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Sarah Yang

11 New-Mom Must-Haves No One Tells You About

Forget what you’ve read—we go beyond the basics and get right to the good stuff: the must-have baby items for first time moms.
Everyone will tell you: You need a car seat and a stroller.

No one will tell you: Definitely get the travel system.

Of course you’ll need a stroller to move baby from point A to point B, but a travel system will get you a lot more mileage. Say you’re cruising around town with baby in the backseat, ready to embark on errand number three, and all of the sudden the little guy dozes off. Abort mission, right? Wrong. With a travel system, you’ll be able to slide baby’s car seat out of its base and stealthily snap it in place on your stroller in a matter of minutes — all without waking your sleeping babe. Sound totally brilliant? That’s ’cause it is!

Try this one: Britax B-Agile travel system, $330,

Photo: Britax
Everyone will tell you: You need a stroller.

No one will tell you: You really should have two.

We know what you’re thinking: Two strollers? But hear us out. You won’t always want to push around a heavy stroller everywhere you go. Having a lightweight and easily collapsible umbrella stroller on hand will be a lifesaver (and a back saver) in the long run.

Try this one: Maclaren Quest stroller, $253,

Photo: Maclaren
Everyone will tell you: Get teething toys.

No one will tell you: Get this very specific one called Sophie.

There will come a time when you’ll do just about anything to make baby's teething pain go away. Let us introduce you to the miraculous healing powers of Sophie, the giraffe teether. She's made of natural rubber and food paint, with no toxic gunk whatsoever, which moms love. But why does baby love her so much? The jury’s still out on that one. Maybe it’s because her chewable appendages stick out every which way, making her easy to chomp on; or that she squeaks when you squeeze her and seems to be the perfect size for baby’s kung-fu grip. Whatever the reason, one thing’s clear: Her miraculous ability to keep baby happy (and silent) makes her a definite must-have.

Moms love: Sophie, $20,


Photo: Sophie la Girafe
Everyone will tell you: You need a swing.

No one will tell you: It’s gotta be tricked out.

You’ll need a swing to put baby in and keep her occupied while you’re running around your house like a madwoman trying to get a load of laundry done, make a phone call or even just go to the bathroom! But no one will admit that flashing lights, hookups for MP3 players and self-rocking mechanisms will buy you extra time and may even lull a fussy baby to sleep. At 2 a.m. when nothing else is working, you’ll be glad you don’t have to use your hand to continually push baby back and forth.

Try this one: 4Moms mamaRoo, $270,

Photo: 4moms
Everyone will tell you: You need a diaper bag.

No one will tell you: Get one you don’t mind calling your purse.

Consolidate your gear and baby’s by springing for a diaper bag that doubles as your own bag. That’s right — there is such a thing as a stylish, all-purpose diaper bag, sans the paisley flowers or hideous bright polka dots. (Who knew?) As long as it’s got tons of pocket space and a washable matte finish, and easily attaches to your stroller, you’ll be good to go.

Try this one: Skip Hop Versa diaper bag, $75,

Photo: Skip Hop
Everyone tells you: You need a baby carrier.

No one will tell you: Try it on before you buy it.

Toting your tot around will become a much easier feat with a baby carrier that’s actually comfortable to wear. You’ll want to look for one that has easily adjustable straps on your shoulders and hips so you can evenly distribute the weight (and save your back some pain).

Try this one: BabyBjorn Miracle baby carrier, $120,

Photo: Baby Bjorn
Everyone will tell you: You need a breastfeeding pillow.

No one will tell you: You need one for travel

Trust us, you don’t want to be lugging around a huge nursing pillow when you’re boarding a plane or adding to your already packed car trunk. But you’ll come to rely on this thing to keep you from straining your back while breastfeeding. Get a nursing pillow that’s compact and easy to carry around.

Try this one: My Brest Friend Inflatable Travel Pillow, $20,

Photo: My Brest Friend
Everyone tells you: You need a breast pump.

No one will tell you: Splurge on the top-notch one.

We won’t beat around the bush: Attaching two suction cups to your boobs won’t ever feel normal, but if you plan on nursing, then chances are you’ll want a reliable pump. And if you’re heading back to work or find yourself always on-the-go, you’ll want to invest in a sturdy, daily-use pump that can stand the test of time. Things to look for: portability and durability.

Try this one: Medela Pump in Style advanced breast pump, $330,

Photo: Medela
Everyone tells you: You need a high chair.

No one tells you: Get a travel chair.

You won’t be able to drag your high chair with you out to a restaurant. It’s no secret that babies and restaurants don’t always mix. But at least there’s one invention that will cut down on the chaos when dining out with your little one: the travel chair. Fixing itself easily onto the side of any dining table, you can store a travel chair in the back of your car. While it’s perfect for restaurants, it’s great for those trips to Grandma’s too.

Try this one: phil&teds Lobster high chair, $80,

Photo: phil&teds
Everyone will tell you: Get receiving blankets.

No one will tell you: Some are easier than others for swaddling baby.

Ah, the swaddle blanket...comforting babies (and saving the sanity of moms) everywhere for centuries. By wrapping up baby snugly, you’ll not only help her self-soothe, but also ease her off to sleep faster, since being swaddled will remind her of her days back in the womb. But you’ll need a swaddle blanket that you can easily wrap baby in. You don’t want to spend an hour (or more) trying to get a good wrap — only to have it kicked off in a matter of seconds. Look for lightweight, large swaddle blankets or the kind with Velcro to keep them closed.

Try this ones: Aden + Anais swaddle blanket, $32 for 2,

Photo: Aden and Anais
Everyone will tell you: Get a safe car seat.

No one will tell you: Watch the recall list.

It pretty much goes without saying why you’d need a first-rate car seat, so we’ll skip the overview. In fact, you’ll probably put more research time into baby’s car seat than you did with your college thesis — and with good reason, since baby’s safety and comfort are your number-one priorities these days. Here’s a tip: Don’t just look at popular car seats; be sure to read up on all recently recalled products and newly issued safety standards too.

Try this one: Maxi Cosi Mico infant car seat, $140,

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Photo: Maxi-Cosi