The truth is you don't need much to care for a baby besides clothes, diapers, a safe sleeping spot and a few other essentials.

Baby stuff is pretty sweet

But we'll be the first to admit there is plenty you can get to help everything go more smoothly — or just because new gadgets are always cool, especially when they are designed for babies.

But it can add up

We also know that even covering the basics for baby can start to add up, so there often isn't space in the budget for items like, say, a portable pacifier sanitizer.

Enter the baby registry


After registering for legitimate needs, we suggest throwing a couple of true wish-list gadgets into the mix. The people perusing your registry will appreciate the variety and you can potentially enjoy the nonessentials without thinking that money probably should have gone into the college fund.

3. Brica Stroller Phone Holder

Whether baby is sleeping during your stroll and you want to listen to music or you need to have you phone within view for incoming messages, the stroller phone holder will keep your cell secure. It can also attach to the front of the stroller if you want to play a video on your phone to keep the babe occupied.

Or you can just put your phone away and enjoy the great outdoors. Either way, we understand.

1. The Baby Shusher

If you've watched or read Happiest Baby On The Block, you will know the importance of the “shushing" to babies.

Unlike with adults, the sound is actually quite calming... But it kind of defeats the purpose if you have to constantly to it to keep baby peaceful.

That's where the baby shusher comes into place. Check it out here.

4. Gro-Egg Room Thermometer

From milk to bath water to the air, you'll be much more concerned about the temperature of things that affect baby than you ever are for yourself.

When checking in on the little one in the middle of the night, the Gro-Egg will quickly indicate whether the room is too cold (by turning blue), too hot (by going red) or somewhere comfortably in the middle with yellow or orange shades. Check it out here.

5. Boon Glo Nightlight With Portable Orbs

Instead of using your cell phone's flashlight to creep into baby's bedroom, the nightlight in the nursery really just falls under the “how cool" category. The portable orbs that go along with the Boon Glo Nightlight turn green when removed from the base, but still glow — which means it can transition from a baby's room essential into a cool toy for kids.

11. Aquatopia Bath Kneeler

This is one for you! After transitioning to the big bath, you'll probably learn quite quickly that a standard rug isn't easy on the knees. The Aquatopia Bath Kneeler solves the problem of sore knees while also providing convenient slots for shampoo and soap.

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6. Squirt Dispensing Spoon

Transitioning baby to solids is an inherently messy task, but the Squirt Dispensing Spoon makes it a bit easier by allowing you to keep your second hand free.

7. Lil Rinser Splashguard

Those “tear-free" shampoos really don't do the trick, try as they might. The Lil Rinser Splashguard helps by keeping soap and shampoo out of your little one's eyes, which is great news for anyone hoping to avoid at least one bath time-related battled.

10. Bum Bum Brush diaper cream applicator

No, you don't need to use the Bum Bum Brush Diaper Cream Applicator Tool to put ointment on your little one's tush, but with its stand-up/ stick on bottom and a crazy number of glowing reviews, maybe you'll want to.

2. Tommee Tippee Travel Bottle Warmer

Babies can be pretty picky about the temperature of their food, which can make it difficult if you are bottle feeding on the go. The travel bottle warmer works like a thermos by keeping the contents at a stable temperature for hours after leaving the house. Check it out here.

9. Zoë b Organic On The Go Sleepy Hats

If you have to be out and about during nap-time — which is inevitable at some point — and baby can't snooze amidst the lights and stimulation, the Sleepy Hat is designed to help.

8. Binky Fresh Pacifier Sanitizer

Sure, there are low-tech fasteners to keep you baby's binky from falling to the ground in the first place. But isn't this much cooler? The Binky Fresh Sanitizer uses UV lights to kill “up to 99.99 percent of germs and bacteria" on pacifiers and bottle nipples.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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I was blissfully asleep on the couch while my little one was occupied elsewhere with toys, books and my partner. She got bored with what they were doing, escaped from his watch and, sensing my absence, set about looking for me. Finding me on the couch, nose-level, she peeled back my one available eyelid, singing, "Mama? Mama? ...You there? Wake UP!"

Sound familiar? Nothing limits sleep more than parenthood. And nothing is more sought after as a parent than a nap, if not a good night's rest.

But Mother Nature practically guarantees that you are likely to be woken up by a toddler—they're hardwired to find you (and get your attention) when you're "away."

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