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We're Illinois wedding photographers serving joyful Caitlin and Luke Brides, educators teaching business owners to be more than photographers, and parents to our son Grayson & doodle Oliver, living life together in Central Illinois!

Newborn Favorites: Our Top Favorite Baby Products

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August 26, 2021

Hi friends! I’ve had so many requests to put together a post with our favorite newborn products and resources since welcoming baby Grayson to our family in April! I love getting to put together things like this, so bear with me- it’s a bit of a long post. But, I hope it is super helpful and that it simplifies your preparation for your own little one!

To start, I want to preface this by saying that truly none of this stuff is essential- the essentials, obviously, include things like diapers, wipes and some baby clothes! 😉 These are just things that we’ve especially enjoyed, whether we registered for them or received them as a gift! There genuinely isn’t anything from our registry that we haven’t liked or used, but I thought it would be MOST helpful to just share some random favorites that I think every first time parent especially would enjoy.

I also linked our actual registry here so that you can see the other things we registered for and use daily! {We did tons of research on products and registered for the top recommendations from friends, family and lot of you, and every recommendation was so spot on and helpful!} For example, this post won’t include basic baby gear like strollers, high chairs, a monitor, bassinets, car seats, etc. But, if you have any questions about products like those, definitely let us know!

Without further ado, here are some of our favorite non-basic, non-obvious, “extra” items that have made our time with Grayson extra sweet! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means we make a small commission if you purchase one of these products. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions!

For Baby

OWLET

We have loved our experience with the Owlet!!! I can’t say enough good things about it. I started sleeping so much more soundly once we got it charged and started using it when Grayson was a few days old… it just gave me so much peace of mind. In my opinion, it is totally worth it.

DOCKATOT

This was especially helpful during the first few weeks we brought Grayson home, as it was a perfect spot for a {100% supervised!} nap while we hung out in our room or family room! Now, Grayson lounges in it while I get ready, cook, etc. I love the black marble pattern!

HATCH SOUND MACHINE

We had heard such great things about the Hatch, and it’s totally lived up to the hype! When Grayson was still sleeping in our room, we got so used to his sound machine that we bought ourselves the adult version once he started sleeping in his room- ha! He uses this for every nap and all night long, and it’s super easy to control from an app.

STROLLER FAN

This has come in so handy during road trips, walks, and even if Grayson just gets too hot inside the house! It’s very easy to attach to a stroller or car seat. It’s a tiny, inexpensive must-have for sure!

MINI WHITE NOISE MACHINE

We use this ALL the time! Much like the stroller fan, it has come in most handy during road trips or time in the car, walks in the stroller, and even random situations like trying to get him to sleep during church! I always keep it in our diaper bag because we use it so frequently.

HALO SLEEP SACKS

We have and loved a few different sleep sacks and swaddles, but these have been our favorites from day one and are what we are still using with Grayson! In the colder months, the fleece one was so cozy, and now he still uses the cute, patterned lightweight ones. They are foolproof, and we loved that he could be swaddled a few different ways, too!

BABY BUM BRUSH

This is another inexpensive must-have in our eyes! It makes application of diaper rash cream, Aquaphor, Vaseline, etc. so easy. We have one on his changing table and a few in our diaper bag!

WINDHI

Grayson really struggled with some tummy troubles around week two, and these were super helpful. Actually, all of Frida’s products are amazing {we have almost all of them!} and we’d highly recommend each!

BABY BLANKETS

I have a few favorite baby blankets, and in my opinion, you can never have too many! A few of our top favorites include a Monica & Andy one with doodles on it {mentioned below!}, a personalized baby name blanket from Etsy, and the Barefoot Dreams baby blanket!

CADEN LANE SWADDLE

I adored this swaddle set for newborn photos! They are SO soft and knot at the bottom for easy diaper changes. They also can be personalized! I wish I’d brought this to the hospital with me, too.

NEWBORN NEST

I used this for photos of Grayson in the hospital! It comes with a fitted sheet for the hospital bassinet, a swaddle, and more. Even the nurses in the hospital were commenting on how cute the little fitted sheet was- it’s such a sweet touch for those first hours in the hospital!

COMOTOMO BABY BOTTLES

Grayson started taking a bottle like a champ, randomly decided not to take one for weeks, and then suddenly decided to take them again perfectly! When he wasn’t taking one, we tried every bottle brand under the sun, but he ultimately only ended up deciding to take the bottle he’d originally liked: the Comotomo ones. We are big fans of these bottles!

ATTITUDE PRODUCTS

I’ve been a fan of Attitude’s products for quite some time! I felt very comfortable with EWG’s info on the ingredients in these. We love their baby laundry detergent, dish soap/bottle cleaner, bath soap, and lotion for Grayson!

ZARBEE’S GRIPE WATER

As I mentioned, Grayson struggled with some gas problems when he was a few weeks old! We found this to be very helpful to have on hand.

AMAZON BABY NAIL TRIMMER

This is a foolproof nail trimmer- I can’t recommend it enough! I was so nervous to trim his nails, but this doesn’t hurt them and is so, so easy to use.

MONIcA & ANDY BLANKET & HAT SET

A follower shared their doodle pattern with me because it looks so much like Oliver! I grabbed a set with a matching blanket and hat to use for newborn photos with Oliver, and I love the quality of the material so much.

NEWTON BABY CRIB MATTRESS

We did a lot of research on baby mattresses, and this was the one that seemed safest to us! It’s given me a lot of peace of mind, and it’s very easy to clean. We think it’s worth every penny!

CARTER’S BABY CLOTHES

I have a problem with buying Grayson clothes! 😉 It is very addicting, let me tell you! He grows out of sizes so fast that I feel like I’m always placing a Carter’s order for more clothes. Carter’s are some of the softest I’ve found, they hold up great in the wash, and I love the cute colors and patterns. The prices are also so reasonable!

SLEEPERS WITH FOLD-OVER HANDS

This was especially important to us during those first few days and weeks with Grayson because otherwise he’d scratch his face like crazy, and we love them now since he gets cold while he sleeps! Target and Carter’s had some of our favorites.

BURT’S BEES SHEETS

I love how soft these sheets are! They hold up wonderfully in the wash and come in the cutest patterns, too.

WET BAGS & EXTRA CHANGING PADS

I keep a few wet bags in our diaper bag for those unfortunate but unavoidable blowout situations! These have been a lifesaver on numerous occasions. I keep a change of clothes for him inside them until he needs it! I also love having a few extra diaper changing pads around the house and in our car + diaper bag!

WATER WIPES SUBSCRIPTION

I felt comfortable with the ingredients in these wipes and love that I could easily subscribe to deliveries of them on Amazon!

BOTTLE STERILIZER & BOTTLE WARMER

Both these things are for sure not necessary- there are other ways to sterilize bottles and to heat up a bottle! But we’ve found these to make our life simpler, and we use them multiple times each week. Highly recommend!

GRASS DRYING RACK AND ACCESSORIES

With all the little parts that make up a pump and bottles, having a separate drying space for them has been so helpful! I recently grabbed some cute cactus accessories to be able to dry more parts, and they’ve been a game changer. We love these!

For Mama

FRESHLY PICKED DIAPER BAG

I am that girl who knew exactly which diaper bag I wanted long before I was ever pregnant! 😉 I was gifted this bag by one of our sweet past brides, and I use it all the time. I love being hands-free since it is a backpack, and it has plenty of compartments for everything I need. I chose black so that it didn’t get as dirty, and I love that it looks really classic and will work for future littles, too!

ELVIE PUMPS

One of the things that majorly overwhelmed me while I was pregnant was thinking about having to pump while traveling to shoots and while shooting weddings! We did lots of research into the best wearable pumps, and we ultimately decided on the Elvie. These are worth every. single. penny. Honestly, I do not know what I would have done without these during wedding season! I can’t recommend them enough!

VAVA LIGHT

I have considered buying three more of these- I love them that much! This is a super easy to use, soft light that I use overnight while nursing or for middle of the night diaper changes. It’s not harsh and is easily adjustable for the perfect amount of light to see what you’re doing without fully waking up baby! I’m obsessed with this little light.

BOPPY

This has been a big help for my neck and back while nursing, especially since Grayson is a big baby! 😉 I found it helpful to have a few different covers in case he ever blew out on one, and I found lots of cute ones on Etsy and Amazon.

MILK STORAGE BAGS

Add these to your next Target pickup order… they are the best ones I’ve found for milk storage!

CHATBOOKS SUBSCRIPTION

One of my favorite things I’ve done is start a Chatbooks subscription for their “Monthbooks” right after Grayson was born! You add 30 photos to a book each month, and it’s shipped to your home. I do all black and white photos for the covers so that they match {typical Caitlin!}, and we love being able to look back on each month with baby Gray. I’m great about printing our professional photos, but having a way for our real, imperfect iPhone snaps to live outside of our phones has been so meaningful!

MILESTONE BLOCKS

My mom got me some milestone blocks for Christmas because I wanted something to add to Grayson’s monthly photos! Etsy has tons of options, and I’ve loved having these for Grayson’s regular photos I take as he grows!

MILK SNOB COVER

Especially since Grayson was born during all this pandemic craziness, I always feel more comfortable when he’s covered while we’re out and about at the pediatrician, during errands, at church, etc! This cover is so perfect for that, and it even works as a nursing cover and a stroller cover too. I got the black and white striped one because I liked the pattern, but the contrast in those colors is interesting to him, too- it’s so cute to watch! It washes so well, too, which is important to me with how frequently I like to clean it after being out!

HAAKA

It is incredible how much milk you can save up by using this while nursing! It’s so easy to use and takes no extra time at all.

WONDER WEEKS APP

It is wild to me how accurate this app is! Before this app, I’d never heard of the concept of a “leap,” but learning how Grayson is developing mentally and why he’s acting the way that he is has been so helpful as a new mom. I use this app all the time!

BABYGANICS STAIN REMOVER SPRAY

This stain remover has gotten EVERY stain out of Grayson’s clothes- I kid you not! I also grabbed a few travel sizes for our diaper bag. I am cautious with the ingredients in both our and Grayson’s products, and I felt comfortable after doing research on the ingredients in this!

HUCKLEBERRY APP

I use this app to track feedings, sleep, diapers, and more! It truly is my brain and is so helpful to have to reference if our pediatrician asks about something or if I just need to remember when something happened. Highly recommend!

ALLLL THE BASKETS!

This is a random thing I’ve realized I use ALL the time! I truly think a new mom cannot have too many baskets. 🙂 I have found myself using them for everything from pump parts, to baby toys, books, stuffed animals, diaper changing supplies, and more.

KARRIE LOCHER RESOURCES

A friend shared with me about Karrie Locher’s resources while I was still pregnant, and I found them to be so helpful as a first time mom! I found these pdfs to be the most helpful, and I used them to help create a flexible routine for Grayson. Her info about wake windows and helping baby get on a routine was life changing for our days. I can’t recommend her resources enough!

POSTPARTUM ESSENTIALS

This paragraph will be a bit TMI, but I hope this helps even one other new mama! Postpartum recovery is no joke. I know everyone’s experience is different, but recovery was a lot for me! Fortunately, I had some amazing other moms in my life who helped me prepare and know what to expect. A few things they either gifted me or told me to stock up on included loose comfy clothes that I actually like {I stocked up on some cute loungewear from my favorite boutique!}, pretty pajamas, nursing tanks, a nice robe, pads + adult diapers, stool softener {I told you this paragraph was TMI, friends!}, witch hazel pads, nursing pads, this peri bottle, this spray, and nipple cream. I used each of these things and found them each to be very helpful!

BREASTFEEDING FRIENDLY SNACKS

A few things that I’ve found to help keep my supply up include drinks that are extra hydrating {Gatorade, Vitamin Water, Body Armour!}, and foods that are high in protein or include a few special ingredients, such as oats, flax seed, and pumpkin seeds! I always have a batch of peanut butter energy balls on hand. I eyeball the measurements now, but the ingredients are just peanut butter, oats, chia seeds, flax seed, honey, pumpkin seeds, and mini chocolate chips! Treating yourself to a new water bottle {I love one that keeps my drinks extra cold, like a big Yeti!} can also motivate you to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated.

I hope this was super helpful, friends! Don’t hesitate to comment below or email us if you have any questions whatsoever.

Xoxo!
Caitlin and Luke | Bloomington, IL Wedding Photographers

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Cue the confetti! We've officially received your wedding inquiry, and we couldn't be more excited to start this journey with you.

We check email once daily during our wedding season office hours: M-TH, 9-4 CST. We appreciate your patience as we are still adjusting to life with a newborn. We promise to respond as soon as we are able! ♡

Messages received after 4:00 pm Thursday → Sunday evening will be responded to when we're back in the office on Monday. Friday-Sunday is devoted to traveling to/shooting weddings + spending time as a family!

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