When you’re becoming a mother for the first time, it’s easy to stress. Is the nursery finished? Do I have everything I need for baby? Is the house spotless? But if we’re being honest, you don’t NEED much when you first come home from the hospital. Really all you need is a carseat to get baby home, a place for baby to sleep, diapers/wipes and your boobs haha (or bottles if you’re not breastfeeding). But, there are so many products out there that can be very helpful and make adjusting to your new normal a little bit smoother. These have been our favorite products over the first 3-4ish months, and I wanted to share. Hopefully this helps even just one momma out! Of course, every baby is different, and you really won’t know what they prefer until they are here and you have tried it out. As always, if you have any questions or would like to chat, leave a message or shoot me an email!
XOXO MEGAN KRISTINE.
DR. BROWN’S BOTTLES - I was told by basically all my friends that their babies preferred these bottles. I honestly didn’t understand how a baby would know if they liked a certain type of bottle, but I listened. We only tried these and Avent bottles, and definitely prefer the Dr. Brown’s. They are a pain in the rear to clean because of the extra parts, but they help with colic and gas so it’s worth it. Charleigh was gassy when she was brand new, and I think they helped a little. I honestly haven’t heard anyone speak poorly of them.
DR. BROWN’S BOTTLE WARMER - I don’t have anything to compare this to, but we like it. It heats the bottle by steam, so use purified water!
BURT’S BEES BURP CLOTHES - These were also recommended by a friend. If you can’t tell, I’m definitely a recommendation type gal. Carl Michael likes to read and do research, I like to ask my friends. Luckily we were one of the last to have a baby in my friend group, so I had plenty of resources. We have a ton of the Gerber diapers that we also use as burp rags, but prefer the Burt’s Bees. They are super soft and absorbent and I actually just purchased 10 more (we go through them quick).
BABY BREZZA FORMULA DISPENSER - I shared this on stories yesterday, but y’all this thing is LIFE. CHANGING!! I know it sounds dramatic, but if you are supplementing or your baby is fully on formula, trust me when I say you need this. It makes making bottles a breeze and honestly me and Carl Michael fight over who gets to make her bottle when it’s feeding time around here now.. haha. I promise that wasn’t the case before we bought this. It’s literally like Keurig that dispenses formula at the push of a button.
WIPE WARMER - not a must have, but it definitely helps! Newborns normally don’t like having their diaper changed, and I think it’s partly because they get cold quickly. This made changes a little better and I didn’t feel as bad wiping her hiney with a cold wipe.
PAMPER’S SWADDLERS - we tried a few different diapers in the beginning, and experienced a few blowouts. Pamper’s Swaddlers have worked the best for us, but I think this definitely depends on the baby. I recommend trying out a few and see what works best. FYI for the new moms - if you don’t wash clothes instantly after a blowout, they will stain!
KEEKAROO CHANGING PAD - We love this thing. It makes it so much easier to clean up messes - you just wipe it down. I will say that it does get cold, so I always make sure that I lay down a burp rag or blanket before laying Charleigh down, which is still easier to throw in the wash than a changing pad cover, in my opinion.
BUTT PASTE - again, every baby is different, but this stuff has worked amazing for us. Luckily we haven’t had an actual diaper rash that has been bad yet, but any time she looks a little irritated I put a little of this on and it’s basically completely gone by the next time I change her.
AQUAPHOR - I have used this stuff for years for myself (for lips, skin, etc.), and it works great for babies too. They actually have an entire line of lotion, ointment and diaper creams that I recently found. This stuff is great and definitely worth a try - I haven’t heard anything but good things about the diaper cream, but haven’t personally tried it. I did use the Aquaphor Baby Ointment on Charleigh’s cradle cap the other day and it seemed to help quite a bit!
SOUND MACHINE - omg how did we ever live without this thing?! I honestly think I’m going to order another one to keep in our room when Charleigh transitions into her crib. I’ve noticed we sleep so much better with this.
HALO BASSINEST - This bassinet seems to have mixed reviews, but we have loved it. She still sleeps in it at 4 months, but will probably outgrow it soon (she’s long!). I love that it swivels so you can hover it over your bed but also move it out of the way when you’re sleeping. And the side bends down which makes it so much
SNUGGLEME ORGANIC - We adore this thing. Charleigh has always loved being held and cuddled, and there was a point in time where she wouldn’t sleep well anywhere but in our arms. The SnuggleMe saved us, and our backs..haha! This helped us transition her into her bassinet, and she also sleeps in it still to this day. I’m honestly thinking about ordering the larger size for when she outgrows this one!
ZIPPER SLEEPERS - Despite what everyone told me, I didn’t think I would mind buttons before Charleigh was here. Especially considering the cuties little clothes normally have buttons. But let me tell you, you’ll want zippers or stretchy nightgowns for overnight. Trying to line up buttons in the dark is beyond frustrating, especially when you’re sleep deprived and baby is hungry. These were our favorite because they zip from the foot up, so you don’t have to completely undress baby to change their diaper. They also come in a pack of 3 for $12.99 and in tons of colors/prints.
SOOTHIE/PAT PAT PACIFIERS - From the second Charleigh was born, she had to be sucking on something. It was an ongoing
SWADDLES - Charleigh hated being swaddled with her arms in, and honestly just hated being swaddled. We did use these for the first few weeks and they were our favorite out of the few that we tried. I actually didn’t have these on my registry and was given them by a friend. Thanks Chelsy :)
MONITOR - We have the Infant Optics Monitor. I don’t have anything to compare this to, but it works well for us. I love that it tells the temperature of the room, and also has a daytime and nighttime mode. You can also move it to the sides and up and down. Most monitors probably do all of these things, though, so I’m not sure it’s anything super fancy.
on the go
UPPABABY TRAVEL SYSTEM - I would definitely get this infant insert for the stroller. Charleigh doesn’t like to ride around in her carseat and prefers to look around more, so she prefers this attachment. The infant insert was super helpful when she was smaller, and I wish I would have had it from the get go. We also love the carseat and just bought a second base for Carl Michael’s car. I love that this system can grow with your family.
CARSEAT COVERS - I almost forgot to order these before she was born, and I was so thankful my mom reminded me the week before. They are much needed for outings such as the pediatricians (and in our case the hospital for jaundice testing) which all start less than a week after baby is born. You don’t realize how paranoid you’ll be of other people and their germs until you have a fresh little baby to protect. I’ve also learned that people won’t try to look at/touch your baby as much if they are covered in the carseat. Definitely a must have and we still use them! My favorites are from Copper Pearl - so soft, tons of prints/colors & great quality.
INFANT INSERTS - these are so helpful and definitely a must. Most strollers, swings, carseats, etc. will have a newborn insert that you can add on for the newborn days. There were a few baby items we had, especially the Mamaroo swing, that Charleigh was too small for in the beginning and adding these made them usable from day one.
PLASTIC BAG DISPENSER - I didn’t really think we would use this, but I’ve already refilled it more than once. Throw it in your diaper bag and you’ll be thankful when baby has a blow out or stinky diaper on the go.
WRAP/CARRIER - Not all moms are “wrap moms”, but I’ve tried out quite a few. We have the WildBird, Boppy, Ergobaby and the Moby. You obviously don’t need this many, but I wanted to try them all out apparently.. haha. I actually love the WildBird and the Boppy for around the house. I’m able to carry Charleigh around and get things done on days when she wants to be held more. Carl prefers the Ergobaby, but this one is for when baby is a little bigger.
BACKPACK DIAPER BAG - I love this bag. Not only is it beautifully made, it looks great and not like a big, bulky diaper bag. In my opinion, a backpack version is a must when you’re on the go and trying to carry baby in the carseat, groceries or anything else. Speaking of carrying the carseat, I had no idea how awkward that was going to be.. and it gets heavy quick. Good way to get an arm workout in! I do also have and love this one for when I don’t want to wear a backpack.
around the house
ROCK ‘N PLAY - Carl Michael bought this off of Amazon a week or two after Charleigh was born. She went through a phase where she didn’t like to sleep in her bassinet, and he read that this was a great sleep solution for many parents during the newborn days. Under $100, so definitely worth a try if you’re having trouble sleeping! Also, we still love this now and it’s super light, so we can easily move it around the house. I threw a fuzzy blanket over and it and Charleigh loves to sit in it at dinner time and watch us eat, hang out while we’re watching tv, or if I have to run to pee real quick (tmi, but needed). Definitely recommend this for new parents! Also, we don’t use it much now, but it can plug in and rock your baby to sleep which was amazing when she wanted to be held 24/7 those first few weeks.
CLOTH STORAGE BINS - I have these all over the house. I use them for storing little toys, diapers & wipes, her hair bows, pacifiers, etc. This is just how I try to keep her things together and keep our house not looking like a total disaster all the time.
BOPPY LOUNGER - we have used this from day one and it is for sure one of our most used baby products. There was a point in time when Charleigh was a couple weeks old when she wouldn’t sleep anywhere else but on this. I probably would have picked a different print/cover, but I grabbed this last minute when I was like 38 or 39 weeks pregnant and totally didn’t care at that point. I always throw a soft blanket over it anyway when she’s laying in it. A blanket is softer, plus it’s way easier to wash when baby spits up or has a blow out, which have both happened to us when Charleigh was sitting in her lounger.
DOCK-A-TOT - I wouldn’t say this is one of our “must-haves”. We’ve used it some, and I bring it when we go to my parents house for her to nap in. I think we may use it when we transition her into her crib. I’ve also used it some around the house, but she prefers to be sitting up now. It’s nice, but I still don’t understand why everyone is so obsessed. Maybe if we had it in the newborn days, we would have used it more.
4MOMS MAMAROO - I’ve learned recently that some moms/babies love this swing, and some hate it. It was one of my must haves on my registry and I will say that Charleigh loves it. She does go through “phases”, just like with every other product that we have for her, but overall has loved this one. When she was a newborn, she would only nap in this swing or her Boppy Lounger. When she started interacting more, she would get bored pretty quick, but I learned that if I hung a toy from the mobile she was content longer.
BABY BJORN BOUNCER - This is something that I didn’t register for, but definitely wish I had or would have at least had from the beginning. We ended up purchasing this a couple of weeks ago. I was worried Charleigh wouldn’t like it because she’s always wanting to sit upright these days, but she actually loves it! We tested out a few at Buy Buy Baby one day, and this was definitely her favorite. It’s on the pricier side, but worth it in my opinion, especially if you have it from the get go. I can’t tell you how much easier doing things around the house are - loading laundry, putting on makeup, brushing my teeth. I do suggest purchasing this toy bar for it!
O’BALLS - This was one of the first toys Charleigh loved. They’re light and easy for a baby to hold onto, and they rattle. She was so proud of herself when she realized she was able to grasp something and it kept her entertained for a while each time. She still plays with these now, and her new game is throwing things on the floor and watching our puppy react.
KICK & PLAY PIANO - This thing. It’s not cute. Despite basically everyone who had a baby telling me that I needed it, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put it on my registry because it just looks obnoxious. But everyone was right. All babies do love this thing. We started laying Charleigh on it when she was just a few weeks old and she loved staring at all the colors and listening to the music it plays. Now, she loves laying there and kicking the piano keys. We did add a few extra hanging toys so that she is able to reach them, and she will lay there even longer now. You can also remove the piano part for when they are sitting up and playing. These songs will forever be stuck in your head, but if you want a little hands free time or need a few minutes to put on your makeup, buy this.
BABY EINSTEIN JUMPER - We have two jumpers/saucers, and Charleigh definitely prefers the Baby Einstein one. I haven’t found anything Baby Einstein that we aren’t impressed with.
BOPPY TUMMY TIME PILLOW - this little pillow helped Charleigh when she was first learning to hold her head up when we were doing tummy time. Before, she would get frustrated and didn’t like to stay on her tummy long, but with this pillow she was able to see and play with her toys better which helped her stay content on her tummy longer.
BATH TUB - I took forever to choose a bathtub and finally decided on this one. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s worked well for us. Our kitchen sink is too small to bathe her in, so I didn’t want one for the sink. I do like that this tells the water temperature and your baby’s weight.
BABY WASH/LOTION - I didn’t have this on my registry, but was gifted it at my baby shower. It is by far our favorite - smells amazing and makes her skin so soft! We don’t use anything else as far as bath time goes.
BURT’S BEES TOWELS/RAGS - You get what you pay for, and these towels/rags are worth it. We have a few others that are so thin they don’t do much! Burt’s Bees products are a little more expensive, but totally worth it in my opinion.
SCRUBBIES - I grabbed these at the checkout line at Buy Buy Baby one day when I ran in to pick something up. They work so well for bath time, and have helped with cradle cap. I use them to soap her up and prefer these over a wash cloth. Charleigh loves them!
It’s so crazy to think it’s been 5 months with our angel baby. Being a mother is such a special gift and has changed my life in the most amazing way. It’s a love you can’t explain and I thank God every day for this sweet, smiley girl.
This special time in life is so fleeting, and I think it’s important to have photos to look back on later in life to remember every little stage. I’m constantly snapping pics on my iPhone, but I’m obviously behind the camera and rarely get a photo of us together. Last month, we had a session with Elle Boone Photography to capture these beautiful little moments of me and my Charleigh Rae and I will cherish these forever. She was able to capture these beautiful images so flawlessly and I was so excited to see how great they turned out. I was actually surprised how many images she was able to get in such a short window of time, because we all know time is limited with little ones :)
Elle will be hosting The Motherhood Event on April 13th from 9am-1pm at The Lumen Room in Fort Worth, which will be a special mini session event to capture the love you and your little ones share! Registration starts tonight, March 4th at 8pm. If you prefer outdoor photos, she will also have that option available that evening from 6pm-8pm. You can find all details about the event and registration on her website by clicking here.
I packed and repacked my hospital bag at least 3 times. I knew I was overpacking, but also knew I would rather bring too much than wish I had something that had been left at home. Better safe than sorry, right?! I thought I would write a post really quick to go over my hospital bag again and share what I actually used during our stay after having Charleigh Rae. A few of these items were shared with me by my friends, and I was so so thankful I had them (in particular, for recovery). Your hospital will most likely send you home with recovery meds/supplies, but I was SO thankful to have extra to come home to, as opposed to having to have my husband or a family member run to the store. There were also a few things that surprised me during my stay, like the fact that my “going home” outfit(s) that I packed weren’t about to fit my post pregnancy belly, the hospital shower situation, and my lack of desire to take any photos (thankfully my sister and hubs snapped a few!). So, I thought it may be helpful to y’all if I shared what I used, what I didn’t, what I wish I’d packed, and why! I basically copied and pasted my previous post, “What’s Really in my Hospital Bag”, and explained why each was helpful, what I would leave out, etc. I hope this helps! XOXO
Robe - I packed this one, but I also packed a pretty one for pictures. I definitely didn’t feel like taking any “pretty” pictures, but was thankful I had at least one robe to throw over my nightgown. It helped when I was a little cold but was still easy to nurse in.
Socks & Underwear - I didn’t wear the underwear I packed (hello diapers), and I’m not sure why I thought I would miraculously be back down to my pre-baby size anyway. Socks though, a must. Fuzzy ones for sure!
PJ’s - I brought a pajama set (top & pants) and a soft button down nightgown (nursing friendly). I loved having both of these - they were perfect, but if I were to only bring one, it would be the nightgown.
Going Home Outfit - I brought leggings, an oversized top and a t-shirt dress in case I didn’t want anything touching me. Although it was all oversized, when I went to change and get ready to go home, NONE of this fit me. I ended up going home in a black nightgown with a long cardigan over it. I didn’t mind at all (was in pain, sleep deprived, couldn’t wait to get home), but was, again, surprised how swollen my tummy still was!
Nursing Bras - unpadded and padded. If I remember correctly, I wore the padded the whole time. It was more comfortable and more support. Not that you’re in a bra much.. I feel like I was nursing the entire hospital stay. I didn’t realize how intense cluster feeding really is, but Charleigh wanted to eat basically nonstop our second night there.
Cozy Cardigan - I love wearing my cardigans around the house, and I thought I would bring one along that I could throw on over whatever I was wearing. Cardigans are also a good choice because they’re nursing friendly! I brought this one and this one, and I am so thankful I did. One of my must haves for sure - I’m always cold and hospitals are freeeezing!
House Shoes - I brought some I can just throw away after. I am glad I had these, but I honestly wore fuzzy socks alone most of the time. I think I just wore these when I was getting up to go to the bathroom and when I was walking around more and didn’t want to get my socks dirty.
Shower Flip Flops - super cheap ones so I could toss after. I’m a germaphobe. Glad I had these and threw them away after my 2 second shower.. haha!
Belly Band - definitely didn’t even think about trying to put this thing on. I honestly didn’t use it once I was home either. I tried to wear it a couple of days, but it was SO tight and SO uncomfortable that I think I ended up tossing it. I had the size small/medium and on top of making me nauseous and suffocating me, I think it just made me feel even worse about my swollen tummy. Not worth it. I have heard good things about this one, though!
Face Wash & Lotion - It felt so good to finally wash my face and lather up with moisturizer! Some ladies prefer makeup remover wipes, which would be easier in the hospital, but I hate wipes and love my face wash. I also have dry skin, and the hospital seems to make it drier (could be in my head) so facial moisturizer is also a must.
Body Lotion - I can’t remember if I used this, but I would bring it again next time just in case. Nothing feels worse than having really dry skin.
Prenatal Vitamins - definitely keep taking these after you’ve given birth. You need them to help your body heal, and especially if you are breastfeeding.
Stool Softener - my doctor (and a few of my girlfriends) told me to start taking these before you go into labor or you’ll regret it. They were 150% correct. I was so thankful I started taking these a week or two before going into labor - I think I would have died if I didn’t. Take these and thank me later (especially if you tear at all). I also kept taking these after giving birth and while I was still healing, which took about 4 weeks!
Minimal Makeup - If I’m being honest, I wore the same makeup (without washing my face) from 5:00 AM on Friday until sometime Saturday afternoon.. Gross, I know. But I had no desire to mess with it, and definitely didn’t want to redo it. I brought concealer, cc cream, bronzer, highlighter and mascara to make me feel a little better, and was thankful I had it when I was ready to freshen up.
Hair Brush - I did brush my hair, contrary to how I look in most of the photos that were taken.
Blow Dryer - haha.. yeah right. I used dry shampoo and didn’t even think about washing my hair during my shower. I couldn’t get out of the shower fast enough. I was in pain when standing, and I could hear baby girl crying, so I just basically rinsed off and jumped out. I also somehow managed to soak the entire hospital bathroom.. it was a disaster and I was a mess haha. I was glad that I had my own products, though, for sure!
Nipple Cream - my lactation consultant actually told me that since there are extra ingredients in this one, to make sure I wipe it off before each feeding. That seemed like a huge pain in the rear to me, so I asked my sister to get me just plain Lanolin. I love this one, but thankfully didn’t need it much.
Diapers/Pads - I was told by many that these are the best diapers and much better than the mesh undies they provide at the hospital (and it is SO true!). I used diapers, NOT pads - I tore 3rd degree, plus some, so the thin, little pads I brought were laughable. I lived in these diapers for like, 3-4 weeks if I’m being honest. They were just so much easier than the huge mesh panties and giant pads that the hospital provides. You could still pack a few pads just in case you don’t tear, but I was thankful I had these with me and a stock pile at home!
Witch Hazel Pads - these help with recovery and are soothing. The hospital also provides these, but I ordered some for home as well.
Belly Oil - I didn’t use this in the hospital, but definitely kept using it once I was home. I wanted to make sure my skin (tummy) was moisturized to help with elasticity and healing.
DERMAPLAST - this stuff is a godsend. I wouldn’t have made it out without it (kidding.. kinda). The hospital gives you a bottle of this, but buy another so you have one waiting at home. One of my friends told me to pick up a bottle of this at Target before going into labor, and I did so, but didn’t think I would use it much. Once I was home, this stuff saved me. There were a few times when I went a little too long without taking my pain meds and could feel the pain creeping up on me. This stuff gave me a little instant relief while I waited for my meds to kick in. I think you’re only supposed to use this 3-4 times a day, but I used it more because... OUCH.
Camera - I honestly didn’t feel like taking many pics, but so thankful we had the camera and Carl was able to snap a few! I told him not to take any of me, but looking back at them now, I’m so thankful he didn’t listen to me and got a few of me and my sweet girl’s first few hours together.
Pillows & Blanket - I am such a germaphobe that we left these at the hospital. I just bought cheap pillows/blankets from Target or Walmart to bring (definitely recommend doing this). This blanket is currently on sale for $14, so you won’t feel as bad if you want to leave it behind. The hospital actually called me to tell me all the things I left behind, which was sweet, but I just told them to just toss it all! I do wish we would have brought more than one blanket, though. I originally packed it for Carl Michael thinking I would be fine with whatever was in the hospital and ended up stealing it from him the entire stay (sorry, babes)! Again, the hospital is freezing, plus it’s softer for baby! I am so thankful that we brought our own pillows. They have pillows, obviously, but I liked having our own to sleep on and to help prop me up in bed when I was nursing/holding baby. I also brought this Boppy Pregnancy Support Pillow, and surprisingly I used this more than the nursing pillow. It was so much easier to hold baby with this pillow and helped with nursing too!
Extra Long Phone Charger - definitely a must!
Nurse Gifts/Goody Basket - full of snacks (granola bars, gold fish, gummies, etc), hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works, mints, etc. just to say thank you! The nurses were SO thankful for this, and surprised that I did it, actually. After a rough labor and delivery, it was the last thing on my mind, so I had Carl Michael take it back to the labor and delivery wing before we left. My anesthesiologist actually stopped me on our way out to tell me thank you and how thoughtful it was! I definitely recommend doing this - they work so hard and are rarely recognized for all they do. It was such a small gesture to say thank you and was definitely more appreciated than I anticipated.
Anything I want for photos of baby - ex: letter board, name sticker, swaddle blankets, etc. We ended up just taking photos of Charleigh when we got home. I would probably still bring this, just in case you feel like taking photos (many people do!), but I didn’t feel well and was just fine waiting.
Socks & Mittens - I was glad we had little baby socks and mittens even though she was wrapped in a swaddle. Charleigh loved having her hands up close to her face when she was first born, so mittens are a must unless you want little scratches all over their face! I will say that I had trouble keeping these on, but never found another brand that stayed on any better.
A few onesies - we didn’t use these. Your baby is constantly being checked out by nurses, doctors, specialists, etc. We just kept Charleigh in a diaper, socks and a swaddle. I do wish we brought our own swaddle (we just used the one provided by the hospital) and we loved this one once we got home!
Swaddle/Receiving Blanket (for photos) - we took pics at home, so didn’t use these in the hospital. It would be nice to bring at least one along just in case, though.
Pacifiers - nurses and lactation consultants in the hospital advise against using pacifiers, just to make sure baby latches well while breastfeeding. But Charleigh was such a good eater from the very beginning, I think we would have been fine to use them sooner than we did. And we may have gotten a little more sleep… ?
Car Seat - They make you bring up your carseat and strap the baby in in front of them before you’re discharged.
Four days until Christmas! I was hoping to get a few more gift guides up this year, but that didn’t happen #newmomlife. So, this is my final gift guide for Christmas. Hopefully you’re done shopping, but I’m not so I thought I would post this just in case you needed a few more ideas or inspiration for shopping for the little ones. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas, and don’t forget the reason for the season :)
Everything is linked with exception to these sweet Cuddle+Kind dolls. Each doll purchased provides TEN meals to children in need. It’s such an amazing company, and I definitely recommend checking out their doll collection. They have so many, it’s hard to pick just one!