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Baby Product Must-Haves

Oh hi. I started this awhile ago and it’s been sitting in my drafts folder but I hesitated to post it because what am I, some kind of mommy blogger? However recently I decided MAYBE I AM and so here it is.


Having a baby is 1% pushing a human out of your body and 99% buying things online. At least that’s been my experience. And once I realized how much stuff we were going to need I felt overwhelmed with all the infinite products and choices and the sense that I had to have everything ready before the baby arrived (this turned out not to be true and everyone tried to tell me but I didn’t listen.) Going to an actual brick and mortar baby superstore (in our case Buy Buy Baby) where they had whole walls devoted to things I didn’t know I needed only ratcheted up my anxiety. Now that I’m on the other side of it I realize how much you really don’t need everything right away and how much, though there seem to be infinite brands and products, everyone seems to end up with the same few items from the same few brands. I cast a pretty wide net and ended up with some can’t-live-without items, some useful items and some stuff I use far less than I thought I would. Here’s my list of can’t-live-without items:


Exercise Ball: I don’t know when an exercise ball became the go-to baby soothing device over a rocking chair (we have both) but the baby world is nuts for balls. When Elliot was a newborn, holding him in my arms and bouncing on the ball stopped his crying almost immediately. It was magical. These days I still use it multiple times a day and even bought another one because I’m tired of trying to carry a baby and a giant ball from one room to another. (I also bought another baby that I keep in the other room with the new ball. Now I’m truly hands free!) Also near the end of pregnancy when I could no longer sit comfortably in a chair at my computer or while recording my podcast I sat instead on the ball. I know it’s supposed to be a bit of a workout but it never feels like one to me which probably means we have the wrong size ball.

Rock N Play: Confession: we put an expensive bassinet—one which came highly recommended—on our registry and my mother-in-law generously sprung for it. I so badly wanted it to work and I am still trying to make it work (it’s still taking up a TON of space next to my bed don’t even get me started) but Elliot just prefers the Rock n Play. The downside is there’s some concern that the Rock N Play can lead to flat head syndrome and Elliot’s head is not un-flat. But I know tons of kids who slept in rock n plays at the beginning and have perfectly shaped heads so it clearly doesn’t cause problems for every kid. (Update: Elliot now sleeps in his crib but occasionally naps in the RnP. Might I recommend these crib sheets?)

Swing: The swing is like the rock n play in that it has potential for flat head but again, Elliot LOVES it. (Update: Elliot no longer spends a ton of time in the swing but up until a few months ago he did. This is what happens when you write a post and then let is sit in your drafts folder because you’re having an identity crisis.)

Mixie Bottles: These bottles are amazing should you find yourself needing or wanting to formula feed. (I talked about this on the podcast and in time perhaps I’ll write about it but I was unable to breast feed. My milk just never came in. I pumped and pumped and took all the supplements and could only ever make a few drops. It was disappointing and I was pretty upset about it at the time but I have accepted it at this point and am ok with it which is unusual for me because I never accept or am ok with anything. I think it’s just the intensity of needing to take care of a newborn overtook my own feelings of sadness over what I was missing out on. And there are benefits like other people being able to feed your baby. ANYWAY) We tried a bunch of different bottles and different bottle systems and then one day another mother saw me feeding Elliot ready-to-feed formula which was my go to when we were out of the house because I couldn’t figure out how to make a powder formula bottle away from home. She told me about Mixie bottles. Mixie bottles have a little pod where you put the formula that keeps it separate from the water. When you’re ready to feed you push a little button on the bottom of the bottle which uncaps the pod and then you shake. Ingenious! Makes nighttime feeds so much less painful. And they’re great on the go.

Rompers: Babies don’t love clothing being pulled over their heads so I went through a phase where I tried to only put Elliot in things that snapped up. Thankfully now he’s pretty ok with things going over his head but I definitely found myself on Amazon snapping up everything that snapped up (oooooooh) once I realized they were going make my life a lot easier.

Water Wipes: Nuff said.

Just kidding! I just think it’s funny when people are annotating a list and then decide that one item speaks for itself. I have really sensitive skin and the other wipes we tried were irritating to my hands. These aren’t.

Okay I’m realizing I have a million more things to recommend, especially since this list is from when Elliot was a little younger. This is going to have to be a multi-part series!

  • Jaime Shetrone

    I wish I’d known about those Mixie bottles! Our baby also loved the RnP, and slept in it like 4 months. No flat head!

  • Daniil Brif

    I like all of those. My only “essential” addition is the Peanut:

    We don’t have space for a changing table and I’ve heard of horror stories from friends about their kids managing to fall off of tables. Anyway, this peanut is great because you can put it on the bed, on the floor, on the coffee table, etc and it’s super easy to clean with a wipe. When my wife first mentioned it before our daughter was born, I thought it was stupid to pay $100 for a piece of rubber, but it’s paid off. My daughter is 19 months and we still use it. None of our friends even seemed to know that this existed so I wanted to share. I just realized how telemarket-y that all sounded, but I stand by it.

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