Ask the moms: Must-have baby gear

By Published On: May 14th, 2012

Meet our mom panel: Lacey Major is the mom of […]

Meet our mom panel:
LaceyLacey Major is the mom of two awesome kids, Riley (age 13) and Brice (age 7). She is the editor-in-chief of Pregnancy & Newborn. Checkout the Editor’s Letter in our magazine each month for more good-to-know widsom from Lacey.


Rachel Reiff Ellis is Associate Editor at P&N. She is mom to Noah, 7; Rosie, 3—and a brand new baby boy named Max! Want to know more about Rachel? You can follow her pregnancy journey on our Knocked Up blog.


Associate Editor Tracy Brown is mom to 4-month-old, Braxton. When she’s not busy perfecting her diaper changing routine, she loves to volunteer, dance, eat good food and watch college football. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, son and dog, CiCi.

AlysonAlyson West is an Associate Editor at P&N. She and her husband are delighted with their daughter, Alexandra, who is 3-months-old. When she’s not focused on moms and newborns, Alyson is a forensic actor for the federal government.

GinnyAs a stay-at-home mother of two, Ginny Butler spends her days playing peek-a-boo, buckling and unbuckling, and explaining why stink bugs don’t make good pets. In her quiet hours, Ginny writes for P&N as contributing editor from a distance—she currently resides in Salt Lake City with her husband Shawn and children, Charlotte (5) and Finn (1).

There’s a plethora of baby products available on the market. So, how do you know which ones are essential and which ones you can live without? You ask a mom, of course. Here’s what our mom panel had to say about their must-have items.
Lacey: A comfy carrier, a nursing pillow and a good breast pump would make my cant-live-without list. I also think every mom deserves a drool-worthy diaper bag—you’re sleep deprived, covered in spit-up, and shaped a little (a lot?) differently than you were prebaby; you deserve something that makes you feel fabulous.
Rachel: A gift I tend to buy for first time moms at showers is reusable nursing pads. I would never have thought to purchase those prebaby, but boy did I use them every day once I was breastfeeding. Also, we are big fans of the activity center once you have a baby who likes to be upright, but whom still needs to be contained. That’s the key to getting everyone else fed some nights! Also, and this is not necessarily baby-specific, but I couldn’t live without having a good camera to take pictures of my kids. Definitely an item worth saving up for in anticipation of parenthood.
Tracy: I absolutely, positively could not live without the following items:

  1. Swaddle blankets—At first, rolling my little man up helped him sleep snug as a bug.
  2. Glass baby bottles—They heat up so fast.
  3. A bottle warmer—I was completely amazed the first time I used one.
  4. A breastfeeding cover –You never know when hunger will hit. Church? The movies? A picnic? Just make sure you have one.
  5. A feeding pillow—Don’t be fooled, these pillows are more than just comfy during eating time; they also serve as a baby recliner.
  6. A lightweight stroller—There’s no need to lug one of those heavy things around all day. Make sure your stroller is light and easy to maneuver.

Alyson: These five products make my life so much easier:

  1. a baby carrier for a (mostly) hands-free hold
  2. a good, easy-to-maneuver, smooth-rolling stroller
  3. a wrap-around nursing pillow with buckle-closure for easy feeding support
  4. a baby monitor to catch a grumble before it turns into a rumble
  5. bibs! She’s a drooler and wearing a wet shirt is no fun for either of us.


  1. I swear by muslin swaddling blankets—in fact, I’ve given them as gifts at many a baby shower. A good swaddle will keep baby snug so he can’t flail his arms and wake himself up throughout the night, and muslin is the perfect lightweight, breathable fabric.
  2. If you have the kind of baby who fusses whenever he’s confined to one spot for more than a moment, try a walker. I don’t think I could have made dinner once during my son’s first year had it not been for his walker!
  3. White noise machines can work wonders. My baby would wake at the slightest sound if it weren’t muffled by the sound of (artificial) breaking waves or pouring rain.
  4. Nursing cover. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing, but that doesn’t mean I want my tatas on display.
  5. Because my little son Finn’s diet staples are bananas, applesauce and green smoothies—and his changing table is all the way upstairs—I keep a diaper caddy close at hand.

Join us each week in the month of May, as we ask our P&N mom panel to dish out their best advice on a variety of topics that matter to you.