There are so many baby products out there these day that are wonderful! Some are a little unnecessary in my opinion,but some make raising a baby a lot easier. My Mother-in-Law and Mother were both impressed and slightly jealous at some of the amazing products out there that we have at our disposal. Grant and I also tried to stay on the side of less stuff rather than all of the extras. We didn’t want to spend a ton of money on our kids, and we didn’t want to have to store all of the stuff between kids. So here is a list of some of our favorite products, and why I have added them.
We got very few of the big items that we needed for Reese from our showers. So since we had to buy most of them ourselves, we wanted to only get the things we absolutely needed. If you have friends who have these products that you can borrow then that is always a great option. We also bought some of these items used since we were on a budget and our baby didn’t know or care if it was used.
We used this Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car seat, and we really liked it. The fact that you can snap in and out of the base is very convenient especially if you are alternating your baby between two cars. All you need is a base in each car, and you are good to go. This car seat has great crash and consumer ratings, and I’m so glad this is the one we went with. Just be careful to not add different covers or pads SEE HERE to the car seats that don’t come with them as they can cause death and injury since they aren’t tested in car crashes. The fabrics used in car seats are very flame retardant, and if you switch them with something more cute, it could mean they catch fire in an accident and put your child in grave danger,etc. Also, we made sure to find a hospital that had free car seat installations. They check your car seat to make sure everything is in working order and tell you based on your vehicle how to attach it. I’m glad that we did this as we had it in wrong even after reading the manual. Also, new parents, watching this video of how to strap in your child is helpful too; we found that pulling the straps taught around the legs before tightening all the other straps to really help. If you have friends that will let you borrow an infant carseat that HASN’T been in an accident, this is a great option. I was worried about the fabric getting ruined, but Chicco sells a replacement set that is very easy to install for $45 HERE and the infant replacement portion which the babies aren’t in long for $15 HERE. So you could go this route or buy one used from someone you trust and replace the fabric if it looks worn or outdated, this is what we did. Also, make sure you check the expiration date on the sticker on the side; some hospitals don’t let you leave with your baby if the car seat is expired.
We bought this Chicco KeyFit Caddy used which we really liked. We used this for the first 6 months while Reese was still in her infant car seat and was too small for a regular stroller. There are other Chicco strollers that also let the car seat be snapped in which is always an option,but some are a lit bigger, bulkier, and heavier. This is super light, easy to fold, unfold, and doesn’t take up much trunk space.(I was driving a 2003 Honda Accord) The car seat we used above snaps right in. I used this for grocery shopping so I wouldn’t have to remove baby from the car seat which honestly isn’t fun. I disliked buckling and unbuckling mainly because Reese hated it too. I used this on walks as well and it was very nice for that as well. It was just a go to when in doubt grab the caddy, and my Mother and Mother in Law both commented on how nice having something like this is. They said they had very heavy clunky strollers, and they would have loved something like this.
We bought a used playmat which looked different than this one,but if you have a friend that you can borrow one of these from they are great for tummy time and just play. We used this while I showered and had Reese on the floor of the bathroom so I could see her.
We were also able to borrow this exersaucer from my sister Kira. They take up a decent amount of space even when broken down,but Reese LOVED her bouncer/exersaucer. We put her in one that wasn’t a bouncer, and she was bored and confused. I would say these are wonderful especially when your baby is starting to want to sit up more and look around. However there are studies that show that leaving babies in these for too long can be detrimental to walking and crawling making them behind. So they are great,but just use them intentionally during short spurts during your day, and your all set. We never did a walker because everything I read online showed they cause more injuries and delay walking and other things more than most baby products.
This was our one big splurge that we bought from Bed Bath and Beyond. Our Stokke Tripp Trapp highchair which can be used from birth until adulthood if wanted. Since it is so versatile and not just used for a short time we decided to spend more money on this. We don’t regret it one bit,but we also see that most people might decide to spend this money somewhere else which is totally cool. I recommend a much cheaper option below. Some bigger cities have these used so that is an option too. We couldn’t find any used so that is why we bought this new.
I used the boppy pillow for over seven months with Reese,and it got the job done,but honestly it always frustrated me. It was too low to where I was constantly having to squish pillows under whichever side I was needing to nurse on to get the correct height. I then tried the Dr. Brown Gia pillow at our pediatricians office since they had one in the nursing room, and was very impressed. I like the shape of it much better, and was so glad I bought it. The boppy is better than nothing and works as a nice cushion behind your baby on the floor when they are first learning to sit up, but for nursing I much prefer the Gia pillow. The boppy we bought used originally and since it is a more well known brand one might be able to find it used easier,but even having to buy the Gia pillow new was worth it to me. You can either sew yourself a cover or buy them online.
I also bought myself a pregnancy pillow which I used occasionally. Some people SWEAR by them,and if you are pregnant and have issues sleeping be sure to try one out. I found this used and sewed my own cover HERE.
For the first 2 months of Reese’s life, we used disposable diapers. We tried all kinds from honest brand to Walmart, and while they all worked we did notice Reese had a constant diaper rash needing cream. At the 2 month mark she was out of size 1 diapers, and we were able to switch her to cloth diapers. Her rashes went away, and we were glad that we could be saving money. We bought as many of them used as we could, and we started out with about 7 diapers just to see if we thought we could make it work. This way we had the least amount of investment while we tried it out, then once we realized we did like cloth diapering, we started slowly adding more and more diapers until we could wash every other day rather than every day. We stuck with the Bum Genius Pocket Diapers. We tried out flips and freetimes by Bum Genius too which are nice,but we preferred the pocket style. This way we can add more liners at night time once Reese got older and started soaking them more. Grant wanted one type of diaper that was very close to disposables in looks and functions so that is why we stuck with these since they were a good fit on Reese as well. I will say cloth diapering is not for everyone! Most daycares don’t allow cloth, some family members refuse to use them, it is extra work, a big investment if you chose not to stick with them, extra water(some places water is a lot more expensive), and electricity if you dry them in the dryer. We bought the kind that easily can be hung to dry which saves us electricity as well. We also don’t have a ton of diapers. Some people cloth diaper and collect diapers (100+) with cute patterns,etc. There is nothing wrong with that but our goal was to be as green as possible as well as save money. We have about 30 diapers in our collection and wash them once every other day, and then hang to dry. With a second baby on the way, we plan to use disposables until the baby grows out of size 1 diapers because even though the diaper rashes occur, the sheer number of diapers changed with a newborn is unreal, and I’m not sure I would be able to keep up in cloth. Then we will add about 10-15 diapers to our stash; it is nice that these will work from 7lbs- potty training size. There are a few other accessories that are nice with cloth diapering,but those will come in another post.
These burpy bibs are my favorite burp cloths and bibs. As you can see in the top picture, they have a small snap that makes them a nice full coverage bib, and then below that you can see they are nice large, absorbent burp cloths. These are pricey, so if you can find them used that is amazing. I bought some used at consignment sales, bought some new, got some at showers, and plan to sew my own from muslin as well.
This Nose Frida looks super gross,but is a huge life saver. You suck on the tube which sucks snot out of your kids nose into a small container which you then dump out. There is a filter in place to make sure you don’t actually get any snot into your mouth,but this is one of the number one baby gifts we give. They look and sound gross but work so well, and when you have a sick baby that won’t/can’t sleep due to being congested and not being able to sleep you normally get to the point to where you are willing to try anything. You can buy replacement filters, and this way you don’t have mold issues which a lot of the bulb syringes have.
I had a wonderful issue of too much milk while nursing. I would soak through 1-2 reuseable pads in one nursing session or 1 disposable pad on the side that I wasn’t feeding on. I found out about the milk-saver, and was able to save around 1-2 ounces a feeding. The only thing to be careful of is if you have it on there is no top so if you lean forward you will get a shower of milk on your baby, blanket, or shirt. I did this a few times which really was terrible,but the pros outweighed the cons for sure. (They have a few other brands and designs,but they all feature some type of holes at the top.) I was able to have a good sized frozen milk stash with only pumping one time a day getting between 12-14 ounces at that session. Then throughout the day I would collect the extra milk via this, and I would get between 6-12 ounces just from that.
We were very lucky and were given our pack n play from Grant’s Sister Amanda and her husband Bryan. I would say one can get away with never having a crib if space and budget is a big deal to you. They even sell crib sheets for pack n plays if you need this as a more permanent option. We used this for the first 6 weeks in our room before Reese moved to her crib there. We then used it on all trips thus far as her bed. We also used it for independent play time while I occasionally worked while she was awake. This is definitely a fancy schmancy version, and you can get them used all the time. I did however like that this one had the infant height option so that when they are super tiny you don’t have to reach all the way to the bottom to get them. I just bought a second one used on craigslist for baby #2.
This is the baby shampoo/wash that we have been using the Reese. It takes a lot of time to go through bottles, and we like the smell. A while ago there was an article warning that their products had cancer causing stuff in them, but I think that was already resolved. One thing we did was only wash every 3-7 days when she was under a month or two old. Our pediatrician said a lot of babies skin gets dried out and have symptoms of eczema and cradle cap because they are given baths every night. Reese never had issues with either because we didn’t give her many baths. We did spot washing and gave her baths when she really needed them. Babies generally don’t get that dirty. Now that Reese is older she gets almost nightly baths, and boy does she need them. I was just glad that we were told this information because it was really helpful.
There are swings and even fancier MamaRoo swings that one can have for a baby. We heard that these were very hit or miss depending on the baby. We decided we did want to buy one since there wasn’t one we could borrow,but we went with the cheaper option showed above and got it used for a good price. Reese ended up liking her swing a lot so that was nice, but I did hear that with some babies they don’t like any of these products so keep that in mind. (I would have loved a MamaRoo,but again since we bought most things for Reese ourselves it just wasn’t in the budget.) My Mother in Law also was amazed with out swing and mentioned how the swing she had, had a loud crank on it. So you would have to crank it while the baby slept so it would keep swinging without waking the baby up. Also, make sure you get one with an A/C (wall plug) adaptor! We bought ours used and found one with it for a good price. Otherwise you will be buying lots of very expensive batteries.
There are so many different kinds of wipes out there, but our biggest want in them was to make sure they were really unscented which is very hard to come by. We liked the walmart brand parent’s choice unscented wipes,but they were hit or miss on if they were wet enough. It sounds crazy to say,but there were a few times we would buy a bulk box only to find they were almost completely dried up. We really like the Amazon wipes and have been using those. They are about one cent more expensive per wipe than the Walmart ones,but they get shipped straight to our house, and we are lazy and like that. Some people say these wipes spread the poop around more than actually cleaning it,but we don’t find that the case.
Swaddle blankets are really nice to have for a baby. Reese was born in may so I was hoping for some that were sturdy, not too hot, and easy to use. These are expensive as well since they are the same brand as the burpy bibs, but one pack of 5 was plenty for us which we got from our family for a baby gift. We ended up getting a few more,but we didn’t need that many officially. You can also find these used these days at consignment sales as well. Reese liked being swaddled a lot, and these really helped with that two especially since they have a little bit of nice stretch to them as well as some super cute patterns.
Swaddlers are a life saver! There are so many different brands and kinds that we tried and were gifted,but this is the one we bought ourselves used, and it was worth every penny. The Woombie! Now we give one as a baby gift at each shower we go to. Reese loved to be swaddled, and this one was by far the easiest to use and best in our opinion. A lot of babies don’t seem to like to be swaddled,but actually do so don’t give up right away try a few different options and remember a lot of times babies don’t know what they want or need that is why you are the parent. (From a sewing perspective this could be sewn pretty easily if you have the material already,but I found the two way zipper alone made it more expensive to sew than buying new and crazy if you can find one used.) They also carry a Woombie Convertible that can help you transition out of the swaddle which we also found used on craigslist and used for Reese. They were both wonderful; we only had one of each which meant it got washed a lot,but for this next one it would be nice to have two of each,but I doubt we will buy them unless we find a great deal used.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune on a highchair, this booster is amazing. It attaches to most chairs, can be placed on the floor, or other flat surface, and can be used when traveling or visiting friends without kids. We use our booster whenever we go to small group, travel, go camping,etc. They are inexpensive, you can almost always find them used, and they are heigh adjustable so they can grow with your child. You can also use them without the tray once the kid has outgrown having an attached tray.
Reese never used a pacifier,but these Wubbanubs are pretty awesome. The stuffed animal attached helps the pacifier stay in place by sitting on the babies chest. Reese uses it now that she is teething to chew on,but I have heard tons of parents swear by these.
I bought myself a babycook, and I LOVE it. I know it isn’t needed,but it steams any of the food or purees or chops if you need it. I have a vitamix that I love,but I would have to make sure large portions that we would have way too much. So here I would cook either what we were going to eat for dinner,but her portion in it(just dump in food, the water, and hit the steam button) or take our cooked food and puree or chop smaller. I know a lot of people like the baby bullet,but it doesn’t steam, and the few times I used someone else’s I wasn’t impressed. If I had lived in a bigger city, I probably could have found one used online,but here my selection wasn’t great.
We chose to use this IP Camera instead of a baby monitor. It has an app for the iphone or ipad, and that worked for us. I liked it that if I was out and about and Reese was sleeping at home with Grant, I could log in on the app and see if she was still asleep or not. I know IP cameras get a bad rep,but as long as you change the admin passwords when you first get it there are no security issues that you should worry about. We always have amazing quality images/video/playback/pictures/recording capabilities. Also, this one has great “night vision”, and a word of advice don’t spend your money on a color baby monitor most of the time your baby is sleeping it is dark and you don’t need it since most baby monitors charge extra for the color option. This IP camera does have color built in,but that wasn’t really a selling feature for us.
I sewed myself a KTan Wrap, Tutorial HERE, and we used that when Reese was small,but we all preferred our Ergo 360 carrier. We didn’t actually have the infant insert showed here. We just used a swaddle blanket from the hospital and stuck it under her butt so that she was as high as she needed to be. (You should be able to easily kiss the top of the babies head.) I will say that babies shouldn’t be facing outward for a LONG TIME!!!!!! A lot of people will move the baby outward facing way too soon, and babies can get hip issues,etc. so read all of the manufacturer recommendations on age, and adjust the carrier for the outward facing option.
We never had many bottles to sterilize and clean since Reese refused all bottles,but I did pump once a day, so these bags are amazing for steaming all of the pumping parts. One bag can be used 20 times. If you do a bunch of sterilizing, pumping,etc. you might want to invest in a microwave plastic steamer,but for us it wasn’t necessary.
So I had a huge problem with leaking milk, oversupply, and a strong let down. These aren’t bad issues in general,but they did make some parts of the first few months uncomfortable. I tried all kinds of reuseable nursing pads, and I would soak them within minutes of starting a feeding. I was also wasting milk which frustrated me the most. So as mentioned above I got a milk saver which helped cut down on the amount of nursing pads I needed. I carried these pads with me everywhere and had to wear them 24/7. I found these worked the best for me, but I do want to try a new product I found out about which I’ll go over below.
Diaper bags are such a big decision. I picked this Timi and Leslie, Charlie Diaper bag, and was lucky enough that my friend bought it for me. (She found a brand new one without tags on ebay for a lot cheaper and double checked with me that I was okay with that versus new. I was thrilled!) I really like that this bag looks gender neutral, doesn’t scream diaper bag, comes with a smaller clutch to fit your keys, phone, cards, and money in it, a wet bag, a cross body strap, a changing pad, insulated bottle pouch, and stroller clips. It is a heavier bag then say a canvas bag, but I love it. I also had an issue with my clutch bag, and was able to contact their customer support for help. They were amazing to deal with so that helps as well. I have had my bag for over a year now, and it has held up really well, and I plan to use it with baby #2. There are a lot of other options out there so I would ask some moms that you see about their bags if you like one you see. Most moms can easily tell you the pros and cons of each diaper bag. My older sister now has a backpack style diaper bag for her second baby, and she used to have a Timi and Leslie bag as well. So who knows maybe I will switch to something like that.
Items that I wish I had had with Reese.
I wish I would have had a simple bouncer like this with Reese. Her swing was wonderful,but very bulky to be moving around from room to room especially while juggling an upset baby. These are wonderful because it is a safe place to play your baby when you want to shower, cook dinner, just go grab something for a few seconds. My sister had one I could have borrowed,but I didn’t realize that until it was too late. So for this next baby, I will be borrowing one or two since she has multiples to set up in a few of the main rooms in our house.
As I mentioned above, I went through TONS of disposable nursing pads. I’m pretty sure we spent more on nursing pads than wipes in the first few months of having Reese. I have read a lot of reviews saying that these pads put just enough pressure to keep you from leaking throughout the day. They are washable and reusable, and so would really save us money if they work well. So, I will be trying these out,but can’t speak from experience on how well they do or don’t work.
One of the last products that I hear TONS of moms rave about is the Rock n Play. It is a great mix between a bouncer and a swing so if you don’t want to get separate products some moms make due with just one of these. I probably won’t buy one for this baby because I can borrow a bouncer and have a swing,but I heard they are wonderful especially for babies who have reflux and can’t be laying down while they sleep. However, I know a lot of moms had issues transitioning their babies out of the rock n play into a crib since they let their babies sleep in these in the beginning rather than a pack n play or crib. So, I almost don’t want to get one so I’m not tempted to get into bad habits that are harder to break later. We put in a lot of effort in sleep training Reese which meant her waking up more frequently when she was super young,but ended up being a GREAT sleeper.
Some of the places I use to buy things used are craigslist, amazon warehouse deals(normally returned items with opened boxes), consignment sales, garage/yard sales, local friends who are done having kids, and local sale facebook groups.(Around here a lot of people will post things for sale in the facebook groups and never post on craigslist. Not 100% sure why,but that is how it is.)
If you have any baby products that you found wonderful, I would love to hear about them!