I’ve been meaning to do this for quite some time now, and I’m happy to finally cross it off my to-do list!
I think that every mother has different products they consider “must-haves,” in addition to some on the “don’t bother” list. So I want to preface our lists by saying that every family — and every baby — is different, and while one product may work wonders for one family it may only collect dust at another household.
Now, on to the lists!
First up: our favorite specific items for Claire. In other words, our favorite items that we’ve found to be better than their competitors:
1. Amazon Mom. I have written about this amazing service before, and it’s quickly become my all-time favorite baby “product.” Not only does Amazon consistently have some of the best deals on the web, Amazon Mom makes it so darn easy. After just a couple of months into the program, I had accumulated enough “points” for a full year of Amazon Prime (which is free 2-day shipping) and I can use this benefit on any Amazon purchase — not just the baby ones. Additionally, with the combination of Amazon Mom and Amazon’s Subscribe & Save, we save 30% off diapers every time. In the long run, I have found this to be far cheaper than Diapers.com or even places like Costco/BJs. And with Subscribe & Save, I can choose to delay shipments or have one sent immediately, change the frequency, etc. and cancel anytime. Seriously. Amazon has been a lifesaver for this busy mom.
2. Bumbo Baby Seat. A popular favorite among mothers. I don’t think I need to say much more about this.
3. Nosefrida Nasal Aspirator. Another favorite item among mothers. Claire seems to have inherited J’s ever-stuffy, ever-running nose, so for the first few months of her life we used this every day. (Now we’re down to every 3 days.) That being said, for us the Nosefrida did not work well by itself. We always need to use saline drops in conjunction with the Nosefrida in to get all the boogers out.
4. Dr. Brown’s Bottle Brush. Maybe it’s because we use Dr. Brown’s bottles, but I’ve tried practically every bottle brush out there and always find myself returning to these.
5. Mustela baby products. I’m pretty sensitive to smell, but I love the scent of Mustela items and people are always commenting about how great Claire smells. The two that I’ve included in the chart above are the 2 in 1 Hair & Body Shampoo and the PhysiObebe. The latter was a godsend in the beginning when we weren’t allowed to bathe Claire, then too scared to actually dunk her in water. We’ve used the 2 in 1 Shampoo ever since we started to regularly give her baths, and it’s worked great for us thus far.
6. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit. I mentioned the Magic Sleepsuit in my sleep-training post, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to all new mothers. In the past couple of weeks we have actually transitioned Claire out of the Sleepsuit for her nighttime sleep, but we have found that she still needs it for her naps. We have two Sleepsuits now: one to use while the other’s in the wash.
7. UPPAbaby Vista Stroller. This is probably the most expensive baby item we own, and we’re very thankful that J’s parents offered to gift it to us. (That being said, we got 20% off the retail price by using a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon at BuyBuyBaby.) Some parents complain that it is too wide, too heavy and too unyielding but I have not found that to be the case at all. I love that I can fold it/expand it with one hand, and that I do not need to take apart anything in order to do so. We “test-drove” various strollers before deciding on the Vista, and found the Vista to have the best handling and maneuverability. I can easily move the stroller with one hand which I know will come in handy as the weather gets nicer and I start to take Comang on his long walks again. Additionally, we live in an urban area where the sidewalks are not in the best of condition and this stroller has handled everything just fine…it even endured 8″ snow! For the first few months we used the carseat adapter (sold separately) and just placed our Chicco Keyfit on the frame of the stroller, but now we’re actually starting to use the stroller seat more.
8. The First Year’s Infant to Toddler Tub with Sling. I know that the Puj Tub is a popular choice among many moms I know, but it wasn’t a choice for us because the only sink in our home that is deep enough is the kitchen sink, which is usually full. Additionally, all our faucets are really low which worried me that the baby would bonk her head on the cold hard steel. We decided on this tub instead solely based on its popularity and we’re completely happy with our choice. When Claire was younger we used the sling/net attachment and now that she has better control and balance we just let her recline on the molded seat. My little girl LOVES bathtime, and we give at least some of the credit to this tub.
9. Dr. Brown’s Bottles. I have written about how we came to choose Dr. Brown’s bottles. Once we switched from breastmilk to formula, we also traded the Dr. Brown’s Wide Neck bottles for the regular ones, and Claire made the transition just fine. As Claire got older and no longer suffered from gas pains, we tried other brands again…and I immediately noticed that tons of foam (ie, air) would gather inside the bottles as she drank from them. This is a problem that Dr. Brown’s claims to alleviate and it was clear to me that it was true. And while Claire didn’t seem to have much of a problem with the extra air in her bottle, it really bugged me and so we decided to stick with Dr. Brown’s. We still handwash all our bottles, so the extra two parts are not much of a pain for us.
10. Chicco DJ Baby Walker. My mother insisted on buying us a walker this past Christmas, and I’m so glad that she did. Claire loves, loves, LOVES this walker. She loves banging on the removable toy tray (which make music, sounds, and lights) and although she can’t quite “walk” in it yet she tippy-toes herself around with glee.
My next list is our favorite generic items for Claire. In other words, we love these products but another brand, or something similar would suit just fine:
1. Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine. As stated in my sleep-training post, many parents find sound machines to be an essential element to sleep. I personally did not like the Cloud b Sleep Sheep because it would turn off automatically, and this Graco one was the most popular baby sound machine on Amazon.
2. Summer Infant Day & Night Handheld Color Video Monitor. Before becoming a mother I thought that any baby monitor would do, and registered for a cheap, sound-only monitor. I am soooo glad that I changed my mind and decided to switch it out for this video monitor, because this is definitely one item that we use multiple times, every day. We had chosen this Summer Infant one because it was one of the cheapest and most reliable video monitors, but there are tons of video monitors on the market today, including those that can be hooked up so that the live feed can be viewed online. A friend even has one that can rotate, and zoom in/out with a remote control!
3. Fisher-Price ‘My Little Lamb’ Cradle Swing. J and I do not know how we could’ve survived those early months without a swing. What did parents do before baby swings were invented? Not only did a swing help calm our colicky baby, it was the only thing that she would sleep on for a couple of months! That being said, if I could do it all over again I would choose a swing with an AC adaptor (like the Fisher-Price Starlight Papasan Swing) because boy do swings gobble up expensive D batteries! And there have been a few times when the batteries died in the middle of the night and we didn’t have any replacements, forcing J to go out at 2am for fresh batteries.
4. Baby Einstein Neptune Ocean Adventure Gym. There are many activity mats/gyms out there and most babies will find them all pretty amusing. I had chosen this particular one because it had the best reviews on BRU, and it featured the brightest colors which I’ve read are the best for infant stimulation.
5. Crane Adorable Penguin Cool Mist Humidifier. Claire was born in autumn. Add that to the fact that our condo tends to be on the dry side, so a humidifier was a must. The one bad thing about this humidifier is that it collects calcium deposits like no other. Maybe it’s just our water?
6. Itzbeen Baby Care Timer. As brand new parents J and I used the handy Baby ESP Android app which was super useful in keeping track of how much and how often she ate, slept, peed, pooped, etc. It even had features for medicine, reminders, and charts…and we were able to share/sync it between our phones. But once we started to get the hang of things and became more comfortable with parenting, we began to use the Itzbeen timer instead for its simplicity.
7. Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe. Many parents will tell you that swaddling is essential to a calm, happy infant. At first, Claire HATED being swaddled…but when she turned 2 months old she began to take a liking to it. We personally did not like the Halo Sleepsack Swaddles because the zipper seemed to irritate her neck and chin. We also didn’t like the Miracle Blanket or the Aden + Anais Swaddle Wraps because they were more complicated than the Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe with its simple velcro system. But all of the swaddle wraps/blankets mentioned in this paragraph are ones loved by moms, and I would say that you should find one that works for you and stick with it!
What are your favorite baby items? Do you strongly agree or disagree with any of the products on our list?
Note: most of the products above are linked to Amazon via my Amazon Associates account, which means that if anyone chooses to purchase an item after clicking on the link, I will receive a small percentage of the item’s sale price. I have not been compensated in any other way for writing about these products.
great reviews! i used or tried many of the items you’ve listed, but the only two i would felt i would die without is the nose frida and the kiddopotamus swaddle blanket. i actually introduced my pediatrician to the nose frida and she now recommends it to everyone (surprised she didn’t know about it already!). i don’t use the velcro swaddle blanket (just the organic cotton one that is gigantic and still fits my lil’ 4.5 mo old) because the blanket i have is so huge and my little one usually can’t escape it.
personally, i can’t live without my orbit stroller system. it’s heavy, but i love it nonetheless. i also love my leacho tot pod. i use it for a number of things. i put a pillow pet inside of it and my son sleeps in it all day. when it’s time for him to sit up, we put the bumbo inside of it and tether some toys to the straps and he can amuse himself while staying safe. my son has a bleeding disorder, so if he were to topple over, the leacho tot pod would cushion him quite a bit.
as for aesthetics in the home… since my home is my son’s play land, we opted for hardwood floor looking foam mats. these mats are all over my home and actually are a very close match to my hardwood floors. i love them a lot better than the more garish brightly colored mats.
we have the summer infant monitor that has two cameras (for two rooms) and the tv with handheld. we were so excited by it and plugged everything in. we almost never turn it on. we can hear him(house is 3000+sq ft, but an open floor plan) when he stirs and since we’ve trained him to sleep anywhere and everywhere, we can keep him near us at all times no matter what we’re doing (watching tv, vacuuming, washing dishes, cooking, etc.).
with that being said… i probably just got lucky with having a super easy baby. *shrugs*
I have been thinking about buying that baby monitor since we are going to be moving to a bigger house soon, and you just motivated me to go ahead and do it!
Re: Amazon Mom. I signed up for it, then forgot about it and let the free shipping lapse since I didn’t remember to sign up for the diaper delivery. Dumb. But anyhoo, was it just trial and error on the auto delivery on the diapers? We want to start buying them now, so I guess just a box a month would do it until the kiddo comes but how exactly did you figure out how to have them delivered once you started actually using them?
My suggestion to all new moms regarding diapers is that they get the smallest packages of size 1s for the time being. The reason for this is because you don’t know how big your baby will be (or how they will be shaped), or how long they will last with each size. For example, when Claire was born she was so tiny that premie size diapers were too big on her….and we stayed on premie size for an entire month. We then only used size 1s for only a month then moved on to size 2s, which we still use (for 4 months now!). Meanwhile I also know babies who outgrew size 1s within the first WEEK.
So after the baby’s born, that’s when I would suggest that you sign up for Amazon’s Subscribe & Save for diapers. For us we have it set for 1 box to be delivered every month, but we ALWAYS need a new shipment a week or so before the 1 month is up. And what’s great about Subscribe & Save is that you can easily change the shipping date, skip a shipment, or cancel the entire subscription without any penalties.
I have that penguin humidifier (it’s so darn cute) and it also has really, really bad calcium deposits. I bought it used for use in my college dorm room, so I wasn’t sure if the build up was from it being used or the actual item. It sounds like it’s the actual humidifier though…hopefully it’s not a problem!
I was wondering, do you have an umbrella stroller for Claire? I can’t seem to make up my mind on one. Any suggestions?
Unfortunately we do not. We’ve never felt the need for one, and once BebeDeux arrives we’ll just add the RumbleSeat to our existing stroller to make it a double stroller. I have, however, heard great things about the UppaBaby G-Lite.