I have three kids under 3, trust me on these recommendations.
Let me start by saying that for my first pregnancy I was totally and completely unprepared. I knew we needed diapers and baby clothes, but didn't even know what a sound machine was and how much I was going to need one after our tiny 6lb 8oz baby was cleared to come home. I basically had a crash course on what things I actually needed and what were nice extras if you have disposable income and time (like, wipe warmers, sure, nice... necessity? not at all, I rather invest in a reliable monitor). I used my cluelessness to help other moms like me, and here's what I wished I had registered for the first time around.
I came into my second pregnancy more prepared but also was surprised with rainbow twins. This meant that anything that I got for the twins had to really solve problems because now we didn't have time or space for all the extras that get used once or twice a year.
Here's what I wish I had registered for the second time around:
I didn't have a contraption like this with my first because he was always in my arms or playing on the floor in a tiny apartment where I could see every single corner of every room. With twins and a toddler, having this BABYBJORN bouncer has been key. We can put one twin in it while bathing the other, it's a safe space for them to play or watch us while we cook or tend to big brother. And best of all, it folds so you can tuck it under a couch or behind a door to optimize space. (Motherly Co-founder Liz Tenety is also a fan. Read why she thinks the BABYBJORN bouncer is totally worth it here!)
I know, I will never get tired of telling people how the SNOO changed my life (for the better) after sleep deprivation with my first triggered PPA and probably the hardest six weeks of my life (even worst than all of 2020 combined, tbh). But the SNOO was especially key when we welcomed our twins. The bassinet helped them sleep better and longer (goodbye 15-minute naps that do nothing) while also giving us the peace of mind that they were in the safest sleep environment possible. Bonus: both babies were sleeping through the night at 10 weeks.
If you weren't babywearing with your first, all good. However, trust me when I say this, you will need your two hands when taking care of a toddler and a newborn, so do yourself a favor and register for a Tula carrier. That way you can cook for everyone while the littlest member of the family snoozes, or even get to play inside with toddler so they don't feel like their new sibling is getting all the attention.
"Is my baby safe?" and "Is my baby sleeping?" are two of the headiest questions new mamas ask.
A new baby monitor, Cubo Ai is a game-changer for mamas who want easy answers to those two big questions. It's smart design: with an adorable camera with a sweet bird design that goes with your nursery decor, HD night vision to let you peek at baby's littlest movements (even in the dark) and actually useful alerts that let you know when something is wrong—like a blanket covering baby's face. We also appreciate the temperature readings that help me know if my little one is too hot or just right in his crib—a balance that can be hard to get right, especially as seasons change. The easy app integration makes it simple for you to check in on baby with your phone without worrying that you'll be out of range.
The Cubo Ai offers all of the ease of a tech-infused baby monitor to make parents' lives easier, but without that sense of "too much information" some other monitors offer which can bog parents down. Plus their latest model, the Cubo Ai Plus, also offers sleep insights on baby's sleep patterns to make it easier for both of you to get your Zzs.
These colorful links might seem basic, but let me tell you, they're everything you need. They keep baby entertained while developing skills (grabbing, putting things in mouth, touching the edges and ridges) and are also safe to have lying around anywhere (stroller, diaper bag, toddler's room).
When you've got multiple small people to juggle, having a variety of carrier styles is never a bad idea. The soft, T-shirt-like Solly Baby wraps are ideal for the first weeks, keeping your teeny bundle close while still toddler-momming like a pro. The simple construction means it's easy to toss in the wash when it suffers the inevitable blowout or spit-up volcano. But on a more adorable note, it also comes in a toy version so your mini-me can practice their doll babywearing skills right alongside you.
Bathing a baby without a toddler around already feels like you need extra arms. Add one to the mix and you're going to want a bath that makes it feel like you do. Motherly's Health and Wellness Director (and resident Certified Nurse-Midwife) swears by this brilliantly innovative baby bath which makes it easy to safely bathe your babe without worrying they'll slip under. The anatomical ridges keep them cozied in a recline position with support under their arms and between their legs, and once they're able to sit up, they can use the other end, holding on to the middle for support.
Only after you have your first do you realize where it really makes sense to splurge—and classic products that grow with your kid are always at the top of the list. The Scandinavian-designed Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair has been a favorite for decades given its good looks and unbeatable functionality. With the removable Baby Set (five-point harness, high-back seat insert and leg extensions) it's suitable for six months through three years—then as they grow, both the seat and footrest can be adjusted to accommodate all the way up to 300 pounds! Looks like this one will be headed to college right along with them.
Getting a baby out of a car seat is not the most fun activity of the day. Do that with more than one child in tow and it's straight-up misery. So, instead of making my life even more complicated, I opted to get a Doona infant car seat, which has proven to be the best investment ever. I can take out the stroller seat, then tend to toddler, and it's so easy to push I even have a free hand to hold.
I'm not a fan of snaps, especially in the middle of the night, but also any other time of the day. Optimize diaper changes with MagneticMe outfits, they are not only super soft and made of beautiful prints, but they close with magnets so you don't have to take forever to dress your squirmy baby again.
One of the best pieces of advice my doula gave me was: find activities to keep your toddler entertained while you feed the new babies. And boy was she right. These Melissa & Doug books have proven to be a total hit. Toddler can "paint" for hours and they are totally baby-safe since they don't have tiny pieces that I should worry about.
Given the times we live in, having a no-touch thermometer for the entire family is a good investment. Especially if your toddler is going to school. Fevers in babies are always scary, but having this reliable and highly rated thermometer gives us peace of mind when we check for the 11th time of the day (let's get real, who am I even kidding here).
I am obsessed with this Bumbleride Indie Twin double stroller. Don't let the name fool you, sure this can be for families who have twins, but also just for families with two kids. Also, if you end up having a third, you can always add a kickboard to the stroller and take all three kids on the same one. It's super smooth and easy to push.
I recommend the Lovevery Play Gym over all the others in market for three main reasons: It's been the only one so far that has kept my babies entertained, it turns into a tent after they grow out of playmat age, and more importantly, it's simple, Montessori and won't clash with your decor.
This one is a two-fold win-win. First off, graduating to big brother or big sister is a pretty special occasion. A celebratory gift that can help sell them on the idea of not being the baby anymore is in order! Second, you're going to need this freshly minted "big kid" to get the wiggles out in ways that are easy to manage with baby in tow. The Mini Micro scooters hit all the marks with this 3-in-1 model they can sit, stand and be pushed on depending on their mood of the day.
This story was originally published on December 16, 2020. It has been updated.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.