Hey mamas! This week we’ll be talking about some of my favorite products for little ones. I want to preface this by saying that I HATE baby gear-truly, I hate clutter of all varieties and my husband can attest to the fact that nothing makes me happier than purging our possessions and getting rid of things we don’t love or use frequently. I know the usual rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in 6 months, get rid of it; I prefer to use a 2 month rule, seasonal items notwithstanding. What we have in our home are products that are used regularly and are fairly neutral in design. Something to also keep in mind is that every babe and family is different and has their own set of preferences and needs but these are the hands-down the best products that we’ve used for our family.
This is such a tricky area to make recommendations, as things are so individualized to you and your baby’s needs. One thing that we found to be very helpful was the Boon Grass drying rack. We’ve used it since the beginning and are still going strong with it 18 months in! I love that it looks a bit more fun than most drying racks-if it’s going to sit on my counter for two years, I want to like how it looks! A few other items that worked for us were the Tommee Tippee bottles and soft lid cups (not a million parts, easy to wash, and never gave her gas!), and the Munchkin 360 cups.
One product I found to be very helpful isn’t exactly a “baby product” but I highly recommend reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman. The section on “The Pause” was so helpful to read when we were working on establishing healthy sleep habits with Ellie. We are also huge fans of Petit Pehr swaddles; the muslin is so soft and stretchy (perfect for creating baby burritos!) and the prints are fantastic. When we found out we were expecting our new babe, this was one of the items I immediately ordered, along with some new Petit Pehr crib sheets. Our nursery is predominantly neutral colors, but these fun sheets gave the nursery a bit of a playful pop.
In terms of clothing, I’ll try to be brief but wanted to share those items that we’ve loved and would buy again and again. The Gap has most adorable knit Garter Collection sweaters. These beauties hold up wonderful after multiple washes and work well for little boys and girls. I always imagine that I’ll end up saving one for each of my children to pass down to their little ones one day. I have the same thought towards the Freshly Picked moccasins. While a little pricey, they stay on your babes feet easily and are just such a great basic shoe for both babies and young walkers. Hanna Andersson pajamas are also a favorite in our house. These jammies are excellent quality, super soft, hold up beautifully after many cycles through the wash and come in my favorite style-stripes!
Something I’d recommend investing in is a Patagonia down sweater. Steve gave me the hardest time in spending the money for this item but it was so worth it. After a winter of playing outside, this jacket looks just as good as the day we got it. We plan on purchasing these in gender-neutral colors and having each of our children get some wear out of them.
My last favorite items for Ellie have been her L.L.Bean fleece jacket, as well as her very own L.L.Bean slippers made from the same material as the popular Wicked Good slippers. These shearling beauties are so toasty and the rubber sole was terrific for her, especially when she was just learning to walk.
It is so easy to get carried away with purchasing every toy imaginable for your little ones, but I really don’t have too many recommendations in this area. Ellie loved playing with some traditional toys like the Fisher Price stacking cups and rings, but one thing she got the biggest kick out of was the Munch Mitt. This little glove-like toy is capped with a food-grade silicone top that babies LOVE to chew on and the mitt design allows them (ok, you!) to not worry about dropping it over and over again. Anything made by Bannor Toys has also gotten a lot of love in our house. These heirloom quality wooden toys can also be personalized and not only are beautiful and durable but make great gifts for friends and family when they bring home a new babe.
Like every girl who wasn’t the first to have a baby among their close group of friends, when I initially registered for a stroller, I stole recommendations from my mama pals who had done all the research. We wound up with the Britax B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System. I was perfectly happy with this set up...until I got pregnant again. Now my suggestion for new moms is to register for a stroller that can convert to a double! We recently purchased the Baby Jogger City Select and man-oh-man, am I in love! This stroller is fantastic because of it’s in-line set up (hello, aisles of Target that I can easily fit down!), ability to handle easily (because what mother honestly has two free hands to push a stroller?), and it’s flexibility configurations and in fitting an infant car seat along with toddler seats. The City Select also has converter clips for almost every major car seat which is so helpful!
Another mama hack I couldn’t live without is babywearing. While I know this is certainly subject not only to your preferences but also your child’s, I highly suggest giving it a try a few different time. I started wearing Ellie in the Solly baby wrap (so soft, so stretchy, perfect for brand new babes) and while she wasn’t super happy the first few times I wore her, by the end of the first week, she was snoozing away in the wrap, giving me more time to use both of my hands. Once she was around three months, I switched to using a Wildbird ring sling. Mamas, purchase one of these beauties at your own risk as they are highly addictive! The simplicity of the ring sling design (so easy to get on and off) and the gorgeousness of the breathable linen material is why I prefer slinging to a more traditional structured carrier. That being said, if a carrier is more your bag, I highly recommend checking out Happy Baby and Lillebaby carriers-they have excellent reviews and come in the cutest prints.
Now for my all-time favorite baby/toddler product-the Ciao Baby high chair. Steve and I joke all the time that we should be brand ambassadors, due to the number of times we’ve been asked about this amazing chair when we’ve been out and about. This collapsible high chair is made much like a camp chair and folds neatly into its fabric case for easy travel. The plastic coated tray section is easily wiped down and can be used not only for feeding but also as an on-the-go playstation. Ellie has used this since she was five months old and we actually used it yesterday when we took her to get ice cream. It goes with us quite literally everywhere (on vacation, out to dinner, to Grandma’s house) and is such a terrific product, especially since the market doesn’t really offer anything quite like it.
I hope that this post was helpful but want to end with this thought: borrow! Borrow any and all baby items that you can, to try things out and see what works for you and your little one. Then invest in items that you feel will get a lot of use and hold up well through multiple children.
If you have any other items that you have loved for your family, please, please, please share them in the comments below!