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17 Things We Totally Used During Baby's First Year

By caseymullins |

With this being my final week on Baby’s First Year, I figured it was about time I compiled a list of baby stuff we actually got a lot of use out of and how long we actually used it for. I would never call the following a list of ‘must have’ items, but they are items that have served us well during the last year and they’re items I would tell someone to give as shower gifts or add to their registry. Many of them are hand-me-downs from Addie and all of them were either received as a gift or purchased by me (no blog freebies here kids!) There are some things I have that I could add to this list that I like, but I think there are better options out there compared to what I have.

If I had to give up all my baby stuff tomorrow and start all over, these are the things I would buy again. I wouldn’t upgrade them, change them out, or go for a different brand. I like them, they work, and if they’re not broken? Don’t fix or replace them!

One thing I’ve noticed since I first bought baby items for Addie is that baby products have gotten WAY too fancy. For example, I had an old Graco swing ($100) from Addie and received a MamaRoo ($200) as a shower gift — we all preferred the simple and classic Graco over the crazy fancy MamaRoo. I also prefer my old strap to the chair Fisher Price high chair ($40) over the TrippTrapp ($200) I registered for as well. I do love my TrippTrapp and love that I’ll get years of use out of it, but that strap to the chair high chair sure is handy. I’ll be perfectly honest and say I like nice stuff, but expensive doesn’t always mean better. Just because they make something doesn’t mean you need it (I’m looking at you bottle sterilizer and baby food maker). Obviously there’s a customer for everything or they wouldn’t make the products they do, so if you decide to go through this list, keep in mind that my family may be entirely different from yours and what worked for us may not work for you.

If I were to narrow it down to the five things I think a majority of parents would use and find the most useful from this list, it would be The Uncommon Kid changing mat, a carrier of some sort, the Pack n’ Play, the TinyDiner, and if you use bottles, the Boon Lawn drying rack.

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Baby Gear we Liked and Used A Lot

Aden + Anais Swaddlers

I don’t know where these things were when I had Addie, but what I would have given for them with her. Huge lightweight muslin swaddling blankets with super cute prints and a crisp, fresh feel (which sounds dumb when you’re talking about blankets, but I’m serious, these things are amazing. Big enough to cover a car seat from the sun, shield a nursing mom, lay on the grass or play peek a boo, one four pack of these blankets are all we needed.
Months of realistic use: Considering Addie is seven uses them to wrap up her babydolls? YEARS.
Buy them from Amazon (four pack)
: $37

Find more Casey on her blog, twitter, Pinterest, Flickr and facebook.

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About caseymullins



Casey Mullins is a writer, photographer, and nice person living in Indianapolis with her two little girls, husband, and a one eyed cat. She writes regularly at her personal blog moosh in indy and can be found trolling local bakeries and napping whenever possible. Read bio and latest posts → Read Casey's latest posts →

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14 thoughts on “17 Things We Totally Used During Baby's First Year

  1. Krista says:

    Your list is awesome Casey! I can’t think of anything else that I would live without and even some of these I probably wouldn’t have to have. ;) But it’s a perfect guide!

    A to the men on the swaddlers! Wish we’d had those with the boys. We had big babies and could never swaddle them in those tiny “receiving blankets”. These are awesome and we’re still swaddling the girls at 10 weeks!
    My Itzbeen time is a lifesaver with twins! I just need to keep track of when they each last ate so I use top and bottom buttons only, but I would go crazy without it! This way I can at least know they’re not starving when they’re crying because “it’s only been an hour”.
    We don’t have room for 2 swings (or really one right now) so our old one from the boys is going in the garage sale, but we have 2 bouncers and they LIVE in them. Fisher Price so they’re like the McLaren, but with vibrations and toys.
    And I differ… I still love my Boppy best! I think the whole strap around the back thing just bugged me too much. :P
    Pack’n Play… hand me down from the boys, bought a second one second hand for traveling! The simple ones are best!
    My husband loves the Moby when they’re little, I prefer my Sakura Bloom. After that, we bought a second Ergo so we can each carry them. And I hated the infant insert anyway, with my boys I just bundled them and put a blanket in the bottom as a cocoon. Worked way better!
    And we totally have one of those Tiny Diner’s, but I don’t think my second son has ever used it… that would require me remembering it! Now with our food allergies we don’t go out much so it’s kind of a lost cause.

  2. Alisa says:

    I now give the Adain and Anais blankets as shower gifts after receiving a set. They are the absolute best! Swaddle blanket, nursing cover, stroller cover, peekaboo player, they do it all with style. And the jumper – when daycare told us our daughter jumped FOR AN HOUR – we got one the next day. Found on Craigslist for half price. The pack and play is another great investment. My coworker found one for me at a garage sale. Nearly brand new and we’ll use it for years!

    The woombie creeps me out a little (maybe it’s just the picture of straight-jacket Vivi!). We liked the Summer Infant Velcro swaddles.

    Extra thanks for having a list of affordable items! The Mamaroo and $900 strollers are definitely not on my must-have list.

  3. Mandy says:

    Very nice list! I have to say in my opinion, the video monitor is a little expensive and not so effective. I got the sound and movement monitor and it was great. Can’t wait to use it again. Check out my monitor here:

  4. Jude Strib says:

    True true.
    I use several of these or variations of them.

  5. Grl says:

    I like it! Can you also make a list of items that you DIDN’T use?? Thanks!

  6. grace says:

    Great article! I would add our MamaDoo Kids mattress topper for play yards/pack n plays for extra comfort and support, and the On the Go Booster Seat. Good luck and thank you!

  7. Hands full with 3 says:

    Fyi the boon grass will be useful even longer, it dries for wine glasses like a champ!
    Aiden & anaise really are amazing blankets aren’t they?
    I’m a moby fan too, but prefer the beco butterfly to the ergo!

  8. Jen says:

    I’m pregnant with my first, and this list is SO helpful! There are so many baby items out there, and I honestly have no idea what I’ll truly need and use. I just added all of these things to my Amazon wish list. Thank you!!!

  9. Amanda says:

    I absolutely LOVE the pack n play! We still use ours and Joey is almost 2, we use it when I’ve got house work to do and he’s not napping or eating and I need him safe and secure and out of the way. We also use it when he needs to calm down while throwing a tantrum, just that isolation helps him to calm down after getting angry. It helps us to show him that acting out is unacceptable and always works.

  10. Lissa says:

    Great list. I have the MamaRoo and loved it, but babies are all different little creatures. We also use the Halo sleep sacks but the Woombie looks awesome! My major fav. must have is our Merry Muscles. It’s a jumper from Canada and she loves it!

  11. JennyBean says:

    Great list! The one thing I couldn’t live without was my Bob stroller. Love, love, love the Bob. Also, just discovered the Kidz-Med non contact digital thermometer. You can get it at Amazon–wish I’d discovered it sooner.

  12. Sara says:

    I have to say that I love my swing more. It’s the Graco Sweetpeace Infant Soothing Swing. see link below. This swing is great for many reasons. It can plug in or run on batteries, has several built-in sounds and songs or you can hook up your ipod to it or iphone. and there is no over head bar to get in your way. Te best part I think is that the seat can come off (easily but not too easily) and you can put the car seat on the base and swing that (lifesaver for mine little one who would wake up when ever i put the car seat on the floor but out it in the swing and she is rocked back to sleep). the swings seat can sit on the floor and vibrate like a little soothing vibration chair. It even rocks like a car seat. My daughter in too heavy for the swing part now but still use the chair to nap in and she is 8 plus months old. I even had some 1 yr olds climb in it and sit.:) I love this swing!

  13. Sara says:

    Also for a pack n play that does double duty as a co-sleeper try arm’s reach. The reason way I love this pack and play above all others it that they sell leg extensions for tall beds. the other co-sleeper/pack and plays were to short but arms reach did the job. I also ordered the canopy so now that she is older it is now a ball pit where the balls cannot escape (hahahah take that kids who throw thier toys out of the crib/ play pen). It is pricey but so worth it when you count all the extra sleep I got by simply sliding my baby towards me to nurse and then sliding her back when she was done! :)

  14. Mary says:

    I totally agree with you about Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. I used them on my son and he loved them. I received them as a baby shower gift and I should go back and thank my friend that got them for me. But, these blankets had to come to an end when he got too big and could wrestle himself out of the blanket.

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