Truth be told, there are really very few items you *need* for a new baby….but there are certainly a lot of things that make having a baby a HECK of a lot easier! When I started my registry, I tried to take a minimalist approach…and then I went nuts. Here is a list of the top ten baby-related items (in no particular order) Andrew and I loved and would buy again:
- Stokke High Chair – this might be our favorite item of the bunch. A few friends had this chair (one of whom is incredibly frugal) and raved about how great it was. The price tag will make you choke, but the chair won’t! (Ha, see what I did there?) Anyway, this chair is highly recommended by speech and feeding therapists because of its upright seating position and footrest. It’s also designed to grow with your child and can even be used by adults. It comes in a bunch of colors and there are multiple attachments (baby seat, harness, tray). We didn’t buy it initially because we had a counter-height table, but wanted it so much we ended up SELLING our dining room set and replacing it with a regular-height one I found on Marketplace. We chose the high chair in a baby blue shade and plan to transition it to be a desk chair in Maelle’s bedroom once she can use our regular dining chairs. We bought ours at Albee Baby online.
- Ezpz Mat – we use these at every meal. They don’t ‘suction’ to our table as well as I’d like, but I think the sheer weight of them helps prevent kids from lifting and dumping. We have three mini mats, plus a small bowl mat. We’ve recently added regular plates now that Maelle is 2.5 and doesn’t try to toss her plate around, but continue to use these regularly.
- Hatch Rest Sound Machine – Everyone gets a sound machine for their baby, and we were no different. I liked the sleek look, all the extra functions this one offered, such as being controlled from your phone, and a ‘rise to wake’ system for when they can get out of bed on their own. You control it simply by touching the top, which is super easy when you’re in a rush or your hands are full. The new version (Hatch Rest+) includes a baby monitor function, too.
- Guava Lotus Travel Crib – this is another favorite purchase I’m always happy we chose. I specifically did not want a traditional ‘pack n’ play’ and I loved that this folds up into a backpack for travel. Another benefit: the mattress actually sits on the ground, so there aren’t any support bars to create an uneven surface on which baby sleeps. Also, there is a bassinet attachment you can get that allows this to do double-duty as your bassinet AND travel option. It wasn’t available wen we bought ours, or I would have!
- Bumgenius Cloth Diapers – While the Stokke chair might be our ‘overall’ favorite due to its continued use as Maelle gets older, I’d say our choice to use cloth diapers was our favorite for the first year and a half. I’m so glad we gave it a shot, and even Andrew tells people what a great experience it was. Cloth diapers have come A LONG WAY since we (and our parents!) were kids, and with high-efficiency washing machines, it couldn’t be easier. I learned everything I needed to know on Fluff Love University, and from other friends who cloth diapered. Once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy and you can save thousands of dollars. In fact, when we potty-trained Maelle and packed up the diapers, I was even a bit nostalgic.
- Bombas Toddler socks – here’s an interesting choice, but worth a spot on this list. Yet again, my frugal friend with the Stokke chair recommended these socks because they have the best grippers on the bottoms of the feet. They also stay on amazingly well, even when they’re too big. Once Maelle started pulling up on furniture, I realized she needed some traction on our wood floors. She’s been in the same Bombas socks since she was six months old, and will likely wear these for another year or so, which more than justifies the cost. (They didn’t have infant socks when I bought these, but I’d skip them and go with the toddler size as your child will grow into them.) Additionally, I gave the socks a whirl myself and won’t go back. They are super soft and well made, and Bombas will replace them for free (they really do–I’ve done it) if anything happens to them. *If you use the referral link above, you’ll get 25% off your first order and I’ll get a credit! Then, you’ll get a referral link to pass along, too 🙂
- Thule Urban Glide Stroller – A good stroller that is designed to perform on your ‘terrain’ of choice is critical. If you don’t do a lot of walking, or will only use it on sidewalks or in a mall, go with something basic. As a runner, I knew I would need a running stroller, so I didn’t get the stroller that paired with our baby carseat. Once I saw this one on the cover of Runner’s World, I knew it was the one I wanted. In fact, the majority of the mamas our running group have either the single or double Thule. If you’re a runner, or perhaps you like to take walks on gravel paths/uneven terrain, this baby is for you.
- Luna Lullaby nursing pillow – There are so many types on the market, and I admit I had no idea which one to choose. I must have had three or four on my registry before I finally settled on a couple I thought would work. I actually used two different ones, and then none at all, when I started doing reclined nursing. I used a Boppy for nursing while rocking in the chair in Maelle’s room, but loved the Luna because it’s a bit more versatile. It’s larger and easier to manipulate, so you can really put it in any position you need it. Now, I continue to use it as a pillow for between my knees while I sleep–it’s PERFECT. I actually have three of them around the house!
- Bumkins Smock Bibs – I’m a neat freak (shocking, I know) and I don’t want to ruin Maelle’s clothes (nor change her outfit!) every time she eats. Enter the smock bib. My family makes fun of me for making Maelle wear more than one bib, but I swear it’s a game-changer. The truth is, kids are MESSY eaters for a long time. When she first started eating, most of her food was pretty soft and/or liquid-y, so I’d use one of those terrycloth drool bibs under a smock bib so that she didn’t soak her shirt. Now that she eats regular food, we use a smock bib (with sleeves in the winter) topped with a silicone ‘bucket’ bib to catch dropped food. The smock bib is long enough to keep food off her lap, and the sleeves help with messier foods, like yogurt. We almost never have stains on anything, and the mess is pretty well contained. I may get laughed at, but I don’t regret it for a minute.
- Contours 3-in-1 Potty Chair – Really, I should start by recommending the potty training BOOK I read and loved before the seat… A friend gifted me with Oh Crap! Potty Training Book when Maelle was a baby, and when the time came I dusted it off and gave it a read. It worked for us, and you can read all about it here. Back to the seat. Not all potty seats are created equal, and the day you start potty training isn’t the day you want to find that out. I’d purchased two potty chairs for Maelle (same brand, doubled as stools), but realized they weren’t very stable when she was still learning to use them. (She uses them just fine now.) So, I did what every mom does when potty training has just started and isn’t going well–I threw money at the problem. I bought this one and–thankfully–it was much more stable and easier to use. It’s heavy enough that it doesn’t wobble, and the flexible part at the front helps keep the pee in–even for girls. Now that she’s bigger and wants to use the real potty, we just got one of these and it’s perfect for the downstairs bathroom, for both Maelle and all her little friends who visit
And last but not least, here are some items that get an ‘honorable mention:’
Pregnancy: Unisom (the doxyalamine succinate formulation, 25mg, half a tab was enough to help me fall and stay asleep, a melatonin supplement (I use Theratonin every night and know it helps my restless brain turn off each evening), a bellyband when running or walking
Infants: a good crib mattress (we went with a cotton/organic one and this mattress protector), this Baby Einstein toy that I swear every baby adores, the Nookum Paci-Plushie (the pacifier part actually detaches from the stuffed animal for easy cleaning, unlike the WubbaNub)
Toddlers: a rainsuit (when playing outside in muddy weather), a ‘kitchen helper’ that allows them to stand at the counter with you, Munchkin 360 cups (not ‘sippy’ cups), a travel potty (to put in the car and/or stroller–ours gets A LOT of use!)
Toys: Lovevery (high-quality wooden/unique toys, we especially liked the magic tissue box, sustainable sink and ‘connect 4’ game; you can buy the boxes individually or as a subscription–they make excellent gifts from grandparents!), Usborne books (they are super high quality, have a book for literally EVERYTHING you could want, and the ‘parties’ are actually kind of fun), a good block set, MagnaTiles
Miscellaneous: car top carrier (because you’re going to have A LOT of stuff to cart around, we went with the Thule), a small stroller for travel (we have the UppaBabby Minu, it folds up like an envelope and comes with a carrying strap), a breast pump with a battery plus a hands-free pumping bra (I liked my Spectra), Hanna Andersson jammies (for mom and baby!)
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and something I love may not work for you at all! But, I enjoyed putting it together and I hope it helps 🙂