My Must-Have, Favorite Baby Gear
Confession: I am a baby- gear junkie. From swaddle blankets to car seats, I love strolling the aisles at baby stores and learning about the latest baby-gear products. Even in the four years between my first and last child, baby-gear products have changed so much.
When I was pregnant with my first child in 2009, I read a few books and asked many moms about what baby items I needed. Like most first-time moms, I knew nothing about all of the various stuff that was required for such a tiny little being. After countless hours of research, I registered online for the items that I thought I would need. Then I stalked the list daily until the day of my shower. I obsessed over nail clippers, thermometers, and diaper-rash cream.
Three kids later, I'm set in my ways of what gear I must have and what I can live without. Here are my favorite baby-gear items that helped me care for my third baby the first year of his life.
My husband and I make perhaps the worst sleepers in the world. With that being said, my must-have for sleep during the first six months (give or take a few months) is the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper. All three of my boys spent their first six to eight months of life snuggled in the Co-Sleeper, which made night feedings and frequent wake-ups much easier.
Swaddle Blankets and Sleepwear
One of my favorite baby-gear items is sleepwear. From the quality and feel of the fabric to the design and function, never underestimate the power of a good sleepwear baby product. As Ryker grew during this year, he transitioned through different blankets. For the newborn period, I love the softness of Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. I also love the ease of Woombie swaddle blankets. With their zip-up design, they are perfect for late-night diaper changes and caregivers who just can't seem to swaddle baby tight enough.
Once Ryker started to resist tight swaddling in the Woombie around 7 months, I transitioned him to a wearable blanket, the Halo Sleep Sack. I also used the Bitta Kidda, which is a wearable lovie blanket that can be worn over pajamas in the winter and as pajamas in the summer. Now that Ryker is on the move, he wears the Early Walker Halo Sleep Sack. The Early Walker has leg holes, so your toddling baby can easily get around the house in the blanket.
3 Products to Help Create A Sleeping Environment
1. Cloud b Frankie the Fox: A stuffed animal that plays soothing nature sounds such as brook noise and forest sounds.
2. The CD Bedtime Mozart: Classical Lullabies for Baby combines children's classics such as the “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” with classical pieces such as Mozart's “Sonata in A.” It is a great mixture of relaxing songs that I often find myself playing when I need to relax.
3. Home Medics SoundSpa: This inexpensive SoundSpa is a small yet powerful tool to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep. It has three different lullabies and three different soothing nature sounds, as well as rotating pictures that project different animals on the ceiling. My toddler and preschooler still love using their machines in their rooms, and we typically bring one with us when we travel.
As a dual working-parent family, our weekends are always busy and full of activities. Safety and ease of use are a must when it comes to getting baby from one place to another.
From soft, structured baby carriers to woven wraps and ring slings, babywearing is a way of life for me. Since I have two other young children, it is necessary that I have my hands free to grab them in busy parking lots and stores. Baby wearing allows me to tend to their needs while bonding with my baby. I also love that babywearing allows me to reconnect with my baby after a long day at work while I'm making dinner or cleaning.
The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 is the only infant car seat that provides rear-facing protection for babies from birth to 2 years old as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The SnugRide Click Connect 40 has many great features, including an easy-to-adjust harness and an adjustable base that gives children additional leg space as they grow.
There are many great breastfeeding products on the market today. As a working mom, the gear that allows me to provide my baby breastmilk and maintain my supply is a high-quality breast pump. Five days a week, three times a day, for an entire year, I pumped to provide my baby with milk while at work. With my first two babies, I used the Medela Freestyle pump, which is compact, lightweight, and battery operated. When I was working in home health, this pump was an absolute lifesaver. With my third child, I discovered a fairly new company. Freemie makes the only hands-free breast pump on the market. Freemie also sells a collection-cup system that is compatible with most breast pumps. Read my full on the Freemie system to see how amazing this system is!
Transition to Solid Foods
When my baby was ready to transition to eating solids, I found that he was always coming home with food all over his shirt or brand new outfit. Learning how to eat is super messy, so a full-coverage bib is a must. I love the long-sleeve Bumkin bibs that come in a wide variety of colors and patterns.
Since I don't introduce my children to solid foods until they can sit up independently (typically between 6 and 7 months), they are able to sit in a three-point harness booster seat. I love the Mamas & Papas booster, which is easy to clean and converts from a three-point harness booster with an extra cushion for a baby to a toddler booster.
What else would go on your favorite gear list?