The start of parenthood is overwhelming. You're embarking into a foreign land with little more than a large belly, back pain, and some "well-meaning" advice from been-there-done-thaters.
I did a lot of research trying to find what baby products I wanted to invest in for my newborn. There is so much noise out there, and it seems like you "need" an unreasonable amount of things. I wanted to simplify these needs as much as possible and find products that would function well, but also fit more seamlessly into our daily living. Surely, I reasoned, not every necessity has to come in princess prints and bold pink stripes.
Design to me isn't just about finding a beautiful piece of furniture or that perfect fabric for the window treatment. It's about intentionally selecting all the elements you interact with — down to the diaper pail. Creating a beautiful environment is in the nuances.
If you're a modern parent on the hunt for simple, beautiful baby recs that look as good as they function, I've compiled 16 products that I love and use on the daily. These have been essentials for me in the first six months of Ada's life and have made my initial foray into parenting so much easier.
Good luck, moms and dads out there. You are doing a beautiful and important job.
I know there are mixed opinions on the Snoo out there, but I am a 100%, hands-down, full-fledged believer so I had to include it in this rundown. We got a Snoo about a week after Ada was born, and immediately the nights were so much easier. Not only did it soothe her and get her into the habit of long sleeps (she was sleeping through the night at around 8 weeks!), but it truly gave me such peace of mind knowing she was snug in her bassinet and wouldn't be rolling over. She's 6 months now, and we used the "weaning" feature to transition her to the crib with zero issues.
Miku Baby Monitor
For most modern nurseries, a monitor is key. It provides that peace of mind from a distance, which is a true luxury. After eons researching, I landed on the Miku. It had all the functional aspects I wanted, had rave reviews, and—to ease my design mind—also didn't look like a total eyesore on the wall. Nothing has to attach to your baby, but it still monitors vitals. Plus, it works seamlessly with your phone so no additional contraptions to carry around.
Nuna Cart Seat & Stroller
For the must haves — a car seat and stroller —I'm a Nuna convert. The car seat and stroller are admittedly on the higher end of the spectrum, but they look beautiful and perform so well. I believe in investing in things that get daily and frequent use, and I just completely enjoy the quality and ease of these pieces.
Newton Breathable Air Mattress
While you picture your crib bursting with beautiful textiles and charming stuffed animals with floppy ears, the truth is the crib is a pretty bare frontier for the first few months of a baby's life. You want to keep it as simple as possible so you're reducing any suffocation hazards. What you really need is the crib, 3-4 flat crib sheets for easy changing, and a mattress. The Newton mattress was a simple, mid-budget option, and the mattress technology reduces the risk of suffocation. SIDS is probably one of a mother's biggest fears these first few tender months, so any leg up is taken and appreciated.
Mid-Century Convertible Crib
The heartbeat of the nursery: the crib. While we started Ada out in a bassinet, she began taking daytime naps in her crib around 3-4 months of age to get used to her room and the new space. For this essential piece, I wanted something clean and basic but with a polished edge. I also wanted to make sure to invest in a convertible model that would grow as Ada grew. I found this Mid-Century Convertible Crib, which can transition from crib to toddler bed to full bed. I knew this would be a good, investment base that I could liven up in her different stages by refreshing linens, pillows, and details.
Gathre might be the favorite brand I've discovered so far on the baby's journey. I've had such a hard time understanding why more companies don't have a re-iminaged approach to baby products. Gathre is exactly what I was hoping for. Something so practical, so functional that I'd use it every day, but also something that felt like it made sense in our home and existing life. I bought a Maxi Circle Mat to keep at the studio, and a Midi Mat to keep at the house. We tote them from room to room so there's always a good landing spot for our little one. I've been eyeing their new storage bins and poufs.
Saarde Baby Blanket
I love a good textile and was on the hunt for the softest baby blanket in a color palette that felt more neutral and clean. This was such a keeper, I ordered it in multiples. Even better news: they make adult products, too. We have one of their olive bed throws on the end of our master bed.
Snuggle Me Lounger
The key is mobility. One thing I underestimated was the need for a place to set Ada down In the same room so I could do other things. You can pop this lounger with you anywhere, and the edges keep your newborn safely tucked inside. Most of the "boppys"I found were full of patterns and prints. Since this was a staple in our living room, I loved the neutrality of the piece. This was a daily go-to during Ada's first 3-4 months.
Nuna Sena Aire
You might sense a common theme here, but sometimes it feels like the only thing you ask yourself is: where am I going to put my baby? When Ada started to get more wiggly and close to turning over, I didn't feel as safe keeping her in her lounger, so I wanted something with more space and higher walls. The portable play crib is easy to pop open and works for home or travel. The design matches our stroller and car seat (love some good consistency), and is a nice clean design that doesn't overly interrupt the existing environment. Babies are beautiful additions to a family, but sometimes I feel like the child's world can overtake a space. As much as possible we're trying to select pieces that keep the common areas in our home as places that nurture the full family — not just one member of it. The nursery and playroom are all in for delight and wonder; your living room doesn't also have to be an ode to pastel pinks and Frozen.
Sophie the Giraffe Teether
Despite popular opinion, your child does not need 10,000 toys strewn about their room at the onset of life. Some, however, are fun and exceptional. I saw the Sophie the Giraffe teething toy everywhere and bought it because, well, some things are popular for a reason. Let me tell you: I totally get the hype.
Stokke Baby Bath
With so much stuff to get, one of the things you'll fight is space. I got the Stokke baby bath specifically because it was foldable — allowing for easy storage options. There is a newborn insert that makes it usable immediately, but it's also functional for up to 4 years of age. I also sprung for the bath stand so we could bathe her while standing instead of crouching.
Baby Brezza Pro.
I tried to champion my way through breastfeeding but, for a host of reasons, it just didn't work out. My friend gifted me a Baby Brezza Pro, and it was such a tremendous relief for my body, heart, and mind. If you're in the formula camp, this is such a wise investment that makes daily and frequent feeding worlds easier.
We started Ada on these bottles from the get-go. People always talk about how hard it is to find bottles that work, but she took to them immediately. They're incredibly easy to clean and, best news, come in neutral colors! Praise be.
Ubi Diaper Pail
Sometimes it seems like daily activities exist around keeping smells at bay. The Ubi Diaper Pail is simple, understated, and has done a pretty solid job at containing all the beautiful baby fragrance.
Coterie Baby Diapers
I discovered Coterie diapers after some digging. Blame my love for simplicity, but I wanted some plain white diapers that didn't feature a zoo or hearts or the alphabet. I also (and obviously more importantly) wanted to find diapers that performed well and were kind to her skin. This brand should get a standing ovation.