Being a mama to an almost two year old and with a new baby on the way, I’ve learned a thing or two about what’s easy and what works when it comes to caring for a little one. Baby registries can be overwhelming for both expecting mothers and those who want to shop for the newest little bambinas. If you’ve ever walked down a baby aisle at a superstore, it’s far too easy to get overwhelmed with all the gear. Marketers love to prey on our sweet and sensitive side by selling us on all things darling, tiny and newborn – from designer pacies and pillows to large plastic seats in a plethora of colors. Even the smaller baby boutiques are crowded with the newest, hippest gear, and it’s easy to get lost in all the “Aww!! That’s sooo cute!” of it all. So with time, money and energy-saving in mind (you can thank me later), I’ve created a list of my top favorites. Who needs a $30 bottle warmer for the car anyways? There are just some things that aren’t practical for everyday use. The baby gear below has received lots of love in our home from day one, and I find them all worthy of making the list!
1. Pack’n'Play – Essential for the family on the go. It’s perfect for traveling, and it can even be used as an every-day bed. Ours came with a changing table and a bassinette that added extra function in the first few months. Still to this day, our Pack’n'Play goes with us everywhere!
2. Diapers, Diapers, and More Diapers – with a newborn in the house, there are never enough diapers. Find out if the mom-to-be is using cloth or disposable and gather a few of the smaller sizes to start off with. Diapers.com has the best deals for disposables, and I love to shop KellysCloset.com for all my clothed heinies. She provides everything you need to know (and then some) about all things cloth!
3. Baby Swing or Bouncer/Rocker Seat – These items are great to have when mom needs her hands for a few minutes. They are about one in the same, so you really just need one or the other. There are several on the market, but I really like the ones with toys for kicking and batting attached. The bouncy seat got the most use in our house, and it was easy to travel with as well.
4. Swaddling Blankets – blankets of any kind are a great gift, but my all-time favorites are the extra large, extra thin swaddlers. They’re great for all seasons and have so many uses besides the obvious – stroller covers, changing pads, breastfeeding covers - you name it. A friend of mine sold me on the Aden+Anais swaddlers, and I absolutely love them for their design, texture, quality, and size. A great baby gift for any new mom!
5. Baby Carrier – oh the wonderful world of baby-wearing! Baby carriers are great for everyday use – quick trips to the grocery store, walks around town, cranky, sleepy babies wanting to be held – you could seriously wear your baby anywhere. My all-time favorite is the Ergo as it’s GREAT for everyday use and is both mama and daddy-friendly. It’s designed for baby years through toddlerhood, so it’s the best for the money too. Slings and wraps come in a close second behind the Ergo. They are easy to use and perfect for quick outings. There’s also the Kelty Kids backpack that’s first-rate for active dads. Naomi gets a birds-eye view from his shoulders while hiking the trails. It’s just a little on the extremely heavy side for me! ☺
6. Stroller – Sometimes, a baby carrier just won’t do (like at the doctor’s office or when you have too much to carry already). A good quality umbrella stroller is a must for quick trips, but if you want to take your stroller off the beaten path on nature trails or bumpy terrain, an all-terrain stroller is great to have too. The cobblestone streets of Savannah can get bumpy!
7. Calendula Ointment & Other Baby Care Products – When talking about babies and their sweet, baby-soft skin, it’s best to choose products that are all-natural and made for sensitive skin. Calendula Ointment is a life-saver, and I don’t know what I would do without it. I use it for diaper rash, chapped skin, & now cuts & bug bites too. A lot of babies deal with sensitive skin issues, especially in the beginning, so Kiss My Face & California Baby products are great all-natural products to start with. Aquaphor for Babies is also a must! Check out the basket pictured below. It contains a surplus of all the yummy goods I love for baby – a perfect basket for a shower!
8. Baby Monitor – These make great baby gifts! This is definitely a nicety over necessity, but I get daily use out of our monitor, and at this point, I don’t know what I’d do without it! Great for multi-level homes, gardening in the yard while baby’s sleeping, and vacationing. We shared a beach house with our large family last summer, and the monitor reached the distance from house to beach while she was sleeping. How cool is that?
9. Highchair/Booster Seat – Baby’s got to eat, so she definitely needs a place to sit once it’s time to sit up on her own! If you plan on traveling a lot to see family or even if you are out to eat often, Fisher Price makes a great travel booster seat with tray. It folds up compact and comes with a strap, so it’s easy to transport from place to place. It’s certainly nice to have when vacationing or taking trips away from home.
10. Rocking Chair – my all-time favorite and definitely a necessity. We’ve rocked MILES in our glider and use it to this day. Of course, I’ve got a thing for rocking chairs in general (there’s one in just about every room of our house and two on the front porch). But there’s just something about the slow, constant rhythm and motion that can put a baby (and me) right to sleep.
What’s in the basket? A perfect mix of gifts for your next shower! Aden+Anais swaddling blankets, calendula cream, digital thermometer, Hyland’s natural teething tablets, comb & brush, saline Boogie Wipes (great for wiping sensitive noses), California Baby products, Aquaphor, natural sunscreen stick, saline drops, and Kiss My Face lotions. Complete with a few Aden and Anais swaddle blankets to boot!