Marlow is almost a year old and we just finished putting her baby things in storage. She is no longer a newborn and soon she will be a full-fledged toddler. Over the past year, I’ve paid close attention to what I used every day and what we never touched. Every baby is different, so we held onto a few things that our next kid may want (like pacifiers, which Marlow never liked), but got rid of any clothing, blankets, books, gear, etc. that didn’t work for one reason or another. Here is what worked for us…
Carseat: I researched a lot about carseats, and ultimately, we decided on the Orbit. This was our biggest investment but by far our favorite. It seems trivial, but the seat swivel is incredibly convenient. We truly love this car seat. It isn’t light so it’s not easy to carry around, but the pros outweigh the cons. We purchased the stroller, too, which is amazing for travel because the seat can rotate 360 degrees. Marlow is outgrowing her carseat so we just ordered the toddler seat (which also swivels!).
Jogging Stroller: I didn’t initially purchase a jogging stroller since we were living downtown and a carrier made more sense. Once we moved into a neighborhood, we have been taking walks to the grocery store, to coffee, and around the neighborhood in the evenings and the BOB is great for that. I heard it’s great for running too, if you’re into that sort of thing :)
Carriers and Wraps: From the very beginning, the Ergo has been Marlow’s happy place. When she was itty bitty, we’d nuzzle her up during winter walks and she’d fall asleep in her cocoon. Now, she likes to face out so she can see everything. The Ergo 360 allows you to wear your child on both the front and the back and Marlow loves it. I put her on my back for a hike in California and she was happy as a clam. I wore Mo in a Solly Baby wrap a lot when she was a newborn, to keep her close while being hands free. I use this sling for quick errands because it is so easy to put on and take off.
Highchairs: We recently bit the bullet and ordered a Stokke Tripp Trapp. We originally had the $20 ikea highchair, but like with most things, you get what you pay for. We love that the Stokke blends in with our aesthetic and will grow with her as she grows. We keep a booster seat in our kitchen nook. Since Mo is crawling so quickly now and is curious about everything, it’s nice to have a place she can sit and snack while I cook or work without it taking up a lot of space. And, of course, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a Bumbo.
Breast Pump: I had a really hard time nursing, which is a different story for a different day. For a few months I was exclusively pumping, and while I detested pumping every hour, I was so thankful to have the option of breastmilk for Marlow. A quality and efficient pump made all the difference–I used Medela freestyle. This pumping bra looks so weird, I know, but pumping would be a nightmare without it. ps. did you know that you can get a free pump through your insurance? Call your provider and they will provide you with options.
Nursing Pillow: Part of the difficulty in breastfeeding was Marlow’s inability to latch, so nursing took hours. I loved the Breast Friend–it supported Marlow so I didn’t have to strain myself. I had the boppy too, but I preferred the Breast Friend because it conformed better to my body.
Cleaning and Organization: With pumping comes so much cleaning. This drying rack is the best for fast drying and it kept all the pump parts organized.
Infant Tub: The Puj tub is genius! It stores flat, folds up for the bath, and fits in the sink! Brilliant. Now Marlow takes baths in the sink or the tub, and this mat is great to keep her from slipping.
Toys: Rubber ducky forever and ever.
Towel: Marlow has this lobster towel which is an excuse to quote Ross Gellar after each bath. These towels are so cute, it hurts.
Diaper Pail: Get a Diaper Genie. Now. Go.
Changing Station: A wipe warmer is unnecessary but really nice to have, especially in the winter with a newborn. We opted out of a changing table and instead use a dresser we already have with a contoured changing pad on top.
Diapers: I really wanted to get on the Honest Company train, but diapers are an easy place to save. We buy ours at Costco (either Kirkland brand or Pampers) in bulk and we’ve been happy with them. If Marlow shows any irritation to her diapers, we will revisit Honest, but for now, Costco it is.
Crib: After both Jenny and Joanna recommended Wal-Mart cribs, we decided to try this one. Surprisingly, they are great! I wasn’t looking for much from the crib other than safety and a simple style. We love ours and you really can’t beat the price. We have this mattress (research shows the mattress should be firm).
Linens & Blankets: We received a ton of beautiful blankets as gifts, but my favorite are Aden & Anais bamboo swaddle blankets. They are SO soft, way softer than muslin (I can’t find them online anywhere?!). We got one fun crib sheet from Dwell Studio and this solid gray one.
Rock N Play/Swing: We opted out of a bassinet, but when she wasn’t quite ready for her crib, the Rock N Play was comforting and helpful getting her to sleep (and keeping her asleep).
Noise Machine: This noise machine is Marlow’s desert island item. She can’t sleep without it! We even had to download an app for when we travel. It has a bunch of choices to choose from–we like the brook :)
Humidifier: A humidifier is helpful, especially during the Winter months. We use the Crane Drop. I like adding essential oils to it, like lavender, to help sooth her to sleep.
Swaddles: All hail the swaddles! Oh man, this was our secret weapon. Swaddles + noise machine + bouncing on an exercise ball = a sleeping baby. I bought a few swaddle blanket because they are beautiful but we never used them as swaddles–she would always break out of them! We used Halo swaddles, which are amazing.
Pack n Play/Travel Crib: By far, the best travel crib we have tried is the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib.
Books: When Marlow was having a difficult time eating, she was also having a difficult time sleeping (because she was so hungry). My pediatrician recommended Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and it changed our lives. One night after I read the book, Marlow slept 12 hours! I couldn’t believe it. She has slept through the night ever since. I gave my pediatrician a huge hug at our next appointment :)
Door Jumper: Marlow loved jumping in this swing–it was her first experience with independence! It was also nice to have a few minutes hands free. We have videos of her jumping that still make us laugh out loud. Her little frog legs were hilarious.
Play Mats: My sister-in-law loaned us a play mat, and it was great for Marlow to have toys to interact with. There is a little mirror on it too, which always made her go cross eyed, which was obviously hilarious and adorable.
I intentionally didn’t read a ton before the birth because there are so many opinions out there and every baby is different. Some love to be swaddled and some don’t. Some love pacifiers, some can’t stand them. But there were a few books that inspired my role as a mother, which I would highly recommend.
Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman
Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott
The Nursing Mother’s Companion by Kathleen Higgins
What would you add?
a note: While everyone has different budgets and needs, look for sales, at secondhand shops, craigslist, etc. We got our stroller/carseat combo half off just by checking a website every few days. It’s also important to know where to save and where to spend–for example, we splurged on our carseat and strollers, but saved on our crib and nixed a bassinet, changing table, etc. Do whatever works best for you! There are thousands of ways to be a good mother.