Hi guys! 👋 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 — 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 — and, in some cases, a lot — easier.
1. This handy Target cart that makes a perfect mission control for diaper changes.
I searched around for budget-friendly diaper stations and landed on this three-tiered rolling cart from Target. (It's similar to the Ikea Raskog, but available in different colors.) It's really practical, fits easily next to the changing table, and the tiers pack a ton of storage space.
Get it from Target for $24.99.
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.
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 — 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.
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 — 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 — because back pain (both during pregnancy and a bit after) wasn't fun.
16. The Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel — which helped me keep moving in a way that wasn't too strenuous, stressful, or time-consuming.
17. A Diaper Genie, because 💩 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 — 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.