There are a lot of things that you'll register for that you'll never end up using. Baby washcloths? Tiny garbage. Scratch mittens? You'll eventually figure out that baby socks work better if you can't find the shirts with the mittens built in. Formula maker? No one has time for that nonsense. Shake it in the bottle one-handed while you use the other hand to eat a pop tart. However, there are some baby items worth buying, no matter how weird they sound. In fact, they can be pretty essential.
Some of the items on this list look downright ridiculous and you'll think I've gone round the bend for even suggesting them, but trust me, each of these items have been chosen carefully and used thoughtfully and often. Babies are mostly simple creatures who require simple tools to care for them — clothing, food, and something to soothe them has worked for millennia — but in today's age of technology and innovation, there's no reason that we can't take advantage of our knowledge and upgrade our experiences, making things easier for us and our babies.
Not everything on this list is a technical wonder — some are just clever upgrades on common items — but they're all excellent at improving the status quo, which is exactly what you need when you're an exhausted first time parent.
Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator Snot-Sucker
I promise, there are filters that prevent the snot from launching into your throat. But truthfully, as weird as it sounds, this is just the best nasal aspirator I've ever used. It's simple, it's easy, and it gets every last drop of snot out of your kid's nose so that maybe, just maybe, you can all get a few minutes rest.
I don't know who invented this, but I want to kiss them on the mouth. I don't think I would've been able to get through either of my children's infancy without these pacifier holder lovies. My son was never more than a step or two away from his red dog Wubbanub or duck Wubbanub, and my daughter had her monkey in her hand pretty much all of the time. Buy these. Heck, buy four of these and keep them around; they're amazing. They hold the binky for your baby when they can't do it yet, and when they do have some grip and awareness of where their mouths are, they're a great help.
3. Noise Machine
Ultra Portable Rechargeable Sound Machine
If it wasn't for our white noise machine, played gently, I don't think my daughter would ever sleep. Recommended by our pediatrician to drown out the noise of the city, our white noise machine is still used every night. Pro tip: use the thunderstorm setting and then when you're caught driving through a thunderstorm or one unexpectedly hits during nap time, your little one will happily sleep right through it. It's a glorious thing.
4. Easy Swaddle Blankets
Aden+Anais Swaddle Blankets
Buy Buy Baby
These are the easiest, most breathable swaddle blankets on the market. Struggle to get a firm enough swaddle? You know what makes it easier? Velcro. Velcro is heaven's gift to parenting. Velcro and cabernet sauvignon, equally.
5. Boob Therapy
Lansinoh Breast Therapy Packs
OK, these aren't technically for your baby, but if you're nursing, it's as important to them as everything else on this list. These can be made warm or cold for soreness, mastitis, engorgement, and general discomfort. These are so nice to have. Also, they work as an ice pack for your kids, too.
6. Baby Hairbrush
BleuMoo Hairbrush and Comb set
I can understand why you don't think you need one of these. I mean, your baby has no hair. Bald as Mr. Clean, you know? But this brush is perfect for cradle cap, which happens more often than you care to think about. Also, I found that brushing my babies' hair put them to sleep. Anything for some rest, right?
We got so much use out of our Boppy, even though many think it's a pointless item. I used it when I nursed, I used it when I was propping my child up to bottle feed them, and I used it for supervised tummy time. As my kids got older, it became a comfy pillow for them to lie on while watching TV or reading a book. You will get every penny's worth of use out of this pillow.
8. Car Seat Handle Cushion
Car Seat Handle Cushion
Buy Buy Baby
I get how dumb this looks, but trust me, it's a game changer. You never know just how nice it is to have one of these until you do, and then you never want to give it up ever again. This is especially nice in the summer when your hands are sweaty and gross.
9. Stroller Organizer
Stroller Organizer with Cup Holder
You need a cup holder — just trust me. This organizer seems silly, but it also has space for snacks, your phone, and even some diapers or wipes. It hangs on the back of your stroller and secures easily, making it a total necessity.
10. Baby Monitor With Two Cameras
Motorola® MBP845CONNECT-2 5" Portable WiFi Video Monitor with 2 Cameras in White
Buy Buy Baby
Why two cameras? Because when you want to poop in peace and your baby is sleeping happily in the pack and play in the living room, you don't want to deal with moving the camera that's placed perfectly above the crib. The second camera is your "portable camera." It moves throughout the house. Trust me on this, and you'll thank me later.