When our daughter Zoey was born, we purchased a boatload of baby products. Some of those items were extremely helpful and others not so much. Quite honestly, we were new parents and had no clue what we were doing, but we definitely learned quickly.
If I could go back in time and give myself a list of the must-have baby products that were totally worth the investment, the following would be the top 7 items on that list:
1. Baby Bjorn
What is it? A stylish baby carrier that is comfortable for both newborns and infants.
Why we loved it! The straps and connections are very intuitive and allow you to easily position your baby facing you with the proper neck support or have them facing forward. When your babies are young, they love to be close so you can hold them. With the Baby Bjorn, you get the benefit of holding your baby and the freedom to still use your hands for the thousands of other things you have to do during the day as a parent. Having our hands free sure came in handy when we had our second baby!
My wife tried the trendy Moby Wrap option, but that only worked during a short period of time in our baby's lives. And, the Moby Wrap wasn't quite my style! I tried an off-brand baby carrier that hurt my back and shoulders. Go with the Baby Bjorn. It's worth it.
2. Diaper Genie
What is it? This contraption holds the stinky bombs that your little ones create in their diapers.
Why we love it! We got ours 5 years ago and it has helped us through two kids and thousands of diapers! It has the ability to hold in the nasty smells with its built-in carbon filter and air tight clamp. The ergonomic design keeps you from bending over constantly and the easy to use foot pedal allows you to keep your hands clean.
3. Bumbo Floor Seat
What is it? A floor seat that props your infant upright.
Why we loved it! We used this seat quite often for both of our babies in between the “head bobble stage” and the “busy crawler stage”. The new seated position gave them some variety instead of just laying on their bellies or backs. It also doubled as a quick feeding station when we were out of the house or just playing on the floor in our basement.
4. Sophie La Giraffe
What is it? A teething toy that is made of natural rubber and food paint.
Why we loved it! Our daughter loved to chew on the giraffe's head, legs and neck. It helped sooth her when she was upset or on long car rides to Grandma's house. The natural materials give it a tasty flavor that made this our daughter's favorite chew toy.
Make sure you don't put it in the bath or submerge it in water to avoid mold growing inside. This goes for all toys with small holes really.
5. Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat
What is it? The #1 rated infant car seat by Consumer Reports.
Why we loved it! Before we bought this one, we did a lot of research. This car seat continually came up as the highest rated for safety and the best value overall. We're glad we did our research too. When my son was around 18 months old, he and I were hit by a big SUV that blew through a red light. Calvin's side of the car was completely smashed in. I raced out of the car, opened the twisted metal door and saw that Calvin was totally safe. He was more scared than anything. The Chicco Keyfit 30 stayed completely in tact! Oh, and the SUV driver got a big ticket from the fuzz. Justice served!
Consider buying additional car seat bases for the other cars that transport your children. We bought four: one for my car, my wife's car, my Mom's car and my Mother-in-Law's car.
6. BOB Stroller
What is it? A stroller for active parents that are constantly on the go.
Why we love it! We went through four different strollers and the BOB was honestly the only one we really ever needed. It fits nicely in a tight trunk, it's light weight and the maneuverability is unmatched. We've taken it on trail runs, on vacations or even for a stroll around the block. It's pricey, but it's worth every penny because you can use it for years. My 5-year old daughter still loves it.
If you go with the Chicco Keyfit, there is an adapter for the BOB so you can easily click in your infant car seat and keep moving.
7. HALO Sleep Sack
What is it? A sack that your newborn, infant or toddler can sleep in to keep them warm throughout the night.
Why we loved it! This eliminated the worry of our babies kicking the blankets off of them when they were sleeping and getting cold. HALO has thinner versions for warmer weather and thicker fleece versions for the winter. We got excellent use of these sacks as we used them from birth through 24 months old.
I was talking to a friend yesterday who has a 3 month old and I mentioned every time I pass the baby stuff at Target I am thankful for not having a child yet – so many products and so many $! Everything on this list sounds useful and, some may argue, essential. I’m hoping to delay these purchases for at least 5 years, though!
Oh yes, kids are expensive no matter how you slice it. Craigslist has become a great friend of ours over the past 5 years. Although having new things is nice, used works great for kids. They don’t care how much it costs … they are going to destroy it anyway! Hand me downs from relatives and neighbors can also be a lifesaver. Good luck 5 years from now David!