There's so many pregnancy and baby products out there that picking the "right" ones can be nerve wracking. So here's a few items that I use and which brand I prefer.
prenatal vitamins: these will vary depending on your tolerance and nutritional needs. Some women find that the vitamins upset their stomach, but fortunately I didn't experience any discomfort (I still take my prenatal vitamins today) my favorite prenatal is Nature's Bounty "your life multi prenatal" because it has the dha and the vitamin together in one tablet instead of 2 separate tablets.
nipple ointment: during the early weeks of nursing, you want to keep your nipples lubed up to ease the discomfort and reduce the risk of cracked nipples. There are lots of options, but really there's 2 main brands out there. Medela is by far the very best. It's so smooth, silky and creamy, it goes on like melted butter =) an absolute must when you're nips feel raw and sore. The other popular brand is Lansinoh. I won't use this stuff, not even now. It's very thick and stiff and no matter how much you rub it between your fingers (to warm and soften it) it still pulls at the skin when applying =( ouch!
diaper rash cream: this will depend on cloth vs disposable diapers
>> cloth diapers: you can NOT use any creams that contain petroleum, beeswax or cod liver oil. These ingredients will leave a water resistant barrier on your diapers causing them to no longer absorb your baby's pee and then the diapers will leak. Creams that are safe for cloth are:
My personal favorite, coconut oil. Yep, just coconut oil. Make sure it is organic, virgin, unrefined and preferably cold pressed. You can add some vitamin E, a little lavender oil, chamomile oil and some tea tree oil if you want to add a little oompfh to it.
Store bought creams include:
Northern Essence Better Butt(er) Cream, Northern Essence Diaper Rash Salve, Grandma El's Diaper Rash Cream, California Baby Diaper Rash Cream or Magic Stick Ointment
>> disposable diapers: there are no restrictions with disposable diapers because you are just throwing it away anyway, so you can use anything you like. My personal favorites though are:
Bordeaux's Butt Paste - this is a zinc oxide and works to heal the rash quickly. Smooth creamy texture, pleasant smell and cleans up easily. * Not all zinc oxides are made the same. The Desitin zinc oxide creams are nasty! They have a very strong chemical smell and they are a mess to clean up. I avoid these at all cost. Desitin does make a very nice petroleum ointment though »»
Desitin Multi Purpose Ointment - this is their petroleum based ointment with extra oils and ingredients added to increase the soothing relief. It is smooth and creamy and glides onto the skin very easily without pulling or dragging the skin. I call this"petroleum plus" =) *note, I don't care for the Aquafor petroleum plus because it is thicker and stiff, so it drags across the skin when applying. (Remember your nipple cream?)
A&D ointment: this is exactly what it says it is. An ointment that contains vitamin A & Vitamin D. I've never used this ointment on T man's diaper area, but I do use it for my tattoos =) I've found that the name brand vs store brand all appear to be the same as far as consistency and odor.
Petroleum Jelly: store brand or name brand, it doesn't much matter. Fragrances can burn on a diaper rash, so just make sure you buy unscented. (I didn't even know they made scented until I accidentally bought some)
Diaper pails: I like the Munchkin by Arm and Hammer. It has the easiest and cheapest to use refill bags and it does not require a special kind of deoderizor. Just refill the lid with baking soda.
Wipe Warmer: this product gets a lot of crap from some mothers, but I love mine. I buy my wipes in bulk, so I have to have some sort of container to put them in, what better than a warmer? I use the DexBaby space saver. It holds about 2-3 inches of wipes and has a night light on the front. I love it.
Play Yard: I have 2 of these, One at home and one at work. The one at home is an Evenflo while the one at work is a Graco. The Graco is far superior for newborns and infants. If you plan on using the play yard while you're baby is still young (naps, diaper changes, etc.) then I definitely recommend the Graco first. The "bassinet" insert is raised higher for easier access and it has a firm floor. My Evenflo infant insert was saggy and droopy. It sagged in the middle so badly that T man was only able to lay in it for a few minutes before crying in frustration. Now that he's a"big kid" and sits, stands, crawls, etc. either one works just fine because he is on the bottom.
Assisted seating: when you're baby is ready to start learning how to sit upright, you may be interested in a floor seat. The Bumbo is the original of these seats. It's a soft foam seat with deep leg pockets and a high back. We started with this seat because T man is very small. If your baby is a chunker though, I would recommend the Summer Super Seat. This seat is wider with larger leg openings. We also liked using this one because it had an activity tray that attaches to it. T man spent hours and hours playing in his.