Ahh… baby gear! Choosing what to buy or register for is truly overwhelming for parents-to-be. I have had only two newborns, so I can’t claim to be an expert on everything. However, I think most moms will agree that after two kids you’ve seen a lot of baby stuff — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and you have found your favorites. So here are my favorites!
1. Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat. We used Consumer Reports to help us choose the top-rated, safest baby items, and this car seat gets the highest ratings from them. We have found it easy to use and very durable. It still looks brand new after being buckled and unbuckled from dozens of vehicles, traveling to approximately 10 countries with us, and weathering almost as many trans-Atlantic flights. Extra tip: I borrowed this stroller frame from a friend. I loved that it fit my car seat, all my bags, and usually some extras, because otherwise I would have been carrying everything, including my sleeping baby in his heavy car seat.
2. Zip-up sleepers. Zip-ups are the easiest to get on and off your newborn because nothing has to go over his/her head! Most sleepers snap up, but new parents will find themselves fumbling for a few weeks before they can snap them up easily even in the dark. I love this one from Baby Gap — they have the cutest prints! — but there are many less expensive options, too.
3. A bouncer. Gil loved his bouncer (borrowed from a friend) and I carried it all over the house wherever I went with him. This bouncer has the highest average customer rating on Amazon, and I love its sleek, quiet profile. Extra tip: If your bouncer has a toy bar (maybe with obnoxious lights and music?), remove it until your child can focus, play with it, and appreciate it. Until he was a couple months old, the toy bar just scared Gil, and it got in my way when I took him in and out of the seat.
4. A swing. Gil also loved his swing, and he napped in it for months. Although I didn’t love having that big clunky thing in my home, I did thank God for that invention many, many times during those first three months. We got an older version of this swing from someone in our neighborhood; it has the highest average customer review on Amazon.
5. Arms Reach Mini Co-Sleeper. I’ve sung the praises of this little crib before in my post about sharing a bedroom with your baby. It was Gil’s bed for the first 4 months of his life, even after he moved into his own room. It folds down into a little portable carrying case, just like a Pack n Play. I loved the storage pockets underneath and on the sides, too.
6. NUK pacifiers. Elliott’s mom gave me a package of NUK pacifiers when I was pregnant with Lena because “these were the kind Elliott loved,” and I have been grateful for that early direction. Mostly I like that I can buy them anywhere (including on military bases for much less than on Amazon), and so I never have to worry about being stuck somewhere and offering Gil a pacifier that he won’t take. They are also inexpensive, BPA-free, and orthodontist-approved. Elliott and I have been so grateful that our kids liked pacifiers (personally, I think you have to teach a child to take a pacifier) because it has saved us all so much grief when they could soothe their natural need to suck. Also, it’s a lot easier to one day take away a pacifier than a thumb!
7. Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. These have become the world’s favorite, so I am just person #54,937 to sing the praises of these swaddle blankets. They are lightweight and fold up tiny, but somehow they are also warm and surprisingly large. The muslin fabric has the perfect amount of stretch and grip to keep your newborn swaddled. Besides swaddling, we have used them as picnic blankets, nursing covers, sunshades, and sleeping pads everywhere we go. I also own the extra lightweight bamboo version with these Indian-inspired prints… so beautiful!
8. Moby wrap. We were given a Moby wrap, Baby Bjorn carrier, and Ergo carrier, and I love them all, but the Moby is my favorite for newborn-four months. It is so soft and cozy, and it supports the fetal position newborns like to assume. Our babies have loved being snuggled close to me and Elliott, especially in cold weather. My friend Emily wore her newborn all over the house in her Moby for the first weeks of his life.
9. Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe. Our babies both loved being swaddled until they were about three months old, but they became Houdinis at getting out of swaddle blankets. This wrap is the answer: the velcro closures kept our kids cozy, safe, and securely swaddled. I like to have at least three. I have also heard wonderful things about the Halo Swaddle Sleepsack, which gives your baby more room to kick and move his legs.
Those are the things we have most appreciated with our newborns. Experienced moms, what have you enjoyed best of all? I know of several moms-to-be who will be reading this, eager to hear your advice!