Now that we have successfully cared for and raised a child for over a year, Tolar and I feel like we are pseudo experts on baby products. We have used A LOT of stuff. And we have found that a lot of the things that people give you, don't always get used like you thought/planned (i.e. blankets - oh my goodness the amount of blankets we were given). I have compiled a list of our absolute favorite products. This is by no means a list of everything we used, but these are the products that changed our life for the better and that we used for a large portion of Baby K's first 12 months of life.
1.) Fisher Price Rock n' Play - We used this for the first 11 weeks of Baby K's life and it was a life saver. I loved that the bed/seat was at an angle, helping to keep Baby K nice and snuggly as she slept. And since it is a rocker, it was awesome for me to be able to reach over and gently rock Baby K if she woke up during the night. It was the perfect height for me to stay in bed and just reach my hand over to rock her. And it is so lightweight, making it easy to carry from room to room.
2.) Neat Solutions Table Toppers - These things are amazing! And one of those products that I wish I created myself, because it is genius! The table toppers are disposable plastic placemats with adhesive strips on the bottom, allowing them to stick to a restaurant table making sure that it stays in place. Since Baby K is more likely to want to play with a plate and throw it, she just eats straight off her high chair. But when we go out to eat, I never know how clean the surface is, and now I don't have to worry. I keep these in the diaper bag to always have when we are out and about.
3.) Sophie - I didn't know about Sophie until the very end of my pregnancy, but I am so glad that my sweet friend Courtney gifted us this fab teether. Baby K has loved Sophie almost her whole life. She chews on her, plays with her and squeaks her - all with a huge smile on her face. This teether is amazing and calms Baby K right down whenever we give it to her.
4.) Bumkins Bibs - Now that I have discovered these bibs, I'll never use anything else. I love that these are oversized bibs and that they cover Baby K's shoulders, keeping her cute little outfit nice and clean. And they have a "scrap trap," which catches the food that doesn't quite make it into Baby K's mouth. Another awesome feature is that these babies are waterproof, so I can easily clean them off to use again. And since they are thin, I just fold them up and keep them in the diaper bag for travel.
5.) Avent Bottles - We actually discovered these bottles thanks to the fabulous marketing on their part, by placing a sample bottle in the gift bag we received upon registering. These bottles have been great; they are really easy to clean, easy for Baby K to hold and are extremely durable. I ended up exclusively pumping so Baby K got bottles almost her entire life and they are still in great condition!
6.) Munchkin Snack Catcher - Another genius product. These little snack cups hold Baby K's cheerios and goldfish, but keep it from spilling all over the place. They have soft flaps on the lid that allow for little hands to reach inside, but if the cup gets overturned, nothing falls out.
7.) Ergobaby Carrier - I love this carrier so much that I did an entire blog post about it. We tried out several carriers before settling on this and once I tried it I knew I didn't need to look any further. Baby K feels so secure in this carrier thanks to all of the clasps and she is super comfortable the way she basically wraps her legs around me. She is so secure, I really am hands free when she's in it. I never feel like I need to hold her up when I have the carrier on. And I love that we can use the carrier for several years as it can hold up to 45 pounds.
8.) Britax Marathon Convertible Carseat - I want to sit in this seat, it looks so comfortable! We love Britax and all of their safety ratings and their SafeCell Technology that helps to reduce the risk of head injury during a crash. The Marathon has side impact protection too - it is protected all around. The seat holds a child up until 65 pounds, so we will get a lot of use out of it. My favorite feature is that the strap to tighten the belts will click, letting you know that it has actually been tightened. The cover is easy to remove, making for easy clean up - you know I love that!
9.) Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano Gym - We really registered for this because it has a piano and with Tolar being very musically inclined, it was a no brainer. But we didn't realize just how much Baby K would love it. She has been kicking her legs like crazy since before she was born, so we should have figured that she would like this. I could lay her down on the gym and she would kick, play and laugh for at least 30 minutes. It was amazing!!! The bright colors are very stimulating for baby and all of the music is just so fun! She did grow out of using it once she could roll over from her back to her tummy on her own, but we got a lot of use out of it.
10.) Britax B Agile Travel System - We have loved this system from day one and have never had a want/need for another system. The baby carrier is amazing because it is one of the lightest around, which made it a breeze for me to carry Baby K. And it easily snaps into the car base, making it easy to get baby in and out of the car. I actually miss the ease of getting her out of the car as a little baby. And the stroller is just pure awesomeness. When we still used the carrier, we just snapped it onto the stroller and took off. Now, we just strap Baby K into the stroller and off we go. The stroller is SO LIGHT. That was one of the main reasons we bought this system because I knew there would be plenty of times that I would be juggling baby and the stroller all by myself. I needed something that I could easily lift in and out of my car's trunk. This system is just that!!! It folds just by pulling up on a strap and tucks nicely into my trunk. I love Britax!
11.) and 12.) Pacifier Clips and Nuk Pacifiers - Yes, we have embraced a pacifier (or a plug as we call it). We figured we could take a pacifier away later in life, we won't be able to take her thumb away (I was a huge thumb sucker!), so we gave Baby K a pacifier. We were gifted the Nuk pacifiers so those are what we used and once Baby K got used to them, she didn't really want anything else. I like them because they come in really cute colors and designs. And I love the pacifier clips, which keep the plug attached to baby so you don't have to worry about it dropping to the floor.
13.) Fisher Price Little Superstar Sing Along Stage - My sweet friend Kirstin let us borrow this toy once I told her that Baby K was trying to pull up and stand. This is such a cool toy, we had so much fun playing with it too. It is quite an amazing musical toy in that if you press the drums, the drums will play. If you press the key board, you will hear a key board sound. It isn't just a silly toy that plays any kind of song and instrument if baby presses a button - it is very musical. I loved that it incorporated whatever instrument Baby K would push. The toy has lights and a mirror, which would make Baby K laugh and keep her entertained for a long time. She loved this thing. I was sad to return it when we moved!!! And once she was able to stand up on her own, the toy still worked for her. She loved to bend down and see herself in the mirror.
14.) Medela Pump In Style Advanced Breast Pump - Like I said above, I ended up exclusively pumping, so the pump I used needed to be good! I did use a hospital grade breast pump for a little bit and the Medela PISA is very close to having the same power as the hospital grade pump. I love that the PISA has such a cute bag to carry your pump in and it has TONS of room for everything you need. Plenty of room!!! It comes with both a wall plug and a battery pack in case you need to pump somewhere without an outlet; super convenient. It is so easy to use and has multiple speeds that you can select.
15.) Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets - We were given a ton of blankets, but these were my favorite. They are huge, which helps to provide enough fabric to really swaddle your baby tight. I love that these blankets are so lightweight, so I never had to worry about Baby K getting too warm. And since they are so light and big, I still carry these with me to use all the time. I will throw one of these over the car seat or the stroller in case Baby K needs to get the sun out of her face while sleeping. The blankets come in really cute patterns too, so you are sure to find something perfect for a boy or a girl.
And now for my absolute favorite, life changing baby item...
Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit - No joke y'all, this thing kept me and Tolar sane!!! Baby K was an excellent sleeper pretty much from day 1 (she really excelled around week 13), but we had her swaddled the entire time. She was so nice and cozy and couldn't move her arms so her startle reflex wouldn't wake her up. Well once she became too big to be swaddled, I was nervous about how she would sleep without anything. Enter the sleepsuit! We put her in this suit and she slept better than a baby for months. It was a comfort thing for her, as soon as we would zip up her sleepsuit, she would turn her head and be ready to close her eyes. I loved it! I never had to worry about my child waking up, because I knew she was nice and comfy in the sleep suit. The suit is thick, so it keeps her from startling herself, but she still has free motion of her arms and legs. And I loved that the suit was so thick to keep her warm during the winter months. I was one happy mama and she was one happy baby because she slept for TWELVE hours!!!! And it was a pretty easy road transitioning her out of the sleepsuit too because she was already used to sleeping for so long thru the night. Get this thing, give it as a baby gift, you will thank me!!!!
If you have any questions about anything I discuss above, feel free to ask. I know we will be using everything for baby #2...whenever that happens.