A Complete Guide to my Favorite Baby & New Mom Products

We’ve been doing this whole parenthood thing for ten months now so I thought better late than never to share my thoughts on baby and new mom products!

Baby Registry Products

A few items to address before we dive into things:

  • I’m not an expert. I’m just sharing what has worked for us so far. There has been plenty of trial and error. That said, I have ordered quite a few different versions of things so hopefully I can save you a bit of hassle with returns along the way 🙂 Always consult your pediatrician if you have safety questions! 
  • If the length of this post gets to be too much for you, you can shop most of our favorite baby products here. Most of the time when I read posts like this while trying to prep our registry, I got really overwhelmed and shut my computer. I tried to include everything in this post, but some of the smaller stuff I just kept in the Amazon shop with a quick note (you can hover over the item with a comment icon to see more).
  • All babies are different. We have been extremely fortunate that Ainsley has ‘liked’ most items we registered for and took to a pacifier and bottle when we first introduced them without having to try multiple versions.
  • My #1 recommendation for new parents? Taking Cara Babies sleep course. And remember? We never had our prep class even though I’m not sure how much that would’ve helped. I wish I would’ve taken Cara’s course about a month prior to having Ainsley.

For Baby

Transportation

UPPAbaby VISTA Stroller. This was hands down the most recommended stroller from friends and other moms, but whoa that price tag seemed like a lot. We were lucky enough to receive this as a gift at one of our showers (we got it in Loic), but I still would’ve purchased it. We really liked that it has multiple configurations for two kids one day, and the storage is incredible. During my first solo trip to Target with Ainsley, I didn’t even use a cart. I fit everything below her car seat. It made things much easier.

Ainsley kind of lived in the bassinet for the first two months because I admittedly had no idea where else to put her. She seemed so small and fragile, and I was afraid to just put her on a blanket or mat which would have been completely okay (ahhh first time mom). We bought the bassinet stand and moved it from our room to the family room every day. It worked for our schedule, but I’d consider buying a second stand to keep downstairs the next time around. Or, I would look into a bassinet with mesh sides for our room and keep the stand downstairs. Ainsley didn’t move around side to side that much though so it didn’t worry me – all she did was scoot all the way down so her butt was up against the edge of the bassinet and feet were in the air.

The other great thing about the UPPAbaby brand is its travel bags. We had registered for just the car seat bag instead of both (oops) but used the car seat and stroller bags on our trip to Florida. By registering your travel bags online, their TravelSafe program covers any damage incurred to the registered item during air travel (that was a lot of use of the word register but make sure you do that for all of your UPPAbaby products!).

This is the only stroller we have right now, but I keep looking at this Colugo stroller. While I love our VISTA, I think a smaller one will be helpful when we’re on the go.

Car Seat. I went back and forth on the UPPAbaby MESA and Nuna Pipa for longer than I care to admit. I think I watched 10 YouTube video reviews and comparisons and still couldn’t decide. I ended up getting the MESA because I didn’t want to deal with the adapters but still hear amazing things about the Nuna.

I also wish I would’ve registered for at least one convertible car seat but it was hard enough picking out the other car seat. We just got two of the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Max and will be installing soon. I’ve heard great things about the Nuna Rava but didn’t want to spend that (x2).

Car Seat Cover. I originally registered for this JJ Cole one, but turns out it’s not recommended to have any material between the baby and the back of the car seat. Again, things I didn’t think about until I was holding Ainsley and about to put her in the car seat. I thought it looked so comfortable but safety is more important in my book. Then I ordered this JJ Cole one and used it for a bit but ultimately ended up loving this one by Skip Hop the most. It’s a snug fit, the opening for Ainsley worked a bit better for us, and I honestly just liked the look of it more.

Stroller Gloves. These were amazing for our Wisconsin walks. They’re also probably the most commented on by strangers in terms of new baby gear they never had. Get ready to impress people.

Solly Wrap. I still kick myself for waiting a few weeks to use this. It took about three different tries but then Ainsley really started to love this. I used it for most of the last naps of the day. It allowed me to be on the move while trying to get stuff done around the house and counting down the minutes until Bill got home from work 😉 This was also extremely helpful with her reflux to keep her upright, comfort her and help her fall asleep.

Ergo Baby Carrier. Ahhhh so much to share here and glad this post has taken me so long to put together because I learned a lot before our trip to Florida. If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I ended up registering for the Ergo carrier that isn’t meant for the babe to face outward. That was fun to realize the day before we left. I frantically ran to Target and apologized that I didn’t have a Target baby registry, and they so kindly let me exchange for the Ergo Omni 360 Carrier. But honestly, I wish I would’ve registered for the Baby Bjorn. While the Ergo might be nice for Bill (he’s 6′ tall), it feels really bulky for me and is hard to get on by myself. One of my hidden talents thanks to 20 years of Irish dancing and quick costume changes for performances is that I’m pretty great at reaching behind my back to zip/button my own clothes, and even with that talent, it’s hard because well, you’re holding a baby while trying to put it on. Maybe I’m just being dramatic because I’m still having flashbacks to trying this when she was younger and seemed more fragile 😉 This tutorial makes the Ergo look pretty easy to use. I’ll try it out again soon and be sure to update the post!

Travel Crib. We registered for the Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib. Ainsley has slept really well in it – from our trip to Florida to naps on the go when we’re visiting family. She even came to work with me one day, and we had to set this up in a bathroom because it was the quietest and darkest room. I’ve watched the instructional videos several times but still haven’t totally nailed the ‘quick’ setup and take down, but I love how it can pack up into the rectangular backpack. I added the sheets that go with this to my Amazon shop, but I’ve actually just used her sheets from home when we’re on the go. That said, they’re not a perfect fit so I’d considering getting the sheets that go with this mattress. (Tip: before traveling, set the travel crib up in their room so they can practice taking naps in it before you’re in a new setting).

Diaper Bag. I ordered the Fawn diaper bag as a birthday present for myself when I was about three months pregnant (I think I got it for 25% off). Towards the end of my pregnancy, I used it as a computer bag for work since it was easier on my back and loved that it didn’t look as much like a diaper bag.

I purchased mine just before they launched a newer version that included a few updates based on customer feedback. From what I’ve read, the newer model is much better. I was honestly surprised about some of the features for how often I saw the backpack posted in my Instagram feed. For example, neither the Comotomo bottles nor my water bottle fit in the side pockets.

It has been okay for everyday use, but I wish I would’ve had something bigger or more strategically structured for our trip to Florida – this tends to fill up quickly. I’ve had my eyes on this one from Mark & Graham and have heard great things about the Freshly Picked bag as well if you’re looking for other options.

Ultimately, I still really like the design of the bag and once Ainsley is a little older and I won’t need as much stuff, I’m hoping I’ll like the Fawn even more.

Sleep

Taking Cara Baby Class. I started following Cara before I had Ainsley but then started watching her stories much more frequently once we had her. Since she was early, I didn’t quite finish all of my research. I listened to the book Babywise during my commute but didn’t retain much if I’m being honest. And then I started reading anything and everything I could online and then I reached a point where my time was too valuable to be spending that much time reading about sleep. I wanted one source that I trusted, and I wish I would’ve bought the course sooner. It was worth every penny. The videos were so easy to go through and the print out was perfect to leave with Bill when I went back to work 😉

Swaddles. We ended up using the Ollie after trying the Halo for awhile. I also bought and returned a few other kinds.The Ollie may seem a bit pricier, but it’s great because it grows with your baby versus the Halo that I had to buy in multiple sizes. That said, it felt a bit more intense and the velcro is loud. Here is a quick breakdown of our experience with swaddling:

  • Get extremely frustrated with the hospital blanket that the nurses swaddle your newborn in and call them into the room just to swaddle your baby
  • Use Lou Lou & Company swaddles on the second day in the hospital and then for the first few weeks. So soft and the perfect amount of stretch.
  • Use the Halo fleece sleepsack but realize it doesn’t have any stretch and is harder to use
  • Consider using two other swaddles we registered for but get overwhelmed and return them for Amazon credit to order new swaddles
  • Get frustrated again with swaddling, think Ainsley needs her hands and stop swaddling except for an occasional wrap up in a blanket
  • Take the Taking Cara Babies class and realize I need to start swaddling again
  • Go back to the Halo fleece sleepsack but get annoyed with the material’s lack of stretch
  • Switch to the Halo cotton swaddle with some stretch but realize Ainsley is almost too big for it
  • Try the Love to Dream Swaddle Up but doesn’t think it helps as much with the moro reflex
  • Order the Snoo swaddle but isn’t the right size and has a very hard time returning
  • Order Ollie swaddle and find a winner!

So, yeah, I feel like this sounds a bit dramatic but I was overwhelmed which led to bad and unnecessary purchases and returns.

Merlin Sleep Suit. We used this from 3-6 months (only in the crib*) and really liked it. I will admit that our doctor told us to stop using anything around 3 months, but I kept using this because she wasn’t close to rolling over. We hadn’t transitioned her out of the swaddle before daycare and this seemed like a good next step. Since then, I’ve read some mixed reviews on how it’s not great for their hips and other concerns about it being too warm so of course use with your discretion.

Notes on transitioning out of the Merlin Suit: Our transition out of this was two nights of crying on and off. Honestly, I thought it was going to be way worse. In retrospect, I probably could’ve tried slowly transitioning from the Ollie to her regular sleepsack and skipped this step, but overall, I thought it did a great job. If I were to skip the Merlin Suit, I would’ve used the Ollie Swaddle and let one hand out for her to get used to and then after a few days, I would’ve done both hands out.

*I didn’t really have a plan for when we were going to move Ainsley into her room. We ended up transitioning right before I went back to work (at 3 months) because I felt like we were being bothersome to her sleep with her being in our room, and if she was going to sleep, I didn’t want to be the reason she was waking up.

Lounger/Rocker/Swing/Bouncer Breakdown:
SnuggleMe: I think I would have liked this more if I were swaddling Ainsley more consistently. Like I mentioned earlier, I swaddled her in the beginning but then thought she really wanted to have her hands out (this was pre-Taking Cara Babies class). Maybe that would’ve helped but she didn’t nap very well in it beyond the first three weeks. The worrier in me also came out with this product, and I just wanted her in a bassinet. If she was in this, I was still watching her closely.

Swing: Ainsley never slept in hers. In all honesty, I called it her ‘poop swing’. The angle was perfect to help her if she was having trouble moving things along 😉 We kept it in the corner of our bedroom (this definitely takes up some retail space so if you’re working with a small space I wouldn’t recommend this) and would set her there if we were getting ready in the morning. While this was a great gift on our registry, I wouldn’t repurchase at this point.

4moms mamaRoo: We borrowed Bill’s cousin’s older version (thank you, Lexi!). This was a ‘nice-to-have’ for us but not mandatory. But now that the Rock ‘n Play is recalled, I think I would keep this downstairs to get more use out of it during the day. I’d recommend trying to borrow this from a friend if at all possible. It’s still a big ticket item for something you’ll only use for a few months.

But after all of that, I kind of wish I would’ve gotten the Baby Bjorn Bouncer especially with her reflux. I think it would have been easier to use on the go. So if I had to pick one, I’d pick the Baby Bjorn bouncer.

Nursery

You can see Ainsley’s nursery here with links to a few more sources.

Sheets. I love the prints on the Burt’s Bees sheets we registered for, but I think they made her bald spot even worse since they pulled a bit more when she moved around. Since then, I’ve only used these Serena & Lily sheets. I would recommend getting 2-3 sheets. I switch off between the light blue and grey gingham and will bring whichever one isn’t being used to put on her travel mattress pad. Oh, and get two waterproof mattress pads right off the bat.

Sound Machines. We now have three different sound machines, which I realize is probably excessive. Here’s how we’ve used them:

  • Hatch Baby. I got a lot of use out of this from birth through three months. I put it on my nightstand, and it was perfect for night changes and feedings. The app was great if Ainsley fell asleep on me, and I didn’t want to move to turn on the white noise. I’ll be honest, I *just* figured out how to turn off the light without flipping it over and hitting a button (hot tip: you hold your fingers on the silver ring on the top of the light #whydontireadinstructionmanuels). I do plan to use this once Ainsley gets older to try to help her understand staying in her room until the light turns green.
  • Marpac RohmI prefer this white noise sound to the Hatch. This was a must for us as we could move it around easily with her bassinet, and it came with us everywhere we went. I dropped it one too many times and immediately ordered another one. This now stays in my diaper bag because you never know when you’ll need it. I’d recommend registering for two right away.
  • Marpac DohmWe now use this one every night in her room. Once again, I like this white noise more than the Hatch. I also think it’s easier to tell the babysitter to just flip the switch.

Changing Pad. For how often I was wondering about her weight, I would consider this for baby #2, but I don’t love the price tag. Plus, I think some items are better if they’re more ‘old school’ and don’t have the newest technology (ahem, wipe warmers, but I know that’s a personal opinion). Anyways, we got this and this cover fits best. My Burt’s Bee cover just barely fits over it. I also got these changing pad liners. They admittedly don’t stay as well on the changing pad cover (vs. something like the Hatch or Keekaroo changing pads), but they have prevented more loads of laundry. Overall, I’ve been perfectly happy with our pick but maybe I would be singing a different tune if we had a boy? For what it’s worth, I have several mom friends with both boys and girls who love their Keekaroo changing pads and how easy they are to wipe down.

Garbage pail. This was another item that I saw on everyone’s registry so I added it, but then was really surprised when it arrived and didn’t have a foot pedal. I was admittedly annoyed (that’s what I get for not studying product descriptions once again), but it hasn’t mattered one bit. I love it and the fact that I can use our regular garbage bags. It contains the smell really, really well, but there is definitely a smell if the bin stays open. So, if you forget to close it, you will smell it. If it stays closed, it’s odorless. I think it also depends how frequently you empty the bin.

Humidifier. I think this has been working really well, but I’m not a humidifier expert. The only surprise to me on this item after seeing it on every registry was the brightness of the light, but that hasn’t seemed to bother Ainsley 😉 Worth noting, we do fill it up daily (and at least two times a day on the weekend when she’s napping at home and it’s running) and when we run it overnight, it’s close to empty in the morning. So just something to take into consideration that there may be other humidifiers that hold more water but for the price point, I’ve been happy with it.

Monitor. I don’t think I can sit here and rave about ours, but it gets the job done. I didn’t want one that connected to WiFi after hearing about a friend’s whose got hacked into. So I opted for the Infant Optics monitor. To be blunt, the battery life sucks, and I feel like I’ve already used up my one save of it after Googling how to reset it. Earlier this week, I had to charge ours with my portable phone charger, but it seems to have come back to life in the last two days. Beyond that, the picture is good and all that we need.

Bins, bins and more storage bins. We have the Pehr pom pom bin, the Serena & Lily basket and too many to count of these Target bins.

Eating

Breastfeeding/Formula
Ainsley got diagnosed with reflux around 2 months. Weeks 6-9 were a complete blur to us (and I’m pretty sure I’ve blocked them out from my memory already). Not much sleep was going on. She was waking up every 30-45 minutes and did not like lying on her back. Her pediatrician gave her a prescription to address the reflex and I cut soy and dairy from my diet while breastfeeding. Around four months, I started reintroducing dairy and haven’t had any issues since.

Comotomo bottles. We have six of each size, which seems like a lot but when Ainsley was having six bottles a day, we would have two at home and four at daycare.

Burp cloths. I have three different kinds (okay four once I started typing this out) and like all of them! Here’s the breakdown:

  • Burt’s Bees: They’re the smallest but soft and great for handling spit ups. We have five of these. (Monica & Andy burp cloths are similar in size and actually the softest of any of these. I have one that I got as a gift.)
  • Green Sprouts: Meet the happy medium burp cloth when it comes to size. I like the texture which helps with clean ups. We have three of these.
  • Little Unicorn: These are the largest, and I loved them for the newborn phase. I would just keep one over my shoulder throughout the day. We have two of these.

Freezer storage. I was never an overproducer, so this perfectly stored my breast milk in the freezer.

Introducing Solids

I didn’t do any research on introducing solids prior to creating my registry. I loved the course Food Before One by Cando Kiddo and got a lot of the products she recommended – I would add these to your registry if you still have time so it’s fewer things to purchase later! I got really overwhelmed reading more about Baby Led Weaning and just didn’t feel ready to give Ainsley bigger pieces of solids so I opted for oatmeal cereal and mashed avocados to start.

High Chair. Because I hadn’t done much research, I only had a portable high chair on our registry. We then ended up getting the Stokke Tripp Trapp high-chair after quite a bit of research and hearing how important the footrest was from various OTs. It’s a great piece that will grow with Ainsley. Plus, I love the aesthetics of it and that it feels like it’s meant to be in our dining room. I don’t know when we’ll try for another, but I also really liked that they had just released a newborn set so if Ainsley is sitting on a chair, we could have another little babe still at the table with us. We have a round dining table that I absolutely love for family dinners so that was important to us.

A few things to note about the Tripp Trapp:

  • The ezpz trays don’t stick (well any suction tray or bowl for that matter) to the tray because it has really subtle bumps that I never realized until I tried to get bowls and trays to stick to it. The tray is also too small for the larger ezpz mats, but I plan to just put those on our table and remove the tray when we use them. They do make ezpz trays for the Stokke highchair, but I don’t plan to order because I have a hunch they still wouldn’t stick as well.
  • We’ve never used the cushion. I didn’t want to add cleaning that to our list of things to do.
  • Some of the videos I watched talked about sliding the high chair under your dining room table so that you don’t see it. Ours does not fit under, but it doesn’t bug me. If that’s a concern for you, definitely measure before ordering!

If you’re looking for something at a better price point, I’ve honestly heard really great reviews on the IKEA high-chair and @candokiddo posted about a brand that now sells footrests to add to the legs.

Lark Leather MatThey were kind enough to send us a 40×40 mat to try,  and I don’t know what I did without this mat beforehand. Well, actually I do: I scrubbed our floor for far too long after putting Ainsley to bed. This is saving me so much time along with my sanity. I love the neutral color, and it has been holding up really well (and this is coming from someone with a 10 month old that loves to throw food around).

Baby food scissors. Another item that I wish I would’ve ordered earlier. Cutting up food has never been easier, and it’s great for on-the-go.

Bathing

Infant tub. This is the only tub we’ve used. She’s definitely at the stage where she would prefer to sit up on her own in the tub, but I’ve still been using it because it’s easier to wash her hair. I just found this tub and would’ve definitely considered it. It looks like it might grow with the baby a bit better.

We also had the Puj tub that I saw on so many registries, but it turns out you should measure your sink before you order that because it might not fit 😉

Play

Similar to how I was feeling about reading so much about sleep, I kept going to Pinterest and Instagram for ‘play’ tips for babies. I kept coming back to Lovevery Baby. We had registered for their play mat and then I subscribed to the subscription boxes when she was five months. I didn’t get the 3-4 month box because I felt like I could go without it. I went back and forth due to cost, but I’ve been really happy with every box, and I’ve barely purchased any other toys – just books for the most part! I got this to help motivate her to crawl and a few light up toys for her first flight and longer car rides.

Little Nomad Play Mat. We got this as a Christmas present for Ainsley. It’s thicker than and not quite as cushioned as I anticipated. It’s still a great product with a beautiful design, and I love that you can change the size of the overall mat. I actually won another one as part of a giveaway they were running so I’m planning to combine the two I have in our basement as I convert it to a playroom. This one came highly recommended from one of my favorite moms on Instagram (@meghall) so I didn’t do as much research in this category, but I linked to another brand in my Amazon shop that another good mom friend has raved about.

Activity center. I’m definitely glad we registered for this instead of realizing we might want it down the road. I like that it can convert to a play table over time. I tried to keep Ainsley playing on the floor and doing more tummy time based on reading posts and articles from OTs about play. That said, she loves bouncing and spinning around on this. I do try to limit use because I think she’s more upright at daycare, but it’s been a well-loved item since around 5 months.

Clothes

Body suits/Onesies. We rotated between the plush knit bodysuits from Old Navy (currently out of stock since it’s the summer) and these from Gap. We also loved our short sleeve bodysuits from Nordstrom Baby. And you can’t go wrong with anything from Monica & Andy – everything is so soft.

Pajamas. Burt’s Bees has the cutest prints but I used Gap ones more because they were easier to put on. Now at 10 months, she’s been sleeping in these from Gap and these and these from Old Navy for the summer. They’re a lot softer than I expected.

Bibs: These first bibs from Gap are adorable, super soft and the perfect size for when she started drooling a lot more around the three month mark. We used the Green Sprouts bibs pretty regularly for months 3-6 and then switched over to the Cooper & Pearl bibs – they have some of my favorite prints.

And for when she eats, we started with this bucket bib as we call it. Then we started using this sleeved bib for the mashed foods that got messier and still prefer this if she is having pasta with red sauce. Now, we primarily use these two bibs from Target. They’re adorable and so easy to clean.

Baby in a bib with teething ring

Zutano bootiesThese were great for the first few months of daycare and easier than socks. We had the fleece booties since it was winter, but they also come in cotton.

If you’re looking for a way to discover a few more baby brands, we received a box from Mac & Mia when Ainsley needed some new 3-6 month clothes. It was the gift that kept on giving – she wore one of the sweaters through 9 months to daycare.

Miscellaneous / Health Items

Thermometer. Add this to the list of  items I kept seeing on registries but then found out I couldn’t use it for awhile since you’re supposed to take the temperature rectally (always learning over here). I’ve actually been using the one we registered for when Bill and I need it, and got Ainsley another version from the same brand. Why does every kid’s thermometer have really bad reviews? I’m all ears if you’ve found one that works well. I feel like ours might run 1-2 degrees warmer.

Probiotic Drops. I started using these around 2 weeks and always have them on-hand in case she’s on an antibiotic.

Vitamin D drops. I had no idea you needed these even if you were breastfeeding – are you picking up on the reoccurring theme here (you learn so, so much as you go!)?

Tubby Tod All Over Ointment. This was one I wish I would’ve had on-hand just in case. I quickly learned babies just get rashes, and I felt bad that I cared so much. As long as she wasn’t in pain, everything was okay. But this cream came with raving reviews, and we still use it as part of her nighttime routine.

Anything from FridaBaby. We use the NoseFrida very regularly around here, and pretty much most of their other products too. For what it’s worth, the nail clippers is great, but I still got some of Ainsley’s skin the very first time I tried to cut her nails. We both cried. I figured that it was bound to happen anyways so why not get it over with nice and early 😉

Coconut Oil. I used this on the Windi and honestly I don’t remember what else as I type this, but I do know it was always good to have readily available.

For You

Apps

  • We downloaded the Sprout app to track all feedings, diaper changes and sleep. This was extremely helpful during the first few doctor’s appointments when they would ask me about diaper count, and I truly had no idea.
  • Wonder Weeks app to inform you about developmental leaps your baby is going through which could correlate to more fussiness.

Clothes

  • Button downs: I have six button downs from Abercrombie & Fitch of all places – they’ll probably come back in stock in the fall, but they were a great price point and held up really well in the wash)
  • Joggers: I lived in these from Gap – really anything from their Modal line will be great
  • Comfy bathrobe
  • Loose dresses
  • Comfy cardigans / sweaters

Who I’ve been following on Instagram:

  • @takingcarababies (sleep)
  • @lovevery (play – from the very beginning)
  • @candokiddo (play and feeding)
  • @feedinglittles (feeding)
  • @talkthetalk (speech & language)
  • @simplyonpurpose (positive parenting, the Elementary Ed background in me especially loves this) – I haven’t purchased the course nor have I pursued some of the bigger ideas here, but I’ve loved watching her Q&As to try to help me prepare for the big emotions of a toddler. I’ve also been listening to some of her Highlights on Instagram as if it were a podcast on my commute to work.

For Breastfeeding

I chose to breastfeed, but please do whatever works for you! I have so many thoughts on this, and while I could probably do any entire separate post, I’ll share a quick note here. I firmly believe you should do whatever works best for you. I had some latching issues in the hospital, but besides that, I would say things went really well for Ainsley and me and that may not always be the case. My supply started to drop when I returned to work after three months, and it became stressful. I was trying to boost supply and pumping 3-4 times at work. I felt guilty that I wasn’t producing enough and that I also wasn’t fully back to work because this was taking up so much time. And then when I tried to look up ‘how to transition from breast milk to formula’, I just kept finding articles on how to boost my supply which made me feel worse. Around 4 months, I was combining breast milk and formula and then at 6 months, Ainsley started to drink formula exclusively. And I felt an instant relief. No one was putting pressure on me, but I couldn’t help but feel like I wasn’t providing for Ainsley. After I stopped breastfeeding, I started to feel so much more like myself – not trying to sway you one way or the other, but that’s the truth.

I’ve linked to my favorite products here.

I was pretty fortunate that Ainsley latched relatively well in the hospital. I did have to use a nipple shield a few times to help in the beginning but beyond that, I would say my biggest struggle was figuring out how to hold her. She was tiny so the football hold didn’t work at first. I did not use my Bobby pillow for feeding (maybe I should’ve tried the full blown pillow versus the U-shaped one?). When I was over at a girlfriend’s house though, I tired her My Brest Friend pillow and loved it. That would definitely be my recommendation. Otherwise, I used regular pillows and rolled up blankets to help support.

For Pumping

Pump. Add this to the list of something you could research forever. I went through the Spectra vs. Medela debate for awhile. Ultimately, I went with the Spectra S1 and paid the additional cost. It’s super quiet and doesn’t need to be plugged in while you’re pumping. I was extremely happy with it. I ordered my pump through Aeroflow Breast Pumps. It was extremely easy to use. I put in my information, and they told me what was covered . They also reminded me to order a free set of accessories through insurance, which came at the perfect time. I’m all for any site that will make my life easier, and this did just that.

I also got the Haakaa. I was too intimidated to use this at first especially since we were still figuring out breastfeeding so I waited for a bit, but I’m so, so grateful I started using this (and should’ve started earlier). I put it on one side while feeding and could slowly collect enough ounces for a bottle later in the day. This was a game changer when I still didn’t have enough time to pump since Ainsley wasn’t napping well. The trick is to pull back both sides of the opening and then suction it on – it will stay much better this way! If that doesn’t make sense – Google ‘Haaka tips’ and you’ll find a video.

This hands-free bra.

I ordered a new bag from Amazon to bring everything to work in for pumping, and it turned out, I really didn’t need to do that. I just used one of my older lululemon bags and transported milk in this. I actually never looked at our pumping room at work (I would highly recommend doing that) so I wasn’t entirely sure of what I would need/want. I’m lucky and had a fridge in the room so I just stored my milk there and kept my parts in a Ziploc bag throughout the day.

Daycare

We love our labels from Mabel’s Labels so much. They have held up through more loads of laundry than we can count and are still going strong on the bottles we wash every single day. Just make sure you read the instructions – I put the labels on the clothes instead of the tag so those did in fact fall off (user error). I got the Daycare Pack but haven’t used the tags.

I picked up a few extra zip-up onesies at Target for when she first started. Now I keep back up pants and short sleeve body suit. I also ordered an extra sun hat and brought in our own Thinkbaby sunscreen.

Ainsley got this monogrammed bag for Christmas but her daycare ended up giving us a bag to use with her name on it that all of the kids get. Don’t get me wrong, I love toting around her monogrammed bag but we definitely didn’t need another one, and it would’ve been too big for daily use.

Things I Wish People Would’ve Told Me

  • For the amount of people asking me about breastfeeding and reading about it, I felt like no one adequately prepared me for pumping and how much work it can be, especially when going back to work.
  • I heard plenty about blowouts, but I didn’t know how painful gas can be for little ones. My sister’s good friend gave me lots of massage techniques to help regulate the babe 😉
  • Check under their necks for build up and make sure you’re drying it properly after a bath (oops)
  • If you’re breastfeeding and want a drink, it’s best to have a glass right when you start feeding! #cheers
  • This may just be an issue I had but obviously swaddling is really big right now. I didn’t realize I could swaddle her and then feed her versus feeding her (and she would maybe fall asleep) and then I’d have to wake her up by swaddling. It was very disruptive. This was key when I had to keep her upright for 30 minutes after a feeding due to reflux.
  • Everyone I talked with focused so much on the sleep that I didn’t realize just how important it was to monitor her awake time. This reference chart was immensely helpful. An overtired baby is no joke.
  • I was so worried about the whole breathing thing when she started to roll over in her sleep, but no one told me that she would start leaking out of her diaper when she peed! We made the switch to overnight diapers around 4 months and they hold everything in so much better.
  • If you’re considering baptizing your child, I’d recommend going to a class while pregnant instead of with a 2 month old after a long day.
  • Watch the YouTube videos on your stroller and car seat. The first time I collapsed the stroller, I couldn’t open it again, and I had to call Bill to explain how to get the car seat out of the car when I drove over to my dad’s without him. There were quite a few extra tears on those days.
  • One of my favorite things that Bill said a lot in the beginning was that he felt like so many people kept preparing him for the bad (sleepless nights, blowouts, etc.) that he said no one prepared him for how amazing the newborn phase was, and I have to agree. I don’t think I was emotionally prepared to see Bill holding our little girl either (in the best way possible).

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  • This @costco bear might haunt me for the rest of my life or at least for the next ten years. Who else has one for their kid(s)? 🙋🏼‍♀️ But in other news, I found the perfect midi dress for family photos in the next two weeks. It’s linked in the @liketoknow.it app and comes in petite! http://liketk.it/2EkPo #liketkit #LTKsalealert #itsbanana#costco
  • To sum up today: I found the waffle I made for breakfast in the toaster while making dinner at 6 p.m. and cried while putting Ainsley to sleep because it was just one of those days where I would’ve given anything to talk to my mom again. So I’m calling it a wash, and we’ll try again tomorrow. At least I have breakfast ready to go 😉(photo from the weekend because it’s cuter than a selfie with my waffle) #honestmotherhood
  • I don’t know who was happier - Ainsley petting the dogs or me watching her have the best time at her first @mkeirishfest. This weekend will always hold a special place in our hearts and seeing it through her eyes made it even better than I thought it could be.
  • All smiles for Ainsley’s first Irish Fest 🍀
  • Mama needs an Old Fashioned 🥃 So, so excited to be back downtown for @schittscreek: Up Close and Personal. It’s the only show Bill and I watch together so it called for buying last minute tickets. Thank goodness for very targeted Facebook ads. http://liketk.it/2E3YT #liketkit @liketoknow.it

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