Every mom has their favourite baby gear. Some things you continue to use for a long time, other things you use for a shorter period and then either store for the next baby or sell on Craigslist or Kijiji. Before Peyton came along I knew he would require a lot of stuff but just how much he would need and how much would go to waste I wasn’t sure of. Every baby is different and I found pretty quickly that some must-needs that I had seen other mom’s talking about weren’t necessarily what our little guy needed, or wanted for that matter. As I write this, Peyton is just shy of 7 months old, where that time went I have no idea. I’m going to break down my favourite products to date, what I am still using, what I am no longer using and what I bought and never used.
Pretty much all of my shopping happens on Amazon. I am an Amazon Prime member, if you are unfamiliar with Amazon, a Prime membership is a yearly membership. Your first month, being a trial month, is free, but you get all of the usual Amazon Prime perks such as FREE two day shipping on applicable products, and reduced pricing for same-day and next day shipping. You also are registered for Amazon Family, which by the way is ah-mazing. Amazon Family allows you to save 20% on diapers. Yes, 20%! Diapers are always eligible for free two day shipping. Since we have Amazon Prime/Family, we pay only $38/month for diapers for our little man with Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program, that’s pretty damn good when you ask me. Compared to the Honest Company which also does monthly delivery, however, if you are Canadian that can cost you over $100/month last I checked because of the price difference once it converts from American dollars. Typically I load three tabs in my browser before I start purchasing anything, for the sake of price comparison. With Subscribe and Save you can also add other household items such as coffee, toilet paper, cleaning products and a ton more. If you have 5 items in your monthly Subscribe and Save you get an extra 15% off!
To find out more about Amazon Prime, Amazon Family and Amazon Subscribe and Save click on the links and it will break down more information for you.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge online shopper. There really is nothing better than clicking and checking out in your pj’s at home and my packages coming right to my door. It’s pretty wonderful. Typically when I am starting my shopping journey for anything I load three tabs in my browser, Amazon, Walmart, and Babies/Toys R Us (when shopping for our little guy). Obviously the tabs differ if I’m shopping for other things but for the sake of this post, let’s stick to baby stuff shall we? Once I’ve loaded all three I search the same products for price comparison, 9/10 Amazon is always my best bet, plus I don’t have to leave the house, therefore keeping little man on schedule, therefore, more time for playing and momming. Oh and also more time to do things that are actually fun rather than traipsing through stores trying to get shit done. You know, like going to the park, seeing other humans, or going to Starbucks.
Now that I have my strategies revealed to you, check out some of the things that have been in our arsenal as of yet. Again, not claiming to be a know-it-all but some things just get overlooked in the crazy large world that is baby item’s. I would like to also add that I am not paid by any of the companies that make any of these products. These are all things which I have tested myself on my own free will!
I LOVE my boon grass drying rack. I’ve had it since before Peyton came along and am still using it daily. It is extremely easy to clean and has tons of different accessories to create space by either hanging pump parts, nipples, bottle collars, soothers and more. When I was still pumping this thing was an insane help to me. The amount of washing of parts, and needing them readily available and the ease of getting them when you need them is crucial. Since the grass is all the same all over the mat you literally just plop everything on to it and it holds everything in place so easily, no fussing over strategically placing things in a conventional drying rack, plop and go. Plus it’s really cute. I personally like having a drying rack specific to little man’s things because I know that way nothing will be contaminated with any left behind food bits and I know that the only dish soap that could have left residue behind is my Green Works soap, or whichever baby-safe one I am using at the time.
Dr Brown’s Bottles
Okay, so the bottle situation varies for everyone. When we started out, honestly we had so many different bottles on the go, Avent, Medela, Dr Brown’s, you name it. Remember back when I said I didn’t really read any parenting books or anything while pregnant? Well this is the biggest area that came back to bite me in the ass. Peyton quickly developed colic. First we started with gripe water, which I will get into later, then ovol drops, then probiotics. After doing some research, and talking to my cousin who’s daughter was just two months older than Peyton, who was going through the same thing. I quickly deduced that changing out all of his bottles for Dr Brown’s would be the best bet. Dr Brown’s bottles have an air vent system that inhibits the milk from flowing too quickly and from air bubbles forming, thus reducing or if you’re lucky enough, inhibiting gas which makes your baby colic. Changing over Peyton’s bottles was the best thing we could have done and we are still using Dr Brown’s bottles to this day and will until we go on to sippy cups. I recommend these to everyone.
Dr Brown’s Formula Mixer
I’m a huge fan of saving time. HUGE. This was another suggestion from my cousin. Basically it’s a large pitcher with a mixing plunger in it that allows you to batch make formula for your little one. With this amazing object I went from making every single bottle as he needed it to making his bottles once a day and having them all ready to go when he beckoned for them. If you are formula feeding, buy this. Just do it. You are welcome.
Itzbeen Pocket Nanny
Trying to remember when the last time was that you changed your baby, fed him or how long his last nap is can be taxing, especially if you are a new mom, have multiple little ones at home, or if you’re a mom who just needs a visual aid like I am. I ordered my Pocket Nanny from Zulily when they had it on for $19.99. Zulily is like Hautelook and Beyond the Rack, except it has a lot more stuff for kids and pregnancy. I’ll break down all of my favourite shopping ap’s at another time, for now, back to the Pocket Nanny by Itzbeen. The pocket nanny is basically a device with multiple timers on it. There is a button to press when you have changed your baby’s diaper, when you have fed them (remember to time from the beginning of the feeding not the end), sleep and then a bonus one that you can use for say a face mask when your baby is sleeping, hint hint. There is also a toggle at the bottom of the Pocket Nanny that allows you to toggle left or right depending on which breast you fed from last if you are breastfeeding. Other features it includes are: a nightlight that stays on for 5 minutes if you do not turn it off, a light that will light up your whole screen at night so you can make sure to press the right button, a locking feature if you have kids that may mess up the timer when you are not looking, or when you have it in your diaper bag, and lastly there is a feature to turn the sounds on and off. You can also set it in the opposite way as well apparently, for it to sound an alarm at your chosen time, that feature I haven’t used because I like to see how long since. There are also different colors to choose from and a handy dandy clip on the back to clip it to you, or someone else if you should see fit!
Swaddle Pods or Woombie’s
These bad boys were awesome when Mr. P was teeny little thing. They kept him cozy, and were super easy for night time since they were fast for getting him dressed and undressed for diaper changes. As he got older and needed more room, and eventually arm freedom we moved up to the wrap versions which have done us very well. Keep in mind that once your baby starts rolling to stop using sleep items which restrict their arms. Hopefully by that time your baby is big enough to be in the wrap or sack versions anyway, and I’m sure they will be, but just had to throw that in there for safety because I wouldn’t be a mom if I didn’t right!?
For a new mom, bath time has to be the scariest thing in the beginning. I actually dreaded it for a long time because it terrified me. Babies are like slippery, floppy fish when they are wet, oh the horror. I loved my blooming bath because of so many reasons, let me list a few, or a lot, we shall see. It’s adorable, it’s soft and squishy and protects our babies from the hard sink, since it is all plush it keeps them warm instead of hard plastic, really easy to clean, just throw it in the washer and go! They come in a few different colors as well. For me, since the blooming bath was so soft and such a safe space for our little guy it made bath time more comfortable for me as time went on. Peyton was never a screamer in the bath, I think it’s because of how pleasant bath time was for him from the start, and I fully attribute that to the Blooming Bath. If/when we have another baby I will for sure be using the Blooming Bath until they grow out of it. Peyton got large very fast. Some babies can use them until they are 6 months, some less, Mr. P was less, he was about 3.5/4 months when he went into his larger tub in the bathtub, that was a very emotional day for me.
Infantino Flip Advanced Carrier
I LOVE our carrier. Admittedly I did not use it very much when he was really small because when he was whiney I would plop him in his stroller and let the vibrations send him to dream land and me to chill land. While I haven’t tried other carriers (because I love this one, so why bother) I do recommend it. Pro’s, VERY easy to use, lightweight, great neutral colour, can be used with a baby as small as 8lbs, has 4 carrying options, easily adjustable, has great head support when they are young, it also comes with a bib-type piece of fabric to protect you from spit up, or when they begin outward facing, protecting the carrier. I do wish it came with extra protector bibs as I did lose mine, however after contacting Infantino they directed me to a link with spares that also had neat patterns! Now that Peyton is more independant and suuuuuper curious I pretty much don’t even take my stroller anymore. With little man being outward facing now he’s loving being up high and seeing everything. Plus, since our little guy isn’t a snuggler this is the closest I can get to snuggles and I’ll take it!
Kiinde Kozii Bottle Warmer
I received this bottle warmer from a friend as they knew I intended to pump/attempt breastfeeding. The Kiinde Kozii is the highest rated bottle warmer if you are using breastmilk as breastmilk nutrients break down if they are heated too high or if they are heated at high temps for a lesser amount of time. With that said, it did take much longer for bottles to heat, I also would have liked for it to have a “ding” sound when done. One other negative is that if you do not keep your eye on the water level, after a few times of being below the ideal level the warmer will permanently shut off, or shut off until you press the reset button which in frustration of the warmer shutting down on you isn’t always the first thing you think of. What I did like was that it was appealing to the eye on our counter and would not overflow with steam onto the counter, I also never burned myself when taking the bottle out of the warmer which was a huge plus. You can also thaw frozen breastmilk pouches which is awesome, as well as heat baby food! Once we switched solely to formula, my sister-in-law had come to town and recommended a faster warmer which I will go on to tell you about next. All in all, if you have patience, and if you are breastfeeding/pumping, I would suggest this warmer for sure, heating time for a 4oz bottle is about 6-7 minutes, which sometimes can be rough in the middle of the night with a teething baby.
Munchkin Time Saver Bottle Warmer
I mentioned above about the warmer my sister-in-law recommended, this is the one! I ordered it off of Amazon before her visit ended and am so happy I did. Our bottle warming time has been cut down by almost half! For a 4oz bottle from the fridge it takes between 3.5-4 minutes which is awesome. One downfall is how often you have to fill the reservoir, however, you get used to it and it’s much easier to see than the Kiinde Kozii one which is internal. The Munchkin warmer is also pretty compact. It includes a basket which your bottle sits in and an adaptor ring which you set on top of the basket around the bottle if you are using standard bottles such as Medela or the standard Dr Brown’s bottles. One thing about this warmer, since it heats fast, that means there is steam, with steam comes the potential of burning yourself, but as long as you lift the basket out and THEN take the bottle out you should be fine. Sometimes the build up of steam does cause the warmer to overflow onto the counter however this doesn’t really bother me too much, just wipe it up, no big deal. Since it does heat fast I can overlook the flaws that’s for sure, also the price point is much better than the Kiinde Kozii, which is another plus. If you are heating breast milk however, I probably would not recommend this warmer because of the fast heating, for formula heating it is excellent.
Munchkin Electric Sterilizer
For the first while I was so good with using this sterilizer every single night when I was doing my batch of bottles before bed but eventually that went out the window. The more steps it takes me to do something now the less I see it being a timesaver. Did it work well, yes for sure, it did the job and was honestly pretty quick. However, the washing of the bottles, and then the sterilizing in the unit, then the waiting for them to cool and then finally filling and assembling my bottles, grew old. Especially on nights that I wasn’t able to start bottles until late. If you want one this one works great but I don’t see it as a must have anymore like I did in the beginning.
Summer Infant Wide Screen Monitor
This monitor is amazeballs. I LOVE the size of the screen, which is 5” by the way, and I love how clear the night vision is on it. Other features it has are zoom, turning the brightness up and down and 4 volume settings plus mute. There is also a mic button on the screen that allows you to talk to your baby which is kind of neat, Peyton is confused by that feature but I think it’s neat, maybe it will come in handy when he is older. The screen portion comes with a very long cord to the wall adaptor so you are not limited by its reach if you have it plugged in. There is a time-saver function on the screen which, if you have it unplugged will turn the screen blank after some time, but you will still hear sounds, you can simply turn the screen back on by a button on the top, this button can also be used to blackout your screen if you choose to. You can hook multiple camera’s up to the monitor. The camera also has a very long cord and comes with mounting hooks and such. I have not used the hooks because I would move the camera around to multiple rooms in our apartment, where we are now I actually have a thumbtack holding it up and it is so light that it is more than sufficient! Not to mention a thumbtack makes much less of a mark on your wall. The camera swivels up and down and from side to side to your desire so you can get the perfect position. I have had to reset the connection a few times on the unit, but it is really easy to do. If you lose your user guide the Summer Infant site has it available online, I actually just saved that page to my phone’s browser in case I need it in the future or can’t remember.
Travel System Stroller
While I do like the one we have, it wasn’t the first one I wanted, the original one I wanted was on backorder and we had to quickly purchase one when Peyton was born 3 weeks earlier than expected. The reason why I recommend travel systems is because they are so versatile. A travel system means that you have the stroller, and a carseat. When your baby is still small and not able to yet sit up in a normal stroller you simply just pop the car seat portion on and voila, tiny baby spot! This also means you don’t have to buy a separate car seat and that you can easily, and quickly go from stroller to car. I can’t speak for all travel systems but ours came with the car adapter so that you would put the adapter portion in the car and just click the carseat into the adapter like you would the stroller, super fast and easy!
Swing or Bouncer
I started out with a bouncer but quickly found out that little man prefered the swing motion, well for at least a couple of months, until that got scrapped, or rather, was sold on Craigslist. The swing I had was the Ingenuity ConvertMe Swing-2-Seat. During the time Peyton was still liking the swing is was amazing. He would nap from time to time in it, or at the very least it amused him while I cleaned, or even just got a shower, or ate. All of a sudden one day he just started hating it. By hating it I mean, the moment we would buckle him in, he would scream bloody murder. For no reason. I double checked the harness, making sure it wasn’t too tight on his little boy bits or anything, nope, perfectly fine, my son was just all of a sudden totally over the whole idea of swinging. This tantrum went on for weeks, so we decided to sell it because we had no storage space. I did like the swing, it was lightweight, really easy to fold up, the songs weren’t annoying, and if you didn’t set one of the timers it would just keep swinging and swinging, friggin wonderful. It had multiple speeds and the seat itself had a vibrate option as well. The seat cover also comes off for easy cleaning. Other than Peyton all of a sudden hating it, I did like this swing.
If you don’t get one of these you are doing you, your baby, and social media an injustice. I don’t know if these were invented for babies or for the amusement of parents of the babies. Honestly the Jolly Jumper is a MUST, and if you don’t think so stop reading and just go away. Jokes aside, it’s so easy to setup, it’s Canadian made, so hello, that’s awesome. Very easy to adjust and it’s great exercise for our little one. Whenever our little guy had way too much energy for me to handle, into the Jolly Jumper he went. You can also purchase stands for them if you do not have proper door frames to support it in your living area, and also a musical mat!
These were neat in theory. I did enjoy them when Peyton was in the very mushy cereal stage but other than that, they aren’t something you would use for very long. I personally found the storage part too large and you would have to end up wasting food because your baby wasn’t eating enough. If you under fill the storage compartment then you don’t have enough pressure to squeeze the mushy food out, also once your baby is on to food that’s a bit chunkier it won’t even go through the little hole. They would also leak… If you want to try them go for it but don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Jumperoo or Exersaucer
Peyton LOVES his jumperoo, it has so many activities for him and it height adjustable! My in laws actually purchased ours for us and I am SO thankful. He has such a blast jumping around in it. The one we have is the Disney Baby Finding Nemo Sea of Activities Jumper. The main difference between an exersaucer and a jumperoo are that the exersaucer has a rounded bottom that they can rock around on. A jumperoo is like a Jolly Jumper and activity centre all in one. Mr. P spends a lot of time in his jumperoo which is really helpful especially now that he goes much longer between naps. He can turn around a full 360 in the seat and jump until he tires himself out, it’s pretty cool!
Okay, so now that you’ve seen some of my favourites and some not so favourite’s, I hope it has given you some ideas if you have not done any shopping or some new insights into some things you may not have known about. I really could keep going on with this list, however, let’s save that for another post at another time shall we?