4 Things I Never Thought I’d Need Before I Had My First Baby

When you have your first child, everything changes.

But before your little one is born, you’re out there, frantically stocking up on cute little clothes, buying decorations for the baby’s nursery, and building your baby registry.

It’s kind of fun.

As you go through it all though, you never really know what you’re going to need.  There’s SO much marketing out there for literally hundreds of thousands of different baby products.  And it’s all appealing.

But are you buying what you will actually need?  Probably.

The reality is, with whatever you have, you make it work.  Beyond clothes, diapers, and food, everything else is a luxury.

As true as that may be, looking back on everything, there are a few things we either purchased or received as gifts that I don’t think we could have done without.  And they’re all things I never thought we’d need before our first child was born.

Let’s get into it.

(Note: This post contains affiliate links.  We only recommend products that we believe in!)

The Baby Products I Never Thought I’d Need 

1) The Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit

One thing you learn very quickly as a new parent is that you will do anything to improve your baby’s sleep.

It’s a simple equation:

Baby sleep = you sleep

We tried a lot of things that didn’t work, but one thing that has been extremely useful is the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit.

I had never even heard of this before our daughter was born. So it goes without saying that it’s definitely something I never thought we’d need.  As it turns out, this thing was the key to us getting longer periods of sleep.

(By the way, if you’re looking for some amazing sleeping tips from other moms, check out 29 Parents Reveal the Secret to Improving Your Baby’s Sleeping Habits.)

We’ve nicknamed it the “fat suit.” It’s really just a padded suit that helps muffle the baby’s startle reflex. It’s something that becomes more of an issue as you transition your baby away from the swaddle.

With our daughter, I felt like it gave her a extra sense of comfort – almost like she felt as though she was being held when she wore it.

As your baby begins to roll, the sleepsuit can still be worn because it makes it pretty difficult to roll over.  However, once you notice that your baby is strong enough to roll even with the suit on, it’s recommended that you transition out of it.  Your baby still has access to his or her hands and feet while wearing the suit, but it does restrict mobility.

Click here to read more about the Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit.

2) An Automatic Rock ‘n Play

I wrote about this in more detail in this post, but the automatic rock ‘n play sleeper from Fisher-Price was the key to us getting sleep when our daughter was a newborn (up until about 3 months).

I want to put some emphasis on the word automatic.

The first rock ‘n play we owned before getting the automatic one was a regular one with a vibrate feature.  It was nice, and worked well for naps and just putting the baby down in general, but it wasn’t quite the solution to a good night’s sleep.

I know every baby is different, but with ours, we would often need to spend 10-15 minutes rocking her back to sleep at night.  This isn’t a big deal at 9:00 pm, but when she was waking up at 1 AM, 3 AM, etc., having to manually rock her to sleep was a burden.

And even when she’d fall asleep, sometimes she’d wake up again when the rocking stopped.

But with the automatic rock ‘n play, all of those problems went away.

Not only did it rock on its own (obviously), but we could use the app to set a timer and set the speed.  We always went with the slowest rocking setting. For the timer, we initially would let the rocking go all night.  Gradually we scaled it back, until we just had it go for the first hour.

If she were to wake up in the middle of the night (which happened at least once on most nights), we could simply turn the rocking on for another hour.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t use the rock ‘n play forever, but for those first 3 months, it was incredibly helpful.

If you would have asked me before my daughter was born, I would have said that this “smart” rocker was an unnecessary gimmick.  Boy, would I have been wrong.  It’s just one of those things you never realize you need until you have it.

Click here to read more about the Fisher-Price Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper.

3) The Halo Bassinet

I know what you’re thinking: “You mean to tell me that you didn’t think you would need a bassinet?” 

We knew we’d need some form of bassinet. We originally had a pack ‘n play in our bedroom that our daughter just never seemed to like as a newborn. Eventually we decided it was better suited for our living room, especially because it was a little large for the bedroom.

As I mentioned before, we did initially start putting her to bed in the rock ‘n play, but when it was time to transition her out of this, the Halo bassinet was perfect.

There are a few things we love about the Halo:

  • You can adjust the height and it swivels easily (360 degrees).
  • It works really well as a changing pad (mainly because of the height).
  • The front side lowers when you put pressure on it, which makes it easier to gently put your baby down.
  • The base is extremely sturdy considering how minimal the frame is.  You would have a hard time knocking this over.

If you’re thinking about buying this, DON’T waste your money on the model that has the button controls for music, vibrating, etc.

Not because those things aren’t helpful, but because they’re just too weak and the batteries die too quickly.  It was a great idea for a feature addition, but poorly executed in my opinion. Save $50 and go for the original that doesn’t have those extra features.

Click here to read more about the Halo Bassinet.

4) Baby Movement Monitor

When I first heard of a baby movement monitor, I was a little confused about how it differs from a baby monitor.  Turns out, unlike a baby monitor, a baby movement monitor senses the baby’s movement and alerts you if the baby stops breathing (i.e. stops moving).

We use the Snuza, which I wrote about in detail in my post about the best baby movement monitor.

I was definitely skeptical at first about whether this is something we actually needed.  As it turns out, with SIDS being a real concern, this was amazing for peace of mind.

I’m not really one to over-worry about anything, but as a new parent, it’s hard to get a grasp on when you’re doing the right thing.  

When we were letting our daughter sleep in the rock ‘n play until she was 3 months old, we knew it was going against the recommendation that you shouldn’t let your child sleep in the rock ‘n play, despite it being relatively safe (and even Fisher-Price calls it a “sleeper”).

If it weren’t for the Snuza, we probably wouldn’t have done it.  But because we knew we’d be alerted immediately if she stopped breathing (it alerts you if it doesn’t detect stomach movement for 15-20 seconds), we felt a lot more comfortable about letting her sleep there (which, in turn, gave us a lot more sleep).

We continued using a baby movement monitor even after transitioning to a bassinet.  Even though she was in a safe spot, sleeping on her back, it was still nice to have that extra peace of mind that SIDS would be less of a concern.

Definitely a product we never thought we’d need, and now we recommend it to everyone.

Click here to read more about the Snuza.

That’s all for now! More surprises to come, I’m sure.

There are a lot of surprises when you’re a first time parent, but they’re not all bad.  In our case, there were these 4 products that ended up being absolutely crucial for our baby. And we had no clue we needed them before she was born.

If I could do it all over again, these are things we would definitely put onto our baby registry.

What are some baby products you love that you never thought you’d need? Share in the comments below! 🙂

About Eric and Tiffany Matthews

We're Eric and Tiffany, the parents behind Cynical Parent. We're just normal parents who are navigating parenthood with both eyes wide open (probably because there's a kid yelling nearby). And of course, we're pretty cynical. Don't believe everything you read or hear, whether it's on the internet, or from a close family or friend (or even from us!). Every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. Sometimes you just need to try and see for yourself. :)


  1. As a new mum over 40 I have none of these things. I opted for a simple moses basket at the start. He’s 11 months and we still haven’t got a cot….bad mummy or sensible one – you decide! He’s still in the big bed and I’m back 2 work full time. I’d love all the things above but when I worked out the cost…I couldn’t believe how expensive bringing up children was today. I struggle to buy him the basics even on a good wage because I’m paying for a full time nursery place. Be a SAHM? I’d love to – bit who’s going to fund it. As I say, I’d love all of the things you mention but with no family and no money…I’m pinning all my hopes on my blog https://saffronandcyrus.com

    • Cynical Parent

      I totally hear you! You can absolutely be a great parent and never own any of these things. When money isn’t as much of an issue though, they’re great to have. But more power to you for being successful without them! 🙂

  2. The infant insert for the halo made my newborn so happy

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