15 Unexpected Products Every First-Time Parent Needs

Becoming a first-time parent can be pretty intimidating! Thankfully, with the right gear and a lifehack or two, you can make the experience a lot less stressful for yourself and your baby.


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Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner

A lot of bonding can happen during nursing—and so can a lot of cramping. Nursing pillows are ideal for keeping both baby and mom comfortable during feeding sessions, and ensuring that the only thing falling asleep is the baby (and not mom's arm). The Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner has a stellar reputation with parents, and for good reason: It's easy to use, flexible for a variety of positions, and can be washed in a snap. While it's not exactly portable, it's worth buying two so that one can travel in your baby's diaper bag and provide comfort for any impromptu nursing. The Boppy brand tends to be relatively expensive, but given how long their pillows last, it's easy to see why. ($30; walmart.com)

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Boiron Camilia Baby Teething Relief

Your baby's teeth will be here before you know it, and teething is no fun! Teething toys are great for letting your baby gnaw and gnash, but the soothing effects of Camilia—a homeopathic remedy based largely on chamomile—can help. Each nontoxic, sugar-free dose is easy to administer and can provide relief for several hours. While it's no substitute for a pain reliever, Camilia is perfect for those days when sore gums keep your little one from being comfortable or sleeping. Remember to consult your baby's pediatrician before offering the them medication for pain relief. ($10; walmart.com)

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OxGord 1,000 Pet Dog Waste Bags

You're not always going to be near your diaper pail, so it's important to have a backup plan. Using dog waste bags is an easy way to keep dirty diapers quarantined until your next trash dropoff. Surprisingly, it pays to be picky when it comes to dog waste bags, because many brands tear easily—or worse, they don't entirely contain bad smells. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, the AmazonBasics brand hits the sweet spot between quality and price point. ($37; walmart.com)

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Tupperware Smidget Containers

A bored baby is a fussy baby, so it's important to always have a spare toy or two at the ready in case you and your child end up stuck somewhere without anything to play with. For cases where you have to improvise, tuck a small Tupperware container in your diaper bag and put a baby food jar lid (or anything dense and small) inside one to make an instant rattle. Your baby may not be old enough to appreciate your improvisational skills, but she'll certainly be entertained. ($50; walmart.com)

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MamaRoo Classic Infant Seat

Not all baby bouncers are created equal. Meet the Cadillac of bouncers, the MamaRoo. MamaRoos are pricey, but that's understandable when you consider the feature set. With five unique motions and speeds, a full library of soothing white-noise sounds, a smartphone app for making adjustments, and Bluetooth connectivity for playing mp3 lullabies, it's a must for rocking your baby to sleep. The MamaRoo also holds the distinction of being one of the few baby bouncers that meets federal standards for what constitutes safe sleeping for children (when the seat is laid flat). Keep in mind that you'll need to plan where to put it; while not Cadillac-sized, it's still 20 pounds and the size of a large nightstand. ($220; walmart.com)

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Dr. Brown's Bottle Brush Set

One of the biggest challenges of parenting a new baby is keeping everything clean—especially baby bottles! A newborn can easily go through several bottles each day, so even if your bottles are dishwasher-safe, it's important to thoroughly wash the nipples so they're disinfected. (When bottles aren't properly cleaned, it can, in rare instances, lead to a Cronobacter infection, which is a fairly serious condition.) Dr. Brown's Bottle Brush is your best companion when it comes to keeping bottles sanitized. It gets into all of the awkward crevices and has both a sponge tip and bristles to properly scrub the entire surface area. Best of all, using a dedicated brush for your baby bottles guarantees you aren't exposing your child to any adult bacteria or germs from your other sponges or brushes. ($40; walmart.com)

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Rockabye Baby! Lullabies

Sometimes good parenting is all about keeping yourself sane, and traditional children's music can drive anyone crazy. The "Rockabye Baby!" lullabies series features instrumental lullaby covers of rock and pop music from the '80s, '90s, and beyond, each arranged to soothe your baby with music you know and love. We especially love that, depending on which album you choose, most of the tracks are baby-themed, so you can sing your child to sleep with Guns 'n' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine," Aerosmith's "Dream On," or even The Cure's "Just Like Heaven." ($22; walmart.com)

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Shiatsu Foot Massager

It's important to take time for self-care, especially as a new parent. Along with getting limited amounts of sleep, you'll probably also find yourself on your feet a lot, so make sure you look after them with this deep-kneading foot massager. Instead of using water like most foot massagers, the Best Choice Products massager applies heat while using six rotational heads to provide a Shiatsu-style massage experience. It's like an express visit to a day spa! ($140; walmart.com)

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Halo SleepSack Wearable Blanket

Swaddling can be great—as long as your baby cooperates! Some baby Houdinis can get out of a swaddle pretty quickly, and that's where Halo SleepSacks come in handy. SleepSacks are exactly what they sound like: cotton sleeping bags with holes for your baby's head and arms. They're exceptionally easy to put on, and because your baby's arms are free, they'll stay warm, but not too warm. With a SleepSack, babies can practice their kicks all they want without getting cold. ($16; walmart.com)

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RaZbaby Keep-it-Kleen Pacifiers

Pacifiers can be ideal for helping your baby self-soothe, but babies are uncoordinated, and sooner or later every binky ends up on the ground. Unfortunately, the "five-second rule" doesn't apply with infants, so you'll need to keep traditional pacifiers away from dirt and germs. RaZbaby Keep-it-Kleen Pacifiers offer a unique solution: pacifiers with a self-closing mechanism that secures the nipple if it gets dropped, protecting it from touching the ground. ($5.50; walmart.com)

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Ulubulu Robot Universal Pacifier Clip

New parents don't have to drive themselves nuts by hunting around the house for baby's pacifier. Pacifier clips make it easy to keep your little one's pacifiers attached to important places like a car seat or a coat. Just don't forget about cleaning your pacifiers frequently—they can get unsanitary (and yucky smelling) pretty quickly. ($5; walmart.com)

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Luvable Friends Newborn No-Scratch Mittens

Believe it or not, newborn baby fingernails can be pretty dangerous, because they're sharp and babies don't develop their fine motor skills until they're older. To keep your infant from scratching himself (or you), make sure you keep those little hands covered! ($4; walmart.com)

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Ergobaby 360 Baby Carrier

Traditional baby carriers require parents to perform a complex series of folds and near-acrobatic maneuvers that most parents just don't have time (or energy) for. The Ergobaby 360 solves that problem by using a clasp-based system, so parents can put it on as easily as they would a backpack. In the 360, the baby sits in a bucket seat that adjusts to several different positions (both front and back), and the padding is designed to evenly distribute your baby's weight in each one. ($159; walmart.com)

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Munchkin Miracle 360 Sippy Cups

No matter how long your baby drinks from bottles, it's important to have a plan for when you're going to transition them to drinking cups. Most parents opt for traditional sippy cups after bottles. These can be useful, but sippy cups spill frequently and aren't very durable. In contrast, Munchkin Miracle 360 cups take a more novel approach: With their unique rubber and plastic filtering lids, babies can practice drinking with sturdy, larger cups that don't spill. Because liquids only seep out at the edges, babies learn quickly how to tip a glass themselves and are better prepared for moving on to cups without lids. ($13; walmart.com)

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Arm & Hammer's Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

Your diaper pail will be the only thing keeping your baby's room from smelling like an outhouse, so it's important to pick one that's up to the task. Arm & Hammer's Munchkin Step Diaper Pail can be used mostly hands-free, and changing bags is surprisingly easy. The included baking soda cartridges help control odor, although those must be replaced periodically. While the Munchkin brand isn't as ubiquitous as the Diaper Genie, the Munchkin Step Diaper Pail is definitely the one everyone wishes for. ($80; walmart.com)

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