My Top 12 List for New Parents

top 12 best  baby items

A friend from college is having her first baby and asked a couple of us who already been initiated into the parenting tribe for suggestions on baby products. There are so many baby options out there— some are a waste of money, and some are totally worth the money. Here are my top 12 sanity-savers for new mommies and daddies.

1. Bob Revolution stroller: Hands down best stroller for active parents. I have hiked over mountains in this, trained for marathons, stocked up on produce at the farmer’s market, and walked 1 1/2 miles to the park and Starbucks in this daily. Its steering is amazing and the ride is smooth for your little one. (And dads look forward to pushing a BOB.)

2. Happiest Baby on the Block: Ryan and I weren’t around any babies until we had our own— so it was foreign territory. This book helped explain baby cries and how to calm them with the 5 S’s: swaddle, side position, shushing sounds, swinging, sucking.

3. Ergo: Great carrier for moms and dads to wear (might be the only carrier a dad can pull off without losing their manhood). It’s easy to put on and great for running errands. There is even a zippered pouch for your cell phone and wallet in the front— so no need for a purse!

4. Baby Center: I was fascinated with this website throughout my pregnancy and even more once I had kids. You can track your child’s development and also read articles relating to each stage of growth, like: “When to introduce solid foods?” And “How to tell if you baby is teething.”

5. Starbucks: I know that sounds ridiculous, but there were times when I didn’t sleep a wink and had a full day ahead of me (or sometimes weeks when Ryan was out of town). Starbucks was what got me through those days. So find your local Starbucks (or another great coffee shop) so when you have those really long days you have a place to go to refuel and relax. I had two amazing mommy friends that would join me on my “Starbuck walks” and we had some great discussions while we refueled for the day. Starbucks is where Jackson and his sweet friend Molly learned to drink from a straw when they were babies. Yes, we hit milestones at Starbucks.

6. Moby: This is the comfiest baby carrier! Honestly, it is a quite daunting to wear at first (it’s about 20 feet of fabric), but once you master the technique it will be your best friend. The weight is completely balanced (no shoulder pain) and the baby is completely snug and comfortable. Many naps were taken in the Moby while I would clean the house or take a walk. This is my favorite carrier.

7. This online networking site is how I met the most incredible moms in the world (including Jadah!). We had babies on blankets park dates, went to each other’s houses on rainy days, shared recipes, explored the LA zoo, hiked Fryman Canyon, dealt with some tough stuff, discussed preschool options and laughed a lot. Sadly, moving to Florida put a damper on the play dates, but the friendship and support are still here. We do an annual Moms Weekend Out, where the dad’s stay home with the kids for 1-2 nights and the moms relax and have some girl time. Palm Springs, Santa Barbara and Glen Ivy Hot Springs are the previous destinations. So please join a mom’s club— they are wonderful!

8. Muslim Cotton Swaddling Blankets: The adorable patterns and quality fabric make swaddling a baby much easier and comfier. The material is a very light cotton and stretches to perfection. I also used these as nursing covers, summer blankets and extra large sunshades on the stroller. They are great!

9. Canon S95: This camera takes vivid pics and also shoots HD video. It’s small, easy to fit in your diaper bag and simple to use. You will take hundreds of pics of your baby, why not have them be good pics? Spend the money and love every picture and video you take. Here is an article I wrote just on this camera.

10. Sophie the Giraffe: Teething is inevitable and most teething toys are ugly and made from plastic in China. This adorable giraffe is 100% all natural rubber (derived from a Hevea Tree) and made in the French Alps. And did I mention she is adorable… or is that a given?

11. Video Monitor: I never had one but if I could do it again I would have gotten one. It just saves you so many worried moments when you wonder if they are asleep, or suffocating (seriously, I know that sounds wild…. but you will wonder that a lot). And you don’t want to go in the nursery and wake them. Just get the video monitor and save you and your husband a lot of “what if….” moments.

12. Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender: You don’t need an expensive baby food contraption to make your own baby food. You just need this Smart Stick Blender— it is so easy to use! And you can use it afterwards in your kitchen. I use mine at least once a week for mashed potatoes, whipping frosting, pureeing soup, smashing beans, etc. It’s been my go-to kitchen appliance since day one.


What things would you add to this list? Share below so we can help new parents navigate through the millions of baby products to the top “tried and true ones”.

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5 Responses to My Top 12 List for New Parents

  1. Jadah Sellner February 10, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    Love this! is a lifesaver during those isolating days of becoming a mother. I am still a part of groups through meetup. I think any babywearing is a lifesaver. Instead of the ergo I wore a mei tai BabyHawk – and used it more than anything else. I’m also a fan of the Phil & Teds stroller.

  2. Jenni McKay February 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    #2,4,7 &10 are great!

    We love our Baby K’Tan carrier, which is a lot like Jen’s Moby, but (I think) a bit less daunting. One of my biggest must-have’s is a Kiddopotomas (sp?) SwaddleMe wrap. I was never good at swaddling with a blanket, but these are super simple and strong enough to contain flailing baby arms! We also loved our bouncy seat (it stays in my bathroom so baby can hang out while I catch a shower…lifesaver!) and once they can hold their head up, an exersaucer or jumperoo buys me some time to cook, clean or get some work done. For mamas, I love the Earth Mama Angel Baby Products…nipple butter is fantastic if you’re nursing, and their post-partum products are great too.

    • familysponge February 10, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      YES! The Baby K’Tan is a great alternative to the Moby! I keep forgetting about that one. I debated the bouncy seat because I loved ours as well. I second the Earth Mama products— you can’t go wrong. Should have made this the Top 15 post. Thanks Jenni for your great additions.

  3. Rachelley February 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    This is a great list! I totally loved 4, 5 , 7, 8 and 11. Some of my favorite memories are of our early morning walks to Starbucks. I am so thankful that I met you through meetup!

  4. Sandy March 3, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    #3,4,7,8 were/are favorites of mine that I used, still use, and will be using with my second baby due this July.

    We love our organic Ergo and actually have two, as a result of arriving at the airport without our Ergoand no time to return home for it. We still use it with our toddler who is 29 months and a little over 30 lbs. We didn’t start off with an Ergo and are looking forward to using it with organic heart to heart infant insert for our baby when she arrives. My husband regrets having waited to get one. We have have given an Ergo and infant insert as a gift because we truly feel it is a MUST-HAVE.

    I purchased a Baby K’tan when my son was already 3 months, but think I would have used it if I purchased it earlier than I did.

    We live in Hawaii and the flannel receiving blankets were just too thick. A friend gifted us with a set of muslin blankets, which at the time weren’t available on island but are now. Love them! What a lifesaver! Very useful. Love the larger size and breathable material. Perfect for swaddling and using as a nursing cover.

    Having a bassinet with vibration option helped a lot. We also found our bouncer very useful too. We did use a swing and bouncer for many months.

    Investing in a decent breastpump system is a must if you plan to nurse/pump milk. Love the Medela Freestyle Hands-free Breastpump. For relief when needed, Gentle moisturizing balm from Gerber/NUK and Gerber Breast Therapy Warm or Cold relief packs.

    While I never did get to meet Jadah, I learned about meetup from a friend who is a member of the group Jadah started on Kauai. I joined when my son was almost 9 months, but became more active when my son was 18 months old. We met wonderful families through the group, including my son’s best friend. My husband particpates as well.

    Lastly, SLEEP if and when able to. I never listened to the advice about resting/sleeping especially when baby is sleeping. I didn’t want to miss any moment of his life not a single breath. I also was thinking I wouldn’t wake up if he woke up and needed me, but I learned that you do wake up.

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