A few months before I gave birth, Ev’s coworker gave us a list of the top 10 items she recommended that we buy before Connor’s arrival. At the time, Ev and I were like fish out of water, and the list really helped steer us in the right direction. So, when one of my close friends announced that she was pregnant, I decided to pay it forward and compiled a list of my most recommended baby items. I figured that I would posted here on my blog as well just in case anyone else was interested.
Deciding on what stroller and car seat to purchase was probably the hardest decision we had to make when it came to baby purchases. We went to every store that sold car seats and strollers on the island (NEX, Baby Emporium, Target, Baby’s R Us, Nordstrom, Walmart) on multiple occasions and literally spent hours opening and closing strollers and pushing them around the store.
We actually took home a much cheaper Gracco travel system before we decided to return it for the Britax system instead. In the end, I am so happy that Ev convinced me to get the Britax because it was so easy to pop the infant car seat in and out of the stroller, the stroller could be folded using only one hand and it was light enough for me to lift and put it in the trunk of my car without a struggle. While the Britax isn’t the cheapest, I think it was a good value and the entire travel system is still cheaper than a Bugaboo. I would recommend spending the extra money if you can afford it.
Also, if you have multiple cars, I highly recommend buying extra car seat bases for each car. The car seat base is a fraction of the cost of a full car seat set and it makes it super convenient to move the baby from one car to another.
The Gracco Pack N Play is a really good, cheap crib alternative. We ended up using the Pack N Play way more than I thought we were going to use it. When Connor outgrew his small bassinet, we used the Pack N Play as a temporary crib next to our bed until he outgrew the bassinet feature at about 5 months. After that, we used the Pack N Play as a play pen and as a portable crib for when we went over to family member’s houses or the beach house for Connor’s first birthday.
Yes, I know, it is absolutely crazy to spend $50 for four blankets. With that said, these Aden + Anais blankets were by far the best swaddling blankets we owned. They were soft, breathable, lightweight, and large. A lot of the other blankets we bought were too small and Connor outgrew them quickly. Just put this on your registry and hope that someone buys them for you.
Connor was born right before the Ergo 360 carrier came out, so I am unable to comment on that particular model. However, we used the original Ergobaby carrier all the time. We bought a carrier in Ergobaby’s “performance” line which is made with a lightweight, breathable mesh fabric. It was a life saver when I was by myself on maternity leave. I was able to wash dishes, cook a meal, and carry Connor all at the same time.
I was one of the unfortunate people to have a low milk supply throughout my breastfeeding but I think drinking this tea really helped me. I drank at least 3-5 bags of this tea every day for more than a year while I was breastfeeding. It may have just been a placebo effect and all in my head, but it somehow gave me comfort and made me feel like I was at least doing something to keep my milk production up.
If your planning to breastfeed, you also need to buy a nursing pillow. There are really two major brands for nursing pillows – the Boppy and the My Breast Friend. Both brands have their pros and cons.
After doing a bunch of online research, I decided to get the My Breast Friend. I am a big fan of the My Breast Friend and would buy it again if we have another baby. The main reasons I liked the My Breast Friend is that it was adjustable and you could strap the pillow securely to your body. I wore My Breast Friend like an article of clothing, and to be honest, I may have worn My Breast Friend more during my maternity leave than I wore shorts/pants. Ev took many pictures of me sleeping/passed out with My Breast Friend still strapped around my waist. I think it was also good at the beginning because I was able to position the My Breast Friend high enough on my waist that it took all pressure off of my C-section incision.
I also recommend taking your nursing pillow with you to the hospital because it is much easier than using pillows and the lactation specialist can teach you how to use it in all the various breast feeding positions.
We decided to put Connor in pajamas every night in an attempt to teach him the difference between night and day. Onesies meant daytime and playing, while pajamas meant nighttime and sleeping. While the sleeping part didn’t always work out for us, we quickly found that all pajamas are not created equal. Pajamas with tiny snaps are a big pain when you’re trying to change your baby in the middle of the night on two hours of sleep. The snaps are way to tiny to see in the dark and half the time you button the pajamas up only to find that the snaps are misaligned because you missed one at the beginning and have to redo the whole damn thing. The solution to all infant pajama problems were zipper footed pajamas like the ones pictured above. You unzip the pajamas all the way down, slip the baby’s feet out of the pajamas, change the baby, slip the feet back in, zip up, and viola! All done. After discovering the wonders of zipper footed pajamas, I vowed never buy another snap up baby pajama again.
If you plan to make your own baby food, I highly recommend these Green Sprout Silicone Freezer trays.
First, the cubes were each 1 oz, which is the perfect amount of food when you first start feeding your baby solid food and as they get bigger, you just increase the number of cubes you warm up at time. Second, the trays were pretty cheap and made of silicone, which made the cubes of baby food easy to remove. Third, the baby food freezes into rectangular cubes which are much easier to stack than rounds or irregular shaped pieces. Once the baby food was frozen, I popped the cubes out and stored them nicely stacked in quart sized bags. Like so:
I was able to store about 20 cubes in one quart sized bag and stored all the bags flat on top of each other. It tried two other baby food freezer trays and the Green Sprout trays were by far the best because the cubes stacked the best and saved so much room in my freezer.
9. A Really Great Pair of Kitchen Shears – variable price
While a pair of kitchen shears is not technically a baby item, it should be. Once Connor starting eating solid foods, we had to start cutting his into teeny weenie bites and using a knife to cut up his food was time consuming and a pain. We found that a good pair of kitchen shears came in very handy and was much faster than using a fork and knife. I cut everything with them, from chicken to apples to corn off the cob.
Ev and I were fortunate to have received the Zwilling J.A. Henkels Twinshear Kitchen Shears (pictured above) as a wedding present and they worked great. However, I’m sure any good pair of kitchen shears would do.
Definitely not a essential need-to-buy item and your baby could live without an activity gym, but the Infantino Grow with Me Activity Gym was one of the best baby toys I bought for Connor. It was one of the few toys that “grew up” with him. We first used it as a tummy-time mat, then we used it as an activity gym, then we used it as a ball pit, and now Ev’s parents use the ball pit area as a toy bin to corral of Connor’s toys. It’s like the Giving Tree that keeps on giving.
Think I missed something? Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments section.