A Doula's Baby Registry Faves!
As a birth and postpartum doula, a question I oftentimes get asked is, "Do you have any suggestions for what I should put on my baby registry?" And my answer is always "yes!" Back in 2019, I actually created a list of my top ten products for moms and their newborns! If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, you can here.
I am currently 22 weeks pregnant and I recently started creating my own baby registry! In doing so, I realized that I have a lot more I would include on that original list of my favorite products. Working as a postpartum doula throughout the last 2 years has enabled me the opportunity to get an inside-look into what products are truly helpful for parents throughout the day-to-day of life with an infant.
I also want to preface this post by saying: by no means am I saying that you need every single item on this list. No way! These are simply suggestions, and the things I have personally seen in action as a doula the last couple of years. More often than not, less is more when it comes to babies - and investing in support - like birth or postpartum doula services, chiropractic care, prenatal massage, nutrition through meal services, and nursing essentials - instead of materialistic items, can truly make your postpartum experience so much smoother.
For your convenience, I am including links to all of the products (full transparency: if you choose to purchase anything through these links, I will receive a small commission.) Happy Registering, moms and dads!
Birth/Postpartum Doula Support - Of course, I had to include doula support at the top of this list! 😚 Here are some of the things that birth doulas can help with: emotional reinforcement and educational support during pregnancy, breathing techniques and soothing physical touch like counter-pressure and massage during labor, and informational and emotional support for the husbands and partners of the birthing woman. Studies have revealed that having a doula as a member of the birth team can decrease the overall cesarean rate by 50%, the length of labor by 25%, the use of oxytocin by 40%, and requests for an epidural by 60%. Postpartum doulas can assist new parents in the following ways: by providing informational support regarding infant feeding and baby care, offering physical support by cooking nutritious meals and cleaning around the home, and intermittently caring for baby while mom naps or showers. Postpartum doulas can also assess for lactation issues as well as postpartum mood disorders and refer moms to the appropriate specialists when necessary. If you need help finding a certified birth or postpartum doula, this website may help: DONA "Find a Doula" tool.
Prenatal Massage - Most pregnant mamas could use a relaxing prenatal massage at some point during her pregnancy. Massages during any trimester can help increase blood flow and circulation, reduce stress and anxiety, and relieve swollen joints and achy muscles. When purchasing a massage, just ensure that the massage therapist is licensed and is experienced working with pregnant mamas.
Frida Mom Postpartum Recovery Essentials Kit - This kit is exactly what it sounds like-everything a new mom needs for perennial healing after a vaginal birth-disposable underwear, instant ice maxi pads, perennial cooling pad liners with witch hazel, perennial healing foam, and a small storage caddy for the top of the toilet to make everything easily accessible.
Colace Stool Softener - You may be wondering why I included stool softener of all things as the second item on this list, and here's why: Oftentimes, after giving birth, moms can experience a bit of anxiety surrounding their first and subsequent bowel movements. It is quite common for moms to feel constipated due to hormonal changes, hemorrhoids, iron supplementation, or general discomfort due to having a vaginal birth or an episiotomy. Taking a gentle stool softener, staying hydrated, and eating fiber-rich foods can help make your first bowel movements easier. This particular brand is the #1 brand recommended by doctors.
Belly Band for Cesarean Recovery - I have never personally had a Cesarean Section before, however, I have had clients who have and SWEAR by wearing a belly band during the weeks following the surgery. The band helps with reducing swelling, supports the lower back by correcting posture, and assists core abdominal muscles by easing the uterus's transition to shrinking back to its pre-pregnancy size.
Meal Delivery Service - Setting up a meal train and sending the new parents a ready-made, nutritious meal can be a total sanity-saver during the early weeks of postpartum life. I personally recommend using this website to create a meal train: https://takethemameal.com
Baby Bag Lewis x Loeffler Randall - Having a reliable diaper bag is so handy during your baby's first year of life. This collaboration caught my eye because it was so thoughtfully curated with new parents in mind, think: lots of compartments, spacious, a zipper closure, and a matching wipeable changing mat. An added bonus: Lewis is giving 10% of each baby bag sale to the non-profit Nurse-Family Partnership.
Nursing and Feeding
The Breast Friend Nursing Pillow - If you are planning to breastfeed, a nursing pillow is a great tool to have on hand to make your baby's feeds as comfortable as possible. The Breast Friend is by far the most effective nursing pillow on the market, as it can be adjusted and clipped around mom's waist during feeds, provides amble back support, and allows for hands-free nursing sessions. (The color shown below is called "Midnight Poppy.")
Organic Reusable Nursing Pads for Breastfeeding - Why are nursing pads helpful? Nursing moms' breasts tend to leak from time to time. By inserting a nursing pad into a regular or nursing bra, they can absorb leaked breastmilk to prevent embarrassment and staining. Unlike disposable pads, these reusable pads can be thrown in the washing machine and utilized over and over again - reducing waste and saving you money in the long run.
Haakaa - This small, silicone breastfeeding tool is so highly rated for good reason: by securing the haakaa on the opposite breast that your baby is feeding on, it gently suctions on and collects any "letdown" milk that can later be stored in bottles or storage bag. It essentially acts as like a breastpump would - with very minimal effort on your part. Win-win!
Medela Quick Clean Microsteam Bags - If you are planning to bottle feed, these Microsteam bags by Medela make bottle sterilizing a total breeze. They remove 99.9% of the most common germs and can be used in the microwave up to 20 times each.
Medela Electric Breast Pump - The Medela Double Electric Breast Pump worked really well for me with my firstborn, I exclusively pumped for 7 months and it withstood all of my late-night pumping sessions and back and forth trips on the subway in New York City. This particular pump is great because it uses settings that mimic your baby's natural sucking rhythms and comes with a cooler bag and a battery back for pumping on the go. (Before buying a breast pump-always check with your insurance first to see if they will provide you with one for free!)
Hands-Free Breast Pump Bra - If you are planning on pumping breastmilk at any point during your postpartum journey, then you should plan on purchasing a pumping bra in order to not be tied down to holding the flanges the whole time. I personally used this particular pumping bra when I exclusively pumped for 7 months back in 2018, and it made the entire experience so much easier and enjoyable.
Medela Breast Milk Cooler Set - If you are an exclusively breastfeeding mama, then feel free to skip this one. But, if you are an exclusive or occasional bottle feeding mama, this small bring-with-you-everywhere cooler is a must for your adventures out of the house with your milk-loving little one. It fits easily in a diaper bag or stroller and dries quickly after a cleaning. I literally used this cooler set every single day for the first year of my son's life.
2-in-1 Nursing and Pumping Bra - A nursing bra is a must if you are planning to breastfeed! This 2-in-1 nursing and pumping bra is great because it has adjustable shoulder straps to ensure comfort, fits most conventional breast pump flanges, and has clasps that optimize privacy and allow for convenient feeding.
Lansinoh Therapearl Breast Therapy Pack - These small but mighty packs can provide relief for the most common breastfeeding challenges. Cold therapy is known to help with pain and swelling often caused by engorgement and heat therapy is known to encourage let-down and relieve mastitis as well as clogged ducts.
Glass Baby Bottles with Natural Response Nipple - I personally prefer glass baby bottles because they do not contain any harmful chemicals and are easier to clean than plastic bottles. The Natural Response Nipple enables the baby to control the pace of the milk flow, just like when breastfeeding.
Philips AVENT Pacifier - This pacifier was very well-loved by our little one for the four months that he used pacifiers! Small pacis can get lost really easily, but with the attached stuffed animal - it makes it easy for babies and parents to find. And, the pacifier detaches from the lovie, which makes cleaning a breeze. (Quick note on pacifiers: There are many different types of pacifiers on the market, and sometimes, babies prefer one particular type over another. So-I suggest not buying more than one of each kind until you figure out which one your baby likes the best!)
Burp Cloth Set - Burp cloths are a must to have on hand for the first few months. When burping a newborn baby, occasionally there will be spit up involved - and there is nothing worse then having spit up on your clean clothes or hair. Before beginning to burp your baby, place a clean burp cloth over your shoulder to ensure you stay nice and clean. :) These ones from Lewis are made of organic muslin material, come in the sweetest colored prints, and are machine washable.
Silicone Bibs with Food Catcher - As a postpartum doula I have used a number of bibs when helping to feed my client's babies, and the silicone kind are by-far the most effective for catching dropped food and for keeping baby's clothes clean. After mealtime is over, the bib can easily be cleaned with a bit of soap and water and is ready to be used again immediately. The bib is also adjustable, so it can grow with your baby.
Boon Drying Rack - This drying rack has lived on my kitchen counter since the day our son was born and has been occupied by baby bottle pieces, small utensils, and sippy cup parts ever since. Initially, I thought having a separate drying rack for our son was not necessary. His stuff could just go on our family drying rack, right?! However, most baby products come with small parts that can easily become lost if not dried and stored properly, and having this drying rack as a designated space for all things baby has kept our family so organized!
Boon Bottle Cleaning Brush Set - Ok, HOW CUTE IS THIS BOTTLE CLEANING BRUSH SET?! This was not yet available when my son was born, so I am SO excited to add this to our countertop for our second baby! This set includes a bottle brush, a straw brush, a nipple brush, and a detail brush. Each of the brushes is made of nylon bristles so it is made to last, and the vase itself drains excess water for easy cleaning.