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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

MUST-HAVE BABY PRODUCTS

Which baby gear is worth it? What are must-haves versus what the (ever growing) baby products market just wants you to think are must-haves but are actually irrelevant? This topic is what led to me wanting to start a blog to begin with. When I was pregnant with Grace, I loved seeking out the advice and opinions on baby gear from my friends that already had littles. They were great at telling me which pieces they had and loved versus which ones they were making work but wouldn't buy if presented with the same decision again. I love researching products, from baby to beauty to home, so I spent many of the early nursing months researching everything from best sippy cup to easiest to clean highchair. I've been asked to share my product recommendations enough times that I now keep a master list in my email! Truth.



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First things first: sleeping! Are you going to have your little one in a nursery immediately or your room at first? That would depend on needing a bassinet/sleeping item for your room. You will (obviously) need a crib for the nursery either way, unless you plan to cosleep indefinitely. I've had friends keep the Rock 'n Play or Pack 'n Play in their rooms. We had a co-sleeper and it wasn't worth the money, in my opinion! For me, it was a (mini) glorified Pack 'n Play. Which, by the way, Grace did not sleep well in until she was a toddler. Now, we use our PNP for travel, which it comes in so handy for, but the mesh sides would consistently wake Grace up in the early months. Also, the PNP we have came with multiple attachments (a changing area and bassinet) and I did not use them enough to think that they were worth the higher price tag. I wish I had looked more into the Halo version of a bassinet when Grace was a newborn. It looks nothing like the traditional version of a bassinet (which I think are adorable but seem less practical) and it has several features that help the baby sleep while also being convenient for a new mama. Another option several use for the newborn state is a Rock 'n Play. The only negatives I've heard are speculation surrounding it being a possible cause of a flat head and that it can be difficult to transition to anything after it because the baby gets so used to sleeping on an incline. We had a Rock 'n Play that I loved for naps and the ease with which it can be moved around the house. As far as alternatives to lay the wee one, we also had a swing and a bouncer. Grace never cared for the bouncer (this can obviously vary by child) but I definitely recommend a swing, mamaroo, or something else that provides motion.


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A sound machine, diaper genie, humidifier, and video monitor are my nursery must haves. I never understood how crucial (or soothing) a white noise machine was until having a child! Someone can ring the doorbell or we can have people over and it doesn't matter. Grace is not disrupted and we don't have to tiptoe around our house. Win-win! I know that there are several pricier sound machines on the market and the one linked above, that we have, is very plain/basic. However, I have no complaints and it gets the job done! Grace has slept through the night since 8 months and we still sleep with the monitor on every night. I actually don't foresee a time when we won't sleep with the monitor! Once she transitions out of a crib (which will not be happening anytime soon!) I will still want to have the monitor so that we're fully aware in the event that she gets out of her bed. The one that I linked is an upgrade of the one we have -- ours doesn't link to smartphones or allow you to remotely pan the camera. We never did a wipe warmer because everyone told me they weren't worth it and, honestly, we never missed having one. Other than nursery must-haves and sleeping arrangements, my next recommendation for an essential would be a carrier so that you can wear your baby. We had two: a cloth wrap and a more structured carrier. I loved wearing her in this Solly wrap from a newborn until 6ish months. After that, the Ergo carrier provided more support (she was not a light baby!) and we always used the Ergo for air travel. However, with this infant insert you can use the Ergo with a newborn if you want to avoid buying multiple carriers. Before investing in a carrier, I really urge you to do your research on what best supports not only your back, but your childs hips! Some (most) of the carriers on the market do not provide the desired amount of hip support which can be damaging.
 

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Perhaps the most important thing to have is a carseat, since hospitals are not supposed to let you leave without one! We opted for one infant carseat with two bases, one to keep in each vehicle. I loved our infant carseat and the superb safety ratings that it continues to have. My only downside would be how heavy it was to carry. For that reason, I also really like this one that is significantly lighter and also has great safety ratings. We also have two convertible seats, which are now in each vehicle. We love this carseat! They now make a version with a zip off cover which I'm sure would be so useful for messy toddlers! Grace recently rode in a friend's son's Britax convertible when we were visiting her in Houston, and I will say that she seemed to have more leg room in it. Going hand-in-hand with carseats is strollers. I opted out of a doing a traditional travel system. If you're trying to make the most economical choice, I would go with this one. I know people that have and like it! Almost every stroller on the market can be converted to accommodate an infant carseat with very little effort. I chose to go with the traditional stroller that I did because of it's flexibility. It can grow to hold two seats, and even a riding board, so possibly three children if needed. The seat can also face either direction which we love. If we're somewhere crowded, we love to have Grace facing us. Of our three strollers, the Baby Jogger is my husband's favorite to use. Our stroller that probably gets the most use is our jogging stroller. Grace is in it 3-4 times a week or at least an hour per time. I have nothing but positive things to say about it! Our final stroller is an umbrella stroller. We use this for quick errands and tight spaces. I've recently had two people ask me if I was just going to get one stroller to use for all basic needs, that is fairly budget friendly, and no need to be running capable, what would I choose? That's where the Baby Jogger City Mini comes in. I think that Baby Jogger makes awesome, quality products!

I hope this is helpful and provides insight into an overwhelming market! Next up on the baby gear front: our favorite eating utensils and kitchen items.

 

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