alexia ballantine photography

Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland Maternity,
Newborn, Baby, and Family Photographer








Maryland Newborn Photographer | Newborn Essentials

baby, motherhood, newborns, products

Feb 13, 2023

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I so vividly remember how overwhelmed I was when preparing for the arrival of my firstborn. There are so many products and opinions thrown your way as a new mama, and it can be difficult to know what is right for you and your little one! Six years and two kids later, I have put together a list of my favorite tried and true products, some of which we still use today with our bigger kids or as a Maryland newborn photographer.

1. Hatch Rest

A white-noise machine is a must-have for any nursery, and the Hatch Rest provides both functionality combined with a modern, sleek design that we love. It also functions as a nightlight and time to wake clock for older kids, which has really come in handy as our babies have grown up.

2. Nest Cam

There isn’t much to say about the Google Nest Camera other than it is functional, reliable, and looks great in any nursery. We have been using them since our kids were little and even have the outside version outside of our home!

3. Aquaphor

We use Aquaphor for EVERYTHING. From diaper rash prevention and treatment to healing eczema and cuts, Aquaphor is a dermatologist approved barrier that helps to protect and heal skin while also keeping infections out. Nothing helped to protect our kids’ skin better and when they both developed eczema it was a lifesaver.

4. Mustela Stelatopia

My son struggled with terrible eczema when he was a baby. I tried every product that was recommended to me and nothing worked until I stumbled on the Mustela Stelatopia line. These fragrance-free products are clinically proven to improve skin affected by atopic eczema or dermatitis. I love the Stelatopia Cleansing Gel and Emollient Balm and still use these products on my kids today.

5. Oogie Bear

I completely underestimated the number of boogie-related situations that would arise during motherhood. While the beloved Nose Frida is great for the snot variety of boogies (gross), I have loved the Oogie Bear for quick, painless, more solid boogie retrieval.

6. Spectra Breast Pump

There is a world of pump options available for mamas who plan to breastfeed. While I wasn’t lucky enough to have the opportunity to try out cordless breast pumps like the Willow or Elvie, I did love using my Spectra S2 Plus. I had SO much trouble pumping (I’ll save the details for another post!), but I really felt like the Spectra S2 was giving me my best shot at success. I also loved that it utilizes a closed system to prevent backflow of milk and condensation, unlike the popular Medela Pump in Style, which is also louder and bigger that the Spectra S2. My insurance also covered the Spectra S2 with both kids and and the time didn’t offer coverage for cordless pumps.

7. Nuna Carseats

When on the hunt for the perfect infant carseat, I was looking for something that was super safe, durable, had a sun visor, and that I could easily plug into a stroller. I also wanted a modern look, which I found in the Nuna Pipa Lite. Our Pipa carseat could be snapped into the Bugaboo Chameleon with one hand using a simple, lightweight adaptor. When my kids were old enough to move onto convertible carseats, we naturally graduated straight to the Nuna Rava. I have no complaints about the Pipa or the Rava and love that they are safe, easy to install, and sleek.

8. Bugaboo Strollers

My husband and I struggled with infertility for years. I remember telling him that if our miracle baby ever came, I wanted to splurge on a Bugaboo stroller. I loved that they had a timeless, classic look but were also durable and versatile enough to take on a dirt trail. We absolutely love our compact, light Uppababy G-Lite stroller, but the Bugaboo is far superior if you have the space or don’t intend to take it on an airplane (though we did buy a travel bag for it and took it to Florida when Milo was a year old! So worth it to me but I don’t know how many people would be willing to carry such a heavy stroller with them!). Despite its weight, I have never had a hard time folding it up and sticking it in the trunk of my small SUV.

9. Solly Baby Wrap

I absolutely loved baby wearing, but never acclimated to the more firm, traditional baby carriers I saw other moms often using. Instead, my babies and I prefered soft wraps, favoring the soft and stylish Solly Baby wrap. It took a few times to get the hang of placing my babies in the wraps, but they have an easy to follow video tutorials that can be found here!

10. Zip Up Onesies

My kids spit up NONSTOP. I’m talking multiple outfit changes everyday. I quickly learned that between a the constant diaper changes and spit up, zippers were my best friend as a tired mama. Some of my favorite brands were Carters and L’oved Baby, both of which are soft, affordable, and super cute.

11. Baby Shusher

A fellow Maryland newborn photographer introduced me to the baby shusher and it was a lifesaver for my sleep averse baby girl. I would walk around for what seemed like forever trying to soothe her to sleep. Had I been shushing the whole time I think I would have lost my mind! Keeping this in my pocket was so helpful and now I use it during every newborn session!

As a Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland newborn photographer that is also a mom of two, I understand how overwhelming it can be when planning for the arrival of your little one. I sincerely hope my list of must-have newborn essentials is helpful! Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions at all!

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