One thing about having a baby is my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of PRODUCTS.  Little accessories that go along with a new baby and make our lives easier and more fun are my new shopping addiction.  I have become obsessed with  I’m sorry to all the other retailers out there but it really is kicking your butts.  Sells every thing under the sun, has the cheapest prices, free shipping, easy returns, and I don’t have to leave my house???

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few products and other things I consider indispensable as a new mom.

1. Baby K’tan.  I get to keep my sweet baby close to my heart and within kissing distance, all while being productive.  Not to mention she loves it too.  We’ve taken so many trips to Target, Barnes and Noble, and Kroger with her sleeping safe and sound against my chest…and as she’s grown, with her facing out and bouncing along for the ride while we choose between children’s books together and browse the aisles for pink floral sheets (intended to give Chris a heart attack when he returns from his travels – ensuring he’ll be afraid to ever leave us again, ever).  My sweetest memories of my darling baby will include her time in the K’tan.  She is quickly outgrowing it it seems (though we do have a little longer) and I will cry when that happens but I already have a replacement in the works. 🙂 We took her this weekend to Chattanooga for a visit to the aquarium.  As you’ll see in an upcoming post, she slept the whole time in the K’tan.

2. Aden and Anais Bamboo Swaddles.  These are the bamboo ones that come in a three-pack, not the ones you can get at Target.  The bamboo ones are much larger and softer than the regular muslin ones.  We have used these with Catherine since she was a newborn at the hospital (we received lots of compliments from the nurses on these blankets) and they’re perfect for swaddling – far better than any other blanket I’ve seen.  She has outgrown swaddling now, but I remember when she was so tiny and would cry when she got sleepy and I’d just wrap her up in three seconds like she was a little burrito and she’d instantly calm down.  She looked like a perfect little package, a papoose.  Now, we continue to love these blankets because they’re cool in the summer and warm in the a.c., not to mention they’re pretty and unique.  I want to buy them in every color but I’m trying to restrain myself.  Three is all you really need.

3. BOB Running Stroller.  Like the K’tan, the BOB is another product that allows me to multitask while still being close to my baby (are you noticing a pattern here?).  Before Catherine was born, I dreamed of the day she’d be my little running partner.  The day she turned 4 weeks old I was out with the stroller (on a smooth path, with the carseat attachment to prevent any jarring) and we’ve been out between 3-5 days each week since.  Without it, I don’t know how I would get a run in as time is so precious when you have a little one.  This way, she enjoys a ride and is lulled to sleep for her nap while I get in a workout, all while looking at her sweet face.  Not to mention, you don’t need any other stroller as this one works just fine at the mall or anywhere else, and gets lots of compliments too.

4. Kicky Pants Gowns and Footie Pajamas.  A friend introduced me to Kicky Pants gowns when she sent me one as a gift for my newborn.  I’ve been hooked ever since.  While I’m sad to say they only make the gowns up to 6 months, and Catherine has outgrown them, they still make the footie pajamas in her size.  They’re made of bamboo, and so, so soft.  You know how soft and wrinkly and adorable a baby’s skin is?  Well, these pjs accentuate that, so it’s the next best thing to holding a naked baby.  You’ll have to see for yourself, unless you’re a friend of mine with a newborn in which case you’ll probably be getting a gown from me as a gift.

5. Ralph Lauren Short-Sleeved White Terry Robe. When I was getting ready to have my baby, I read so much about what to pack and what not to pack for the hospital.  Most of what I read said to leave my pretty pajamas behind.  I ignored that advice and I’m glad I did.  I wanted to feel as pretty as possible for this special occasion.  I bought this robe along with a couple of cute pajama slips (and Chris bought me these cute slippers).  I managed to feel quite presentable despite my exhaustion at the hospital. 🙂  And I have continued to wear my white robe daily.  If you have or have ever had a baby, you understand. I somehow feel more put together with it on, even if I haven’t had a chance to wash my hair or my belly isn’t as flat as I’d like it to be.  Plus, unlike long-sleeved robes, this one doesn’t make me sweat.  All the clothes I brought to the hospital are very special to me now, but this robe definitely gets the most wear!

6. Fisher-Price Baby Papasan.  We inherited this baby seat from my sister.  I remember my niece, who is now 3, sitting in it as a baby.  This one has soft, muted colors that blend in with your home decor.  It’s so soft and has just the right curve; Catherine took all of her naps in this seat the first two months.  Now, I still use it when I need to put her down but keep her upright (like after she has eaten) for a bit.  It plays music and vibrates.  She loves the music but doesn’t care for the vibration.  Whatever seat you choose, you’ll need a soft comfy one for your baby.  This one has been used by 3 babies now and still looks brand new.

7. Boppy.  I have the Breast Friend and the Boppy, and I used the former only a handful of times, though many people swear by it.  Here’s why I love the Boppy – and this particular cover in Oatmeal, from Pottery Barn.  This cover is super soft and the color is nice and neutral (aka not tacky) so it looks just fine mixed in with your throw pillows.  To me, the Breast Friend is stiff and not nearly as comfy, requires a production to put around your waist, and has a loud velcro which isn’t desirable in the middle of the night or when trying not to wake a sleeping baby.  But the Boppy – oh, I wish I had two of them I love it so much.  Besides breastfeeding, I use it to prop myself up when I’m burping Catherine in bed and I even use it for a pillow sometimes.  It’s great.  If you breastfeed, this pillow will be a constant companion.

8. Northside huge plastic water mug.  Speaking of constant companions.  Breastfeeding makes you lust for water like a drug.  While feeding Catherine, I take long swigs of icy water from my huge plastic water mug I took from Northside Hospital.  It’s the only mug I’ve found big enough and convenient enough (I can get water faster with a straw than without, and the lid keeps it relatively spillproof – important when you’re juggling a newborn) to keep up with my newfound thirst.  A few weeks home from the hospital, I actually threw my mug during a fit and it broke. Yes, I just admitted that.  I cried.  The mug was sooo special to me.  I went to Target.  It was no use.  Nothing could possibly take the place of my Northside mug.  So I called the hospital and they were kind enough to send me a new one.  The lady on the phone didn’t understand why it broke.  She said “those mugs are pretty sturdy.”  I didn’t tell her what happened.  I don’t know what I’ll do if something ever happens to this one.  Probably go straight to the hospital for a third one.

9. Rocking chair / glider.  This isn’t the material or pattern we have, but it’s the style.  I’m not at all attached to this particular glider.  In fact, I’d prefer a larger, softer rocker.  But for our small space this does the trick!  I spend so much time in this chair, reading to Catherine and rocking her to sleep.  When she’s having a hard time going to sleep, only a rocker will do.  Every single time I rock her to sleep I soak in the moment because I know she is growing so fast and soon I will not be rocking my baby to sleep anymore – that really is by far the hardest thing about having a baby by the way, knowing the time is so fleeting – and as a result I will have many precious memories in this chair.  I sing her songs like James Taylor’s Close Your Eyes and Joni Mitchell’s River and so on and so on.  There’s nothing like a heavy, peacefully sleeping baby in your arms.  Every momma and baby needs a rocker.

10. Lavanila baby shampoo, lotion, and diaper cream.  In a world where, sadly, you just can’t trust companies to make their baby products baby safe, this is a brand you can actually trust.  It’s pricier than other brands but to me it’s worth it, knowing I’m using a safe product on my baby’s vulnerable skin.  I bought one bottle of each before Catherine was born, and still haven’t gone through them yet, so they’re not as expensive as you might think.

11. Hospital grade bulb syringe aspirator.  Those snot suckers from Target or First Aid or what have you?  Don’t waste your money or time.  They shouldn’t be allowed to sell them because they don’t work, and what would happen if your baby couldn’t breath and you needed it??? Take the one (or better yet, two) from the hospital.  It actually works.  If you lose it, like I did – 😦 – you can get a replacement here.  You’ll need it; it isn’t an option, it’s an absolute must if your baby’s nose gets stuffy, hindering breathing, or in the early days when your baby may still be coughing up stuff from the birth process.

12. White noise.  Especially since we live in a loft, white noise is our savior.  My sis- and bro-in-law gave us a Momma Bear.  We have air purifiers.  And recently, out of desperation I turned on the hair dryer downstairs while I was chopping vegetables.

13. A baby bracelet.  When I found out I was having a girl, I knew I’d go all out girly with her.  And while I haven’t forced any oversized flower headbands on her near hairless head – or on Chris –  I always wanted a baby bracelet.  My sister told me she’d get one for her, and I really did await her first visit in anticipation of Catherine’s bracelet, lol.  My niece Abby presented it to me so proudly and I’ll never forget that. 🙂  I put it on her even though it’s a little too big. I keep it on my nightstand just because it’s special to me. Chris and I recently bought her an adorable baby spoon bracelet in Chattanooga, too.

14. A few heirlooms.  I’m super sentimental when it comes to homemade things from loved ones, and heirlooms that have been passed down.  I’m lucky to have a mother-in-law who crochets (I think – Margaret, if you’re reading this I’m sorry, I can’t ever remember the difference between knit, sew, etc) and has given me two handmade blankets for Catherine, a white one and a purple one. I have a friend whose mother made a huge, soft blanket for Catherine with her name stitched on it that I know she will be able to use for many years. My cousin Lucia hand made two absolutely precious hats for Catherine that will make her look like a fashionista this winter.  And so on.  My mother comes from a family who treasures things with a history and that’s probably why I do too.  My mom gave me a rattle that my grandmother used for all her grandchildren, and now Catherine loves it.  I also have a blanket that was made for me as a newborn.  It’s so soft and looks brand new, and I use it when I rock Catherine to sleep.

And finally, the best asset to a new mom…

15. A supportive partner. Awwwww!