The 7 Most Useful Baby Products We Own
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When I was a little girl, I remember watching TV and seeing the commercials come on for Huggies and Pampers diapers. My little self saw the adorable, chubby, smiley babies on both commercials and all I could think was, “How am I supposed to decide what kind of diapers I’m going to use when I’m a mom? They’re both so cute, I won’t be able to choose!”
At that age, I remember feeling like it was going to be a real dilemma. Now that I’ve been momming for over a year, I can safely say that choosing a brand of diapers was the least of my problems!
*In case you were wondering, we went with Pampers. Huggies always fit a bit smaller for us which usually meant blowout-city!
These days there are an incredible amount of products that are advertised to parents-to-be, most of which claim to be essentials. While a lot of them probably are helpful in some way, I figured that quite a few of them wouldn’t be worth the money. The last thing we wanted to do was spend a bunch of money on things we didn’t need, especially knowing how much babies cost after they’re born! I wanted to know which items would actually be useful to us, and which ones we could do without.
I realize that every baby is different and will have different preferences, but I thought I’d share which products we ended up getting the most use out of after baby was born. I always found it the most helpful to read what other real parents found useful, because they’d be giving their honest opinions with real life experience to back it up.
So here’s a list of our favourite, most-used baby items:
1. Fisher-Price Baby’s Bouncer – We got ours secondhand so I’m pretty sure the exact one we have isn’t sold in stores anymore, but this one is a very similar design. Jerry absolutely loved this thing, which meant we did too! For a long time, he’d be totally happy to chill in his chair and just bounce and bat at the toys above him. We could use it anywhere in the house, so I’d plop him in there and put him on the bathroom floor if I needed to shower, or in the kitchen when I had to cook, or by the table if we were playing board games. We used the vibrating setting all the time too, because it put him to sleep almost instantly. Before he was having scheduled naps in his crib, this was his go-to spot.
2. Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor – This is one that some people might not feel is necessary, but we’ve had it from the beginning and I don’t regret it one bit. We moved Jerry into his own room when he was only 2 weeks old, so I loved being able to see him on the monitor whenever he made a funny noise (like when he used to do a loud GASP as if he’d forgotten to breathe for a while). We even take it with us whenever we stay somewhere else overnight, since we don’t mount it to a wall or anything. One feature that I like about ours is that it tells us the temperature of the room he’s sleeping in, so I don’t have to wonder if he’s too hot or too cold.
3. Philips Avent Double Electric Breast Pump – This thing was a lifesaver about 2 weeks after Jerry was born. He was pretty good at breastfeeding from the start, but we definitely had some latch issues (which is really just a less TMI version of saying I had some extreme nipple-cracking going on). No amount of lanolin was helping, so I tried out the pump to see if it would help to take a break from nursing. Within a day, I was feeling way better and could start breastfeeding again, pain-free. It was amazing. I continued to use this pump anytime I needed to, and I loved it because it was easy to use and easy to clean.
**Money-saving tip: If you have health benefits through work, call and check if a breast pump is covered. I was able to claim 90% of the cost of mine as long as I had a prescription, which my OB-GYN was happy to provide!
4. Boba Baby Wrap – My friend lent me a wrap that was pretty much identical to this one, and we got a ton of use out of it in the first year. Once I got the hang of the wrapping technique (thanks YouTube) it was my favourite way to baby-wear for a long time, but especially when Jerry was really little. He enjoyed many cozy naps snuggled up in that wrap, and I loved being able to have him close while we traveled or went for walks.
5. Chicco Travel System – I know that some people don’t love travel systems, but I really liked our Chicco Travel System. Jerry used to fall asleep in the car every time we’d go anywhere, so being able to click his car seat right into his stroller and go was amazing. It also made travel by airplane a lot easier if we needed to bring his car seat, since we could have the car seat clicked into the stroller, put the car seat base in the bottom of the stroller, and wheel everything up to the gate all together. We’ve had to buy a bigger car seat now that he’s outgrown the weight limit on his first one, but we used it for just under a year, and we still use the stroller!
6. Graco Pack ‘N Play – We have taken this playard everywhere! We originally bought it for Jerry to sleep in beside our bed after he was born, but to this day we take it with us anytime we stay overnight somewhere that doesn’t have a crib. We used the reversible lounger/change pad when he was a newborn, the higher bassinet setting when he learned how to roll, and now that he’s standing we use the lower setting. We also had our playard set up in our living room for a long time after he’d learned to crawl. I’d throw a few toys in there with him and sometimes he’d play in there by himself for an hour! It was awesome.
7. Muslin Swaddle Blankets + HALO SleepSacks – For the first few months we swaddled Jerry every single night. He’s a pretty good sleeper, so we never needed anything fancier than a good muslin blanket to wrap him up. These ones are lightweight and breathable, which gave me some piece of mind in case Jerry managed to get himself out. I would also use one as a blanket in the car seat or stroller, and as a nursing cover if I forgot mine. Once he got a bit older, we switched over to using sleep sacks. They keep him warm and cozy without having any loose blankets in the crib, which is a plus in my books!