As we’ve recently become parents for a second time, we’ve had the luxury of knowing a hell of a lot more about this parenting lark when compared to first time around. When buying newborn baby products four years ago in preparation for L, we didn’t really know what we needed or what would work. All we could do was base our purchases on recommendations, research and guess work. That’s pretty difficult with so many baby products on the market.
This time though, we had actual experience having (just about!) successfully navigated the tricky worlds of newborns, babies and toddlers. With newborn ‘Beetle’ we had a better understanding of which products were essential, which were nice-to-haves and which were just gimmicks by companies looking to get in on the baby market action. We were no longer the wide-eyed, newbie parents standing in Mothercare wondering what the hell we’d let ourselves in for.
So, what I thought might be useful to expectant parents out there would be a list of our favourite newborn baby products – those that make life easier and we’d recommend to other parents. Covering the spectrum of sleeping to feeding to bathing and more, these are things which we either used with L and have since passed down to ‘Beetle’, or alternatively decided to upgrade to a more superior product second time around.
Of course, this is just our opinion and you’re welcome to agree or disagree as you see fit – I’ll try not to hold it against you. For full transparency, the below list consists of newborn baby products we’ve bought ourselves, along with a couple that we’ve been sent by brands through the blog. For the latter, the fact we’ve been gifted them does not warrant inclusion on the list – they are there because we genuinely like them, have used them a lot and think they deserve their place as one of our favourite newborn baby products.
I’ve also purposefully excluded baby car seats and pushchairs / travel systems, mainly because there are hundreds out there and the one you choose really depends on your family situation. So, with that intro out of the way and in no particular order, here’s our favourite products for a newborn baby:
Widgey 5-In-1 Nursing Support Pillow
When L was a newborn, we had an Original Theraline Maternity And Nursing Pillow which we’d been sent for review. Although we liked it, we found that it was just too big – it took up most of the bed and was difficult to store. For our second baby, we wanted to buy another pillow which was a more practical size. We decided on the Widgey 5-in-1 Pillow after reading positive reviews online and we’ve been really impressed so far.
It was bought at the end of pregnancy, so we’ve only used it since ‘Beetle’ was born, but it’s become invaluable due to its versatility. For instance, it provides support for mum and baby when breastfeeding during night and day, plus has become a support for our little lad when he’s on his belly having tummy time. It’s also been useful as a baby nest where we can lay him on his back and put him down, plus allowed sibling bonding time without the worry of L needing to fully support him.
Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends Infant-To-Toddler Rocker
First time around, we bought a really cheap bouncer / rocker for L. She got some use out of it, but it was very limited in what it did and I wouldn’t say she particularly enjoyed being in it. So, when ‘Beetle’ was born, we decided to splash out on an all-singing, all-dancing rocker in the hope that it’d give enough entertainment and comfort for us to put him down once in a while!
We decided on the Fisher-Price Rainforest Friends Infant-To-Toddler Rocker – firstly, because we’ve always found Fisher-Price products to be good, and secondly because it would work for newborn ‘Beetle’ and 3.5 year old L. For newborns, it reclines pretty flat, has a three-point restraint for safety and has a vibrate function to soothe. As your kid gets bigger, it converts to being more upright, has an arch with two removable toy animals and kickstands at the back to stop the rocking.
Stokke Tripp Trapp With Newborn Set
An item making its way out of the attic to be reused for a second time is the Newborn Set part of the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair. I reviewed it here after it was sent to us when L was a baby. She used this up to around six months old, then it was replaced with the Tripp Trapp Baby Set and then the Tripp Trapp as the highchair is designed to grow with your kid. As the name suggests, the Newborn Set is suitable from birth and is designed to provide somewhere for your baby to sit at the dinner table – thus allowing family bonding, interaction and comfort.
The Newborn Set is basically a padded seat which easily clips onto the Tripp Trapp. It comes with a five-point harness to ensure your little one is safely secured, the fabric can be removed for easy washing and there’s also a toy hanger – although we seem to have misplaced this! We find this really useful as a place to put ‘Beetle’ when we’re having a meal as it means he is at the same height as us and we’re able to interact. We also sometimes remove it from the Tripp Trapp as it also functions as a chair / rocker directly placed on the floor.
Close Parent Caboo +Cotton Blend
First time around, babywearing was something that both the missus and I did a lot – in fact, we often ditched the pushchair in favour of sticking L into a baby carrier until she was around three years old. As such, we wanted to do the same thing with ‘Beetle’, but needed a better newborn carrier – something lightweight, portable and secure, but not as structured as some of the ‘proper’ baby carriers that we owned.
The Caboo +Cotton Blend fitted the brief perfectly. Designed for newborns from 5lb, it’s somewhere between a sling and a carrier. It’s basically one long piece of fabric (with a back panel and tightening rights) which goes over the shoulders and wraps around your baby from either side. There’s then another piece of fabric which wraps around your waist and ties at the back to further support the baby. The carrier is fully adjustable, provides the required neck and head support for a newborn and provides the recommended ‘frog-legged’ position to ensure baby’s hips and spine are fine. We’ve been really impressed with this purchase and have used it both in the house and when out.
Fisher-Price Kick And Play Piano Gym
The second Fisher-Price item on the list is the Kick And Play Piano Gym. We bought this when L was a newborn and saw no reason to replace it when ‘Beetle’ was born. There are so many play mats on the market, but this did everything we needed of one during the first year when she began to crawl. We’ve found it to be a decent size, easy to store, provide enough room for newborn movements and give adequate sensory stimulation.
The animal-themed Kick And Play Piano Gym consists of a soft mat, an arch, four dangling toys, a mirror and a piano. The idea is to lay your baby under the arch so that they can practice reaching and grabbing the toys above them and also learn to kick their feet to play music through the piano. The arch can be pulled out and the toys removed – the latter can then be attached directly to the mat during tummy time. We’ve used this since the start with ‘Beetle’ and it’s been great seeing him learn to track and look at the objects.
The Gro Company Gro-Snug
When you’re doing everything you can to get your newborn to sleep, swaddling is something that comes up time and time again. In essence, this is wrapping your baby really tight so that they feel all warm, secure and restricted like when in the womb. With L, we used both normal sheets and actual swaddling blankets with Velcro to achieve this swaddling sensation when she was a newborn – we then switched to baby sleeping bags when she was a bit older.
Second time around though, we’ve discovered the Gro-Snug which I don’t think existed back then. This, in essence, is a combination of a swaddle blanket and a baby sleeping bag. You open up the Gro-Snug, lay your baby on it, then zip it all the way up. This creates a safe and secure swaddling sensation for the baby whilst keeping them warm. Where the Gro-Snug goes further though is that (1) the zip can be part undone at the bottom for easy nappy changes at night, and (2) there are press studs on either side which allow arms to be freed if your baby doesn’t like swaddling or when they get a bit older.
Shnuggle Dreami Clever Baby Sleeper
Deciding on the sleeping arrangement for your newborn is a challenge. Moses basket? Cot bed? Co sleeper crib? Whatever you decide really comes down to your own situation and how you find things when your little one arrives. With L, we had a Moses basket which she grew out of at around 3.5 months, but we weren’t yet prepared to put her into the cot bed in her room on her own. We therefore borrowed a SnuzPod (review here) to cover the next two month period.
This time around, we decided to get rid of our old, worn Moses basket and replace it with the very fit looking Shnuggle Dreami. This is kind of like a ‘posh’ Moses basket – it can be moved around the house, it’s got a bigger enclosed space, can be used in static or rocking modes and, as it’s plastic, is much easier to keep clean. The plan with ‘Beetle’ is to use the Dreami for as long as possible (hopefully around five months), then move him into his cot bed at that point.
Royal Rascals Car Mirror
As your little one will be rear facing in their car seat until 15 months, it’s impossible to see them when you’re sat in the front. Sure, you could sit in the back, but that’s not great if you have multiple kids, or, say, if you’re the driver. So, the best solution is a car mirror. We’ve tried multiple mirrors, and to be frank, they’ve all been pretty crap – for instance, they’re either too small, move around when driving, are a faff to fit or it’s difficult to get the correct viewing angle.
Then we discovered the Royal Rascals car mirror. In ‘safety yellow’ (as yellow draws your attention quicker), it has a sturdy base which goes against the rear headrest and is then secured with two buckles and straps. The large mirror can then be positioned easily with an adjustable ball joint to get the right viewing angle, before being locked into place. The mirror does such a great job that we’ve since bought another so we have one in both cars.
Ana Wiz Extra Large Muslins
Muslin cloths are massively versatile and come in really handy during those first few months. With L, I remember thinking that we’d be able to get by with some kitchen roll, wet wipes and some flannels, but I was wrong – it wasn’t long until we’d jumped onboard the muslin train.
It’s hardly surprising then to discover that we’ve bought loads more muslins this time around. Some we’ve been particularly impressed with are the Ana Wiz extra large muslins. Not only are they soft and feature cute animal designs, but they’re huge (120cm x 120cm) which makes them multi-purpose. For instance, they’re good at wiping up spillages, protecting clothes and furniture when burping, providing warms and comfort as a blanket or to provide an element of cover if the missus wants a bit of privacy when breastfeeding in public.
Bathtime with a newborn can be a struggle. It’s hard enough holding a small, wet, wriggling thing with no neck control, let alone throwing in things like crying, screaming or ‘accidents’ in the bath. First time around, we had an IKEA baby bath and Summer Infant Baby Bather – we found that they did the job, but were a bit of a faff. For instance, the IKEA bath requires you to support your newborn, meaning you’re already one hand down.
With ‘Beetle’, we were lucky enough to be sent the Shnuggle Baby Bath which was a huge coincidence as the missus was very close to buying it anyway. We’ve found the bath to be compact, it doesn’t require much water and can be used out of the bath. In addition, it has a ‘bum bump’ on the bottom and a foam backrest which both help to support your baby when in the bath – this is great as it frees up a hand. It also grows with your newborn, meaning they can start to sit up and wiggle around when they get stronger.
Medela Breast Pump & Breastfeeding Starter Kit
Like last time, the plan with ‘Beetle’ was for the missus to exclusively breastfeed with me helping out here and there with a bottle of expressed breastmilk. However, unlike last time, we wanted to be more organised and get rid of stuff we didn’t use with L. Having used and liked Medela stuff last time (such as the Medela Swing Electric Breast Pump), this is where we headed again second time around.
As the missus was only going to express once per day, she decided that a manual breast pump would suffice, so we bought the Medela Harmony. The added benefit of this over an electric pump is that it’s more compact and portable if taken out with us. We also got the Medela breastfeeding starter kit because it came with a Calma teat, spare bottles, pump and save bags (which are great for freezing breastmilk) and a sterilising bag. We’ve found the latter particularly good as it allows you to easily sterilise everything in the microwave and, as such, we could get rid of the huge electric steriliser we’d bought with L.
Braun No Touch + Forehead Thermometer
You can become pretty obsessed about checking your newborn’s temperature during those early weeks, so having a decent bit of kit to measure it accurately comes in useful. So, the last item on our favourite newborn baby products list is the Braun No Touch + Forehead Thermometer. This is something I reviewed back on the blog in 2015 (read here) and it continues to be a really useful device for the family – we use it on ‘Beetle’, we use it on L and we use it on ourselves.
Rather than the old style thermometers which take ages to measure, this one gets an accurate temperature in seconds – the midwife even chose to use ours over hers! It also usefully displays the temperature with a colour background (green, yellow, red) to give a visual indication of the temperature – i.e. red indicates high temp. What’s more, the thermometer can be used in two ways – ‘touch mode’ or ‘non-touch mode’. This allows you to take an accurate temperature by either placing it on your child’s forehead or by holding it 5cm away. The latter works really well when you’re attempting not to disturb a sleeping baby but still need to get their temperature.
So there we have it. That is our list of favourite newborn baby products. Have you tried any of these products with your little ones? Is there anything you’d add to the list? Let me know below!
Disclosure: This post includes an affiliate link(s).
Disclosure: A couple of the products on this list (mentioned in the various sections) have been sent for us to review through the blog, however their inclusion on this list is because we genuinely like them, have used them a lot and think they deserve their place on the list.