A list of New Mom Must-haves

After a recent conversation with my mother-in-law about some of the gadgets I’ve purchased for my 5-month-old son Kolt, I realized how lucky we are as modern mamas. Sure, we have a whole new set of battles. I absolutely cringe when I think about participation trophies (if my son isn’t good at a sport, we’ll try a different one!!), cyberbullying is real – and terrifying – and I have a degree in a field that allows me to work remotely, meaning I was able to “take time off” to stay home (translation: I work from home while raising an infant which is proving to absolutely kick my butt). However, let’s be real – there are some amazing & very helpful inventions out there!

As new moms, we have an absolute endless wealth of knowledge (and a pinch of fear sprinkled in) for how to raise our babes, and how to look great doing it. (I know, I laughed out loud while typing that last part.)

In the past few months, I’ve amassed a nice selection of fun tools and gadgets that have become my new “essentials” – I’d like to post my recommendations here and I’d love to hear your thoughts! Did I miss something that you’ve found to be a lifesaver? Drop a comment below and share the wealth, girl!

If you’re shopping for a baby shower gift, these items are all budget-friendly! Snag a few and put a little care package together! Add in a soft blanket, a few burp cloths and you’re good to go. If you are a new mom, or know one… please share!

Baby beach hat

In preparation for Kolt’s first beach day, we searched and searched for a bucket hat to make sure it wasn’t too bright for our little guy. Although it rained and our trip was postponed, we wore the hat anyways. IT IS SO CUTE I can hardly stand it. Every single time he wears it, I just can’t stop giggling. It’s the cutest thing!

He’s still too little to protest, and it doesn’t really mess with it a lot, so we will wear this as long as we possibly can! It’s $20 but we have definitely gotten our money’s worth. Also, there’s a small strap in the back so it’s adjustable and he’ll be able to wear it for a while.

i play. Baby Bucket Sun Protection Hat, Royal Blue Lobster, 9-18 Months

Bottle brush

Someone bought me a bottle brush for my shower and I remember putting it on the registry thinking – I’m sure I can just use a regular sponge.


Best invention ever. This is a lifesaver! Obviously it’s made for brushes, but it’s the best. They don’t last for a super long time if you wash bottles as often as we do (we do NOT have a dishwasher – I know, it’s a crime) but at $5 a pop, I’m not worried.

Dr. Brown’s Bottle Brush, Blue

Bottle drying rack

Again, another product I thought I’d never need.

*Cut to me laughing at pre-baby Kelly.*

This product is awesome. We don’t have a dishwasher so I realized that it made more sense to wash and dry the bottles separately from the other dishes – so I could quickly tell how many bottles I had left before I had to wash again! Love this product – this is definitely a must-have for new moms!

Breve Home Goods BPA-Free Baby Bottle Countertop Drying Grass Rack, 3-Piece Design

Hip diaper bag

I was a really lucky lady – I got the cutest diaper bags! I have a really nice, fancy one that I use for trips or times when I know we’ll be gone for a while, a simpler one… and then this adorable one for every day!

The company – Hip Cub – popped up on my Facebook page, and I loved the design so I had to snatch it up! It’s my go-to bag. The strap is long enough that I can hang it on my stroller, I can carry easily if someone else has Kolt and it doesn’t even really look like a diaper bag.

The two pockets in front are perfect for holding bottles! I don’t feel like there’s so many pockets that I loose things – it’s the perfect size. Highly recommend!

Diaper Bag by Hip Cub – Baby Changing Pad – Black /White Stripe W/ Cute Tan Trim

Stroller fan

The other day, mom and I took Kolt for a walk in the stroller and it was HOT. It IS Florida…

We actually cut our walk short because of it. It was so bright outside but I couldn’t bring myself to close him up in the stroller because of the insane heat.

I jumped online and bought this the next day. I used it today for the first time and had two parents stop me to ask about it! The price is great and the blades are foam, so that if a kid does stick their hands in it, they won’t get hurt! The only downside, according to the reviews, is that kids can rip the blades off – but at $10, I’m sure it will be fine.

Dreambaby Stroller Fan – Silver/Black

Teething necklace

I’ll admit it – I bought this more for me than for Kolt! He’s just now starting to chew on this necklace. I LOVE accessories but quickly realized that babies pull – on everything! I found this necklace online and ordered quite a few after my bestie bought me one for my baby shower!

They are reasonably priced, they allow you to still wear cute accessories and I just really like the way it looks! (This particular necklace was around $10 – perfect!)

Careful – once you get one, and see the other cute styles, you won’t want to wear regular jewelry again!

Lofca Silicone Teething Necklace for Mom to Wear-Great Baby Teething Toys-100% BPA Free Chew Beads-Stylish & Natural Breastfeeding Nursing Necklace for Soothing Pain Relief-‘Claire’ (Marble)

The confident parent

A friend recommended this on Facebook and I immediately ordered it… and then I ordered two more as baby shower gifts for expectant moms. This will be my go-to gift from now on – in addition to something cute, of course!

I honestly wish I would have had this before I gave birth. Thankfully, I’ve felt pretty empowered since day one, BUT it’s just so nice to have validation on your gut instincts. If you know of someone who is expecting, a new mom or even a seasoned pro – this is a GREAT way to say, “You’re NOT crazy, you’re awesome. Keep up the great work.”

Bonus points – it’s written by a pediatrician, and it has great tips for feeding, sleep training and why women are amazing.

The Confident Parent: A Pediatrician’s Guide to Caring for Your Little One–Without Losing Your Joy, Your Mind, or Yourself

Wireless smartphone camera remote control

It’s hard to get cute pictures of me with Kolt that aren’t selfies. I love my husband… but photography is NOT something he does well. We’re practicing, though!

I have all of these amazing, candid pics of him with Kolt and hardly any of Kolt and I! I saw this remote control camera button thing in a Buzzfeed article and snatched it up! It’s easy to use with Bluetooth, it’s less than $8 and it’s the best thing ever.

CamKix Wireless Camera Shutter Remote Control for Smartphones – Create Amazing Photos and Selfies (Compatible w/ Bluetooth , Blue)

Wubanub pacifier

I received this as a shower gift (again, another item that I listed on my registry that was just something “cute”) and after a week or two of searching for the pacifier, I remembered the crazy looking pacifier I received. I found it in the toy bin I had created for Kolt and lo and behold, he loved it.

I bought two more of these things and they are worth every penny! They are great in the car – before he could grab his pacifier, this would almost help keep it upright for him. They are MUCH harder to lose than regular pacifiers and we call it his toy. He loves to hold it, it’s really soft and I just think they are so cute!

There are a ton of different animals and types on Amazon – this is one of my favorites so far. I’d also recommend buying them on Amazon because I’ve seen them for $20 around town – they are $14 and under online!

WubbaNub Elephant Pacifier

What items have been a fun surprise? Which items have you realized are not worth the hype? For me – it’s special trash cans, cloth diapers (I appreciate the thought behind it but man, it seems like a lot of work!!), bottle warmers (I just use room temp water in gallon jugs AND I pre-measure the water in the bottles so all I have to do is add formula!) and wipes warmers.

Share your products, ideas and thoughts below!

Let’s be besties & connect!
Kelly Strausbaugh

Let’s be Besties blog
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