Hi y’all! Happy AUGUST!!
I can’t believe that over half of the year has gone by and my baby is now one. Hopefully my experience over the last year can help any of the new mamas-to-be as you create your baby registry and prepare the nursery. I currently have four pregnant girlfriends and their journeys have inspired this post. I am also expecting my second baby later this fall [surprise!!], so stocking up on essentials is on my mind. 🙂
MUST-HAVES FOR 0 – 12 MONTHS
The products that I deem as necessities for the first year are listed below:
- Changing Pad: I use the keekaroo peanut in gray and love it. Because it’s made from “Dura-soft” material, all I need to do to clean it is wipe it down. Less laundry [aka a non-cloth changing pad] makes for a happy mama! I place this disposable liner on top of it to make cleanup even easier. My only advice on the keekaroo is to put something underneath it, especially if it’s going on a white dresser. It stained my dresser a pale yellow and it did the same to my girlfriend’s dresser. It doesn’t bother me because I plan to have that changing pad there for a while but just giving you a heads up!
- Diaper Pail: We have the Ubbi and it’s great. You don’t have to buy any special bags for it as it accepts regular trash bags. Some of the other other pails require special bags which can rack up your monthly baby bill even more! It also does a great job of hiding any smells. The only potential con is if you prefer to be totally hands free with your diaper pail. The Ubbi requires one hand to open it up (there’s no foot pedal). So you’ll be bracing babe with one hand and opening the Ubbi with another. I had no issues with that but just fyi!
- Wipes / Diaper Organizer: This is definitely not a necessity but it’s so affordable, efficient and looks sleek on your dresser or changing station. It keeps all of my diapers, wipes, creams, paper liners and other baby supplies all in one place. [P.S. I do not think you need a diaper warmer. We didn’t have one until last month because I never wanted the babe to get used to having warm wipes. We got it as a gift a month ago and have been using it. I think it makes the changing process a bit cozier but it’s still a nice-to-have in my opinion!]
- Nose Frida: I cannot stress this enough: this item is a MUST! There’s nothing worse or scarier than your baby not being able to sleep because they’re having a hard time breathing due to a stuffy nose. This little contraption gets out all their little boogers so that they can breathe easy [and mama can too!]. I would squirt some of this saline spray in my son’s nostrils and then use the Nose Frida. Once he got a bit older, i switched to the oogiebear booger picker to get the bats out of the cave, if you know what I mean. 😉 Both have been lifesavers!
- Baby scissors: cutting your baby’s nails can be terrifying at first. Their nails grow so closely to the skin and you have to be careful not to cut their little fingers. I preferred to use these scissors as opposed to clippers because I was more comfortable with them. We still use these to this day.
- Aquafor: you will need this everyday. For the tushy during diaper changes and any minor irritation on the body. I still put it on my sons cheeks when they get red or irritated. [For more serious diaper rashes, I use Desitin and that’s worked great.]
- Babyganics Body lotion: my son has fairly sensitive skin and this lotion has worked well and not caused any irritation. We put it on him most nights after bath time. If he ever has dry skin on his legs or arms, I use this Aveeno lotion and it’s extremely soothing / moisturizing.
- Bath soap: it feels like we have tried them all and only two have worked well for him. The others have dried out his skin or caused irritation. This Honest company ultra calming body wash is a winner and comes at a great price point. There’s also the California baby body wash that is excellent but it’s SUPER pricey so I have switched to the Honest one. If we’ve been traveling and his skin has become extra dry, I’ll bathe him with this soothing Aveeno body wash and it’s super creamy and gentle. He does great with it as well.
- Bathtub: we used this bathtub until he was about 8 or 9 months old. I always felt comfortable that he was secure in it [especially as a small, slippery little newborn] because of the liner.
- Crib: We got the Tanner Crib and I love it. The reason I even mention a crib, since it’s an obvious necessity, is to tell you to be mindful of its height when you pick it out. I didn’t even think about this but my MIL brought that up to me. So many of the cribs I really liked were in the 40″ + range and were way too tall for me. I’m 5′ 4″ and it would’ve been super uncomfortable to get the baby in and out of them. So when you’re shopping for one, make sure you stand next to it and pretend picking up a baby and putting it back in multiple times. This one has a height of 35″ and I’ve never had a problem with it.
- Dresser: We did not get a separate changing table and just used our dresser. I put the Keekaroo and diaper organizer on top of it.
- Sound machine: compact in size and it works!
- Stroller: the UPPABaby stroller (as part of their travel system bundle) has worked well for our family. [I also love that it came with leather accessories and white fabric. It looks chic and is super functional. I debated back and forth about whether getting white was a bad idea but it’s been totally fine. This link shows the fabric in green because I’m not sure the white fabric with the light brown leather is still available. We got it locally at BabyBliss in Dallas. I did find this option one but it looks like it has the darker leather.] It’s a full travel management system in that it comes with a car seat that hooks into the stroller frame. Super easy for getting the baby in and out of the car when they’re still in their infant car seat. It also comes with a “disc” [my name for the stroller seat :)] for when the baby grows out of the infant car seat. In addition, there’s a bassinet that can hook into the stroller frame. We never ended up using it with our son because he had some reflux and hated lying flat.
- Infant Car seat: Ours came with the UPPABaby travel system [see item above].
- Babybjorn bouncer: this was a lifesaver. A gf recommended that we register for it and she was 100% right. This was where the babe lounged and/or bounced while I showered, got dinner ready, etc. You can also add this toy onto it whenever your baby’s ready and it will prolong the entertainment time. 🙂
- Rainforest Jumperoo: a wonderful jumper and our son loved it! It has so many sensory objects, from a hanging toad and toucan, to a whole slew of other animals for him to touch and explore. I still put him in it to this day if I have to finish something in the kitchen and need him stationary – ha!
- Babybjorn baby carrier: I never wore this but my husband did and does to this day. He loves it as an easy way to go places with the boy.
- Boppy Lounger: our child lived in this the first 3 – 4 months of his life. He would lay here while we would sit on the couch right next to him.
- Graco Pack n Play with fitted sheet: if you can only get one thing, this should be it. It can double as a crib and playpen for when your baby gets older. It’s also super easy to pack up and throw in the car for a road trip. Most hotels will provide a crib but sometimes they’re gross [I’m weird and am grossed out by them]. I also recommend you get the Pack n Play with the napper/changer because it’ll be nice to have when your baby is still a newborn. We initially got it without the napper/changer and I ended up giving it to my parents and getting the other one. The baby could nap in it more comfortably during the infant phase. You can then remove the napper/changer once they grow out of it, which is what we did. The mattress doesn’t come with a sheet so don’t forget to register for one of those as well!
- Humidifer: in the beginning months of your baby’s life, his or her nasal passages may get super dry at night (our son’s did), and this really helped with that. Anything to make sleeping an uninterrupted activity is golden. This is the one I registered for and it’s been great!
- Hat: my two favorites are this one and this one. The iplay hat is both great for everyday and the pool / beach as it can get wet without any issues and covers the forehead and ears. The Durio is also wonderful for for everyday outings as it’s also protective of the ears. It stays on easy even after he pulls it off. [The Durio is for 6 – 12 months.]
- Carter’s PJs: get a ton of these! I am always having to get more. They’re so soft and easy to put on. Some of the other PJs on the market are tight around the wrists and ankles [i.e. difficult to get on and off] and also not nearly as soft.
- Whale pitcher: not an absolute necessity but makes bathtime [specifically hair washing] so much easier.
- Nursing Pillow: My two favorites were the Boppy and the Brest Friend. I used the Boppy for the first 6 weeks postpartum when my stomach was still really bloated. I used the Brest Friend once my stomach went down and I could wear it comfortably. Throughout my time nursing, I would switch back and forth between the two depending on what I was doing. The Boppy is super easy to use if you only have one hand or if you’re on the go. The Brest Friend gives a lot of support and can even provide a base for you to set a book on while BFing. Only caveat is that the Brest Friend pillow requires fastening, which you get used to!
- Bottles: I used the Avent ones with my son and had no issues, however it’s super common to have to try several brands to find the ones that your baby likes best!
- Earth’s Best Organic formula: once you start to supplement breastmilk, whether that’s right from the baby’s birth or later on down the line, you’ll want to find a formula you like. I couldn’t stand the smell of the most popular brands of formula and found this one. This most closely resembled milk to me in terms of smell. It’s definitely not the cheapest option but what I ended up going with.
- Bottle Warmer: We have used this one since our son started taking a bottle and use it to this day to warm up his milk. We’ve liked ours but a bowl with hot water works fine too [if you’re trying to keep the baby gear at a minimum.]
- Baby Book: If you’re overwhelmed by all of the different baby books out there [I know I certainly was!], I recommend picking up this one by the Baby Whisperer. It has everything you need for the first year from feeding/napping schedules to adjusting to your baby’s temperament and everything in between. It was my bible and I referenced it all the time. I would read it while nursing. I also think that Tracy’s child-rearing approach closely mirrors mine so it meshed really well with our family.
MUST-HAVES FOR 6 – 12 MONTHS
Here’s are the necessities for months 6 – 12:
- Highchair – we have this modern one that I really like. It’s easy to clean and has a piece that goes between the legs that keeps him in place when you unstrap. My parents and in-laws both have the Graco convertible one and it’s super comfortable [the seating is made of cushioned fabric] and can eventually transform into a booster seat, etc. It has a larger tray as well. We like both!
- Silicone plates: Not all silicone is made equal so beware! You want to get the plates that are 100% silicone so that they’re safe for baby. These bumkin ones are and they’re great. They also have a suction grip on the back so that they stick to the highchair. That’s crucial once the baby starts eating as mealtime is messy enough! 🙂
- Eating Bibs: I love these bibs because they’re lightweight and tend to catch most food [unless it’s dropped off the highchair purposely to feed the dog! ;)] They also don’t rub on your baby’s neck which is important if he / she has sensitive skin.
- Toddler car seat: We switched our son to the toddler car seat at around 11 months and this one has worked really well. It’s super comfortable and has two cupholders that can hold his water or milk.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: We just started brushing his teeth with this set and he LOVES it! Probably because the toothpaste tastes so sweet! 🙂
Below are some “Nice to Haves:”
- “Month” Blocks: for all the boy mamas out there, I bought these blocks for his monthly pictures and love them. They are still displayed in his bedroom today and just say “1 Year.”
- Crinkly books: These Jellycat books have been hit since day one! A great source of entertainment and learning! These also make a wonderful gift.
- Hooded Towels: These things are pricey so register for one or two if you can! Not only are they so cute, but they’re convenient as well. We were gifted a few of these and use them to this day.
- Baby hangers: Do you NEED these? Definitely not. Do they fulfill my love of a unified aesthetic that’s both organized and sleek? Absolutely! They also maximize baby’s closet space due to their thin size.
This list is definitely not all-encompassing but I tried to pick what I found most helpful this past year. I hope it helps any of the mamas-to-be out there getting nervous about their baby registry or nursery prep! Just remember, as long as you have the big stuff [i.e. changing pad, rocker, diapers, wipes and a crib], you can get everything else along the way! So, don’t stress!! [Easier said than done, I know!]
Let me know if I’ve missed anything that you’ve used for your kiddos and loved!
Tanner Crib | Tanner Dresser | Bookshelf | Baskets and Liners | Animal Prints | Changing Pad | Antelope Rug | Sheep Mobile | Mounted Ram | Glider and Ottoman | End Table | Floor lamp | Humidifier | Sound Machine | Diaper Pail | Diaper / Wipes Organizer
Photography by: Julia Lauren Photography