I know that the baby gear market can be extremely overwhelming, so I thought I’d share the items I used most in the first months of Wagon Jr.’s life. We did a lot of trial and error (and returning to the store, and reading of hundreds of online reviews!), so hopefully this list will be helpful to those of you who might be intimidated by just walking into a baby store.

1. Bouncy Chair – Wagon Jr. loved this Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer and hung out in it a LOT during the early days. We started out with a different, cuter bouncer and returned it. We got this one based on amazing online reviews and loved it. Overall I have to say we liked all Fisher Price products.

2. Baby Tub – We used this Fisher Price Precious Whale of a Tub every day until just recently when we started bathing Wagon Jr. standing up because he didn’t want to sit down anymore. I picked this tub based on cuteness (and it comes with a little toy) and we have no complaints. The sloped back and divider keeps a newborn sitting upright with just the bum in the water, but it’s plenty big enough for even a 2 year old.

3. Crib Mobile – I can’t rave enough about this particular Fisher Price Precious Planet Projection Mobile. It has projection lights that display images on the underside of the umbrella, plays music or rainforest or womb sounds, and it’s so darn cute. When Wagon Jr. figured out how to move around in his crib, he turned it on by himself many times and would sit there for a long time just staring at it. I was very very sad to have to take it away once he started pulling up!

4. Drop-Ins Bottles – We loved the Playtex Drop-ins system for bottles because… you don’t need to wash bottles! You can purchase cheaper, generic drop-ins at places like BJ’s or Target.

5. Infant Carseat – We originally chose a Graco Snugride 35, but we’ll probably replace it with a lighter one for Baby #2. The 35 can hold the baby much longer, but as baby gets heavier, it gets impossible to carry both the baby and the weight of the carseat. Plus, Wagon Jr. didn’t want to be so reclined in the seat once he got a little older. I find the bucket seat to be vital in the early days because you don’t have to risk waking up the baby when you’re
moving from car to stroller.

9. Carseat Stroller Frame – We held off on purchasing a pricey stroller until we had a better idea of what we would want, so we started with this BabyTrend Snap n Go Stroller. It’s lightweight, folds up easily, has a big storage basket in the bottom and a nice cupholder near the handles. It was a great way to figure out what we needed in a stroller, and we used it on an everyday basis until we stopped using the infant carseat.

12. Baby Swing – This Fisher Price My Little Lamb Swing was a godsend for us. Wagon Jr. absolutely loved this swing, and it was a surefire way to get him to fall asleep. Any time we couldn’t get him to fall asleep, the swing worked, so it was our last resort tool almost every day. We started out with a smaller travel swing and he didn’t like it, so we returned it and ended up with this one after the amazing online reviews. One mom said her colicky baby would ONLY sleep in this swing, and he slept in this swing every night for 3 months!

6. Humidifier – This Graco Cool Mist Humidifier actually gets horrible reviews online, but mostly because of the noise and the expensive filters. But these two reasons are why I love this humidifier. It’s very loud but it doubles as white noise, and we have really hard water so even though the filters are expensive and have to be changed often, they work extremely well. All the inside parts of the humidifier can go into the dishwasher, but I barely ever have to wash them because the filter works so well. Also, it’s an evaporation humidifier so it doesn’t cover everything in a wet mist.

10. Diaper Pail – We chose the Diaper Champ because you can use a regular kitchen garbage bag instead of having to purchase refills. We had no complaints in the first 6 months because breastmilk diapers don’t smell that bad. Once poopy diapers got really smelly, we started throwing them out directly outside because the Diaper Champs smelled so bad no matter what kind of cleaning and disinfecting we did. Eventually Wagon Sr. got so fed up that he threw both Diaper Champs out and we’ll purchase a new one for the next baby.

8. Diapers – Pampers Swaddlers were the diapers the hospital provided and we loved them, so we continued using them. We didn’t have any problems with the regular kind so we didn’t bother with the sensitive kind, but if your baby has sensitive skin it might be the better choice. We loved how soft and cushy the Swaddlers were and we loved the pee indicator strip! We sorely missed both when Wagon Jr. grew out of them.

11. Nursing Pillow – I used this Boppy pillow for breastfeeding from day one and loved it. It’s also great for propping up baby. Wagon Jr. took many a nap propped up in this on my bed while I sat next to him watching him! The posh slipcovers are definitely worth it– they are soft and furry. We had FOUR Boppys at one point– one for upstairs, one for downstairs, and two hand-me-downs with no slipcovers that the dogs adopted as their new dog beds.

7. Swaddle Blanket – Wagon Jr. was very comforted by swaddling, but he was very big and strong as well. Once we learned how to use the Miracle Blanket, we found it was the ONLY swaddle he could not get out of. I can honestly say that if your newborn can get out of the Miracle Blanket swaddle, you probably aren’t doing it right or tightly enough. We had three so that whenever one got soiled, we had a fresh one on hand.

15. Diaper Caddy – We still use JJ Cole Diaper Caddy this every single day. It is basically our diaper changing station for downstairs. It’s now my standard baby shower gift: I fill it with diapers, wipes, and I fill the drawer with ointments, gas drops, vaseline, etc. It’s also great for road trips: I just fill it with supplies and throw it in the car and we have enough diapers and wipes for the whole trip.

13. Bebepod Chair – We got this because Wagon Jr.’s chunky thighs didn’t fit in the Bumbo. I also liked that it has a seatbelt and came with the tray and toy, which is a GREAT toy– he played with it even after he stopped sitting in the chair. Plus it’s so darn cute!

14. Pack n Play – We have a different brand that has been since discontinued, but the Pack n Play was absolutely vital for us. We used it as a bassinet in our room when Wagon Jr. first came home, and we changed every diaper in the diaper changer, even after we moved him to his crib in the nursery. We then used it as a playyard, which was a great place to put him with a few soft toys while I went to the bathroom or washed dishes. We also take it when we travel and use it as a travel crib.