Oh Joy

baby essentials...
4 Jan 2012

Baby-registry-2

When we were a couple months away from our baby shower and had to start thinking about what to register for or even what we'd need to buy ourselves, it was overwhelming to say the least. There are a million brands of strollers, clothes, bottles, things for sleeping, swinging, lounging, you name it. I tried to narrow things down with suggestions from friends who had babies, but I learned a lot more {and learned what we didn't need} once Ruby came. I've previously posted a short list of a few favorites, but my friend Jenna is expecting her first baby this Spring, so I've been working on master list of suggestions for her and figured I might as well share it with you mamas-to-be out there too! Many items are personal preferences based on you and your baby, but there are definitely some things I wish I knew we'd need over other things I registered for simply because they were cute or pretty!

As to where to register, even though we had our shower locally here in LA, I found that having a registry where people could order online and have shipped to you was the easiest, both for those who came to our shower and those who didn't. We registered for some of the more design-y stuff at Giggle and then everything else at Amazon. Amazon has so many options, and I loved that the remaining items on our list that weren't purchased, we could buy ourselves at 10% off a month before our due date. Also, there are lots of items friends or relatives may give you, so be open to hand-me-downs, especially for things that are washable, pricey, or you'll only use for a short time. It helps so much to be able to save some money where you can.

Update: I've added in things as we go through new stages and I can recommend additional items. All additions are in italics and noted with an asterisk (*).

 

Baby-registry-wear
Clothes

Hands-down, clothing is one of the most gifted items you'll receive when you have a baby...especially onesies...we must have a hundred of them. Most people want to give you something cute that baby can wear. Since newborns grow out of clothing so quickly, people tend to give 3-6m or 6-12m items, but newborn stuff is great too as you need those in the first month when your baby can't fit into those bigger pieces yet. The clothing I registered for was cute, but not as practical as we needed, so we ended up buying some additional pieces after Ruby arrived. Here are my musts on what baby clothing is the most useful during the first few months and what I'd recommend registering for. You don't need to register for decorative or cutesy onesies because you'll get a ton of those from friends and family.

Wrap shirts...these tend to be mostly made for newborns, but they're great to pair with Kushies Footed Pants or Cuffed Pants just with a diaper. We loved these long sleeved wrap shirts from Gerber with built-in mitts and these short-sleeved ones by Disney. They're basic, white cotton and great for those early months.

Snap-up Pajamas...Carter's Sleep n' Play are our go-to clothing option for daily use especially during the cooler months. Ruby wears these both in the day and at night. The newborn sizes have built-in cuff mitts which are so helpful. And I highly recommend the kind with snaps, as opposed to the zip-up kind, as it's much easier and more comfortable for the baby to check a diaper by unbuttoning a few snaps, then to have to unzip the whole thing just to check.

Sleep Gowns...having easy access to the diaper for middle of the night changes is so helpful and we love these sleep gowns by Tadpoles and Carter's. They are roomy and have the always handy built-in mitts.

Wrap Onesies...you'll get plenty of regular short-sleeve and long-sleeve onesies, but it's nice to have some that snap for when baby is being extra fussy and want to avoid having to put something over their head. My favorites are from Petit Bateau {so soft!} and Tadpole {great snaps!}. These ones are a bit more pricey so save them for 3 months or bigger when they can get more use out of them.

Baby Mittens...Ruby was super active with her hands and arms since birth and has scratched up her face quite a few times, so we used these Satsuma Mitts {along with regular nail trims} and these GuavaMitts to protect her from her nails when her tee or pj's don't have built-in mitts.

*Update: We used these just for sleeping for her up until 4 months. We continued to like the GuavaMitts because they stayed on a better once she got smart enough to figure out how to take the other ones off.

Booties & Socks...a multi-pack of cute socks will always come in handy for keeping those toes warm. But socks don't stay on well unless they fit perfectly, so we use these Nature Baby Booties a lot too.

Shoes...your baby doesn't really need shoes, but that doesn't mean you won't get some super cute ones as gifts or want to pick up a pair or two yourself when you see them. Even if they won't be walking for another year, they're super fun for display in the nursery.

Hats...for colder climates and months, a couple hats are great for cold nights or outdoor adventures. Hats don't really stay on baby's heads super well {my favorite was actually the one they give you in the hospital}, so cotton hats with a bit of stretch usually work well. I love the ones by Nature Baby, American Apparel, and Satsuma.

Hamper & Laundry...I have a DwellStudio storage bin that we use as a hamper {the handles make it easy to take to and from the laundry room}, and we love Mrs. Meyers baby detergent and Method baby dryer sheets for her clothing.

 

Baby-registry-sleep
Sleeping & Soothing

Everyone has their preference about where your newborn should sleep. Some have the baby sleep in their crib immediately, and some use a bassinet in their room for the first few months to make those nighttime wakings and feedings a little easier. We had Ruby in a Pack 'n Play bassinet in our bedroom as a newborn and then switched her to her crib at two months.

Bassinet...We used a Graco Pack 'n Play with mattress and sheet as our bassinet because I wanted to be able to get more use out of it past the bassinet stage. However, I wish we had something more portable and something that felt a bit more cozy for her in those first couple months. If I had to do it over again, I'd get a smaller, more cozy bassinet like this Moses Basket from Serena & Lily. Ruby took a nap in this at a friend's house recently and loved it!

Crib...This choice is really all about the aesthetics and how much you want to spend. We got a DwellStudio Crib because I loved the look of it and because it converts to a toddler bed later on.

Crib Bedding & Sheets...Most crib sets come with a fitted sheet, crib skirt, bumper, and blanket. The full sets are really more decorative then anything since the baby's crib only needs a fitted sheet. We have a hand block-printed set from Virginia Johnson {no longer available} as well as some extra fitted sheets from DwellStudio. I love mixing and matching, and it's good to have a couple extra fitted sheets on hand for leaks and spit-up messes {I also love these from Auggie}. I've also heard great things about the Summer Infant Ultimate Crib Sheet which makes it super easy to change when leaks occur without having to take the whole sheet off.

Mattress...There are a ton of mattress options, but what's most important is a firm mattress. We didn't want to spend over $100 on a mattress and got this one from Sealy which works great.

Swaddle Blankets...Most newborns sleep much better being swaddled because it gives them the coziness they knew in the womb and it helps prevent them from waking themselves up with their flailing arms. I have a bunch of Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets and find them to be great for lots of different uses—as a swaddle, as light blankets, a nursing cover, and an on-the-fly-spit-up-catcher. For swaddling, I find the Miracle Blanket to be much easier to use and harder for Ruby to break out of while sleeping than doing a manual swaddle. Once she can control her arms a little more, we have the Halo Sleep Sack which can be used with arms tucked in and arms-free. We also used this Jacadi Sleep Sac for Ruby's first month since our Pack 'n Play was so vast, it gave her a more cozy feeling.

*Update: We used the Miracle Blanket until Ruby could break free from it at 3 months, then transitioned to the arms in Halo Sleep Sack, and then to the arms out version at 4 months.

Glider...I tend to feed Ruby on the couch instead of in a chair most of the time, but I love our DwellStudio glider for soothing her for sleepy time. It has a super smooth rocking motion and doesn't look too much like a rocking chair for use later on.

Sound Machine...We have the Sleep Sheep and the Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine. While the sheep is cuter, it turns off after 45 minutes so I much prefer the Graco because it can stay on all night and the noise options are a little better. Ruby sleeps with the white noise option for both day naps and night time sleep.

Baby Carriers & Slings...I have a couple different wraps and slings I've tried because I like being able to go on walks with Ruby and she loves hanging out while being held close. While the Sakura Bloom is the prettiest of the bunch, I found the Boba Wrap {formerly called Sleepy Wrap} to be easier to use during the newborn stage when they can't yet face outward. Ruby loves being in the sling and falls asleep really easily in it, so I sling her once a day for her last afternoon nap when she's the most fussy. Bob would never wear a sling {and most guys seem to feel that way}, so he uses the classic Baby Bjorn.

*Update: The Boba Wrap was great when Ruby was smaller and needed the head support but once she could hold her head up and was able to face forward and look out into the world, we love the Stokke MyCarrier. It has the best back support of any carrier I've tried {which is vital after your baby reaches 15 lbs.} and it can be used with baby facing inwards, outwards, or on your back. It grows with you, which makes it so worth the investment.

Rockers & Swings...We have this Mamaroo Lounger which I chose to register for because it looks a bit more sleek and takes up less space than the tradition swing-style rockers. It looks super futuristic and Ruby loved it early on up until about two months old. A more affordable option would have been a Fisher Price Papasan Cradle Swing which I think she'd like more now since it has more play options that would keep her entertained while awake. I've also heard great things about the Fisher Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper, which is super affordable or this really pretty Stokke Bouncer which attaches to a day bed.

Pacifier...Pacifiers are really dependent on your baby, so it's a good idea to get a couple and see which they like best. Ruby isn't huge into pacifiers but when she does take one, she likes the Vital Baby kind the best. I like how they come with covers, too. I've also heard great things about Nuk pacifiers.

*Update: I still believe that these are very specific to baby, but Ruby didn't start taking one regularly until close to 6 months when she was teething and a tooth was plowing its way through her gums giving her the desire to constantly chew on things. Now she loves Soothies because she can chew on any part of it and it's very easy for her to get into her mouth on her own because it's not one-directional.

Baby Monitor...Bob is a tech nut and does very thorough research on all gadgets before buying. We chose this Motorola Video Monitor and love it. The screen is big, it has night vision, has a microphone, and it even tells you the temperature in the baby's room.

Space Heater...Our house has lots of windows and gets kind of drafty at night, so we love this Dyson Heater for regulating the temperature in her room. It's pricey, but by far the best space heater I've ever used.

Books on Sleep & Sleep Consulting...Sleep training your baby and what books you read or follow really depends on your preference and how you think your baby should learn to sleep {no cry, some crying, cry it out, etc.} and when he or she is ready for real training. Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child is one of the most popular choices as it goes through all the methods and leaves it up to you. However, I find it tough to read and too wishy-washy for my personal taste. Eat, Sleep, Poop and What to Expect the First Year both cover various methods and summaries of different sleep training methods as well and you can certainly get the information you need from those all-inclusive books. If you'll have to go back to work within a set amount of time or want to implement a schedule and sleep train your baby on the early side, the Babywise Books and this Babywise Mom blog are a good fit for establishing structure from the very beginning. I've also heard great things about the Sleepy Planet video and book series which encourages gradually implementing a schedule, night weening, and sleep training when your baby is ready around 4-5 months. If you're someone who likes to be guided through the process, a great gift to give or get as a new parent is a sleep consultation, and the Sleep Planet ladies are a popular choice.

 

Baby-registry-play
Playing and Lounging

Lounging...Ruby loves chilling on the Boppy Newborn Lounger just to check out her surroundings and while we play and interact with her.

Sitting...Once your baby is old enough to hold his or her head up, the Bumbo Baby Seat is super popular and lets them sit up right with some support.

*Update: We got the Prince Lionheart Bebepod because it has a seatbelt {extra safety which the Bumbo doesn't have} and a tray for eating or for playing and we love it. It's been great to strengthen her core for sitting and will be great to take with us for sitting at the table outside of our house.

Activity Gym...We love our Skip Hop Activity Gym and have used it since she was a couple weeks old. It's not until 6-8 weeks that they really start to be able to interact with the toys, but it's a great way to get them used to some self-reliant play time where they can discover sights and sounds and practice grabbing objects.

*Update: At 6 months, Ruby still LOVES this activity gym. We use it after she's had more active play and she can still be entertained by this for a good 15-20 minutes. As she gets more active, this has become a nice wind-down toy for her right before nap time.

*Jumperoo...This Fisher Price Jumperoo is probably the bulkiest and least cute toy of the bunch, but babies love this. Once they can hold their head up on their own and their feet touch the floor {for Ruby it was around 4 months}, they love being upright and interacting with all the different pieces. I'll even take some of the animals from the Activity Gym and stick them on here. Even though this thing screams "I have a baby" and will not be a welcome addition to your decor, it's a lifesaver when you need to go to the bathroom, get a bite to eat, or have baby play on their own for a few minutes while you're nearby.

Rattles...Before Ruby was able to really interact with her Activity Gym, we had an Apple Park rattle that we used to help her practice tracking objects from the very beginning.

*Update: Once Ruby began to be able to hold objects in her hands, a teething ring/rattle in one does wonders. We love this one by Sugar Booger. But anything that is smaller and a part of it can be held in their tiny hands is the best.

Stuffed Animals...Stuffed animals usually more for decoration in newborn stage, but after a couple months can be fun to use to interact with the baby. We got a lot of really cool {not typical} stuffed animals as gifts including this Land of Nod bunny and a couple loveys, which are really sweet.

*Update: Ruby's favorite stuffed dolls & animals are the ones from BlaBla. They're so soft, and she loves both the animals and the people versions. I love that their dolls come in different colors, as we think teaching her diversity in people {and dolls} is really important.

Baby-registry-feed

Feeding

Nursing Pillow...I have both a Boppy and My Brest Friend which were hand-me-downs from friends. I don't use either a ton now and tend to just cradle her in my arms when nursing. But they can be so helpful in the early stages of breast feeding when you're trying to make the baby and yourself as comfortable as possible. The Boppy doubles as a lounger for baby too which is a plus!

Breast Pump...This is one item that no one will probably buy for you on your registry because people feel weird about it! If you feel comfortable doing so, you can save some money by borrowing one from a friend or getting one on Craigslist. You just want to be sure that the person you are getting it from is in good health and ideally someone you know. You simply use the machine part, but buy new pump parts and tubing to keep it all sanitary. I have the Medela Pump In Style which makes it easy to take with you when needed. And, as crazy as it looks, this Medela Bustier makes pumping way easier. I like storing milk in the bottles that come in the kit or in these Medela Bags.

Bottles...There are a million bottles on the market. Instead of buying a ton of different ones, I'd suggest getting just a couple and seeing how your baby likes them. Luckily, Ruby can take a bottle when needed and isn't picky on what type. You definitely want to get bottles with slow flow which most closely mimic milk flow from the breast and help acclimate baby to a bottle. Since Ruby is nursed most of the time, we have a couple bottles on hand for feeding her when I'm not around or so Bob can feed her sometimes too. We love the Yoomi Bottle because the flow and shape is more similar to a real breast and it includes a super handy bottle warmer for heating up stored milk. As for a bottle warmer, we received a couple as gifts but didn't end up using them since it's typically easier for us to just warm stored milk under hot running water or using the Yoomi warmer in the bottle.

*Update: Ruby protested the bottle for a good month or so after we got lazy and didn't give her one regularly for a while. My recommendation...if you're nursing, still offer a bottle once a day so the baby gets used to it and can't feed with someone other than Mom!

Bottle Rack...We love this Lawn Drying Rack by Boon—it's the bigger version of their original Grass size. I don't have this Stem, but it seems pretty cute too.

Bibs...We got a ton of bibs as gifts but since a lot of them are too big for Ruby to wear around her neck right now, these Aden+Anais Burpy Bibs are by far my favorite for nursing and for spit-ups to lay on her or draped over your shoulder for burping. The fabric is super soft, absorbs well, and wipes well.

Sterilizer...This Avent Sterilizer has been great and so easy for bottles, pump parts, and pacifiers.

Teething...We're not at the teething stage yet {and I'll update this when we are and have more suggestions}, but we did get Sophie the Giraffe from three different people so it's obviously a popular choice among parents.

*Update: A teething ring/rattle in one does wonders. We love this one by Sugar Booger. Ruby never used Sophie the Giraffe but most babies love it!

High Chair...Another item we haven't gotten yet. I love this Bloom high chair for the looks of it, but haven't yet researched what's best function-wise. Moms out there, what are your favorites? I'll update this once we decide on one.

*Update: We got the Stokke Tripp Trapp when Ruby turned five months, and we were preparing her to get ready for solids and had her start sitting with us at the table. We love it for it's clean and modern design and its ability to grow with the baby.

Books on Breast Feeding...The Nursing Mother's Companion is the go-to for preparing for nursing as well as any hiccups you encounter once you start. I also find that meeting with a lactation consultant during the early stages of breast feeding {either at the hospital or your pediatrician's office} is really helpful because they can give you tips that are specific to you and your baby.

*Baby Food...We started Ruby on rice cereal at 5-1/2 months for a couple weeks to get her used to the texture of thicker food and eating with a spoon and then introduced solid foods at 6 months. We love the Beaba because it steams and purees the food all in one compact machine.

Baby-registry-poop
Pee & Poop

Pee & poop will soon take over your life. We change at least 12 diapers a day {and one day we changed 24 in a day!}, and before you know it, you'll get more excited over your baby's bowel movements than that awesome sale at J.Crew.

Changing Table...I wanted to get a changing table that doubles as a dresser and wasn't a limited time use only piece. So we have the DwellStudio Dresser with Changing Table Attachment. It's perfect for storing diapers, bibs, blankets, and all of the bigger baby essentials. We love this Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad because it cradles the baby while being changed and helps to prevent them from rolling over. You can even put it on top of dresser you already have rather than getting a brand new piece. You definitely want to get a few changing pad covers because these get pee, poop, and spit-up on, so you always want an extra clean one handy. I love the Boppy Changing Pad set as well as this Giggle Organic Cotton Cover.

Diapers & Wipes...We've tried both Huggies and Pampers, and our favorite is Pampers Swaddlers. They contour better to the booty and seem to hold leaks better. Both have a wetness indicator which makes it so easy to tell if there's a wet diaper. Pampers Sensitive Wipes are soft, plush, and go great with a Wipe Warmer for colder months.

*Update: When Ruby started sleeping through the night around 5 months, Huggies nighttime diapers have been great and last 12 hours.

Diaper Disposable...If you do go the disposable diaper route, this Diaper Dekor makes it easier to throw them away while keep odors at bay too. Be sure to stock up on refills, too.

Creams...For very newborns, we were given an awesome tip in our infant prep class. Put a dollop of Vaseline on the diaper where the butt crack will be, so when the meconium comes out {during the first few days}, it's much easier to wipe off. Otherwise that stuff is so sticky, like tar. For rashes, we haven't had to deal with diaper rash yet, but Boudreaux Butt Paste is great and seems to be a popular choice.

*Update: When Ruby did start getting diaper rash around 3-4 months, we've been using Desitin, and it's been great.

Finally, if you're patient, you can also consider Infant Potty Training. I have a friend who did this, and her baby rarely uses diapers. It seems amazing but is a lot of work in the beginning to implement.

Baby-registry-bath
Bath Time

For the first few months, newborns don't need to be bathed every day and can go a few days between baths. Sponge baths are best until the umbilical cord falls out, and then they can be bathed in a baby tub. We began having bath time as part of Ruby's nighttime routine almost from the very beginning and made it a daily routine after her first month because she loves it so much and was the only time she was calm during "witching hour".

Baby Tub...We love the Puj Tub for bath time. It's compact, great for small spaces, and Ruby finds it so cozy and comfy. We'll eventually have to get a bigger one once she can't fit in the sink anymore, but this one is great for the first six months.

*Update: Ruby got too big for the sink tub around 4 months, so we switched to this inexpensive Fisher Price whale tub which has worked great.

Hooded Towel...Other than being super cute on a baby, hooded towels make going from bath to changing table so easy and dries off babies in no time. We have a few, but Ruby's favorite one is this 3 Sprouts Organic Hooded Towel which is big enough to use as she grows.

Bath Toiletries...Mustela makes really nice baby bath products and we've found this Newborn Set to come in handy for bath time. Johnson's is always a classic too.

*Update: We recently started using the bath and body products by Honest, and love them. Ruby's had dry skin for month, and this was the first set of products that made in much better in just a few days. We also love Aveeno Baby for treating her baby eczema.

Bath Toys...We're not at bath toy stage yet {and will update with more suggestions when we are} but Boon makes super fun bath toys that seem interactive, come in great colors, and fun for babies when they can play a bit more in the tub.

*Update: Always a classic, Ruby loves playing with a rubber duck and this SkipHop octopus ring toss during bath!

Baby-registry-care
First Aid & Other Stuff

A few things you'll want to have on hand include: a general care kit like this one Summer Infant Nursery Care Kit, Cuticle Scissors for cutting baby's nails which make it a bit easier than regular baby nail clippers, Nose Frida Snotsucker which is a bit more accurate than the traditional bulb, Infant Advil {as opposed to Infant Tylenol/Acetaminophen which has recently shown to have an increased risk for asthma within the first year of life}, and Vicks Rectal Thermometer.

Toiletries...I mentioned bath stuff above. Other than those, I love Mustela baby lotion and Weleda's Baby Face Cream. But, of course, plain 'ole Johnson's works great, too.

*Update: Aquaphor is our new best friend. We've used it on all her dry spots and random rashes and it works better than any other lotion we've tried. Aveeno Baby has been the best for more serious dryness and for treating her baby eczema.

Humidifier...For colder and dryer months, a humidifier helps to keep baby from getting too congested. We have this Cool Drop version from Crane, but it's kind of clunky to fill, so if I had to do it over, I'd get one of these fun, colorful options from Gizmine or these cuties by Crane.

Baby-registry-go

On the Go

Stroller...There are a what seems like a million different strollers out there, and it can get really overwhelming to choose. There are two factors that I think are most important when choosing a stroller...function and cost. How do you plan to use your stroller? Do you live in a walking city or a driving city? Are you going to use it to exercise, on rough terrain, or in snowy/rainy conditions? And how much are you willing to spend? A third, less important factor, is how cool it looks. Because honestly, the most functional strollers aren't always the prettiest. When researching strollers, we went to Giggle to look at all the brands they carry as well as a store that carried the Stokke. Because we live in LA and mostly drive when the baby is in her car seat or stroller, I found that the Orbit G2 System to be the most convenient for getting in and out of the car, and I found the base easiest to open and close. I also liked how it would transition through many phases and could be used with other seats as Ruby grows. If we I lived in a more walkable city, I probably would have chosen the Stokke Xplory {which I liked the look of best} or the Uppa Baby {which cost-wise was the best deal for a more design-y stroller}. I also like that the Orbit had separate, not connected, handles so a bag can be slung over a handle. A small detail but helpful when you're running errands and need help carrying more things.

*Update: We have both the Orbit G2 System and the Stokke Xplory mentioned above, and I still agree with my original impressions. The Stokke is great for city living and walking with the baby. Now that she's more active and aware, Ruby loves sitting in this stroller when we're out and about because she can sit completely upright, but it can also be tilted back if she gets sleepy and needs a nap. And, we still love the car seat/stroller seat in one of the Orbit which is so convenient for getting in and out of the car easily.

Carseat...Since we have the Orbit, we have a built-in car seat and stroller seat in one. But otherwise, Graco is a popular brand that fits into most strollers and the Maxi Cosi has a more streamlined look which I liked.

Mirror & Shade...We love being able to see Ruby from the rear view mirror, and this BearView Infant Mirror has served us well. It has a decent-sized mirror and Ruby has been growing more aware of the cute bear looking back at her. A window shade is also helpful for the constant LA sun.

*Update: Once we converted her to a toddler seat, the height of the seat didn't work with bear mirror, so we switched to this Diono Easy Mirror which works really well.

The Diaper Bag...A diaper bag really depends on function and aesthetics. Do you want it to look like a regular bag or are you okay with it looking more like a diaper bag? These days most diaper bags are designed to look like regular handbags or tote bags. I have one from Kate Spade as well as one by Jonathan Adler for Skip Hop. Depending on whether you plan to walk a lot or if you mostly drive, some prefer a bag with a long strap that can be worn cross-body if you're walking a lot or taking the baby in and out of places with just the car seat and not the full stroller. I'm fine with shorter straps because I tend to loop the bag on one of the stroller handles and don't have to carry it on my shoulder most of the time anyway. Inside the diaper bag, you'll want to make sure you have:

A travel changing pad {if your diaper bag doesn't already come with one}, travel wipesVital Baby Hand and Face Wipes for messes, a couple plastic grocery bags for throwing away dirty diapers {no store or restaurant wants to see a dirty diaper in their open trash bins}, an extra change of clothes in case of a bad diaper leak or spit-up, a burp towel or bib, a light swaddle blanket, nursing cover up, hand sanitizer, and a pacifier.

 

Oh-joy-baby-shower-4

For the Mom

Toiletries... During most of my pregnancy, I didn't have a single stretch mark, and I thought I might have been one of the lucky ones. But, nope! Once I hit 35 weeks, the stretch marks appeared like fireworks on New Year's Eve, and I silently cried on the inside knowing those may never go away. To help prevent them from getting worse and to help fade the marks, I started using Mustela Stretch Mark Cream. I can't say for sure if it's the cream, but almost three months post baby, the marks are far less noticeable, and I'll keep my fingers crossed they get a little better day by day. And if they don't, I have a beautiful baby that made them all worth it.

Vitamins...During pregnancy, I took these Vitafusion gummy pre-natal vitamins because I hate taking huge pills and still take them even now.

Nursing Bras and Shirts...There are plenty of pretty nursing bras out there, and I'd recommend waiting until your milk has come in {you never know what size you'll end up being} and going to a local nursing or maternity store when you can try them on. In addition to the standard sized bras, I have three sets of these Lamaze Sleep Bras. They're so comfortable and easy to use, and I seriously wear them all the time, not just at night. And, here's the fun part...you'll need to line all of your bras with these Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads to prevent those ever-so-attractive leaks! As for clothing, I haven't purchased much in the way of nursing tops. There are cute nursing shirts from Boob if you're out and about a lot, but they tend to get pricey. If I plan to have to nurse while out in public, I try and wear a button-up top and bring a nursing cover up.

*Update: For a cute and dressy option when out in public, I love these Lauren Moffatt tops for each snap and go access. They have a couple new patterns every season, and the fit is super flattering too.

General Books & Apps...I've mentioned a handful of key books in the Sleep & Eat section above, but a few of my favorites that are general helpful reads include Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, Eat Sleep Poop, and the classic, What to Expect. In hindsight, I wish I had read only those three before having a baby. You can get books specific to sleep and breastfeeding, but all three of those books cover those categories as well. And I find it helpful not to get into the nitty gritty of some things until you're dealing with them. Looking back I wish we had read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer sooner and Ruby on a routine a little sooner than we did.

*Update: I'm a huge fan of the newish book, Bringing Up Bébe and wished I had read this sooner. You can read more about what I loved about it right here. It's now the number one book I'd recommend to parents or give as a gift to new moms.

Also, I've found apps to be much easier and convenient to keep track of baby's activities or to read about the milestones you can expect once they've arrive. Baby Log is my favorite for logging eating, pooping, peeing, sleeping, playing. This one is especially great for early breastfeeding as well as for starting your baby on a schedule. It creates charts & graphs from all the info logged, which make me happier than a kid in a candy store. For daily tips and milestones, I'm a big fan of What to Expect Baby and Baby Center's My Baby.

Time for Yourself...Being a mom is the most rewarding {and hardest} job I've ever had. I wouldn't trade my new life for anything, but every new parent {and especially moms} need a break every so often and some time to do the things you enjoy and make you feel like you're still you...now just the mom version of you. So, treat yourself {or give the gift to a new mom} to a date night out with your partner, brunch with friends, a massage, pedicure, a pilates membership, or a fun, bright lipstick.

Hope this list helps those of you prepping for baby's first few months! Moms out there, any other items you loved for your baby? I'll be sure to add things to it as we go through more stages! Also, I've added my favorites from each section to a Pinterest board to make it easy to save and repin. — Joy

P.S. Follow along on Pinterest for all of my favorite baby items right here! And see the newest Toddler Essentials post right here.

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