…to me. Splurges that are worth it to me. You might hate every single one of these. And at least one parent/grandparent has said “We did it just fine without all these gadgets.” You are absolutely right, Aunt Frida. But if I can steal away 30 more minutes of cry-free time by putting my child in a carrier, then strap him in!
Please note that none of these companies know me and I don’t get any money if you buy their stuff. This list is more for myself so that I can reference it for kiddo #2 when the time comes.
Also, your child will be amazing and wonderful and happy without a single one of these things. You are doing great where you are, momma.
- Magnetic Me – we LOVE these onesies! We were gifted one as a baby gift, and I didn’t know dressing a baby could be so easy. The outfits are held together with magnets instead of the usual snaps and zippers. I doubted if the magnets would hold well, but we have yet to have an accidentally naked baby. Bradley really enjoys these outfits, which have become our night time go to, because he can confidently get the baby in and out without much fuss or frustration. They are also made of this incredible silky feeling material – it is so soft and pretty lightweight, great for summer months. They also have a few cotton versions for when you need something a little heavier. I plan to gift one to all of my future pregnant pals. Sign up for their emails so that you know when they are having a sale and then stock up!
- Chat Books – this is such a great way to print pictures off your phone without having to think too hard. You download the app to your phone and connect it to your photo album. Every sixty pictures they send you a photo album in the mail. You get to sort through the pictures first to make sure you don’t have any double-chinned selfies and you can add captions to some or all of the images. The books cost $10 for soft cover and $15 for hard cover.
- LovEvery – this is perfect for the lazy mom that wants to play with her child but can only peek-a-boo so many times in one day. It is a subscription service that sends you a box of toys every two months. The toys are chosen based on where your baby is developmentally. It also includes these incredible cards that explain each of the toys, tells you how you can introduce them to your baby, and explains how they encourage developmental achievements. Bless them, it even includes cleaning instructions for each of the toys. This company also makes a play mat that I wish I had known about sooner. Jefferson already has a play mat but baby #2 might luck out!
- Inch Bug – you know those plastic, monochromatic bracelets that every cause or charity has? (Think Live Strong bracelets, any cancer awareness bracelets, etc.) Imagine that but monogrammed with your child’s name and made to fit around bottles and toddlers cups! It is a great way to label bottles without using stickers (those can only survive so many washes) or permanent marker (maybe the next kid will have a different name, ya know?). Even better – they can go in the dishwasher so you don’t have to take them on and off every time you clean the bottles! We were gifted these by my sister-in-law, and they are fantastic!
- Diaper book bag – I looked at millions of diaper bags and basically hated all of them. I was cleaning out the closets one day while pregnant and found my North Face book bag from college. It has been amazing!! Mine has three main compartments with two zipper pockets on the front that are perfect for holding wipes and diapers. It is comfortable to haul around, Bradley doesn’t mind carrying it, and it can organize all the many things you pack. Doesn’t need to be a North Face book bag – I just used what we had at the house and saved myself some money!
- A baby carrier – I have three baby carriers. Don’t judge me – two were gifted to me!
- K’tan wrap – Jefferson preferred this type of carrier when he was teenie tiny and still a bobble head. It is a wrap style carrier so your baby feels close, cuddled, and secure. It is pretty easy to take on and off, too. Once he got bigger and was able to hold his head up better, he didn’t like being so snug. He wanted more room to look around and wiggle. I also didn’t feel as safe with him in it as he got heavier BUT I have momma friends that use it for their six month olds just fine.
- Infantino Carry On – I love this carrier for when we are out and about! Bradley usually carries the diaper book bag when I have the baby strapped to me – the pockets on the front let me stash my phone, debit card, pacifier, etc. so that I am not constantly nagging Bradley to search through the bag. My only complaint is that the top straps by the baby’s face are not the smoothest. For an easy fix, we took the strap covers that came with a car seat insert to wrap around the carrier straps and that has worked wonderfully!! They are also nice because your baby will chew and slobber all over them…very easy to take off and throw in the washer!
- Tula – these are fancy, ergonomic baby carriers. They come with a hefty price tag, especially compared to the previous two. A friend gave us hers since she wasn’t using it anymore. I will say – it is very comfortable. I like this one for when we are around the house and trying to get Jefferson to take a nap (he can never fight a nap long when in the Tula). It is incredibly soft, the wide strap that goes around your lower back is great for some additional support, and the shoulder straps are nicely padded. If it had more pocket options on the front, I would probably use it all the time. That being said, not sure I would buy one for myself – this seems like something you put on the registry, cross your fingers you get it, and then buy a cheaper version if you don’t. I should also note that they are really really pretty, for whatever it’s worth.
- Heavy duty burp cloths – I actually use Gerber Cloth Diaper inserts as burp cloths. When that precious angel is spewing regurgitated formula all down the front of them and you, you want maximum absorbency.
- Ditty Bag – my sister-in-law gifted me a ditty bag from Vera Bradley and it is handy for when something gets wet or dirty…which happens quite a bit with babies. The inside of the bag is water proof so you can throw gross burp cloths and soiled onesies in there without worrying about it leaking through to the rest of your diaper bag. There are a ton on Amazon for fairly cheap – just make sure it is truly water proof. A ziplock bag would also work. Calling it a loss and throwing the outfit away is also an option.
- We have a playpen downstairs that doubles as a changing table and had a bassinet attachment for when Jefferson was tiny. This is really helpful since our nursery is upstairs – saved me from having to go up and down the stairs a million times a day. The bassinet portion was also nice when he was tiny – he could take a nap in there during the day while I relaxed close by (our playpen recommended you NOT leave them unattended in the bassinet). We also used the changing table portion as a mock crib once when we were traveling. Instead of hauling the entire play pen (it takes up a TON of room in your car), we just took the diaper changing part. We booked a hotel room with two queen beds, let Jefferson sleep in the attachment in the middle of the bed, and he slept just fine. I can’t get away that now that he is rolling over but it was a nice option for about four months. There are many makes and models that all do this same thing.
Something that we don’t have but that might be worth it is a playpen that has an adjustable height option. We stayed at my parent’s house this past weekend and used our pack and play as a crib. Jefferson isn’t at an age where he can stand so you have to bend waaaaaaaaay down – over the edge of the pack and play – to pick him up. My lower back already feels tweaked from leaning over the crib and changing table, from rolling around on the floor, and from being almost-33. And with 3-4 naps a day, I ended up doing that awkward, please-don’t-drop-my-baby, bendy motion more than I care to. If you know that you won’t travel much, probably not worth it. Just something to think about.
What are things that you can’t live without when it comes to baby essentials??