know we just passed the 15 month mark, but I promised a blog about my favorite baby items, and, goshdarnit, I’m going to give it to you! Even if only for my own sake, so that I remember when/if Baby #2 comes along, the things we loved and didn’t love. I’ll go ahead and say that every baby is different, so what worked for us, might not work for you… but, some of the things on my splurge list aren’t even really splurges, but just things we used a lot, or are still using! I also have a runner-up list, things I think should be bought used/borrowed, and then a list of the things that I really wanted, but sadly didn’t work out for us!
I want you to know that none of this is sponsored, and we are not affiliated with any of these companies. We truly loved these products, and would sing their praises all the day long! However, if you feel like you want to buy of these products, if you click the product photo below the item, we get a little Amazon kick-back (I think.. this is my first go with it!)
Let do it!
THE TOP TEN
For each Top Ten item I will give an estimate on how long we used it. I’ve also added in a photo that links to the product on Amazon below each section, so you can check out pricing and other reviews too. Also, these photos get super busy because they aren’t styled, because #thisisreallife. But, I guess that’s how you know they were well-used!
Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play
Time Used: 3-4 months
Okay, I think everyone uses this bad boy for their newborn to sleep in for a time period. It vibrates, it rocks, it plays music. It’s a sanity saver. But this particular version has an iPhone app, and you can control the vibrating, rocking and music all from your phone. Some might call it lazy, but I call it genius. It had a timer, and a little movie thing for lights… We used this for a least a month for sleeping, and then for another couple of months for napping in the daytime too.
NINE. Beaba Baby Cook Time Used: 8 Months
This was something I think no one thought I would really use because I admittedly hate to cook. But I seriously LOVED this thing. I loved prepping the little cubes, and blending the foods, and being confident in what my baby was eating. Seriously, if you want to make your own baby food, there is no. easier. way. to do it than this machine. I am seriously not a foodie one bit, but this made it so easy and affordable to do. I started Gemma on purees at 4 months, and we started doing all table food around 11 months.
EIGHT. Little Unicorn Swaddles Time Used: 3-4 Months for swaddling, but used all year for play and car rides in the winter.
We brought her home in one, we took her newborn photos with one, and used one almost every day during her first 3 months. They were by far the most talked about thing, along with her bows! I became a swaddling pro + addict, and we always made sure to have one to go with our events! During the scary months where babies roll around and can’t be trusted with blankets we haven’t used them as much, but I am still hoarding them for future naps and cuddles!
SEVEN. Fisher Price Fun and Fold Bouncer Time Used: 6-7 months
She tasted her first bite of cereal in this seat, took naps in this seat, kicked and played, and drank more than her fair share of bottles in this seat… we loved it. It served as our “high chair” until she could actually sit up in a high chair. The only thing I did not love was that the toys that came with the seat were impossible for her to reach at the angle she was sitting. So, I bought the attachable toy mount, and it worked fine until she got too strong and pulled that joker off. Honestly, I think if it was still out, she would still attempt to sit in it…
SIX. iPad Mini Case Time Used: Still Using!
If you’re not into screen time for kids then just keep moving, but we started with movies when I had to solo travel 45 minutes each way to my sister’s volleyball matches last fall. Moana was the perrrrrfect timing to get us there and back. With a kid who hated being in the dark backseat alone, this was a must for us. We travel a lotttt, and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon, so movies in the backseat are a winning method for us. Maybe soon enough we will be able to trust her to hold the iPad and play games… but for now, movies. I used it to get showers and grab some work time during the busy season. Now, we are super happy to have it protecting our iPad. A++++ purchase for the price.
FIVE. Cloud Island Footed Pajamas Time Used: 12 months
I’d still be putting her in these until she didn’t wear diapers if they made them for toddlers. I can’t tell you how amazing the reversible zipper is on these jammies! I mean…. LIFE CHANGING when you have to change middle-of-the-night diapers, or it’s cold and you don’t want to practically get your baby naked. On the bottom left photo you can see the zipper is on her foot, so you only have to go up to get her legs out to change that bad boy. These can’t be found on Amazon, but Target is our go-to for these!
FOUR. Wildbird Sling Time Used: 7-8 Months mostly, but still on needy days
Down to the bottom, the investment starts to go up a little bit, but so does the wear and tear. On bad days, on good days, we used this sling. I tried on several different brands before she was born using our Minnie doll, and this one was by far the fastest to put on, and the most manageable fabric amount! I loved the double thick one for sturdiness… and man, we used it! Here’s the quote I will always remember about the sling… “I could put my baby down, and have her crying, while I get stuff done, feeling guilty… or I could wear her, and just get things done slower with a happy baby.” Yes. I needed a sling some days just to go to bathroom! If you’re not into the full-price sling, check out some BST groups on Facebook! This isn’t sold on Amazon either, so the link is below!
THREE. White Noise Machines Time Used: Gemma’s Whole Life + no end in sight
You’ll see two different ones here, but there’s another one that doesn’t have a photo because it’s the one we are currently using for sleep + nap times. Listen mamas who hate noise while they sleep…. GIVE IN TO IT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS. Seriously, I was so anti-sound machines that I got ribbed a little by my husband for the use of them allll the time when she was little. Our house is old, and loud, and dogs, and sirens… so I don’t see us stopping anytime soon with it! We used the green one at first, just to induce sleepiness and peace, but that one soon wasn’t loud enough so we bought the gray, blue and orange one. We used that one for a long time in the night, but it runs off batteries, and would die in the middle of the night… SO annoying. It has a remote, but we rarely used it. We still bring it a long for back-up during travels. Then, the one we use all the time and love is Tommy the Turtle. He has an app that I haven’t even opened. I’m probably missing out on some awesome features… oops. All three are linked below!
TWO. Dock-a-Tot Time Used: Gemma’s Whole Life, until she outgrows it….
I know you know that these bad boys are an investment… but, I’ll still sing its praises. Albeit, I was just talking about how we might have created a diva sleeper, because she rarely, if ever, sleeps without this thing. It’s given us a good sleeper, and it does feel a little cozier (which I guess could be frowned upon by some). I was most stressed about not sleeping as a new mom, so I did all the research about products that touted helping baby sleep—which could be why my Top 3 are all sleep related products!? Anyways, we got really, really lucky with our Dock and found it on the clearance rack at Target, from an obvious return. Actually, we found THREE. And bought them all.
In the picture of Gemma in the floral PJs was the size she was when we made the even harder decision to invest in the Dock-A-Tot Grand. This guy is no joke expensive, and HUGE. Gemma has a “mini crib” and it took up the entire space. Which, in my opinion, made it safer because there were no gaps around the edges for her to get stuck in… but still. Traveling with the little Dock before Gemma could roll over was the nicestttt thing EVER. Traveling with this mammoth is much more cumbersome, but I like the fact that her overall sleeping situation is the same no matter where she is. I can see us continuing to use the big guy into her toddler years as “rails” for her bed. I ended up buying two of these guys used, one locally, and one from a resale site… so don’t give up on looking for a good deal if you’re mentally sold on these!
ONE. Nested Bean Swaddle + Sack Time Used: From 7lbs + and still using!
This one is number one because the investment is so little compared to what I believe the benefits were for us! You can read all about the science behind it on the Nested Bean website, but this was another part of the “I need sleep” research project. Tons of folks boasted about how their kid slept longer after just a few days of using the ZenSack. Gemma came home smaller than 7lbs, so I was anxious for her to hit that landmark so we could start using it. You can see from the progression, we used it with her arms out once she was too strong for the swaddling. Then, we switched to the sack, which has easy snaps at the top and a zipper. I’m so sad, because she’s about to outgrow this one! I am trying to patiently wait for the color I want to come in to stock before ordering. If you sign up on the Nested Bean site, they will send lots of 10-15% coupons too! Seriously, if you’re scared about sleep, then start with this guy!
Now, I have a few Runner-ups before the things that didn’t work… these are things we used, and some of them are still using, but didn’t quite make the top ten.
First Runner-up Bumkins Suction Silicone Plate Time Used: Started using around 11 months + still using
This one was just shy of the top ten, mostly because we started using it so close to the end of her first year. We love this plate for is dishwasher safeness and neutral color.
Second Runner-up Ergo 360 Carrier Time Used: 7 weeks, and mostly on trips
This carrier was great for Rudy, and for use in Airports (the Wildbird metal makes the detector go off…) and for walks on grumpy days. It didn’t make the top ten because I thought it was pretty hard to put on by myself and because the cute factor is way down compared to the Wildbird. We found this bad boy on sale at Dirt Cheap for all my thrift-seeking folks.
Third Runner-Up Blooming Bath Lotus Time Used: 6-7 months
I loved the idea of this guy, but it turns out it is kind of a pain to dry. Luckily for us, it was just a few steps from the dryer, so I would just toss it in barring there were no clothes already in it! It worked well for us until Gemma started not liking to lean back to get her hair wet, and then it became a splashing mess fight. I liked that it was a huge back saver for me… who already had a pretty tired back from working and holding baby all day!
Fourth Runner-Up Monogram Blanket Time Used: 3 months until it was too hot… about to break it back out!
Gemma looooved to cuddle her face in something, which kind stressed me out, but this little guy was just enough to make sure it didn’t get wrapped around her head in the car. She loved it’s soft, fuzziness, and would probably still be using it but the fleece in 100 degrees is just a little too much for me. This one was given as a gift to us, but I linked to one from Etsy I thought might be similiar!
BUY USED OR BORROW
Okay, so now the things I really wanted, and we used, but only for a short amount of time, so I suggest buying used or borrowing from a friend for a little bit. I’m not going to link to these things because #reducereuserecycle.
ONE. Playmat. Time Used: 1-5 Months sporadically
We used this guy, but not that often, and not for very long. As you can see, by the time she could roll, it started to become a little bit of a hazard. Gemma preferred to stare at the fan most of the time anyways.
TWO. Door Jumper Time Used: 2-3 Months
We had some good use out of this guy, and some hilarious laughs. It was a great tool for keeping her in one place, and burning some energy. She loved it, but once she could crawl it was over. She felt trapped!
THREE. Swing Time Used: 2 Months
This was our upgrade after the Rock N Play seemed to lose it’s magic. Luckily my kid is right between my best friends’ kids so I just took it off her hands for a little bit. Gemma freaking loved this swing. We might would have kept it around longer, but Christmas came and #tinyhouse won. We didn’t have the room for the base of this guy and the Christmas Tree.
FOUR. Exersaucer Time Used: 2 months
We bought this used from a friend, and it was the perfect thing for two months. Soon after, Gemma was mobile and didn’t love being trapped as much. Also (I know, crazy!) I wanted her to move around as much as possible! It’s pretty easy to tell how much Gemma loved this thing for it’s short stint.
FIVE. Walker Time Used: 2 Months
Once Gemma got the hang of this thing she was a crazy person! After a little bit of research, I found it might actually hinder her walking abilities (that I was desperately encouraging!) and so I hid it in the shed. She still loves to play with the toys on it though, as it’s been sitting in my office waiting to go to resale.
WHAT DIDN’T WORK
These are the things I registered for that didn’t end up working for us. Again, every baby and mama is different, but if I’m going to share my faves, I might as well share my least faves!
ONE. Magic Merlin Suit
I had a lot laughs during my two days of using this during naps, but in the end, I chose the Dock-a-tot (for better or worse!), and these two could not be used together for obvious suffocation reasons.
TWO. MilkSnob Cover
I looooved this thing at first for a “do not touch my newborn” barrier. Once Gemma could look around, and it got super-Alabama-summer-hot, I stopped using it so she could see things and get some breeze. I used it a handful of times for a nursing cover, but our nursing story—especially in public— was very short-lived. I still kept it in my “possible baby #2” bucket just in case #2 happens to be a champion nurser. I will say…. it was SUPER awesome for to have when we ended up at the ER during flu season, for what ended up being a fever virus for us. Back to the “do not cough on my baby” thing….
My BFF warned me that I wouldn’t use this thing, and.. she was right. I used it for about a week, and then when I needed it at 3am, it’d be in the other room, so I’d just use a pillow or nothing. Gemma never loved using it to prop up either. Nope, not for us.
FOUR. Mamas and Papas Seat
Some people who have counter top space might find this one more useful, be we have zero extra counter space. We tried to use it for eating a few times, but nope. And pretty much every time I put her in she got really mad. Gemma had torticolis, and after talking with her specialist… the seats that do most of the work supporting the babies aren’t actually good for them anyways. So take that for what it’s worth about this product and others! But, when registering… how were we supposed to know that? WE NEVER HAD A KID BEFORE. (That’s the favorite quote in this house.)
Okay, that’s it!
If you’re still here, and I hope you are, I hope you found this blog useful, or you want to save it for later! Once I was over half way in, I realized this maybe should have been a two-part thing! We’ve learned so much during our first year, and still have so so so much more to learn!
So, what were your top picks for year one? Any the same as us?
What about your second year? Cause we are in it!
Next up, our favorite travel items. I don’t think it will be QUITE as lengthy!