Our most-used newborn baby products + petite carriers

baby registry essentials for a small condo or apartment space

In the blink of an eye, Nori just turned 6 months old (insert crying emoji) and I’m looking back and sharing some products that we used / still use the most often. We live in a small space so got very few baby things before she arrived, but ended up trying and buying quite a few while in survival mode. Newborns certainly don’t NEED much, but these products definitely made our early months as new parents easier! If possible, I recommend borrowing or trying out things from friends first, since every baby is different.

Note: I’m aware that others will have strong, differing opinions on the use of some of these products. I included safety notes and links to recommended guidelines, and encourage fellow parents to make informed decisions for themselves!

1. Baby Carrier

Our favorite: Baby Bjorn Carrier Mini (at TargetAmazon, BabyBjorn)
Poor Nori had bad reflux as a newborn and cried around the clock, which left us feeling helpless. We had the most success soothing her while babywearing, and tried over half a dozen styles. Carriers in general are awesome since they 1) keep baby close to you but your hands free, 2) help reflux-prone babies stay upright after feeding, and 3) soothe fussy babies into longer naps.

For an option that both Nick and I can use, we loved the Carrier Mini starting at around 3 weeks through now. It’s very petite-friendly, doesn’t “swallow up” smaller babies like full size carriers do (even with the infant inserts), and comes in soft jersey or breathable mesh. The downside is that it’ll be outgrown within the first year.

baby bjorn newborn carrier mini for petite moms
baby carrier for petite parents baby bjorn mini
Baby Bjorn Carrier Mini used at 5 weeks vs 5 months
Wearing Everlane jeans 25 ankle, Mgemi loafers 5.5, BP sweater // Nori is in H&M bear suit, CP cookies bib

2. Baby Wrap

Our favorite: Solly Baby Wrap (comes in regular or petite lengths)
I found soft wraps to be amazing for the newborn stage when they’re tiny and squishy, and I hear they’re perfect for preemies too! Wraps keep baby cuddled close against your body, with the option to tuck in their floppy heads. I wish Nori liked these beyond 2 months (update: just brought our wrap back out and she was okay with it again!)! These are basically long strips of stretchy fabric that you have to wrap. The how-to videos may look insane, but you get the hang of it after a little practice. If we were traveling or going out, I’d pre-tie the wrap and layer a jacket over it if needed – see my Traveling with a 2 month old post for more info!

Compared to similar, popular wraps by Ergobaby (viscose), Moby (medium weight cotton / viscose), and Boba (thicker cotton), the main difference I found with Solly (modal) is the material feels more breathable and lightweight, plus it comes in a much shorter Petite option and bonus: has a pouch at the end which I used for pacifiers or nursing pads. That being said, I feel like modal may stretch out or lose elasticity over time faster than thicker wraps like the Boba which felt more sturdy. Fit-wise, the Solly in Petite was actually just long enough to finish tying around me, unless you plan on skipping the last wraparound step.

Another soft carrier that many petite moms like is the Baby K’Tan (see me trying my friend’s with her baby), which comes in specific sizes starting in XXS available on their website.

boba baby wrap carrier review for petite parents
solly baby wrap best newborn carrier for petite moms
Left: Boba wrap (VERY long on me) //  Right: Solly wrap pre-tied for travel. Sadly I never got a good photo of wearing Nori in the Solly. It looks similar to the Boba except feels less bulky.

3. Baby bouncer or rocker

Our favorite: BabyBjorn mesh bouncer (at TargetAmazon, BabyBjorn)
There’s a lot of choices in this category including the ever popular Fisher Price auto rock n play (the # 1 most recommended baby product when I asked for suggestions!), but my little one didn’t care for it. We had the most luck with the Baby Bjorn bouncer, which is more of a reclined seat that you can manually bounce. It’s pricey for a seat, but we’ve been using this multiple times a day and still do! It has a lightweight, flat-folding design for small spaces and travel, 3 recline settings, easy to wash covers, plus looks nice and minimalist.

Sometimes using this was the only way I could have a few minutes to get dressed or cook. And I’ve totally put the bouncer in the bathroom doorway while I took a speed shower or used the potty (real talk lol). We also use this to read books to her, or clip some teething toys to it now while preparing her food. Lastly, we love bringing it to friends’ homes or on road trips so Nori has somewhere to sit securely after eating!

Safety Notes: AAP notes on bouncer safety and swing use.

babybjorn newborn bouncer chair review
baby registry must have products baby bjorn bouncer

4. Bassinet

What we used: UPPAbaby bassinet in “Gregory” gray (at Amazon, Nordstrom)
Most of our friends did not have a crib at first, and used either the Halo (with mesh sides) or UPPAbaby bassinet as their newborn’s primary sleeping vessel. The UPPAbaby bassinet is included with the VISTA stroller or sold separately if you get the smaller CRUZ. It’s good quality and Nori slept better in this than our other bassinet for over 4 months.

The canopy darkens half the bassinet for sleeping and also helped shield it from blasting AC in the summer. There’s a vent below the mattress that can be opened up, and the canopy and inner padding is removable. We used it with this bassinet stand (converts to a hamper using an insert – both sold separately), and stored our car seat on the convenient bottom shelf.

Safety Notes: UPPAbaby sells this bassinet as “a perfect overnight sleep solution.” A reader commented that it may be less breathable due to padding along the inner sides if a baby’s face gets pressed against the edge. We were comfortable with using it for overnight sleeping, but wanted to pass this along.

uppababy bassinet gregory with stand
uppababy cruz bassinet stand
This smaller, fluffy (not firm) Boppy pillow was my fave during pregnancy AND after! I still use it daily behind my lower back or between the knees while nursing side lying. Robe is Kindred Bravely S/M

5. Car Seat + Stroller System

Our favorites: Nuna Pipa car seat with UPPAbaby or Babyzen YoYo strollers – see my blog post on these!
I try to get Nori out of the house once a day and have been SO happy with our car seat and stroller systems. They serve different purposes for us, but if I had to choose just one for life in Boston, it’d be the UPPAbaby (YoYo wheels can’t handle snow or slush, plus the undercarriage basket is too small for our groceries). That being said, the YoYo is awesome and easier for me as a petite mom to fold up, transport, and maneuver around tight spaces. Although we have the UPPAbaby bassinet attachment, we actually almost always used our Nuna car seat on top of the strollers from 0-5 months because Nori seemed more comfortable sitting at an angle.

To answer some common questions I get about the Nuna Pipa car seat, we love it because: 
– It’s the lightest option out of the car seats we considered that does NOT require a base when used in a car (like the Pipa Lite does). This is very important to me, since I carry Nori in her car seat up and down four flights of stairs by myself every day, and I also Uber and travel with this carseat so need to be able to use it without the base.
– It meets more stringent European car seat safety standards.
– It works with multiple brands of strollers (using converters), including UPPAbaby, Babyzen, Bugaboo
– It’s proven to be very comfy for Nori, and I love the magnetic sunshade that we always get asked about!

6. changing pad with Scale

Our favorite: Hatch Baby Grow changing pad with scale (at TargetAmazon)
You don’t really need a changing pad, but I’d at least recommend something that wipes clean instead of uses fabric covers (unless you get washable liners), since I lost count of the rogue pees and poops that have happened!

The Hatch pad is very easy to clean, has a built-in scale, is comfortable for our baby (surface doesn’t get too cold), plus the base does not slide around. We love using the scale casually to see her grow between doctors visits, not for the purpose of measuring breastmilk intake each feeding since that requires exact precision. I also wish you didn’t need to have the phone app open in order to use the scale feature. But since we were considering either the Hatch or Keekaroo Peanut, which is similarly priced with no scale feature, the Hatch pad was an easy choice!

hatch grow baby diaper changing pad scale review

Hatch Grow pad, Skip Hop caddy, Earth Mama diaper balm (love this), BabyBum diaper balm paddle, Honest + Pampers Pure diapers (our favorites for sensitive skin, but size up on Honest)

7. Activity Mat

Our favorite: Skiphop Farmstand mat
I’ll admit I chose this mat for the cute veggie theme, but all the Skiphop activity gyms have a lot of sensory features for babies to discover as they grow including textures, sounds, rattles, mirrors, a teether toy, and adorable coordinating tummy time support wedge pillows. We held off on getting one initially, but Nori loves this and has spent a good amount of time on it daily for the past few months!

skiphop registry baby mat activity gym farmstand

8. Portable lounger

Our favorite: DockATot (at Nordstrom; Amazon)
This is a pricey large pillow with a flat center, handle, and removable cover. But we admittedly loved and used this every day for naps until around 4-5 months. I loved that I could grab and move it around the house with only one free hand – something I couldn’t do with a bassinet. Sometimes we would co-sleep between feedings, and used this on our bed to keep her close but separated. Some parents get longer use out of the Dockatot as a lounger, changing station, or tummy time prop, but our baby is now on the move and won’t stay put!

We also received the Snuggle Me Organic which has rave reviews from fellow moms, but unfortunately Nori didn’t like it. If you’re shopping for a dock for baby’s awake time only, several of my friends also loved the affordable Boppy lounger.

Safety Notes: Loungers and nests are not recommended for unsupervised sleeping. Here are the AAP’s guidelines for safe sleep, which recommend sharing a bedroom but not a bed. For another perspective, here is a post by Kelly Mom on bed sharing safety.

baby registry dockatot marble newborn must have products
snuggle me organic newborn in bassinet

This post got long, but I have several more favorites to share including smaller gadgets, breastfeeding tools, and swaddles + sleepwear! In the meantime until my next post, I try to keep the “Baby” category under my Amazon favorites page updated often. You can click the little notes icon at the top right of each item for a quick review or sizing info.

Mamas ~ what baby product(s) did you get the most use out of in the first year?

 

46 thoughts on “Our most-used newborn baby products + petite carriers

  • Janine February 22, 2019 at 5:03 am

    Omg Nori is absolutely adorable! Wishing you and your family all the best!
    I can only imagine how challenging live with a newborn must be, but I bet you are doing amazing!
    Xx Janine
    https://walkinmysneaks.blogspot.com/

  • Rena February 22, 2019 at 6:05 am

    How great you used even the baby wrap!

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog February 22, 2019 at 8:08 am

    Nori is adoraaaable! ❤️ That first picture of you two in matching headbands… awww! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Mally February 22, 2019 at 8:17 am

    Jean, do you have any recommendations for nursing bras that work well for you?

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 22, 2019 at 11:54 pm

      Hi Mally, I use Hofish brand (sold on Amazon) and Kindred Bravely! H&M also makes some affordable nursing bras with light padding, and Nordstrom can help convert your favorite regular into a nursing bra by adding clips.

      • Mally February 24, 2019 at 1:08 am

        Thanks, Jean! Your blog is so helpful. I saw that crude comment from that anonymous person. You don’t even need to reply to haters like that. Honestly, as a follower of your blog, that comment was more offensive to me by assuming that I mindlessly buy everything I see on your blogs. I actually love using your blog as a reference along with other factors to make informed decisions on what to buy when I need it . I appreciate what you do to help me save time finding things that I need. I just stubbled upon your blog a few months ago and wished I had known about it sooner. So thank you for doing what you do.

  • Elizabeth T. February 22, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    Aww she’s adorable <3 🙂 I have a nephew who was born at around the same time, and I'm definitely going to be getting him some of these hehehe!

    XO, Elizabeth T.
    http://clothestoyouuu.com

  • Lillian February 22, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! This is so helpful. I’m 30 weeks pregnant with my first. Are you breastfeeding? Do you use a pump? Can you share your experience? Any tips or advice would be appreciated!

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 23, 2019 at 12:00 am

      Congrats, Lillian! I’m working on a blog post about breastfeeding but in the meantime, I do use a pump on occasion (I mainly breastfeed directly) and recommend that you look into what your insurance will cover. Some early breastfeeding must-haves for me included:
      – my brest friend nursing pillow
      – silicone milk catcher like the Haaka
      – nipple cream for the first 2 weeks or so
      – a warm compress and sunflower lecithin to prevent clogged ducts
      – giant water bottle because you need to stay super hydrated to keep production up

      Pump-wise, I think the Spectra S1 is a great first pump – I’m testing out some really cool “wearable” pumps right now that are cordless, but I think starting with a more traditional pump is key for figuring things out and learning what works best for you. I also recommend seeing if your insurance will cover any lactation consultant visits because that was super helpful for me for both breastfeeding and pumping! And if you don’t already, follow @legendairymilk on Instagram because I learned SO much from that account.

  • May February 22, 2019 at 5:54 pm

    So cute is Nori! Such a great list of items too for newborns.

    May || http://themoderness.com

  • Jane February 22, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    Hi Jean! Thanks for the detailed review of all these items!! I’m expecting as well and have been studying your posts 🙂 Quick question: you mentioned that you have to go up four flights of stairs…do you still recommend the Uppababy Cruz? I have to go up three flights and I’m nervous about trying to carry it up everyday… Thank you!

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 22, 2019 at 11:52 pm

      Hi Jane, congrats!! I keep our Cruz in a communal space on the first floor. It would be hard for me to bring up and down every day. The yoyo is a lot easier to do so on the stairs because it folds up small and has a strap that I carry like a tote bag. I’ll make one trip and bring the stroller down first, then carry the baby down on the second trip and vice versa when going back up.

      • Jane February 24, 2019 at 2:10 pm

        Thank you so much for your help!!

        • Tasha March 1, 2019 at 6:13 pm

          Hey Jean, thanks for the details on these items – so helpful! I’m wondering , when you use the Yoyo, is there a particular bag you use? Any suggestions on how to fit the necessities in the undercarriage basket? Have you tried stroller organizers on it? Thanks so much!

          • Jean | Extra Petite April 2, 2019 at 6:16 pm

            Sorry I missed your comment, Tasha! I get stroller hooks for the side of the handle (it doesn’t seem strong enough to support heavy hooks on the middle of the handle) and just hook my shopping bags or purse onto that. You could easily also add an organizer like you mentioned, such as the popular Skiphop one.

  • Kendall February 23, 2019 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for the helpful post! Since Nori slept in the uppababy bassinet did you just get extra covers for that mattress?

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm

      Hi Kendall, you might find it helpful to have a backup, but we didn’t need it. Whenever our bassinet cover was in the wash, we actually just wrapped a swaddle very snugly around the mattress as a sheet and never had an issue with it coming loose.

  • Anonymous February 23, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Shame on you for manipulating new moms into spending so much on baby items that are only used for a year at most. Every single one of these items can be purchased at a lower price without your trashy Kardashian aesthetic. Quite greedy aren’t you?

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 23, 2019 at 11:18 pm

      Aren’t you just a ray of sunshine! You must’ve missed in the first paragraph where I recommended borrowing or trying out friends’ baby items when possible. These are the things that we actually use and no one’s manipulating anyone else.

      • Annalee April 5, 2019 at 1:10 am

        You are classy, your response was perfection! Beautiful post on parenting. Love your attitude!
        Thank you for the great fashion advice and ideas, I’m a Harvard grad student and I want to dress just like a 5’8” version of you!

  • Benita February 23, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    Hi!! I have been following your blog for years and also had my son around the same time you had Nori! She is so cute!! I am wondering, if you and your husband wanted to continue babywearing, have you checked out Sakura Bloom carriers yet? I have the ring sling (super quick for short ups) and the Scout baby carrier, and highly recommend them! They make them out of California, and they are beautiful, and adjustable to suit a petite body!! Sometimes they even have custom length ring slings as well (: their address is: @lovesakurabloom on Instagram, or sakurabloom . com (btw, not affiliated with them but I love their carriers so much!)

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 23, 2019 at 11:21 pm

      Hi Benita! Isn’t this stage so fun? I wish they would stay this small for longer : ( We have the Sakura Bloom ring sling in a petite friendly length, but sadly for some reason (and we tried oh so many times!) neither my husband and I could use or adjust it with ease. I was excited to try their items since my husband is from San Diego where they’re based. Great to hear they work well for you – maybe next time we’re in that area we can check out their shop and try on the Scout!

      • Tracy February 28, 2019 at 4:44 am

        I second the Scout carrier by Sakura Bloom. My baby is 13 months old and 22 pounds, I still use it daily.

        I also had a problem finding a carrier for my petite size (I’m 5’1 and size 0 in jcrew tops). I was gifted a Ergobaby Original carrier, but couldn’t tighten the straps to fit my body snuggly so it ended up hurting my back.

        The Infantino Sash Mei Tai carrier worked great, but it’s harder to get on and off. The straps dangle into puddles in the parking lot. (I use the carrier to be hands-free with baby while picking up my older child from school.)

        I’d like to hear more about baby carriers that are comfortable for petite moms.

      • Benita March 1, 2019 at 10:05 am

        Ah, that’s too bad! There are lots of helpful tutorial videos on the Sakura Bloom site, under the “learn” section. It does take a few times to get used to slinging, the first few times I had some issues too, but after a while it gets easier and so much faster!!

  • www.littlemisscasual.com February 25, 2019 at 7:41 am

    These are all good products to have handy. I really loved the baby carrier because it was a life saver. Even though my son didn’t like it too much, I was still able to use it and get him distracted so we can go outside or have me do something else inside the home. Your baby girl is so adorable. Definitely enjoy these baby stages, they fly by.

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

  • Andrew Philips February 25, 2019 at 1:05 pm

    This baby carrier is really helpful at the time when you are working in the kitchen. Thanks for sharing this valuable blog post.

  • Heather February 25, 2019 at 6:08 pm

    Hi Jean! Thanks so much for all the info! I’m wondering if you ever tried the Tula free to grow carriers? I really like the look of the baby bjron mini for petite moms but worry that it won’t last long enough

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 27, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      Hi Heather – I haven’t tried it myself but it came highly recommended from a lot of other mamas! If you do get it, let me know what you think!

  • Vida February 26, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Nori is so sweet! Love seeing her smiles. Thank you for the new mom tips; they’re an invaluable part of my research as a mom-to-be.

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 26, 2019 at 2:40 am

      Congratulations, Vida. Such an exciting time in your lives!! Wishing you all the best on this next chapter : )

  • Why February 27, 2019 at 9:14 am

    Why is your daughter’s nickname Nori when her real name is Nora? It’s literally the exact same amount of letters and syllables. It makes no sense.

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 27, 2019 at 12:27 pm

      It’s much easier for our Chinese side of the family to pronounce, and we like it. Makes no sense to me why it bothers you.

      • Anonymous July 14, 2019 at 8:56 pm

        I literally laughed out loud at this response. People need to find better things to do with their time than to hate on other people’s name choices. Nori is an adorable name, esp for an infant!

    • Kristine March 26, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Jean,
      Congratulations!
      How did you lose weight so fast?
      How did you flatten your tummy?
      Thanks!

  • Marina February 27, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    Big fan of your blog, Jean and thank you for writing this post! I’m 40 + 4 today and making some final impulse baby purchases to distract myself, haha!

    Have you started researching/considering convertible car seat options for Nori as she outgrows her Nuna Pipa in a few months? We got the Nuna Pipa Lite and are considering getting the Nuna Rava convertible seat now for our second vehicle but are torn bc there are so many similar options out there. I just can’t seem to pull the trigger yet, and was curious to know if you (as a Nuna Pipa owner) are thinking of sticking with the Nuna line.

    Thanks!!

    • Jean | Extra Petite February 27, 2019 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Marina ~ Haha hang in there, mama…your little one must be so cozy and loving it inside! So so excited for you and what’s to come very soon.

      We honestly haven’t thought about it yet, but several of our friends went that route from Pipa to Rava and have been very happy with it. Our other friends who love their car seats use Clek, so we’ll be looking into those as well!

  • Tara February 27, 2019 at 2:51 pm

    Hi Jean! Great post so helpful. Do you have any breast pump and prenatal vitamin recommendations? Any brand that have worked well for you.

    • Jean | Extra Petite March 1, 2019 at 11:14 am

      Hi Tara, none of the doctors I asked about prenatal brands had any preference from one brand to another so I just take ones from CVS… As for pumps, I love the Spectra as a first time pumper. I have the S2 but if your insurance will cover the S1 that’s basically the same but with a portable battery! Now that I’m more familiar with pumping I’m actually testing out a hands-free/cord-free wearable pump (the Elvie) which is awesome in concept but has more of a learning curve – for me at least! I’ll share thoughts on that later after using it more often to really compare, but I think the Spectra is a solid starter pump. You can also add the Freemie cups (found at Target or amazon) to your Spectra for a more hands-free experience.

  • alisha March 1, 2019 at 7:32 am

    Love this post, so insightful for a new mum to be!

    Alisha x |

  • Rahul B March 4, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Hello Jean! Great post. I was looking around for a baby carrier and i absolutely fell in one from Amazon that you recommended. Buying it now! Keep up the good work!

  • Rachel March 19, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I just stumbled across your blog via The Bump and am loving this post. I was wondering how easy using the carseat in an Uber actually is? I also live in a major city and know there will be times I’ll need to travel with a carseat in an Uber or taxi and it’s making me so nervous. Just wondering how your experience has been so far. Thanks!

    • Jean | Extra Petite April 2, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      Hi Rachel, the nuna pipa in my experience (note, NOT the pipa lite) has been very easy to use in Ubers! There are two ways you could strap it in and it’s been pretty easy for me to do on my own (and I’m not the most handy).

  • Emily March 19, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Do you have a monitor you recommend? I’m torn between a few. Thanks!

    • Jean | Extra Petite April 2, 2019 at 6:19 pm

      Hi Emily – we use a basic Infant Optics monitor from amazon. Our wifi is very spotty at home so we couldn’t get a wifi-based one.

  • Ckim April 4, 2019 at 7:43 am

    Hi Jean. Do you feel the hatch is comfortable as a changing pad for your baby? Still debating on purchasing it.

  • Bin X. August 16, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Just out of curiosity, since this is a phase in a baby’s life, is there a place to re-purpose/ reuse /resell some of these items once they’re no longer needed? I’m just wondering about the ” one and done” uses of these things which could potentially generate a lot of waste.

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