Happy FRIDAY everyone!!! I hope you all had a great week, it started out beautiful and gave us a taste of what’s to come but boy did that change fast! I don’t know about you but I’m about done with winter, actually I was done with it before it even started. At least the sun is shining! Today I wanted to talk about baby gear! This is a long post so grab a coffee and put your feet up!
The day you find out your pregnant is either one of the most terrifying or one of the most exciting days of your life.
When you take that pregnancy test that changes your life it feels surreal and for me I was in disbelief….soooo I had to take two more tests, annnd that $50 digital one annnnd one more for good measure before I was finally convinced. So many thoughts come to your mind during your first few weeks of this amazing discovery; how and when am I going to tell everyone, are we going to find out the gender, how am I going to decorate the nursery, am I going to feel nauseous, what foods am I going to crave, wait…how pregnant am I going to be at that wedding and what baby gear am I going to get?
Researching and looking into baby gear and products was one of the first things I started doing. I already had an idea of what I wanted but I needed to narrow it down, and that can sometimes be a daunting task with the bazillion baby products that are available. When I started reading and making lists I tried my best at keeping it short but they make it sound like you need EVERYTHING to survive with your new little human. Everyone is different but for the most part you really can survive without all the extra gadgets and gear. I would recommend investing more money on the things that you know you’ll be using all the time. For me a stroller was high on my list of priorities because I knew I wanted to go for lots of walks and planned on being out and about a lot with the baby. Everyone is different and everyone has different lifestyles, priorities and budgets, so what I found to be a must might not be for you. I wanted to share my favourite things because I found these types of lists so helpful when I was doing my research.
There are definitely items that I wish I had purchased, like a DockATot (or something similar) to put in your bed when they’re a newborn, and feeding every 1.5-2hrs. I think Cici slept in her bassinet for a total of 2 or 3 nights, after that we had her in our bed until she was about 3 months. We had these grand plans of having her sleep in a bassinet and not in our bed so we didn’t bother looking into a DockATot. That obviously didn’t happen but we didn’t know that until after she was born, and to spend $300+ on something that we weren’t sure about just wasn’t something we wanted to do. But everyone I had talked to that had a DockATot LOVED them and now I know why. It’s nice to have that extra barrier between you and baby but it’s soft and doesn’t have high sides. Some of the co-sleeping beds just seemed so big and clunky. Anyways my point is that I think that there will always be something that you wish you had splurged on but won’t figure that out until your babe is home.
So I’ve broken it down into categories: On the go, Nursery, Feeding and Activity. These are the main baby items that I couldn’t live without. As your baby grows and changes these needs will change as well, but for the bigger ticket items you always want to try and buy something that will last and grow with your little one.
1. Britax B-Ready Stroller – After watching and reading review after review I had narrowed it down to the Uppababy Vista and the Britax B-Ready. We were planning on having two kids, and hopefully close enough together that they would both be in a stroller at the same time, so we needed something that would accommodate two kids easily. In the end we just didn’t want to spend $2000 on the Uppababy Vista and Mesa carseat, even though I knew we would be using it a lot. So I did some more reading and reviewing on the Britax B-Ready, and the more and more I read about it, the more I realized how similar it was to the Uppababy but with half the price tag. We were even lucky enough to find it on a Buy and Sell site online for even cheaper, and brand new in a box! I absolutely love this stroller and I’m so glad we went with it. It is so easy to use! The frame is lightweight and unfolding it is effortless. The stroller comes with the frame and toddler seat, the infant car seat must be purchased separately. The other thing on my stroller check list was a big lower basket, and the B-Ready definitely has that. Other features I love include: the two front wheels have the ability to lock so they don’t swivel, the handle is adjustable for people who are 4ft-6ft+, the toddler seat has a large sunshade and adjustable foot rest, the toddler seat reclines and it can also be positioned to face you or face out. The stroller doesn’t come with a cup holder or tray but those can easily be purchased separately for a reasonable price.
2. Ergo 360 – I originally had an Original Ergo Carrier that I had found for $10 (i know!) at a thrift store while visiting my sister in Australia. I eventually decided to upgrade since Cici loved being in it but when she got to be about 3 months she loved being carried facing out so she could see what was going on. Unfortunately the Original Ergo doesn’t allow baby to face out and after doing some more research I discovered that you really need to consider hip safety when baby wearing. Long story short the Ergo 360 is deemed “hip healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute so that gave me piece of mind. The Ergo 360 allows you to position your baby facing you, forward facing, on your hip and on your back! It does require a newborn insert (sold separately) for babies 0-4 months or under 12lbs. Features I like about this carrier include: it’s easy to put on, it’s comfortable and distributes the weight evenly, allows you to wear baby in four different positions and it’s made of breathable fabric (because babies are like little furnaces and having one strapped to you can really make you sweat).
3. Britax B-Safe Infant Car Seat – This car seat is fantastic! Because we have a Britax stroller it just made sense to go with a Britax car seat. This allows for simple installation of the car seat to the stroller. The B-Safe is fairly light weight, which is always something to consider because by about 6 months it takes every muscle in your body to lift that thing. All the fabric comes off easily and is washable. The base is easy to install and the price tag is definitely reasonable.
4. Skip Hop Stroller Toy – I have had this toy attached to Cici’s car seat since she was a month old and she loves it! It offers different textures, vibration, different noises (rattle, squeaking, crunching) and she loves to chew on it. I find that it’s a great size, some of the stroller/car seat toys are way too big and overwhelming. I just fell in love with this one but any toy that offers entertainment will work!
5. OVer Baby Cover – I love supporting and promoting small and local businesses. The OVer Company is located in London Ontario and they make a product I think is a definite must. These covers can be used as a nursing cover, car seat cover and a shopping cart cover! They are not only practical but they come in fun, modern patterns and colours. I love them because they’re multi purpose but they fold up small when not in use, they protect your little one from germs and from the outside elements. They’re breathable and light but offer adequate wind, sun and snow protection. Due to the light fabric it’s also safe to keep the cover on inside when baby is snoozing, so the harsh store lights don’t disrupt their nap. Another great feature I noticed is how the cover doesn’t rest close to baby’s face like some of the other car seat covers, so you don’t have to worry about it blocking their nose or mouth.
6. Skip Hop Stroller Organizer – This neoprene stroller organizer easily attaches to your stroller with velcro. It has lots of storage for bottles, drinks, your phone and other items you need quick access to. There’s also a small zippered pouch that detaches and turns into a wristlet. It easily attaches and fits the Britax B-Ready and has a lot of space for my water bottle, coffee, Cici’s bottle and snacks…all the essentials
7. Kate Spade Diaper Bag – If you know me you know I LOVE polka dots! The black and white polka dot pattern is so cute and the gold accents are perfect. The bag is made of nylon so it’s easy to wipe clean on the inside and outside…trust me this thing has battled coffee puddles, diet coke leaks and mum mum crumbs. There is a ton of room for all your necessities but isn’t super over sized. I’ve just recently decided that I would like to buy a backpack style diaper bag soon. I like the idea of having something that looks more like a purse and being able to carry it on your back. The Fawn Design is definitely my number one choice right now!
8. Mommy Clip – This huge clip is handy to have attached to your stroller, especially when you go shopping. It’s big enough that it can attach around your stroller handle and allows you to clip all your shopping bags together so you can continue to shop with your hands free!
9. B.O.B Jogging Stroller – If you’re a family or mom that loves to run, be outside, on or off the concrete this is the perfect stroller! The B.O.B is great as a second stroller or you can purchase an infant car seat adapter and use it as your every day stroller. I wasn’t sure how running and pushing a stroller was going to go but this stroller makes the transition easy. It maneuvers with one hand effortlessly, which is always an important feature when you’re looking for a jogging stroller. The last thing you need is an excuse to stop running, especially when sometimes it wouldn’t take much to convince you to stop or not go at all
1. Ikea Gulliver Crib – This crib is just what we wanted, something simple, white and affordable. There are so many beautiful cribs out there and you can easily spend $400+ on one but that just wasn’t something we wanted to spend our money on. The room decor for Cici’s nursery was pretty simple so the Gulliver crib was perfect. This crib is $159 and has the ability to convert into a toddler bed as well. It is super simple to assemble and even at 5′-2″ tall I had no problem placing Cici in or taking her out of the crib.
2. Glider – We were very fortunate to get a lot of our baby gear and clothes from my sister in-law. She passed down her glider (that is similar to the one above) and I can’t tell you how much we have used it. In the first month sometimes it was all that would settle Cici down right away and put her to sleep. Definitely a must for your sweet babe’s nursery!
3. Noise Machine (HoMedics SoundSpa) – For us this is an absolute must! I started using this once Cici started sleeping in her crib. Almost every blog I read while I was pregnant kept talking about how well these noise machines worked to get and keep your baby sleeping. All I can say is BUY ONE! We live in a small ranch style home and our living space isn’t far from our bedrooms so this thing blocks out all the banging, talking and tv noise while Cici is sleeping. I can’t emphasize how much I love this thing. Since using one with Cici she knows it’s nap time or bed time when she hears it. Another bonus is that it’s portable, so she can basically sleep anywhere I take her, as long as I bring this with us. Another tip is downloading a white noise app on your phone, so you’ll always have one with you if you happen to forget yours. It has also allowed Cici to nap in her car seat while she’s been in a loud busy room. I’ll talk more in depth about this in another post but it really is incredible what a bed time routine and consistent sleeping environment can do for your baby….and you!
4. Summer Video Monitor – Again we were very fortunate to get this monitor from my sister in-law and it is so great. I love that you can see what your baby is up to without disturbing them and peeking in their room. It’s also handy if you have a multi level home, just take this with you and you have piece of mind knowing you can still keep an eye on them.
5. Sleepsack Swaddle – Cici wanted nothing to do with being swaddled the first 3 months of her life, but as soon as we transitioned her into her crib she needed to have her arms strapped down in order for her to fall asleep. We used a blanket for a couple months but when she started getting stronger and more determined to get her arms free, I was worried sick that she would somehow get the blanket loose and have it sitting over her face. I found this wonderful sleepsack swaddle that allows you to swaddle their arms in as well as swaddle with their arms out once they’re rolling over. It’s easy to use but provides a more secure swaddle once your baby gets bigger and stronger.
6. Gro Egg Room Thermometer – I had come across this product shortly after having Cici but I didn’t end up getting it right away. The Gro Egg displays the temperature of the room with digital numbers but it also glows different colours to quickly determine if the room is too hot, too cold or just right for your little one. I didn’t think something like this would be necessary but I was constantly worried if she was too cold or too warm. Over heating a baby while they sleep leads to a higher risk of SIDS. This little device gives you piece of mind and it also acts as a little night light which is a nice bonus.
7. Ikea Hemnes Dresser – I absolutely love this dresser! The room we used for Cici’s nursery isn’t very big and she didn’t have a big closet so I knew a large dresser would come in handy. It fits perfectly in her room and there is a ton of storage space, I even stored some of her linens in it. The top four smaller drawers are so great for her hair accessories, bibs, socks, diapers etc, and when you use the Ikea drawer organizers it makes it that much easier to organize everything. This dresser is a great price at $300, especially when you see how much they charge for changing stations or baby furniture. Oh and we just added a change pad on top of the dresser and used that as a change table.
1. Tommy Tippee Anti-Colic Bottles – I’m going to be honest, I sort of picked these bottles randomly and fully expected that we would have to try some other ones before finding the right ones. I did some reading about which bottles were best for both breastfeeding and bottle feeding and these were on the list, so I went with them. These bottles have a three piece anti-colic system that brings the air away from the milk and to the bottom of the bottle. A couple of the features I really like include, the wide opening which makes it easy to clean, and the wide breast-like nipple which decreases the chances of nipple confusion. I bought a starter set which includes 3x5oz bottles, 3x9oz bottles, 3 medium flow nipples (#2) and 3 slow flow nipples (#1). One thing we did find was that the size 1 nipples were too fast for Cici for the first few months so we had to go out and get the extra slow flow nipples (#0).
2. Tommy Tippee Bibs – These bibs are awesome because they catch every dribble that rolls down you little babe’s chin and stops it before it gets to their neck rolls. Features I love include, the added padding that goes around the neck that makes for a snug fit, that they’re reversible and they’re made of super soft terry cloth and cotton fabric.
3. Boon Grass – A drying rack that looks cool and is practical! It also has cute accessories that you can add, like a tree or flower for hanging pacifiers, bottle nipples or anything else small.
4. Munchkin Bottle Warmer – Time saver! It quickly warms the bottle and is small enough to bring with you on trips so you don’t have to waste time boiling water while your little one is screaming.
5. Jolly Jumper Nursing Pillow – I used this a TON in the first few months. It’s a good size so it really wraps around your body and is nice and thick so baby lays high enough when breastfeeding. It’s also not enormous so you can still throw it in the car. Some of the more rounded pillows were so thin you still needed 3 other pillows under it to make it comfortable. Taking 10 minutes to set up a pillow bed around your body isn’t ideal so make sure you get a good pillow that’s comfortable for you and baby.
6. Munchkin Bottle Sterilizer – This bottle warmer fits a ton of stuff and accommodates all bottle sizes and shapes.
7. Medela Breast Pump – This pumping system is very easy to use and super convenient. It comes with everything easily stored inside the backpack which makes for easy set up and allows for a quick and easy clean up. It’s great for traveling, I even used it on a long road trip in the car!
1. Mamaroo – Cici loved the mamaroo! This swing is a great item for the newborn-4 or 5 month stage. It is pricey if you’re buying it brand new but I found ours on a mommy buy and sell site and was able to find it for $150. Cici slept in this a lot during the day when she was a newborn. The built in noises, ability to play your own music and the five motion choices make for a perfect swing for your baby. It’s easy to use and all the fabric comes off for easy washing.
2. Skip Hop Play Mat – This mat has it all! It has been so useful and has grown with Cici as she learned and developed. There are so many interactive components to keep them entertained and learning. Cici loved the moving fox and was fascinated with it when she first started using her mat. Other features we loved include: the mirror, spinning ball that lights up, lots of room for you to add in your other favourite toys and the mirror has a pocket on the opposite side for your cellphone. The other amazing thing about this play mat is that the arch folds down so baby can still use it when they are able to sit up! This also makes it easy for transportation.
3. Manhattan Toy Ball (Winkel) – This toy ball is great because it’s easy for them to grasp and the soft plastic tubing is good for chewing on. It also rattles and has lots of fun colours so it catches their eye.
4. My First Purse Toy – Every little girl needs a purse! This
is the perfect first purse for your little sweetie! It crinkles and makes lots of noise, has a mirror, fake (attached) fabric money and a set of keys they can chew on.
5. Touch and Feel Books – The touch and feel books are great because they allow you to involve you baby at a very young age while reading. The different textures keep them more interested and I love that the specific one I listed is short, because we all know babies have short attention spans.
6. Jumper/Exosaucer – This jumper is worth every penny! We have tried Cici in an exo-saucer but she got tired of it quickly. Standing and playing with something just didn’t do it, but add in the jumping part and we have a winner! I think any jumper is a hit but the added toys and sounds make for a longer, more interactive experience. I don’t know if you can buy this exact one anymore (this was handed down from Steele’s sister) but another one that I’ve heard great things about is the Skip Hop Explore and More Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper or their Explore and More Baby’s View 3 stage Activity Centre.
It’s amazing how many things one little person requires. I hope this helped you narrow down your list of baby gear to get in preparation for the arrival of your sweet baby, or I hope it gave you some good gift ideas for someone you know who’s expecting. If you’re like me and aren’t fussy with getting everything brand new, straight from the store, check out your local mommy groups, buy and sell sites and kijiji. You’d be surprised how many brand new or almost new items you’ve been looking for pop up! There are so many people who end up having to sell these like-new items because they can’t return to the store and are looking to get some of their money back.
What are your must haves for baby? Let me know, I’d love to hear what other products you can’t live without!
I hope everyone has an awesome weekend! xo