When I found out I was pregnant for the second time I started to take inventory of the baby items I had. I’m usually a fairly frugal person and I’m all for re-using items. I figured I was all set for baby items. Then I really thought about what I liked and disliked about the products I used with my oldest. I realized that I bought a lot of items without doing much research. After being a Mom for a couple of years (and talking to countless other Moms) I had a better idea of what I needed.
I reached out to each one of these companies individually and requested to review the products after I combed the Internet looking for highly rated baby items. Many of them have won awards or have a lot of buzz around them. These are items that I would have purchased.

1. A Better Nursing Cover

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, I knew very little about breastfeeding and I went on Etsy and ordered a cute Hawaiian print nursing cover that shielded my chest and clipped in the back. It was very flimsy and I could never get it to feel comfortable, which in turn made me less comfortable nursing in public.

This time, I had a much better idea of what would work for me. Covered Goods sent me their Classic Grey & Ivory Stripe multi-use nursing cover. It’s a poncho-style nursing cover, which makes it easy to slip on and I don’t have to worry about side-boob. You can also slip and arm through the neck hole to make it a one-shoulder style nursing cover. It can also be used as a car seat cover, cart cover and make-shift blanket (or burp cloth) and it easily fits in a diaper bag. The fabric is stretchy and more absorbent that my first cover, which is nice if you need to quickly sop up milk drops. It also makes a handy rain poncho when I wear my son in a carrier. Though there are other companies who offer nursing ponchos, Covered Goods is the true original.

2. Somewhere Safe to Set the Baby

When we brought our first son home from the hospital, we ended up holding him almost non-stop all day everyday. This was awesome for bonding! However, this time around, we also have a toddler who has meltdowns and needs physical attention (including long hugs and being carried), too. This is why our Dock-a-Tot has been vital to survival in our house. It’s been so helpful to have a safe place to set the baby down when I need to turn my attention to my toddler. When he’s in the Dock-a-Tot, I don’t have to worry about him rolling off the couch or getting stepped on. It’s lightweight and easily taken up and down the stairs (unlike our bouncers and swings.) It’s also a good place to set him when I’m reading to my toddler or getting him ready for the day.

It comes with a piece of cardboard that slides into the mattress area so it will keep its shape when stored or transported. This is really important for those of us who travel, because it’s so easy for items to get crushed and not hold up. It also comes with a nice carrying case with a handle on it.

3. A More Functional Diaper Bag

As with most items purchased as a pregnant, first-time Mom, I chose my diaper bag more for aesthetic reasons than functionality. My first diaper bag was cute, well-made and could store a lot of things, but it was heavy. Even after I consolidated the amount of things I packed in it, it was still heavy.

This time, I chose Lassig’s Green Label Neckline diaper bag. They sent me their Black Melange one to try out and I love it! There is seriously a pocket for everything so I feel somewhat organized. And did I mention that it’s pretty stylish? I’ve had about 20 Moms ask me about my diaper bag in the few months I’ve been using it.

This also makes a great travel bag because of how spacious it is. I recently took it on a trip to Vancouver, BC and I was even able to zip it up because everything had it’s place in the bag.

4. A More Comfortable Baby Carrier

Since I can’t devote 100% of myself to my newborn (unlike the first time around), the baby carrier has been essential to getting additional snuggles. Chimparoo sent me their Ocean Woven Wrap and I love it! I was too intimidated to try to wrap my oldest, so I met with a babywearing consultant who showed me exactly how to do a very simple newborn wrap. I was amazed how much more comfortable wrapping a newborn was compared to my soft-structured carriers. Not only is it completely adjustable to my body, but my baby feels really secure and supported. And because it isn’t stretchy, I know I’ll be able to comfortably use it through toddlerhood.

5. My Brest Friend

I’ve had great luck with My Brest Friend nursing pillow. When I nursed my firstborn, I just couldn’t get comfortable. I had another brand of nursing pillows and I still needed to prop pillows under the nursing pillow to get my son at the right height. I ended up only using it for bedtime nursing and just used pillows the rest of the time. This time around, I knew there had to be a better option.

My Brest Friend sent me an Organic Nursing Pillow to try out and I found a cute cover on Amazon. While it isn’t a new product, it was new to me and I was excited to try it out. The pillow is firm, which alleviates a lot of pressure from my arms. I started using it as soon as I came home from the hospital and after the first feeding I regretted not bringing it to the hospital with me! I love how firm the pillow is and that it offers back support. I’m able to clip the pillow around me so it doesn’t move (something I had a problem with in my old pillow.) It’s so comfy that I usually end up wearing it while I burp my son and sometimes he falls asleep laying on it. I really wish I would have had this My Brest Friend pillow for my oldest.

6. A Sound Machine

We used a cute giraffe stuffed animal that also had some white noise built in for our first baby. We used it on occasion off and on and then stopped using it. This time around, I was petrified that the baby would wake up our sleep-loving toddler. For those who don’t know, sleep-deprived toddlers turn into little monsters that make parenting about a thousand times harder. I did not want to jeopardize anyone’s sleep. I had been hearing good things about Marpac’s Dohm Sound Machine from my Mom friends and was excited when Marpac sent me one to try out.

It was a lot smaller than I expected, which is a good thing! I thought I would use it primarily in our nursery, but that hasn’t been the case. We’ve had our baby sleeping in our room and my husband’s CPAP acts kind of like a sound machine (which means our baby will definitely need the Dohm in his nursery in order to sleep later on.) But, we’ve been using it a lot in our toddler’s room so he isn’t constantly woken up by our baby’s hunger cries and general fussiness. It’s also helped during our toddler’s nap time because it downs out the other sounds from around the house (especially when we have older kids over who no longer nap.)

7. Milkies Milk Savers

Milkies sent me one of their Milk-Savers to try out and I was instantly intrigued. The basic concept is that when you nurse your baby, you wear the product on the other side so it will collect the milk that is released. I’m all for anything that could potentially cut down on time spent pumping. I first tried it when my baby was 6 weeks old and our nursing routine was established. My son is a power eater and is often stuffed after 5 minutes of nursing, so I was a bit skeptical on whether I’d collect any milk. I was pleasantly surprised to realize I’d collected about half an ounce in those few minutes. The Milk-Saver was also pretty comfortable, as I forgot about it once I started nursing. While this product is great for me, it’s also perfect for those who nurse for a longer time at each session.

8. A Puj Tub

I heard about Puj after seeing that my cousin had registered for one. She usually has well-thought out products, so I knew I needed to try one out. Puj sent me their tub to test out plus their travel version. When they arrived, I was surprised how flexible and light-weight the tubs were and how easily they could be stored.

My husband and I tested out both of these and I have to say I’m a fan! We tried both of them in our bathroom sink (since it’s the closest room to the nursery) and the travel version was a perfect fit for our son for the first 2 months! It weighs practically nothing and my baby seems really comfortable in it. After his bath, I can pick it up one handed and empty the water and put it away. Plus, it folds up so it’s easy to pack for trips. The regular size would be perfect for those who do baby baths in the kitchen sink.

9. Kangaroo Care Shirt

I did skin-to-skin with my oldest as soon as I was able in the NICU and after I saw the amazing effect of it, my husband and I continued for months after. I just discovered kangaroo care shirts a few months ago and was delighted when Vija Design sent me one to try. While I’m a big fan of babywearing, I love that it takes literally no effort to get my baby secured on my chest. This is great for when I need to use both my hands to help my toddler with something or I don’t have a carrier nearby. I also like that it converts to a nursing top.

10. An Easy Nursing Necklace

When I nursed my oldest son, he would pull on all my regular jewelry and I was afraid my special necklaces would break. So, I went on Etsy and found a couple of nursing necklaces. I wasn’t sure what I was looking for and I ended up getting some that pulled my hair a lot. I spent a lot of my time adjusting the necklace and fidgeting with my hair.

This time around, I decided to find a necklace that wouldn’t pull my hair. I came across Vintage Honey and really enjoyed perusing their selection of necklaces. They offer a lot of prints and colors that are fashionable and are easily added to any outfit. It’s super comfortable to wear and it doesn’t feel bulky. My son likes to grasp it when he nurses and I like to watch his little figures exploring the beads. I also wear it when I babywear sometimes so he has something to hang on to.

11. Chewbeads CB Go Links

It’s amazing how important it becomes to find toys with rings when you have a baby. It’s the best way to attach toys to strollers, car seats, swings, other toys, etc. The problems I ran across were that not all toys came with rings and those that did weren’t always the right size. That’s where Chewbeads CB Go Links come in.

We have a lot of toys with clips that I can hook onto the links. I also like to attach rings to my laundry basket so my baby can do tummy time (while trying to reach the toys) and I can fold laundry and watch him. It’s really the only thing that makes folding laundry interesting for me. They are also made for teething. It’s easy to add a couple to any baby carrier to carry teethers or use them as teethers themselves. I like to attach our Little Saplings Airplane Teether and TrendyMommyDesigns Owl Teether using the rings to my baby carrier.

12. Teething Toys that are Attachable

With our oldest, I collected quite a few teething toys to see what he might like. It turns out what he liked most was to throw the teething toys. With baby #2, I learned to seek out teething toys that could be leashed to something.

I was really stoked to find the Chewy the Hippo teething toy. It’s really easy to squeeze to make it squeak. It comes with a velcro loop that makes it easy to tether it to stroller or carseat straps. The hippo arms are also easily linked to other stuff using the Chewbeads CB Go Links. It’s similar to our Sophie the Giraffe, but less “throwable.” Sophie is nearly impossible to keep inside a carseat or stroller as she can’t be attached very easily. I love all the little ear nubs, feet, etc that are perfect for little mouths to nibble on.

It’s no surprise that I was instantly drawn to the Little Saplings Airplane Teether. I love the airplane design so much! I’m also a fan of wooden toys and thought this would be a great thing for my baby to teethe on since wood is natural. It’s also very sturdy However, the big selling point for me was that there was a big hole in the center so I could attach it to just about anything!

Finally, I was determined to try the TrendyMommyDesigns Owl Teether, after seeing one of my babywearing friends using one on her carrier. I love that it has silicone beads as well as the large silicone owl. There are a lot of areas for babies to gnaw on and it’s actually a cute accessory for my baby carrier. I like that it has the look of a nursing necklace, but isn’t a necklace. It’s like jewelry for my carrier. It’s also easily attachable to any carrier, and I tend to keep it in my diaper bag and attach to whatever carrier I’m using.

13. Goumikids Mitts

There are few things when raising a baby that terrify me. One of them is cutting their nails. I’ve had one too many experiences of clipping their fingertips and it’s truly heartbreaking. I’m so nervous about it that I have completely handed off nail maintenance to my husband, who has better luck then I have.

So, the Goumikids Mitts have been a lifesaver for me. Baby nails grow so quickly that it seems like as soon as you cut them, they are sharp again. In order to prevent our baby from scratching himself, we put these mitts on his hands. After my son gained more control over his movements, I still used them so he wouldn’t scratch me when he nursed. It has made our nursing sessions much more pleasant!

14. Drool Bibs

I didn’t understand the importance of drool bibs with my oldest. I figured he had so many cute outfits that I would just change his clothes if they got wet. And I thought the bib look was really lame. Then, I started noticing that his chest was always red and I realized it was because his shirts were always wet. So, I grabbed his terry cloth baby bibs and started using them.

Now that I’m on baby #2, I wanted to find “cool” drool bibs and just use them from the get-go. Matimati bibs have been a great fit for us! Not only are they bandana style (which makes all his outfits look a bit more hip) but they come in trendy prints. I figure if my baby has to drool, he might as well look cool doing it. Plus, when you order a set of bibs, Matimati will donate a portion of the sale to Chain Reaction, a nonprofit fighting human trafficking in Asia.

While there are a lot of companies making bandana style bibs, the layer of fleece on the back of Matimati bibs really sets them apart. They truly keep clothes dry, even if your baby drools or spits up a lot. We like to keep at least one in the diaper bag at all times.

15. Oogiebear

There is nothing worse than when your baby has a cold. Well, there are actually many things worse, but it’s quite heartbreaking to hear your little one struggle to breathe. And no one seems to get any sleep. My family loves our Nosefrida. We love it so much that we have acquired 3 so we have one in every spot we’d need one. It’s great for clearing out goopy mucus (and entertaining to watch someone else do it.) But, when our baby has dried boogers making it hard for him to breathe, we reach for our Oogiebear. It’s a tool designed specifically for this purpose.

It’s the perfect size for gently scooping out the boogies in your baby’s nose. Like many parents, I used to try to get them using my fingernail, which was way too big for my baby’s nostrils. It also was tricky to get much out. Now, I just use my Oogiebear for a painfree way of removing the boogies. My baby doesn’t even seem to notice it. It also has a handy design which prevents parents from digging in too far into their baby’s nose or ears. It keeps us from being too vigorous, which is appreciated.

16. SnoofyBee Changing Pad

Like many new Moms, I primarily used the changing pad that came in my diaper bag when I was out and about. I even used a changing pad from my sister-in-law’s old diaper bag as my go-to changing pad downstairs in our house. As you might have guessed, once my oldest started moving around more, the changing pad became a slip-n-slide and I had to hold his arms back with my leg and grab his legs with my hand, leaving just one hand available for the actual diaper change. Then I noticed an ad on Facebook for the SnoofyBee that looked like a real game-changer.

​SnoofyBee sent me their brand new changing pad. I like that it’s easy to wipe down and is a nice size. We keep it downstairs in our living room for daytime diaper changes and it’s been really handy. Right now, my infant is too small to use the coolest feature, which is that the top part of the changing pad creates a cone that keeps little hands away from the diaper area. There are also places to attach toys, which I’m excited to try out in a few months. It also folds up pretty compactly and will be great to take on trips with us or stash in the car. I also think this would be fabulous to use on changing stations in public restrooms to keep my baby from getting dirty. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the velcro snags on some clothing items and it can be tricky to fold up one-handed while holding my baby.

17. Zoocchini Buddy Blanket

Babies tend to accumulate many blankets, especially through baby shower gifts. It just happens. We have a whole tub of baby blankets from when our oldest was born and we realized we only used blankets that were made especially for him or swaddle blankets. When I came across Zoocchini blankets online, I was very curious to see this hybrid in action.

Zoocchini sent me their Giraffe Blanket Buddy to try out. What makes this blanket unique is that there is a toy attached to it, so the toy won’t get lost and little hands have something to explore on stroller walks. My baby is just 2 months old, but he’s able to grasp the leaves and the ears of the giraffe, which is fun! I really like how soft the entire blanket is and it’s perfect to keep my baby warm in his carseat or swing. I think it will be good for tummy time because he can try to grab the giraffe. My toddler also likes to pet the giraffe and asks me if the baby need his giraffe blanket quite frequently! If you’re planning to give a blanket as a baby shower gift, this is definitely one to get!

Dock-a-Tot offered me a discounted rate. I was offered the rest of these products at no charge in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions are my own.