Boss Mom Essentials

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I spent most of each evening during my first and second trimesters endlessly researching all the baby products we could possibly need.

I read online reviews, watched YouTube videos, dove down into pages 10, 11, 12 of Google search results, grilled friends and family members with babies and toddlers and generally soaked up everything I could.

Why did I care so much?

Like most new parents in their 20s and 30s, I work a lot. My hustle is important to me and I wanted products that would make my life easier so I had more time to spend with my little babe.

I don’t have an unlimited budget, BUT I would rather spend more for a product that will last and serve my needs well the first time than save a little money upfront but have to replace something two or three times over. I know mamas that have purchased two or three strollers because they didn’t love their initial choice. I wanted to avoid that at all costs.

Each and every item I ended up ordering I have loved so far. I know not everyone has the time or energy to spend on researching baby products, so this list is my down and dirty ultimate guide to the top products I can’t live without.

Full Essentials Guides

Boss Mom Essential List

Snoo Bassinet

Uppababy Cruz Stroller

Uppababy Bassinet Attachment

Nuna Pipa Lite LX Carseat

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

GreyFox Diaper Bag

SkipHop Changing Pad

UbbiBaby Wipe Holder

Nested Bean Zen Swaddle

Parker Baby Diaper Caddy

Haakaa Manual Silicone Breast Pump

ComoTomo 5oz Bottles

Nipple Shield

Nipple Shield

Snoo Bassinet

If I could recommend only one thing to splurge on to make baby life easier, it would be the Snoo, without hesitation. I go into a lot of detail about our Snoo experience HERE, but here’s the quick recap:

The Snoo is a bassinet designed by UCLA pediatrician and author of Happiest Baby on the Block, Dr. Harvey Karp, to comfort your baby and lull them into deep sleep cycles so you can sleep too. It responds automatically to your babe’s cries and if it is unsuccessful in soothing your little one, it will alert you automatically on your phone so that you can tend to their needs. Typically, if the Snoo can’t provide comfort, it is because your baby needs a diaper change or is hungry.

The Snoo soothes babies using a rocking motion and white noise at five levels, escalating based on the volume and duration of your child’s fussing or cries. The white noise really mimics what I would think a womb might sound like and the motion is intended to replace the movement babies are using to while in utero. It’s incredibly smart and pretty much feels like magic.

Our three weeker sleeps anywhere from 6-8 hours now before needing a feeding, followed by another 3-4 hours, all thanks to the Snoo. We also don’t have to endlessly rock Theo to get him back to sleep after the early am feeding. We are so well rested that I feel like I can handle the rest of new parent life without the same stress level a lot of mamas have to deal with.

The Snoo is expensive, but so worth it if you value your sleep and ability to function like a normal person. I also created a post about how to get your Snoo for free, which you can read through HERE if you’re interested!

Uppababy Cruz Stroller

Of everything I researched, I spent the most time learning about strollers.

I knew I wanted a travel system. I learned in a Facebook birth group (those are crazy dens of drama but you can learn a few things!) that a travel system means you can connect your carseat to the stroller base in case you don’t want to transfer a sleeping little from carseat to bassinet or rumble seat when out and about. Sign me up for that! I’m all about versatility and protecting those sleep cycles.

I also knew I didn’t want a stroller that would break, become difficult to push or otherwise be less than smooth and long-lasting. This meant I wasn’t really looking at the base models and lower-end brands like Graco, Chicco, Britax, and EvenFlow, though I did start by reading reviews on all of them. I wanted a stroller that I could have for YEARS.

The stroller brands known for having scarier price tags, but ultimately offering the highest quality and best experience are pretty easy to suss out right away. The top contenders are Nuna, Bugaboo, BabyJogger and Uppababy. Ultimately, after watching video after video on YouTube and going through all the specs for each brand, we decided Uppababy was the best fit for us, followed closely by the Nuna.

Bugaboo was ruled out for being overly pricey for what it offered, the Baby Jogger City Select offered a poor quality bassinet and the overall construction and movement felt off, the Nuna Mixx was great, but was too heavy and lacked the fine tuning and smoothness of the Cruz.

Ultimately, the Cruz had a lot of features I just loved and felt so durable and well-made. It also glides LIKE BUTTER and is easy to store. C was even impressed. Here’s what I love about it:

  • It’s very light at just 21lbs. This is important because I’ll be hauling it in and out of our SUV and I appreciate not having to lift any more weight than I have to. By comparison, the Nuna Mixx is 26lbs. It is also slim enough to pass through narrow aisles and doorways with room to spare.
  • Folds up for storage or transport with just one hand (seat attached or not), you don’t even need to put your babe down to do it.
  • Can be used interchangeably with a car seat, rumble seat or a bassinet. All options can click into the base using just one hand, it’s so easy if you’re juggling a baby in one arm and the stroller in another.
  • All of the carrier options can be customized to be forward or rear-facing so you have the option to have your little one look at you or outward. The rumble seat can recline or be completely upright.
  • The rumble seat has a fun peep-hole in the back so you can lift a flap and check in on your forward-facing kiddo like the stalker parent you are.
  • The bassinet and rumble seat both have an extendable SPF 50 sunshade that pulls down or retracts as needed.
  • The bassinet can fully collapse so it is totally flat for travel or storage. The mattress cover can also be easily detached and thrown in the laundry if your baby spits up or has an accident.
  • Offers carseat adaptors for other brands including Chicco, Maxi Cosi, Nuna and Cybex.
  • You can assemble it without the instructions. It took us maybe 5 minutes tops.
  • The brake is front and center and can be engaged with just a simple push of your toes.
  • The handlebar is adjustable and can be made shorter or taller using just one hand. This is great if you’re petite but your partner is a giant.
  • The storage basket underneath is so roomy, you could actually fit a small dog and a diaper bag in there.
  • It turns corners and glides SO smoothly. I didn’t even know a stroller could be like this. The ease of motion was one of the strongest selling points for me.
  • The materials used throughout, from the aluminum frame to the
  • This is petty, but I am obsessed with the brown leather handles on the push bar and the rumble seat. They make it feel like a high-end car (all about those details, guys!).

I also tested out the whole range of strollers at local stores before eventually ordering the Cruz on Amazon because I just had to know how it felt to push, turn and fold up each one in real life.

If you’ve researched Uppababy products you might be wondering why we didn’t go with the Vista. The Vista is much like the Cruz, but has the option to convert into a double stroller with a second rumble seat if you think you will have a second child. There were two deciding factors: The Vista is heavier and feels a lot bulkier (a friend of mine purchased it a few months before us and has a few complaints about it), and we don’t plan to have a second kiddo until Theo is around 3, if at all! The Cruz has the option of adding a kick board that an older child can use to ride along, and I really think this will be enough for us. If you already have a little one and are planning on a second, absolutely look into the Vista. It has all those great features of the Cruz, but you can push two at once.

We ended up purchasing our Cruz in the Gregory color way, but I also would have loved the white Loic if I wasn’t so prone to spilling stuff everywhere. I can’t be trusted with anything white.

Uppababy Bassinet Attachment

The bassinet is an optional add-on for the Cruz stroller and something I was initially on the fence about.

I ended up purchasing it after reading so many articles about the dangers of babies spending too much time in carseats and the asphyxiation risk from improper positioning. Ultimately, I didn’t want Theo to always be in the carseat in the stroller until he was big enough to sit in the rumble seat at 3 months.

We like the bassinet so much that in addition to using it when we are out of the house shopping, taking a long walk or visiting the doctor, Theo takes naps in it during the day in the house. It’s so convenient and provides a nice, contained space for him to nap in.

The bassinet also clicks seamlessly into the stroller base one-handed and can be forward or rear-facing. It has an optional zip-on cover in case it’s cold or rainy out to provide additional protection over baby’s body. The whole thing also collapses to be flat, including the sunshade, for storage or transport.

Like the rumbleseat, it also has the SPF 50 extendable shade covering.

If you plan to take your baby out of the house for long excursions, enjoy walking your neighborhood with your infant or just want a really portable bassinet to use inside, this is a really smart purchase.

Nuna Pipa Lite LX Carseat

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I chose the Nuna Pipa Lite LX for Theo’s carseat (with stroller  adaptors) over the Mesa carseat that pairs with the Uppababy Cruz. I get that this is counter-intuitive – why buy a travel system but not use the intended carseat with it?

Ultimately, the Uppababy Mesa is an excellent carseat, but there were 3 things that sold me on the Nuna that the Mesa didn’t offer:

  • The Nuna Pipa Lite is the lightest carseat in the world at just 5.3 lbs. By comparison, the Mesa weighs in at 9.9 lbs. This is a big difference and begins to matter as your little one gets heavier and your arm gets more of a workout!
  • Two words: LOAD LEG. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you need to. Nuna is the only company that includes a stabilizing load leg that drops down from the carseat base to the floor of your car. The purpose is to minimize downward rotation in a crash. The addition of this feature makes the Pipa Lite LX one of the safest carseats you can buy, which tops my list of selling points.
  • We like to joke that this carseat looks like Darth Vader’s helmet when the dream drape is pulled down and locked in. It just screams, “Don’t touch me.” The function of the drape is the keep sun out of your little one’s eyes and provide a barrier between them and the rest of the world by extending down from the sunshade and connecting to the front of the seat. It is secured by magnets which are so easy to lock in. We love it because it discourages strangers from getting to close to Theo and randomly touching him, especially when we’re our for a doctor’s appointment. It also obviates the need for us to buy a carseat cover to serve the same purpose.

Like most higher-end carseats, it’s easy to install, locking into vehicles using anchor points and level indicators so you can easily tell if the base placement is correct. The load leg has its own green indicator, so you know it is positioned properly.

You can also have your carseat installation checked out at most fire departments or by a local police station (just be sure to call ahead first!).

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

Ok, so this isn’t a baby item. This is a “mama has to live” item.

We have had this espresso machine for years, but I only fully realized that it was the MVP of this whole damn house after Theo was born and I just stopped going out every day. No-one has time to run up to the local coffee shop to get a double shot latte with half foam anymore.

I can’t tell you how nice it is to have lattes in the comfort of your own home, especially good lattes than don’t taste like burnt cardboard – sorry Nespresso lovers, those aren’t real lattes.

If you’ve never pulled an espresso shot or foamed your own milk before, this machine is a great one to learn on (I did!) and it comes with a high-quality, built-in grinder, so you don’t have to buy any extra accessories. We’ve had our Breville for about 6 years and it works as well now as it did when we bought it.

If you’re a coffee lover and enjoy espresso, this machine is a great splurge item.

GreyFox Diaper Bag

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I.LOVE.MY.DIAPER.BAG. Next to the magic sleep machine, this is my favorite baby purchase. I spent months researching different diaper bag companies, styles, features, fabrics, sizes, even colors until I finally settled on the Grey Fox. After using it for a couple months, I’m just as thrilled with it.

There’s a lot to love, and I have a whole post about what makes it such a boss bag, but here’s a quick breakdown: 1) It has a million pockets and compartments, including two just for pacifiers, insulated side pockets for drinks and bottles, and a space for your laptop, 2) It can be worn as a backpack OR a side bag, 3) The vegan leather fabric wipes clean and doesn’t stain, even in the light gray color, 4) It’s roomy, but isn’t so big that it feels like luggage, 5) It looks SO stylish and professional, you’re not going to look like a hot mess carrying it.

SkipHop Changing Pad

One of the first baby recommendations I got from a friend was to NOT get a changing pad with a removable cloth cover. No-one wants to clean poop off of that every day.

She has the Keekaroo peanut changing pad and loves it because it isn’t liquid permeable or porous and just wipes clean of pee and poop spills. We have already had a diaper change situation where Theo let one out as we were wiping him, so I totally understand this now on a much deeper level. Shit got real, ladies.

It has amazing reviews on Amazon but I wasn’t loving the price, so I kept searching and found two similar options: the Hatch BabyGrow changing pad with the built-in scale and the Skip Hop Changing Pad. The Hatch was even pricier than the Keekaroo, so it was out for me, but the SkipHop was half as expensive and also had really great reviews.

I watched a couple YouTube videos and ended up going with the SkipHop. We use wipes to clean up any messes he makes on it, which is a daily thing in our house, and every time I am just so grateful I don’t have to wash another cloth cover (like the Boppy cover, ugh).

I’m not sure how to Keekaroo could give me a better experience, so I totally recommend going with the less expensive wipeable option here. Also, pro tip: If you hate the little dangling sun and moon attachment, you can totally remove it like I did.

UbbiBaby Wipe Holder

This is one of those unicorn items that is super simple, but makes your life SO much easier that you’re just really pleased with yourself every time you look at it.

Yanking a single wipe out of a pack of wipes one-handed when your little one is screaming like the whole world is ending and there’s poo and pee happening in real time is next to impossible. The whole pack is bouncing around and then you get 3 wipes all at once and you.don’t.have.time.for.that.nonsense.

Do yourself a favor and just buy this thing. The wipes stay in the original packaging, you rip the plastic door off, pop them in the box, put the heavily weighted cover piece with the hole on top, then close the lid. When you need a wipe, open the lid, grab one and that weighted piece will keep everything in place and allow you to pull out a single wipe at a time. DONE. Problem solved.

Nested Bean Zen Swaddle

Our kiddo loves being swaddled, it really calms him when he is fussing and is our go-to when all else fails. Next to the swaddle that comes with the Snoo, this is our favorite.

I was gifted a bunch of swaddle options at our shower, but the Zen Swaddle ended up being the one we purchased on our own after reading a lot of reviews and watching a couple videos. What makes it different is that it has a lightly weighted pouch on the front that sits on the baby’s chest too provide just the right amount of pressure. It really helps soothe them, and Theo settles a little almost as soon as it goes on.

We call it “the one swaddle to rule them all” – we may have done too much Lord of the Rings binge-watching during the second trimester.

Parker Baby Diaper Caddy

If you’re breast feeding, you’re going to have a ton of accessories that you need at a moment’s notice. If you are having a baby in general, you’re going to have a bunch of accessories that you need at a moment’s notice.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a caddy of some kind (I love this one from Parker) and stock it with all your must-haves, then carry it around the house with you or just keep it next to the couch if you spend 95% of your time there like me. I guarantee you that little babe is going to fall asleep on you, be nursing, or just losing his mind crying at some point and you’ll be thrilled you don’t have to hunt down what you need in another room.

Some things I keep in mine: nipple cream, breast pads, extra shield, haakaa pump, mini pack of wipes, diapers, aquaphor, Frida brush, pacis, water bottle and a granola bar in case I’m dying of hunger. It’s also a smart place to put pumping supplies/accessories if you’re using them.

Haakaa Manual Silicone Breast Pump

This is one of those low-key viral baby items that if you’re in any kind of online birth group, you’ll have heard about. Basically, it’s a silicone flange on a bulbous base that suctions onto your breast by squeezing the air out and then releasing and it just magically extracts milk while your little one nurses on the other side.

It is designed to catch your let down and leakage and I got a whole ounce the first time I used it! No painful pump extraction either, it is so easy and natural, you don’t have to do anything special. A lot of mamas use it exclusively to store breastmilk for later because it’s so effective. The reviews are life changing. You’re welcome.

ComoTomo 5oz Bottles

Breastfeeding has been a bit of a struggle for us and since Theo was so small at birth, we started supplementing with formula early at the suggestion of our lactation consultant.

She recommended Dr. Brown’s bottles so we began with those and they were great for a few days. We quickly noticed that the more he fed from them, the less inclined he was to suck when nursing on the breast. This made feeding SO MUCH HARDER, so I started researching bottles that had a slower flow so he would have to suck harder for the formula and hopefully that would translate to the breast.

I ended up ordering two options: a ComoTomo set that was slow flow and another bottle by Miujuimi that claimed to be NO flow. When we tested them out (held the full bottles upside down and at an angle, the Miujuimi flowed like crazy and the ComoTomo released pretty much nothing without suction.

Theo also preferred sucking on the ComoTomos and his issues with sucking on the breast pretty much resolved the same day. These bottles have made such a difference and really reduced the frustration and tears (from both of us!). They’re also supposed to be great as your little one gets older and wants to hold the bottle because it is soft and shaped similarly to a breast.

These bottles won’t work for everyone, it varies so much baby to baby, but if you’re in a similar situation, I recommend giving them a shot.

Nipple Shield

This shield saved my breastfeeding journey.

Without this crazy, huge shield from Haakaa, I’m pretty sure we would have given up on being able to breastfeed after the first week. I also have to give a shoutout to Sarah on my Facebook birth group who gave me instructions on how to get this thing to suction onto my nipple properly so Theo could extract the milk. Thank you, Internet!

We started using this shield because all the Medela ones were just too wide at the base for his tiny mouth. The slimmer she of this one worked so much better for him and he was able to latch within a minute instead of ten.

As a side note, C calls it “Megalodon Nipple” because it’s so massive and intense looking. Keeping it real over here.

These are my LIFESAVER items.

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