Top 5 baby items I couldn’t live without

walking with baby 5 things i couldnt live without
photo: Keeping it Real

The five baby items I couldn’t live without. I’m not talking about the essentials: diapers, crib, stroller, vaginal reconstruction (which apparently is a thing). I’ve compiled a list of the little miracle gifts I didn’t even know I wanted until they came into my life and afforded me the ability to sleep, eat hot (warm) food and use my hands for tasks other than handling poop.

1. Nipple Shields:

nipple shield - 5 things i couldnt live without
Nipple shields – save you from becoming painfully chewed

If you are breastfeeding, there may come a time when your nipples stop resembling, well…nipples, and start looking like the shrivelled, chewed-up mess that gravity forgot. Both my babies nursed so hard that eventually my family got sick of me begging them to knock me out and picked up several pairs of thin, silicone nipple shields from Babies ‘R’ Us. These clear, vented covers protect sensitive skin while still allowing your babe to feed on demand. Forgo the pain – save it for when they become toddlers. (, Paired with an excellent nursing bra, I managed to look a little less National Geographic.

2. Nursing Pillow:

my best friend pillow - things i couldnt live without
My Breast Friend Nursing Pillow can save your back

My first son was a voracious eater. He nursed for hours at a time. There were days (months) where I’d sit on the couch like a Holstein. A nursing pillow can save your back and provide a comfortable resting surface for baby (mine could also accommodate a magazine and a bowl of popcorn.) We used My Brest Friend ( but do your research to see which one is the most comfortable for you.

3. Baby Carrier:

Ergo baby carrier - 5 thinkgs i couldnt live without
Your arms are yours again with a baby carrier

ERGObaby, Beco, Baby Bjorn, Moby Wrap, I feel like these are all foreign words for “here darling, let me make your life easier by giving you the gift of two arms again.” My oldest had to be on me All. The. Time. I wore that child for ages before he touched the ground. Needless to say, I was an exhausted knuckle dragger until a family member bought me an ERGObaby carrier. Suddenly, I could cook dinner (carefully), wash dishes and fold laundry (wait, why did I want my arms back again??) (

4. “Tuffo” Outdoor Blanket:

tuffo blanket - 5 things i couldn't live without
Tuffo – The only blanket you need

I know. It’s a blanket. So what, right? Only, it’s waterproof on the bottom. It’s machine washable, crazy durable and wraps up in its own carrying bag. Our Tuffo Outdoor Blanket ( became a staple in our household all year long. Soccer games (less “game” more chasing each other around the field), picnics, wet lawns, poolside, play time, nap time, our Tuffo blanket still goes everywhere with us.

5. Sleepers with zippers:

zipped onesie - 5 things i couldnt live without
Don’t wrestle the baby alligator, just go for the zip

Why, just why would you make a sleeping garment with five million snaps? (I’m looking at you, Baby Gap.) Who has a child that A) holds still and B) sleeps through the night without at least one colossal blowout? Parenting is a big enough test. I am not an engineer and doing up snaps on my baby is like crocodile wrestling, only more dangerous. Old Navy makes them (ca) and sometimes you can get lucky at Carter’s/Osh Kosh ( or even Costco. But you have to look for them.


alexis-head-shotAlexis Nicols is a marketing specialist, actor and freelance writer. She lives in urban Toronto with her husband and two sons, but is definitely suburban at heart. She regularly dodges the slings and arrows of parenting boys, considers herself a connoisseur of stretchy pants and hopes that the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train.

For more musings from a mom who wonders when everything below the neck went National Geographic, visit her blog:

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