Must-Have Items for Safe and Fun Family Beach Days!

Lifestyle, Mom & Baby, Travel

School’s out and everyone’s ready for fun in the sun! After being in lockdown last summer, I know many families are eager to visit their local beach or travel to a beach destination for vacation!

Living in Southern California, my family goes to the beach all the time. We absolutely love it. My husband surfs, I paddle board, our kiddos dig in the sand and dip their toes in the water. Needless to say, we consider ourselves professional beach goers.

My baby Lucy and me on a recent family beach day

The best part about a family beach day? All the sweet memories playing in the sand and jumping over waves with your little ones!

The worse part? All the STUFF you have to haul to the beach to have a safe, cool and fun beach day. Seriously — why do kids need SO MUCH STUFF?!?! Before kids, my husband and I showed up to the beach on our bikes with two towels and a water bottle. That was it. Man… those were the days!! Nowadays, with two kids under 3 years old, we arrive to the beach with our SUV trunk full!

Let me back up a bit… When my husband and I were kidless, we’d lay in the sand watching all these families struggle hauling all their stuff to the beach, and we swore to each other we would NOT be those people! We’d cringe as we watched dads dragging wagons full of gear back and forth across the sand from their car to their spot on the beach. Moms had their arms full of babies and shoulders weighed down with packed bags. Big kids would drag bags and toys behind them. Watching them go back and forth multiple times in the hot sun looked painful. I always thought, Can’t you just make one trip? The sight itself served as birth control for a few years. We did not want to give up our simple beach days that we loved so much!

Fast forward to today… After a few disastrous beach days with kids (and painfully going back and forth to the car to drag all our stuff to the beach), we finally got it right. We are now SMART about our beach days and have all the best portable gear to keep us cool, safe and, most importantly, have FUN!

While our beach days today aren’t as simple as our lives pre-kiddos, we still love them. And, I want you to love your beach days with your family, too!! Here are my must-have product recommendations to have a great, easy beach day with your family!

SHADE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

CoolCabanas Large CoolCabana 5

First and foremost, shade is a top priority for your family beach days – especially if you have little babies like us! You need a space that is cool and comfortable so your kids can get a break from the sun. I love CoolCabanas because they’re lightweight and easy to setup – even for one person! Plus, they come in a variety of colors and patterns to fit your style. Our family has the medium size in navy stripes and the large size in lemon scarletta – both feel super chic and summery! Use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order at http://www.coolcabanas.com!

Here’s the shade mistakes we made before getting CoolCabanas:

  1. Regular beach cabana – The metal frame of a regular beach cabana is SO HEAVY!! And, it takes more than one person to set up. If it’s really windy out, just forget it!
  2. Beach umbrella – Not enough shade for the whole family, especially if you have active kiddos! My 8-month-old is exploring and crawling, and I can’t keep her under a tiny umbrella!
  3. Three-sided beach tent – If it’s really sunny out with little wind, these tents can trap the air inside and get so hot! We were trying to protect ourselves from the sun but ended up sweating nonstop in the shade of this tent!

Do yourself a favor and make family cabana setup easier by getting a CoolCabana! Check out all of CoolCabanas options at http://www.coolcabanas.com, and be sure to use my code MAGGIE10 to get 10% off your order!

STAY HYDRATED AND KEEP COOL!

YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler

Everyone knows YETI makes the most legit durable, high-tech equipment that can withstand all sorts of crazy outdoor adventures worthy of praise from people who live the wildest life. That being said, YETI is our go-to brand for everything we do outdoors because we know we can trust it to last a long time and, most importantly, WORK!

After a few trips to the beach with a couple soft coolers that leaked and didn’t keep our food and drinks cold enough for all day in the sun, we turned to YETI and discovered the YETI Hopper Backflip 24 Soft Cooler… It’s a backpack, y’all! GENIUS! Like, why didn’t I think of this?! Instead of lugging our former coolers on our shoulders (with all our other shoulder bags that we take to the beach), we’re now hands-free with an ergonomically designed backpack that promises superior cold-holding, a 100% leakproof zipper, a tough shell and can hold up to 20 cans of soda or beer! Get with the program and get this cooler!!

YETI Rambler and Rambler Jr. Water Bottles

Keep your water cold all day long with YETI’s amazing Rambler Water Bottles. My favorite is the 26 oz. size with chug cap for easy drinking. I love that YETI has a Rambler Jr. for kids, too! And, as a well-deserved convenience to parents, its straw cap is leak resistant when closed and both the bottle and cap are dishwasher safe. I’m so grateful for one less kid/baby item to hand wash!!

PROTECT YOUR SKIN!

Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen + Supergoop! Sunnyscreen

The face sunscreen made popular by celebrities and influencers now has a sunscreen for the whole family! I started using Supergoop! CC Screen years ago and fell in love with the brand for its clean ingredients, non-greasy feel and effectiveness, so I was thrilled when I found out they have a sunscreen for face and body, called PLAY, that our whole family can use. The SPF 50 formula can be used on face and body, it’s water and sweat resistant for up to 80 minutes and made with reef-safe, clean, cruelty-free ingredients. It also smells amazing! It comes in a spray, a lotion and a large 18 fl. oz. pump bottle for the whole family to share.

We like to take Supergoop! PLAY Sunscreen in the spray bottle to the beach for the whole family to use!

I’m also so happy that Supergoop! has developed a sunscreen safe for little babies called Sunnyscreen. It’s 100% non-nano mineral formula checks all the boxes, meaning it’s pediatrician tested, hypoallergenic, & fragrance & silicone free. Sunnyscreen comes in a spot-on sunscreen spray, stick and lotion. I personally prefer the spray for our family, because its the simplest to use on my little 8-month-old.

KEEP KIDS SAFE IN THE WATER!

Splash About’s Go Splash Swim Vest

Our toddler was gifted this Go Splash Swim Vest for his 2nd birthday, and it has been one of the best items of our summer! It has a built-in float system that helps kids learn to swim as they’re splashing around in the pool or ocean. As a former swim instructor, I love that this swim vest encourages kids to use their arms compared to other floaties that keep arms lifted. I need to note that this is NOT a lifesaving device, and you should still always monitor your child when wearing this swim vest in and around water.

My son Landon in his Go Splash Swim Vest

One of the best things about this swim vest is that its lightweight and lays flat, so it’s packable! We brought it with us on vacation to Hawaii recently, and our toddler wore it every day! I was so thankful we packed it with us in our suitcase!

DON’T BRING THE BEACH HOME WITH YOU!

Tesalate Sand-Free Beach Towel

When you go to the beach, sand gets everywhere – especially when you have kids! Luckily, Tesalate has made the ULTIMATE beach towel! Made with AbsorbLite Microfiber, Tesalate’s beach towel is engineered for sand to slip off easily. It’s also ultra-absorbent, retaining up to a liter of water, and it dries in half the time as regular beach towels. I love that its compact and light, so easy to pack – no more bulky towels! Our family has two XL sized towels, which are great to lay next to each other for our whole family to spread out. The towels come in individual and XL size and a variety of beautiful designs. The regular size are $59 and XL are $99 and available at http://www.tesalate.com.

PROTECT EYES, EARS AND FACE WITH AFFORDABLE, PACKABLE SUN HATS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY!

I’m embarrassed to admit that when I was younger, I often purposely left my beach hat at home simply because I didn’t have a place to pack it in my suitcase or didn’t want to have to carry it around all day. Now that I know better about the importance of protecting my skin, I refuse to step out of the house for a day in the sun without a hat. Luckily, there are so many great packable hat options out there nowadays, and tons of options can easily be found on Amazon for an affordable price!

Lucy and me rocking our packable sun hats on vacation in Hawaii!

When shopping for sun hats for your family, it’s important to find one that has a wide brim to cover your face, ears and neck. Here’s a few great packable sun hat option for the family:

For Women: FURTALK Rollup Packable Visor

I love this visor because, not only is it packable, it’s super cute! It’s especially great for really hot days when I want to wear my hair up off my neck or if I want to swim around without getting my hair wet. It’s rolls up, so it’s compact and easy to stash in your beach bag or suitcase. It comes with an adjustable velcro closure, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing the correct size!

For Men: Quicksilver Bushmaster Bucket Hat

Okay, I know bucket hats are coming back around in style, but I have to admit that its been hard for me to jump back on the trend I used to wear in the ’90s. One great thing about bucket hats, though? They’re soft, so they’re easy to pack! I like this Quicksilver option for men, because it’s wide brim will protect the back of guys’ necks – something the usual ball cap or trucker hat does not do!

For Babies: SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat

Both of my babies wore this SimpliKids Wide Brim Sun Hat, which offers UPF 50+ UV ray sun protection! I love that it comes in a variety of colors to match their little swimsuits or outfits. My favorite is the white eyelet for little girls!

WIPE OFF SAND AND KEEP LITTLE HANDS CLEAN!

Yipes! Wipes

How is it that little kids always find the yuckiest things to get their hands into?! With all the digging in the sand at the beach, kiddos hands can get particularly yucky! And that sand sticks! To clean little hands, I’m really excited about this new brand of wipes called Yipes! because they were developed to help foster a culture of hygiene while making it fun and approachable with their mascot, Yolanda the Yipes! Yak. They even created a kids’ board book about hygiene featuring Yolanda! And, it’s a product that parents can feel good about while being 94% biodegradable and made with 99% plant-derived ingredients. Yipes! are available in large canisters, as well as in individual, easy-to-use pocket-sized sachets (sold in pouches of 12), which are ideal for on-the-go—perfect for lunch boxes and beach trips! Find them at http://www.YipesWipes.com.

Here are some other important tips when taking your family to the beach:

  • Go early! Don’t wait until high noon when the sun is at its strongest. Plus, the earlier you go, the the less crowded it will be, so you’ll have an easier time finding parking and a great spot in the sand. Early evening also is a nice time to go for same reasons.
  • Don’t skimp on water. We always bring more water than we think we’ll need. And, we typically end up drinking all of it!
  • Snacks, snacks, snacks! There’s something about being near water that makes kids (and grown-ups!) extra hungry! Make sure you have enough to go around!
  • Be wary of the ocean, as most waves may not be manageable for little children. Our family is very familiar with SoCal beaches, so we know what to expect with our waves. I recommend watching the ocean for its wave size and take time to understand the strength of the undertow and which direction the current is going.
  • Appropriate shoes! On hot summer days, the sand can get really hot! I recommend buying water shoes so your little ones can run around without burning their feet. Sandals and flip flops are too challenging for little kids to keep on their feet in the sand.
  • Bring some fun beach toys that encourage exploration! For my kids’ ages (an almost 3 year old and 8 month old), we stick to toys that can be used to play on the sand rather than the water. We put all the toys inside one large sand bucket to make carrying them manageable. A blow up beach ball is also a great idea, because its inflatable which makes it easy to pack.
  • Apply sunscreen BEFORE you go to the beach. Little ones get too excited once they arrive to the beach to slow down and put on sunscreen. Plus, you risk giving them an accidental exfoliating massage, because they’re likely to get sand all over them immediately!
  • Remove sticky sand with baby powder. If you don’t want to take your baby into the ocean or under the public showers to rinse off sand, sprinkling baby powder on their skin and hair removes moisture and helps sand dust off easily.

Do you have any questions or additional family beach day tips? Let me know in the comments below, or follow me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

2021 Mother’s Day Gift Guide For Every Type of Mom

Home, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Mom & Baby
Great Mother’s Day gift idea: Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister

Mother’s Day is fast approaching on Sunday, May 9, and if you’re struggling with what to get Mom this year, this gift guide is for you!

I get it, moms can be hard to shop for!

Since women make up 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing, your mom likely does a lot of shopping for herself already! Those three Amazon packages at your door? I promise that not all of them are “things for the baby!”

Plus, some moms can be so picky! Like, she loved rose gold jewelry two years ago but now only wears yellow gold… What?!?!

So, how do you choose a gift for mom that says I love you and appreciate you without resulting to the boring old vase of flowers and Hallmark card?

*Please note: Flowers and cards are still ALWAYS a welcomed thoughtful gesture!!

Below, I have put together a Mother’s Day gift guide comprised of five truly unique, one-of-a-kind gift ideas for every type of mom. Happy shopping!

My Top 5 Mother’s Day Gifts in 2021:

1. FOR THE JEWEL LOVING MOM:

Ring Concierge’s Personalized Pieces

Perfect Mother’s Day gift idea: this Ring Concierge Personalized Multi Name Necklace

If you have a mama who loves jewelry, the new personalized pieces from Ring Concierge make for a perfect Mother’s Day gift because you can add your children’s names or initials. There’s nothing sweeter than wearing a reminder of your babies everywhere you go! The line offers a variety of styles, metals and fonts to customize and fit your mom’s personality… and your budget!

An especially thoughtful gift that gives back are the jewelry pieces from Ring Concierge’s engravable heart collection. Fifteen percent of gross profits are donated to Pretty Brown Girl, a non-profit promoting confidence and leadership development for girls of color. I love a gift that also makes a difference!

I’ve gotten to a point in my jewelry collecting days where I don’t necessarily want another piece of trendy costume jewelry, and that’s why I love Ring Concierge. The brand offers bespoke “elevated classics.” It’s high-end jewelry that you can personalize and buy online… How cool is that?! Fashionable celebs like Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor and former Bachelorette Joelle Fletcher are fans of Ring Concierge, so you know you’re giving mom something that will make her feel like a “cool mom” when she wears it!

Starting prices for the personalized pieces range anywhere from $90 to over $2,000. I’ve shared a few of my favorite styles below, or you can browse the collection yourself at http://www.ringconcierge.com.

2. FOR THE CHEF MOM:

Messermeister’s Adventure Chef Knife

For the mom who loves to cook or be on-the-go, I love the new folding Adventure Chef Knife from Messermeister. We’ve been home long enough this past year during the pandemic, so take the kitchen on the road and cook from anywhere with this full-sized knife! It’s the same high-quality of a chef’s knife you’d use in your kitchen, but compact and portable. I know our family will love using this at the beach to prepare lunch and for future camping trips! You can even have the knife engraved with mom’s name to make it extra special and personalized!

What makes this gift even more special, in my opinion, is that Messermeister is a local mom-owned company. The brand has been around for 40 years and is based out of Ojai. The family business is led by Debra Dressler and her two daughters, Kirsten and Chelcea. Shop all of Messermeister’s knives at http://www.messermeister.com.

3. FOR THE STYLISH AND ECO-CONSCIOUS MOM:

Aurora Sage’s Silk Scarves

If you have a stylish mom, she’ll love these one-of-a-kind silk scarves from Aurora Sage, an LA-based sustainable women’s fashion brand. The scarves come in three sizes and can be worn a variety of ways, like on your head, around your neck or shoulders, or even as a top! Aurora Sage specializes in organic silk pieces, and all are hand-dyed using natural ingredients such as rose pedals, avocados and turmeric… how cool is that?! And, you’ll be supporting a local mama, as everything is manufactured in LA and dyed in-house by founder and fellow mom Stephanie Carollo. Stephanie created the company just after she had her second son and wanted to create a line that made women feel beautiful while also being safe for their bodies and the environment.

I personally love all of Aurora Sage’s clothing, and it’s fun mixing and matching the different colored pieces. Right now, I’m really into all the yellow pieces, as they feel so cheery for spring and so on-trend with Pantone’s color of the year, Illuminating Yellow. And, the silk blazers look so chic over the slip dresses! Shop all of Aurora Sage’s items at http://www.aurorasage.com.

4. FOR THE BEAUTY OBSESSED MOM:

Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box by Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder

If your mom can’t get enough beauty products, Curateur has launched a Special Edition Beauty Box just in time for Mother’s Day! The Beauty Box is curated by celebrity moms Rachel Zoe and Estee Lauder and features some of the leading and most innovative beauty products on the market. Additionally, sales from the Beauty Box benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund (BCRF), a cause that’s near and dear to Rachel’s heart and mine, as both my mother, grandmother and mother in-law battled with breast cancer. Curateur will give 20% of the purchase price to the BCRF and their life-saving work. Another gift you can feel good about!

Rachel Zoe with Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

The box is valued at over $230, but is sold for only $49.99!! It’s a real steal including some amazing products like:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Supercharged Complex: This supercharged treatment helps repair the visible impact of lack of sleep, UV, pollution, even blue light. It’s proven to reveal a bright, hydrated, visibly revived look with comprehensive benefits for the eye area.

Bumble & Bumble Surf Styling Leave-In: This UV-protective gel-creme conditions, detangles, and fights frizz creating beautiful surfer girl waves!

Origins Plantscription™️ Multi-Powered Youth Serum: Their most comprehensive serum for face, neck, and eyes that helps provide a youthful transformation with every use.

Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base: One of Bobbi Brown’s bestsellers—a primer plus moisturizer for smooth makeup application (it’s the best of both worlds)!

So many fabulous products at fantastic price in Curateur’s Special Edition Beauty Box

You can purchase the box by becoming a Curateur member for $99 at http://www.curateur.com. As a member, you’ll receive a seasonal lifestyle box featuring the most coveted beauty, fashion and home brands on the market. Imagine how excited mom will be receiving her Curateur box with each new season!

5. FOR THE DOG MOM:

Paw.com’s PupProtector Blanket

All moms deserve to be celebrated on Mother’s Day, including Dog Moms for everything they do for our furry family members! As a dog mom myself, I can’t recommend this Paw.com PupProtector Blanket enough! The blanket is designed to seamlessly blend into any home, and it looks super chic at the end of our bed and on our living room couch. Made from plush faux fur on one side and ultra-soft microsuede on the other, the blanket protects areas from pet hair, dirt, spills, pet accidents, and scratching damage. Our toddler even likes snuggling with it! The blanket comes in so many color options and matches with many of Paw.com’s dog beds. Plus, its so easy to clean – waterproof and machine washable! The blanket comes in a couple different size options and can be purchased on www.paw.com.

Naps are cozy (and chic) on our Paw.com PupProtector Blanket
We have the Polar White color available here: Paw.com PupProtector Blanket

I’m hopeful you’ll spoil mom with one of these very thoughtful gifts for Mother’s Day! Tell me which gift idea is your favorite in the comments below, or connect with me on Instagram at @maggiehjackson.

Happy Mother’s Day!!

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Diaper Bag Essentials

fashion, Mom & Baby

The baby product industry is always working to convince us that we need MORE STUFF, so I’m determined to keep our approach as minimalist as possible. With all the options out there, it can be easy to get overwhelmed guessing what you truly need in your diaper bag – for baby and mom! Rather than carry half the nursery with me “just in case,” I personally prefer to stick to just the essentials.

The first step is choosing the right diaper bag. I have two: the Freshly Picked Classic Backpack in black and my new favorite Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin.

Here’s what’s important when shopping for a diaper bag:

Backpack style – Only once did I attempt to carry a large shoulder bag with me when out with the babies, and it was so challenging! Backpacks keep your hands free and the bag off the dirty ground – especially important when changing diapers in public restrooms!

Pockets! And more pockets! – Staying organized on-the-go is necessary when you’re quickly trying to clean up a mess or wipe a runny nose. Sometimes, you only have one hand to quickly grab a wipe! Pockets provide a place for everything, so you’re not digging toward the bottom of your bag for the loose hand sanitizer, sunscreen or whatever it may be.

Just big enough for a small laptop – Our family loves traveling and I’ve even brought the babies with me on work trips. In my opinion, there’s nothing more annoying than carrying additional bags through the airport when you also have kids in tow, so having a diaper bag that’s large enough for a small laptop – but no larger – is ideal.

Chic – As someone who considers herself a “cool mom,” there’s nothing more annoying to me than an item that screams baby. Like, I want carry a diaper bag, but I don’t want to look like I’m carrying a diaper bag. I like that the two bags I have can also function as stylish backpacks without looking like I’m carrying a pack of baby wipes with me.

Quality – This bag will go everywhere with you for a couple years, so you want it to be durable.

My diaper bags:

Freshly Picked Diaper Backpack in Black

This was the bag I had on my baby registry, and it has been such a wondeful gift! This Freshly Picked diaper bag has survived almost three years of baby and toddler craziness. I’ve brought this bag everywhere with me, and I really don’t see why a mama would need any other bag. In addition to the zipper closure, it has a flap that goes over the top, which is so handy when you only have one hand to close your bag and go! Because its black vegan leather, the bag can be dressed up and doesn’t stand out when I’ve had to take it to more formal occasions. I’ve brought this bag with me to present at work conferences! Bonus: It comes with a portable changing pad, so you don’t have to buy a separate one!

Cleobella Taylor Mama Bag in Moccasin Leather

Y’all, I am so obsessed with this Cleobella bag that I’ll probably continue to carry it as a chic travel backpack even when we’re out of the baby stage. I got this diaper bag after having my second baby, Lucy. I’d been carrying the Freshly Picked bag for the last 2.5 years and was ready for a change. I’ve been gravitating toward more neutrals since having a girl, and I think the moccasin color is perfect for spring and summer. The leather is so soft, and there’s so many pockets and compartments inside making it so easy to stay organized. I love that it also comes with a long shoulder strap to wear as a cross body. The braided detailing is very stylish. When my mother and husband first saw it, they did not think it was a diaper bag – WIN!

What’s in my diaper bag:

Portable Changing Pad

For diaper changes on-the-go, an easy-to-clean portable changing pad is vital. I like this portable changing pad from Amazon because its small and thin, so it doesn’t take up too much space in my diaper bag.

Muslin Swaddle Blanket

I love these aden + anais Muslin Blankets because they are multifunctional while being beautiful and long-lasting. I use these as a nursing cover, a swaddle for baby, a blanket for baby to wrap up in or lie down on, or to cover dirty surfaces baby may touch, like a grocery cart. They come in several beautiful colors and patterns that are easily washable. I like that they can cover a large surface while still being able to fold small to fit in my bag.

Burp Cloth

My favorite burp cloths are by KiddyStar, because they are thick and hold their shape. I’ve ended up with spit up all over me when using other brands’ thin, short, floppy burp cloths.

Disposable Diaper Bags

I carry these Munchkin Diaper Bag Refills in case I have to change a yucky diaper on-the-go and there’s no where to dispose the diaper. Believe me, you don’t want to have to keep an exposed yucky diaper in your beautiful new diaper bag or inside your car – ewwww!

Backup Clothes – Kyte Baby Footies

Spit-ups and blow-outs are just a part of everyday life when you have a baby, so always keep an extra change of clothes for baby in your bag. I especially like to have Kyte Baby Footies, because they’re sooooo soft and fold up really small inside your bag! They come in so many colors, so when you’re making your baby registry, register for a bunch!

Huggies Diapers and Wipes

After trying every brand of diaper out there, Huggies Diapers seem to be the best at keeping blow-outs at bay – very important when you’re out and about with baby! We also use Huggies Natural Care Wipes.

Extra Teething Toy

I always keep an extra teething toy or two in my bag to give something “new” to the baby that she’s currently not playing with in her stroller. It helps when she’s starting to get bored and fussy. I like these natural wooden teething rings because they’re non-toxic and have fashionable neutral colors.

Cuyana Wristlet

After carrying around my heavy wallet for a year with my firstborn, I finally wised up and got this cute, slim wristlet wallet from Cuyana. This wristlet has been so handy, especially when traveling. I keep my diaper bag on my back and this wallet around my wrist as I’m going through the airport and have to consistently pull out ID’s, tickets, credit card, etc. I also like this for quick errands when I don’t want to carry my diaper bag to the store. Now, I don’t need to transfer my wallet to another bag, because this wristlet does it all. It also has a pocket big enough for my iPhone 12 Pro Max. Cuyana has become one of my favorite leather goods brands. It’s such good quality at a perfect price point. And, the brand works to be as sustainable as possible.

Quay Sunglasses

I’ve owned several pairs of Quay Sunglasses, and these are my newest pair. I like that they’re fashionable, good quality, and at a good price point, so I don’t feel guilty buying a couple new trendy pairs at a time to try.

Other items that I always keep in my diaper bag include disinfecting wipes (to wipe down yucky surfaces), hand sanitizer, chapstick or lip color, and snacks for my toddler and me.

Our matching outfits:

While I have you, let’s talk about how cute these matching mommy-and-me dresses are from Cleobella. My mother and I used to wear matching dresses and jumpers back in the ’90s, so when I found out I was having a daughter, I got so excited for our future matching outfits! The main difference is that my mother actually used to sew our dresses back in the day, and since I’m no seamstress, it makes my heart so happy that Cleobella sells these adorable dresses. I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural.

I’m wearing the Magdalena Mini Dress in natural and Lucy is wearing the Littles Magdalena Dress in natural
Holding my Cuyana Wristlet

I hope this post was helpful for new mamas trying to plan outings with their littles or for experienced mamas looking to revamp their diaper bag! Comment in the posts below or let me know on Instagram!

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Our Favorite Baby Products (4-6 months)

Mom & Baby

Wow, we’ve moved past the newborn stage already! Lucy is changing so much every week! With all the recent baby changes, we’ve also had to make some changes to the products and toys we’re regularly using. Below, I’ve listed all of our favorite products we’re currently using – everything from nap time to playtime!

(PS – If you’d like to see my ultimate baby registry list, which includes TONS of great products to use for baby the first 4 months, click here.)

Best Baby Products for 4 to 6-Month-Old Babies:

Skip Hop Activity Center

Lucy’s starting to get busier and mommy still needs to do chores around the house, which is why the Skip Hop Activity Center is perfect for both of us! We did not have this activity center for Landon when he was a baby, and I wish we had! I truly think its helping with Lucy’s development, in addition to keeping her busy! She’s been able to practice keeping her head and body steady and getting her legs strong while standing. I love seeing how her interactions with the toys changes week over week. She used to just stare at the toys while I played with them, and now she plays the piano, pushes the spinner and moves the beads along the wire. Love it!

Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Seat

This was a leftover item from when Landon was a baby, and I honestly wasn’t sure if we’d use it for Lucy. At dinnertime, Lucy started getting bored sitting in her bouncer while we were all dining at the table, so we started placing this Summer Infant 3-Stage Super Seat on the dinner table so she could sit and join us. She loves it! She feels a part of our family dinner while also having the option to play with toys in front of her.

Little Giraffe Baby Blanket

We were gifted a 14×14 Little Giraffe Baby Blanket when Landon was born and its such a soft, sweet blanket, but I didn’t think much of it than that. Starting around 8 months, Landon really grew attached to it, and now it’s his lovey, known as “B,” that he MUST have when he sleeps. I thought it was so sweet that I had to get one for Lucy. I introduced it to her as a lovey at 4 months to encourage self-soothing and help her sleep longer stretches at night. It’s a beautiful little blanket and such amazing quality. I recommend adding this to your registry or gifting it to any of your new mommy friends! If not used for lovey, it’s a nice blanket to put over baby in the stroller and car seat.

Organic Silicone and Wooden Baby Teething Ring 

Lucy has a couple silicone and wooden baby teethers that she likes to chew on, and I love that they come in muted colors and don’t look super baby-ish. We took a trip to Palm Springs this past month, and it felt good hanging out around the resort with these toys rather than something bright, loud and colorful that would distract the other guests (and me!) from an adult vacation.

Halo Sleepsack Swaddle

Lucy’s transitioned out of her Love To Dream Swaddle and moved on to the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle, which seems to be much easier for her to roll around in. We also use the non-swaddle version of the Halo Sleepsack for naps. We’ll be using these sleepsacks until she’s old enough to sleep with a blanket, so its a very good investment to have a couple on hand!

Kyte Baby Footies

These Kyte Baby Footies are sooooo buttery soft and come in so many beautiful colors! These are the best rompers to have baby in all day that look fashionable without looking like PJ’s. Plus, they’re made with bamboo, so they’re organic, natural, hypoallergenic and eco friendly!! They’re a little pricey per one footie, so make sure these are on your baby registry. They also make for an awesome baby gift!

Soft Interactive Baby Book

We were gifted this Soft Interactive Baby Book when Landon was born, and it was one of his favorites for over a year. The same is now true with Lucy. She loves to grab on to the book’s different elements and feel the different fabrics. I love that it’s soft, so it’s light and easy to throw in my diaper bag to take on-the-go.

Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit

Lucy’s now spending nights and naps in her crib, and I love the Babyletto Hudson Crib because it’s so aesthetically pleasing to the eye – it’s perfect for our modern home decor! It’s also Greenguard Gold Certified and made with sustainably sourced wood (who doesn’t desire more clean products, especially for baby?!). We used the same crib for Landon for 2 years and will use it for Lucy even longer, because we’ll convert it to a toddler bed when she’s ready.

Little Unicorn Waterproof Blanket

My mama friends and I agree that this Little Unicorn Waterproof Blanket is the best for outdoor adventures and playdates with your little ones. This blanket has become especially essential for our family during COVID when all of our activities were moved outside. We use this at our mommy-and-me class, at the beach and when we take big brother to the local playground. I love that it’s so easy to clean and waterproof – perfect for all the messes! It folds so easily and has a shoulder strap, which is necessary when you’re wrangling two kiddos! It also comes in a variety of sweet patters. We have the tropical leaf pattern.

These are the products that we are currently using ALL THE TIME that were not on my master baby registry list! Is there anything I missed? I’m always down to add a new baby product to our routine to make life easier! Let me know your favorite baby products by connecting with me on Instagram.

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

Must-Have Products for Postpartum C-Section Mamas

Mom & Baby
Postpartum Newborn Photo with Baby Landon

Did you know that over 30% of births are C-section deliveries? It’s much more common than most realize! When I was pregnant with my first baby, I never even considered what it may be like to have a C-section until I found out at a third trimester ultrasound appointment that my baby was breech (bottom-side down instead of being in the correct head down position). After discussing options with my doctor and husband, we decided that a C-section would be the safest delivery for baby and me.

Since C-sections are so common, I really didn’t think much about how challenging recovery may be. Fast forward to my first day postpartum… WHAT THE HECK?! I can’t get up, I can’t pee by myself, I’ve been sliced open and OUCH!! And, now I’m only sleeping at 3 hour intervals and have a little infant who wants to suck on my nipples ALL. THE. TIME. … HELP!!! No one told me it would be this HARD!!

So, I’m here to tell you that C-sections are not easy, especially for you mamas who may have labored and attempted a vaginal birth and/or had difficulty with pain management during the C-section (like me). In speaking with my husband about this (who is a surgeon), he believes that if you don’t get ahead of the pain before it starts, it can be a much more difficult recovery. Some of the C-section moms I’ve talked to who had good pain management walk out of the hospital two days later like it was no big deal. But, other moms I talk to who had a different surgery experience hardly get out of their bed for the first four days!! I never knew this prior to my first C-section, so it was a bit of a shock when I was struggling with lots of pain afterward.

Anyway…

I’m also here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be so shocking like it was to me if you feel prepared. I have put together a list of my most favorite products I used post C-section. I literally ordered several of these products on my iPhone from my hospital bed to have waiting for me when I arrived home! Because I found these so helpful, I’m always emailing and texting this list to my mama friends who are either planning a C-section or when I find out their vaginal birth turned into an unexpected C-section delivery. I’ve had a couple of girl friends sincerely thank me for sending them this list, because they, too, were surprised at what a challenge the first couple weeks would be post delivery.

Most importantly, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay and totally normal to be scared prior to going into your C-section surgery. I chose to have a C-section with my second baby (who was not breech) and still was totally freaked out the days leading up to the surgery. But, that C-section went SO SMOOTH and recovery was way easier for that baby than my first baby (I’ll have to tell my birth stories another time to fully get into the nitty gritty details). You can have a really good experience!

I know from speaking with my mama friends that vaginal delivery is not a walk in the park either! I recommend talking with a trusted friend (and your doctor!) about your fears whether you’re going to have a vaginal or C-section delivery. It’s good to hear honest feedback from mamas who’ve been there. Plus, they’ll likely reassure you, like I’m about to now, that it’s all TOTALLY WORTH IT! Your few days of discomfort and frustration will be filled with a lifetime of love from your precious new baby.

Check out my list of the top nine items for C-section mamas, below! This list also includes some items for mamas who plan to try breastfeeding.

Post C-Section Newborn Photo with Baby Lucy

TOP 9 ITEMS FOR C-SECTION RECOVERY (WHILE BREASTFEEDING):

1. Belly Binder: Belly Bandit – B.F.F. Post Pregnancy Belly Support Band


I had this wild feeling post C-section like all my insides were jumbled up and going to fall out… Okay, I know that wasn’t really what was going on, but still, this belly binder made me feel secure, like it was holding all of me together. It also helps with back support and being able to put on your stretchy pants over your now loose belly. The Belly Bandit brand is AMAZING. I felt like the B.F.F. belly band was made well, durable and held up for wearing it basically non-stop for 2-3 weeks.

2. Compression Leggings: Belly Bandit – Mother Tucker Leggings


Mamas, these Belly Bandit Mother Tucker compression leggings will be your best friend for a month (or two, or three!) post delivery. I wore the heck out of these babies. It helped with all my swelling as a result from the IV’s used during C-section, plus, it kept all my loose tummy skin tucked in. I sincerely think these leggings helped kick-start my “get my pre-baby body back” journey. I wore these so much that I decided to buy a second pair of compression leggings when I had my second baby. But, I didn’t want to shell out the same money, so I bought these dupes: MOTHERS ESSENTIALS Postpartum High Waist Tummy Compression Control Slimming Leggings. Honestly, they were very similar – maybe not as thick as the Belly Bandit brand – but, I think they worked the same!

3. Belly Corset: Belly Bandit – C-Section & Postpartum Recovery Undies


Once I was ready to move on from the belly binder, I started wearing these “c-section recovery undies,” which I actually think is more of a corset, a few hours a day around the house. I liked this more than the binder, because it felt EVEN tighter, supporting my mid-section and helping speed up recovery. I also liked that it had special silver-infused fibers that are supposed to protect the incision site and minimize bacteria. I had a lot of pain in my hips and lower back after my second baby, and I noticed these “undies” helped keep my posture, which helped relieve the discomfort I was having in my hips and back. This also is from Belly Bandit – can you tell I like their products?!

4. Nursing Bras: CAKYE 3PACK Racerback Maternity Nursing Bra


I originally got these CAKYE nursing bras to simply wear at nighttime for easy breastfeeding while trying to get some sleep, but I ended up wearing them all the time! I spent a lot of time around the house the first few months with both babies and didn’t need any complicated nursing bras with snap straps, fitted cups, etc. These bras are so comfy and so easy for nursing! I’m small chested, but I think any size could enjoy having these to wear for sleep or just around their house. I also wore them out-and-about sometimes, too, because I honestly preferred them to many of my other nursing bras.

5. Big Panties: Kindred Bravely High Waist Postpartum Underwear & C-Section Recovery Panties


I heard the stories of many moms wearing adult diapers their first few weeks postpartum but was told that likely wouldn’t be necessary for me because bleeding is usually less for a C-section than with a vaginal birth. Still, there is bleeding, and it can last anywhere from 2-6 weeks. I quickly discovered that I couldn’t wear any of my normal pre-birth panties because they would rub my incision site – ouch! But, I didn’t want to keep wearing the gross mesh underwear they provide at the hospital either! Enter the granny panties!! I bought these Kindred Bravely C-section recovery panties to make me feel human again, and gahhhhh it was such a relief to throw away all those ugly hospital undies!

6. Nursing Pillow: Boppy Original Nursing Pillow


I love the Boppy breastfeeding pillow to not only help with my posture, but it also helped protect my incision site while nursing my newborn. I even used it as a barrier between me and my toddler who had a hard time understanding that mommy had a “boo boo” and couldn’t hold him in her lap like I used to.

7. Large Water Bottle: Takeya Originals Vacuum-Insulated Stainless-Steel Water Bottle, 40oz


Hydration is so important postpartum for recovery and breastfeeding. I drank water non-stop postpartum but was still always thirsty! Make sure you have a large water bottle within reach at all times. I like this Takeya water bottle, because it keeps drinks cold and has a narrow mouth for spill-free drinking. I actually think its better than my Hydroflask, and its half the price!

8. Nipple Soothies: Lansinoh Soothies Breast Gel Pads


Another breastfeeding mom recommended these Lansinoh soothies to me, and I’m so happy she did because I don’t know what I would have done without them! Breastfeeding was very painful for me for the first couple of weeks, and these helped relieve the pain so much! I would keep these in the fridge and then stick them on my nipples in between nursing sessions. Ahhhh… relief!

9. Scar Treatment: Embrace Active Scar Defense


I was lying in my hospital bed postpartum watching daytime TV when I saw pro tennis star and superwoman Serena Williams being interviewed about her birth experience, and she recommended Embrace Scar Therapy to help reduce the appearance of C-section scar. Since we all know Serena Williams is a badass who I assume has the highest standards for any product she uses, I immediately got on my iPhone and purchased a set of the silicon therapy pads. I believe it helped flatten and soften my scar, and I’ll be using this therapy again for my new scar that I have from my second C-section. Thanks, Serena.

C-section mamas! I’d love to hear from you about what products you liked and what may be missing from this list! Please email me here or connect with me on my Instagram.

XO Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.

BABY REGISTRY MUST-HAVES

Mom & Baby

Now that I’ve had two VERY different babies, I feel that I have a good idea of the most essential baby products every mom needs to add to their registry. When making my registry, I attempted my best to be as minimalist as possible with both babies. I hate clutter, and I didn’t want excess baby stuff around the house. With that said, it can be really hard to predict all your baby’s preferences before they are born, and sometimes you end up buying a couple of versions of an item when one doesn’t work out (for example, I tried wayyy too many varieties of swaddles until I found one that worked for us).

Below is a master list of the best baby products I’ve used for both my babies. Plus, I provided a detailed list with product descriptions below that. In my opinion, this list includes the most vital items to add to your registry and covers all the gear and products you’ll need for the first 3-4 months. I also have a list of best postpartum products for C-section and breastfeeding moms that I’ll share soon, so be on the lookout!

MASTER BABY REGISTRY LIST:

-Everyday Stroller: UPPAbaby VISTA V2 Stroller

-Travel Stroller: Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base

-Wrap Carrier: Solly Baby

-Overall Baby Carrier: Omni 360 Ergobaby Carrier

-Bassinet: Design Dua Moses Basket

-Swaddle: Love To Dream Swaddle

-Sound Machine/Night Light: Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine and Night Light

-Travel Crib / Pack and Play: Lotus Travel Crib

-Bouncer: Fisher-Price Sweet Dreams Deluxe Bouncer

-Baby Lounger: DockATot Deluxe+

-Newborn Lounger: Boppy Newborn Lounger

-Activity Gym: Skip Hop Baby Play Mat and Activity Gym

-Nursing Pillow: Boppy Nursing Pillow

-Burp Cloths: KiddyStar Baby Burp Cloths

-Drool Bibs: KeaBabies Organic Baby Bandana Drool Bibs

-Nursing Cover: aden + anais Swaddle Blanket

-Manual Breast Pump: Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump

-Bottles: Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle, Dr. Brown’s Glass Baby Bottles and Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottles

-Diaper Bag: Freshly Picked Diaper Bag Backpack

-Changing Pad Liners: Munchkin Waterproof Changing Pad Liners

-Diaper Changing Pad: PooPoose Diaper Changing Pad

-Diaper Pail: Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

-Wipe Dispenser: OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser

-Diapers: Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers

-Bathtub: Angelcare Baby Bath

-Towel & Washcloths: Pottery Barn Gingham Baby Hooded Towel & Washcloths Set

-Bath Time Rinse Cup: Skip Hop Moby Bath Rinse Cup

-Baby Shampoo, Body Wash and Lotion: Noodle & Boo Newborn 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash and Baby Lotion

-Rattle: SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

-Teether: Itzy Ritzy Silicone Baby Teether

-Starter Book Set: Baby Einstein’s My First Library Board Book Set


DETAILED BABY REGISTRY LIST:

Strollers, Carriers and Items to Get Around with Baby:

Best Everyday Stroller: UPPAbaby VISTA V2 Stroller

OK, moms and dads, this is may be one of the most important items on your registry. Don’t overlook it and don’t roll your eyes like I did when I saw this stroller’s price tag. The UPPAbaby VISTA is everything you need and more for your first baby AND your second baby. That was the selling point for me. I felt pretty certain that I wanted a second baby fairly soon after my first, and the VISTA is perfect for two children. Currently, my 3 month old rides in the stroller and my toddler likes to ride on the UPPAbaby VISTA PiggyBack Ride-Along Board. He’ll also ride in the stroller on a rare occasion, but he is so busy and independent that the ride-along board is genius! The stroller is durable with a smooth ride, has a large basket to carry EVERYTHING underneath and works perfectly with the UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat. OK, so I’ll admit that I actually started resenting the VISTA 8 months into my first baby. It started feeling big and unnecessary, and we never liked taking it on an airplane, so I started using a small jogging stroller to primarily get around with Landon. It sat in our garage for a bit. But, now that we have a newborn, it’s all we’ve used for the last 3 months, and I know we’ll continue to use it to push around two children at once. I’m SO HAPPY we have this stroller!!

Best Travel Stroller: Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base

For those of you who travel a lot, in and out of Ubers, or don’t feel like reinstalling the car seat every time you change cars, this stroller + car seat duo is for you. I know some moms that use this as their primary stroller and infant car seat, but that didn’t work for us because I now need a stroller that carries two at a time and also one with more storage capacity. I also don’t think the “ride” is smooth enough for long excursions. But, this stroller is genius. I took it on a work trip when I had to be in and out of taxis and Ubers, and the ease of folding up the wheels and converting the stroller to a car seat convinced me there is no need for any other travel stroller until your baby outgrows this one around 1 year old.

Best Wrap Carrier: Solly Baby

Our Solly Baby wrap was used ALL the time!
Lucy lived in her Solly Baby wrap the first 3 months

My second baby, Lucy, lived in the Solly wrap for her first three months. There was a bit of a learning curve to get the super long piece of fabric tied into a tight, comfy wrap, but it was totally worth it, because I don’t know what I would have done if she wasn’t in that wrap. She loved being super close to mom as I did chores around the house, cooked dinner and put my first baby to bed.

Best Overall Baby Carrier: Omni 360 Ergobaby Carrier

This carrier is best for longterm wear and grows with your baby until the toddler years. I’ve used the Ergobaby for long walks and hikes where a stroller was too difficult to bring or when baby just didn’t want to be anywhere else but on me. And, unlike the Solly, my husband will wear it!

Sleep Necessities:

Favorite Bassinet: Design Dua Moses Basket

I think the bassinet is one of the hardest things to buy. A baby’s sleep is so unpredictable for the first few months and every baby is different. I did not know this until my first was born. I borrowed the Halo bassinet from a friend, and I’m so glad I borrowed instead of purchased, because he may have only slept in it two or three nights. He hated being anywhere other than my chest the first two months, and after that, he was always in the DockATot (more on that below) or trying to sleep on his tummy. I ended up putting him in the crib un-swaddled really early compared to most babies. For my second baby, I didn’t want to invest in an expensive bassinet until after she was born and I knew what sort of sleeper she was. Instead, I purchased the Design Dua Moses basket to get us started. Yes, it’s not necessarily cheap, but it doesn’t have the shocking price tag like the Snoo or Halo. I figured that even if she never slept in it once, at least it looked cute for me to take pictures of her in (crazy mom here). Since it was an attractive basket, I also knew we also could use it for storing stuffed animals or toys. Plus, she could use it for her baby dolls when she’s older. Well, she turned out to be a decent sleeper for a newborn and she actually slept in it for a few weeks! But, I still moved her out of it and into her crib early, because I figured I wanted to get her used to the crib while she was sleeping well. It now holds all her stuffed animals.

Favorite Swaddle: Love To Dream Swaddle

My first baby hated being swaddled, but maybe that’s because we never tried the Love to Dream swaddle, which leaves their arms in the natural up position. Lucy would calm down immediately when putting her in this swaddle. I also bought the next version up where you can remove the arms for when baby starts rolling. My first baby woke up every couple of hours, but Lucy has done 8 hours straight in the Love to Dream swaddle! Plus, I love how babies look like super cute little burritos in it!

Sound Machine / Night Light: Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine and Night Light


I love the Hatch sound machine and night light and currently use it for our infant Lucy. I love that I can control the light color and brightness, plus the sound and volume all from my phone. I use it to play a lullaby as we’re getting ready for bed, then switch to white noise when it’s time for lights out. I used a different sound machine and separate night light for Landon when he was a baby, and while it was just OKAY, this has all the bells and whistles. It’s great for when they get older and you want to help them understand when it’s okay to get out of bed by changing the light from red to green. I’ve heard so many sleep success stories from mommies who’ve used this!

Best Travel Crib / Pack and Play: Lotus Travel Crib


We traveled with both of our babies fairly soon after they were born, so we needed a travel crib. This Lotus Travel Crib by Guava Family is so easy to use. It folds into an easy-to-carry bag and pops out for easy set-up. I know some moms who use this in their home as a space to contain their crawling baby, too. It’s worth the price tag for how convenient and easy it is to use, plus, it looks good!

Places for Baby to Sit and Play:

Favorite Bouncer:Fisher-Price Sweet Dreams Deluxe Bouncer
Lucy loves the Fisher Price Deluxe Bouncer

For my first baby, we used Fisher Price’s Rock ‘n Play, but that product was recalled before Lucy was born. That was okay with me, because Landon never really liked sitting in there for long anyway. He didn’t like looking up at the sky and would get bored. I decided a bouncer would be better for Lucy, and after looking into options, this Fisher Price Deluxe Bouncer seemed like the perfect fit. The price was right AND it offered some entertainment with the dangling animals above her head – which she stares at and tries to reach for ALL the time. I considered something a bit more pleasing to the eye, like Babybjorn, but I learned my lesson the first time with a place for baby to sit that didn’t have any entertaining attachments to it. Baby gets bored! And, I need a safe place for baby to sit while I try to cook dinner, get dressed, chase the toddler, etc. The other bouncer options out there are so expensive and didn’t feel worth it for doing the same thing as Fisher Price’s bouncer. Plus, babies only use it for a few months!

Best Baby Lounger: DockATot Deluxe+


Baby naps ALL the time, and you need places for those impromptu naps other than the bassinet or crib. I absolutely LOVE the DockATot and tell all my friends what a lifesaver it was for my first baby. If Landon wasn’t on my chest, he would ONLY sleep in the DockATot for his first few months of life. I know, technically, this is against the safe sleeping rules. But, we were just trying to survive, y’all! Plus, I slept in the same room as him and was awake every couple of hours, anyway. Lucy loved taking naps in it as I did chores around the house by her. The material is high quality, it’s durable, washable, easy on the eyes, and it fits most babies through 8 months. This is a product I don’t know what we would have done without.

Best Newborn Lounger: Boppy Newborn Lounger

Both of my babies spent so much time in the Boppy Newborn Lounger. You may wonder why you’d need another lounger when I already recommended the DockATot, but like I said previously, you’ll want places to sit baby around the house. It’s much easier than hauling loungers up and down the stairs or into different rooms. We always kept this on our couch and its where I sat baby in between feeds and while watching TV when I was recovering from my C-section. It’s cozy for baby and easy for mama to wipe clean.

Favorite Activity Gym: Skip Hop Baby Play Mat and Activity Gym


We loved this Skip Hop play gym for both of our babies. It’s affordable and easy to look at with neutral colors. It’s where both of my babies rolled over for the first time. Lucy loves laying there and grabbing the toys. I considered getting a more expensive play gym for Lucy, but I’m glad I didn’t spend the money since I already had this one. These things take up space, and once baby can crawl and pull up, they like finding other things around the house to explore (Stairs! Cabinets! Drawers! And all the other hazards that will drive you crazy – LOL!). My goal is to have less baby stuff or things I can resell. I can’t imagine play gyms being easy to resell after a baby spits up on and destroys it for 6 months.

Feeding:

Best Nursing Pillow: Boppy Nursing Pillow


If you have any desire to breastfeed, do yourself a big favor and get this Boppy nursing pillow. I exclusively breastfed both my babies, and this pillow made it so much easier for me and baby to comfortably and successfully do it. And, when I say I EXCLUSIVELY breastfed, I mean we used NO BOTTLES. That’s right, my babies spent a huge chunk of their first few months camped out on this pillow, and it saved my shoulders and back. I used this for Landon until he was about 9 months and big enough to where I didn’t really need the extra support, and I’m still using it for Lucy at 3.5 months.

Best Burp Cloths: KiddyStar Baby Burp Cloths


I was gifted TONS of different burp cloths with my first baby, and after experimenting with all of them, these were the ones I kept going back to. I even bought more of them, so I didn’t have to keep washing them as often, even though I had tons of other different burp clothes in baby’s dresser. You don’t have to spend time unfolding them while rushing to clean up a spit-up disaster, they’re durable and soft. Star rating: 10+!

Favorite Drool Bibs: KeaBabies Organic Baby Bandana Drool Bibs


My first baby spit up so much after every feeding, and my second baby is a major drooler. These organic KeaBabies drool bibs are perfect to catch all the yucky so you’re not changing baby’s outfit 10 times a day! And, they are so soft and cute!

Best Nursing Cover: aden + anais Swaddle Blanket


Since exclusively breastfeeding both babies, that means I do a lot of nursing in public. Obviously, I’m all for the #NormalizeBreastfeeding movement, but there are some times and places you just don’t want to accidentally expose yourself (like at a football watching party with your husband’s guy friends). I preferred these cute, soft, Aden + Anais swaddles to cover myself and baby, because they’re so handy when out and about. I’ve also used them as a blanket for baby to lay on, to cover baby’s stroller, and to wipe up major diaper blow-outs or spit-up messes. They also keep their shape after washing. I had some swaddle blankets with my first baby that did not. Bonus: They come in lots of sweet patterns and colors.

Favorite Manual Breast Pump: Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump


The Haakaa is so helpful while breastfeeding, especially for the first couple of months. By using the Haakaa, I was able to establish a good milk supply, plus save TONS of milk without having to hook myself up to an electronic pump (some moms prefer not to use an electric pump until after regular nursing has been established with baby). I’d put the Haakaa on one breast while baby nursed from the other, and I’d make 2-6 ounces of milk to save. If I didn’t have the Haakaa, I’d have soaked nursing pads and burp cloths – and wasted liquid gold (aka breastmilk)! I was able to store so much milk in the freezer with my first baby that I never even used an electronic pump. As I mentioned above, I exclusively breastfed, so I didn’t need to pump while baby drank from bottle. I stored my milk in the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags, which are easy to store because they lay flat on top of each other.

Bottles: Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle, Dr. Brown’s Glass Baby Bottles and Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottles
As I’ve already said, I did not use bottles with my babies, but I feel like I can’t leave y’all hanging here since its such an important part of many babies’ first year. I asked all my mom friends their preferred bottle and everyone had a different answer! All babies are different and all bottles are different, so you may have to try a few to get a feel for what baby takes to. While every mom had a different tip related to bottle brands, the most popular brands I kept hearing over and over were Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle, Dr. Brown’s Glass Baby Bottles and Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottles.

Diapering:

Favorite Diaper Bag: Freshly Picked Diaper Bag Backpack


I know I needed a backpack instead of a shoulder bag, because my pre-baby shoulder-strap purse was already hurting my neck and shoulders with all the stuff I carry around – there was no way I could carry around all the baby stuff on my shoulder. Plus, a backpack keeps hands free – great for shopping, throwing stuff in your car, and when you need to pick up your toddler who’s running away from you! This backpack is so pretty – just like a designer purse. I’ve had it for almost three years now, and it’s held up SO WELL. And, it carries so much stuff that I take it EVERYWHERE. I even put my laptop in it when we travel!

Favorite Changing Pad Liners: Munchkin Waterproof Changing Pad Liners


I never knew how handy these would be! Get these Munchkin changing pad liners, so you’re not constantly washing hard-to-clean items or items you just don’t want to remove from their designated spots, like the changing pad cover, DockATot, etc. I even kept one of these downstairs on the couch to change baby’s diaper to keep me from going upstairs to our official changing station.

Best Changing Pad: PooPoose Diaper Changing Pad


I really dislike the name of this product LOL but it does the job! I especially loved the soft straps for Landon when he started getting really squirmy around 5-6 months. Imagine trying to change a baby’s poopy diaper while they’re trying to touch their butt or roll over – yikes! This saves you! I bought the recommended PooPoose Changing Pad Cover in varsity grey.

Best Diaper Pail: Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail


I’m about to drop some realness on y’all… ALL diaper pails stink. There is no magic way to keep your diaper pail from stinking with the amount of wetness and funk that sits in a pail, even a stainless steel one. But, this Ubbi diaper pail does a pretty darn good job. We had ours for almost 2 years before it started stinking so bad that there was no saving it. That was 1.5 years after putting the really gross poopy diapers in there that you’ll soon discover after introducing your baby to solids. We bought a fresh, new Ubbi pail, and I’ve learned you can make yours last even longer by changing the bag every other day, adding the Ubbi Odor Absorbing Gels and bagging the super stinky poopy diapers in Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Bags prior to putting in the Ubbi pail. All I can say is, best wishes on your poop diaper journey!

Best Wipe Dispenser: OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser


I never knew how vital this OXO Tot wipe dispenser would be! It sure comes in handy when you’re juggling holding baby’s legs, dropping the diaper in the diaper pail, and need to pull more wipes to clean the yucky – all while attempting not to get poop everywhere! Get this!

Best Diapers: Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers


Y’all, I really wanted to be Ms. Organic Mommy and use all the best “environmentally better” diapers. I tried them ALL for both my babies and none compare to Huggies Little Snugglers, especially for the 0-3 months stage. These are the only diapers I’ve found that limit blow-outs. You may think you want to use the organic brands, or even reusable diapers (seriously, good for you, I commend you…), but after you’ve ruined enough clothes and touched enough poop, you’ll want to switch to these.

Bath Time:

Favorite Bathtub: Angelcare Baby Bath

Lucy in the Angelcare baby bathtub

The Angelcare baby bathtub is such a simple and easy tub that we used for both babies. It’s inexpensive, but it’s held up so well! The colors haven’t faded and there’s no gross mold or any other residue left behind on the tub, unlike some of our other bath toys. Both my babies have loved bath time and never complained being in this tub. After bath, we store this under our sink, but we used to hang it behind the bathroom door in our old house. I really don’t think you need anything fancy for baby’s first bathtub. Get one that’s safe and easy to store, like the Angelcare!

Favorite Towel & Washcloths: Pottery Barn Gingham Baby Hooded Towel & Washcloths Set

Pottery Barn Gingham Towel & Washcloths Set can be personalized!

It was tough to choose my favorite baby towel and washcloths, because we received several as gifts that are all great and functional. However, I chose Pottery Barn’s gingham baby hooded towel and washcloth as my #1 choice because of the thick and soft material. It really held up after numerous washes. Plus, you can personalize it! My second favorite hooded baby towels are the super soft aden + anais Classic Hooded Baby Bath Towels, because they also are thick and hold up very well. I wash my babies’ bath towels more than my own because there always seems to be some sort of spit-up or poopy accident right before or after bath!

Favorite Rinse Cup: Skip Hop Moby Bath Rinse Cup


I underestimated how much I’d love a good rinse cup. This Skip Hop Moby Rise Cup keeps the water out of my babies’ eyes and makes it so easy to wash their hair tear-free. Now that Landon is older, he loves using it to help give baby a bath.

Best Baby Shampoo, Body Wash and Lotion: Noodle & Boo Newborn 2-in-1 Hair & Body Wash and Baby Lotion


All new mamas worry about their babies’ sensitive newborn skin and want to choose the most delicate, natural products. I love Noodle & Boo’s 2-in-1 Shampoo & Body Wash and Lotion because it checks all the boxes: non-toxic, plant-based, dermatologist tested, hypoallergenic, made in USA… AND it has a light irresistible newborn baby scent that will make you want to double you baby’s kisses post bath time.

Toys and Books:

Best Rattle: SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle



This SmartNoggin rattle encourages development in multiple ways, and both of my babies loved it. They love feeling the different textures, tracking the light and looking in the mirror at the bottom of the rattle. Since they liked it so much, I also would use it to encourage tummy time. I’d set it in front of them while on their tummies to look at.

Favorite Teether: Itzy Ritzy Silicone Baby Teether – BPA-Free Infant Teether with Easy-to-Hold Design and Textured Back Side to Massage and Soothe Sore, Swollen Gums, Cactus


Most any silicon teether will do, but I like that this one was large enough to where I didn’t lose it and the fact that it was a gender neutral cactus. It just felt very “LA” (LOL!) and didn’t scream “baby!” like many other crazy primary colored teethers.

Favorite Starter Books: Baby Einstein’s My First Library Board Book Set


This Baby Einstein book block is a great starter set to introduce your babies to reading and baby basics – colors, shapes, animals and such. I started reading immediately with both of my babies, and I’m so happy that Landon LOVES and interacts with his books at 2.5 years old.

Whew! That’s a lot of gear for baby! Did I forget anything that you other mamas found vital for your newborn baby? Let me know by emailing me here or connect with me on Instagram.

XO, Maggie

AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of this post contains affiliate links for the products I use and LOVE. If you take action on these links (like clicking, buying, etc.), I may receive compensation at no cost to you. As always, all opinions are my own, and I’ll only recommend what I truly love.