As my son grew through his first year I found myself testing out different products trying to figure out what works best for both me and him, and I have to tell ya, there are a lot of products out there that are truly horrible. Rather than sitting here bashing the products that we don't like, I'm going to tell you all about my absolute favorite products, my top ten of baby must haves.
10. MAM Pacifiers
There has been a lot of controversy over whether or not you should give your child a pacifier, some parents are completely against it, and others are all for it. I'm one of those parents who are all for it and let me tell you, these pacifiers have been a complete lifesaver at times. After trying many brands of pacifiers such as Nuk, Soothies, and other random ones, MAM are the only pacifiers that my son would take, making them my #1 choice for pacifiers.
When my son was about ten months, I jumped aboard the A&A train and quickly became obsessed. Before I knew it I was swimming in A&A Swaddlers, and my son didn't even need to be swaddled!! When I received my Earthy Bamboo Swaddles in the mail I couldn't believe how unbelievably soft they were, they honestly felt like silky butter. Yep, I just compared them to butter. Smooth, silky, soft, (and unlike butter) snugly. I was in love. I purchased another pack of A&A Bamboo swaddles and they just weren't the same, the print on the swaddle made them not as soft as the Earthy ones. Aden and Anais Earthy Bamboo Swaddles are a must have for us!
This is going to sound crazy, but my mom and I fell in love with and purchased this little seahorse about a year before I became pregnant. At the time of purchase, I had no intention on having a baby any time soon, I just knew that when I did I wanted them to snuggle with this little guy. When I became pregnant with my son, every night I would turn on the seahorse by squeezing its tummy, and place it on my stomach for my son to hear in the womb. The bigger he grew, the more movement I would feel when the seahorse sang to him. There has never been a night in my sons fifteen months of existence that he has not fallen asleep listing to the song that his seahorse plays. Relaxing and soothing, this little guy is a must have for all babies to enjoy. It even comes in pink for little girls!
If your child is anything like mine is, they are picky about their sippies, and it always gets thrown on the floor. My biggest pet peeve is when a sippy cup says that it is leak free, but leaks almost or just as bad as the one that I had in my cabinet to begin with. If I wanted water split all over my couch, car, or diaper bag, I would just bring a cup of water with me or an open water bottle. There are many things that I love about the Nalgene Grip N Gulp, first and foremost being that I have yet to have it leak. Second, I love that Nalgene's are nearly indestructible so when it gets thrown from the high chair or shopping cart, I feel pretty dang confident that it isn't going to break. I also love that you can take the valve out of the top so that as your child grows they are able to drink easier (so long as you trust them not to spill). These are a big must for me, I've replaced almost all of my sippy cups with Nalgenes and I recommend that you do too.
My little guy is in love with his Takealong Tunes. When he was only four month old, my mom bought him this toy because he absolutely loved to look at lights. The second he could hold things on his own without smacking himself in the face, he was all over this. When he was about seven-ish months old he taught himself how to push the button and make the toy sing to him. I literally hear the songs on this Baby Einstein toy all day every day. My son has pushed the button so many times that the sticker has almost completely worn off! For his first birthday I decided to buy him a back up, I still can't decide if that was a good idea because now he walks around the house with one in each hand going at the same time. If your child responds well to music I highly recommend the Baby Einstein Takealong Tunes, they will love it!
I made the decision to cloth diaper when my son was five months old and I was already sick of spending our hard earned money on diapers. Yes, buying diapers is one of the many expenses to raising a child, but it doesn't have to be. We dove in head first and purchased fifteen bumGenius 4.0 cloth diapers, an investment that is costly in the beginning, but overall will save hundreds. When we first started cloth diapering I had no knowledge in the subject nor did I know the difference between an all in one diaper and a pocket diaper. The 4.0's are pocket diapers, and I absolutely love them. You can add more inserts if needed for a heavy wetter and you can even take the inserts out and use it as a swim diaper. If you're thinking of cloth diapering, bumGenius is the way to go.
4. Boba 3G
My Boba 3G has been one of the best gifts that I received for my son. I can't tell you how many nights my little guy refused be sat down while I tended to the house, or how many times I've had to run into a store and didn't want to deal with the stroller or shopping cart cover. My son still frequently "rides" in the Boba and I love that it allows me to be hands free without breaking my back. A family member had given me a different baby carrier that we will not mention, and I absolutely hated it. That thing killed my back after wearing my 12 pound infant in it for five minutes! Needless to say, I got rid of it as quickly as I could. With the Boba 3G I never have to worry about if my son is secure or comfortable, because he always it! I have recommended Boba to many friends and every single one of them has loved it to pieces.
I am a diaper bag hoarder. Well, I'm an all types of bag hoarder to be exact. I love bags- hand bags, diaper bags, tote bags, whatever. When first had my son, I was using a cheapy brand diaper bag that we will not mention, and needless to say it literally fell apart within a month and a half. It was horrible. A friend of mine introduced me to the world of Petunia Pickle Bottom and I have been hooked ever since. These bags cost a pretty penny, but the quality alone is well worth the price. These bags will last forever, and if anything goes wrong at all Petunia Pickle Bottom backs their product and will fix or replace the bag at no cost to you (so long as you are the original owner). The bag pictured above is a Sashay Satchel and it is a great versitile diaper bag that doesn't give off the "diaper baggy vibe". You can wear it two ways, on your shoulder or as a backpack which is so convenient if you need to be hands, er, shoulder free. Petunia Pickle Bottom offers tons of different styles, prints, and fabrics depending on your needs and personal style. I can honestly say that after owning a Petunia Pickle Bottom (or two, or three, or...okay you really don't want to know how many I own), I will never go back. A good quality bag is a must have for mommy's and daddy's alike. Click here, here, here, or here to read some reviews on the various bags I have tried out!
I learned the hard way that a good quality stroller is a must have. The Britax B-Agile is not only light weight but has a quick and simple fold/unfold, it's comfortable for your little one, and it has a great recline! It is compatible with certain infant car seats so that your B-Agile can turn into a travel system also! I absolutely adore my B-Agile and use it regularly. Check out my review here!
When I registered for baby gear during my pregnancy, I really had no one to talk to who had recently had a child and could point me in the right direction of products. When registering for a car seat I honestly had no idea what qualities to look for and I figured whatever was on the market was a safe car seat. Right? Wrong. The travel system that I had registered for and received was chosen on how much it cost rather than it's features, so needless to say when I receive it, it wasn't love. In fact, I hated it, but being that it's all we had, I used it until it was time to switch to a convertible. After Little Mister was out of his infant car seat I had the opportunity to review a Combi Shuttle Infant Car Seat and immediately fell in love with it. It was high quality, lightweight [considering], easy to use and install, and overall just great! It's being saved for baby #2 whenever they decide to make their debut! Click here to read my review!