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I can hardly believe it, my baby boy is almost turning one.
Every mother knows, the first year of your first baby is one amazing roller coaster ride.
I have learned so much. Before he arrived i was already researching, and asking around which things i would need. I knew i would need a lot of diapers, but what else? I was such a rookie. What are the best essential baby products for the first year?
I asked every mother i spoke with the same question, what item was the best, and what things end up not used at all. This way i learned to bypass the diaper genie and wipe warmers. And i learned about Activity Gyms and Boppy Nursing Pillows.
I also went through many online lists of best baby products. I frequented the Hellobee blog making notes on all the newborn essentials for baby’s first year. I was so organized and prepared, i had my checklist ready! Still, i had a few items that i missed at first, and a few that i didn’t really need in hindsight. Everyone mentioned to have plenty of receiving blankets, although true, we used them a lot in the beginning, i went a little overboard and got way too many.
To return the favor, i’m putting my list out in the universe. Maybe it will be useful for another mom to be.
Top 10 Baby Essential List
1. Swaddle blankets. My husband practiced swaddling our baby almost continuously when i was still in hospital, asking every nurse to show him how to swaddle with a regular swaddle blanket. I think he was a master at it, but he wasn’t too sure. Is it tight enough? Is it not too tight? Once home, we quickly moved to the special swaddler blankets. We started with the SwaddleMe Original Swaddle blankets, moving on the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle when baby was ready for a little more leg freedom. At one point he did his Houdini and managed to get out of all of them. I bought a Woombie, which i think was the best of all, but we didn’t use it for long, since at that time baby was about ready to sleep without.
He is now sleeping in his regular Halo SleepSack Wearable Blankets at night which i am a big fan of.
2. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. You need diaper rash cream, but where do you start. Yes, the name made me giggle. It also had a lot of great reviews. So we used Boudreaux’s Butt Paste. Look out for coupons and use them when the paste is already on sale if you are on a budget. Baby’s cost a lot of money, save those pennies wherever you can!
3. Every mother i spoke to told me to get a boppy pillow. Online i read reviews from mothers who swore by it, and some who barely used it. I got one and loved it. We used the Boppy Pillow for nursing, and later for tummy time and to prop baby up when he was learning to sit.
4. Not so much for the early days, but a favorite buy in the second half of the first year was definitely the Evenflo Convertible High Chair. I’m a big fan of items that are multi-purpose and/or last a long time (relative in case of a newborn). This high chair easily transitions to a toddler chair and table.
5. Zip up sleep & play one pieces. No messing around with snap buttons that don’t align when it’s the middle of the night and you are totally sleep deprived. Zip and done.
6. After baby’s first night home, i sent hubby to the store first thing in the morning for an emergency pick up of a Graco Pack ‘n Play. Night one, baby in his crib in his room, one cry, mommy and daddy running, bumping into each other on the way to the nursery! We needed to have baby close to us. At least for the first period. Life saver. We had baby sleep in the Pack ‘n Play next to our bed and transitioned him to his regular crib later. Currently the play yard is in the living room and baby can play in it during the day. We don’t have any gates in the house, so this is perfect if we need to do something and can’t keep a close eye out on him.
7. When baby was born we were living in an apartment with stairs, no elevator. Getting out of the door with a baby is time consuming even without having to haul a stroller down the stairs. So i loved my baby carrier. I researched and went for affordability and positive reviews. I used the Infantino Baby Carrier. Not the Rolls Royce under the carriers, but it worked well for short walks around the neighborhood. I used it a lot until he got a little heavy for me (it carries up to 25lbs so he could still be in it technically, but my back won’t be happy), and we moved to a new home in a building with elevators. Hello easy stroller rides!
8. Before the baby arrived i wasn’t even sure if we would need a baby monitor at all. Maybe a sound monitor? Our home doesn’t have multiple floors, so we would hear the baby when he would be crying right? But then a very dear friend told me, girl, splurge on this, you will not regret it, get a video monitor. Till this day i’m happy we took her advice. It is so nice to be able to look at the baby without having to tippy toe into the nursery. We got the Jena monitor by Levana. I really like the ease of use, sound quality and the screen visibility. They could have done away with the music, a few times we turned on the music by accident while the baby was sleeping and uhoh.. how do you turn it off again?
9. For a rocker i went with the Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker. To be honest, mostly because i liked the prints. We used it a lot in the beginning. Baby liked taking his naps in it sometimes. He really didn’t care for the vibration mode, but as a regular rocker chair it worked perfect. Currently it’s just standing pretty in the corner of his nursery, i think he will use it again when he’s a little older, in the converted chair mode.
10. If you bottle feed or breast feed and pump, you will be using a lot of bottles. And they need to be cleaned. I started out with cheap dollar store bottle cleaners. I thought this was an item easy to go cheap on. But in no time the brush part broke off. I went one step up, a Disney brand bottle cleaner, lasted a little longer, but this one too couldn’t handle actual cleaning of the bottles. Again the brush part broke off. Thinking about having to buy a new one every couple of weeks, i had to move on and spend a few extra bucks. Still not one of the most expensive items on the baby essentials list, and not the most exciting, but definitely one that is being used daily. We now have the Munchkin bottle cleaner. Months and months of usage, still going strong. Bypass the others and go straight to Munchkin.
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