Baby Gear Necessities: A Buying Guide

Baby gear necessities: a buying guide

*This is a rather long post, with my commentary and tips. If you’d like to skip straight down to all the necessities, click here.

When I was pregnant, I was constantly researching what I need to get for a baby. I spent months of time searching, talking to moms, and trying out products. This is the list of all the baby products we use all the time. We’re talking multiple times a day here. My recommendation is to go as neutral colored as you can – if you hope to have more than one baby. If not, or if you can’t resist the adorable pink floral and blue sport stars, go for the color! 🙂

The first few necessities have to do with the Five S’s. Google it. It’s basically a newborn baby guide to survival.

  1. aden + anais 3-Pack Classic Swaddling Cloths

aden + anais swaddle blankets These are great! They can be used to swaddle your baby (if you have the skills – YouTube it). They can be used as a blanket for the floor, as a nursing cover, as a car seat cover, as a burp cloth, as a blanket in general, or scrunched up as an sleep mask for a nap. Get lots.

If you don’t have the swaddle skills, get the following too: (even if you have the skills, you’ll want this too)

2. HALO Cotton SleepSack Swaddle

Halo Sleep sackThese come in cotton and fleece. They’re basically wearable blankets that can swaddle your baby with arms in or arms out. It’s magic.

Pro Tip: I recommend getting at least four of these. Two in cotton and two in fleece (per size). My baby liked to spit up at night after being swaddled. It was nice to have spares to swap him into.

3. Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine with Night Light in White

Hatch Baby Rest Night light white noise machine I didn’t buy this off the bat, I went with a cheaper white noise machine and a salt lamp. While I love the salt lamp, after a few months, my white noise machine would require hitting to work. So I upgraded. This can be programmed to go on and off, with colors, and sounds. You can also control it with your phone. Finally, you can just touch the device to turn on or off. Brilliant.

Pro Tip: Have an orange light on (lowest setting) and a rain or white noise on a higher volume for overnight.

4. Pacifier

4a. FIRST: WubbaNub Pacifier

Wubbanub Pacifier These are adorable and practical! It’s a win-win. Let me count the ways I love the WubbaNub: 1) it’s a cute, 2) it’s easier to find when your baby throws drops it, 3) it’s a comfort both in sucking and in cuddling.

4b. THEN: Dr. Brown’s® Lovey Pacifier and Teether Holder

Dr. Brown's® Gerry the Giraffe Lovey Pacifier and Teether Holder I used the WubbaNubs for when my baby was a newborn until he got teeth (6 months). WubbaNub recommends to stop using when your baby has teeth – the rubber is soft. So, I upgraded B to the Dr. Brown’s version. This has loops with snaps on it to attach any pacifier. I attached the following:

AND

Night Orthodontic Ages 6+ Months Pacifier

orthodontic pacifier These are great because they’re sturdier and they glow in the dark. Seriously, I watch my kid stand up, put his arm over the crib rail, and drop his pacifier/lovey to the floor. Then, he looks at the video monitor’s camera and smiles. This combo makes it easier to find in the dark 🙂

Pro Tip: buy all the pacifiers. The name of the game is survival.

5. Fisher Price Fisher-Price® Deluxe Newborn Auto Rock ‘n Play

rock 'n play Legally Fisher-Price says this wonderful thing is not intended for sleeping. Veteran moms of reflux babies know, it’s the only place your baby will likely sleep. If I could do it again, I would upgrade to the auto rocker with the infant insert. I would also buy this before we brought our baby home, instead of two miserable months later.

 

Continuing on the sleep thread…

6. Crib

Pottery Barn Madison Crib Eventually, your baby will be in a crib. I love our Pottery Barn Madison crib. It has multiple crib heights, converts to a toddler bed – with two guard rails! – and converts to a headboard. I love how it is: sturdy, beautiful, convertible, neutral (color and gender), and doesn’t look like a tiny baby prison.

7. Aden + Anais® Crib Sheet

muslin crib sheets You might be tempted by those beautiful bedding sets, don’t get them. Instead, get a muslin fitted crib sheet. For safety purposes, you can’t have anything in the crib with your baby except a fitted crib sheet. So, get these super soft ones that come in all the amazing prints!

8. Quilted Mattress Protector Pad

Quilted Crib Mattress Protector Pad You’re going to want a waterproof mattress protector pad to go under your beautiful fitted sheet. Babies are messy. They spit up, they leak through diapers, sometimes they spill milk, all sorts of liquids happen. Protect your mattress. By the way, you need a mattress.

Pro Tip: Layer your crib bedding: (bottom to top): 1) mattress pad, 2) sheet, 3) mattress pad, 4) fitted sheet. This way, you can just strip the top two layers when you have a diaper leak or spit up. [more baby parenting tips here].

 

Moving on to feeding… (I will do a separate buying guide post on feeding gear to cover everything, this is just the NECESSITIES)

9. Collection & Storage Bottles -5oz 6ct

Medela collection bottles I originally got these to pump breast milk into. I definitely used these for pumping while I could. [See more about my breastfeeding journey here.] After we switched to formula, I found two new uses for these:

Pro Tips: fill a Medela bottle with the amount of water you need to make a bottle. Take a bottle (with powder formula in it) with you, mix the two, you have a bottle on-to-go for your baby or for nighttime feedings. [Check out this post of parenting baby tips.]

10. Comotomo 5-Ounce Baby Bottles in Green (2-Pack)

comotomo baby bottleWhether you plan to breastfeed or to formula feed, it’s a good idea to have bottles around. I HIGHLY recommend these bottles from Comotomo. When I was combo feeding, they were the easiest to switch from breast to bottle and back. Then, when we were solely formula feeding, they were the easiest for my baby to hold on his own. (They are slightly “squishy,” which makes it easier for little hands to hold onto.)  Also with formula feeding, these have a wide mouth, so it’s easy to pour formula and water into without spilling. Finally, they are so easy to clean. There are three parts total to these bottles. Your hand fits in all of them. It’s a breeze. They come in 5 oz and 8 oz sizes. In pink or green.

Pro Tip: Get green (again if you have more than one baby and end up with both sexes.) However, the pink is SO CUTE! I think you can buy the rings separately, so you can always get a few adorable pink ones for a little miss.

11. OXO Tot Bottle Brush with Stand

baby bottle brushThis brush is great. It’s super important to use a dedicated brush for all baby’s bottle parts. You don’t want the sponge you just used to wash the sink of the raw chicken germs to touch your baby’s bottles!!! So, get yourself a brush. I got green to match my bottles. It stands on it’s own so it can sit right by your sink – but separate from the gross grownup sponges.

It also has a nipple brush inside the handle. Honestly, I don’t use this, I just wash my hands (thoroughly in hot water with soap for AT LEAST 20 seconds) and use my fingers to clean the nipples. However, it’s nice to have for when my parents are on baby bottle duty.

12. Boon Lawn

Boon lawnOnce you clean those bottles, nipples, sippy cups, spoons, pacifiers, etc., you’re going to need some place to put them to dry. Enter the Boon Lawn. This comes in various sizes (get the lawn, you’ll have a ton of stuff to dry all the time). It also comes in neutral and beautiful white, or classic green. Yep, I chose the green. I also got two twigs – get those! And I got a smaller grass to travel. Now they have this cool setup: Boon TRIP Travel Drying Rack
Boon travel kit

 

Now onto travel gear.

13. Diaper Backpack – Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back Backpack

Ju-Ju-Be BRB diaper backpack Full disclosure: I didn’t get this backpack until recently. I went with a different cheaper one. While it works, I had some complaints. So, I treated myself to the Ju-Ju-Be BRB Backpack as a “congrats you lost the baby weight” gift. This thing has pockets upon pockets. The mommy pocket is divine. There is a separate cell phone pocket towards the top. Hello, genius! I could go on and on. I probably will do a separate post.

14. Car Seat – Chicco ‘KeyFit 30’ Infant Car Seat

Chicco keyfit 30 infant car seat This is not optional. You need a car seat. Your options are Infant vs Convertible. Go with the infant to start. Choose a light weight yet SAFE one – you’re going to be lugging it around with the baby.

Choose one with a base – if you will have a husband/parent/nanny/babysitter, etc driving your baby around frequently, buy a 2nd base.

Pro Tip: if you think you might want more than one kid, get a neutral color like black or grey. You’ll be carrying this in public and some parents get offended when people wrongly identify their baby as male or female.

Expert Tip: go get your car seat inspected by a certified professional. I 100% thought we nailed installing ours. Spoiler alert: we didn’t. In fact, 77% of people install car seats incorrectly. If you don’t install the car seat correctly, or use it properly, it won’t work correctly and protect your precious cargo (your baby).

15. Stroller – UPPAbaby 2017 VISTA Stroller

UPPAbaby Vista I actually have an older version of this I got on Craigslist. However, the new model is lighter, narrower (good thing), and has improved wheels. The thing I LOVE most about the VISTA stroller – it can become a double stroller or even tote around three kids! After having a different stroller, I can say, this thing glides. It’s a dream to push. It’s light. It’s sturdy. It has a huge storage basket. You can have your kid face you, face out, recline, straight up, there are so many ways to use this stroller!

Pro Tips: Get a stroller organizer. This stroller doesn’t have a cup holder – what?!?! I have this stroller organizer. Also, get clips to attach your diaper bag to the handle.

If you get the Chicco Keyfit or another brand car seat, you’re going to want to get an adapter to attach the car seat to the stroller. Or, you can get the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat and just click it into the stroller. I’ve heard good things about this car seat. If I were to do it all again, I would go all UPPAbaby.

 

Next category: bathing & dressing

16. Baby Bathtub – Summer Infant® Splish ‘n Splash Newborn to Toddler Bath Tub in Blue

baby bath tub You could just bathe your newborn in the kitchen sink, but I liked having this bathtub to put in the sink and then later in the adult bathtub. This grows with your baby. It’s basically three tubs in one.

Pro Tip: get some toys and get a bath toy holder <- I have this one.

17. Zippered Footie Pajamas

zippered footie pajamas My baby lives in footie pajamas. Babies nap so often, it’s really not worth it to change them into real clothes. Those are for special occasions and visitors. I love the ones that zip up, but there are also ones that snap. It’s a personal preference. Whatever you do, DO NOT get ones that have real buttons. If you get one of those as a gift, burn it. 3 am diaper blowout with buttons to figure out, nope. Don’t go there.

Pro Tip: Get as many with animals on the feet and/or butt as you can find. These will make you smile. My husband put it best when he said: “why do they even make baby pajamas without animals on the feet?”

 

Finally we’re at diapering!

18. Diapers

Pampers swaddlers diapers We used Pampers Swaddlers until B was in size 3. Then I switched to Baby Dry. [I don’t remember why…] Honestly, I do amazon subscribe and save for diapers. You can also subscribe and save at Target now too! [More baby tips here]. However, it’s a best practice to try out different diapers to see what fits your little one the best, which ones have the features you like, what price is acceptable to you, etc.

Pro Tip: Get more size 1 than newborn. Babies grow quickly.

19. Wipes

pampers sensitive baby wipes We’ve used Pampers Sensitive wipes since the beginning. When I ran out a couple times, I tried others. I did not like them as much as the Pampers Sensitive ones. These are strong!

Pro Tip: Baby wipes are your secret weapon. Use them for diaper changes (obviously). Use them for anything on everything. Spit up on the carpet? Check. Wine on the couch? Check. Poop on the car seat? Baby wipe it. Seriously, I will always have baby wipes in my house from now on.

20. Butt Paste

Boudreaux's butt paste I like this the best of diaper rash cream. It is thicker than others, so I find it easier to use. They have regular and maximum strength versions. Plus, the name is funny. Anything to make you smile during the dark days of survival. I also swear by A&D Ointment; especially for baby boys.

All the necessities:

Friday Favorites

A few bloggers I follow list things they’re loving every week. I thought it was a great idea. So, here’s my first “Friday Favorites.”

1. Trader Joe’s Natural Facial Cleansing Pads

trader joes natural facial cleansing pads

One of my best friends introduced these to me on our annual girls’ lake weekend. I have recently been trying to use more natural products, while combating acne. (Seriously, I thought that was supposed to end after high school). These cleansing pads are great! They leave your skin a little tingly but overall clean well and work. Tea Tree Oil is great for fighting blemishes and all sorts of acne.

2. Thayer’s Original Witch Hazel

Thayers original witch hazel
Another skin care favorite, my sister-in-law said she started using witch hazel on her face and loved it. I immediately bought some and have to agree. It is soothing, minimizes pores, feels amazing.

3. Enlightened Ice Cream

enlightened triple chocolate ice cream

Switching gears, I cannot get enough of this ice cream! I’m currently loving the “Triple Chocolate” flavor, but I also love the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Those are the only two flavors I’ve tried (creature of habit), but I will venture out to other flavors because these are seriously amazing! They have more protein than normal ice cream and have fewer calories. I’ve definitely eaten a whole pint in one sitting. The Triple Chocolate has gooey fudge swirls that actually taste like fudge. Yum! I found it to be creamier than competitor Halo Top.

4. WubbaNub

wubbanub

Bennett doesn’t use his pacifiers a ton, but he does like them if he isn’t feeling 100%, needs to calm down, or is a little scared, like after shots or when falling asleep. We both loved the stuffed animal attached. Makes finding it under the crib 10000000x easier. The stuffed animal also becomes Bennett’s friend at night. I’m often watching him on the video baby monitor as he holds his elephant over his head “talking” to him. I imagine he’s sharing all about his day to his bestie before falling asleep. It is adorable!

 

Those are my current favorites this Friday.