I've been working for a while on a list of items I wish someone had told me I absolutely couldn't live without when having a baby. At the end of the day, taking care of a baby is instinctual and for every parent, the must-have items are probably a little different, but here are the things I would buy for every new mom I know if I could (listed in order, starting with most helpful):
1. Moby Wrap - This comfortable fabric wraps around mom or dad and helps cling baby to your body. Fabric is thick and elastic so it knots tightly so parents feel secure and enough give for baby to feel comfortable. We didn't bring a stroller on our 9-day vacation this summer and never needed it because we had the Moby (which by the way, can be neatly folded and takes up about as much space as an XL T-shirt)!
2. The Owlet Baby Monitor - The Owlet sock slips on Daisy's foot and monitors her oxygen level and heart rate throughout the night. If any of her levels should drop, the base stand immediately sounds an alert and alarms ring on both our mobile phone as well. We can sleep soundly knowing that if something goes wrong, we will know about it. It's not cheap (thanks, Dad!) but peace of mind? Worth every penny.
3. The Boppy Newborn Lounger - Daisy spends 90% of her day in this little guy. The indentation in the pillow keeps her tucked in a safe place where she can't easily wriggle or roll out. It's super comfortable and easy to wash. When we travel, Daisy sleeps beautifully in this.
4. Summer Infant Swaddle Me, or, "the Sleep Sack" (as I call it) - Daisy loves to wave her arms and legs around so at night, we swaddle her to help keep her calm and still. Tightly swaddling baby reminds them of the womb and helps them sleep well. Daisy was an EXPERT at wriggling out of her swaddle in the night but this is Daisy-proof. The strong velcro keeps her arms firmly at her sides so she can't pull her tubes out in the night.
5. The WubbaNub - This weird-looking thing is a godsend. This keeps the pacifier in or close to Daisy's mouth so we don't have to sit by her side holding the pacifier in her mouth (which I did every day for the first four months of her life before this gift from the heavens descended upon me). Every family should have this.
6. The MamaRoo - This is like a replacement for an actual mom. It keeps baby gently rocking and moving when you can't. Not inexpensive (thanks, again, Dad!), the MamaRoo is the coolest piece of mom technology in the last few years - it's an electronic rocker with several different settings ("car", "tree swing", "kangaroo") at different speeds, various white noise and other sounds - or it can play music of your choice via bluetooth! You can even control it from your mobile phone. The NICU at Jefferson Hospital is chock-full of MamaRoos - the halls are buzzing with the vibration of these things and every baby has one. That says a lot!
7. The Nuby Back Seat Baby Mirror - This allows whoever is driving our car to be able to see Daisy's face while we're in the front seat and she's in the back. Now that car seats face away from the front of the car, it can be hard to know what baby is doing - this helps me know that she's either peacefully sleeping or looking out the sunny window. Thanks to my college friend Laura for this one!
8. Skip Hop Diaper Clutch (Portable Changing Station) - This tiny thing is the handiest and cutest little thing. My good friend Kate sent us this a few weeks after Daisy was born and it goes EVERYWHERE with us. It's an alternative to a diaper bag. In reality, you don't always need to lug around every product under the sun for baby - sometimes you just need an extra diaper or two, some wipes and a clean, washable surface for baby's bum. This is your ticket.
9. Little Unicorn Hooded Towel - Daisy's absolute favorite thing in the universe is being rubbed down with a towel after the bath. It's no secret that she loves affection and being touched but I think she really loves the focused attention from mom and dad all at once.
10. The Prettiest Muslin Swaddle Blankets Ever - These are just really, really beautiful. We use swaddle blankets in a constant rotation so if you're always washing, drying, folding, swaddling, washing, drying folding, swaddling... You might as well do it with some beautiful muslin blankets! Little Unicorn makes the prettiest ones out there.
If you know anyone having a baby soon - I promise these gifts will make the mom in your life happy. Having a newborn is such a tremendous joy, but it can be exhausting (keeping baby happy) and tedious (keeping baby clean). These products have helped make every day just a little bit easier for me.
Finally, people have been asking me where I find Daisy's clothes. Here is a little list of my favorites:
Janie & Jack
Cat & Jack Brand from Target