Brace yourself, this is going to be a long list with a whole lotta links. There are so many changes in the first year and it flies by. They start as blobs and turn into these little people. The one thing that doesn’t change: they have an opinion. Some babes (like my own) love the swing, others hate it. Some like board books (usually to chew on) others need lights and sounds. And…the kicker… you have no idea what they are going to like until you do a little trial and error. My motto: Zero expectation, just always be prepared.
Here are the items we loved!
Peg Perego Car Seat: This car seat just feels safe to me. I also love the easy to wipe down fabric!
Uppa Baby Vista Stroller: If I had to pick this is easily in my top 3 items. I can push this one-handed with my latte in the other. This baby turns on a dime. My only complaint is our car seat (see above) was a pain in the ass to snap in. But now they have their own car seat available (Modern Family fans will recognize it).
Travel Bag for Stroller: We took babe to Disneyland at 3 months old, which meant trying to fly with a shit load of baby gear. I ordered the travel bag so we could check our amazing stroller, and it comes with a guarantee. The airline messes up and they fix it.
Car Seat/Stroller Cover: Hands down my top 5. I once had a lady in Costco lift up the fabric cover I had (the one that attached to the handle and flies open anytime someone sneezes too close to you, gross) and ask why I kept her covered like that. Well let’s see: bright lights, she’s sleeping, oh and so germy people like you stay 10 feet back from my brand new baby. This is the must have alternative to the cover you will see most often out there. We did not have one for the car seat but we did get the stroller one and it was amazing. Hands down best accessory made. Doesn’t blow around in the wind, easy to use, and you are happy knowing those sickly people who want to breathe all over your baby will be deterred.
Pack N Play with Napper AND changer: I didn’t even want a Pack N Play. But babe spent the first 4 months in our room for a variety of different reasons. The first one we used had the napper and changer on one part that flipped back and forth. But yea that kind of sucks when you are trying to change an explosion and forgot to flip the thing which takes more than one hand. The second one (linked) was perfect. Soft and comfortable, vibrating
Board Books: We love board books. Love. Love. Love. The pages don’t rip out from grubby little hands. They are often times chew toys. But the perfect length to use as a settle down tool before nap time or bed time, and oh so adorable when your lil one goes to read. They are a must at all times in our play area. Here are our favorites: (And yes, I could recite these in my sleep!)
Swing: Second to the bouncer, this thing was a lifesaver. There were many nights she slept in it. Nap time for a long time was in it. And general “I need to set you somewhere so I can pee” moments. The one we had (and linked above) had beautiful lights that kept her totally entertained in the beginning. I have heard not all babies like swings, but I am sure glad ours did!
Bouncer: If I could only choose one item to get us through the first month this would be it. They can sleep in it (though I am sure somewhere out there, this is a safety risk, so I will add: Supervised of course), hang out in it, play in it. The vibration and sounds are soothing and peaceful. It was a sad day when she grew out of this thing. We knew we wanted to have a child that was used to being set down (not to say we didn’t do our fair share of cuddling) so this was the perfect solution for us.
Mama’s and Papa’s Chair: I found this chair to be better for thicker legs but I love that it has the ability to grow with baby. We didn’t use it long, so I wouldn’t say it is my favorite item in the house, but it was nice when while it lasted. Now a bear sits in it, or a back up place to eat when her BFF comes over.
Activity Mats (x1000): What I love most about the activity mat is watching the learning progression. The first time we laid her down, she laid there, kicked her legs, and that was about it. But it wasn’t long before she was reaching and grabbing and twisting and turning over to reach new areas and new toys. These mats bought me enough time to get the dishes down AND drink my coffee.
Toys: Variety is key. Babies/toddlers lose interest in each toy really quickly. They don’t all need to have flashing lights and make noise, but if there is some interaction, moving part then it will hold their attention longer. Oh yea, and they learn something. Win, win.
Baby Food: I made most of the kiddo’s food myself. But there is something about cooking meat and pureeing it that made my stomach turn. These are also great to throw into the diaper bag for trips and travel. I feel good knowing she is getting organic, pure ingredients that I can pronounce. Here are our favorite companies available just about anywhere i.e. Target and Whole Foods!
Gap Jean Leggings & Shirt Onsies: Jeans look SO cute on babies. Until you realize how little they can actually move in them. These were the perfect option. And I love the look of wearing a shirt, with still having the additional layer and coverage of a onsie. Oh, and I am a true believer the “boy” and “girl” sections should just be called “the really cute baby section.” Our favorite looks for Fall:
Puffs: You would think this was gold in my house. She loves these little flavorless balls of air! They melt in your mouth so fast I dare you to try to choke on one. (Please don’t actually try to choke on one, you will just look silly.) When she falls or is pissy put these in front of this kid and it’s like someone handed her their American Express card and told her to go crazy in Neiman Marcus. (And if anyone wants to give me their American Express for this reason I will gladly exchange for some Puffs).
I think that about wraps up our favorite list for surviving year one. Of course there are about a billion other practical type items (breast pump, blankets, sleep sacks, disposable place mats, sippy cups, etc.) the list is never-ending.
Any favorites that helped you survive not listed above? Comment below!