I’ve been working on this post forever but could never seem to finish it. I figure I should probably publish before she turns one! So here we go!
These are all things we used and loved during the first 6 months (and some we’ve used beyond that)
aden and anais bamboo blankets– Great as nursing covers, a place to lay baby on the ground, and of course to use as a swaddle blanket. These are crazy soft and you can even wear them as a scarf! The regular muslin ones are great too but the bamboo ones are amazing.
swaddleme blankets– These were great for our tiny baby. The velcro made getting her swaddled in the middle of the night quick and easy. She used them for several weeks since she wasn’t a hulk baby trying to bust out. Shopping tip– these can often be found at TJ Maxx/Marshalls for cheap if you aren’t picky about colors.
miracle blankets– Once Gretchen outgrew the swaddleme we switched to the miracle blanket, which is essentially a double swaddle. It takes a couple of tries to figure out how to use it but then it’s easy. It pretty much immobilizes their arms. We retired it at around 5 1/2 months when Gretchen was figuring out how to kick out of it in her attempts to roll over. Shopping tip– baby steals runs these for less than $20 per blanket a couple of times a year.
wubbanub pacifier– Gretchen ran hot and cold with the pacifier and ultimately gave it up around 6 months, but in the first few months she loved it. Great for car rides, helping her fall asleep, and just settling down when she was worked up. The wubbanub is great because the attached stuffed animal helps hold the paci in and gives baby something to hold on to.
(miracle blanket AND wubbanub in the same picture, score!)
homedics sound spa– (aka baby crack machine)- go buy one, right now. This is probably our mosted used baby item. We are still using it at a year and will probably use it for another year or so. White noise is key to helping baby settled down and fall asleep. We have one that stays at daycare and one that stays in her room. We all love the white noise. It’s such a great sleep cue and in the early months the projector helped kind of hypnotize her to sleep. It also sheds just enough light in the room for middle of the night diaper changes. Shopping tip– the projector motor tends to burn out after a few months, we burned out two in the first year. It was super easy to exchange though since we got it at Buy Buy Baby. They were able to look it up on my registry and issue me an exchange, both times. They are the best baby store out there, hands down, love shopping there.
seen on the left, nice and small so you can cram lots of other essentials on the nightstand!
happiest baby on the block– there is a book and a dvd but we preferred the dvd since it gives you pretty much all the info you need in less than an hour. We watched it at the hospital since we hadn’t gotten around to it before Gretchen made her early debut. I’d seen it before but it was all new info for Tyler. I can’t say enough good things, I really think every parent should watch it. It teaches you concrete ways to soothe your baby, a skill every new parent needs.
rock n play sleeper– this is such a useful piece of baby gear. A cozy place for baby to sleep on a comfortable incline, easily portable, and small so it fits well next to the bed. We used it for about 5 months, maybe a little longer. If baby got fussy i could reach over and bring her in bed to nurse, or rock the whole thing for a bit to calm her down. Easy to move from room to room (like when you need a shower!) and she loved to sit in there and watch me while I folded laundry or did the dishes. Great for traveling too, I feel like she slept better in it than she does in the pack n play but she’s too big for the RnP now.
fisher price snug a bunny swing– I think the new version is “snug a monkey”, but whatever, this swing is great no matter what animal is snuggling your baby. It plugs in, swings side to side, has different music and nature sounds, and is nice and cushy. Gretchen liked to fall asleep in it for naps. We also had a bouncer that she napped in and I’m glad we had that as well. She preferred to fall asleep in the swing and wake up in- the bouncer, weird!
brest friend pillow– I think I’ve raved about this before but for breastfeeding, this pillow is SUCH an asset. I now own two, both of which are out on loan to other new moms. Seriously could not have breastfed for as long as I manged to without it.
boppy– I never used this for breastfeeding but Gretchen got to the point where she didn’t want to be held while being fed her bottle, so we’d lay her in the boppy and hold the bottle for her (it’s not until just recently that she’s consistently held it herself). We used the boppy for pretty much all feedings from about 3 months-9 months. Boppy is also great for tummy time. Shopping tip– there are always tons of these for about $10 or less at the fall and spring consignment sales, plus lots of covers. You can wash the pillow and the cover, making this a great item to buy used.
also good for neglected pugs
boon lawn rack– I love boon products and this one is really function while also modern and not ugly, which is great because it has been sitting by our sink for the last year! We are able to dry about 8-10 bottles on it at a time, plus we got the little flower inserts so we can hang smaller pieces up above, maximizing the space.
tommee tippee bottles and formula dispensers– I think I’ve also raved about these before. While we did use Dr. Browns bottles a bit off and on in the first couple of months when Gretchen’s suck was still pretty lazy, we primarily used the TT bottles this first year. Great when we were breastfeeding as they are booblike in shape. She went from breast to these bottles seamlessly starting that first week. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the formula inserts. So great for on the go. We use them for daycare, for outings, for trips, everything. I always know I have the right amount of formula and water for each bottle since it’s all packaged up together.
fisher price kick n play piano– this got daily use for the first 6 months. A great place for baby to play, do tummy time, and practice their kicking. Once they can sit the piano can be rotated so baby can sit and play it with their hands.
black and white books/cards– we had a couple of books I picked up at a consignment sale and black and white art cards from wee gallery that she loved to stare at when she was little. The black and white contrast is fascinating for babies.
munchkin mozart music cube– this toy is so much fun for little babies, even before they can sit. Gretchen learned to operate it with her feet (she loved kicking). Lights, colors, and classical music. Not that annoying to listen to as parents, always a plus!
fuzzy bee cloth book– I got this at a consignment sale, washed it, and it was good as new. Gretchen LOVED this. Perfect for keeping her preoccupied at church. Quiet toys are so nice!
cloth diapers– full rundown of our newborn cloth diaper experience here, I will write up a long post on what we use now soon hopefully.
luluandchacha headbands– I am not a fan of baby headbands in general but love these. They are small, cute, and snap on and off so you only need a couple of bands. We get tons of compliments on them and lots of my friends use them now too. Shopping tip- follow her on facebook and instagram, she often posts exclusively about her sales there. Also if you post a pic of your baby in one of her products on her FB page, she’ll send you a coupon code for 10% off!
trumpette socks– when Gretchen first came home the only socks that fit her were some cheap socks from Walmart that shrunk in the wash. Preemie sized socks are hard to find so we were happy to have those shrunken socks the first couple of months! Then we switched to trumpette socks. They are on zulily and other flash sale sites all the time. The ballet slipper style are my favorite. They stay on so well, until you kid learns to pull them off 😉
she wore trumpettes home from the hospital, we weren’t really good at gauging size back then, lol.
baby legs– these are freaking adorable and perfect when paired with a tshirt and a cloth diaper in the warmer months. Shopping tip– there are frequent sales on the babylegs website, but I prefer to buy on ebay. Tons of styles and super cheap.
city mini stroller w/carseat adapter– a great alternative to a bulky travel system. Our carseat (graco snugride) snapped right into the infant attachment. I used it almost daily for the first 6 months. It folds in half with the pull of a handle and fits nicely in the back of our car. Very small footprint so you can easily take it on trips.
baby connect app- I used this daily for most of the first year. During the first couple of weeks it was used to track Gretchen’s diapers, weight, and of course feedings. Eventually we just used it to track her formula intake. This was just one of many apps I found to be a godsend. Love my iphone so much, perfect for middle of the night feedings.
a mom’s group or two– This is perhaps the most important thing on this list. Having mom friends to meet up with regularly is so nice. Babies really aren’t that entertaining, and if you are stuck at home with them 24/7 you will go bonkers and quickly. I started going to a mom’s group when Gretchen was about 4 months old. Mine is based out of a local natural birth center, so it’s my “crunchy mom’s group.” Early on we just met up to get out of the house and commiserate, now we have playgroup, outings, and mom’s night out. It’s a great way to stay connected and socialize the kiddos. I also have an online mom’s group that is priceless. It’s a generally non judgmental group of moms of kids of different ages, so lots of different perspectives. Very few mommy martyrs or uber crunchies, the mom types I don’t typically want to be around.