I already mentioned the baby things that I could’ve probably done without during Bea’s first year, so it only seems fitting to highlight the other end of the spectrum: all of my most favorite gear.
As everyone’s comments revealed on my not-so-favorite-products post, many of the things that we didn’t use are at the tippy-top of some parent’s must-have lists. So, of course, this list may not include your most-loved gear (although I’d love to hear exactly what it was that made your lives easier!), but here are the things that I found to be super helpful:
- Baby sleeping bags: When Bea was tiny, I used a Halo SleepSack Swaddle, which was helpful, but as she got bigger and the weather got colder I struggled to find a warm enough sack in the same brand. I probably tried at least four different kinds before I stumbled across Grobags on a deal site (Gilt, baby… I’m a total addict!). I’m so glad I decided to give them a try. Unlike other brands, Bea has been able to use the same sleep bag for 6+ months, and it’s still plush and pile-free after dozens of washes (which is another problem I kept running into with other brands). Plus, there’s a slot in the bottom for sliding in stroller and car seat harnesses, so babies can actually wear the sack on the go. They’re a tad pricier than other alternatives, but I’ve found their long-lastingness, beautiful fabrics and coziness-factor make them well worth it in our household.
- Nursing pillow: When I announced I was pregnant, my sister-in-law insisted I register for a My Brest Friend nursing pillow (she actually discovered the company through Pregnancy & Newborn several years ago—go figure!). In addition to her recommendation, when I met with our hospital’s lactation consultants I learned that these are the same nursing pillows they use, and during our visit I had several nurses ‘secretly’ tell me that they’re the best nursing pillows around. I have nothing else to compare it to because it’s all I used, but I have no complaints. It’s adjustable, and it has a pouch (perfect for a cellphone, paci or pump parts) and a carrying case. I loved this pillow during our entire nursing experience.
- Mommy products: I’ve already raved about Bamboobies in previous posts, so I’ll step away from the pulpit before I launch into my impassioned prose about the greatness of reusable nursing pads, but I’ll just say this: If you haven’t checked them out I definitely think you should! And something else I rave about to all of my mom friends (and non-mom friends, too) is Basq N.Y.C.’s Resilient Body Stretch Mark Oil. This is another product I came across accidentally—long before babies were even on my horizon—and I decided to give it a try on some light stretch marks in some not-so-flattering areas (real talk: my hiney). I promise this company doesn’t know I exist, and they’re not giving me an ounce of this glorious product for free. But I swear it worked miracles for me; it left my backside as soft as, well … a baby’s bottom. I continued my fangirl status through my entire pregnancy and shortly thereafter. I don’t have a single leftover stretch mark, which I know has as much to do with genetics as anything else, but I like to attribute some of my skin’s resiliency to this glorious all-natural, heavenly smelling oil. (And, in case you’re wondering, a little goes a long way; I think I used about 1 1/2 bottles during my pregnancy and postpartum, which helped justify the cost!)
- Travel gear: I feel like we spend a lot of time on the go. Two of our most used—and most loved —products are Bea’s umbrella stroller and her travel bed. She loves cruising in her Peg Perego Pliko Mini … almost as much as I love its lightness, maneuverability and one-handed close. We’ve tested its prowess in airports, parks and grocery stores, and it never disappoints. And then there’s her phil&teds traveller, which she sleeps in better than she does in her actual crib. It takes a bit longer to set up and take down than other models, but its weight (just 7 pounds!) and portability far outweigh those drawbacks. These items make traveling with a wee one a lot less of a hassle.
Although I have other favorites—like our travel system, interactive books and Bea’s baby swing—these are the products I think would be hard for us to replicate with other brands or models. We really enjoy each and every item, and that’s why I’m always happy to recommend them. What about you—what products have helped you thrive in your first year?