Thursday, April 3, 2014

Baby Gear Breakdown

This is a post I've been wanting to write forever, but just never got around to it.  As we start to gear-up (pardon the pun) for baby #2, I thought it'd finally be a good time to give you all the lowdown on our baby gear and our experiences.  I'm no expert (and I've only had one kid), but I've been asked for gear recommendations quite a bit recently, so I hope this helps out some soon-to-be new mama with registry decisions.  

I've broken this post into three parts: 
  1. Baby Gear We Loved
  2. Baby Gear We Could Live Without
  3. What I Wish We'd Done Differently
The items in the "Baby Gear We Loved" section are items that we got a LOT of use out of and would absolutely definitely recommend to others.  The items in the "Baby Gear We Could Live Without" section are not necessarily items we didn't use, but items that I don't feel like we got our money's worth out of.  We did try/use most of these things, but they are all items I felt were unnecessary or not particularly useful in our situation.  A lot of these items came VERY highly recommended by my friends and family members, so please don't feel like they wouldn't be appropriate for your registry or for your baby.  I hope we can use some of these things for baby #2 because I'd hate for them to go unused.  The items in the "What I Wish We'd Done Differently" section are all lessons we've had to live-and-learn.  I don't necessarily regret the decisions we made or items we purchased, but if I had to do it again, I'd do things slightly different.

Please note: Every baby (and every parent) is different. My experience with these products will be different than yours based on all kinds of things (lifestyle, personal preference, temperament of baby, space constraints, budget, etc.).  My baby is different than yours and will be different than my #2.  I GUARANTEE that you will disagree with some of the things I say below.  And that's fine!  Please, feel free to leave a comment and let other readers know why you disagree so they can make educated decisions about the item/product, but please be nice about it, ok?  

What We Loved

High Chair - Boon Flair Pedestal ($190)
We're really happy with this high chair.  It's heavy, but easy to move around our kitchen, has adjustable heights and is very easy to clean.  The straps are the only part of the whole thing that might require more than a swipe with a wet rag.  They're machine washable and I think we've only had to wash ours a couple times.  I do wish the tray was slightly bigger though - it's hard to put food and a sippy cup on the tray and even kid-sized plates are too big for the tray.  However, it is flat on the bottom, which is a big improvement over a lot of other bulky awkward high chair trays we've dealt with.  It's nice to be able to put it on the counter to prepare his meal and then just stick in on the high chair.

Swaddlers - Halo Sleepsack Fleece Swaddle Blanket ($20)
I'm pretty sure we tried every swaddler out there and these were our favorites.  We started out using Aden & Anais blankets, which worked for a week or two until he was strong enough to break free.  The (stolen) flannel-type hospital blankets were also good, but Mac was quickly too long for them and his feet would stick out the bottom.  We also tried the Miracle Blanket and the SwaddleMe.  But the velcro on the Halo swaddlers was the only thing that kept our little Houdini from breaking free of the straight-jacket.  Although lighter, the cotton ones were also not as tight as the fleece since you were limited on where you could use the velcro - so buy the fleece.  I've also heard good things about the Woombie (which didn't exist two years ago).  If Mim's a Houdini like Mac, we might try one of those too. 

Breast Pump - Medela Freestyle Breast Pump ($335)
As you may remember from reading my post on breastfeeding HERE, I was an exclusive pumper for six months.  That means that I got a LOT of use out of my breastpump.  I splurged and got the top-of-the-line Medela Freestyle Pump and really liked it.  Well, as much as you can like a breastpump, I guess.  It was small, compact, easy to take to work, easy to clean and carried a charge well so I could move around without being plugged into a wall.  If you're reliant on your breastpump, I also recommend buying a set of spare parts just in case your dog chews through the tubing and cones (yep, that happened).  Also, when you're sleep deprived and delirious and pumping in the middle of the night, this breast pump will talk to you.  Mine said "Panera" over and over and over.   

Bottles - Dr. Brown's BPA Free Bottles ($15 for 3 bottles)
This is another place where we tried quite a few different products before we found one we liked the best.  Mac was a terrible eater in the beginning.  He couldn't breastfeed, so he took expressed breastmilk from a bottle, but had issues gagging and wheezing and making awful noises when he ate.  We tried at least 6 different bottles to see if anything helped (it really didn't) and ended up using Dr. Brown's, which worked the best for us.  Yes, the blue tube can be annoying and difficult to clean, but these were really great bottles, which we'll continue to use with Mim.  Invest in lots of them so you don't have to clean the same ones over and over.  

Travel High Chair - Inglesina Fast Table Chair ($50)
This little travel high chair has gotten a lot of use from us.  It goes with us every time we travel, send Mac to his grandparents or go out to eat.  We also use at home and put Mac right up on the island countertop when he paints or when we have company over for an extra highchair.  It hooks onto any tabletop very securely and without a lot of work.  It's pretty light, collapsible and machine washable.

Exersaucer- Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper ($90)
Also known as "the circle of neglect," the exersaucer is one of those giant obnoxious monstrosity eyesore items that make most new parents cringe.  However, this is also rather lifesaving when you need to make dinner, go to the bathroom or take a shower and you don't trust your kid to stay in one place.  We liked this Baby Einstein one - it has adjustable heights, 4 different activity stations as the baby turns, a tray for snacks, plays classical music and is machine washable.  I think the sun teether thingy was recalled because it is on a spring and can whack babies in the face, but we didn't have a problem with it, and has since been fixed.  

Playmat - Infantino Activity Gym ($30)
Who knows whether my tiny newborn actually liked this playmat or not, but it's the one we got and it worked great for the intended purpose.  Mac seemed to really like watching the spinning animals above him and trying to grab the rings.  I like that it was really easy to clean spit-up off of and collapsible for easy storage/travel.

Snot Sucker - NoseFrida ($20)
This is another one of those products that made my pre-parent self cringe.  Yes, you put the tube in the baby's nose, the other end in your mouth and literally suck the snot out of their head.  Gross?  Maybe.  Amazing?  Absolutely.  The snot does not get anywhere close to your mouth, don't freak out.  This thing works and it's awesome.  You'll never use one of those bulb syringes again.

Sleep/Colic Aid - Happiest Baby on the Block DVD and CD Combo ($33)
I cannot say enough about how much we loved "The Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD.  Yes, I read the book first, but it didn't click until I actually saw how Dr. Karp himself used the 5 S's on babies.  I was doing it wrong.  Watch the DVD.  My husband and both watched it at least 3 times.  I made my parents, Ryan's parents and the nanny all watch it.  I now buy this as a gift for my new parent friends and demand that they watch it too.  Surprise, these things work!  We still use the CD every single night to play Mac white noise all night long.  Our house is loud with us, a cat and two barking dogs.  Using white noise keeps him asleep through it all.  We also use the CD in the car and when we travel.  When Mac was a newborn, we played the other tracks on the CD to calm him at night when he was crying, which really seemed to help, so we'll need to get another one for Mim.  If you don't get the CD, at least get something will play white noise (loudly) for your baby while he sleeps (all night long - not just for 15 minutes like the Sleep Sheep).  

Mobile - Tiny Love Classic Developmental Mobile ($45)
Yes, this might be gaudy and obnoxious and will not match your nursery decor, but it will fascinate your baby for a LONG time.  Babies love this.  I suggest you take your beautiful nursery photos, then put this bad boy up on the crib. Your baby will love it.  This was the only thing that entertained my kid while I pumped.  It spins, has black/white spirals, a night light and plays classical music in 20 minute increments. 

Shampoo - Mustela Newborn Foam Shampoo ($12)
My friend Claire gifted me a Mustela newborn kit when Mac was born and I fell in love with this shampoo.  It's a pump and foam, which is perfect for babies because you won't use very much and it won't drip in their eyes.  It smells like heaven and even now when I smell it I get all nostalgic and weepy thinking about how little he used to be.  

Swing - Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Swing ($120)
This might be the product we got the most use out of.  If you watch "The Happiest Baby on the Block" DVD, like I told you to above, you know that one of the 5 S's is swinging.  Mac lived in this swing.  That's the only way he would sleep for the first few months of his life.  We used that swing every single day for naps until he was about 7 months old and many nights during maternity leave.  Ryan or I would sleep on the couch and he would just swing away all night long.  I'm not saying it was an ideal situation, but when you're sleep deprived, you do what you gotta do.  The only downside to this swing is that it takes batteries.  LOTS of D batteries.  Twice we had to do middle of the night battery runs to the store to restock.  D batteries are also very expensive.  If you can, buy one that plugs in - it will save you a fortune.    

Bathtub - Fisher-Price Whale Bathtub ($20)
This is a cute bathtub.  Yes, it's large and awkward and hard to store, but we liked it and got a lot of use out of it.  It keeps you from having to fill the entire tub with water and will fit over a standard size double sink.  Adjustable insert so it can change as your baby gets older and can sit up on his own.  

Burp Cloths - Gerber Flannel Large Burp Cloths ($9)
Can you ever have too many burp cloths?  For the first few months of his life, Mac was a spitter, so we went through these things like crazy.  We had them stashed all over the house so we were never too far from a stack.  We used them for everything.  We really liked the large flannel ones the best.  They were the most absorbent, easy to clean and really withstood all the wear and tear.  The prefold cloth diapers are also good for burpcloths. 

Crib - Convertible Crib ($275)
I'm sure most people are happy with whatever crib they get, but I really like the crib we got Mac (this crib). It's beautiful, but also a beast of a crib - very sturdy and strong.  I have been known to get in the crib with him (don't judge), so you know it can support some weight.  We'll eventually convert it to a toddler bed and then a full size bed and I think it will last us a long time.  I ended up getting Mim the DiVinci crib, which will also convert, only because the Bedford one didn't come in white.  It also has great reviews though.  I'm going to try to spend less time in the crib myself, this go round. 

Stuffed Animals - Jellycat Stuffed Animals ($20)
We are big Jellycat lovers in our house.  Mac loves his "babies," which are a Jellycat puppy, cat, giraffe, tiger and brown dog.  He sleeps with all five of them every single night.  He carries them around all day.  He loves them to pieces.  We have multiple of each of them, so we have a backup in case one needs to be cleaned or gets lost.  I'm not sure it's recommended by the manufacturer, but we run ours through the washer/dryer without any problems.  They're the only stuffed animals he's taken to. 

Diapers - Pampers Diapers Sensitive (prices vary)
We started out with Pampers and haven't looked back.  With a newborn we used the Sensitive ones, then moved up to the the Swaddlers, which we still use.  I love the idea of cloth diapering, but just couldn't convince myself to make that kind of commitment.  

Bibs - Bumkins Waterproof Bibs ($15 for 3)
These bibs are great.  We have about 20 of them (buy the big variety packs) and use one per meal, then throw them in the wash.  They're also really easy to just rinse off, if you want to reuse them right away.  The pocket catches a lot of spills and they're wide enough to cover most of his front.  They also make bibs with sleeves, if you really want to keep your kid (and his clothes) clean.  

Monitor - Summer Infant Handheld Color Video Monitor ($100)
This is another product we've gotten a LOT of use out of.  I doubt a video monitor is necessary for everyone, but it gives us peace of mind while Mac's sleeping upstairs and we're elsewhere in the house or outside.  Plus, it's nice to be able to check on him to see his position, if he's moving around, has his blankets, etc.  We take this with us everywhere.  So much so that our monitor is cracked/broken and we can no longer really see anything on it except the bottom corner.  We still use it for the sound.  We're going to upgrade to a double monitor when Mim arrives (probably this one).  

Stroller - Baby Jogger City Mini GT ($260)
I'm pretty happy with this City Mini GT stroller.  I like that it's light, easy to collapse, has a decent amount of storage on the bottom, reclines, has a great sunshield canopy and is really easy to push.  Mac's not a huge stroller fan (he'd rather walk on his own or be in a carrier), but it's always nice to have the stroller for somewhere to put your stuff.  We also got the parent console so we'd have a place to put our water (or cocktail), keys, etc.  I do want to mention that we had a problem with the front wheel locking up (broken lock), initially.  Baby Jogger replaced it for free within a couple days of my call and we haven't had a problem since.  However, I noticed that a couple other people mentioned this in the reviews, so I wanted to point that out.  

Pajamas - Carter's Microfleece Footie Pajamas ($9)
This is a wardrobe staple.  Mac lived in footie pajamas for the first 9 months of his life and still wears these to bed every single night.  We love them.  Can't get enough of them.  We have about 600 pairs of Carter's pajamas.  Anyone want to swap boy jammies for girl jammies?  

Diaper Rash Cream - Boudeaux's Buttpaste ($20 for 16 oz.)
We've been very lucky in that we haven't really had issues with diaper rash.  At the first sign of any redness, we lather on the Buttpaste.  We buy the big jars and always have it handy.  Usually after one or two applications the redness is gone.  We love the Buttpaste!

Reference Book - Baby 411 ($10)
I can't remember which blogger recommended this book to me, but it's great and I've used it a lot.  It's nice to have something (other than your pediatrician) that will give you trusted, easy to follow advice without having to use Google to look up symptoms (which will inevitably make you think your child is dying).  I thought it was really informative and down-to-earth, without being preachy or having tons of disclaimers (damn lawyers).  As Mac gets older, I find myself using it less and less, but it was great for a first-time parent with a newborn. 

Carrier - Baby Bjorn Air ($75)
We are big fans of baby-wearing.  When Mac was a newborn I wore him in the Moby wrap quite a bit, but that thing is complicated and was super hot to wear all summer.  Once he was a little bit bigger and sturdier, we moved to this Baby Bjorn and really liked it.  Mac loved that it was front-facing (once he had good head control) and never put up much of a fuss in it.  I wore him all the time when we were shopping, taking walks, at the airport, at the zoo, etc.  It was really easy to get him in and out of and quick to adjust between me and my husband.  I'd recommend getting the black one though, since the white one got dingy and dirty very quickly, especially with baby drool and spit-up.  I've also heard really great things about the Ergo, which supposedly is more comfortable for the parent's back wearing the baby, so we may check that one out with #2.  

What We Could Live Without

Chewbeads ($35)
Great idea, but just didn't work for us.  Mac didn't like them and never chewed on them.  I thought it looked like I was wearing tacky plastic children's jewelry.  I think maybe these just aren't my style.  Love the concept, but just didn't work for us.  Maybe Mim will like them better?

Summer Infant By Your Side Sleeper ($50)
We never even got this one out of the box.  Maybe because we used a co-sleeper bassinet or maybe because we like a LOT of pillows on our bed, but we never felt comfortable putting the baby directly in bed with us.  I liked the idea of this, but again, it didn't work for us.  

Boppy ($40) and My Brest Friend ($35)
Ok, most of you are probably going to disagree with this one, but we just didn't get much use out of either of these pillows.  I'm going to chalk this one up to the fact that breastfeeding didn't work for us (and a painful c-section incision), but I didn't use either of these to feed Mac and don't feel like they were all that helpful.  We would occasionally use the Boppy to prop him up for photos, but we really didn't use it that much.  I have kept/saved them both though, with high hopes of a successful breastfeeding baby this summer and hope one (or both) of these work for us.  

Bumbo Floor Seat and Play Tray ($40)
I think most people either love this or don't use it at all.  We were of the latter camp.  We may have used it a handful of times, but I only felt safe with it being on the ground, which was lick-level for the dogs.  Plus, Mac just never seemed to want to sit in it.  He was so squirmy and active, he'd much rather just be on the floor on his own.  

Sassy Seat Doorway Jumper ($30)
This is another one we love the idea of, but only used a handful of times.  Mac liked it alright, but he was much more of a spinner in this, than a bouncer.  He always leaned to one side, which made it sometimes spin out of control on one leg.  Lots of reviewers of this product had the same comment, so I'd recommend getting the Graco one instead.

Gerber Burp Cloths ($7)
As I mentioned above, you can never have too many burp cloths.  However, get the bigger ones. These are tiny and not as absorbent as the flannel ones.  In this case, bigger is better.

Graco Snugrider Elite (Snap 'N Go) ($80)
I have friends that swear by this product; however, we didn't really use it much.  For those of you wondering what this is, it's basically a car seat carrier (think of having wheels for your car seat).  Great idea for when you don't want to get the baby out of the car seat or when your car seat doesn't fit on a stroller.  It's smaller and lighter than a stroller, but I thought that it was really bumpy (not as smooth as the stroller) and I had a hard time accessing the storage basket when the car seat was attached.  I ended up buying the car seat adapter for the stroller and using it instead.  

Crib Skirt ($30)
We had a crib skirt on the crib for photos of the nursery and then basically removed it because it was such a pain in the ass to deal with.  Every time we changed the sheets, we had to straighten and mess with it, which (for my perfectionist self) took ten times as long as just changing the sheet. Plus, once we lowered the mattress of the crib, it hung funny and just didn't look good.  Unless you have endless patience for bedding or want it for photos, I'd skip it.  

Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker ($125)
I bought this used from a friend with grand intentions of making all my own baby food.  Then, I read about Baby Led Weaning and we skipped baby food and purees entirely.  So, I cannot vouch for whether or not this is a good product (although I believe it is), but I'm including it on this list because we didn't use it at all.  

Dr. Brown's Steam Bottle Sterilizer ($17)
This is another one we didn't even take out of the box.  Perhaps we're not the germaphobes we initially thought we were, but I just didn't see the need in sterilizing everything every single time it was used.  Germs build immunity, right?  (kidding)  We did use the Medela steamer sterilizer bags for nipples, bottle and pump parts, which I found much easier to deal with (and took up way less space).  

Newborn Mittens ($4)
We never used mittens.  I did really like the shirts and jammies with the covered hands, but we didn't specifically use the mittens. 

Hooded Towel ($15)
This is one product I really really wanted to love, but just didn't work for us.  These towels are SO cute, but they are also SO small and can only be used for about a week before your newborn outgrows them (or maybe my kid was just giant).  Also, they're surprisingly not that soft (scratchy).  We ended up just using regular towels (or even beach towels) because they were so much bigger, softer and easier to wrap the baby in.  

Tiny Diner Mat ($10)
Again, I have friends that swear by these things and we didn't use it at all.  They fold up nice and neat, but I couldn't get them to ever flatten out to the point where they'd stay stuck to the table.  Instead, we use these Table Topper disposable placemats that stick to the table and you can just throw away without having to clean - yes, they are worse for the environment, but easier on parents.  

Umbrella Stroller ($30)
This is a product that everyone seemed to think we should buy, although I never did and never had a need to.  I have no comments on whether or not this is a good product, because we never bought one or used it.  I'd wait to see if you have a need for an umbrellas stroller before purchasing one. 

Pacifier ($3)
Despite us persistently trying to force one on him, Mac never took to the pacifier.  We tried at least 10 different brands, but nothing worked.  I so badly wanted him to like them, since so many other babies seemed to be soothed and comforted by them, but alas, each child is different.  At least this way I don't have to break him of the habit.  

Stroller Rain Shield ($40) (not pictured)
Never got it out of the box.  I suppose we're not "walk your baby out and about in the rain" type parents.  If it's raining, we just stayed home. 


What I Wish We'd Done Differently

Bouncer -
          What We Used: Fisher-Price Snugabunny Bouncer ($60)
          What I'd Do Differently: 4 Moms Mamaroo ($250)

We didn't really get a ton of use out of the little Fisher-Price bouncer that we had.  I liked that it vibrated, but that didn't last long and he'd wake up every time it stopped.  Unless he was strapped in, he slid out of it.  And I couldn't really strap him in if he was swaddled.  (And swaddling is one of the 5 S's from "Happiest Baby on the Block," which I mentioned above that we adhered to.) Also, it was on the floor and lick-level for the dogs, so we didn't use it as much as the swing, which was a big higher.  Mac never really seemed to love it either.  If I had to do over, I'd love to try the Mamaroo.  I'm intrigued by the different motions and settings that the Mamaroo has.  Since Mac loved the swing so much, I think he really would have liked this much more than the bouncer. However, with such a hefty price tag, I'm reluctant to buy it for Mim, since she could be completely different.  I gotta save up all my money for D batteries for that damn swing.  :)  

Glider -
          What We Used: Best Chairs Swivel Glider ($500)
          What I'd Do Differently: Rockabye Jayden Rocker Recliner ($600)

I like the glider we have.  My husband hates the glider we have.  I did not realize the extent of his hatred for our glider until pretty recently, although he has mentioned that he finds it very uncomfortable basically since day 1.  We spend a LOT of time in our glider.  Even now, we still sit it in and read to Mac and sing/rock him every single night.  Some nights when he was sick we'd take turns sitting in the rocker with him all night long.  He loves the rocking motion (which is why he liked the swing so much).  Our glider is pretty "upright" and it's impossible to sleep in (unless you are dog-tired and dying).  The back of the glider is tall, so you cannot lay your head back at all (I'm short, so this never really noticed this).  It doesn't have any side head support either, so you can't lean against the side and sleep.  It has definitely served it's purpose, but I agree with my husband that it sure would have been nice to be able to recline in our glider.  Maybe then we could have gotten some sleep too on all those long nights.  In our opinion, a glider that reclines would be SO worth it.  So much so we're considering buying a whole new (reclining) glider for Mim's room, knowing how much time we'll spend in it and how much use we'll get out of it.  

Pack 'N Play -
          What We Used: Graco Pack 'N Play Playard with Napper ($100)
          What I'd Do Differently: Joovy Room Portable Playard ($165)

I think my review of this product is highly dependent on what we use the Pack 'N Play for. Initially, I picked this particular PNP because it had all kinds of features: napper, bassinet, changer, etc.  We set it up on the main floor of our house since our rooms (and the nursery) were upstairs and I couldn't go up/down stairs for a few weeks due to my c-section.  We never really used it for a changing station, since we had one of those already set-up downstairs.  We didn't use the napper or bassinet because Mac really prefered to sleep in the swing on on me.  So, mainly we used ours for a travel/portable crib.  We have taken our PNP on vacation, road trips and even just over to grandmas house for naptime.  As Mac has gotten bigger, our PNP seems to get exponentially smaller.  We haven't had it out in a while, but I'm pretty sure it'd be constricting for him now, at almost two.  However, he still sleeps in a crib, so we still need a travel crib.  When we went to Florida in November, my friend Erica had a large square PNP set-up for us to use, which was much bigger than our PNP and perfect for him.  If you're looking to use your PNP for a travel crib, I'd go with something bigger.  

Bassinet -
          What We Used:  Arm's Reach Co-Sleeper Bedside Bassinet ($180)
          What I'd Do Differently: Fisher-Price Rock 'N Play Sleeper ($50)

When Mac was a newborn, he slept in this bassinet right next to me in bed.  This particular bassinet actually connected directly to our bed, so he was right there next to me for easy access for middle of the night feedings.  However, we had a few problems with this set-up.  First, Mac didn't breastfeed, so our need for "arms-reach" access was diminished.  I did like having him close, but that raised additional issues.  Second, babies are noisy sleepers - they gurgle, squeak, squeal, squawk and cry out in their sleep all night long without ever really waking.  I guarantee these noises will wake a new mother (new dads can sleep through anything) and you'll think your baby is dying, even though he's totally fine and still sleeping.  With Mac making so much noise so close to me, I couldn't sleep at all.  Third, since this attached directly to our bed (which is tall), right alongside my side of the bed, I had a very hard time getting in and out of bed with the bassinet next to me.  It was particularly hard because I had a major c-section incision which made it very difficult for me to sit upright.  I could only get in and out of bed by rolling in and out of bed, but couldn't because of the bassinet.  Fourth, as I mentioned above, we love to sleep with a lot of pillows and I was always scared that I'd accidentally throw a pillow over the baby in my sleep and suffocate him.  I know that probably sounds silly, but a first time parent worries about everything and I could just never get comfortable with this product.  So, we kept using it, but moved it away from my side of the bed to the end of bed.  And within a couple weeks we moved Mac directly into his crib, which ended up with us all sleeping so much better.  I'm not sure what we're going to do with Mim.  I like the idea of using this Rock 'N Play for a bassinet, which I could have close to my side of the bed without being attached.  I love that it rocks, which Mac would have really benefitted from (this didn't exist 2 years ago).  How we do things with #2 will depend a lot on the type of baby Mim is (whether she's as into rocking as Mac was) and whether breastfeeding works this time around.  

Ok, so that's my baby gear breakdown.  Whew!  Feel free to ask questions about our experience or leave any (helpful and nice) comments on your experiences.  

What were your (and your baby's) favorite products?

What items could you live without?

What would you do differently?  


* All opinions expressed are 100% my own.  I have not been compensated in any way for this post or my review of the products.  All links are my own and not affiliate links.  Just my plain ol' two cents.  However, if anyone wants to pay me to review baby stuff or wants to give me free stuff, feel free!  Babies aren't cheap...yo.  :)  

39 comments:

  1. Word!! It is so interesting to read what works for babies. I mean they are each so different! SS loved the swing too. I have heard so many great things about the Rock N Play. I think if I hadn't had a brestfriend I wouldn't have been able to nurse. I am too long waisted for the boppy so I had to hunch my back. It made my back hurt.
    This post sort of gave me baby fever thinking back to the newborn stage.

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  2. I agree 100% with everything you said!!!! I have started getting rid of some things we never used and have started thinking about what I want to buy this time around. We have the rock-n-play sleeper, and it was AMAZING. I will also be getting a different portable crib...we just traveled and Cam had to sleep in a tiny one...he was not too thrilled!! Haha

    Great list, momma!! Isn't it funny how much we THOUGHT we needed?? :) We are experts now. ;)

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  3. I know how much work a post like this is - you're sweet to take the time to help other moms! And you're so right about products working for some babies or parents and not others. I had people swear by products and then wondered what the heck the fuss was about after I bought them.

    I agree with many of your recommendations. The Freestyle was my best friend (and biggest enemy) but I can't even imagine being plugged in to a wall to pump. So glad I bought that one. And the swing. LIFESAVER.

    I don't think I found one item on your "do without" list useful - or never bought it in the first place. Great list! Loved your take on chewbeads - I never understood those. Wearing drool covered beads doesn't sound so fashionable to me. But maybe my kid was droolier than others. :) And I agree on the Boppy. Good to prop an infant up on I guess but what else is the point? The Diner Mat - what was I thinking? What the hell do you do with the mat after you're done with the meal and it's covered in food? Put it in your purse? I think not. Disposable or a thoroughly wiped down table works for me. (Letting my kid eat off a table was on the list of things I'd never do when I had kids. HAHAHAHA)

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  4. If you like baby wearing, I would highly recomend getting some new carriers for Mim! Baby Bjorns are actually pretty bad for baby's hips & groin if you used for extended amounts of time. I would look into Solly baby wraps for the newborn stage and then Tula (better shoulder straps than the ergo) for later. I also loved my Baby Hawk Mei Tai. I wore Liam a lot (and still do) and those are my favorites!

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  5. Awesome list. I agree with lots of your must haves and find your experience very interesting, as we agreed on many and disagreed on many items too!

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  6. Definitely try the Ergo! I did the bjorn with my first and ergo with the second and never looked back. It's a huge difference. I used it past two with him (he was not a stroller fan - although I love the city mini as well). I even put my three year old in it when I had a newborn in a car seat. I just pulled out the tiny love mobile! My first loved it - only way I could shower. My little guy was totally freaked out by it - like screaming tears. It was the same with the swing - totally freaked. Ironically he is such a daredevil now. It makes me wonder how this third one will be! Oh I also swear my the nose frida! It's a go to gift for baby showers.

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  7. Great reviews!! We have many of the same items, and I agree with so many of your favorites! The swing was a lifesaver for us too- our LO napped in there until 6-7 months, and it was great. We had the SnugaBunny one, which plugs in, so that was helpful. The baby gym, bottles, bibs, book, footie pajamas and travel highchair are all things we own too, and I agree with you on all of them! Next go 'round, we're thinking of getting a mamaRoo just because they seem awesome and have great reviews, but it is a little spendy. The only difference for us is the pack n play - we have the Chicco Lullaby Magic, which is a little bigger than the standard size PnP, and we used it all the time (and still do!) It worked great as a changing station, and even though it's not super compact when folded, we use it as a travel crib and our daughter sleeps great in it (she's 16 months).

    Thanks for this post!

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  8. Great breakdown -- I absolutely agree with you on trading the glider for a recliner, and having a 4 Moms Mamaroo instead of a bouncy chair. I think both of those items would make those early (and continuous) sleepless nights more bearable.

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  9. Rock n play was the best thing we got. He slept in it for a LONG time. You can drag it room to room, take it with you places. It gets my vote!

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  10. I love reading lists like this in case I ever have another and have thought a lot about what I would/will do differently. I definitely plan to get a rock n'play which I've heard so many good things about, my son hated laying flat on his back in the bassinet. We also didn't get much use of the Bumbo because my son had such chunky legs that he never fit right in it. I also would get an Ergo for next time since I would love to try to baby wear more than I did with my first and have heard good reviews on that as well.

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  11. With littlest miss on the way, I totally agree on the Fischer Price bouncer v. the Four Moms. I don't think that I could shell out the money for the Four Moms version, but I did put it on a registry in hopes that maybe some nice friends will go in on it. I also have a friend who may be done having kids who has one -- so hopeful that I could borrow hers.

    My other would have done differently is the swing -- don't get me wrong -- we couldn't live without the swing, but I have the same one that you did for Mac -- the one that runs on batteries. And of course, the stupid (expensive) batteries run out at the most inconvenient time. Thus, I would have registered for the swing that you plug in. Problem solved!

    As for cannot live without, tummy time mat, monitor, swaddle design swaddle blankets (R hated velcro), sleep sheep and tommy tippee bottles!

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  12. There are SO many things I would tell my pre-baby self to get, ditch or do differently! We had the same bouncy chair and the Mama-Roo. The Mama definitely served it's purpose when she was of swaddling age but she LOVED the FP bouncer so much more! I've heard this from a few other Mom friends but then others with babes love the Mama Roo. Totally dependent on the baby here!! I do love the stylish design of the Mama Roo! The one thing I would change (would still like to) is our rocking chair. While it's comfy for short term use, those long nights in it are rough! I really just want something that reclines where you could actually sleep in it without needing a neck brace the next morning! Great post!!

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  13. your site is very greet.I definitely plan to get a rock n'play which I've heard so many good things about, my son hated laying flat on his back in the bassinet. We also didn't get much use of the Bumbo because my son had such chunky legs that he never fit right in it.women gift baskets is my site plz visit the sit and comment hear

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  14. Elin loved in that name swing as well!! I think it's most recommended product to new moms!

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  15. Registering is daunting! I just went to mine and added the Rock & Play because I continue to hear great things about it. Imagining all this baby gear in my tiny house is enough to give me anxiety!!

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  16. I love this list! I agree with you on so much of it! Cash took a pacifier for maybe a couple weeks & then that sucker was long gone & never made a return, although I tried. :)

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  17. I have to say, I agree with everything you posted here! What a great resource!!

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  18. Our "could live without" lists are nearly identical except for two things. I loved my Boppy of course, but I also loved the Gerber burp cloths - not for burp cloths, but for toddler meal clean up. I've found them to be the perfect size to wipe hands and face after a meal. Not tiny like a washcloth and not huge like a dish rag. If you've still got yours around, give them a shot!

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  19. Love this and just may have to steal your idea for a topic!! We had a colicky baby with an inability to process milk and soy, so all things swings and bouncers were our best friends. As far as baby wearing we discovered the LilleBaby Nordic and it's essentially the Ergo but can do front facing...my daughter hated being smothered in to my chest. And since we had so many tummy issues with our gal. I would just recommend beach towels over burp cloths!! Hahaha. I agree with just about everything on your list and would have loved to save my probably self some cash. The only thing I'd love to share with other moms is not to feel the pressure to buy everything brand new. We saved a ton of money getting bouncers and high hairs second hand. It takes a little elbow grease but it's worth it in the end if you're on a tight budget.

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  20. Love this list! I agree on most all....but the Boppy was my best friend for many months! And I was totally nodding on the high chair part when you said you could lay it down flat on the table. Ours has a piece that sticks down between his legs and we nearly spill EVERYTHING on his tray every night when putting him in or getting him out. We sure don't need any extra food on the floor beyond what ends up there anyways!!

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  21. This was soooooooo awesome! I wish I could have seen this before we had Mia! I agree with you on the boppy. Is there anyone who actually got any use out of that? But I admit we loved the bumbo! And I hope you held on to those bink's! Maybe baby #2 will love them :)
    I am also wishing we got the exersaucer for Mia! We got a jumper that hangs from a door frame and she didn't really care for it. But she loved the saucers at our friends homes! We will definitely be getting one with our next baby!

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  22. This is great to refer to. I agree with these.

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  23. I love this list! If I ever have another I am printing this out!!

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  24. This post makes me tired just reading it, only because it must have taken forever to write! Love it though, agree with a lot. My 'must have list' is much much much more watered down. We got a few new things for baby 3 this time around and I'm super excited to use them, while pretending to be a 'modern' mom. Who doesn't use the same exact baby stuff from 4+ years ago with my first! Ha.

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  25. love this post, with baby #2 arriving in a few months I agree there is so many things we will do differently this time around in terms of baby gear. We totally over did it with our first!!

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  26. Thanks for the list. My little one is 7.5 months old, and man...I could write a book about the stuff she hated and therefore we didn't use. Baby Bjorn (screamed every time we put her in it), the stroller that was recalled, the bouncer that only worked sometimes for her, the glider/"swing" that she didn't like...it makes me feel like we were doing something "wrong" but it seemed like everything that everyone recommended to us was almost always a big flop. Also, I think we must be the only people for whom Happiest Baby on the Block did NOTHING. Or maybe we were just too tired to follow it correctly. :) We are about to start baby-proofing, and it's majorly stressing us out because we have so much stuff and don't know what to do. Can you write a post about that?

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  27. So totally agree with your would have done differently. Although we did have the rock n play. Love our boon high chair too. I would also do away with 97% of all the toys, although most were gifts anyways. But, she never plays with them but loves to play with odd things like place mats and pajama pants.

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  28. This post! LOVE IT!!!! We are definitely getting that high chair with any future children. We have a Chicco hook-on thingy right now, and I can't believe I've dealt with it for so long! It is a PAIN to clean!

    We have the Mamaroo and we definitely enjoyed it!

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  29. Love this list! I have a 6-week old and couldn't agree more with the items you've listed. You're especially right about the fleece Sleep Sacks! We wanted the MamaRoo instead of a swing, but instead of spending that much money on one without knowing if she'd like it we found one for half the price and in great condition from Craigslist. That ended up being a great decision because I'm not sure our little one likes it yet :( I would also suggest looking into the 4Moms Breeze playard. I don't know how it compares to the Joovy one, but it is amazingly quick to set up and well worth the price! Congratulations on little Mim!!

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  30. I forgot to mention that the Rock n Play is AMAZING! Our little one sleeps in it every night right by our bed. It's incline helps with reflux, it rocks, and it's extremely portable (we've already taken it with us on a road trip and was easy to set up in hotels, etc.). Get one!

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  31. My random thoughts in a totally random order:

    I loved the co-sleeper thing you didn't use, but hey, that worked for our situation (for other readers, I did not have a c-section, I breastfed, and I kicked my husband out of the bed for a few weeks while I slept in our king with the baby in the co-sleeper).

    I also LOVED the Rock N Play. Babies napped in it a lot and it's SO easy to carry around. Definitely get one this time around, Sara!

    Favorite bibs ever: Baby Bjorn. Hard plastic, dishwasher-safe, catch everything. We're still on the same four bibs we bought two years ago for our two, using them 3x/day.

    I love our umbrella stroller, but I have two girls who love riding in the stroller, and who enjoy bolting randomly. I use it for quick mall trips and travel, and it's a lifesaver in the airport for us.

    Totally did not like the Boppy. It's still taking up space in my house for some reason. Never used it for breastfeeding, used it a little for propping the girls up when they were learning to sit, but wish I had never bought it.

    Our stroller rain shield is also still in the box. What was I thinking?!

    There's a Toddler 411 book. I recommend it!

    One of mine LOVED the jumper. I think maybe I helped convince you to buy one for Mac. Julia lived in hers, and Lana was like "eh."

    Carter's makes some great hooded towels (online). They're big enough that Julia still uses them, and the hood helps them stay on her while she runs around after her bath. The girls love picking out which animal they're going to be, and they look so cute running around like little naked animal superheroes when they're out of the bath.

    The girls are a little too old for it now, but I really loved the Ergo over our Bjorn. Way more comfortable for everyone. I think we may actually still have it sitting around if you'd like to give it a shot when Mim is a little bigger. It was perfect once Julia was about 8 months, when she could hold herself upright well and was big enough to look out side to side.

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  32. We had the same swing for our first and he loved it so much it was an awful transition out of it. So, for number 2, we saved up gift cards and discount codes and bought the Mamaroo and loved it. She used it, but didn't rely on it, and it is light enough to move to different rooms (although it primarily stayed in our family room). However, I did still use a bouncer, but mainly in our bathroom so that I could shower. With a toddler, it just wasn't going to work leaving her in the Mamaroo while he was in our room. Great suggestions that you have - my list would have been very similar!

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  33. I agree with most all of your list! So nice to look back and think about what baby # 2 will need. A few things I wanted to add. I loved the miracle blanket. It was the only swaddle Max couldn't get out of because of all the wrapping it took. The happiest baby on the block is a LIFE saver. Max needed all 5 s's usually at the same time lol. I love my motorola color 360 camera. Use it every day. I am planning on adding a camera for baby girl. I'd add that I loved the ergo carrier and my boppy (needed for breast feeding for me). My sister's baby hated the mamaroo. She spent a lot on it and it just didn't go fast enough, she ended up borrowing my swing. And lastly I am also planning on getting a rock and sleeper (reading up about the mold issue they had for a recall recently though).

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  34. I love seeing what other people love and hate. Dr. Browns bottles are the only ones Miller likes- and I tried so many. Loved our swing, he seriously lived in that thing for the first 6 months of his life. We also LOVED the Rock n Play sleeper- again another lifesaver because Miller had a really bad spit up problem from 3-4 months and the recline of it gave me piece of mind plus I think he liked being cuddled up in it. Hated the boppy and never used it after the first week for breastfeeding- I just don't think they're natural and a normal pillow worked out just fine. I ended up using it mostly just to prop the baby up. Can't wait to hear what baby girl likes for you!!

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  35. Great list! As you said, every baby is different. We bought the rock'n'play sleeper based on the great review on amazon, but then I was concerned. The sleeper has an incline and is not flat like a regular bassinet. The baby LOVES it and sleeps well in there, but in terms of SIDS you always read it should be a flat surface. So I got concerned. I spoke to our pediatrician and she said it is ok.

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  36. This is so great! I just forwarded this to a friend who is expecting. I call it the "real talk" about what you really need for a baby.

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  37. You are so awesome for doing this post...that's a lot of work! I agree with so much of it! Pampers Swaddlers are STILL the only diapers Hayden can use but I love them. We also tried tons of different bottles but H would choke/gag on all of them except Dr. Browns, we used the wide neck ones. The Freestyle pump....the best. Although I didnt' enjoy using it, it worked great and I couldn't imagine having to be plugged in!

    We didn't have a swing until Hayden was like 4 months old. Kind of wishing we did, but we didn't know he liked it until he started daycare. We had a bouncy chair and he hated it. Although I agree that the Boppy is crap for breastfeeding (a regular pillow worked much better) we did use it a ton for propping him up while we were making supper, etc.

    I've been wondering about what double camera monitor to get. Do we just get an extra camera for the one we have or a totally new one? In my opinion, a video monitor is a must have. We sleep on the main level and Hayden (and baby #2) sleeps upstairs.

    Last thing...you definitely need the Rock N Play for Mim! This was by far our favorite baby product. Hayden slept in it until he was 3 months old. It is awesome for naps and so easy to take places as well. We took it with us to hotels, my parents house, etc. and he always had "his" bed!

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  38. Thank you again for this post! I'm just finishing up my registry (All on Amazon because baby stores make me stabby!) and this was super duper helpful in trying to figure things out. I want as FEW things as possible in our tiny house and knowing what I can skip is great.

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  39. Just popped back over to this post on the link from your current post and one thing caught my eye. We've just busted that TinyDiner mat back out since we moved Reed over to the table (instead of the high chair tray). The hang over piece drove me crazy, so I cut if off with some scissors and voila! - instant silicone placemat. It's perfect for putting his plate on, so I thought I'd mention it to you.

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