Skip To Content

    18 Things That Made My First Year Of Parenthood Easier

    Here's the stuff that kept me sane and (mostly!) within budget.

    Hi guys! ๐Ÿ‘‹ I'm Melissa, and I just finished up my first year of taking care of a tiny human.

    This time last year, I remember spending hours combing through Google searches, Amazon reviews, baby books, friends' advice โ€” all trying to figure what I actually needed and didn't need.

    So now, with a year of ~parenthood~ under my belt, I wanted to put together a list of the things that made my first 12 months a little โ€” and, in some cases, a lot โ€” easier.

    1. This handy Target cart that makes a perfect mission control for diaper changes.

    2. This cotton swaddle sleep sack that turned out to be a total sleep game-changer.

    3. Zippered pajamas (instead of buttoned ones).

    4. A few different pacifiers, because babies can be ~picky~.

    5. And handy pacifier clips so you're not constantly picking up dropped ones.

    These can clip right to your baby's shirt and are especially useful for times when you can't reach them right away โ€” like if you're driving and they're in the backseat. (I especially loved this set because the fabric is super durable.)

    Get a four-pack from Amazon for $8.99.

    6. This free iPhone app that turns your phone or tablet into a baby monitor.

    7. A tiny and portable sheep-shaped white noise machine that you can attach to the crib, the stroller, the carseat โ€” or anywhere else your baby snoozes.

    8. A lightweight Rock 'n' Play that can double as a nap pod or playtime seat.

    9. A tub of Aquaphor for the inevitable first bout of diaper rash.

    10. This magical 10-second trick that would cure any random fussiness, especially in the early days.

    View this video on YouTube

    Robert Hamilton / YouTube / Via

    IDK what else to say other worked like a charm? Baby booty shakes FTW.

    Watch the video here.

    11. A baby bathtub that fits tiny newborns โ€” then converts to toddler size. (Plus, a handy rinser.)

    12. A practical all-purpose stroller and carseat combo that you can use well into the toddler years.

    13. A bunch of great podcasts for when your kid falls asleep on you โ€” and you know better than to try to move or make noise.

    14. A simple, user-friendly book on the first year that you can keep within reach.

    15. An ugly but useful support cushion โ€” because back pain (both during pregnancy and a bit after) wasn't fun.

    16. The Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel โ€” which helped me keep moving in a way that wasn't too strenuous, stressful, or time-consuming.

    View this video on YouTube

    Yoga With Adriene / YouTube / Via

    Your body can feel pretty weird for the first few weeks after giving birth. And for me, starting to move again was key in getting past that weirdness. The free Yoga with Adriene channel has a bunch of at-home routines that are 15 minutes or less. (I'd aim to squeeze some in while my kid napped โ€” because oddly enough, I usually found it more recharging/relaxing than sleep.) Also great: Adriene's got several videos that stretch specific body parts. I found this one for lower back pain especially helpful post-pregnancy.

    17. A Diaper Genie, because ๐Ÿ’ฉ happens.

    18. A super practical Pack 'n Play that doubles as an on-the-go crib and portable playpen.

    A Pack 'n Play is a staple on a lot of new parents' lists โ€” and for great reason. I found this to be really useful both as a makeshift crib while traveling, and as a mini playpen at home. The best part is how efficiently it stores: The whole thing folds neatly into a rectangle and fits perfectly in closets or car trunks.

    Get it from Amazon for $43.69.

    The last thing that helped me through the first 365 days โ€” at the risk of sounding completely cheesy? A support system.

    What products or online resources did you find most useful during your first year of parenthood? Let me know in the comments!