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  • Writer's pictureGina Mydlo, PT, DPT

5 Must-Haves for your Baby Registry

I’m a mother and a pediatric physical therapist, and I KNOW how overwhelming it can be to shop among the endless amounts of baby items. Since I have an educational background in infant development,

I also know how to tell if a product is beneficial or not, regardless of what it says on the label.

The truth is, big-named companies are NOT experts in infant development, so they often make mistakes on what they THINK is good for baby vs. what is ACTUALLY best for baby’s development. Unfortunately, this is all too common and this misleading in advertisement is everywhere: toys, feeding, sleeping, car seats, safety, etc.

That makes it really hard to pick out baby items! You end up researching everything, only to get conflicting advice from people who may not even be experts on the topic.

So I’m here to share some of the best, expert therapist recommended baby items with you to make your shopping experience so much easier. Make sure to download my free guide for a complete registry list created by expert pediatric therapists.

Here are FIVE of my all-time favorite baby products:

1. Dr. Brown's™ Options+™: Standard nipple size bottles

The most important thing to look for when you are buying bottles for your baby (whether you plan on breastfeeding or exclusively bottle feeding) is to buy bottles with a STANDARD nipple size. And there are only 3 brands on the market right now that are selling them (read about them here). Dr. Brown's™ is one of them.

In short, a baby can NOT latch to a wide mouth nipple. If baby isn’t latched appropriately to a bottle, baby is not sucking properly, and is not using the muscles in the mouth the right way. This can lead to a ton of feeding issue like: reflux, gassiness, colic, overeating, bottle aversion, and delayed progression when eating solid foods.

The reason I like the Dr. Brown's™ Options+™ is because you have the ability to take the venting system out of the bottle. If you are positioning baby appropriately for feeds and your baby is latched correctly to the bottle (learn how in our online course), then there is absolutely no need for the extra venting system, and it’s a pain to clean!

2. Ninni™ Co. pacifier

You may or may not decide to use a pacifier with your infant, and sometimes that just comes down to personal preference. In therapy, we sometimes use the pacifier as a strengthening tool to improve baby’s latch to breast or bottle. And no matter if you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, it’s critical to use a pacifier that mimics that same type of latch and suck as best as possible. That’s why I love Ninni Co’s pacifier! It’s newer on the market, and is the first pacifier I’ve seen that promotes a wider latch, just like baby needs to do when she latches to a breast.

I also love that Ninni™ Co has the same feelings about pacifier use as therapists do – it’s just for short term use, and having it in baby’s mouth all day can actually be detrimental. Learn more about how to support healthy early feeding skills in our online course.

3. Woombie®

There’s a ton of swaddles on the market and they all claim to be the “best”. Some even claim that they can have your baby sleeping better in 3 nights! Yikes, that’s a bold claim.

I’ve seen so many parents paying hundreds of dollars on different swaddle blankets just to get baby to sleep better, but then just get frustrated as baby escapes from all of them. Enter, the WOOMBIE.

I just love this product. Instead of annoying velcro that you have to wrap tightly (sometimes too tightly) around baby’s arms keeping them in one position all night, it just has a zipper! And baby is in this sleeping pod but can move his arms freely within the pod, encouraging a more natural and relaxing sleeping position.

It’s insanely easy to use, any babysitter can do it, and you don’ have to worry about baby waking themselves up by scratching their face in the middle of the night.

Woombie also has a convertible swaddle that you can unzip the armholes for when baby is ready to transition out of the swaddle. Another major pro of the Woombie – it’s hip healthy! That means baby’s hips are able to move freely, allowing her little hip joints to form properly. Check out our online course to learn how to get your infant to LOVE to sleep in 5 easy steps!

Learn more about swaddling safely in this blog post.

4. ZoLi® rod-shaped teether

So we all know that babies like to chew on things – right? But more than that, babies NEED to chew and mouth on toys to promote their oral motor development so that they can eat and talk well. And to do that, the toys need to reach all the way back in baby’s mouth to get his tongue moving side to side and to get input along the gumlines.

Unfortunately, most baby teethers are wide and round. This means that teether can only reach the front part of baby’s mouth. Wide, round teethers only encourage the tongue to move forward (not side to side like we want) and do not give ANY input along baby’s gumlines (which is essential for feedings).

So instead of those wide, round teethers, we want ROD-SHAPED TEETHERS! But you have to look hard for them – they won’t be at every store. My favorite right now is the Zoli rod shaped teethers. They are easy for baby to hold, and have a nice silicone topper and texture to give input to baby’s mouth.

(Learn how to use a rod-shaped teether and prepare your baby for solid feeds in our online course!)

5. LÍLLÉbaby Complete baby carrier

I don’t think most parents realize just how beneficial baby wearing is for caregiver and baby! From decreasing anxiety to rounding out baby’s misshapen head, baby wearing is so much more than just a convenient way to carry baby from point A to point B.

But just like all the other products, there’s just too many options that make baby carriers seem so complicated! So parents don’t even give it a try because you need a whole class to learn how to use them properly (don’t worry, we have one for you - HERE!)

There’s ring sling, wraps, meh dai’s, buckled carriers… how do you choose? There’s a ton of great ones on the market, and sometimes it’s just about trying some and seeing which ones you like.

But my all-time favorite that can fit so many needs and is super easy to use is the LÍLLÉbaby! It’s a buckled carrier and a first it can seem daunting, but as soon as you put it on you realize how easy it is to use and how COMFORTABLE it is. The lumbar support is a lifesaver for your back. The best part is, you can use it with a baby as little as 7 pounds (that’s most newborns!), so you really don’t need anything else. It is properly designed to keep babies in a hip healthy position whether you are wearing baby on your front or back.

Notice I don’t have ANY bouncy seats, baby swings, rockers, play seats, exersaucers, or jumpers on here? Find out why - here.

Want more information on bottles, pacifiers, swaddles, sleep sacks, nursing pillows, bouncy seats, baby swings, play seats, car seats, and more?

Get our COMPLETE guide on How to Buy for Baby for FREE!

Download the guide - Here!

Happy shopping!

Gina Mydlo, PT, DPT

Their Best Start, LLC

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