My older two kids are 7 and 9, and I have a one year old. I’m sure that some of these things DID exist 5 or 6 years ago when I was last in the baby haze, but I didn’t have them and they’ve been my game changers this time around.
One of my favorite things about being an “advanced maternal age” mom is that I know what to buy cheap and used and donated from friends and where I’m willing to give someone all my money! What is going to make my life easier? That’s pretty much my motto for parenting these days, and these things all hit the mark!
- The Hatch: “The Hatch” is technically a few products now, but the one I’m talking about is the sound machine that’s tied to an app on your phone. My baby is 15 months old and I just realized (out of necessity) that it has a child proof setting so when my kid grabs it, it doesn’t change the sound or light level or turn it off. This is all controlled through their Rest app. You can choose to volume, level of light, set timers, and more. And when your kid is older and you’re trying to teach them when it’s okay to get out of bed, this is now your “Ok to Wake” clock! I also really liked their Hatch Baby app (free) to track feedings, weight and length percentages.
2. Spectra S1 Breastpump: For my first two kids, I was a Medela Freestyle user. I needed something small and portable, and that fit the bill. But my pump sessions were also 30 minutes long. I’d been hearing about this new brand Spectra and ended up getting the S2, which is the pink one and must always be plugged in. If you can swing it with insurance, get the blue S1. It’s battery charged, and I just liked the freedom to move around. Because this is a closed system, you can borrow from a friend and just buy new tubing as well. That’s how I ended up with the S2 to leave at work, and I kept the S1 at home. It was perfect. I only had to remember bottles and accessories and didn’t need to lug the giant thing back and forth each day. Having two pumps was game changing.
**Bonus: what also didn’t exist until this kid is FREE breast pumps and supplies! I went through Aeroflow (shown below) to get my pump and parts for free. They even reach out every few months to see if you’re still nursing and will send you another free set of parts! I never had to buy a thing!
3. Bearsland nursing and maternity clothes: I think this is an Amazon brand, but I am obsessed. They’re cheap and adorable and they work for pregnancy and while nursing, so that’s a double win for me! Even now that I’ve stopped nursing, I still have a few of them that I wear around the house.
4. CAKYE Nursing Bras: These are awesome for bedtime or maternity leave when you aren’t leaving the house a ton. I don’t know if they’re great for large boobs, but if you’re a B/small C, then this is probably perfect for you! You can get the 3 pack for around $20.
5. Haakaa: Whatever mama invented this little leaky boob catcher is my hero. You literally suction this cup on to your non-nursing boob and while your little guy is nursing on one side, this cup catches all of your letdown that would otherwise be wasted! You can get anywhere for a half ounce to 4 or 5! I bought this in both available sizes but found I didn’t have enough room to maneuver with the baby. He kept kicking it and breaking the suction, so I recommend the 4 oz size. But spend the extra $10 and get the flower stopper so you don’t cry over spilled milk multiple times like I did before I discovered this tool.
6. Maternity Robe: This Baby Be Mine Maternity Robe may seem like a silly purchase, but it is AMAZING. It’s so soft and it’s a robe, so it’s obviously perfectly fine to use after the baby comes too. I bought this to have something cute and comfy to wear in the hospital, but I bought it a few months earlier and wore it almost daily at the end of my pregnancy and still use it all the time. They have a ton of great patterns. Seriously, it’s so soft and lightweight.
7. My Brest Friend: Ok, so technically I remember Bethenny Frankel singing the praises of this nursing pillow during her TV show Bethenny Ever After and I’m pretty sure her daughter is almost ten, but I wonder if it was just way out of my price point back then or Boppy just had so much market share at the time that it was all I knew. Man, I wish I had this thing for all three kids. It is so far superior to the Boppy that I’m baffled why anyone chooses a Boppy still today. My Brest Friend is firm and designed to actually stay in place (there’s a strap that you put around your waist to hold it up), and it’s much more comfortable holding the baby. Buy this thing.
8. 4 moms breeze playard: This one is my must have for travel. This travel crib is 3x the price of a Pack ‘n Play, but after 3 kids, I think it was worth every penny! I would literally avoid traveling with my older two because I hated locking the rails in to place that much. This portable crib has one button in the center that you push to lock in place, and you pull it to release. Boom. Done. It’s also slightly longer, which is helpful for my super tall toddler. But (downside) that also means I’m dependent on their sheets, which ain’t cheap. The pack and play sheets most retailers sell are too small. Still, I think it’s worth it! And now I keep it filled as a ball pit when we’re at home so I have a way to contain him!
9. OXO Space Saving Bottle Rack: I have the green Boon grass thing and love that, but this is super helpful for saving space, since it sits flat against your backsplash in the kitchen. Plus, I would have so many bottles and pump parts at the end of the day that usually I used this in conjunction with the grass drying mat.
10. Baby Basics Care Kit by FridaBaby: I recommend this full kit because I like and used the majority of the products in it, which makes this a better value. The snot sucker definitely didn’t exist when I had my older kids, and it’s so gross, but so genius too. I loved it and used it all winter long! My friend’s husband refused to do it because he was convinced he was sucking the baby’s brains out. My husband would gag. Men… My son didn’t have gas, so I can’t vouch for the the Windy (hilarious name), but my other favorite product in this kit is the nail clipper. You can see exactly where you’re cutting, so you’re less likely nick your little boo.
11. Ethan & Emma Stroller Organizer: My Britax stroller didn’t have a built in cup holder, and I was out walking that baby on a daily basis, soaking in every second of my maternity leave. This one is particularly cool because it uses velcro to attach to your stroller handles and even has a zippered pocket to keep a spare $10 if the ice cream truck comes by.
12. Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit: Magic. For real, actual Harry Potter wizard magic. I was trying ALL OF THEM to get my baby to sleep, had taken all the sleep courses—one of the perks of knowing my sleep was worth spending money to keep trying to find the right sleep sack for my guy. Merlin’s is the funniest looking suit too, which I consider a perk. Made for great pictures. But the little marshmallow slept so great in this thing. I was sad when he started rolling over and we had to retire it.
13. Zutano’s baby shoes: Baby shoes are the worst. They’re either impossible to get on or impossible to keep on. Except these. Seriously, spend the extra $10-15 because the Target brand doesn’t compare. I ended up with probably 6 of these because once I knew how much I loved them and how they never came off, I started waiting for sales and I’d buy 3 at a time! I don’t think these are good once your baby is walking though. Even though they have grippers on the bottom, you can’t really wear them outside!
13. Miracle 360 cups: These may be obvious because I’m pretty sure every baby has them now, but they were new to me and baby #3. He didn’t take to this immediately off the bottle, but by 12 months, he was rocking it and it’s my go to cup now.
14. Fisher Price Dome: I found this one by accident and it was one of my biggest life savers of the summer since we spend so much time at the pool! This easy to carry, teeny tiny baby crib is perfect for the pool or beach when you’ve got a little bitty boo who isn’t sitting up yet. I brought this almost every day to the pool while the big kids had swim practice, and he could nap here or play with a few toys. It was awesome! We brought it to the beach too, and it was easy to shake the sand out and keep sun off our little dude. There’s a reason it has 5 stars and over 2700 reviews on Amazon!
And there you have it! I could go on and on, but I think my biggest advice is to find things that make it easier to be a mom, and spend your money there. And if you have a neighborhood Facebook page, join it immediately. I can’t tell you the number of free or suuuuuuper cheap things I’ve bought for my son from that page! Spending money on toys he’s going to use for 2 months is a tough pill to swallow, so getting them for $5 makes that so much easier! My son ended up with TOO many toys, so I started quickly swapping out the things he didn’t like to make space.
Congrats on this awesome time! Babies are so freaking exhausting, but they are so cute too! Please stay in touch, and come visit me on Instagram. Shoot me a DM! I want to hear all about your favorite products too!