Oh, man. I failed this section in the biggest of ways, mostly because I refused to purchase a swing until Bee was eight weeks old and still hadn’t napped in an area that wasn’t attached to my chest or lap or hip and I needed to accomplish things that people accomplish during the day, like answering emails or cooking dinner or, you know, going to the bathroom alone. So. After a particularly rough morning of fussing (Bee, not me. But yes, me also.), my mother-in-law dragged me to the store and placed Bee in the store model swing and she fell asleep in less than twenty-two seconds. Sold! Here’s the rest of the list of baby gear I loved (and hated!):
Our lifestyle doesn’t call for a fancy travel system (and to be honest, I can’t handle the thought of messing with all of those bells and whistles!), so we opted for the safest, most fuss-free stroller we could find. Contours Lite stroller is ridiculously affordable and received fantastic reviews. I’ll let you know how it works out!
Update: OK, so the minimum weight requirement on this stroller is 5 pounds, but it is not at all conducive to toting around a newborn (the straps are too roomy and there is no head support). Bee didn’t grow into it until she was roughly six months old (and even then it was a bit large), but now that she’s older, it’s perfect for a quick stroll around the neighborhood. This meant we had to purchase a newborn-friendly stroller (and you guys know how much I hate owning more than one of any item!), which was kind of a bummer. I’ll share which one we chose in the car seat section below! B- on this pick, but we do love it for the stage she’s in now.
2. CAR SEAT MIRROR
The perfect solution to keep baby occupied and Mom carefree, a car seat mirror is a must.
Update: I don’t know if our seats are weird in the car, but this mirror never stays in place, so we’re continually adjusting it after car rides and errands. F- for us.
3. SWADDLE BLANKET
The Miracle Blanket was recommended by nearly every mom I’ve spoken with, so it seemed like a no-brainer indeed!
Update: Oh man – yes, yes, yes and yes. This truly was miraculous for us. It was easy to wrap and was a major part of the equation when it came time to calm Bee during witching hour. A+++++!
If you plan to wear your baby, there are billions of slings on the market. I’ll be trying out the Moby wrap for its great reviews, but I think every woman might have differing taste in this department.
Update: You guys. I could never ever ever figure out how to tie this little number. I’m admittedly not gifted in the mechanics of this sort of thing, but still – the idea of wrapping and re-wrapping when Bee was crying was enough to send me into an anxiety spiral, so I returned it shortly after she was born. F- for me (but I so admire those of you who can tie this thing!).
5. ACTIVITY GYM
I was crazy thrilled to find an activity gym that’s as great for the baby as it is to look at. Three cheers for wooden toys!
Update: We loved this. It was affordable and entertaining for Bee, and although I thought it would only hold her attention for the first three months, she still uses the gym to practice standing and scooting (and she loves the tiny mirror that comes unattached). A+!
6. STROLLER CLEANING KIT
I’m a sucker for cleaning kits, and BuggyLOVE’s cleaning kit is organic and highly recommended. I can’t wait to tackle those grubby strollers for when the baby’s hands get bigger (and messier!).
Update: I love the idea of this, but didn’t purchase it because it seems like an unnecessary luxury. We’ll be using simple wipes! D on this pick.
7. CAR SEAT
We have a compact (read: teeny tiny!) car, so Combi’s Cocorro convertible car seat made the most sense for our lifestyle. Plus, that shade of carrot cake is surprisingly perfection.
Update: I was happy to work with Graco right before Bee came along, so we swapped the above for the Snugride Click Connect 40 and loved it. The bonus? We purchased a stroller base for frequent walks, which was so much more affordable (and handy!) than purchasing a whole new stroller for the early months. Loved this duo. A+.
Carriers are great for when baby outgrows a sling, so we opted to register for an affordable one to have on hand until we figure out what works for us.
Update: I didn’t love the above carrier, but can’t sing Ergo’s praises enough. I loved this one for the infant stages and it’s still a household staple around here. I’ll also say that we’re big fans of BabyBjorn’s carrier for the times Bee wants to face outward and see the world. Both carriers are amazingly comfortable for babies and the ones toting them around! A+!
9. DIAPER BAG
I chose timi & leslie Charlie II diaper bag because it’s massive and so, so pretty. I’ll report back on its function, but I was thrilled to find a stylish diaper bag that didn’t look like a diaper bag. Another option? Go for a monochromatic, masculine messenger bag so your husband isn’t embarrassed to carry an overtly floral or quilted style.
Update: You guys. I love this diaper bag in a ridiculous way. It’s big and roomy and versatile with loads of compartments and handy extras (I love the large zip pouch for diaper changes and the insulated bottle carrier). Yes all around. A+.
A blankie or blanket friend is nice to have on hand for days when your little one needs extra soothing. Plus, they’re maddeningly cute.
Update: Bee likes this, but it’s not a must in our house. I will note that she received a Taggie as a gift and I was skeptical at first, but she is oddly fascinated. It’s great for keeping her entertained during church when we don’t want to give her something loud and distracting to play with. A+ on the Taggie, seriously. And while we’re talking blankets, this crazy soft one is Bee’s favorite for nighttime.
The Skwish rattle is natural and gorgeous with lots of intriguing stimulation for baby. A must-have for active babies that need some distracting.
Update: Bee loves this, and I love how it looks. Win/win! I actually have it displayed in my office when she’s not playing with it! A+.
12. SOFT CHEW TOY
For teething days, alternating teethers with soft chew toys are a good idea. The Vulli Chan Pie Gnon natural rubber soft chew toy is a fan favorite – and endlessly quirky.
Update: This one was a must for teething (although Bee usually has to fight Bernie for it, because he loves this toy!). A+.
You know how I feel about wooden teethers; green sprouts natural wooden ring is a rattle and teether in one. Bonus!
Update: I didn’t purchase the above, but Bee did love these teethers from Little Alouette. (We sometimes just give her a wooden spatula to gnaw on also!)
14. PACIFIER CLIP
Oh, those pesky pacifiers seem to vanish out of thin air, don’t they? Keep your baby’s at bay with an eco-friendly pacifier clip for their stroller, tee or car seat.
Update: Bee never enjoyed a pacifier, so this was an unnecessary purchase. F-!
Update: I never thought I’d want a swing, but my gracious, I really relied on this thing for daytime naps when nothing else worked. We purchased this one and it was a winner from the start! A+.
16. BABY GATE
Update: We already owned a baby gate for visiting friends and family, so although we didn’t register for our baby gate, I thought I’d share it anyway. We live on a ranch with a basement, so this blocks the staircase below. A+!