must-have baby items

Normally I’m not much of a “stuff” person. You’re much more likely to find me dropping off items at Goodwill than shopping for them, and my toddler’s never-ending collection of trinkets will one day land me in the mental institution.

But when you have a newborn, a few products are essentials. And now that I’m onto my second child, I know exactly what baby stuff is necessary to keep me from pulling my hair out. So in case you’re a soon-to-be parent or just shopping for one, here are the items I absolutely can’t live without.

*Photos link to Amazon. Because Amazon is awesome opossum. But I’m not paid by anyone to recommend these products.

A swing. Front-to-back, side-to-side, with music, various speeds and a mobile. It keeps Charlie happy while I shower, do the dishes and prep dinner.

A diaper bag that doesn’t look like a diaper bag. I have this one in another color and I love all the pockets, the shoulder strap, the nylon fabric that wipes clean, and the changing pad. Plus it’s big enough to carry all the toddler snacks and toys necessary for happy outings.

The “Brest Friend” nursing pillow. I call it my BFF, and it’s just that—I can nurse easily while sitting, standing, walking, and even typing (not that I’m doing that right now…*whistles*).

The Moby Wrap. Super comfy and easy for when wee ones don’t have great neck control. This handy piece of fabric allows me to get chores done with minimal baby fussing.

The Miracle Blanket, or as we call it, “the straitjacket.” A bust-proof swaddling blanket for even the trickiest Houdini baby.

A fully automatic Medela breastpump. Because a nursing mom needs time off, and there’s no easier way to get it. Hand dad a bottle, grab your purse and head out for dinner with the girls.

An easily portable rocking/vibrating chair. I can tote it from the bathroom to the laundry room to the kitchen to have a convenient place to keep baby happy and in sight.

Glamourmom nursing tanks. Incredibly comfortable and great for layering so you don’t always have to wear an easy-access top. Keeps my belly tucked in and undercover because nobody wants to see my post-partum flab. Seriously. I don’t even want to look at that.

An Ergo baby carrier. Unlike its competitors the Ergo is super easy on your back, simple to put on and adjust, and painless to get baby in and out of. An infant insert is available to keep wee ones warm and cozy. Great for long walks and trips to the grocery store.

A co-sleeper. This handy bassinet hooks onto the side of my bed so baby sleeps safely but is still close by for nighttime wakings.

And finally, a Bebe au Lait nursing cover, because I ain’t one for flashing my boobies all over town. This brand is my favorite because they’re bigger (and therefore less prone to accidental peep shows) than others and come in pretty patterns.

Oh, and I can’t forget an awesome husband who doubles as a great dad. But sorry, ladies. He’s already been scooped up.

Now tell me—what are your must-have baby items?



loving: best baby gifts

We’ve all got someone with a little tyke in our lives. And unless you’re a parent, gifting for little ones can often be daunting.

You don’t want to get something age-innapropriate (Leggos for a toddler), destructive (toy hammers or whiffle ball bats), annoying for parents (a dolly that pees, spits up and says “Dada” a million times a day), or boring (socks).

So what to get for those little ones that will please parents and baby? I’ve got some ideas for ya.


A Prince Lionheart Wheely-Bug, perhaps? This is pretty much the coolest walking/rolling/riding toy ever. The stripey part has a nice padded seat, the little antennae go boing, and the wheels rotate in any direction. Plus, it’s low enough to the ground that if the little guy (or gal) falls, it won’t be anything worth crying over.

The best part? It’s really flippin cute. Plus, it comes in two sizes (small and large) and other animal forms: a mouse, ladybug, and cow. This thing is well-made too. Even the Duggar’s 19 kids would be no match for this little bug.


Music is always a toss-up for little ones. Either it’s impossible for adults to listen to without having some kind of seizure, or it’s just plain boring. But Caspar Babypant‘s Here I Am is an album for kids and grownups alike. Imagine if Ben Gibbard, Jack Johnson and Guster got together and made a musical love child (no pun intended. Okay, maybe a tiny pun intended). That is the loveliness that is Mr. Babypants. Kids of all ages will groove to these cute and catchy tunes, and their parents will not want to throw the disc out the car window after repeated listening.


Alright. This one is really more for parents than for kiddos. But the little lovelies will be nice and cuddly warm in this gorgeous sleep sack by Halo. Lucy practically lives in these things year-round. The fabric is super-soft, the zipper is easy to use, and you can wash the dang thing over and over again and it still looks brand new. This is sure to please any parent, and keep babes big and small warm and happy.


Speaking of warm…these beauties will keep the child in your life nice and toasty, even on the coldest of winter days. Smartwool makes this cute cap and mitten set for kids of all sizes. The knit is super soft, just like their socks (and if you haven’t tried Smartwool socks, by the way, you haven’t lived), so it’s comfy for baby’s head. The mittens (gasp!) stay on, even after much tugging, biting and pulling. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns too, so pick your favorite for little guys or little gals.


I have to admit, some noisy toys are not at all bad. And Leap Frog’s My Pal Violet falls into that category. She’s cute, cuddly, and programmable. Yup. You can hook her up to your computer to customize what music she plays, what questions she asks your kid, and you can even have her say your kiddo’s name. I was at first terrified by the prospect of a stuffed toy saying Lucy’s name, but it’s actually quite cute. The music is soothing, and best of all, it has an off button (see bottom right paw), to prevent any creepy middle-of-the-night noisemaking.


Okay. So maybe this one is a little more for the grown-ups as well. But who could resist this pretty orange feeding set by Boon? As any parent knows, anything that makes feeding easier or cleaner is a must-have. The genius bowl has a suction cup bottom and an extended lip to catch all of those spoon-to-mouth dribbles. The sippy cup is easy to grab, and the utensils are soft and flexible. Plus, it’s puuurdy. Unlike most feeding-related products.


And finally, no child’s book collection would be complete without an edition of this classic. This time, The Velveteen Rabbit is back in a gorgeous new hardcover edition. It’s bee-youtiful, something that the little one will still cherish when they’re no longer little, and such a touching story.

Now get going. Spoil that little one rotten. Scoot! Or, you know, just click on the links.

Happy baby shopping!