This is a special post for my friend Libby, who is due with her first baby (a girl!) this fall. Months ago she asked all of her friends to give her a list of all their favorite baby items. I have failed miserably at putting this list together for her, so I’m doing it now, and sharing it with all of you, too! This isn’t comprehensive — just the things I REALLY loved and couldn’t live without.
If I’ve learned anything having two very different babies, it’s that what works for one person or baby won’t necessarily work for you or your baby. After a lot of research and a lot of trial-and-error, here are the must-have items I couldn’t do the first year of life without! I’d love to hear what yours are/were!
ONE: Dockatot – This is a spendy purchase, and it’s impossible to know if it will work for your baby until you’ve actually tried it, but we were HUGE fans of ours. James slept in the Deluxe size until he was 10 months old (and he was always big for his age!). We loved that it was easy to move around the house for naps and super easy to bring along for travel (we just popped it on top of our clothes in our suitcase when we flew to Hawaii, and now they have travel bags made especially for Docks). I also loved that it gave me more flexibility for co-sleeping during growth spurts and such when James was up every hour or two in the night. The transition out of it was actually easier than out of the Rocknplay to crib…. The good news is, if your baby absolutely hates the Dockatot, the resale value on them is super high, so you won’t be out a ton of money. You can try selling on a buy/sell/trade Facebook group, or to a friend!
TWO: PJs that zip – because who wants to deal with snaps in the dark at 3AM? Our favorites are Hanna Andersson and Baby Gap. The Hanna PJs are expensive, but they wash extremely well and last through multiple babies!!
THREE: Keekaroo Peanut Changer: Why anyone bothers to buy a traditional changing pad when this has been invented is beyond me. Babies pee and poop all over their changing pads — this you can just wipe down quickly and easily and don’t have to worry about adding to your already mountainous laundry pile 😉
FOUR: Water Wipes: Simple, no yucky ingredients, work great!
FIVE: Spectra Breastpump: I am such a HUGE fan of the Spectra S2!! Having pumped exclusively with Elodie for 6+ months, I know a thing or two about what makes a good breast pump and this one is awesome. It’s quiet, lightweight, has a built in timer and light, it’s comfortable (for a breastpump haha) and it gets the most milk out in the least amount of time. I rented the hospital grade Medela Symphony for Elodie and then the first few weeks with James and this pump was just as good, if not better than that pump at a very small fraction of the price (but you should be able to get the pump free through your insurance — make sure to check on that!).
SIX: Ergo360: I love using our Ergo from months four on. Even with the infant insert it just felt too clunky for a a tiny infant for my liking, but after they’re big enough, the Ergo is really easy to get on and off quickly and I literally use it every day with James (currently 13 months). A great baby carrier is especially key for second babies, so mom and dad can have their hands free to help the toddler!
SEVEN: Unlike James, who loved sleeping flat on his back, Elodie loved sleeping at an incline/angle, so she was a huge fan of the Rocknplay. Like I said, so dependent on the baby!! My only complaint with the RNP is the transition to crib (to laying flat) was super rough for us. But we survived 🙂
EIGHT: Medela Lanolin: It might seem weird that I am so adamant about a specific brand of lanolin, but when your nipples are sore and hurting like heck, you want one that goes on SMOOTHLY, and I can’t say that about the Lansinoh brand lanolin. The Medela Lanolin is amazinggggg.NINE: Comotomo Bottles: We used these from super early (around two weeks) on with James and he did great switching between breast and bottle, and it had a fraction of the parts of the Dr. Brown’s bottles we used with Elodie. I will say, bottles are super tough to predict for your baby — what mine loved, yours might not! But we really loved these ones.
TEN: At least 3 muslin blankets — we started with three of these and ended up buying many more because I found I used them for everything — nursing cover, lightweight stroller blanket during the summer months, to lay on the ground for tummy time… You get the idea. I think we have about 12 now haha. A few favorites — Aiden & Anais, Little Unicorn and Clementine Kids.
ELEVEN: Sollybaby Wrap: Wraps can be sort of tough to get the hang of, but you just need to practice and you’ll be so glad you did. The Sollybaby is lightweight and perfect for the first few months when baby is tiny. I’d recommend starting to baby-wear as soon as possible (like the day you get home from the hospital!). The sooner you do it, the more likely baby is to really take to it.
TWELVE: Wubbanub Pacifier: We introduced a wubbanub pacifier early on with both kids and they did great with it and we didn’t deal with any nipple confusion. These pacifiers aren’t just cute, but the weight of the stuffed animal helps it stay in baby’s mouth better. I tried Natursutten pacifiers with James because I loved the idea of a more natural product, but unfortunately he didn’t like them nearly as much as the wubbanub. It totally depends on the baby though!
THIRTEEN: SwaddleMe or Miracle Blanket Swaddles — both our babies LOVED being swaddled. Swaddle me are super easy velcro swaddles and the miracle blanket is great for those Houdini babies who seem to be able to wiggle out of any and all swaddles!
FOURTEEN: Uppababy Cruz: I want to do a post all about strollers because I know how intimidating it can be to choose one with all the options out there. The long story short, in my humble opinion, is it is VERY hard to find it ALL in one stroller, BUT the Uppababy Cruz comes dang close. It is really lightweight (like I can easily get it into my car with one arm), it has a HUGE storage basket, a massive extending sunshade (bigger than any I’ve ever seen), it’s really easy to fold and unfold, the brake is a very simple foot break, easy to push, you can do a car seat attachment for when you have an infant, or they have a bassinet… really, my reasons for loving this stroller are endless. My ONLY issue with the Cruz is it can’t convert to a double stroller. This might not be an issue for some people, but having kids two years apart, I really needed to get a double stroller when James was born. I thought I would give this stroller to my sister when James was born since I bought the new double (that can be single or double), but I love the Cruz more than what I bought, so I find myself still using it to this day if I know I don’t need both kids in the stroller! There is a kick board attachment you can buy for your toddler, but I wasn’t convinced Elodie would actually use that if she saw her brother in the stroller. Something to consider, though.
Did you have any of these products and love them? Did your baby hate them? It’s so hard to know what your baby will like!