Mommy Must Haves – Newborn Edition

Hi guys! As many of you know I’ve teamed up with Philips Avent and to do a mamalogues series over the past month or so. Basically mamalogues are stories that I’ve been sharing and encouraging all of you to share about special bonding moments between you and your baby or a time you used your mother’s intuition while parenting. I’ve absolutely loved doing this series because I feel like I’ve been able to connect with you guys on a whole other level! And one of the things I realized while doing the series is that many of you have wanted to know more about the products I’ve been using with Riley. And now that he’s just a little over one month old, I figured it was time to do another mommy must haves blog post sharing all the products that absolutely saved me over the last month and have really helped me bond with Riley. So this is a newborn edition of mommy must haves for all the new moms out there!

Everything I’ll talk about in today’s post are things that I either put on my registry when I was pregnant with Molly (I didn’t have one with Riley since he was baby #2), or things I wish I had! So if any of you out there reading this are expecting mamas, trust me and add these things to your registry! You’ll be so happy you have them once your little one arrives. And I say these are newborn essentials, but really everything in this post are not only essential for the first few months of the baby’s  life, but really the first year! So if you’re a mom at home right now with a newborn or infant and feeling like you need a little extra help, I feel like the things in today’s post might just give you that extra help you need. Sometimes the smallest thing can make the biggest difference! And know I teamed up with Philips Avent for this post, but everything I’m writing is %100 true and what worked for me and Riley!

So here’s what I can’t live without right now and I definitely recommend putting on your registry if you’re expecting!

A Great Bottle (Philips Avent Natural) –

When Molly was a baby Kevin and I never had anyone watch her until she was nine months old. How crazy is that?! We were definitely helicopter parents and it’s not something I recommend! One thing I’ve done extremely differently this time around with Riley is I’m allowing myself to step away from the house and do things for me much earlier on. For example, a couple weekends ago I went out to dinner with my girlfriends and I went to my friend’s bachelorette party this past weekend. So what does this have to do with bottles you ask? Well Riley needed to be given a bottle because I was out of the house for a few hours and he gets hungry quickly. Kevin gave him his first bottle in a Philips Avent Natural bottle and he said it couldn’t have gone more smoothly. Riley drank it right up and it didn’t even seem like he knew the difference! Love that! So as you can see, bottle feeding has been essential for my peace of mind and sanity over the last month because it’s allowed me to have ME time. When mommy gets a chance to get out of the house and have some time to herself, both mommy and baby are ultimately happier.

But here’s the thing, not all bottles are created equal. That’s something I learned early on when we first started giving Molly a bottle. So for both Molly and Riley we ultimately ended up using Philips Avent Natural bottles. I wholeheartedly believe that these are the absolute best bottles to use, especially if you’re breastfeeding. The reason is that since I want to breastfeed Riley for as long as possible during the first year of his life, it’s important to me that he keep nursing. The great thing about this bottle is that the new ultra soft nipple is designed to feel most like mommy’s breast so the baby can easily transition from nursing to bottle feeding and back. I’ve heard so many stories from moms saying that once the baby switched to the bottle, they never went back to the breast and I was terrified of that happening with Molly and I certainly don’t want that happening with Riley. That’s why the Philips Avent Natural bottle is an absolute must. If you use these, share your experience in the comments below! We actually started using them because they were recommended by so many other parents we trust!

P.S. We also use the Philips Avent bottle drying rack. It’s the cutest one I’ve found that I think looks pretty in my white kitchen. You guys know I love everything bright and white in my kitchen!

Help (The Nanny League or Friends/Family) –

Life can get pretty crazy when you are trying to run a website while you have a toddler, newborn and pup that all want your attention. Plus, I go back to work in September! How moms do it with more than 2 kids, I have no idea!!! You guys have soooo much of my respect! But Kevin and I are finding we can’t do it all by ourselves, especially since we don’t have grandparents that live nearby. Like I just mentioned above, Kevin and I never left Molly for the first nine months of her life. Which is just absolutely crazy when I think about it now. I think it’s because she was our first baby we were just so nervous to leave her with somebody. This time around with Riley, things are definitely different. While Kevin and I haven’t left him alone with anybody while we’ve both gone out yet, I certainly have gone out a couple times and left him with Kevin. And right now we’ve been so lucky that Kevin’s mom has been staying with us for a few weeks so the extra hands have been a lifesaver. I honestly don’t know what we would’ve done without Kevin’s mom being here the past couple weeks. But, she leaves on Monday and at that point we need to hire someone to help us out. Kevin works a full-time job and I’m about to go back to work in September. And in the meantime, I run my blog and work on a handful of other projects that keep me very busy during the day. So after reaching out to a few friends we were referred to The Nanny League to find a nanny. Every person we talk to that has used them to find a nanny completely raves about them! And honestly, I feel like hiring someone to care for your child is one of the single most important things you’ll ever do. I want this person to become like family to me, Kevin, Molly, Riley and Owen. We haven’t started meeting with potential candidates yet, but I will say that the experience so far has been so reassuring. The people we talk to have totally put our minds at ease and really listen to us to make sure they’re searching for the best possible fit for our family. I’m nervous but excited to start meeting with people! I’ll keep you guys posted in a future blog post on how it all goes.

But the point of this item, and the reason I say it’s a must have is because either hiring help or asking family and friends for help when you need it is so essential to keeping your sanity! I had a mental break down at eight months with Molly because I didn’t allow myself to ask for help and believed that I could do it all. The truth is none of us can do it all! Something always has to give somewhere. And for me, my sanity is what I was losing and that’s just not something I’m willing to risk this time around.

A Wrap Baby Carrier –

A good baby carrier is beyond essential when you’re a new mother or father. There are about 1000 different ones on the market and I’m sure many of them are very good. And while I don’t have a specific brand that I think is better than the other I will say that a sling/wrap baby carrier is absolutely essential. Especially the first few months! The more structured baby carriers are great too but I think those are better for when your baby is a little bit older. When you have a little infant at home, the wrap keeps them warm and cozy up against your chest. Plus another reason that I absolutely love the wraps is that you can spread the fabric out across your shoulders to help distribute the weight of the baby and this function has absolutely saved my back and shoulders! I know little infants aren’t that heavy, but when you’re carrying an 11-pound infant around all day (Yes, Riley is already 11lbs! Boy loves to eat!) and hunched over nursing 6 to 8 times a day, your back and shoulders start to ache. And many baby carriers just come over your shoulder blades and for me, that caused a lot of pain. The wrap allows you to spread the fabric along your shoulder blades so that the weight is distributed. Try it! Your back and neck will thank me!

A Pacifier – (Philips Avent Ultra Soft Pacifier)

Molly never took to the pacifier. I think that’s because we waited to introduce one to her until she was about five weeks old. At that point she was just using my breast as a pacifier and didn’t want to give that up. Ha! But here’s the thing, Molly didn’t sleep more than three hours at a time for nine months straight. So as I started looking into what many sleep experts were recommending, I started realizing that many recommend using a pacifier to help calm your baby. This not only helps to pacify them, but it also helps them sleep better at night. I don’t really know why but that’s just what I’ve read! So needless to say we really wanted Riley to take to a pacifier. So before he was born I bought a ton of different kinds. And this is the honest truth, he would not take any of them except for the Philips Avent pacifier. I don’t know what it is about these products but they’re just the absolute best and Riley loves them! He won’t take one all the time, but when he does take one I found that we are able to stretch his feedings a little bit longer. Now that he’s a month old and putting on a ton of weight, his pediatrician recommended that we start trying to stretch out his feedings to at least three hours. For the first month I was feeding completely on-demand and he would want to eat every hour at times. He barely ever made it to three hours. And I was OK with that in the beginning. But now that he’s over one month old, my mother’s intuition is telling me that he really should be waiting three hours between feedings. As any mother out there knows, the longer they can hold out in between feedings, the longer they’ll sleep at night! And even though it’s only been about a week since we started stretching out his feedings, or at least trying to, the pacifier has been such an essential part of that! When he’s fussy and starts crying two hours after a feeding, we’ll give him his Philips Avent pacifier and we are able to stretch him to that 3 hour mark. I think he really loves the soft silicone nipple on it. And I’m happy to report that the other night he had his first 4 hour stretch of sleep at night! Molly didn’t sleep for four hours at a time until she was nine months old. So as you can see, I found this to be a huge parenting win for us! So trust me when I say a pacifier will make all the difference!

Zipper PJ’s –

Any new mom knows that middle of the night feedings and diaper changes are commonplace for the first few months of your baby’s life. And if you have a baby like Molly, their commonplace for the first nine months. So knowing that you’re going to be waking up every few hours with your little one throughout the night, it’s so important that you try to make those wake up times as short as possible. That means efficiently feeding your baby and then even more efficiently changing their diaper. Oh, and did I mention that most sleep experts recommend changing your baby’s  diaper in the dark?! That’s right, in order to keep the stimulation as minimal as possible for your little one, it’s recommended that you change their diaper with little to no light. That’s where the zipper PJs come in. You don’t want to be fumbling with buttons on their pajamas in the middle of the night. So do yourself a huge favor and stock up on zipper pajamas if you’re pregnant right now. The 60 seconds of time that they save you in the middle of the night could be the difference between your baby fully waking up and staying drowsy and falling back to sleep quickly when they wake up at 12 AM and then again at 2 AM and again at 5 AM. You get the idea.

Bottle Warmer

This last one is something I love now, but will be a TOTAL must have for me in the near future! To be honest with you guys, a bottle warmer is something we never used with Molly. We would either boil water on the stove, or put water in the microwave to heat it up and then add the bottle to that warm water afterwards. I didn’t realize how much easier a bottle warmer is until now! And now that I’ve used one, I’ll never go back! Ha! Especially now that we live in a two-story house. Right now I’m exclusively breastfeeding Riley in the middle of the night (bottles are a day thing when I have to work), but once we start giving bottles at night, my Philips bottle warmer is going to be a game changer! Basically, instead of going all the way downstairs to get a bottle and warm it up, Kevin and I will be able to do it all in our bedroom! Well, who am I kidding, Kevin is going to be the one giving bottles once I’m not concerned about keeping up my milk supply and actually able to sleep a little bit more at night. We happen to have a mini wine fridge in our bedroom. I know I know, this mama loves her wine. But right now we are using it to store milk! And if you don’t have one in your room (obviously this isn’t common), you can always just buy a mini-fridge and keep all of your milk in there. That way you can easily warm it up in the bottle warmer. By keeping everything confined to your bedroom it will avoid you making trips downstairs or trips to the other end of your house to warm up a bottle. And I don’t know about you guys, but when I have to wake up for those middle of the night feedings, I try to make them as efficient and quick as possible. Like I mentioned above, our sleep coach recommends keeping nighttime feedings as dark and quiet as possible. And by doing the bottles in the room, that’s going to help us make things so much more efficient so we can get little Riley back to bed more quickly! It only takes three minutes to warm a bottle, so the plan is to have Kevin change Riley’s diaper while the bottle is warming up in the room and then quickly give it to him afterwards. And in general, dropping the bottle in the warmer is so much easier than what we used to do which was boil a pot of water and then add the bottle for three minutes. Boiling the water took an extra 7 to 10 minutes! And I’m all about efficiency. And if you don’t want to do the mini-fridge in your room, you can always just use the bottle warmer in the kitchen and still save a ton of time by not having to boil water on the stove.

Hope This Helps!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now! I really love today’s blog post because all of these things truly helped me during this first month with Riley. I’m really hoping that by sharing them, I’ll help some other mamas out there too! Do you guys have anything else to add to this list?! I’d love to know what your favorite things are and what any moms-to-be out there plan on putting on their registries. And if you’ve used any of these products tell me in the comments below! And as always, please keep sharing your stories with me on social media using #Mamalogues. I love reading all of them!

55 Thoughts

55 thoughts on “Mommy Must Haves – Newborn Edition

      1. Hi! How have you incorporated pumping with bottles/nursing? I exclusively breastfed my daughter for a year without bottles at all so I’m nervous about doing that with our second in October. I only pumped the first month to get her through the period to getting strong enough to breastfeed…thanks!

  1. Love these tips. Our family used the Philips Avent Natural bottles for both our kiddos and it worked wonders. Especially for my daughter who I nursed for a longer period than my son. Swear by those!

    I also think a good infant carrier is a must. Definitely helps if you venture alone with your kiddo/kiddos so you can have both hands free.

    1. I also admire you mentioning asking for help. There can be so much self judgement from asking for help but it really is necessary. That saying it takes a village to raise a child is totally true. Find your village Mamas!

      1. They are the BEST bottles. I truly believe that. And asking for help is so important. I’m so glad we are doing it MUCH sooner this time around

  2. The bottle warmer was ESSENTIAL overnight! Especially once I went back to work, we left it on our bathroom counter until the weekend when it would go downstairs during the day. We don’t have a mini fridge in our room, but after a couple months of going up and down the stairs in the middle of the night my husband had the brilliant idea of packing a tiny cooler with ice packs and milk for overnight feedings. We’d put that on our bathroom counter with the bottle warmer. Sooner or later one of us was going to fall face first on the stairs we were so tired!

    1. The ice cooler to use with the bottle warmer is SO smart! Yay to your hubby to thinking to do that! Thank you for sharing that with all of us!

  3. I just recently started reading your blog and following you. My 17 year old daughter is going to be having a baby in October and I like getting ideas from you. We are having her baby shower this coming Saturday. I think I might add that bottle warmer to her list it might come in handy for her. I never used them with all my kids I just did it the old fashion way. You have adorable kiddos!!

  4. My second was born the day before Riley, also a boy and we have a 2.5 yr old daughter. My son is also a big eater and already 11lbs as well! Thanks for sharing and I love following along since we’re pretty much on the same boat! xx

  5. The bottle warmer was a lifesaver!! I’m pregnant with baby #2 now and might have to invest in a wine fridge for the bedroom lol that’s such a great idea! I also highly recommend the Baby Brezza for those who use formula. It was the best!

  6. my first little one is arriving in exactly one week (by scheduled surgery) (+ ahhh! did i really just type that! one little week left!) and i love lists like this! it’s so helpful to see what other mama’s have found helpful because there are so many different brands of everything! so thank you! love your blog!

  7. Zipper pjs are life-savers. My two week old daughter hates getting changed and I find that at least with the zipper PJs it’s much quicker than fumbling with buttons in the middle the night when she screaming to be dressed. Obviously it’s so hard to know what will work and what won’t work for a newborn and every one is different, but blogs like are so helpful to new moms. Not only for product recs but also as a reminder that we all have the same problems sometimes. Thank you.

  8. Hi Ali,

    I love your blog so much and find it so reassuring and helpful. I have a 3 year old daughter and a baby boy due in September so I feel I can relate to a lot of what you are talking about. I love that you are giving yourself a little more grace and self care this time around with Riley because that’s so important! I look forward to your next blog post! Ashley

  9. Such good information. We are expecting in November so I’m starting our registry. Where do you get your nursing tanks???

  10. The dok a tot is a lifesaver! I know it’s pricey, but both my kids loved it, and my 3 month old naps in it all day everyday. I highly recommend

  11. Hi Ali! Love your blog, thanks for sharing all this information. My baby girl will be 1 month, do you have any advice for breastfeeding? I am having so much pain and cracking, did you ever have any difficulties with it or did it just work? Thanks 🙂

    1. With Molly it was easy. It’s harder with Riley. I’ve had quite a bit of pain here and there. It’s awful some days (with raw spots OUCH!) but not bad at all other days. I’m just pushing through the best I can!

    2. Congratulations on your new bundle of joy!!! If you are having difficulty breastfeeding, I suggest you search for a breastfeeding support group. Google La Leche League to find a local group in your area. Also, try to see if your doctor or the hospital you delivered, if you delivered in a hospital, has the name of a lactation consultant that will come to your house or you can see. Loma Linda, which is located in Southern California, is having a free breastfeeding conference in August. If you google “breastfeeding conference in Loma Linda” it will be the first link: Baby Conference.

      I really struggled with breastfeeding with my daughter. It really did a number on me mentally and affected our relationship. Finding a weekly support group and going to the conference saved not only our relationship but my life.

      Wishing you the best!

  12. FTM. So my baby turned 5 weeks on Thursday and doesnt sleep more than an hour without waking to be fed and eats maybe 30 secs and is asleep. This morning at 830 after being up since 130 and baby not wanting to be awake, asleep, not dirty, going through 3 nursing bras because he wanted to suck and not eat I gave in and gave him his first pacifier, he literally went to sleep in 30 secs! Eye opener.
    I was also recommended all advent, so we use the bottles, pacifer(now) and manual breast pump. He took his first bottle at 3 weeks and had no problem rewatching and I was so relieved because I wanna breastfeed for a year.
    What swaddle do you use? Do you co sleep or is riley in a bassinet?
    I ask because my little hates being swaddled and wont sleep in the bassinet or anywhere but my chest.

    1. Riley is swaddled. He fights it sometimes but I think it helps him sleep longer.

      And that’s SO great that you gave the pacifier!!! Hope you are getting MUCH more sleep now!

  13. Hi Ali- such great tips! Our little guys are only a few days apart. Mine is also a chunky monkey- over 11 pounds! I’m ready to stretch his feedings a bit now too- Mama needs a break! How soon after someone does a bottle do you pump? So, when Kevin does the bottle at night, do you pump at the same time? or do you just pump at some point during the day to make sure you have had enough stimulations so as not to “skip” a feeding? You are doing an amazing job- at this stage in newborn land, I could not imagine doing this with another little one at home! So much respect for you and Kevin.

      1. Hi Ali. Can you share what type of dockatot you have? Or do you have a Snoo? I’m trying to decide which one to get. The Snoo is super expensive so I would rather not get that one, if a cheaper one works.

  14. That bottle warmer is a lifesaver for us. My hubby was sure we didn’t need that until I pointed out the 3 am feedings and waiting for water to heat on a stove lol. We use it still for puréed food we freeze!
    Zipper PJ’s for sure! We found some that zip from the foot up so you don’t have to unzip the whole thing in the middle of the night! Game changer!

  15. I know you’re sponsored by avent so that’s what you have to recommend but I’d strongly recommend your readers buy 1 of many bottles and many pacifiers because you never know which your baby will take to. It took many bottles before we found one that worked for our daughter and 3 different pacifiers.

  16. Do you know what we found BEST to defrost breast milk…..running hot water through the Keurig!!!! Also great for warming up bottles. 🤪🤪

  17. I’m curious how easy the wrap is to use? I used a few with my first child but I could never quite figure it out. Ended up going to a 360 wrap that seemed less complicated. But this one looks so nice and I noticed a buckle. Thank you in advane for your response! 🙂

  18. I cannot stress enough how much I agree with the importance of asking for help as a parent!!
    I’m a nanny to three – with their first I was the only person who wasn’t family to watch her when she was a little over 2 years old. The momma has told me that she didn’t leave her with even family until their wedding a month after she turned 1.. however with the second two she left them with me from almost day 1 – their 2nd was 3 weeks when she had to go to the grand opening of her husbands business (timing!!) and with their 3rd she’d nip off to the grocery store within the first week – granted she knew me so of course it’s different after 4 years than leaving your newborn with a stranger right away, I’d been with them for 2 years when they had their second.
    But anyways, my point of the long ramble was to say that their first is a total handful, always has been very hard headed and incapable of listening. The next two are so easy, sweet, and happy with anyone and anything.. the momma swears to this day that the reason her oldest is so difficult is because she made her this way! She says for two years she was so high strung and tired and missing her “me” time, and almost resentful of her husband who got to have a “real” life outside of being a parent, and she’s sure that her daughter fed off of her in that time. Whereas now her kids know her to be relaxed, happy, independent and totally happy to be mommy at all times when she’s home! No meltdowns, resentment, or complete exhaustion.
    Good luck on the nanny hunt! Finding the right match will be fantastic – I love “my” family so much and life without them is unimaginable!

  19. Great post, Ali
    Cheers to you for all the informative “must haves’!
    a ‘glass of wine’ cheers 🙂

    An electric bottle warmer is a must. Plus a helpful daddy!
    God bless 💙

  20. I’m going to try that pacifier. My little one is 10 weeks old and he’s not a fan of the pacifier. We’ve been trying it periodically since he was a week old, but maybe we just don’t have the right one! He sleeps well, but uses me as a pacifier and I’m hoping to overcome that before I have to go back to work! Thanks for the tips, it’s always nice to read what works for others.

  21. A great list! My only advice to first time parents is why need a bottle warmer at all?! We got our son used to drinking room temperature formula bottles or even out of the frig (if they were pre-made) and it made life on the go so much easier! I’d be able to fill a bottle with water and just pack formula in a travel cup – then when baby is ready, I can just pour and shake wherever we are!

  22. I was full-time Nanny for 8 years, and I LOVED it. I just left my family of 5 years as I welcomed my own baby girl and now stay home with her! Having a nanny can be an amazing experience! There are truly people out there who love being a nanny and will play, laugh, love and teach your little munchkins with all their heart. I know it can be scary leaving your babies with someone, but I can truly say there are people who absolutely love what they do. Being a nanny is such a rewarding, amazing, ( and sometimes tough) job. Best of luck on your search! My biggest advice is find someone you click with personally as well. You’ll want to have open and honest conversations on both ends and feel comfortable with this person ( of course!) But when I was interviewing I knew right away if I “clicked” with the parents. It’s important. 💖

  23. Have you guys looked into getting an au pair at all? We got one last year and it was the best decision we could have ever made!

  24. As a professional nanny myself, I’m wishing you and your family the best of luck finding the right fit for you, I hope that the process is easy!( and a lot less questions than we have to fill out!)

  25. Hi Ali,
    How has your experience been with pumping and breastfeeding?? I’m a mom of a toddler, 2yrs, and a 2mo. I also strictly breastfeed my little one and feel like I’m very limited to doing things because I have to be w my little one all the time. How often do you pump? Thank you for sharing with us your experiences, much appreciated!! 😍

  26. Hi Ali, I’m a new Mom and so appreciate these entries you make. This is my first baby and I’m trying to breastfeed but it’s so exhausting and challenging, yet there is so much pressure to only do that and not incorporate bottles. I would love to hear your story, with Molly and Riley, about how to get through the tough times breastfeeding and how to handle the external pressures of what everyone tells you to do versus what’s right for you and your family. Just hearing someone else’s experience, I think, can normalize it for the rest of us. The guilt over bottles and occasional formula I feel doesn’t seem merited but seems to all from outside forces.

  27. Ali, on july 7th, you said you’ve interviewed Nannies and found 2 that seem to work for you and you are doing trials with them. Then your July 9th post, you say that you haven’t been in contact with any potential candidates yet..so which is it? You are constantly lying I. Your posts and trying to make your life look so much more glamourous than it is. You contradict yourself, probably more often than you even notice.

  28. Loved this post. I am just finishing my first trimester, but any of these extra tips I can get are so helpful!

  29. Thank you for this Ali! I am 20 weeks tomorrow and carrying my first baby and kinda feel clueless and lost when it comes to essentials.. so many possibilities yet not quite sure what is actually necessary:). Thanks again!

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