The day I told Taylor I was pregnant
, we decided to make a trip to Babies R’ Us. To do what
exactly? Well, nothing, because I was barely 6 weeks pregnant. Nothing except wander around that store wide-eyed with freshly impregnated grins on our faces. And it was sweet! Oh so sweet.
But also – totally overwhelming.
The world of baby “stuff” is huge. HUGE. And as you’ve probably guessed – most of it is total crap. Because the truth is, the only baby gear you actually need are diapers and milk. But the rest of it? It’s sure nice to have.
Over the past 6 months, we’ve found things we love and hate, and eventually figured out what our essentials are when it comes to the world of baby gear. And while every baby is different (duh), there are a few pieces of baby paraphernalia I’ve fallen in love with, and would recommend in a heartbeat.
(*Disclaimer: These are my personal favorite baby-related items. In case you were unaware, every baby, mom, family, and household dynamic is different. You might hate sometime I love and love something I hate. If that’s the case, just try not to get your panties in a wad. THANKS!)
Ah, the Rock & Play. Every man, woman, and child loves the Rock & Play. Zoey slept in the RnP for the first week or so of her life, and napped in it all day every day for at least the first 3 months. I loved how easily it folded up and moved from room to room. We were gifted the nicer model that vibrates, makes noise, and rocks on its own, and I have to say – TOTALLY worth it. Because there’s really nothing better than a sweet sleeping baby.
THE BEST STROLLER. I did a lot of stroller (and car seat) research, and I just kept coming back to The City Mini. Depending on your budget, it might be considered bit of a splurge, but go to the store and play with it and you’ll see it’s AMAZING. It reclines almost completely flat and has a massive sun canopy, and couldn’t be easier to use. It’s super lightweight, compact, folds very simply (one handed), and adapts to just about any car seat. I use this stroller all the time, both indoor and outdoor, and truly can’t say enough good things about it.
Like I said, I did a lot of car seat research, and eventually landed on the Maxi-Cosi Mico AP. It’s incredibly lightweight (one of the lightest infant carriers on the market!), which, aside from safety, was the biggest deciding factor for me. It’s also super plush and sleek looking – I LOVE the all black.
Because we’re in Texas, I wanted to look for a car seat made of a cool and breathable fabric. This one almost reminds me of a dri-fit material, and it’s stayed cool on even the hottest summer days. Another bonus – how easy it is to remove and wash the padding, which turned out to be a necessity for my little spit-up queen.
I went back and forth a LOT in the beginning about if we really needed a carrier or whether it would be wiser to use a convertible car seat right from the start. Ultimately, I’m so glad we went with the carrier. I know this is different for everyone, but since Zoey was born in February, I would have hated to hate to take her out of her warm and cozy car seat for every little errand. We have been so happy with our choice, and when it’s time for her to move up to a convertible, we’ll definitely stick with this brand!
Baby sleep is (aside from breastfeeding v formula feeding) quite possibly one of the most controversial new parent topics. The co-sleeping/bed sharing/crib sleeping arguments make my head spin, and as with almost every aspect of parenting – you find what works for you.
But no matter what your long-term goals are for baby sleep, most babies end up in mom and dad’s room for at least a brief period in the beginning. For us, co-sleeping with Zoey in her bassinet next to the bed worked incredibly well. I loved having her close by, but still in her own little space, and she actually slept in our room until 5 months.
The Halo Bassinest has been the very
best. We received comments on it from nearly every person who came and visited us in the early days. The fact that it swivels and scoots right up to the mattress has made having her in our tiny master bedroom SO easy. Plus, the lowering mesh side walls also made for easy baby-staring, a new mom pasttime.
I think that most babies enjoy being swaddled at some point or another, and after trying out a handful of swaddles we were gifted, we eventually discovered that this one was our favorite. The light weight muslin material is perfect for a warm house or climate, and the snaps made it a breeze to put on.
And once Zoey started to get superrrrr wiggly and began to bust out of the swaddle, we switched to the Magic Merlin
, which also became an instant favorite!
For us, burp rags are LIFE. Zoey was a spit up queen, and while that’s improved as she’s gotten older, she’s still an unpredictable mess. Even now that she’s spitting up less, we’ve got drool to deal with. In my experience, I could never EVER have enough burp rags. These Carter’s burp rags from Target are a favorite, because if you have to have a vomit rag, it ought to at least be cute.
I had no idea how much I would come to love a little portable changing station. Rather than lugging a big diaper bag everywhere, it’s so nice to be able to grab the portable changing station for quick errands. It’s big enough for a small diaper stash, wipes, and even a spare onesie or two. I never ever ever leave home without it. I know there are plenty of brands that make them, but Skip Hop is the one we were gifted, and we’ve loved it!
This was a simple and fairly inexpensive little accessory that I wound up using a TON. I used it mostly as a car seat cover, but it makes a great nursing cover too! I haven’t used it much as a cover because with my wiggly child, covering has become way more trouble than its worth but this one is stretchy, light weight, and absolutely adorable. It’s tiny enough to fold up easily and toss in the diaper bag, and I love that I’ll get to use it as a shopping cart cover once she’s sitting up on her own.
Because we cloth diaper, a wet bag was a must-have for toting around dirty diapers. BUT – wet bags are not just for cloth diapering! Babies are hella messy, especially in the early days. We were going through onesies and burp rags like toilet paper, and a wet bag is SO nice for tossing dirty laundry into when you’re on the go. It contains the smell, is machine washable, and a little more eco-friendly than a plastic bag. And because they’re so affordable, I’d recommend one to any new parent!
BABY WEARING SAVES LIVES. If this is the only thing you learn from this post, so be it. Because I repeat – baby wearing saves lives.
Now that we’ve gotten that ode to baby wearing out of the way, onto my personal favorites! A woven carrier a must for when they are teeny tiny and the Solly was our pick. I fell in love with their Instagram
when I was pregnant and actually wound up buying TWO different colors. And if I have another baby, I’ll probably end up buying another one. I love
the Solly. It’s cute, easy to use, light weight, and an instant baby-soother. The Solly website says that their wraps are designed for the first year of life (up to 25 pounds), and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon!
Once Zoey was a little bit bigger, we decided to also invest in a structured carrier. The Lille Baby is similar to the Ergo, but a bit more affordable. We went with the Airflow model, because it received rave reviews for being cool and breathable. So far we’ve only used it for inward facing, but we’ll be able to use it for outward and back carrying in the future as well!
And naturally, when it comes to baby gear, there are also a handful of things I find to be a waste. Starting with…
Diaper pails – the biggest scam of all. After all it’s really just a glorified over-priced trashcan with an expensive and complicated refill process. I know people swear by their diaper genies or whatever fancy poop disposal system they have, but it just feels unnecessary to me.
It’s significantly cheaper to just buy a nice trash can and use regular trash bags – you can even use the scented ones if you’re worried about smell. Because we cloth diaper, a diaper pail didn’t make much sense for us anyway. Instead, we opted for this metal step trash can from Target
and a these reusable pail liners
. The trash can is actually cute, and we’ve never once been able to smell anything in the room.
Swings are great, I don’t think there’s a baby in the world who doesn’t like the swing – BUT, they’re also expensive and bulky. A friend gave us their used one, which we used occasionally, but it was never our saving grace like the Rock & Play was. I didn’t like that it can’t be moved easily from room to room, and are also think they can be kind of an eye-sore. I know people who would put baby swings #1 on their list, but for us, that just wasn’t the case.
When it comes to baby bathing – I actually just hop in the tub with Zoey. We registered for the Puj tub
, which we used for a few weeks. But when they’re that little they are SO slippery, which makes trying to hold them upright in a baby tub almost impossible. I took an herbal bath with Zoey right after she was born, and kept remembering how much easier it was to be in the water holding her. So finally I tried it, and that’s how we’ve been doing baths ever since. In the beginning, I had Taylor sit outside the tub and help me, but after a couple times we got into a rhythm and tub time is second nature now.
I definitely have nothing against baby tubs, we just found out that mom and baby bathtime worked better for us. If you think that you’ll be more comfortable with a tub, I do think that the Puj is the best option out there because it’s soft, fits in almost any sink, and stores completely flat.
Poor Zoey. Her little butt knows nothing but cold wipes. Don’t worry, it’s just my way of preparing her for the cold, harsh reality of the world. It’s a parenting technique.
And that’s it! There are a million other little things I could talk/rant about, so if you have specific questions, feel free to ask! And happy registering to all you expecting mamas out there!
*Last disclaimer, I’m not savvy enough to set up affiliate links, so I’m receiving no kind of commission for this post or any resulting clicks. This advice was 100% free to you, so YOU’RE WELCOME.