I've been meaning to write this for a little while- I've now had almost three years of trial and error with parenting products, techniques and general survival. Both children and parents are alive so I think I'm doing a pretty good job so far.
So... Must haves. I swear by these, I panic when we run out and I CANNOT understand why they aren't more used.
1) Earth Mama
Lanolin-free calendula cream for nursing mamas.
Safe for baby, no need to wash it off before nursing!
Organic calendula and non-sticky natural plant butters comfort and protect cracked, sore mama nipples.
Fantastic for anyone with dry, cracked skin.
Apply as needed, and after each feeding.
The best nipple cream in the world. Instant relief, no lanolin (I love a good vegan product), a nice smell (not heavily scented), smooth application despite the granule-like appearance and amazing for dry skin elsewhere as well (think baby bottoms, chapped lips etc).
Uniquely formulated with 41 percent Petrolatum to allow oxygen to flow and help heal the skin.
Skin protectant ointment with Panthenol and Glycerin to moisturize, nourish and protect the skin to enhance healing.
For baby's dry, chapped or irritated skin.
Relieves diaper rash within 6 hours.
Preservative and fragrance-free. Pediatrician recommended
Another firm favourite for the ointment shelf- great for dry skin (and amazing lip balm!), used by NIC units in the US and recommended by Ana Brandt, one the greats of newborn photography for dry, peeling skin on shoots.
It replaced the horrid Sudocrem in our house (can't stand the stuff!) and sorts out nappy rash so quickly. I never use cream on baby's bottoms unless it is needed and so far we have never had a bad problem with it, at least nothing that this magical cream can't sort within a few hours of application.
Now this is just a link to some jersey fabric, you don't need to spend much on swaddle materials. I keep seeing lots of fancy swaddle bags, and things to help swaddle but I honestly don't believe they are as good as a bit of stretchy fabric. Our go-to ones were given to us by a friend and are second hand Mama's and Papas ones that look like thick jersey blankets but I now cannot find them online to share, dammit.
Here is a link to a step-by-step tutorial about swaddling I wrote a few months ago https://www.professionalbabyphotography.co.uk/single-post/2018/07/06/How-to-Swaddle-a-Baby.
Another important one. White noise- it blocks out anything that might wake up baby and comforts them almost immediately. This app is great because you can set the levels to exactly how you want them- no more tinny, irritating white noise!
5) Baby Pop Teething Ring
As great as Sophie is... This has been tried and tested by Kit. He finds it easier to hold than the other ones and we have a few different types, 2 different designs of Sophie, one Nuby ring, and one that goes in the fridge. (he constantly drops Sophie and the fridge one, and the Nuby one ends up like a bangle halfway up his arm), he grips the ring with both hands and then pulls at it with his teeth- imagine a crazed dog with toothache and you can imagine what my son looks like.
I'll add to this list when I think of more but for now these are the best of the best!