Finding the right baby gear is no joke. It was only six months ago that I was creating my very first baby registry, completely unaware of what I needed as a new mother. But what seemed like a very basic, easy task for most mothers quickly turned into an anxiety-producing quest to find the most innovative, must-have baby products in the marketplace.
Luckily for me and other new moms, though, companies everywhere are coming up with a slew of incredible products designed to meet a variety of needs, whether that's bottles to help with breastfeeding, easy-to-use velcro swaddles, wearable breast pumps for working moms, or $1,200 bassinets that rock babies to sleep at the sound of their crying.
And while I’d like to say that I made all the right selections along the way, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I had to sift through some very lackluster products to find out exactly what suited my and my baby’s needs. Here are the innovations that won over both me and my son.
Ollie Swaddle, $59
Watching the nurses swaddle my newborn baby at the hospital was both a mesmerizing and terribly confusing experience. Try as I might, no amount of YouTube videos, nurse-guided tutorials, or step-by-step guides could help me swaddle my baby just right until I found the Ollie Swaddle. At a steep price point, I wasn’t sure this seafoam green, velcro, one-size-fits-all swaddle would be worth it. I was so wrong. First of all, it’s super easy to learn (no complicated criss-cross folding required), and within minutes of tucking my son into this snug swaddle, he was off to sleep. Trust me when I say that this is the only swaddle you’ll ever need to invest in to get your baby to catch some Zs. Note: Make sure to carefully study the specific safety instructions before tucking your baby into the Ollie.
I heard quite a bit about this cute sleepsuit from fellow mothers, but I had no idea how useful it would turn out to be for my son as he transitioned out of his Ollie Swaddle. Created by a pediatric physical therapist and foster mom, this puffy suit seems to be made of sleep-inducing magic. Aside from its rather adorable design, Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit calms those all-too-familiar startles and twitches, keeps babes at a comfortable temperature throughout the night, and mimics the feeling of being held by mom, all without requiring you to actually pick your child up every hour on the hour. Believe me when I say that I wouldn’t have a good night’s sleep without this amazing tool.
Citizen Pilates BYOB Classes, $29 drop-in
Okay, so this one isn't a product, but it's most certainly a necessity. Getting into an active routine after having a child was weighing on my mind, and with a husband who works long hours, I knew I’d need to find a studio where I could bring my baby with me to work out. That’s when I discovered the BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby) reformer Pilates classes at Citizen Pilates. Offered twice a week (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.) at the studio’s Heights location, moms and tots of all ages gather at this small class for an energizing, 45-minute workout. And should your baby have a meltdown, have no fear: Take care of what you need to during the class, and the instructor is happy to cover whatever you missed afterward. What’s more, no class is hosted in the studio immediately after the BYOB class, so feel free to hang out after to talk to the other mamas and socialize your baby. It’s become something I look forward to every week.
Comotomo Bottles, $23 for two
I had no idea just how many baby bottles were out there until l I started registering for gifts. Avent, Dr. Brown’s, Evenflo—there are all sorts of bottles that serve various needs. Still, no bottle really satisfied me or my son until I started using Comotomo bottles. I breastfeed my son and am terrified of nipple confusion and bottle rejection, especially now that he's starting at daycare, so I’m super particular on the bottles I use for him. Not only are Comotomo bottles easy to clean and made of non-toxic silicone, they're perfect for breastfed babies because they’re wide-shaped, therefore making it easy for babies to latch on to. Now I buy these trusty bottles for all my pregnant friends.
This is another cherished item from my son’s nursery. Serving double duty as a night light and musical machine, the Hatch has a selection of sounds (nature tunes, lullabies, white noise) and bright colors to entertain your child from playtime to bedtime. The best part? The Hatch can be controlled both manually and via app, meaning you can program all its workings from the next room over—no more racing to turn it on and disrupting your little one in the process.