Blue-and-pink embellished baby showers are all the rage these days, along with monthly baby photos and registering for the trendiest gadgets and nicknacks. However, something first-time parents often neglect is the baby basics.
That’s where Milena Ciciotti, a mommy vlogger with nearly 600,000 YouTube subscribers, comes into play. She films the highs and lows of raising a baby and toddler, Ari and Alathea, from her pregnancy journey to how she meal preps for different life stages.
“Being a mom doesn’t mean your life ends — it’s just beginning,” she told The Post. “Our society has a shallow end to what motherhood is and I want to show my viewers how magical it is being a mom. It’s going to be a change, but they’re going to love it.”
Though Ciciotti highlights typical days in her life, she understands the importance of not oversharing and protecting familial boundaries with her husband and two children.
“When I first started, I would share everything because I wanted to show everyone that I was ‘real,’” she said. “I started to peel back and realize we could be real without showing ourselves crying on the floor, so I started setting up boundaries. Now that Alathea is at an age where she can talk, I always ask for consent before putting a camera in her face.”
What’s more, Ciciotti doesn’t share fresh fights with her husband Jordan, either. They co-host a podcast, “As For Me and My House,” in which they discuss a raw, realistic approach to marriage and parenting — offering relationship advice and notes of faith-based wisdom from raising their children in the Christian faith.
Aside from maintaining healthy boundaries and raising her children in the Church, Ciciotti believes it’s important to raise capable and independent children, even as young as two years old. She filmed a video to show young parents how her toddler helps her prepare meals and how her baby enjoys self-sufficient playtime.
Impressively, her toddler has a learning tower — enabling her to reach kitchen island-level height – so she can help Ciciotti chop vegetables and pour water.
“Raising my children to be independent helps with their confidence — confidence starts at one year old,” she explained. “Giving them autonomy over what they do and where they walk has made my kids more ‘chill’ and ‘laid back’ because I’m not constantly controlling them. It’s not like ‘mom wants me to do this, but I want to do this’; that’s how you get a lot of pushback and tantrums.”
Ciciotti also takes her children on nature walks, letting them soak in the soil and search for leaves. It’s a discipline of self-discovery that her whole family enjoys.
That said, all of Ciciotti’s parenting habits mold into fond memories, a small focus on expensive products and those registry-famous items. Below, find her favorite, basic-minded products she uses almost every day — simple, time-saving and highly recommended for new moms and caregivers.
Milena’s Favorite Products for Her Baby & Toddler
“Think back to how it was 200 years ago — people didn’t have all these little gadgets we have nowadays that people seem to absolutely need,” Ciciotti said. “The simpler the better. For some items, even wait until the baby arrives to see what’s essential.”
Wildbird Acadian Solid Sling, $69.95
“The Wildbird sling keeps you hands-free, so you can have it on and still be able to cook, go on a walk, or tend to your toddler,” she said. “And, the baby loves it because they’re still close to your chest.”
“If you’re breastfeeding, the Haakaa breast collector helps a ton because you can get super leaky,” she said.”
NexGen Dreamland Nursery Center, $167.99
“It’s great to have a changing station outside of the nursery to store diapers, wipes and creams,” she said. “It’s nice to have something easily accessible to wherever you are in the house, so you don’t have to go up and down the stairs.”
“We love swaddles, and most babies love to be swaddled, too,” she said. “The Solly Baby ones are so soft and so cute.”
Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, $59.99 (originally $99.99)
“We cannot live without the Hatch Baby Sound Machine,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if your baby is inconsistent with napping yet, but having the soothing noise and the different colors is great too. Now, Alathea’s turns green when it’s time for her to wake up, so it’s a great product that grows with your baby.”
UPPABaby Cruz V2 Stroller, $649.99
“The UPPABaby Stroller is just so great,” she said. “It’s durable, great for walks with your baby, and is something that you’ll be glad you invested in.”
UPPABaby MESA Infant Car Seat, $349.99
“I like the MESA Infant Car Seat because it’s lightweight and attaches smoothly to the stroller,” she said.
“We use the Stokke High Chair every day,” she said. “It looks great in the kitchen and makes mealtime really great.”
Lovevery The Play Gym, $140
“The Lovevery mat is beautiful,” she said. “It’s entertaining for the baby without being overstimulating.”
4moms mamaRoo Baby Swing, $239.99
“The mamaRoo Baby Swing is a love or hate item, but our children loved it,” she said. “It’s great to rock your baby when you’re on your feet cleaning or cooking.”
“I try not to buy baby food, but the only food I buy that my kids love is dry-freeze mango,” she said. “They melt into their mouths and it’s a quick and healthy snack.”
“I use All Free Clear on my children’s clothes,” she said. “It’s a natural detergent that doesn’t contain a scent.”
Ciciotti uses a kitchen stool like this for her toddler to help her prepare meals in the kitchen. It’s great because it has a safety rail for critical support in their early stages, too.
Mushie Silicone Suction Plate, $15.99
Ciciotti loves the Mushie Silicone Suction Plates because they divide her childrens’ food and are delicate for toddlers to carry when preparing and eating food.
Ciciotti loved this baby monitor for her youngest child, Ari, when he was experiencing acid reflux. It was an essential tool to monitor her newborn while also keeping eyes on her toddler.
Feeding time is undoubtedly messy, especially with two children. Ciciotti loves these smock bibs because they have sleeves and cover the baby’s entire upper body.