12 Baby Products That Got Me Through Nora’s First Year

In case you missed it, Nora is one! I used to roll my eyes a bit when parents would say things like “time needs to slow down” or “babies don’t keep,” but the joke’s on me. That’s all I can think right now! Her birthday party is later this week, and I’m excited to celebrate with the people we love. We didn’t get the baby shower I dreamed of, so this is the next best thing. I thought it’d be fun to share 12 products that I recommend for the first year of parenting. Before I start, though, I want to give a quick shoutout to any parents reading this who feel overwhelmed and guilty that they aren’t enjoying their tiny babies enough.

12 Baby Products That Got Me Through Nora’s First Year

To say that I struggled in the first four months of Nora’s life is a gross understatement. The newborn days are still a blur in my mind, and I had a hard time feeling deeply connected to her. My friends reassured me, so I want to do the same for you. What you’re feeling is normal. Even though you love your baby, you may not like being around them all the time — and you’re not alone. Also, we’ve spent much of the past year-and-a-half cooped up due to a pandemic! It’s so important to give yourself grace. Anyway, let’s jump into my favorite baby products!

1. Bottle Drying Rack

Bottle Drying Rack one of the baby products you need

Baby bottles take up so much counter space, and this drying rack was a godsend. We fit five 8-ounce bottles and three 4-ounce bottles, along with bottle caps, pacifiers, and teething toys. Definitely a must if you don’t have much room in your kitchen. Amazon, $14.99

2. Electric Nail Clipper

Electric Nail Clipper one of the Baby Products That Got Ayana Lage Through Nora's First Year

I posted on Instagram in desperation because Nora’s nails were like talons and she wouldn’t let me clip them. Several people suggested this nail clipper, and it was one of the most invaluable purchases we made this year. She’s enthralled by the electric trimmer, and we don’t have to worry about hurting her. Amazon, $12.27

3. Electric Ear Thermometer

Electric Ear ThermometerElectric Ear Thermometer  one of the Baby Products That Got Ayana Lage Through Nora's First Year

I was gifted this thermometer during a partnership with Braun, and I love it so much I recommend it to everyone. We had a lot of fevers during her first year, which is normal due to teething and colds. Because of COVID, I panicked whenever she felt even slightly warm. Having an accurate way to track her temp was needed, and it worked way better than any of the cheaper alternatives we tried. Target, $64.99

4. Skip Hop Baby Activity Center

Skip Hop Baby Activity Center

This was a Christmas gift from my parents but mostly a gift for Vagner and me. We got lucky that Nora was never a clingy baby, but she’s always gotten bored easily. Being able to plop her into her activity center to leave the room, do the dishes, or get a shower in was so helpful. It’s worth every penny. Amazon, $123.99

5. Baby Maraca Set

Baby Maraca Set  one of the Baby Products That Got Ayana Lage Through Nora's First Year

Before Nora was born, I was against obnoxious toys. Thanks to her extended family, though, she has an extensive range of noisy, light-up toys to play with. I’ve given up the fight, but I’ve found a great compromise: music sets. She gets the noise, and I don’t have to listen to a tinny version of Baby Shark looping on repeat. Win/win. Amazon, $11.99

6. Baby Bath Support

Baby Bath Support

I regularly got overwhelmed by my decisions about buying things for Nora. A bathtub was one of them — for whatever reason, I couldn’t decide. At the end of the day, a tub is a tub, and your baby won’t know the difference. This one got the job done and helped keep her in place when she didn’t have the head support to prop herself up. Amazon, $19.78

7. Antiracist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi

 Antiracist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi

Let’s be honest — Nora’s in a stage where eating a book is more appealing than reading it. Still, this has been a go-to for us, and I can’t wait to read it to her when she’s a bit older and can understand it better. It’s beautifully illustrated with a powerful message and a perfect addition to any baby shower registry. Amazon, $7.99

8. Fawn Diaper Bag

Fawn Diaper Bag  one of the Baby Products That Got Ayana Lage Through Nora's First Year

I’m going to keep it real with you. Can you find a diaper bag that gets the job done at a lower price? Absolutely. But this one is roomy and sturdy while still fashionable — I plan to use it for myself once Nora doesn’t need a diaper bag anymore. A friend generously gifted it to me, but I’d repurchase it if I needed to. Fawn Design, $169.99

9. Mimi The Mushroom Teether

Mimi The Mushroom Teether


It’s shaped like Shrek, and it’s $7. Need I say more? When I got tired of Nora chewing on my hair and eating the remote, I went searching for teething toys. Amazon did not lead me astray — this was her favorite teething toy during the stage where everything went into her mouth. Amazon, $6.99

10. Dr. Brown’s Pacifiers

Dr. Brown's Pacifiers one of the Baby Products That Got Ayana Lage Through Nora's First YearI bought all of the trendy pacifiers you see on Instagram when Nora was first born, but she didn’t like any of them. To this day, Dr. Brown’s pacifiers are the only ones she’ll take. Babies all have different preferences, but I highly recommend these if you’re looking for one to try. Bonus: they’re a lot cheaper than the aesthetic ones you see online. Amazon, $9.66

11. Large Baby Playpen

Large Baby Playpen

I was hesitant to buy a baby playpen (my exact one is sold out, but this one is similar) because I already felt short on space, but this has been a fantastic investment now that Nora’s able to crawl and pull herself up on furniture. She wasn’t a fan in the beginning, but she’ll crawl into it on her own if the flap is open. Amazon, $94.99

12. Mockingbird Single Stroller

Mockingbird Single Stroller

I really wanted an UPPAbaby stroller but read mixed reviews and also didn’t want to spend that much money on a stroller. I didn’t know anyone with a Mockingbird stroller, but the targeted ads made me curious enough to try it. I’m a huge fan now and highly recommend it to any parents-to-be — it’s compact, stylish, and has a ton of add-on accessories. Mockingbird, $350

Thanks for reading! I’ll do another roundup in a few months, but I hope this one was helpful!

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