Since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, I thought I would do a post related to new mothers. We all know a women in our family, a friend, a colleague or even a friend of a friend that is pregnant. Eventually you will get invited to a baby shower, if you haven’t already. If you aren’t a mother, you must have had thoughts of “geez, what am I going to buy?” This billion dollar baby industry and the millions of products available are enough to make us panic.
What to choose?
Even if you decide on something, there are many questions we ask ourselves such as is it good for the baby?, Is it useful? Does it take too much space? Is it safe? or Is it only a gimmick to make us spend money? I know that this is how I felt before having a baby. So instead of only resulting to buying baby clothing (as I usually did) I will give you other inexpensive suggestions. I know that there are baby registries to help us but for a first time parent, we sometimes forget to add essential baby items.
During my first trimester, I was so overwhelmed with the amount of products that I googled and read so many reviews before purchasing or adding any particular item to my baby registry. I even printed a list of the recommended bare essentials needed. So when my sister asked me for some suggestions as she was invited to a baby shower, I thought it would be a great idea to share with others my “I swear by” favorite budget friendly newborn products that I pretty much used on a daily basis. So here are some affordable gift ideas for your next baby shower that I couldn’t live without.
1. Aden & Anais 4-pack Swaddling Blankets
Since Sasha was born, I would swaddle him in these blankets, they are light and oh so soft!! They were good for breastfeeding in public and as a sun/wind shield to cover the stroller or car seat. I also used them as burp cloths throwing it over my shoulder when needed. The bonus is they come in multiple prints, also sold as a 4-pack and they get softer as you wash them in the machine. They can easily be found online and in baby boutiques (here, here, here).
2. Onesies WITH extended mitten cuffs
Of course every newborn will need multiple onesies. I changed Sasha at least 2-3 times a day, so you can easily stock up on these for the first few months. I tried many versions of the onesie (with a hood, with a zipper, with snaps, kimono style wrap, 2 piece….) and my FAVORITE version is the zipper onesie with extended mitt option from Old Navy (here and here). The reason is newborn’s nails grows incredibly fast and as they cannot control their hand movement they risk scratching their face. Sasha always had a scratch on his face and while I did cut his nails, using these mitt options made it so much easier. I had separate mitts but it was often a hassle to put them on their tiny hands. So when I discovered this option, I thought every pyjama should have it as it is great! Also, the zipper onesie is my second favorite option only because it is quicker to change them.
3. Hydrasense Baby Nasal Aspirator
When babies are born they sometimes have a lot of mucus around the eyes and nostrils from being in the amniotic fluid in the placenta. When Sasha was 1 month he got a cold and poor little guy his nostrils were clogged up. When I received this kit as a gift I thought, ewwww I have to suck his mucus out of his nose?! Yes, it sounds gross, haha!, but it works like a charm and is very easy to use and to clean. This kit is sold in most pharmacies and comes with individual saline water packs (if the mucus is dry or too thick). There are also a few projective filters to prevent the mucus from getting in the tube to your mouth. Don’t worry as this has never happened to me. It’s no surprise that this baby nasal vacuum is always on the bestsellers lists as it is the BEST way to clean your baby’s nose. You can also get it online here, here and here.
4. Steady Grip Baby Nail Clippers
This baby nail clippers are made smaller, have a longer handle and a better non-slip grip. Companies are getting fancy by selling some with a LED light and a magnifying lens but I used the basic version and it worked very well. You can get it in pharmacies and found a similar one here.
5. My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow
Before having a baby I said that I would buy the bare minimum especially since we lived in a small apartment and barely had storage space. I thought I would stack some pillows under my arm and voilà! Well that wasn’t very comfortable for me. Plus, there is a reason that this has become a must-have for mothers! There are many versions from the C shape to an I shape pillow. I tried both and much preferred the C shape version here, similar here. If you are like me and are sometimes prone to a sore lower back, then this my friend will become your new Breast friend!!! You can adjust the fit with the strap around your waist, the foam is firm enough that your baby will stay put (although I kept my arm around his neck to position his head properly on my nipple for feedings). There are pockets to put your water bottle and other things (lip balm, phone, remote control…) that you want to keep close by as you wait until your little one is done drinking. I would suggest putting another blanket on top on the nursing pillow as eventually your baby will pee, drool or vomit on it.
At first I was against using a sooter since I did not want Sasha to become dependant on them. I read that it can interfere with speech development and increase ear infections. However, one of my good friend, who is a nurse in the baby ward, bought me these soothers when Sasha was born. She said that this specific type was the one that they used at the hospital with babies.
Many breastfeeding experts mention that the baby might get “nipple confusion” but this is mainly due to the baby having difficulty breastfeeding. I never had difficulty breastfeeding and Sasha learned to latch on pretty quickly. After a month, there was a moment I remember he started crying uncontrollably. I did not know what was wrong, he did not want to drink and his diaper was clean. After unsuccessfully trying to calm him I saw the soother and decided to give it a try. He stopped crying instantly and rested in my arms. I couldn’t believe it! This is when I started to use the soother to calm him when nothing else seemed to work. I know that some babies hate the texture and refuse to take any soothers so it all depends on your child. The added BONUS is that apart from soothing him to sleep it was the BEST teether. I would put it in the freezer and he was happy with that as he could chew any side. This specific one is by far the best option I have found for him. There are similar natural ones on the market but I have yet to try them.
7. Baby Drool Bibs
One of the many things you will learn about babies is that they can drool A LOT! This is usually because the teeting process is slowly starting as the teeths are moving towards the gums. Every baby is different as to the amount of drool and the time that they will start. Sasha started drooling at 2 months. I had to change his bib a few times a day as it was crazy how much saliva this boy produced! I was certain he would have some teeths at 4 months but he only had them at 12 months! So I tried different types of bibs and noticed some were better than others. The fashion hankerchief bib (here, here) works well if you want to match your baby’s outfit but make sure the coverage is wide enough to absorb the drool. When I was staying in I used the traditional U shape bib that have a lot more coverage. Make sure to buy the cloth versions as they absorb the best. If you live in Canada (sorry they don’t ship internationally) I like this brand. For everyone else there are others that are cute like here, here, here.
8. Newborn to Toddler Tub
The choice of design and size of a newborn tub varies tremendously. Some tubs are only inserts for the sink while others are actual baby tubs that might come with a newborn sling which is what I used and preferred. I did not have any large sink to use inserts and I preferred to wash my son in the bathroom. Using this bath, also here was great since I started on the counter (or you can put it in the shower) when he was a newborn with the sling. I love the newborn mesh sling since it held the baby and I had more control to wash him. However, as he is not necessarily covered with water you have to make certain that the room is heated and that the bath time is short and sweet. Newborns should only be washed briefly once a week so this worked well for me.
9. Hooded Bath Towel
In the beginning I did not have a hooded baby towel. However, I quickly realized that I needed one since it wrapped perfectly around a baby’s body and covered the head. The great thing is that the label 3 Sprouts and what I used from a local brand “Sous la feuille du chou” makes these towels large enough so that your baby can grow into it. I recommend these 2 labels as the cotton in thick and soft and their designs are cute. I use the towel from sous une feuille de chou ( see website), which makes 2 different size option of towels for newborns (they ship to Canada/USA). 3 Sprouts is another brand that makes a similar version. They are sold in many local stores but you can also buy it here or here.
10. Back Seat Baby Mirror
If you have a car then this is a must have! I cannot tell you how reassuring it is to be able to see your baby while you are driving. You are able to see if there is sunlight in his face, if he is asleep, if he lost his soother, if his hat is covering his face, if he is uncomfortable and other numerous exemples of what can happen while driving. I have the basic with adjustable buckles that straps across the head rest and it is perfect. Click here to buy. You will also find colorful designs as well if you prefer that look.
Well, this was my list of budget friendly newborn essentials which are also great gifts ideas for the next mother-to-be you know.
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Thank you for reading & Happy Mother’s Day!