OUR TOP 10 MOST USED BABY ITEMS

Like most first-time moms, I got everything when I was preparing to have a baby (see a lengthy list here of all we registered for).

It felt nice to have the "best of" in every category, but I also knew that it was probably a bit excessive and I didn't really need every single thing. Sharing today what we actually used those first three months, and what we could have done without.

LIFESAVERS

1. DockATot. Full disclosure here: this company reached out to me to test their product. At the time, I had every single possible "baby placement" option available: a bassinet, a Moses basket, a crib, a mamaroo, a bouncer, blankets for days, etc., and I really didn't need anything else. The only reason I agreed is because I had a friend who loved hers, and I am so glad I tried it. We use it everyday. Trey sleeps in it every night and takes all naps in it as well. It's portable, washable, lightweight, great for travel, I could go on and on. Trey was a noisy baby so our baby sleep arrangement was placing him in this just outside our bedroom door, and eventually we started placing him in the DockATot in his crib. Easiest transition ever. This product gets the most use of any baby product we own and I recommend it all the time.

2. Little Unicorn Swaddles. The deluxe bamboo ones are the softest. I love the size, how lightweight they are, the price point for the quality, and the millions of uses. Next time, I would go for colors, not white, because I store them unfolded in bins and sometimes I grab a burp cloth instead of a white blanket and vice versa.

3. Swaddles with velcro closures. I liked the Nuroo for when Trey was a newborn (maybe 7-10 lbs, in the smallest pocket) because it was easy and soft, and then the Ollie was great once he was a bit bigger.

4. MyMilkies Soft Cloths. We use these every day. Love the small size and how soft and absorbent they are. (We also have these flat folds for burp rags that are classic and budget friendly)

5. Covered Goods Nursing Cover. Trey doesn't love nursing under it, so in public I default to a bottle (which works great and I'm so glad to have a solution that works for us there). But the amount of times we've used it as a stroller/car seat cover to block the sun has earned it's spot on this list. Our car seat has a partial shade cover so I assumed I wouldn't need to use it like this, but since that cover is only partial, this one offers full sun protection. We've used it over and over again this summer on all our walks.

6. Keekaroo Changing Pad. I've never had to wash a single changing pad cover in my life because of this product. Brilliant.

7. Gathre Mats. We use the midi size everyday, it's our "play mat" and extra bonus that it's super soft and wipeable (so helpful with all the drool/spit up during tummy time). I also like the smallest size as a travel changing pad and the largest size as a picnic blanket.

8. Nursing: I didn't realize how much of new baby life revolves around feeding. Encompassing a bunch of items here: I love these bras, these nursing pads, this pump, and these milk storage bags.

9. Nursery Works Empire Rocker. I spend a lot of time nursing here and love it. I don't think there's anything special about this one, and have even seen some cool DIYs out there, but it's been helpful to have a designated, comfortable place for nursing. (Someone asked if I was nervous about having a light color, and I LOVE it, it hides spit up much better than a dark one would.)

10. Nuna Car Seat and Stroller. They've both been a great. So glad I have the lightest car seat on the market since Trey is a chunk.

(Honorable mentions: this monitor, this crib, Ergo, and Solly.)

Favorite clothes for baby in this post here.

WHAT WE DIDN'T GET/DON'T USE

Wipe warmer, bottle warmer, bottle sanitizer, white noise machine (we just use a spare laptop, you can also use an app on your phone), Moses basket, bassinet, crib bumper, hamper (we just throw the baby laundry straight in the laundry room), breathing monitor, pacifiers (he liked these at one point but currently doesn't), all the basic white onesies (totally personal preference, I just like him to wear my favorite things since he's flying through sizes), baby stain remover and baby laundry soap (regular stain remover and regular laundry soap works great, I've also heard dish soap works to get out the toughest stains).

I could go on forever about the millions of products that are out there and marketed as "must haves" but you don't really need. I've said it a thousand times, but each baby really is SO different, and what works for one family doesn't work for another, so this list may or may not make sense for you. With babies, you just have to try things and tweak as you go along. We're all still figuring it out.

Photo: Jon + Moch Photography

BABY BOOKS WE LOVE

I know there's no age too young (or too old!) to start reading to your baby, but for me as a new mom, I was mostly focused on keeping him alive for the first three months, and less about his academic development. 

Now that he's three months old, a few things have happened: he's starting to have a more predictable nap schedule and semi-routine to his days, his attention span is growing, he's reaching for objects and he's distinguishing more colors visually. All these combined have made it a good time for me to start incorporating a few books into our play. There are so many great ones out there, and I'm sharing a few we love here.

A note on type: most of these featured are board books, with the except of two. I like board books as first books because the pages are thick and sturdy and can withstand drool, spit up, mouthing, etc, and I can let Trey play with them without worrying about them being ripped.

Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada and Trucks. The Jimmy Fallon book is hilarious (he tried so hard, but his daughter's first word was...Mama!) and I really love the Trucks book right now for Trey. It was one of the first books I read to him, and the illustrations have cute, colorful drawings, paired with simple sentences. There's a few more in the Bryon Barton series that are cute for boys (or girls!): Trains, Boats, and Planes.

Hello World San Francisco and Good Night Seattle. Two cities I love, both represented in books here. It's so fun to have books with places that we will take Trey to someday, and these both feature common places to visit in each city.

Sophie the Giraffe Series. I like that the Sophie's Color's prompts asking and answering "What" questions (ie "What color are the strawberries? The strawberries are red") and that the Sophie teether can be a fun prop to pair the books with.

Inspirational Nursery Rhymes. A cute series for teaching values like thankfulness and responsibility. There's a line in one of these books that's perfect for Seattle kids: "I like when the days are sunny, but I always give thanks for the rain. Rain gives water to drink, so we never should complain."

Little Books Boxed Set. These are hilarious. They're backwards stories on common kid struggles: Little Pea is about a pea not wanting to eat his dinner (candy), but he has to finish it before he gets his favorite dessert (spinach). Little Oink and Little Hoot are also funny tales of having to clean rooms and go to bed. Available at Bitte Shop, I love their entire collection of kid's books.

Wherever You Are My Love Will Find You. If You Were My Bunny. Guess How Much I Love You. These three were gifted to us by friends and they are the sweetest, cry-while-reading, kinds of books.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Goodnight Moon. Brown Bear. Classics from my own childhood, perfect for language development.

The only non-board books on here, Press Here and The Wonderful Things You Will Be. Press Here is interactive, with these cute little dots that you tap, press, and shake, and is a great book for teaching comprehension, colors, following directions, and so many other concepts. The Wonderful Things You Will Be book is beautifully illustrated (think Rifle Paper Co for kids) with an encouraging and positive message. It was gifted to me by a friend who's a teacher and quickly became a favorite.

If you're looking for a great gift (or for your own kids!) a book subscription is an awesome way to get new titles. This one by BookRoo delivers three board books or two picture books monthly, and they're wrapped up as cute as can be. Use code BOOKROOLOVE for 10% off your first box.

Next on my list recommend by a friend: Home by Carson Ellis, Sara O'Leary books, Stephen Krensky books, Little Blue Truck, Not A Box. I'd love to hear your favorites as well in the comments!

Also remember to check your local library, they'll likely have most of these titles, and they often have a weekly storytime for kids and so many other great resources.

Shared in partnership with Bitte Shop, BookRoo, Sophie, and Inspirational Nursery Rhymes. Book picks are my own. 

ON WORK, NEW MOM LIFE, AND SELF-CARE

We're three months into this new motherhood season, and I'm learning so much. The biggest learning curve for me recently has been learning how to balance work life with mom life.

Since I work from home, the lines are so blurred. I heard someone describe entrepreneurship as a struggle between feeling like you're always working vs. never working. So relatable as a new mom. Am I doing too much/not enough/in what areas/what is my identity/who or what needs my attention right now/what ball am I currently dropping? I'm learning how to juggle it all in a new way, for sure.

One thing I'm learning is especially important for me right now is self-care. I think of the oxygen mask analogy on a plane, when the flight attendant says over the loudspeaker, "If you're traveling with someone who needs assistance, please secure your own mask first." I never really got that until now. But, duh.

I need to take care of myself first so that I can best take care of Trey.

One way that I am taking care of myself these days is remembering to EAT. It sounds insane, but some days I am racing around, trying to work and take care of him and DO IT ALL that I forget to feed myself.

This is a downward spiral.

If I'm running on empty, this ship will not sail, and by 4pm we will all be one crabby mess. A few easy snacks I'm loving lately: sliced turkey, veggies and hummus, chips and salsa, and peach Outshine Fruit Bars. I need sustenance, and I need it fast. Bonus points if I can eat it with one hand and Trey in my other.

With a newborn and a full time career, there isn't much margin or room for anything "extra" these days, unless I make it a priority

I'm choosing to make self-care a priority for me. It's just as important as my work and taking care of Trey. In fact, it's the building block that all the other hats I wear depend on.

How do you practice self-care? Would love to hear the ways that help you stay refueled so that you can pour out in your work and family life.

Shared in partnership with Outshine. Opinions are my own.