Back to Work Baby Registry

15 must-haves for the working mama.

Back to Work Baby Registry
*We’ve partnered with Lullaby Baby to share how shopping small can help you ace your registry. If you know you’re going back to work after baby, you might want to think out of the box when it comes to your baby registry. Out of the big box, that is. Sure, when it comes to shopping for run-of-the-mill bulk items (ahem, a three months supply of toilet paper?) the big box stores are certainly a great option. But for more important purchases in life -- say, a baby registry -- the smaller baby shops win, with their hands-on approach and personal attention. To give us some real life inspiration, we tagged along with Michelle Gindi of Buddha Bowls and Burpees while she registered for Baby #3 at Lullaby Baby in Brooklyn. Shop owner (and mom of 3) Kayla Kramer helped Michelle prep for returning to her job as a health coach after baby by picking out some back-to-work basics, plus some new baby must-haves. On the top of Michelle's list? A highly efficient breast pump. Kayla immediately steered Michelle toward the pump she can't stop talking about these days: Medela's new Sonata Smart Breast Pump. And because of the intimate setting of a small boutique, Kayla was also able to recommend the Medela parts and accessories she would need to help make breastfeeding and pumping a success and explain how everything worked. Read on for more of Kayla's hand-picked selections, plus her expert opinion on what makes each one perfect for Michelle's registry (and yours) as a back-to-work mama.

1. Medela Sonata Smart Breast Pump Kayla says: "This is an incredible pump because it performs like a hospital pump but is super quiet - even better for the mom pumping at work. But the thing that our customers really love is that the pump connects to an app that tracks your pumping sessions for you in real-time. Everything is digital - there's even a dashboard (instead of the buttons and switches of previous models). Because it is so efficient, it improves the pumping-at-work experience by cutting the time it takes to pump. I also like that all the pump accessories have been improved over previous versions." $399 2. Bitybean Ultracompact Baby Carrier Kayla says: "Every new mom needs a baby carrier, and it is especially helpful when doing daycare or babysitter drop off if you're not planning on taking a stroller to and from your destination. I like this carrier because it is lightweight, and the shoulder straps are really comfortable." $59.99 3. Clip and Pump Bra by Bravado Kayla says: "This is not so much a nursing bra as it is a nursing accessory. You can clip it on discreetly under your shirt, slide the breast shields in and start pumping. This is great for working moms because it is a hands free AND discreet pumping accessory, allowing you to pump at your desk (even if you don't have a private pumping space). It is really incredible." $30 4. Medela Quick Clean Breastpump & Accessory Sanitizer Kayla says: "Basically, this is like what Purell is to hands. Spray this on your breast pump parts and the spray sanitizes the parts within 60 seconds. It is safe to use around your baby, it is EPA approved, and you can use whatever item you've sprayed right after you've sprayed it (no need to rinse the spray off). This stuff makes for easy pump cleaning when pumping in unsanitary environments (which, let's face it, you will probably find yourself in when pumping outside the home)." $7.99 5. ThinkBaby Diaper Rash Ointment Kayla says: "This product was just released, but I really like that this company tends to be very conscious about the ingredients they use in their products. They've had tremendous success with other products. So far, our customers have been saying great things about this." $14.95 6. Medela Sonata Double Pumping Kit Kayla says: "If you're pumping away from home, it's essential to have spare parts on-hand. You don't want to reach into your pump bag and realize you left a breast shield on your drying rack at home. I would recommend keeping a backup kit like this at work, or in your bag, for just this kind of situation. You can't find pump parts in your average drug store." $54.99 7. Philips Avent Smart Baby Monitor Kayla says: "I like this monitor because it connects with an app, and it is works with Wi-Fi. So if you're at work, you can check on your baby back at home. It gives you peace of mind." Works with an app, Wifi Capable. So if you're at work, you can check in on baby." $239 8. Munch Mitt Pastels Original Silicone Teether Mitten Kayla says: "Babies are always putting their fingers and hands in their mouths, especially when teething. This is a great solution for teething babies and also for babies who tend to scratch their faces." $29.98 9. JuJuBe Be Pumped The First Lady Kayla says: "For going back to work, you need to be organized and prepared. A good diaper bag that gives you everything you're going to need is so important. This one by Be Pumped has a pocket so every item goes into the right place." $200 10. Uppababy MINU Stroller Kayla says: "This stroller has great wheels, great suspension, and folds up really small while still being a very solid product. You can use it with your baby right from Day 1, and it has car seat adaptability. This is one of the best in-and-out-of-the-car strollers around. It's even great for naps because it has a bassinet function. I look at this as a "full solution" stroller, as it goes from car seat, to bassinet, to lightweight stroller without needing adaptors." $429 11. Uppababy MESA Car Seat Kayla says: "This carseat can go right onto the Uppababy MINU Stroller without any adaptors, making traveling with baby a very concise, hassle-free experience." $349 12. Owlet Kayla says: "This sock provides peace of mind and is a life saver - literally. Customers tell us how the Owlet has saved their baby. It's great for moms, especially when working from home." $299 13. Skip Hop Explore and More Baby's View 3-Stage Activity Center Kayla says: "This activity center is compact, easy to assemble, and keeps baby occupied so you can get stuff done!" $119 14. Nuna Leaf Curve Bouncer and Rocker Chair Kayla says: "This bouncer is eco-smart and evolutionary in both style and design. It also has an ultra smooth and quiet side-to-side motion, which lasts over two minutes with just a gentle push." $299.95


Lifestyle photography by Ren'ee Kahn Bresler.

These are the best bath time products you can get for under $20

These budget-friendly products really make a splash.

With babies and toddlers, bath time is about so much more than washing off: It's an opportunity for fun, sensory play and sweet bonding moments—with the added benefit of a cuddly, clean baby afterward.

Because bathing your baby is part business, part playtime, you're going to want products that can help with both of those activities. After countless bath times, here are the products that our editors think really make a splash. (Better yet, each item is less than $20!)

Comforts Bath Wash & Shampoo

Comforts Baby Wash & Shampoo

Made with oat extract, this bath wash and shampoo combo is designed to leave delicate skin cleansed and nourished. You and your baby will both appreciate the tear-free formula—so you can really focus on the bath time fun.

Munckin Soft Spot Bath Mat

Munchkin slip mat

When your little one is splish-splashing in the bath, help keep them from also sliding around with a soft, anti-slip bath mat. With strong suction cups to keep it in place and extra cushion to make bath time even more comfortable for your little one, this is an essential in our books.

Comforts Baby Lotion

Comforts baby lotion

For most of us, the bath time ritual continues when your baby is out of the tub when you want to moisturize their freshly cleaned skin. We look for lotions that are hypoallergenic, nourishing and designed to protect their skin.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

First year stack cups

When it comes to bath toys, nothing beats the classic set of stackable cups: Sort them by size, practice pouring water, pile them high—your little one will have fun with these every single bath time.

Comforts Baby Oil

Comforts baby oil

For dry skin that needs a little extra TLC, our team loves Comforts' fast-absorbing baby oil aloe vera and vitamin E. Pro tip: When applied right after drying off your baby, the absorption is even more effective.

KidCo Bath Toy Organizer

KidCo Bath Organizer

Between bathing supplies, wash rags, toys and more, the tub sure can get crowded in a hurry. We like that this organizer gives your little one space to play and bathe while still keeping everything you need within reach.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

As a mom, I say the phrase 'let me just…' to my kids more times a day than I can count.

Yes, I can help you log into your class, let me just send this email.
Yes, I can play with you, let me just make one more call.
Yes, I can get you a snack, let me just empty the dishwasher.

I say it a lot at work, too.

Yes, I can write that article, let me just clear my inbox.
Yes, I can clear my inbox, let me just finish this meeting.
Yes, I can attend that meeting, let me just get this project out the door.

The problem is that every 'let me just' is followed by another 'let me just'... and by the time they're all done, the day is over, and I didn't do most of the things I intended—and I feel pretty bad about myself because of it.

I wasn't present with my kids today.
I didn't meet that deadline.
I couldn't muster the energy to cook dinner.
The house is a mess. I am a mess. The world is a mess.

It's okay, I tell myself. Let me just try again tomorrow.

But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes and the list of things I didn't get to or didn't do well bears down on my shoulders and my heart, and all I can think is, "I am failing."

And I think that maybe I'm not alone.

Keep reading Show less
Work + Money