Monday, June 15, 2015

My Top 10 Baby Products: The first year

For more information on my favorite newborn items you can take a look at THIS POST.

Babies change so much in that first year, going from sweet, completely helpless little floppy bundles of love to sassy, fun, independent little people. It is so much fun to be a part of that transformation, and I often have to look back at photos to see how quickly my baby has come in such a short time.

There is so much STUFF that our society says should come with babies. While I would love to have as little as possible, there are a few items I have found to be very helpful and definitely worth the investment. And while some items are repeats from my newborn list, some are new, as I've tried to take the entire 1st year into account. 

**Obviously every parent, baby, and situation is different, and I have not tried every baby product out there. So this list is not comprehensive nor is it right for everyone.

1) Lillebaby Complete Baby Carrier

To say I love this carrier is an understatement. I ADORE this carrier. I tried to use a wrap-style carrier with Victoria, but she would only tolerate it for short amounts of time. She also refused to be carried any way but facing forwards away from me. I started looking for another style of carrier hoping it would allow me to get more done during the day. I tried on a friend's Ergo carrier and liked it, but it lacked a few features, as did the Beco brand carriers I tried. Then I came across this one in a review of several carriers, and I was sold. It allows me to carry a baby ergonomically from 7-45 lbs without any type of extra insert for the newborn stage (like the Ergo requires). It also allows for 6 different carrying positions (including forward facing) and has an extra lumbar support pad in the back which allows me to carry my now-25lbs baby with zero discomfort. Mine is the All-Season's version of this carrier, which allows for more air-flow to baby if I zip down the outter layer. Victoria loves this carrier so much that she crawls to me squealing in excitement when she sees me starting to put it on. AND she prefers facing in towards me in this carrier when she wouldn't tolerate it before

2) Sophie the Giraffe
I thought this was just another so-called "must have" that rich  mom's talk about in the same way they talk about nanny cams. But no. This little giraffe, which costs between $18-25 depending on where you get it (I suggest Amazon), is worth every penny. It may be the only toy you need for the first 6 months of a baby's life. Hand-made in the French alps, this giraffe has had the exact same design for around 50 years, and children all over the world love it. It is made of natural rubber and natural paint. The shape makes it very easy for babies to hold when they are just learning to grasp, and those little ears and antennae make for the best little chewing parts. The super soft texture is very gentle on babies' gums, and this is the only item that Victoria would have anything to do with when she was teething. Sophie went everywhere with us, with Victoria happily holding her and chewing on an ear. Every baby I know has loved Sophie, so that makes it worth the price. (Plus, isn't it nice to support a company that isn't building everything in China?). Victoria still loves her Sophie even though she is starting to move on to more complex toys.

3) Carter's This Child of Mine ankle socks

There are few things more frustrating than baby socks. They never stay on, they are super linty, and they cost a fortune. Which means that finding the right pair is an expensive and very annoying task. We live near a wal-mart and while I don't go there much, I stopped in one day to grab a few essentials when Victoria was a newborn. I found these socks there, which come in boy colors too, for around $5. They are the Wal-mart Carter's brand, and are PERFECT for little babies. They are little ankle socks, so I didn't have to worry about lines on her legs, and they actually stayed on her little feet (See adorable picture above of a 2 week old Victoria). I buy these socks for every new mom I know, and they always think it is a bit of an odd gift until they try them in their sock frustration and realize they are amazing!

4) Video Monitor
I don't really have a brand preference here. I have a motorola-brand video monitor that I like a lot, but there are lots of other good brands out there. Video monitors in general are a bit pricey, and for that reason alone it is easy to forego getting one. I always thought an audio monitor, if anything, would be plenty. Then I was a nanny, where all I had was an audio monitor, and I found myself constantly going in to check on the baby when I heard an odd noise and actually waking him up with my intrusion. Then my twin nephews were born and they had a video monitor. It was so amazing to be able to check on the baby without having to enter the room and risk waking him up further! So I am in love with my video monitor, which has really been helpful with a baby who likes to wake up super quietly and who I would never know was awake unless I saw this
And then there are the moments at night when my crazy mom paranoia comes up and I get to roll over, press a button, and see this: a happy baby sleeping soundly.
My video monitor gives me amazing peace of mind, and that is worth a whole lot in my book.

5) Baby Jogger City Mini GT stroller
I wrote about this in my newborn list, and I am still in love with it. When I went into the stroller section before my baby was born I asked the salesperson which would he say is the best. And he said "I should tell you a $700 stroller is the best, but honestly, it's this one" and proceeded to show me the Baby Jogger City Mini GT. It is amazing. It is incredibly light-weight, very easy to maneuver (I often do it with only one hand), has great tires for any type of terrain, a big hood that does a great job shielding my baby from the sun, has an adjustable-height push bar (which is great for a tall mama like me!), and collapses into a small heap with the pull of a strap. I keep our stroller in the trunk of my car and use it for things like shopping or going to the zoo. I often use our lillebaby carrier if I am doing a quick errand, but the stroller is so convenient for things like shoe-shopping, going to the zoo, stopping into the store for a few quick items, etc. Because it is so easy to open and close, it is easy to take out of my trunk, open, load baby, and go. My mom bought this for us as a shower gift, and she got a great deal on Amazon. I love this so much I am already planning to get the same brand of double stroller should we be blessed with another baby soon.

6) Halo Sleepsacks

 The Halo sleepsack is another repeat from my newborn list, as my daughter has been using them her entire first year. She is still using them and I imagine she will be for at least the next 6 months or so. Halo sleepsacks were invented by a couple who lost their child to SIDS. It is an alternative to a blanket, and works great once your baby is past the swaddling stage (They also make them with swaddling flaps). I put the sleepsack on Victoria over her pajamas, and I don't have to worry about her getting cold or kicking a blanket off. They come in cotton or fleece, and we have used them consistently for night time and naps. In fact, Victoria has begun to associate her sleepsack with sleep, so she starts yawning as soon as we zip it on her.
Victoria in her sleepsack at about 8 months old

7) Carter's bodysuit dresses
 You all saw cute photo above of Victoria in one of these dresses
I have owned several of these in every single size up through 24 months (which she is wearing right now). One annoying thing about dresses with young babies is that they come up when you lift the baby under the arms. It is infuriating, and I found myself never putting cute little dresses on her simply because they always came up. Carters makes these amazing dresses that have bodysuits (onesies) attached to them. This means they never some up when you lift the baby. And Carter's has pretty good prices, especially on their website. It is easy for me to stock up on these when I see a good sale because they usually come with a cardigan, which means I don't have to worry about what season my baby will wear them. And if I ever have another daughter they will be easy hand-me-downs.
In one of her 24 month bodysuit dresses

8) NoseFrida (aka The Snotsucker)
My friend sent me this when I was expecting and I thought "eww". I mean, the name says it all. But she assured me that it really isn't gross when you do it, and when your baby is sick, you will do anything to get that little nose clear. Then came Victoria's first bad cold. She was so congested she barely slept which meant that I barely slept. Then I remembered I owned this, and it was such a relief. It really isn't gross when you use it, as there is pretty much no chance the baby's snot can actually go into your mouth because of the filter. The first time I used it, Victoria was not a fan (as her cries and swatting hands told me). But when she realized this thing clears her nose, she actually started to lie still and let me use it on her with no fuss. It helped SO much and I highly recommend it for any mom.

9) Chicco 360 Hook on Chair
 We got this chair in lieu of a high chair and we have not regretted the decision for a minute. It cost much less than the average high chair, and has all of the same features: an easily removable tray with cup holder and comfy seat suitable up to 37 lbs. This also has the option to swivel the seat 360 degrees so you can turn the baby to face the tray or to face you if you are sitting next to him or her so you can feed them. When Victoria was only a few months old we would put her in this to sit while we ate dinner. I wanted her to get used to eating at the actual table with us. Now she eats with us and she loves her little chair. In fact, if she is fussing, she likes when I put her in the chair to sit and watch what is going on until I can give her my undivided attention. The only downside to this chair is that it is canvas, so it can get dirty. But it is quite easily removable and washable so that isn't too much of a downside. I would purchase this again and again.
10) Seventh Generation Products

I received some seventh generation items from my baby shower and I am still using them on Victoria. I love their baby lotion, which isn't too thick or thin, and their hair wash. The best thing about them, I think, is that they leaving her smelling like her. I washed her once in Aveeno because it was nearby and I could smell it on her for a full day after. No thanks. Seventh generation items are not too expensive if bought with a coupon, and the quality is great. I also absolutely love their wipes and disposable diapers, which I use while traveling as we use cloth when we are at home. Their disposable diapers are free and clear to the point where they aren't even bleached. They actually look a lot like a natural brown coffee filter. There's no designs on them and they are incredibly boring, which to me means that they don't have a lot of unnecessary things like scents (hello pampers or bleach). I love these diapers because of their minimalistic approach.

I decided to come back and add one more item to this list upon reflection. A Glider.
I wasn't planning to get one of these because I thought it was unnecessary, but a family friend bought us one and I didn't turn it down (of course). And I am SOOOO thankful we have it now. I have spent hours upon hours in that thing. First with a baby who wouldn't nurse well, then with a baby who wouldn't sleep well. The armrests supported my arms which felt like they were going to fall asleep night after night of holding her during sleep regressions. When she was sick and couldn't sleep lying down because she was so congested, I sat in the glider and rocked us both to sleep for the night while she slept upright on my chest. We still do all our nursing in this chair, read our bedtime stories there, and she just loves pushing the ottoman back and forth for fun. While many would argue that any chair would do for those purposes, the ability to put your feet up is so helpful, as is the gentle gliding back and forth. It really does help calm both you and baby. So while I originally wasn't going to even get one, I now encourage all moms to invest in one. It is such a blessing, especially on those long nights.

Have you tried any of these products? What are some baby products you recommend?


  1. Absolutely perfect timing! :)

  2. Great Post. Always love to read peoples opinion about products. :)


  3. As a new mom, I enjoy posts like this that include practical product advice from other parents. Now that you are an experienced cloth diaper user, do you have any favorite recommendations in that department?

    1. Yes I do! That is a post that will be coming very soon!


I love to fellowship with others and hear what they have to say. I would ask, however, that you be mindful of what you write and try to be uplifting and respectful. Thank you for sharing!