The Baby Product Must-Haves I Actually Used
With my third (and last) child’s 1st birthday just around the corner, I have started removing all the baby items from our house and I started thinking about all the baby products we used with our kids and the ones that we did not use. Every mom is going to have a different list of must-haves, but after 3 kids, you get a sense of what is essential, what is nice to have, and what is a waste of space.
It was funny with this 3rd baby, my sister-in-law was pregnant with her first at the same time. My mother-in-law thought that I was procrastinating buying stuff and didn’t believe me when I said that I had everything I needed except clothes (we didn’t know the gender). She kept telling me how her daughter had all this stuff – a room full and a closet full. I reminded her that this was in fact my 3rd child and that I knew what I liked and what I needed and that we already had our basics. This is a list of the items that were absolute God-sends for me and that I, a notorious cheapskate and minimalist, would not have a baby without.
Also, click here to download my registry checklist that contains just about every single item I used for the first year without the overwhelming extras. Want to know what you’ll really need? This list has just about every item I used the first year and none of the stuff I didn’t.
This post contains affiliate links, all opinions are my own. In this case, I have NOT been sponsored by any of the companies directly. I have selected these products because I LOVE them. Read my full disclosure here.
This one was a life saver. It isn’t an automatic bouncer, but it does vibrate and plays music or nature sounds. It’s nice and cozy and the fabric is very soft. It also has an automatic shutoff to save the battery. I suppose it doesn’t work for ALL babies, but for Harrison, he would go from screaming to sound asleep in less than a minute in this wonderful invention.
Pack n Play
A staple of baby registries everywhere. We’ve been using the same one for over six years. All three of our babies slept in the pack n play in our room for the first months of their lives until they outgrew it and started sleeping in their own cribs. It also goes on vacation with us as a sleeping spot for anyone under the age of 2. We got a super simple model with only the basic bassinet setting and no napper or changer attachments. It worked absolutely perfectly for us and I never regretted not having bulky and expensive additional attachments.
I almost always get new moms a pack of these if they have them on their registry. They make swaddling your baby so easy and almost impossible to get out of. There is no folding involved, just a nice, snug, warm baby. You can even leave the arms swaddled for nighttime diaper changes. The fabric was light enough for my summer baby and warm enough for my winter baby. Noah was not a fan of being swaddled, but both Reagan and Harrison couldn’t sleep without them.
Spectra 2 Breastpump
I had a different pump with my first two kids. Then I got a Spectra and my life changed. It is so much quieter and more efficient than that other very popular, big name breastpump. The best part is that it was covered by my insurance.
Diaper Genie Elite
So there are a lot of diaper disposal options including a plain trash can and taking it straight out to the trash. I’ll admit that those are more minimalist and actually the way that I went before. I used cloth with Reagan and a very simple trash can with a waterproof liner. However, knowing I wasn’t using cloth this time, I wanted a way to keep the stink to a minimum that didn’t require constantly walking out to the trash. I really love the Diaper Genie Deluxe. No smell, the refills are pretty inexpensive (less than $5/month for us) and no pushing the nasty diaper down like in some other systems. Just step on the pedal and drop it in.
Chicco Bravo Travel System
This is another case of I-had-something-different-with-the-first-two-kids-and-now-my-life-has-changed. With my first two kids, I had a Graco travel system. It was cheaper, the pattern was cute, it looked fine to me and after all, all carseats pass the same safety standards. Since my old infant seat had expired and we had just donated the stroller before finding out I was pregnant again, I needed a new travel system. I even debated this. Did I really need a stroller? How much would I use it? I hardly ever used the Graco. It was bulky and annoying and unnecessary. As I shopped around, I realized I wouldn’t save much just getting a carseat, and I might as well get a travel system. I finally did what everyone online recommends, I went into the store and pushed some strollers around. I knew I needed a very narrow base for the carseat because I had to fit three across my tiny backseat, so that limited my options and I knew I wanted a Chicco. One push of the Bravo and there was no chance I was settling for anything else. Now there are higher end strollers of course that I’m guessing are nicer, but I’m cheap, remember? The price tag was already enough to make my heart pound (I actually hit a killer sale and paid a lot less) BUT . . . it has an adjustable handlebar, which is amazing for a tall person like me and even more so for my 6’5″ husband. It folds up with the push of one button INTO MY HAND. I can hold my baby, fold up the stroller, and get it into the back of the car without breaking a sweat or bending over and it is amazing. It also steers a thousand times better than my old Graco. I have nothing against Graco, I have many of their products and they have really upped their game the last few years, but I cannot even begin to express how much happier I am with this system.
Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit
I never had a baby that kept me up googling sleep solutions at 2 am like Harrison. Finally, I gave in and got the Merlin. Designed to be a transition between the swaddle and regular pajamas, this thing really is magical. In my sleep deprived state at around 3 months, I probably would have paid any amount of money to sleep just a little longer and this did the trick. It might seem heavy, but don’t worry, the open feet and hands leave enough airflow to keep baby warm without overheating. It stifles the startle reflex that often wakes babies up in the middle of the night, letting everyone get a more restful night of sleep.
Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up
I never liked the Bumbo seat. I always thought it was a bit strange and read several articles about how it isn’t the best for hip placement. I did love this seat though! It was the perfect place to put Squishy (we call Harrison that sometimes) when I needed to sit him somewhere between 3 and 9 months. By the time he outgrew it, he could easily sit on his own, but he really liked being up and part of the action.
This was perfect for my fall baby. Instead of packing an extra nursing cover, I just added this scarf to my outfit. It helped me feel cute and more pulled together AND served its purpose as a nursing cover. Genius!