The 15 Most Useful Newborn Items

In October we welcomed our first baby into the world, an adorable little guy named Shea with a full head of dark hair and huge eyes who immediately stole our hearts.  In these first weeks and months we’ve been spending every day learning his personality and trying to develop some semblance of a routine and a “new normal.”  Through the sleepless nights, endless dirty diapers, and surprising amounts of spit-up, these are the items that we have found the most useful so far.  They’re in no particular order; each one is great and has been a lifesaver at some point so far in our parenthood journey.


1.     Wubbanub

This pacifier with the adorable stuffed animal attached has been so great for several reasons: first, our little Shea has a hard time keeping a pacifier in his mouth, and the animal serves as a sort of anchor to keep the pacifier in.  I lay the stuffed animal on Shea’s chest and tuck it under a blanket, and it stays pretty well.  Also, once Shea is a little older he’ll be able to hold the animal himself and get the pacifier back into his mouth if it falls out.  Last but not least, the animal makes this pacifier easy to find in a pile of baby blankets and other random items, which is great for tired parents holding a crying baby who just…needs…his…BINKIE!

Downside: The pacifier part doesn’t detach from the stuffed animal, so we can’t wash them separately. We happened to get two of these as gifts, so we can just switch them out if one gets spit up or something on it. So far I’ve just spot cleaned the animal but I imagine it could be thrown in the washing machine if it got really dirty.

2.     Pacifier clip

Like I said above, Shea has a hard time keeping his pacifier in his mouth, so this is a great way to keep it attached to him so it doesn’t fall on the dirty floor.

3.     Basic white flat diapers

We actually don’t use these as diapers, but we use them a TON for everything else. They’re awesome as burp cloths and puke wipes, and we also use one to cover Shea’s ‘area’ during diaper changes so it catches pee if he starts to go!

4.     Gripe Water 

This is made with ginger and fennel, and is great for giving a baby with an upset tummy, gas or colic.  We’ve used it with Shea when he seems especially fussy and uncomfortable with gas, and it seems to help. And he loves the taste! I’ve taken it too, and it really is yummy and doesn’t taste like medicine at all.

5.     Seventh Generation wipes

I’m not a fan of baby products that contain a bunch of chemicals and fragrances.  These are unscented, and wet enough to get Shea’s booty nice an clean during diaper changes.

6.     Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter

This lanolin-free formula contains natural plant and herb extracts, and doesn’t have to be washed off before nursing.  I’ve used it to soothe sore nipples, lube up my breast pump, and even as a stand in for chap stick and lotion in a pinch.

7.     Good ol’ Vaseline

Basic, cheap, and useful.  I put a little shmear of this on Shea’s booty during each diaper change to act as a moisture barrier for the next wet diaper. It has kept his butt rash-free so far!

8.     Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Stretch Oil 

I used this during pregnancy to rub all over my belly, hips and breasts.  It smells divine, and is great as a massage oil.  After my c-section, I’ve rubbed it on my incision scar to keep it moisturized and soothed. 

9.     Saline Spray 

Living in the dry climate of UT, Shea’s little nose and sinuses get pretty dry and boogered up. We spritz a little of this in each of Shea’s nostrils before using the Snot Sucker, and it works great to loosen boogers and snot.

10. Nosefrida Snot Sucker

Gross, yet extremely satisfying.  Tip – wait til baby is in a calm, relaxed state to use this.  It’s no fun trying to suck the snot out of a screaming, flailing baby’s tiny nostrils.

11. Probiotic Drops 

Shea was in the NICU for a week and was pumped full of antibiotics because he had an infection.  As recommended by our midwife, we’ve been giving him infant probiotic drops to help his gut get back to normal. We just put a few drops into a bottle of breastmilk, mix it up, and he gulps it right down. 

12. Fisher Price Rock-n-Play Sleeper

A friend recommended this, and said it was a lifesaver for her little guy.  And it’s been a lifesaver for us, too! Infants don’t always like sleeping on a completely flat surface, so this is a great solution.  We have it right next to our bed, and after I’m done nursing Shea and he’s drifting off to sleep, I put him in here, turn on the vibrate switch, and he’s out like a light. 

Downside: It doesn’t actually rock on it’s own, it just vibrates.  If I want to rock it, I have to use my hand or foot to do it manually.  However, it looks like you can buy a little bit more expensive model that rocks on it’s own, here.

13. Plug in heating pad

When we first started putting Shea in the Rock-n-Play sleeper, he would wake up right when we put him down.  We realized it was because it was cold, and he had been in our warm arms.  So, we got one of these plug in heaters from Walgreens, and we pop it in there a few minutes before he’s going to go in.  We then take it out, and put him down on the nice warm surface.  Works like a charm!  Bonus: use it for your sore back now that you’re constantly hunched over holding and nursing a baby!

14. SwaddleMe velcro swaddle wrap 

These are just great for swaddling a squirmy little baby.  We call them the baby straight jacket, because they really keep his upper body nice and snug.  His legs can still move freely in the looser bottom area.  Swaddling a baby can really help them calm down and feel soothed, since they’re used to being crammed in your uterus. 

Downside: You need to undo the whole swaddle when you need to change a diaper in the middle of the night, and there is a big piece of Velcro right in the middle that you need to undo.  “Rrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiippppp”…. And now, baby is wide awake!  We have loved the Swaddlesure, which offers a great solution: the bottom can be opened without having to undo the top, so baby’s upper body can remain tightly swaddled while you change his diaper! 

15. Promptly journal 

This journal goes from birth to age 18, and gives you writing prompts so you aren’t just staring at a blank page wondering what to write. It makes it easy to sit down for 5 minutes and jot down your thoughts.  It makes a great baby shower gift!


So, there you have it! Those are the 15 most useful items I've found so far in our son's 7 weeks of life.  Enjoy! 


Original womb songs and lullabies now available!

As a songwriter and music therapist, one of the things I feel passionate about is helping new and expecting parents bring music into their lives with their new babies.  Singing to your baby in utero creates a bond, and if you sing the same song over and over to your unborn baby, they will actually recognize the song after they're born, and the song will help soothe them. 

A service that I offer is to help parents write an original womb song or lullaby for their baby - this is a special, unique song that is written using your exact words of hope, love, and care for your baby.  I put your words to music and create a simple, meaningful song that you and your family will treasure forever. 

"We all know the power of music.  Imagine your doula noting what music was playing while you were in transition, and pushing, and as your child was being birthed.  And imagine your playlist then also becoming your empowerment music while learning how to become a parent. Imagine your child knowing, in their soul, all of the songs that you chose to welcome them into the world.  And finally, imagine playing, over and over again, the lullaby that you put to words, as your child ages day-by-day."
- Monica Faux-Kota, massage therapist, Salt Lake City

To learn more about what a womb song is, how it's different from a lullaby, and what the whole process entails, click here

I offer gift certificates, and I can't think of a more original or unique baby shower gift than an original song for the baby!  Click here to purchase a gift certificate for a womb song or lullaby. 

"...But what do you DO?"

That is a question I get asked pretty often when I tell people that I am a music therapist and doula, and that I specialize in Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth.  “Wow! That sounds awesome! But what is that?  And what exactly do you do?” Well, allow me to explain.

The short version: I educate and empower expecting parents to use music to support them physically and emotionally throughout labor and delivery.  I introduce them to a wide variety of different recorded music that has been specially chosen and compiled to promote comfort, calm, and decrease anxiety.  I attend their birth as their doula, and fill two roles.  First, as their birth doula: providing unconditional support, help with relaxation techniques, massage, position suggestions, and continuous encouragement. Second, as a music therapist trained in Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth: continuously assessing the environment and their progress in labor, and playing music that will encourage relaxation, connection, and deep inner calm. 

To go a little more in-depth, here is the full definition of Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth written by Mary DiCamillo, a board-certified music therapist and founder of the Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth program:

“A Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth program is conducted by a board-certified music therapist, and consists of a series of sessions usually offered in the last trimester of pregnancy.  Some music therapists also provide labor and delivery support for the couple during the birth and postnatal visits. Couples are taught how to use music to support their physical and emotional needs throughout the stages of labor and delivery. The music therapist assists the couple in selecting and applying a special chosen music program to calm, comfort, block discomfort, and focus breathing for each mother. The music therapist may also provide instruction in imagery and relaxation techniques, movement training, singing lullabies and womb songs, and other creative arts experiences (a womb song is a special song that is written for the baby while in utero). Familiar music can help comfort the mother during the birth experience and practice with the music before the birth is essential. This therapy has been found to significantly decrease the mother’s anxiety and discomfort responses, decrease the need for analgesic medications during birth, and has contributed to overall positive feelings about the birth process.”

I hope this is helpful in giving you a feel for what I do as a Sound Birthing Doula.  If you think you might be interested in having me as your doula, please get in touch and let's chat! 

To learn even more about Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth, check out