I remember when we went to the baby store to register for our baby showers and how a mix of excitement and confusion washed over me as I looked around. There are so many different items, some for the baby, some for moms, some for the nursery, others for the car, and there’s just no telling what you do/don’t need. As we start rounding the corner towards a year, I thought it would be useful to reflect on some of the things we purchased (or were given) and what we do and do not use.
So today I’m going to cover the 10 things we use every single day (okay, most of them are every single day, others are a little more sporadic) and Monday I’ll give you the run down of the things we got that I wish we hadn’t bothered with. Everyone will be a little different on what they like/dislike and use/ignore, but for us, these 10 things are critical for our daily routines.
Disclaimer: these are all my personal, unsponsored opinion. All links are also unsponsored/non-affiliates, so you’re not feeding my candy habit by clicking.
Baby Gate 1 of 10We have a very open living room that leads into stairs, a bathroom and the always appealing cat food. So for us, it didn't make sense to buy 3 small gates to close off each area, it made sense to buy a bigger gate and give the baby free reign of the living room. We found one that was adjustable, that screwed into the walls for maximum stability, but could also be easily removed if we were going on a trip and needed to gate off something else. It can be used as a ring or a line and varying parts can be removed to make it smaller. It's not an inexpensive gate, but it is the sturdiest one we've found and my son loves to pull up and stand at it and I can feel safe knowing it won't topple over and he is contained in a well baby-proofed area.
Buy this gate at Amazon (on sale!) for $99
Triple Paste 2 of 10My child has the most intensely sensitive skin and so we were pleasantly surprised that most of his diaper rashes have been very mild. Once we switched diapers (more on this shortly), they all but vanished. Until teething. Last month he had a terrible and painful diaper rash from teething and our normal stuff wasn't cutting it. On the suggestion of a friend we tried Triple Paste. After days of no improvement, it was about 50% better after using the Triple Paste at the nighttime diaper and gone within 24 hours. Triple Paste is relatively expensive for diaper rash cream (my husband saw it and said, "whoa, do they sell double paste?"), but the tub is huge and you only need a little. Any time I see any redness in the diaper region, this is my go to, and since we are back to teething madness, it's been by my side every day this week.
Buy this cream at Target for $18.99
Baby Food Pouches 3 of 10I began making Eli's baby food at home when he was very little and for a while, it worked out well for us. But after a while, it became hard for me to keep up with his demand as well as his changing, and picky, taste buds. I couldn't get him to eat a single vegetable I made, with the exception of carrots and sweet potatoes, and so I went looking for other options. It was important to me to stay with organic options and I was thrilled when I found the wide variety of baby food pouches. Our favorite brand is Plum, but the Earth's Best are a close second. They are pricer than some other baby food options, but the baby food stage doesn't last long and to me, they're worth the cost to have certified organic food. Eli is now eating several foods that he wouldn't touch when I made them at home- spinach, green beans, greek yogurt, and he loves them. We buy ours in bulk on Amazon to save a little money and keep an eye out for sales to save a few more bucks whenever possible.
Buy these pouches at Amazon for $17.98
Screw on Spoons (for pouches) 4 of 10The biggest problem I had found with the pouches was difficulty feeding them outside of the house. At home, I usually squirt them into a bowl and spoon feed them, but it was such a pain to bring the pouches, bowls and spoons, or put them in a sealable bowl and keep them cool until meal time. Until I found these. They screw onto the top of the pouches and let you squeeze the food out. They make packing food for days away from home quick and easy and the little container is perfect to keep them clean but not take up a ton of room.
Buy these spoons at Toys R Us for $4.99
Honest Diaper shipments 5 of 10When Eli was tiny, we used Pampers and Huggies, which necessitated trips to Target or Babies R Us every few weeks. And look, I have poor self control, so those trips were almost never just for diapers. On top of which, the diapers were giving him constant contact rashes, even the "sensitive" versions. So we got a sample pack from Honest and I am addicted. I love having them shipped to us (which, if you're not into Honest, you can try some of the other diaper shipment services, obviously), I love that they don't irritate Eli's skin, I love that the diapers are adorable and I love their customer service. I could not be happier with our diapers and wipes and we're looking forward to trying their swim diapers this summer. Also, for those curious, we have never run out of diapers or wipes before the month was up, in fact, we actually skipped a month recently because we had so many extras.
Order a month's supply of diapers and wipes at Honest.com for $79.99!
Netflix 6 of 10This is one of the things we definitely don't use every day, but which is still very valuable to us. Eli is only watching 2 tv shows at this point, and he's really only watching them on rare occasions (when he's sick or when we absolutely have to do something and he's struggling with independent play (yes, tv as a babysitter, I need no lecturing here)). I love that we can just cue up Netflix instant streaming on our Apple TV and have Sesame Street and Yo Gabba Gabba available any time. There are a bunch of different ways you can access Netflix, so it's definitely something worth looking into!
Buy a month's worth of streaming at Netflix.com for $7.99
Portable Diaper Changing Pad 7 of 10I have a nice diaper changing pad for in public, which is something I imagine most parents have and like, but I have a second one...for at home. We live in a 2 story apartment and honestly, it just seems unnecessary to stop what we're doing, trek upstairs, change a diaper and come back down. On top of which, diaper changing sessions have essentially become wrestling matches and I no longer feel safe having Eli on an elevated surface to change him. So we use a no frills portable changing pad on our floor to change diapers. It protects the carpet, takes up about zero space and is easy to clean.
Buy this changing pad at Target for $10.69
Bottle Cooler 8 of 10This was a purchase I never intended to make, but once breastfeeding went downhill, we needed some way to keep the pumped bottles cool. We don't use formula on the go, but I assume since you can mix on the go you wouldn't really need a cooler as much, but for pumping and pumping storage, it's essential. We also have a medela cooler, which I really like for storage, but I love this cooler bag for taller bottles and the front pouch for bibs and spoons!
Buy this cooler at Amazon for $18.14
Dishwasher Basket 9 of 10Bottle feeding was always something we had planned (so I could go back to work), but the logistics of it caught us a bit off guard. After hand scrubbing and microwave sterilizing bottle nipples for weeks, we found that our dishwasher had a sterilizing setting and that oh hey, they sold baskets for the dishwasher. We use one for Dr. Brown's bottles, despite not using actual Dr. Brown's bottles, but our Tommy Tippee nipples and Soothie pacifiers fit no problem. I also use this basket for smaller parts (medicine dispensers, pump parts, storage bottle caps).
Buy this basket at Amazon for $5.91
High Chair Cover 10 of 10I will freely admit that I have a rather significant case of OCD when it comes to germs. And having Eli catch virus on top of virus on top of virus has not helped very much. Which is why I love our highchair/shopping cart cover. It makes the seat more comfortable for Eli, while simultaneously keeping him clean and reducing the germs he's exposed to. And it makes me look less crazy because I'm not scrubbing a high chair in public. Wins all around.
Buy this highchair cover at Babies R Us for $29.99
Those are my 10 must have baby items, what items can’t/couldn’t you live without?
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