This post is a part of our baby essentials series by Monica Banks, founder of Gugu Guru – the ultimate baby registry discovery site for style-savvy moms.

You’ve survived pregnancy, labor, early feeding along with sleep deprivation but for many all of those accomplishments will seem like a total breeze when faced with one of the biggest challenges for a first time parent: simply leaving the house. Alone. With your baby.  

When I watched Whit’s video about Timmy going back to work and just generally leaving the baby bubble, I could so relate. After having my husband home for three weeks with me and my newborn son, not only did he have to return to work, he had to go on a business trip. I remember the panicked thoughts racing through my head, “What about doctor appointments?” “What about groceries?” “How do I even use this carrier thing?” Basically, I was fundamentally questioning whether I was ever actually even going to venture out of the bubble.

My best friend had her first baby six weeks before I did and acted as my on-demand help line in those days since she was several steps ahead of me in the newborn learning curve. I will never forget what she said to me when I called her in a panic. Her sage words were, “You have to push yourself. Whether it’s to the grocery store or just to the park. More often than not, it’s going to be just you with the baby and you need to get that confidence.” So, I did and it took a few tries but then I was rocking it. Now I often hear myself sharing that same advice with new moms today, including to Whitney.  However, pushing yourself is just one piece of it. You’ll still need the right products.  For this post on breaking out of the baby bubble, we sent Whitney our list of must-haves, she also did her own research and here are the products that rose to the top of her list.

Leaving the Baby Bubble

1. A Safely Installed Car Seat

First and foremost, did you know that approximately 90% of car seats are improperly installed? Yikes. One new parent service that the team at Gugu Guru suggests that parents definitely check out is The Tot Squad.  The Tot Squad offers so many incredible services for your baby gear from cleaning to repairs to installation.  Skip the guess work and minimize the risk by having an expert install your car seat before baby even arrives. As for a high quality car seat that matches Whitney’s lifestyle, we recommended the UPPAbaby MESA.  UPPAbaby designed the MESA with intuitive innovations and features that remove the guesswork. The SMARTSecure System combines auto-retracting connectors and a visual indicator that turns from red to green, providing an installation that is both simple and accurate. The MESA maximizes ease to minimize error, which allows parents to move forward with confidence and security.

Leaving the Baby Bubble

2. A Baby Carrier

We recommended the Solly Baby wrap for Whit because they’re stylish, eco-friendly and easy. Solly’s infant wraps bring you closer to your little one, physically and emotionally, while simultaneously giving you the freedom and comfort to take on daily life. Their wraps reflect your personal aesthetic (an important factor for Whitney), seamlessly and luxuriously integrating all of the benefits of babywearing and the beauty of still being you.

Leaving the Baby Bubble

3. A Shopping Cart Hammock

The Binxy Baby shopping cart hammock quickly and easily clips onto most carts, hangs elevated so you have plenty of room for groceries, then simply rolls up to fit in your purse or diaper bag when finished. Most infant car seats sit snugly inside the Shopping Cart Hammock and can be secured using the included safety strap.

Leaving the Baby Bubble4. Portable Changing Station

The Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station will give you confidence that you will have a clean place to change your baby’s diaper no matter where you are. It has easy to access pockets for diapers, wipes and creams so you aren’t searching through your diaper bag to find the supplies you need to make diaper changes on the go a success.

Leaving the Baby Bubble5. Play Mat

We recommended the Monkey Mat to Whitney. It is a compact, super light-weight, water-repellent mat that will ensure you have a clean place to put baby for playtime or just a place to hang out with baby when you are out of the house. It comes attached to its own pouch so it easily fits in the diaper bag!

Leaving the Baby Bubble6. A Well Packed Diaper Bag

It doesn’t matter how many pockets your diaper bag has or how great it looks hanging from your stroller if you don’t have it packed and ready to go for anything on your outing. Ensure you have supplies for at least one feeding, an extra burpy bib, one full extra outfit for baby, two diapers for each hour out of the house, plenty of wipes, alcohol-free hand sanitizer, an extra swaddle, an extra paci as well as a wet bag (or ziplock bags). When you get home from an outing, ensure you repack anything into your diaper bag that you used on the last outing so it is always ready to go. Having a prepared bag, allows you the convenience of only having to throw in anything you need for each specific outing and not have to try to get baby ready and pack the entire bag each time.

Leaving the Baby Bubble7. A Car Organizer

It is so easy to forget an essential or to run out of supplies (think diaper blow-out -need we say more?) when you are out of the house. Have a car organizer in your car at all times with essentials for baby including back up diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, etc., so you can always pull from there.

Leaving the Baby Bubble8. Booties That Stay Put 

It is inevitable that a baby will kick off socks or booties while you are out. Goumikids Booties have a velcro tab that will ensure no matter how much baby kicks in excitement from being out they will stay on baby’s feet.

Leaving the Baby Bubble9. “Do Not Touch” Car Seat Tag

Seeing (good intentioned) strangers reach their hands and their germs toward your baby can be scary for a new mom. This sign that hangs from your car seat will give strangers the message without you having to have an awkward conversation.

Leaving the Baby Bubble

10. Multipurpose Cover 

Native Wilds offers mom “empowerment on the go.” It is an amazing product for mom when out and about for short and long trips because it is so versatile. Native Wilds can be used as a nursing cover, car seat cover or just a scarf for mom but what makes it really unique from other products is the pocket functionality.  Mom can just throw on this stylish cover and be ready to nurse baby or quickly take off the stretchy cover to cover a car seat for a sleeping baby.

Leaving the Baby Bubble

11. Don’t Forget About Mom!

a. Clothes for mom: Just like you will pack an extra outfit for baby, pack at least an extra shirt for mom incase of a spit up! Speaking of clothes, for breastfeeding moms make sure you wear a nursing top or at least a loose, button front shirt for easy access to nursing a fussy baby on the go.

b. Snack for mom:  The last thing you want while you are out is to get hangry so make sure to pack a few snacks for yourself to eat on the go. (Whitney loves these organic peanut butter bars.) To make outings a success for baby you have to make sure you are taken care of as well.

c. Nursing Pads:   Make sure to wear a super absorbent nursing pad to catch any leaks while you are out. We love Bamboobies.

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