It never fails. With each new baby comes a somewhat desperate quest for the perfect swaddle that will undoubtedly lead to a full night of sleep. I always start with my very favorite baby must-have, the beloved Aden and Anais swaddle blanket. It is perfect for a newborn and really all you need to successfully swaddle your sweet little bundle of joy.
I loathe the hospital swaddle blankets. They are rectangular in shape, which makes swaddling a baby a rather difficult task. A good swaddle starts with a square blanket, which is precisely why you need the soft, light weight, and beautiful swaddle blankets made by Aden and Anais. I have packed these blankets all five times I have checked in to the hospital to have a baby, and I rarely leave home without one.
So what exactly does that look like? First, I start with a basic Carters onesie, as I want to keep this layer light weight. After that, I velcro her into the SwaddleMe Original Swaddle. I love this particular swaddle because it is so easy to use! Now Cora did end up with a free arm a handful of times, so I decided to add an extra layer to ensure she couldn’t escape. A loose arm wouldn’t bother me if it didn’t wake her up.
Adding the secondary swaddle is my “secret swaddle sauce,” as it increased Cora’s night time sleep from 2.5 hours at a time to 5 hours at a time, and that’s a win in my book.
As you may know, I recently gave birth to my fifth baby. I consider myself a seasoned mom, and when it comes to baby gear, I’ve pretty much bought it all, sold it all, and bought it all over again. Side note, if there is even the slightest chance you may have a second, third, or fourth baby in the future… DON’T SELL YOUR SH*T.
You see I’ve made this mistake more than once, and I can assure you that (happy) accidents can happen, even multiple times, so do yourself a favor and hang on to every last piece of baby gear you own until the baby factory is closed FOR👏 GOOD👏.
I’ve had some time to reflect on what products really are worth buying (over and over again), and I am here to impart my baby crap wisdom to the world. And the truth is…. You really don’t need that much in the beginning. Diapers, wipes, obnoxiously big bows for your baby girl… These things are actually necessary. Wipe warmers, baby mittens, a grass countertop drying rack? Not so much.
So now that I am six weeks into life with my fifth infant, I feel as if I have figured it all out (ha, ha). So, without further ado, I present to you my top 5 baby must haves (in no particular order):
Ergobaby Embrace Cozy Newborn Carrier– I have tried A LOT of carriers throughout the years (the original Ergo carrier, Baby Bjorn, K’tan, Lalabu), and I haven’t been a huge fan of any of them. Neither have my babies. The Ergobaby Embrace is a game changer for me. It is soft like a wrap, but super simple to put on like a traditional carrier. Cora doesn’t fuss when I put her in, and she usually goes right to sleep. As a matter of fact, she is sleeping in it as I type at this very moment. If you are a first time parent, you may not know that newborns don’t like to be put down. They want to be held all of the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the baby snuggles and when I had my first son Jack, I literally sat in a chair 24/7 rocking him, feeding him, and holding him while he slept. Now that I have FIVE kids (7, 6, 5, 2, and 6 weeks old), I don’t have that luxury anymore. And although I am remarkably good at doing things one-handed, it can be quite challenging at times. And bonus, carrying a baby in a carrier instead of putting them down to sleep can help prevent the dreaded flat head phenomenon. If you’re like me and slightly intimidated by baby-wearing, give this carrier a shot. You won’t be disappointed. I have pink (of course), but the carrier also comes in blue, gray, black, and cream.
2. Philips AVENT Ultra Air Pacifier– I was given this pacifier with baby number four by a kind mother who recognized a moment of desperation at a preschool event for my oldest son. The audience was supposed to be quiet throughout the gymnastics presentation I was attending, but my newborn baby didn’t get the memo. This fellow mom sprang into action, dashed to her car, and returned with a brand new pacifier that she had on hand for emergencies. #momgoals She said it was the only pacifier her son would take. My baby took it with ease, stopped screaming/disrupting the program, and I was sold. With over 1,200 five star Amazon ratings and 98% nipple acceptance, this pacifier is a winner. Shown in pink but also available in blue.
3. Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottle– These bottles are fantastic for several reasons, but above all else I love how simple and straight forward they are. Bottle, nipple, nipple ring. That’s all. Plus they come in several sizes, colors, and a range of nipple flows, too. In my experience, these bottles are quite durable, as well. If you are exclusively bottle feeding, I recommend stocking up!
4. Baby Brezza Instant Warmer– Let me just start by saying that I used the Baby Brezza Formula Pro with several of my littles ones, and it was freaking amazing, BUT, there are a few downfalls to this otherwise genius product. First of all, it is expensive. Also, you have to clean it a lot. Ain’t nobody got time for that (at least not in this house). And most importantly for me, I never trusted that my baby was getting the correct amount of formula powder. Any time they were fussy, I couldn’t help but wonder if they were being over/under fed by the contraption. Fast forward a few kids and boom! I found this water warmer on Amazon and bought it immediately. It is my current favorite baby product. Instead of using a traditional bottle warmer, which takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r and often leaves you with formula that is way too hot for your screaming LO to drink, this product heats the water to your liking (room temp, body temp, warmer than body temp) and dispenses it on demand 24-7. It maintains the water temperature all day and night, and I am here for it! It is about $50, and if you are a formula feeding mama, it is worth every dang penny.
5. aden + anais Essentials Swaddle Blankets– These are a long time favorite of mine. I still own a couple from my first son, and every child after that, too. I always buy a new pack or two when I have a baby. They are so versatile and soft, and the patterns are beautiful. Bring them to the hospital. Pack them in your diaper bag. Throw them in the stroller. You cannot go wrong with aden + anais swaddle (all purpose really) blankets.
And that’s a wrap, folks. All of my favorite baby things that I will finally be able to discard of/sell when Cora is a toddler, because I can now say with 100% confidence that the baby factory is closed FOR👏 GOOD👏.
Quilted Vest (old) similar here, here, here and here. Ordering this today because mine is a tad too small, and this Tommy Bahama vest is perfect for pregnancy! I love how long, loose, and comfy it looks. Adding to cart now. ✔️
I tend to get overwhelmed when shopping online. Like I have these grandiose plans of picking a cart load of perfectly coordinated outfits that fit in my budget and are available in my size and preferred choice of color. But in reality I end up with random pieces and a hodgepodge of mismatched stuff that I never really wanted anyway.
I usually close the computer, vow to try again tomorrow, and go about life in my sad, unfashionable wardrobe. The worst part is that I was once very fashionable, and I have a decent sense of style, so I am fully aware that I don’t look great. Ugh, it’s such a pitiful cycle.
But, as I mentioned in my previous post, I feel a sense of renewal and optimism as of late. I want to look good. I want to feel good. I want to add clothes to my cart and not shut the damn computer out of frustration. December goals= hit purchase with confidence. ✔️
I *think* I did pretty well last night shopping Old Navy’s big Cyber Sale. It was late and my growing belly (prego + a pinch of Thanksgiving gluttony) is desperate for properly fitting clothes, so I pretty much forced myself to hit the buy button before shutting down for the night. I also threw in a couple of pieces for my 4-year old daughter, because shopping for my kids is wayyyy less stressful than shopping for myself.
I purchased what I call a “small haul,” as I am trying to buy fewer items at a time and slowly build my wardrobe in an effort to avoid the “pitiful cycle” of adding to cart –>deleting cart –>perpetually styleless. 😉
How did I do???
I later realized that I had an Old Navy and Loft gift card floating around my purse from my birthday back in August, so I did a little extra shopping to take advantage of the Cyber Monday deals. I will spotlight my purchases in my next post. ✌️
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Over the past five years, I have given birth to four children (yes, my hands are full). I have learned a lot while raising my little tribe of misfits 😜, and I feel quite confident in my abilities to build a comprehensive wardrobe for a newborn.
With that said, one of my absolute favorite pieces for a baby is the Sleep & Play (also known as a footed 1-piece and very similar yet not identical to footed pajamas). They are so easy and versatile, as they work for both daytime and bedtime (hence the name). I have been through my fair share of brands, styles, and fabrics, and I definitely have my favorites! The best part about Sleep & Plays, you ask?
No.👏 Lost.👏 Socks.👏
If you are having a baby or know someone who is having a baby in the near future, I highly suggest you get your hands on a few of these for yourself or for the mother-to-be. They are without a doubt my number one wardrobe staple for baby. Below you will find some of my top choices organized by category, and at the end of this post I will share my all-around favorite Sleep & Play.
Feminine & Floral
ideal for a newborn’s healing umbilical stump
Terry- Like a soft beach towel
Thermal- Super soft and breathable waffle-like material
Fleece- Warm & snuggly. Perfect for cold winter weather.
Quilted- If only this came in adult sizes… I literally can’t think of anything more comfortable.
Muslin- Breathable, soft and comfy
perfect for hospital stays or coming home outfits
Yes, you read that right. Chip & Joanna have a line of baby clothes, because Of. Course. They. Do. And I am obsessed. These pieces are sweet, Southern, and classic.
This footed one-piece from Old Navy is my absolute favorite for a few reasons. For starters, the fabric is incredibly soft. The sleeves also fold over at the wrist to form mitts around the hands, which is so helpful with a newborn. The mitts protect their faces from scratches and they can’t fall off like other baby mitts do. Best of all, Old Navy’s footed one-piece is zip up, which is crucial when changing a fussy baby during the middle of the night.