I’ve been working on this post for awhile in my head. I’ve added items, deleted, pondered, and given considerable thought to what I really believe are my favorite baby gear items. I think I’ve finally got it figured out.
If you’re visiting over here for the first time, you need just a smidge of background on me before you read this post. I have four children, three daughters and a son. They are 8, 6, 2, and 6 months. Scroll back up and check out their cute pictures.
In the eight years I have been a mom, I can honestly say I am amazed by how much baby gear has changed. When I first went to that overwhelming superstore of baby periphinealia to register, I truly had no idea what I needed. Since I was the first of my friends to journey into motherhood, I couldn’t rely on their opinions either. Furthermore, eight years ago was a millenia away from facebook or blogs or Pinterest, so I didn’t have that resource either. Now eight years and four kids later, I’ve been through several rounds of baby gear and am qualifying myself to make this list.
My Favorite Baby Gear
1. Baby Bjorn BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Original – Black, ClassicI’ve had friends who have recently had their first babies and they tell me that they have never used their Bjorn and are thinking of getting rid of it before they have another kid and get more stuff. I tell them this: if you haven’t used it yet it’s because you only have one right now. Wait until you’re trying to navigate the parking lot with a toddler and an infant carrier and a diaper bag and your car keys and your iPhone and a grocery list and an extra set of panties because potty training is almost done. You’ll appreciate being hands-free then. We also use ours for most outdoor activities like visiting the Grand Canyon. Some people say it’s too expensive and they opt for the cheaper option and then tell me it hurts their back. Of course it does, there’s a reason Bjorn has such high ratings. It’s the best and most comfortable. You don’t have to pay $70, though. Embrace the consignment sale where I saw a half-dozen in great condition for under $25.
2. Nose Freida This is one of those products that you truly can’t appreciate unless you’ve been blessed by a baby with snot that pours like Niagra Falls. It’s my personal belief that unless you have a degree in nursing, working the “bulb” is an impossibility. I tried and tried to give Amelia relief with it, until the day my friend Erin, who was an avid researcher of baby products before her first baby, told me about the Nose Freida. Yes, it sounds gross. You put one end in the baby’s nose and one end in your mouth and do what?!? But it works, and it’s really not that gross. Ever since we started using it, my kids have had less ear infections and slept better when sick with colds or allergies or teething. You need this. I’m serious.
3. Snap-n-Go Stroller This is one of those products I never saw a need for with my first three. Why would I purchase a stroller that was only useful during the time in which she was in an infant carrier? I would just have to get another stroller when we moved out of that phase and who needs two? Then I had baby #4 and a child who was actually old enough to push a stroller carrying a baby without scaring me and no stroller that the carrier could snap into and he was too little for the umbrella stroller and my sit and stand was too bulky to deal with all of the time….so I borrowed the Babytrend Snap-n-Go from my friend Brooke, who had also done a lot of research prior to her first baby. I love it. Truly, I can’t say enough good things about it. It’s easy. It’s light. It has cupholders and a place for my keys and phone and wallet and a big basket, none of which are features on my double. I might keep Gus in the carrier a little longer just so I can keep using it. Except that Brooke is pregnant again and undoubtably wants it back. Did I mention my carrier is hers too? By the way, you will obviously need another stroller. Brooke and Erin recommend the Citi Mini, but Brooke won’t loan me that because she’s using it, so I can’t review. 🙂
4. Huggies Wipes I’m a coupon girl, so I’ve used a variety of wipes. Nothing beats free or just pennies, right? Wrong. Huggies are hands-down the best wipes out there. They are thick enough to do the job, come out of the package easily, and are useful for everything from little bottoms to Cheeto fingers on a toddler.
5. Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat, Blue/Green/GrayWe have a small house, so we are always trying to find extra space whenever possible. I had a very nice Eddie Bauer wooden high chair. It looked good and was sturdy, but until my babies were almost one, it was always too big. It also took up a lot of space. We started using this booster when Annabelle was moving into toddler stage and when we had Amelia, it was one of the few purchases I was insistent we make. (We had sold our previous one. For some reason, I thought I was done two kids ago.) This snaps into any chair and saves so much space! Plus, I can take it with us to visit family or on vacation. The tray comes on and off and is dishwasher safe. We’ve used it for Amelia from the time she could sit up, and we still use it for her at the dinner table so she can’t escape or reach across the table and eat all the crescent rolls.
6. Summer Infant Swaddleme Microfleece, Blue, LargeThis is another baby #4 revelation. I would never have purchased these on my own. I have a zillion receiving blankets in all sizes, shapes, and colors, so I wouldn’t have ever thought of needing more. Plus, my husband is a pro at making a baby burrito, the practice baby whisperers refer to as “swaddling.” But someone gave me one of these in a pile of hand-me-downs and one night when Gus was especially squirmy and fussy, I gave it a try. Tuck in, arms down, velcro secure…and he was out like a light. It kept him happy because this baby boy of mine likes to feel snuggly secure and our regular tucking method just wasn’t cutting it.
7. Backpack Diaper Bag My favorite diaper bag, honestly? The black messenger backpack you get at the hospital for free because it’s full of formula sample and advertisements. It’s small, compact, lightweight and perfect, especially when you move out of the early infant stage of needing everything and the kitchen sink when you go somewhere. So, tuck it in your closet for that day when you’re willing to trade cute for practical.
8. Infant Swing We haven’t owned a swing since Madelynne. She didn’t like it, so we donated it to a family after they had a house fire. Now I know why she didn’t like it. It wasn’t one of these that cradles the baby and reminds him of being rocked in the womb. Another friend loaned me her swing for Amelia because we still weren’t sold on a purchase, and it was a lifesaver. Then along came Gus and we again borrowed a swing, this time from a different friend because the first was already out on loan. (This post should really be about the network of borrowing baby gear.) He has slept more in that swing than in his cradle or crib, mainly because of his reflux. He only sleeps well when propped up and the swing does this perfectly.
9. Udder Covers I know, the name is hilarious. If you’re nursing and don’t care to nurse in public, but don’t want to be quite as obvious as the woman in the Luvs commercial, you need an udder cover. Yes, you can use a receiving blanket, but this is so much easier. Coupon codes to get you one for free are all over, and usually there’s one in that free diaper bag I mentioned above. If you’re going to nurse, get this, I promise you’ll be grateful.
10. Graco Pack ‘N Play Element with Stages, OasisGone are the days of the humble playpen, much to the disappointment of my mom who raised seven kids and swears by the protection of the playpen. Instead, we have pack-n-plays and they are so much more than just a safe place for a baby to roll around if you’re concerned about leaving them on the floor. We have used ours for the obvious reasons and we have traveled with it extensively, but by far, it’s most convenient feature for our large family? It doubled as Gus’s nursery for the first six months. It was set up in our bedroom and because it has a piece that snaps on for changing, I used the bassinet for his clothes and diapers. Underneath the bassinet, I stored all sorts of extras like bags, bottles I didn’t need yet, diapers and wipes, toys, blankets, etc. This piece is multi-useful. It’s also the only piece of baby gear that has been around for all four of my kids. For some reason, I was never quite ready to sell it, and now I’m incredibly thankful.
So what do you think? What are your favorite baby gear items? By the way, now I’m thinking that next week’s top 10 should be the best items to buy on consignment since I would get almost all of this there.