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February 28, 2017

Ten baby products I can’t live without

Parenting Baby Products
022717_KBoverhead Source/Katie Gagnon

One of the baby products that makes Katie's life as a Mama much easier is a Graco Pack 'n Play. She uses it for traveling and also for daytime naps. Killian is all smiles on his Aden + Anais sheet in his Pack 'n Play when he wakes up from his morning nap.

There are many lists of what you need to buy when you are preparing for the arrival of a new baby. I have previously recommended my favorite things to give as presents and shared my list of must-haves for when your baby arrives. Now that my son is approaching five months old, I have tested and tried a number of baby products. I have learned to live without sleep. I have learned to live with the constant smell of spit up on my shoulder. But I could not live without the following ten things.

Pampers Diapers

Pampers were the diapers the maternity ward used where I delivered Killian. When we brought him home I had already stockpiled The Honest Company® diapers. I love The Honest Company’s commitment to all-natural, non-toxic products and its monthly delivery service. But my baby boy consistently blew through those cute diapers, resulting in many full outfit changes and extra loads of laundry. Not to mention the number of people who he peed all over when he would soak through his clothes. Switching to Pampers made a big difference. Sure, we still have some blowouts. But way less than before.

Maty’s All Natural Baby Ointment

Killian started to develop a diaper rash when he was just a few weeks old. We had been using Vaseline® like the nurses did in the hospital. It worked really well in healing his circumcision incision but it was not treating his diaper rash. My husband said we should try coconut oil after reading some recommendations online. I found Maty’s All Natural Baby Ointment at my local ShopRite. It is a blend of natural oils with no fragrances, hydrogenated oils, sulfates, artificial colors, mineral oils, gluten or chemicals. As an all-natural alternative to petroleum jelly, it is more expensive than Vaseline® but worth every penny. Killian’s tush has been totally rash-free since we started using it. And there are a bunch more uses for the ointment for both baby and Mama.

Frida Baby NoseFrida®

My sister Kerry literally gagged when she saw this contraption but when your little one has his first cold you are going to be so glad you have Frida Baby NoseFrida®. It works way better than a bulb syringe at clearing my baby boy’s nose when he is congested. You literally suck the snot out of his nose. Don’t worry! Even though it probably would not faze most mothers, you are not going to get any snot in your mouth by using it. There’s a long tube and a safety net sponge to keep the snot contained to the device. It is easy to clean and easy to use - a must-have in your baby arsenal.

Burp Cloths

Lots and lots of burp cloths. You can never have enough burp cloths! Burp cloths will help clean up baby’s spit up, snot and drool and may even save you from having to change your shirt four times a day. If you or someone you know can sew, like my mother-in-law and husband’s aunt, here is a cute pattern. If you are going to purchase I recommend Burt’s Bees Baby 100% organic cotton burp cloths. These are super soft and will endure endless washing.

Ju-Ju-Be Diaper Backpack

Traditional diaper bags are usually in the messenger bag style but I knew that I wanted a backpack because the even distribution of weight would be better for this new Mama’s sore back. I absolutely love my Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back Legacy diaper backpack. It is highly functional with lots of different compartments and space for everything. I think the black and white polka dot pattern is pretty chic – something I would have bought and worn pre-baby. I can easily carry it on my back or it fits nicely in the storage compartment under baby boy’s stroller. I keep this bag fully stocked at all times so when we are leaving the house I can just grab and go.

Baby Einstein™ Play Gym

I highly recommend investing in a good play mat. We gave Killian the Baby Einstein™ Nautical Friends Play Gym™ for Christmas and he loves it! It is important for babies to begin holding, reaching for and grabbing toys as part of their motor skills development. This Baby Einstein product also has lots of bright, contrasting colors, lights and music to make playtime even more stimulating. I never leave Killian unattended when he is playing on this mat but it does allow him to play by himself while I am folding laundry or writing this column nearby.

The First Years Bottle Warmer

I am exclusively breastfeeding my son. We introduced him to a bottle when he was around 3 weeks old so my husband could feed him and I could get out of the house. I use a Medela breast pump and Dr. Brown’s baby bottles but the real life saver when bottle feeding is The First Years Quick Serve Bottle Warmer. It takes away the guess work on how long to warm the bottle (though always check it on your wrist before giving to baby!), allows us to avoid using the microwave and is really fast. When Killian gets fussy for a feeding, my husband can quickly pop a bottle in from frig to warmer to mouth. Seconds count when you have a hungry, crying baby in your arms.

Graco Pack 'n Play

Portable cribs have been used for generations in my family for naps and travel. I was so grateful that my best friend gave us a Graco Pack ‘n Play. We use it every day! It is set up downstairs in our library for Killian’s morning and afternoon naps. At some point, he will begin napping upstairs in his crib but for now, I like having him on the first floor near me when I put him down for his nap. We also take the Pack ‘n Play when we travel. I use an Aden + Anais swaddling blanket as the bottom sheet, making sure to tuck it tightly under the mattress and corners so it does not move while Killian is in it.

Miracle Blanket®

This blanket was a total life saver when Killian was a newborn. Swaddling is highly recommended for getting newborn babies to sleep. Before he started rolling over, we swaddled our baby boy for bed. The Miracle Blanket® takes the human error out of perfecting a swaddle. This blanket prevented Killian from wiggling out of the swaddle in the middle of the night, which would wake him (and his parents). Even though we had other swaddling blankets, we used the Miracle Blanket® every single night when he was a newborn.

iPhone and Apple Watch

OK so this is technically two products, but they go hand-in-hand. My iPhone has been really helpful in keeping track of my baby boy’s feeding and diaper changes through an app that I love called Baby Tracker. I also use it to play white noise or lullabies for my baby boy when he goes down for his naps. My husband gave me an Apple Watch for Christmas, which allows me to use Baby Tracker, send text messages, check my email and receive phone calls all without having my phone in hand. It also has an activity tracker which allows me to monitor my daily steps and exercise which is important to me as I have been working to get back into my pre-baby shape.

More paramount than all this stuff, I have learned that I could not live without my son. It is hard to remember life before Killian made my husband and me a family. But all of these products have really helped me in caring for my son and keeping my sanity.

What baby products could you not live without? Share with me in the comments section below or Tweet me @ThePhillyVoice and @KathleenEGagnon.

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