Everyone has their favorite baby items that they consider must haves (seriously, there are a bajillion other blog posts and articles about this, so of course I have to add another one). In our first two months as parents we have quickly developed a list of our favorites; things that we have come to rely on. Admittedly every baby and family is different so what we love, others may find to be frivolous or pointless. After consulting with Shiraz here are our top ten baby must haves; ones we can confidently say we use nearly daily.
Boppy Support Pillow – Originally we bought the Boppy for breastfeeding. While I wasn’t able to make breastfeeding work (that’s an entirely different post) we still use our Boppy pillows regularly. It is fantastic for helping with tummy time (especially if your baby doesn’t like being on the floor face down, flat on his stomach) and for keeping the little one propped up when our arms are too tired to hold him but he still needs to be fed (like that middle of the night feeding). We also stick him in it and have him sit between us while we are on the couch or in bed, that way he gets to socialize with us and isn’t on his back all the time.
4Moms MamaRoo – This is such a cool gadget. It was a bit of a risk purchasing it because we didn’t know if the baby would enjoy it, as some babies don’t take to the rockers/bouncers. We got lucky that our little one loves it. With a number of different motions and sounds it’s great for keeping the baby entertained when you need to get something done around the house. We primarily use it when he is getting fussy and needs to be soothed. Stick him in that for 10-15 minutes and he is calm as a clam (important question; are clams actually calm). This is definitely a splurge item, but for us is worth the cost.
Dock-A-Tot (Deluxe) – I am not sure if we got lucky and just have a great sleeper, or if he is a great sleeper because of this amazing item. Regardless, we do not regret purchasing this item one bit. For the first month the baby actually slept between us, in our bed, in his Dock-A-Tot. The sturdy (but cushy) walls kept him from rolling over and kept us from rolling onto him. We then transitioned him into a Pack ‘n Play, with his Dock-A-Tot, next to our bed. The transition was completely smooth. Once he is ready to sleep in his crib we plan to use this to make the adjustment even easier. We also have a trip to Cabo coming up at the end of the month and fully intend to take this with us to make sure he can continue to sleep well while away from home. Basically, GET THIS THING, before the baby is born. Don’t wait for them to have terrible sleep habits that are slowly driving you crazy.
Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer & Storage Pouches – As I mentioned, I wasn’t able to make breastfeeding work, however I have been lucky enough to have fantastic production and been able to provide ample breastmilk via exclusively pumping (I will talk more about this in another post soon). Because the baby doesn’t always get the milk immediately after it is produced we have to store it in the refrigerator (and the excess, which there is a lot of, is frozen). We tried feeding Kian chilled milk but he was having none of that, so we invested in a bottle warmer (because waiting for a pot of water to boil is painful when you have a hungry, screaming baby). We have tried three different ones (all available via Amazon) and so far the Kiinde has been our favorite. It’s straightforward, easy to use right out of the box (and during the middle of the night when your brain isn’t working fully), and warms the milk to the perfect temperature. It fits a variety of bottles, including our wide-mouthed glass ones. For ease of storage and then preparing the frozen milk we decided to use the storage pouches by the same brand. The bottle warmer is a bit on the pricier side compared to many available, but worth having if you are constantly warming bottles throughout the day.
UPPAbaby Vista Stroller & Mesa Car Seat – Outside of furniture for a nursery the stroller and car seat is the largest (and likely most expensive) purchase you will make for a baby. We considered and checked out a number of different strollers before we settled on the UPPAbaby Vista and the corresponding Mesa. After two months we have been extremely pleased with our choice. It has big sturdy wheels, folding and transporting is SUPER easy (read the instructions/watch the video so you don’t spend 20 minutes trying to figure out how it folds), it is a really smooth ride, it can easily convert to fit two children, the Mesa car seat snaps directly into it without adapters, and it looks sleek. Additionally it comes with this awesome bassinet that we are still using at 2.5 months. The bassinet (which comes with the Vista set) is great for when we are downstairs and he is sleeping but we don’t want to set up a bulky playpen. It also keeps him up off the floor out of the way of the three dogs, and allows us to easily bring him into any room. The only con so far is how wide it is (I haven’t gotten used to the dimensions and constantly bang the sides into things…oops).
Ubbi Diaper Pail – NEWSFLASH, babies poop and pee A LOT. There are a lot of diapers, particularly in the beginning. We are now using cloth diapers, but for the first 7-8 weeks we used disposables and holy crap the number of diapers used made our jaws drop. Also, I don’t know if you know this, but diapers smell pretty bad, especially when there is poop in them. And unless you want to be taking your trash out every time you throw a diaper away, it’s probably best to get a diaper pail. The Ubbi is pretty much the holy grail of diaper pails. It’s easy to use, can use any basic trash bag (or you can get a fancy washable reusable liner, which is recommended if you use cloth diapers), and prevents any odors from escaping (or seeping into the pail itself). Seriously, we had it in our bedroom initially and even when it was stuffed full of stinky diapers you couldn’t smell a thing.
Green Sprouts Organic Muslin Burp Cloths – Unless you want to change your shirt multiple times a day you are going to need burp cloths, even if your baby exclusively consumes breastmilk. Like poop and pee, spit-up is inevitable. You can definitely use any hand or dish towels you have around the house, but this will just lead to never having any available in your kitchen and bathroom when you need them (unless you have an excess of them lying around). We have tried a couple, including the highly rated Burt’s Bees organic cloths, which felt nice but were constantly slipping off our shoulders, or not covering enough surface. The Green Sprouts ones (available on Amazon in packs of four) are designed in a way where they cover a lot more surface area and don’t easily slip off your shoulder. Do yourself a favor and stock up on a few sets. Warning, they do shrink a bit in the wash the first time you use them, but are still a great size.
Pacifier Clips – If you have a baby who likes pacifiers do yourself a favor and grab a set or two of these. If you don’t you are going to constantly be picking up and washing pacifiers that have fallen on the ground. Kian likes pacifiers well enough (though he doesn’t yet rely on them for comfort) but is constantly spitting them out or having them slip out of his mouth (regardless of the pacifier type/shape). After a few weeks of repeatedly picking up and rinsing those that dropped on the floor we bought a set of four off Amazon and have been praising their existence since.
Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Wipes – We will eventually switch to cloth wipes for diaper changes at home but will likely always have disposable baby wipes around (particularly when traveling). These have been our favorite so far. They are great for sensitive skin (face, bum, all over), are as environmentally friendly as disposable wipes can get, and are affordable. Pro-tip, you can also use them for wiping down counters/surfaces, and in lieu of expensive makeup wipes.
Carter’s Zip Fleece Sleep Sack – First, let me preface this by saying Kian hates being swaddled and always has. Additionally, he doesn’t NEED to be swaddled because he does not startle himself awake like many babies do. Now, that being said…Nobody, and I do mean nobody, wants to struggle with tight onesies with snaps when it is 2am and your baby needs a diaper change. Additionally, no one wants to worry about blankets and whether or not they could potentially suffocate your little one. Enter the “sleep sack”. We did purchase a nice four seasons Woolino Sleeping Sack, which we fully intend to start using soon (now that he is two months old). However, until then we have been (and still are) using a couple of fleece sleep sacks we got from Carter’s. Put a diaper on the baby, put the baby in the sleep sack…BOOM! You’re done. Unless it is super cold in your room/house there is no need for additional blankets. It makes those middle of the night wake up calls and diaper changes all the more easy.
As Kian gets older I am sure we will develop new favorites that we rely on. I plan to share another update when he is around six months, and then again at a year (and maybe even yearly after that).
If you have (or have had) a baby, what are your favorite items?