey. Like I said, it’s an investment. But we ended up using this more often than the stroller that went with our carseat because it went more places.

4. Medela Breast Pump :: This is a must. I have a double electric one and though it’s a little more expensive, it is 10 times faster than any of the other ones. It came in a small bag that looked like purse, so I could take it with me places and no one was the wiser on what it contained. It’s also quiet, which makes late night pumping less annoying. I had to use this every time I had to feed Jude because of issues we had with feeding/latching/production, and I know most people wouldn’t use it that often, but it really is great to have.

5. Sweet Almond Oil :: This one is a curve ball. I am a huge fan of using organic and natural products both in our home and with my son, so this was a no brainer for us. We found out quickly that Jude has super sensitive skin and eczema, and we were recommended a ton of products by well-meaning friends and doctors, but this is the only thing that keeps his skin soft and clear. We use the Aura Cacia brand, but any organic almond oil would probably work. If you can’t find this, organic coconut oil is just as good, just a little greasier.

6. Tiny Love 3-1 Rocker Bassinet :: There are rockers, bouncers, vibration seats, swings, and everything in between when it comes to these things. We wanted something compact and multi-purpose and this was just the thing! Jude literally slept in this thing for the first 3 months (or at least until he learned to roll over and get out), and it was easy to move from room to room as needed. This was so much better than a swing because we didn’t want him to be trained to only fall asleep to rocking motions. This gave him tons of freedom to move, play, and sleep, and he learned how to soothe himself very quickly. Also, the price is hard to beat!

7. Sleep Sheep :: Oh noise machines! We were totally against them before Jude was born because we didn’t want to make him rely on other things and noises to sleep. We wanted him to learn to self-soothe and fall asleep no matter what the circumstances. Then some friends gave this to us as a gift, and we love it! It has a very short timer on it, allowing you to run it for either 23 or 45 minutes. This was awesome because it was just enough noise to drown out regular house noise until he fell asleep, but didn’t run all night long. Plus, it’s easily portable and Velcro’s to anything! It’s a favorite of ours,  especially on road trips. (Which happen often!)

8. Wipe Warmer :: I heard mixed reviews on this from friends. Some swore by it, some never used it. Let me tell you this…when your child wakes up every few hours, nothing will make them scream a little harder than a cold wipe on their bottoms! With these warmed-up wipes, we noticed that Jude would practically sleep through midnight diaper changes instead of snap awake at cold cloth on his little butt. Plus, the warmer wipes were soothing to things like diaper rash.

9. Essential Oils :: I have used essential oils on Jude since day 1. They have not only kept him healthy, they have helped aid diaper rash, eczema, cradle cap, sleep, scrapes, and other common baby ailments. Our go-to’s for him were lavender, peppermint, orange, balance (doTerra blend), frankincense, coriander, and roman chammomile. While there are tons of oils out there that deal with different things, these were definitely the ones that we used the most. Make sure that if you are going to use oils, especially on your small child, then get quality oils from places like Young Living or doTerra.

10. Moby Wrap :: Wearing your baby is awesome! I didn’t use this every day, but the days that I did use it it was a huge help! This was my favorite (and I had a couple of them) because of it’s versatility, ease, and comfort. It was nice and snug and grew with Jude really well. Though it might seem daunting to wrap 25 feet of stretchy fabric to you, once you get the hang of it, you won’t regret it. The only thing I didn’t love about it was that it was a little warm, but there’s a tiny heater attached you…what would you expect!?

11. Girlfriend’s Guide To Pregnancy :: When I found out I was pregnant, I asked a bunch of friends what books I should read, and this one was at the top of a lot of lists. And let me tell you….you should read it! It’s hilarious! It helped me feel like I wasn’t crazy or alone in some of the weird stuff that happens during pregnancy and childbirth, and I would literally laugh out loud as I read this. A good dose of laughter and recognizing that not everything about pregnancy is glamorous is super helpful!

12. Babywise :: Though I know that there are a ton of people out there who think sleep training is a hoax or child cruelty, I wholeheartedly disagree. Every bleary-eyed parent wants nothing more than to have their child sleep through the night early on, and this book helped us find a great rhythm for Jude. We stuck to the schedule pretty intensely the first couple of months, and Jude fell into step quickly. We found him happier while he was awake, easier to predict, and we weren’t zombies because we were getting sleep. There is no better gift to both yourself and your child than the gift of great sleep. But know that it’s not easy…there’s nothing worse than hearing our child cry and not running to their aid. But trust me when I say that Jude is a much easier going child and has developed independence because he learned how to self-soothe and what was really worth crying over. Plus…this guy loves bedtimes!

13. Bringing Up Bebe :: Every American parent should read this book. It’s amazing. I love the no nonsense approach to parenting that Pamela Druckerman exposes while raising her own child in France. I have spent a lot of time traveling, and I know that American’s have a lot of bad habits (as do other countries as well) when it comes to their kiddos. We aren’t tough on boundaries, don’t feed our kids well, and are overly formulaic without realizing the damage that we are doing to our kids. This book helped set me free from some of the neurosis I felt as a first-time mom and I have recommended this book to many friends who love it as well! It’s a great guideline for any parent at any stage.

Whew! I hope that this helps! If you have anything that you loved (or didn’t love too!), comment below! Like I said before, there is no formula for pregnancy or kids, but there are a million things out there that claim to be what you need and it can be a bit too much. So share and tell us what you think!


{{cover photo credit :: Blue Vinyl Photography}}

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