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?