A roundup of the most essential baby products for those first six months. The world of new parenthood can be pretty overwhelming, and this list will guide you through all you really need to navigate it with ease.
With the holiday season quickly approaching and all of the pregnancy announcements filling up my news feed, I thought it might be the perfect time to do a quick little roundup of what we considered to be the essential baby products over the first year. And, if you keep an eye on some of these items over the coming weekend, I’m sure you’ll find some great Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals!
Also, have no fear my food-loving friends, I’ll be back with regular recipe posts next week!
I’ve broken the list down into three sections: 0-6 months, 6-12 months and books that have been lifesavers for us. I’m going to separate these essentials into three posts, since it would be awfully long to keep it all in one!
I know I was personally overwhelmed when searching for what to put on our baby registry and I relied heavily on what other mamas recommended on their own blogs. I hope this list of what we thought were essential baby products for the first year helps you narrow down your selection and that you find some of these gifts under the tree come Christmas morning.
Items are listed clockwise from the top right of the image.
The UppaBaby Vista was our stroller of choice due to good reviews and the fact that it can seat two whenever our second little one comes around. It’s a nice and sturdy stroller, with tons of seating options and has held up well for the entire first year. We actually used the bassinet that it comes with for Raia to sleep in for the first few months, and they even sell a stand to go with it that folds up and stores easily when it’s not in use. We also bought the UppaBaby Mesa car seat that clicks into the Vista and used that as our car seat for the first 8 months or so. The only downfall I can see to the UppaBaby products is that most accessories come at an additional cost – but to me, you pay for the quality you get!
If there’s anything you don’t want to have to battle with when you’re a new parent and extremely sleep-deprived, it’s using a regular old blanket to swaddle your baby! These Velcro SwaddleMe swaddles were a LIFESAVER and were much harder for Raia to break out of than just your average blankie swaddle. She slept in these until about 4 months.
Full disclaimer here, I don’t recommend committing yourself to just one type of bottle before baby is born, but these Joovy Boob bottles were the clear winner with Raia. If you can, invest in a few different kinds of bottles when you’re first starting out, and see which your little one takes to. We also tried Como Tomo and Dr. Brown’s.
A warm, glowy salt lamp was another thing I never thought we’d need but I’m so glad my husband picked it up at Home Depot one day shortly after we got home from the hospital! First off, it’s dimmable, so you can adjust the brightness yet never have to be completely in the dark, especially during that first month or two of endless middle-of-the-night wake-ups. It also casts a warm amber glow, so it’s very comforting. And supposedly it helps clean the air too? I mean, I’ve not tested this theory but there doesn’t seem to be too much of a downside here.
A pack-and-play is an absolute MUST if you plan on doing any sort of traveling with your little one in the first year (and beyond.) The one thing I would recommend is to get one that has a sleeping shelf a little higher up for when the babe is young, before he/she starts crawling or pulling him- or herself up. This is also a great option to keep at the grandparent’s house for whenever you visit!
We didn’t want to invest in a clunky infant bathtub seat while we were still living in our tiny rental, so this foldable, easy-to-store Puj sink bathtub was just perfect. That is, until Raia grew out of it. After a few months, we simply transitioned her to the regular tub and made a little cushion and headrest out of towels for her to lie on.
An activity play mat is a great way to give your little one some tummy time or entertain them before they are too mobile.
The ErgoBaby 360 was another lifesaver when Raia was little – and still is! In fact, I just recently had to look up the weight limit on it so we could still use it for her. Now I mostly use it when she is fed up with being in the stroller, but when she was little (and before we did sleep training) this was literally the ONLY way I could get her to nap for a solid amount of time and still be able to get things done around the house.
Another baby essential we couldn’t live without is a portable white noise machine. Raia has always been a pretty good sleeper, but I think we may have white noise to thank at least partially for that. We love that this one has different noise options (we’re big fans of the Ocean setting!) and is easily transportable. We take it with us on every trip we go on!
Once Raia started becoming a little more alert and wanting to see what was going on, we started using this bouncer chair (at about 3-4 months.) I loved putting her in it while I was cooking dinner, doing chores, etc. and she loved all of the fun accessories like the mobile, the music and the vibrations.
Any breastfeeding mamas out there who are also a fan of my cocktail recipes (or wine, or beer for that matter) this one’s for you! You can dip these MilkScreen test strips in your breastmilk and it will tell you if any alcohol is detected. Clearly whoever thought of making these is a genius.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I used a Dock-a-Tot (the answer is no) but what we did use that I couldn’t recommend more is the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play. We’d heard mixed reviews on letting your child actually sleep in one, but we ended up mostly using it for naps and those moments you just needed a free hand. They have fancier ones, but we found that all really needed was the vibrating feature to really calm the babe down.
Mamas, this one’s for you. I’m sure I’m not the only first-time mom who didn’t even think about needing nursing pads before she went into the hospital. Although I confess I did use the disposable nursing pads when I first started nursing and at night, I hate making so much waste so I used these washable, reusable Bamboobie pads whenever I could.
Okay, so there is one downside to the salt lamp, and that is that it’s HEAVY. So there was no way we were going to travel with it. Instead, we got a smaller, lighter, battery-powered night light to set up anywhere Raia happens to be sleeping while we’re on vacation. Just remember to bring along some extra batteries!
I’ll be sending out the 6-12 month and recommended books lists in the coming days. In the meantime, let me know if there are any 0-6 month essentials I missed in the comments below!