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16 Motherhood Essentials that I Wouldn’t Want to Mother Without

16 Motherhood Essentials that I Wouldn’t Want to Mother Without

As we prepare to welcome baby number two into our family, I’ve been revisiting what my favorite motherhood products have been so far to make sure I’ve got them on hand to make me feel as prepared as possible (knowing that actually being prepared is virtually impossible).

This is a list of products that have made mothering easier, more healthy, or more joyful for me in one way or another. May these items bring your mama mind a little peace as they have mine, or may they be great gift ideas for the mamas and mamas-to-be in your life!


KicKee Pants Jammies: I found out after becoming a mom that many children’s pajamas are treated with flame retardants which are toxic to our little ones. I love that these jammies are made out of organic bamboo, have super cute prints, are really soft, and are the stretchiest I’ve found, which means trying to get my little wigglers into them is easier than other jammies.

Organic Mattresses: SIDS has been on the rise ever since flame retardants became widely used in mattresses starting in the 1950s. I feel no need to have flame retardants on our mattresses, given the fact that no one smokes in our household and organic mattresses have been some of the best investments we’ve made. Mostly Penelope sleeps on her own Avocado mattress at this point, but sometimes she ends up in our bed and we sleep on a GreenSleep mattress which we adore. We also have an organic crib mattress for the new peanut on her way.

Snot Sucker

Nose Frida: Babies cannot blow their own noses. Penelope has just gotten the hang of it and she’s 2 ½. We found the Nose Frida to be the most effective tool for clearing her nasal passages, and although she didn’t always love it, it kept her breathing easily and that was worth the struggle. (She actually went through phases where she didn’t mind at all!)


Lulaboo Shirt: This shirt was so amazing in the first 6-10 weeks of motherhood with Penelope because she didn’t get to be 10 pounds until she was over 3 months old, so I could just stick her in the pocket like a little kangaroo. I would put on the shirt and put her in the pouch. No wrapping, clipping, or buckling required. So easy and awesome. (Hoping our next babe is a peanut, too, so I can use it again!)

ErgoSport 365: Once Penelope was too big for the Lulaboo, or if we were going on a walk or longer outing, I loved the ErgoSport 365, which P still fits in at two-and-a-half although I’ll mostly be using it with the new baby with the infant insert. What I love about this carrier is that it has breathable mesh so that the baby and I don’t get too hot, and you can wear the baby on your front facing forward or backward, on your back facing forward or backward, and on your hip, too. So much versatility!

Boba Wrap: There are a lot of wraps out there and we have quite a few, but the one that Mike and I kept returning to was our Boba because it didn’t get all stretched out resulting in a baby hanging somewhere down around our crotch. It didn’t take me long to get the hang of getting Penelope snuggled in there, and it fit great under my jacket for chillier walks in Maine. One size fits all, too, so Mike and I could use the same one and we went with black since it goes with everything. :)


The Dairy Fairy Bras: I found it really difficult to find any nursing bras that didn’t make me feel like a washed-up matron because of their unflattering cuts. But The Dairy Fairy saved the day! I especially love the Ayla Luxury Lace Pumping & Nursing Bra because not only is it beautiful, you can also put the pumping phalanges right inside it and not have to either hold them (preventing you from getting work done or scrolling your Instagram feed) or switch into a specific pumping bra (which is highly inconvenient if you’re pumping at work, at an airport, or really anywhere else that isn’t your home).

Happy Ducts Tincture: I got mastitis a few times in Penelope’s early days, and it was awful. Luckily my midwives recommended the Happy Ducts Tincture from WishGarden Herbs. After those first two rounds of mastitis, if I had even the slightest sore or blocked spot on my breast I took it and thwarted the infection before it even had a chance to take root. This is an essential in every nursing mama’s apothecary!

USANA Prenatal Vitamin: Though many women can’t wait to have their baby because they’re so exhausted during pregnancy, they soon realize that motherhood takes tired to a whole other level! Having proper nutritional support after birth and while nursing is super important to make sure that your energy and emotions don’t bottom out. I’ve taken my USANA Prenatal everyday since 6 months before we conceived Penelope, and I plan to take it as long as I’m nursing baby number two.


Diaper Bag Files: Someone gifted me a set of these when I was pregnant with P and they have been a lifesaver. Instead of having to dig through my diaper bag abyss when I’m looking for something, these little mesh “files” are labeled and allow me to find what I need with little to no searching.


The Fourth Trimester by Kimberly Ann Johnson: I wish I had read this book to prepare for my postpartum period with Penelope, but I’m so grateful I have it now! Our culture pays so much attention to preparing for birth and “getting your body and life back” after birth, but we spend almost no time on what’s truly needed for a mother to heal her body and herself after what is the biggest transition she’ll ever go through (for most of us). This book is a must-read for any pregnant mama. It’s a major paradigm-shifter and I highly recommend it.

Mothering From Your Center by Tami Lynn Kent: This book helped me come back from some pretty serious postpartum anxiety. It’s one of the sanest, wisest approaches to motherhood that I’ve found because Tami doesn’t give you tips or strategies for getting your baby to do this or that. She reminds you that you are the source, and she teaches you how to source your wisdom from the very center of yourself that created your child (or your other creations) to begin with. I read it while nursing Penelope in the first 6 weeks of her life and cried my eyes out. I recommend you do, too.

Wherever You Go My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman: My sister first gave me this book when I left New York City where we’d both lived for 6 years, and when I first read it, I bawled my eyes out. Then I was gifted it again when I was pregnant with P, and I read it to her every night for the first 18 months of her life, bawling my eyes out much of the time again. It’s an absolutely gorgeous children’s book that evokes the true power of unconditional love, and I think it should be part of every family’s library (we have the board book and the paper version).


Bamboletta Dolls: We received one of these exquisite, handmade dolls for Penelope from Danielle LaPorte with a note about how she is one-of-a-kind, was handmade by one of 32 women who bring these beautiful dolls to life in British Columbia, and about the meaning of her name (which was chosen individually for her and means life). I burst into tears and was so deeply touched by what a heartfelt gift this was. Plus Penelope LOVES her doll. We also received another little red, soft Bamboletta baby from two other dear friends, and Penelope adores this one, too. When I hold these dolls (and I know when Penelope does) we can literally feel the love radiate out of them.

Fairy House Making Kit: We received this amazing Fairy House Making Kit from Liza Gardner Walsh who makes them right here in Maine, along with authoring her beautiful children’s books about fairies. Penelope loves the kit and the books and playing with these with her brings me right back to my childhood imagining the little winged beings flitting around in nature, making magic.

Eco-Dough: I’m sure we’re not unique in that pretty much everything that Penelope plays with ends up in her mouth at one time or another. That’s why I love Eco-Dough, which is made with all natural ingredients that don’t include Red Dye #5 or other toxins that I don’t want my girls ingesting. Plus it has the slightest essential oil scent due to the oils it includes to keep it soft and pliable. Total aromatherapy bonus. (The company that makes it, Eco-Kids, is a family-run business based in Maine, and they have lots of other great products as well!)

Share the love:

Wondering what to put on your baby registry or gift a mama-to-be? Here’s @katenorthrup’s mamahood essentials list!  


What are some of your essential motherhood goodies? I love discovering new things, so please leave a comment and let me know what you love!


  • Congrats on your new baby!

    I d love for you to know that my essential is an aroma diffuser and high purity and therapy essential oils for both mamma and baby.

    They are medicinal so they can be used not only for a wonderful mood and peaceful state of mind but also for colics, headaches for you and emotions like overwhelm and exhaustion.

    I d love for you to enjoy yr experience and enjoy some of my motherhood tools I have put to work for me and my boys.

  • Alert: Tooting one’s own horn ahead!! :-) My company’s Birth Support Kit has been redefining the way mamas experience their bodies and emotions during birth, and welcome their babies into the world. Loved by doulas, the Kit is the essential go-to partner to maximize the joy, calm, love, conscious presence, and non-invasive comfort solutions mamas and babies experience as they meet each other.

    • Kate Northrup

      What does it include?

      • Consisting of essential oils and flower essences, the Kit is a one-of-a-kind group of 5 nurturing products:

        Brave Body Massage Oil
        Emotionally-Empowered Mama Massage Cream
        Mentally-Majestic Mama Massage Oil
        Enchanted Birth Space (Room Spray)
        Postpartum Harmony Massage Cream

        I’ve included the product page link in the website section.

  • Love your list thank you for sharing. We all can learn from each other. We adore California Baby products for hair and body, salt lamps, high vibration music ie. 2002 or Liquid Mind and crystals for aligning energy. My biggest focus after physical essentials are tips for emotional support for everyone in the home. Soon my new book will be a resource I shall share … busy with our 2 girlies lol. Wishing you a beautiful wonderful blessed birth welcoming your 2nd Angel Spirit. Xoxo

  • Danielle

    What a great article, I am expecting baby number three and wish I had of know about the Lalabu shirts earlier they look amazing. Thank you for sharing so many great products. Take it easy and Enjoy!

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