I regularly get asked by friends and readers what products we have loved for Elias, so I thought it would be nice to do a post dedicated to the stuff we have loved using over the past year. This is going to be a long post, but I hope it will be a great resource!
On The Go
Chicco Cortina Travel System Keyfit – We opted to get a car seat/stroller system for when Elias was a baby baby and I strongly recommend doing that. It was so nice to carry him in his car seat into places when he was still sleeping. We would also go to friends' houses for dinner and could set him in his car seat and rock him to sleep. The stroller is also amazing. It is easy to collapse and seems very comfy for Elias. The wheels are also really durable and I prefer to travel with this stroller. I can't say enough great things about Chicco products (and will be later on in this post).
The First Years True Fit Convertible Car Seat – When Elias turned one, I really researched convertible car seat options. After much debate I went with The First Years seat and we couldn't be happier. Its deep set will allow Elias to rear-face hopefully until 2 or there abouts. (Rear facing is 5 times safer than forward facing).
BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Original – If you can get a bjorn to borrow or buy off a Craigslist, that is what I would recommend. We borrowed one from a friend. It was great to have when traveling, but we didn't use it much beyond that.
Chicco C6 Stroller – We love this umbrella stroller. It is very durable, easy to collapse and great for errands and travel.
Fisher-Price Rainforest Bouncer – I think everyone has to have a bouncy seat. I don't know how you do parenting in the beginning without it. Elias LOVED this rainforest bouncer as he got older. He was mesmerized by the animals and the waterfall motion. The vibrating seat usually put him right to sleep too. We wore this bouncer out. I would recommend buying one of these new.
Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing – Everyone told us that you need a swing in the beginning, but you don't use it for very long. We purchased this very nice swing on Craigslist for $50 and then after five or six months, we sold it on Craigslist for the same price. We will do the same for our next child. We loved having a swing that swung horizontally and vertically and Elias always seemed comfortable in the “nest-like” seat. It was perfect and worth every penny.
Baby Einstein Discover The World Play Gym – When Elias was not crawling, we used to lay him on this little mat and he loved watching the color-changing sun and looking at all the toys hanging down. These are also great for when you are going to a friend's house. There are tons of versions of these and I think every house should have one.
Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper – We opted to purchase this activity jumper versus a traditional exersaucer because it seemed to allow more motion for Elias and I didn't want to get one of those jumpers for the door frame (I have heard they can be unsafe). Elias LOVED this jumper and still likes to play in it from time to time now (at 14 months). We got it when he was about 4 months old, but he didn't really start loving it until about 6 months old. This one has music and little things to touch and turn. You have to add your own toys to the hangers, but we had so many that that was not a problem – plus it made it cheaper than some of the exersaucers with lots of bells and whistles. It also folds pretty flat, which is great for storage – especially when you don't have a lot of room, like us! I think this is another item you could buy on Craigslist, though we were fortunate to receive it as a gift.
Rockabye Horse Rocking Toy– While this is not a necessity, Elias loves the rocking lion I found on Craigslist. It plays music and is so adorable. If you can find a nice, used one, I would recommend getting it. It will provide hours of fun for your toddler. 🙂
Boppy Nursing Pillow with Slipcover– If you are going to nurse, you will need a new boppy, plain and simple. I nursed full time for almost 6 months and then part time for another 4-5 and our boppy is so flat compared to when we got it. The boppy makes nursing soooo much easier. I would also recommend getting an extra slipcover so you can have one in the wash and one on the pillow.
Medela Pump in Style Advanced Breast Pump with Shoulder Bag– If you are not going to always be available to nurse, but you still want your baby to have breastmilk, I loved my Medela pump in style pump. I used it 3-5 times a day for the first 6 months and then gradually less and less, and it never failed.
Chicco Polly Highchair Double Pad– While some people say you don't need a highchair, we have been really happy with our Chicco highchair. It is easy to clean, soft and collapses flat for storage. It also changes in height, so we can pull Elias up to the table when we want to. There also is lots of room for him to grow in it.
Kiddopotamus Tinydiner Placemat – Elias has a tendency to pick up plates, placemats, etc., so I LOVE this kiddopotamus placemat because it suctions to a table. I bring it with us wherever we go and people always comment on it. I think every mom should have one.
Bed and Bath
Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium– While this is not a necessity, I know it put Elias to sleep many nights and quiet in the early morning when he was waking up. He loves the music and watching the fish- and has since he was just a few months old.
Baby Trend Diaper Champ– We love that the diaper champ takes regular garbage bags. We do not put dirty diapers in it, just wet ones and it works great.
Dutailier Glider– I did a lot of research on rocking chairs and read nothing but great things about the Dutailier line. We are so glad that we got one. Elias loves to be rocked at night and in the morning and it is a special time for Matthew and me also.
CD player/ipod- Every baby's room should have music! We play a lullaby CD for Elias every night and fun children's music during the day, after bath time, etc. It is so fun to see him dance and get excited over music. He points to the player every morning now- he wants music as soon as he wakes up. I just bought a cheap boom box at Walgreens (clearance – $5), and it has been perfect.
Crane Cool Mist Humidifier– Elias was a very congested baby. We could not have done nights without a humidifier. We have the penguin one by Crane, and it is so adorable and works great. Chances are your baby will need a humidifier at some point, so this is definitely a must.
Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Bassinet & Changer – We love having a pack ‘n play. We used it as a bassinet in the beginning, before Elias moved to his room and now use it when someone watches Elias at their house, or when we go on a road trip. Both sets of grandparents have one too!
I'm sure I will add more to this list, but I need to get to work! I recommend checking out the Baby Bargains if you are buying for a new baby. It has great reviews and helped me a lot when registering for baby stuff (kind of like consumer reports, but written using parent reviews)! For other baby recommendations, check out Kelly's Korner's Show Us Your Life post.