I cannot even begin to tell you how many lists just like this I looked at while I was pregnant. I probably looked at AT LEAST 3 a week, it was insane. And if I add them all together, some of these items are on them, and some of them are not. These may not work for your baby, but, maybe they will!
SJ turns one in 2 weeks, wait what? I swear I just had her! How did those 38 weeks of being pregnant with her go infinitely slower than the past year?! Well, while the time went extremely fast, I also had to learn extremely fast what worked and didn’t work for my gassy, picky, non-sleeping baby, and these are what I absolutely could not and cannot live without! Some of them are pricey, but sooo worth it!!
1. Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water (and all their other products)
SJ was probably the gassiest baby ever! And if I ate anything tomato based…I could say goodbye to sleep. Unless I gave her Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water. My favorite was the night time version. I try to find the most natural products I can for our family because in the long run, it truly makes an impact on our health. I love knowing that I am giving her something that is helping her, and is actually good for her! There is so much in motherhood that you question yourself about, it is nice knowing this doesn’t have to be one of them. Even with her being older, I still have to give her gripe water for an upset tummy every now and then. I tried other brands of gripe water and gas drops, and it sounds crazy, but nothing worked as well as Mommy’s Bliss. We also occasionally had to use the Constipation Ease and we use the Probiotic Drops which I love, and I plan on giving her the multivitamin drops soon too.
You can find the regular Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water here
Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water, Liquid, 4-ounce bottle
And you can find the AMAZING Mommy’s Bliss Nighttime Gripe Water Here
Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water Night Time, 4 Fluid Ounce
This one took me awhile to buy. I just could not justify spending $80 on a doll. A doll that all the reviews says sounds like Darth Vader…but works. SJ was waking up 7-9 times A NIGHT! And that was before I would reluctantly bring her into bed with us (to safely bed-share), and even then she would wake up at least one more time. Guys, I was a zombie! I could not function during the day and was beyond drained. I couldn’t do it anymore, I broke, and I ordered the Lulla Doll with the comfort that they had a 30 day money back guarantee. But guess what, it worked! Although the first night I wasn’t convinced but then found out she was actually coming down with something and that’s a whole other story (105 fever, ER, Doctor, X-ray, tests, then it all miraculously went away). Well after she got better, it worked! She wakes up once or twice a night now and sleeps in her own bed! It is glorious!
3. SwaddleMe Blankets
SJ was one of those babies that liked to be swaddled from the very beginning. We learned that in our first 2 nights at the hospital when as soon as her swaddle would come loose she would wake up crying. Now swaddling is one of those mythical things that OB nurses make look super easy but is actually extremely difficult for a sleep deprived mother to do: enter Swaddle Me blankets. These things rock, they keep her nice and bundled and her arms can’t escape. And the best part, it’s super easy to do half asleep! Make sure to get a few of these because it is inevitable they will get pee, spit up, breastmilk, or formula on them.
These are the ones we used and loved!
4. Sleep Sack
After SJ started to be able to roll over, we couldn’t use the SwaddleMe anymore. I was absolutely devastated and terrified of what was to come. After reading an article on Facebook from a mom whose son died at the sitter’s due to his blanket suffocating him, who was then talking about the benefits of a sleep sack… I knew that was the way to go. It was safe and still helped SJ feel secure and kept her warm. We used the fleece Halo Sleep Sack for when it was cold, and lighter weight muslin sleep sack for warmer nights. They definitely helped the transition out of a swaddle and I can’t imagine having to go through that without them.
These are the ones we used
This one was a must have for me from the beginning. I am a paranoid person (thank you mom) and the peace of mind the Owlet brought me was incomparable to anything else. It was easy to use and we have only had one false alarm in the year we have been using it. I was lucky enough that my aunts all went in together and got this for me for my baby shower, but even if I wouldn’t have gotten it as a gift, I 100% would have ponied up the money to buy it. There were a couple times I had to go without it (make sure to bring it on all vacations, and when taking it from the baby’s room to the charger don’t get sidetracked and put it in a random bin in the closet *insert eye roll emoji here*, also apparently dogs think it is tasty..) and it was pure torture not having it those nights, I got no sleep. Well, less than usual because it was before the Lulla Doll. So if you are as paranoid as me and don’t want to wake up your baby when you try to sneak in their room and check on them 5 million times throughout the night, get the Owlet.
Every time I go out in public, I always get at least one compliment on my MilkSnob cover. Whether I am using it as a nursing cover, carseat cover, or a shopping cart cover, everyone loves it. Especially SJ and I. When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed, and I knew I would feed SJ wherever we were if she was hungry. And while some people are comfortable nursing without a cover (go you!), I’m not. I am pretty comfortable with my body, but SJ has always been one to be a mover while she’s nursing. From her feet constantly kicking while she nursed, to having to unlatch every 5 seconds to see what was going on, I knew I needed something comfortable yet reliable to keep me covered. I used one of those apron coverups for all of 2 minutes before I learned I needed something better. So I went on the search for something better and found a 360 cover on Amazon. This first cover I got like this that I found somewhere else was wayyy too thick and for nursing in hot weather it was awful. I had been seeing MilkSnob on my social media, so I figured I would give it a shot. When I got my MilkSnob cover, I became obsessed. It was perfect. Not only to nurse with, but also to use on SJ’s infant carrier to keep the sun, wind, and rain off her face, and also now that she is old enough to sit in a shopping cart, it keeps her hands off the yucky cart handles as well as it catches all her toys and snacks. Bonus, put a blanket underneath it in a shopping cart and lay your baby in the seat part for a comfy nap spot while shopping. I also used it as a stroller cover at one point and on her MamaRoo since she kept kicking her blanket off.
*Also, their swaddle blankets are incredibly soft and SJ now won’t fall asleep without hers. See the Lulla Doll Picture.
There is no way I could rank these products because they would all be #1, including my HappyBaby Wrap. SJ was born the end of June, so it was pretty hot, and every other wrap was so dang thick, but this one was lightweight and comfortable. SJ was just shy of 2 weeks and I came to the realization that we had absolutely no groceries in the house and my husband was working 12 hour days. So what did I do? I loaded up SJ in the car and went shopping. After spending 15 minutes on Youtube perfecting how to tie the thing, I felt confident enough to use it in public. She slept the entire time, right there on my chest. I even had someone ask me how to use it because they wanted one! I felt like Super-Mom. I used this every time I went shopping, when SJ was fussy and just wanted to be held but I had to do dishes or vacuum or some other adult thing, and when she was 6 weeks old and I went to Indiana to watch my step-brother in the DCI World Championships, it was a lifesaver! The only thing I regret is not wearing her more, just around the house or wherever, because I miss feeling her tiny body sleeping against me in it. Now she just wants to look around everywhere in it and be her wild self instead of cuddling.
There you have it, my list of 7 things that I couldn’t survive without the first year of being a mother. Some of these are pretty pricey, but looking back I would buy them again in a heartbeat. Some I wish I would have had a lot sooner (Lulla Doll). I hope this helps you and makes your first year as being a parent just a little bit easier!
*All opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive compensation. Please read my disclaimer here.