This is the first post in a three-part series I will be sharing over the next few weeks. Connor will be one in mid-April, and before that time I wanted to share our favorite products that we used throughout the first year. This first post, Most-Loved Products, contains “baby registry”-type items that we used and couldn’t live without. The other two posts in the series will be Products Just for Mom and Toys/Activities. I tried to keep it relatively simple and straight-forward, so while there were other products we used too, these are our MOST used and loved throughout Connor’s first year.
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Here we go:
- Jogging Travel System– We registered for this Graco jogging stroller/infant car seat travel system and it has definitely been one of our most-used items. I have no complaints as far as the car seat goes, and I would snap the car seat into the stroller and take Connor on walks almost every day. Now, at 11 months, he just outgrew the car seat, but that is saying a lot since he’s a big baby. One of the places I most frequently walk is on a gravel trail and the jogger goes over the bumps very smoothly. Overall really happy with it!
- Smaller Portable Stroller– I researched this like crazy! I wanted a lightweight stroller that was easy to maneuver one-handed through stores or when travelling. This Zoe stroller had really good reviews for the price and even beat out a lot of the more expensive (UPPAbaby/City Mini) strollers on review sites. It’s really light at 11 lbs and it folds up very small so it’s perfect for keeping in my trunk.
- Dock-a-Tot– One of those expensive items you’re not sure if you’re going to use (isn’t it a glorified pillow?) but WE USED IT EVERY DAY. Connor hated his bassinet and the only way we would get him to sleep in it at all was when we put the Dock-a-tot inside it (which, full-disclosure: is NOT recommended by Dock-a-tot or Halo, but we were very confident Connor was safe and he was nowhere close to being able to roll over when we did this). I would carry it all over the house with me- it would stay on the couch during the day for quick little naps, on the floor next to my yoga mat as I worked out, or we would even throw a waterproof liner inside it and do diaper changes in it. I can’t say enough wonderful things. Connor LOVED it. I recommend getting a second cover so that you always have one in case the other gets dirty. We also recently purchased the toddler size Snuggle Me Organic (it’s way cheaper than the toddler size Dock-a-Tot) and we are loving that too and it’s helped Connor nap longer during the day.
- Honest Company everything- Diapers, Wipes, and Diaper Cream. We do delivery through their website, which makes the diapers a little cheaper. Connor has never had diaper rash and the diaper prints are the cutest. (We do also like Pampers Pure for regular diapers and Seventh Generation overnights). We also use Honest shampoo/body wash at bath time.
- Exercise ball– Seems weird to have on this list- but we used this every day until Connor was around 4 months old and even sometimes after that. He was a very fussy newborn and wanted to be held and moving at all times. The only way we could sit with him to get a bit of a break was if we were bouncing on an exercise ball! I also used it during labor- you can read Connor’s birth story here.
- Carriers for Babywearing- Going along with the exercise ball, babywearing was (and still is) a LIFESAVER for me. Connor always wanted to be held and this allowed me to carry him and still get things done around the house. I used a Baby K’Tan a lot from birth until about 6 months (Connor was big so he started to feel heavy in it around that point). I loved that it was a wrap-style carrier but easier to use because you don’t actually have to wrap it a million times. We also have an ErgoBaby. Kevin used this with the infant insert to carry Connor as a newborn. I still use it now without the insert for running errands or hiking. I recently also purchases a WildBird Ring Sling and LOVE it. Wish I had it sooner and can see myself getting lots of use out of it still even though Connor is older.
- Rock-and-play– Most people will name the Rock-and-play as one of their favorite baby items. Connor actually didn’t LOVE it, but it was the only way I could shower if I was home by myself with him. He was pretty content in there for 10-15 minutes at a time.
- Boppy– I still use this on a regular basis for nursing. Really comfortable, especially in those early days when newborns nurse for longer periods of time. I recommend getting a second cover to swap out in case one needs washing.
- Snap or Velcro swaddles- I got so many gorgeous muslin swaddle blankets and I was certain I was going to be a pro-swaddler. I absolutely was not. We used easy swaddles for Connor to sleep in and loved them. They were so much easier and we weren’t worried about him breaking out of them and having a loose blanket in his bassinet. Our favorites were Aden + Anais and SwaddleMe. We also loved the Halo Sleep Sack as Connor got older and we couldn’t swaddle anymore. We transitioned him to the arms-out Halo Sleep Sacks and we really like them. By this time it was Fall/Winter, so we got the plushy versions and they are nice and warm.
- Coconut oil tube– Kind of a random product, but great for dry baby skin! We don’t use any kind of lotions or creams on Connor’s skin, but when he gets dry patches (especially his little cheeks in the winter!), a little coconut oil goes a long way.
- Kiinde system– This was not something that was on my radar at all, but when I started looking into bottle systems I found Kiinde and I’m so happy I did. You pump directly into the Kiinde bags and then the bags snap right into a bottle frame. There is no transfer of milk at all which is so nice if you are pumping at work. Although I’m not working full time anymore, I still pump twice a week and I am still so happy with this system.
- EZPZ mat– Perfect for when you start solids with baby! The mat is both microwave safe and dishwasher safe, which makes it so easy to use and clean. We use it every day and even bring it to restaurants because it stays put on the table or his tray.
- Glass containers- This set was gifted to use and they are the most perfect size! I use them all the time, especially to pack Connor’s lunch when he goes to my mom’s house on the days I work.
- Beginner spoons– Perfect for little hands! Connor loves feeding himself with these spoons. They hold a thick puree really well and the short handle makes it easy for him to navigate the spoon to his mouth.
- Munchkin 360 cup– Any speech therapist will tell you to say no to sippy cups! This cup is structured like a regular open cup, but it also helps reduce spills. Connor figured it out really quickly. When he throws it off his high chair, it sometimes does leak a bit, but it’s never a big spill.
- Honest Company Diaper Backpack– We love this backpack. It’s big enough to fit everything we need, but not TOO big. It’s also pretty gender-neutral so Kevin doesn’t feel weird carrying it. I HIGHLY recommend getting a diaper backpack over a regular diaper bag. With a little one, your hands are always full and it’s one less thing you need to carry in your arms
Also just want to note that every baby is totally different! As I mentioned before, Connor gave us a run for our money in his first few months of life. We ended up shelling out money on a 4Moms Mamaroo which is highly recommended by SO many people, but Connor ended up not liking it. He actually only started to like it when he was older and almost too big for it (but at that point he just liked pulling out the balls from the mobile and didn’t really care about the motion). We also tried a Zen sleepsack which so many parents swear by, but it didn’t help with Connor’s sleep at all. So just like any human- each baby has their own preferences! It may take a little time to figure out what baby products your little one loves!