With Acacia’s 1st birthday coming up in less than a month, I’ve found myself reflecting back on the past year and everything we’ve been through. On how much Acacia has grown and developed, how much I’ve grown as a person because of her, and all the things I’ve learned during my first go-around at raising a tiny human. I’ve also realized just how much baby-stuff we’ve accumulated over the last 11 months…it’s honestly insane. Her closet is literally overflowing with old clothes, you will find toys stashed in every single room of the house, and her bottles and eating utensils take up two full drawers in the kitchen. Some of these things were absolute lifesavers during my initiation into motherhood, so I put together a list to share with you all about my favorite “mama must-haves” – all the things that I couldn’t have made it through this last year without!
When CC was a newborn, I was so terrified of her rolling off the bed/couch if she was napping or even just laying there. We also co-slept with her for the first 2 months and wanted a way to make it as safe as possible. Save your comments about co-sleeping. Just because that’s what we chose to do with Acacia doesn’t mean we will choose to do it next time, it’s just what worked well for her. Other parents should do research about the risks of co-sleeping and decide what’s appropriate for their situation. However, the DockATot was everything I personally needed to ease my worries. Its snug fit made it so there was no way for her to roll anywhere. I had also read countless reviews from other moms who said it genuinely helped their baby sleep easier…and It absolutely helped with Acacia’s sleep, so I can also attest to that! Don’t let the price tag scare you away from this one because it’s everything the reviews say it is.
We were standing in the baby swing aisle of Babies-R-Us, intimidated by all the different bouncing-swinging- jumping devices and trying to decide which one to buy for Acacia. A young couple walked by us with their new baby, so I snuck a quick peek at their little one in anticipation for our own baby’s arrival and gave the new mom a smile. The dad turned to Dustin and said “Get the Mama-Roo, you won’t regret it” and then they disappeared amidst the other parents shopping. Well, we took that guy’s advice and let me tell you, he was so right! Acacia never wanted to be put down when she was a baby. I would literally walk around the house with her all day, which obviously started to get exhausting after a while. The Mama-Roo was my savior during that time because it would keep her calm for quite a while. She loved the different swinging mechanisms and sounds, while Dustin and I loved that we could control it all from our phones. The only bummer was that Acacia only used it for her first 4 months, really. Once she became more interactive with her surroundings and was able to sit up while being supported, she didn’t like being held down in a swing. She was onto bigger and better things…a jumper.
Once Acacia was done with her Mama-Roo and other baby seats, she fell madly in love with her jumper system. Dustin’s mom gifted us with an elaborate Baby Einstein jumper and we also have one that attaches to our door frame, which makes it easy to move her from room-to-room with us. She would spend hours jumping around and going crazy, if we let her. This gave me the freedom to move around the house without having to worry about her every move. It was, and still is, a lifesaver!
- Twistshake Bottles
A representative for Twistshake reached out to me to do a collaboration and send me a free bottle with a promo code for my readers to use on their next purchase. I was immediately enticed by the brightly colored baby bottles and agreed to try out their product. I was actually really happy with the bottle they sent me and ended up collaborating with them a couple more times. I also bought 6 more bottles and a sippy cup to add to our ever-growing collection of Twistshake products. The bottles are BPA, BPS, & BPF free, they are anti-colic and made to prevent the clumping of formula, and they also come with little containers that are stackable and perfect for storing your formula! Being able to color coordinate her bottles with her outfits is also a bonus. 😉
- Gripe Water
Dustin’s sister suggested that we give Gripe Water a try if Acacia was ever fussy due to gas or teething pain since it really helped with her boys. She insisted that we get Wellements Baby Gripe Water because it worked better than any other brand she tried. She lived in a small town and actually requested that the owner of their local One-Stop order some for her when the boys were little. We only used it as our last resort when we couldn’t get her to stop fussing no matter what. I really feel that it helped her. I also liked that it was organic and free of any artificial ingredients.
- Baby Carriers
As I already mentioned, Acacia did not like being put down when she was a newborn. Carrying her all the time made things like homework, cooking, and other household duties extremely difficult when I always had my arms full. I used the WildBird sling whenever we were out and about or just hanging around the house. The BabyBjorn carrier is what I used for hiking until we recently purchased our “big-girl” hiking backpack from Osprey. Baby wearing is encouraged in many cultures around the world, as it gives the child a sense of security and also promotes bonding between the baby and the carrier. I found the WildBird sling to be extremely soothing for Acacia, because it kept her wrapped tight and close to my chest. She would fall asleep almost every-time she was carried in it. The BabyBjorn pack was more exciting for her because I would face her outwards so she could see everything. She giggles and kicks her legs the entire time she’s in it. I did find the BabyBjorn to be more strenuous on my back after a while of wearing it though, which is why I finally purchased an actual hiking pack.
Acacia slept inside her bassinet in our room with us until I could finally bring myself to move her into her own crib at about 6 months old. I wasn’t planning on having her in our room for so long, it just happened that way. In the beginning I didn’t realize how important a bassinet was going to be for us, otherwise I would have splurged a little more and bought a nicer one than the bassinet we bought on Amazon.
- Travel System
A stroller is a necessity. So is a carseat. You might as well buy both in one sitting and opt for a travel system. Target is one of my go-to’s for baby stuff…and just about everything else. I could spend my entire day there. Can I just move into the nearest Target, please? Anyway, they have a lot of great options when it comes to strollers and carseats. We bought the Evenflo Sibby Travel System in Mineral Gray and we’ve been happy with it. The carseat just clicks right into the stroller, which is lightweight and super easy to assemble – I can literally do it with one hand! I’ve also gotten multiple compliments on it while out running errands! Acacia has recently upgraded to a new Graco carseat that will change with her as she grows. It has good safety features and I think that it’s a lot more comfortable for her at the stage she’s in.
- Pack & Play
If you plan on traveling during the first year at all, a Pack & Play is a must. Not only is it where they will sleep, but it’s also a safe and clean place to play which is important if you decide to take your little one camping. I found a nice one on Amazon that’s easily transportable. We used it during her first trip to California and we also plan on using it for our camping trips this summer!
- Diaper Bag
This is an obvious one. But I really wanted something that didn’t scream diaper bag and that would go with every outfit. I had been looking for a while with no luck, when my mom bought me a bag that was charcoal gray and decent sized, with three different compartments. Her diapers, wipes, and any other care-items go in one compartment, food and bottles in another, and a change of clothes/toys/anything else you can think of goes in the third compartment. THANKS MOM! <3
- Eczema Cream
Acacia has pretty bad eczema. It’s an ongoing battle and if I forget to put lotion on her for one day you can absolutely see the difference in her skin. I was trying Aveeno Baby Eczema Lotion but didn’t like the results and felt like I needed something a lot stronger to combat her dry skin. So, I switched to Eucerin Baby Eczema Lotion and it absolutely does the trick! I even use it myself, on those stubborn dry areas like my knees and elbows.
- Earth’s Best Baby Food Pouches
Acacia easily made the switch over to baby food and wasn’t too picky of an eater either. But after a while she definitely started to show a preference to certain food over others. Earth’s Best baby food was not only one of her favorite things to eat right off the bat, but also my favorite because the pouches make them so easy to pack around and feed them on-the-go. Apple Peach Oatmeal and Blueberry Banana Flax & Oat are her favorite choices for breakfast. She also loved Pumpkin-Cranberry, which we fed her a lot around the holidays. They are only 99 cents per pack at Target, which is a killer deal!
Becoming a first-time mom was the most terrifying and difficult learning curve I’ve ever experienced. But now, almost a year later, I look back and laugh at all the little things that seemed so frustrating at the time. These “must-haves” helped my transition into motherhood go a lot more smoothly and they are the things that I will turn to again, if I ever have another little one in the future.
What are your “Mama Must-Haves”?
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