Essential products for mom should check a few boxes. They should be accessible (translation: cheap!). They should be easy to assemble and/or use. And they should go above and beyond in the Making Life Easier for Mom department. Because let's face it - being a mom is hard, and we need all the help we can get. They don't have to be fancy, they don't have to have a ton of bells and whistles. They just need to perform the function they're supposed to perform, and they need to do it well. OK, so it helps if they're cute, too! If life was all about functionality, we'd all walk around in burlap sacks and never wear makeup. These essential products for mom should be on your registry, and if you have an expecting friend, show her the ropes by getting her set up with one of these gifts.
We don't know if they had this when our kids were born, but this is truly an amazing gift. Your baby at some point will get sick (and then it'll happen about 50 more times). This kit includes nasal drops and an aspirator (for when your kiddo catches a cold), gas drops (for belly aches), gripe water (works wonders for colicky babies), a fever reducer, and even a little tube of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. Trust us, you will 100% use every single one of these items. In fact, you will very likely use all of these up within the first 2 years of your child's life, so better get two of this amazing kit, just in case.
Image: Aden + Anais
Swaddling blankets are a god-send for babies, especially when you get the right ones. We always had plenty of the standard white with pink-and-blue stripe receiving blankets from the hospital, but it was our Aden + Anais muslin receiving blankets that have proved to be essential. In fact, long after they stopped working as swaddlers, our now-toddlers use them as lightweight blankets (especially useful on warm summer nights). They're great for stroller covers, changing pad covers, lovey blankets, and even lightweight nursing covers. Plus, they're freaking adorable. Aden + Anais swaddling blankets come in tons of different prints and designs, so you can literally use a different one everyday if you wanted.
Image: Hatch Baby Grow
There's nothing wrong with just changing your baby on your bed, honestly. But this changing pad has some seriously cool bonus features you never knew you'd want. The Hatch Baby Grow has a wireless smart scale that will keep track of how your baby is growing (for all those months between doctor's visits). You can weigh them right after breastfeeding to know they're getting enough milk. It also wipes down easily (no need for extra washing changing pad covers). This is an excellent changing pad especially for babies who have experienced failure to thrive at any point, giving parents a lot more peace of mind.
We know there are plenty of fancier, more expensive diaper pails out there, but the Playtex Diaper Genie is still a solid option for anyone on a budget (which is every parent, we're guessing). It's hands-free (important for when you've got a gross diaper in one hand and a baby in the other). It keeps odors out of the room. And it holds a shit-load of shit-loaded diapers, which is what you basically need out of one of these things. Plus, the refills are relatively cheap and can be found at most stores, and it's easy to change them out. And let's not forget that it's super unassuming and will easily blend into any nursery without looking like it needs a neon sign that says "PUT POOP HERE".
When it comes to buying a swing for your baby, there's a few things you'll want to keep in mind. First, some babies enjoy being rocked side to side while others like back and forth. You want to make sure your baby swing does both. They should also have something to look at (like a hanging mobile or mirror), and this one has both. Finally, some soothing sounds and music will help your little one. Even after your baby is too big for the actual swing, you can use it for soothing music at night to help them sleep. Listen, you may have every intention of being one of those moms who doesn't use a swing. But being able to use both hands once in a while can be pretty amazing.
Have we mentioned how often babies get sick yet? They do, and one of your best lines of defense against bad coughing fits (especially croup) is a solid cool mist humidifier. The Crane Drop Cool Mist humidifier is a favorite among parents, and keeps your kiddo comfortable. Skip out on the warm mist humidifiers which can essentially burn if baby gets too close. This is better and safer. Plus, you'll appreciate it too when you inevitably catch a bug. The great thing about investing in a good humidifier is that you will use it for pretty much as long as you have kids living in your home. Babies, toddlers, school-age, tweens, teens - it doesn't matter. We use a humidifier in our room all the time and we are waaaaaaaay past being a kid.
It's smart to get a waterproof mattress pad for baby's crib, but what about your bed? At some point, you'll change or feed your baby while in your bed. At times, you may also bed-share. Protect your mattress with this dope hypoallergenic pad so you can always sleep comfortably. There's literally nothing worse than having a toddler sneak into your bed in the middle of the night and pee all over you and your expensive mattress. And no, you obviously don't want to sleep on some crinkly plastic pad. The Luna mattress pad is soft and doesn't announce your every turn and position adjustment. Of course, feel free to get the one that's best for your bed size.
We're living in some complicated times. It's essential for us to raise our kids to be socially responsible. What better than an ABCs book about social justice? Love this one by Innosanto Nagara (which is also available in Spanish). Just check out the description on Amazon: "A is for Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for." Um, yes. Yes to all of that. And it's never to early to teach them right.
You're going to eventually go shopping with your baby. And those shopping carts, even with a proper wipe down, are still disgusting germ mobiles. Reduce the odds of your little ones picking up more than just milk with one of these sweet shopping cart covers. The Summer Infant 2-in-1 Cushy Cart Cover and Seat Positioner is extra cushiony, so it can be used earlier and more comfortably by younger babies. It has an infant positioner that can be removed as your child grows, plus a vinyl pocket to protect your phone from baby hands and drool, and two loops to attach toys to keep your kiddo entertained since you put your phone in the vinyl pocket.
These plastic rings provide so much more entertainment than you might think in that first year of life. They connect to your baby's crib, stroller, pack n play, bouncer, swing, car seat, everywhere! They're colorful and easy to reassemble once your little one is older. Our toddlers still find these fascinating from time to time. Plus they're cheap and light, and best of all, easy to clean. Because your toddler will put these things in their mouth, along with every other thing they can get their chubby little hands on. And if you lose one? Meh, there's plenty more where that one came from.
Image: Etsy / Lapetitefawn
We know this might not seem essential, but hear us out. Your baby will not be this tiny and adorable forever. They will likely not allow you to put silly hats with ears on them later in life. So just do it now, while you can. We guarantee you'll be over the moon with how precious they look. And you can get a ton of them on Etsy, so you support awesome independent businesses as well! Every mom needs a few of these sort of whimsical baby items, just to look back on one day when their kids are teens and giving them major attitude and reminisce about when they weren't such assholes.
Now, you might be thinking, "What do I need MORE wipes for?!" Yes, you already have baby wipes. You will have more baby wipes than you ever thought it was possible to own, and you will run out and need even more. You have antiseptic wipes, for scraped knees and boo-boos. Then there's the antibacterial wipes every mom carries in her purse to give carts and tables a quick wipe down. But Boogie Wipes are the real MVP here. All those other wipes? They're going to give your little one a dry, red nose when you wipe it. And good god, there is so much nose wiping. But Boogie Wipes have saline in them (plus good stuff like aloe and chamomile) so they soften up dried snot all over your kid's face.
Sure, you could go out and buy a dedicated bathtub for your baby. Or, you could use your sink in one of the ways parents have been using them forever, but more comfortably. The Blooming Bath Lotus fits right in your kitchen sink and creates a soft, comfy place to bath your baby. You just fit this bad boy in your sink, add some water, and plop your baby right in there. It's so soft and cuddly, you'll want one in an adult size (someone get on that). Plus, it cleans like a dream! Just wring out the extra water, and toss it in the dryer for about 10 minutes (or hang to dry). It's also washing machine safe, for those times your kiddo leaves you a little something ... extra in the bath.
LISTEN. We cannot say enough good things about Fridababy and all their amazing products. They have gotten us through fevers and stuffy noses and gassy babies. Their stuff is inexpensive, easy to use, and best of all, IT ALL WORKS EXACTLY HOW IT SAYS IT WILL. The Big Bundle of Joy is all their greatest hits in one cute box. You get a Nose Frida for boogers, a Windi for toots, a nail clipper set, a thermometer monitor, plus an ergonomic peri bottle for your postpartum woes. The best part is that all this stuff fits in the little carrying pouch (included!) and the pouch fits right in your diaper bag. Seriously, get everything Fridababy ever puts out. Even the underwear to protect delicate dad balls.
Disposable placemats go right in your diaper bag, and you can whip one out at any restaurant, park, play place, whatever. See, the problem with regular placemats is that they're boring and your kid can lift them up and dump their meal all over the damn place. These things stick right to the table, and they stick GOOD. You'll need a chisel to get it off when you're done. It's just an easy way to keep your kid from licking the table at IKEA, which is how the plague starts. Plus, it's Mickey, and who doesn't love Mickey?! Products for mom sure have some a long way since our kids were wee.
We love us some muslin swaddle blankets, but they sort of cease to be effective after about 8 weeks (at least for swaddling). Once baby has un-kinked their arms and legs from being in the womb, they are all about stretching them out, and this swaddle gives them that freedom. But, the beauty of it is, their hands and arms are still confined, so they can't accidentally swat themselves in the face and wake up screaming at 3 a.m. They also make a version with removable arms, for when your baby is transitioning out of the swaddle completely. And they make babies look like little starfish, which let's be honest, is the best selling point of the whole damn thing.