Before Little M was born I had total gear envy. I wanted all the latest and greatest and cutest stuff sold for babies. I’ve mentioned a few times that we returned a lot of stuff that I thought I HAD to have, but then didn’t end up using. Thank goodness I had the forethought to keep tags, boxes and slips for everything. I thought I’d share a list of the stuff we used over and over and over that we truly loved during Little M’s first year including all the gear for bath & health, sleeping, eating, diapers & clothing, play and stuff for mom.
Bassinet – Little M slept in the bassinet attachment to our Bumbleride Flite umbrella stroller for the first 12 weeks of his life. It was a cozy little spot, easy to put next to our bed or inside his cradle and he was a great sleeper, so we were glad we had it. However, as an attachment to the stroller it was fairly useless. I thought I’d use it all the time with the stroller, but in reality there was no way I’d risk waking my baby up by jostling the thing to get it into the stroller and if we were strolling awake, I used the car seat on the umbrella stroller. So as a cozy place to sleep it gets a resounding yes, but bassinet for the stroller, no.
Motorola video monitor – We went through a few video monitors before we found one with enough range to work throughout our entire house and into the yard. I have to walk the dog in the evening after bedtime when Mr. S is away, so something that worked outside was key. We loved having a video monitor so that we could see whether Little M was “getting cozy” and looking like he was going to go back to sleep during the horrible 4 month sleep regression.
Glider – I nursed everywhere when Little M was wee, but when he got to the distracted nursing stage, I only nursed in his room in the glider. Sometimes we’ll nurse in my bed in the morning, but usually all our nursing sessions are still in the glider in his room. Plus it became a great place to read books together when the book obsession started just after a year. Ours is a hand-me-down and I had new cushions made by CJ’s Cozy Cushions.
Maxi Cosi Pria 70 with tiny fit Car Seats – We have one in each of our cars. I love them because they take up much less space rear facing, which is great for tall adults up front and they have one of the longest rear facing and then front facing guidelines for weight and height (second only to Diono). With this seat we just might be able to make it through to the end of car seats without having to buy a full back booster too. Maybe. They also have much more side impact head protection than the most popular brands in the US. The tiny fit attachment makes them suitable from 5lbs. If I could do it over, I wouldn’t have even bothered with an infant seat.
Ergo – I used this so much! Every morning we walk the dog and I put Little M in the Ergo. I wore him at stores, at home, everywhere. I used the Moby Wrap early in an outward facing carry because the stimulation would wear him out and make him nap really well. If I had to do it over again, I’d get the Beco Gemini, which has the same features of the Ergo but doesn’t require the infant insert, which was super hot even in the middle of the winter. The Gemini can also do an outward facing carry while the Ergo can’t.
BOB Revolution – This became our everyday stroller very early on. Because it reclines so much, by eight weeks I was able to use it without the car seat attachment and with just a head support pillow for Little M. I used it with the car seat attachment a total of two times because I used the Ergo instead, so I’d definitely recommend waiting to buy the car seat attachment until after baby arrives and you can determine whether you really need it.
Blue bucket – We used the Wash Pod every night until Little M was 6m old and then switched to a larger bucket. The high sides kept him warm and he loved being suspended by the water. Bath was his favorite part of the day!
California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo – This doesn’t sting at all if it gets in your eyes (I tested it!) and is gentle enough that we’re able to bathe Little M every night as part of his bedtime routine.
California Baby Sunblock – Little M goes to the park every day at daycare so I’ve slathered this all over his naked little body every morning from the time he was 6 month on.
Infant Tylenol – For teeth and fevers and everything in between. Best to have it on hand and not to wait ‘til you need it.
Temporal Lobe Thermometer – An accurate three second reading recommended by our pediatrician. Nuff’ said.
Toothbrush – As soon as Little M’s teeth started coming in we started to brush his teeth daily. We found that using a regular “extra soft” adult toothbrush worked best. He’s a big fan of brushing just like daddy.
A+A blanket (larger size) – We swaddled until Little M was 5.5 months old first with the traditional style and later with “the double swaddle.” These blankets made for break-out proof swaddling. Plus they were great nursing covers when we were in public, shade covers, play mats and more.
Pacis – I was a thumb sucker and it messed up my teeth, so I wanted Little M to use pacis and not his fingers. We tested several brands, and he only liked Nuk pacis.
Lovey – During the horrid 4 month sleep regression I introduced a lovey in the hopes that it would help Little M self-soothe. I had him hold it every time we nursed and he became attached to it quickly. We started using it in his crib at night at 6 months. He’s very attached to his LE, and it’s fabulous for self-soothing. We have three of the same lovey so that one is always clean.
Minky Sheets – So cozy! I made ours and little M loved them.
Sound Machine – We started with a travel sleep sheep with a 45 minute timer. When we saw how well it worked to soothe Little M to sleep we started to us a Marpac sound machine all night long. He slept through the night just after we started using it, so we’ve never stopped!
Sleep Sheep on the Go – Life. Saver. We kept the sleep sheep attached to Little M’s car seat and would use it whenever we were out and he was fussy. The “rain” sound immediately soothed him. When he was a week old we started using it at night and discovered the beauty of white noise. We swapped it out for the Marpac in his nursery at two weeks, but continued to use the portable sheep long past his first birthday. Ours is a hand-me-down that still looks brand new despite all the use it’s seen.
Fisher Price booster – We had an expensive, beautiful, wooden highchair that I loved. But we ended up returning it because the Fisher Price booster was so much more practical. It took up less space (none, it attaches to a dining room chair!) and because it’s all plastic, it’s really easy to clean. Easy to clean was a priority with a BLW baby. We’ve got our $25 worth a hundred times over.
BLW cookbook – I had the BLW book and the cookbook. I highly recommend the cookbook instead of the regular book. It covers the basics of BLW in the first 45 pages and has tons of great BLW ideas. Don’t forget to check out the post listing everything Little M ate in his first few months of BLW too!
Dex Baby Big Mouth bibs – We tried several bibs and these were our favorites. I think bibs are highly dependent on the highchair that you use. These worked really well with the Fisher Price booster.
Take & Toss spoons – I have an adorable OXO utensil set, but these cheap-o take and toss spoons are our early-eating favorites. They’re the perfect size for little mouths and because you can’t load them with a huge amount of food, I find them less messy. Little M learned to use utensils by dipping his take & toss spoons in yogurt. The “toss” part of the name is a misnomer; ours are over a year old and still going strong.
Straw cup – I tried several brands, but the Playtex ‘Lil Gripper straw cup was a clear winner. It doesn’t have a bite valve, so Little M was able to learn to use it as soon as he started drinking water at 8m. He never used a sippy –with this cup we just went straight to straws. One package of two was plenty.
Playtex Ventaire Wide Mouth bottles – Inexpensive bottles with a slow flow and a wide mouth. Little M took a little extra bottle every night from 2 weeks through 8 months and we never had a problem switching from breast to bottle and back with these bottles. He never took more than 6oz at a time so having six 6oz bottles was plenty for daycare and our entire bottle feeding time.
My Brestfriend/Boppy – I had both and liked them both at different points for different reasons. The MBF brought Little M up to the correct height for breastfeeding and felt more comfortable when he was wee. But as he grew I used the Boppy more so that I could position him in a more upright position to help with reflux. The Boppy was also great for tummy time and lounging. I stopped using the pillows to nurse around 7 months when he was big enough to just prop in my arms.
Giant burp cloths – I made several burp cloths before Little M was born. Then when he arrived I realized I needed a whole lot more and ones that were a whole lot bigger. I made myself dozens of them when he was just a week or two old. They were great for spit-up in the early months and then later for pumping. They were big enough to cover my entire lap so any drips wouldn’t stain my pants.
BumGenius 4.0 – We tried out several brands and liked these most. Plus the resale value is great. I bought them during one of their buy 5 get 1 free sales and at Buy Buy Baby using $5 off $15 coupons, so they were quite reasonable. We do wash once a week (I rinse the inserts in the sink before throwing them in the diaper pail every day) and 36 seem to be plenty on an average week. Velcro were easier to use, but snaps look new much longer and are much more toddler-proof later on when the rrrrrrrip of Velcro is such an enticing noise!
Cloth Wipes – I bought ours from Cheeky Wipes, but cut-up flannel receiving blankets will do just fine. We have around 75 of them, which was great during the newborn stage when we had to use wipes for every diaper change.
Personalized baby hat – I made a couple of personalized hats for Little M (which I also sell in my etsy shop) and because he was a winter baby he wore them A LOT. We always had a hat on his little head and we got tons of compliments on these ones.
Robeez sneaks – I bought one pair of “crib shoes” when Little M started to crawl. By the time he was walking an eternity later they were still going strong. Once he started walking I became shoe obsessed, but for the crawling months, one pair of Robeez sneaks was all we needed.
Kimono tops with “hands” and no crotch snaps – Little M was a face-scratcher so for his first couple months we dressed him in kimono tops with fold-over hands as undershirts. As a bonus they had no crotch snaps, which made night time diaper changes so much easier.
Sleep gowns – Instead of PJs we used dressing gowns during the first couple of months. They made night time diaper changes faster and less traumatic for Little M and Mr. Stroller who was in charge of changing diaps and bringing the baby to me to nurse at night.
Skip Hop play mat – Little M loved his “birds.” He had tummy time on his Skip Hop mat every morning while I pumped and spent a lot of time looking and later playing with his birds. Eventually I put his Bumbo (found secondhand) under his birds to give him a different angle to view them. There are lots of play mats on the market, and we definitely got a lot of use out of ours.
Jumperoo – I bought one used when Little M was 3 months old. He loved it from 4 – 9 months!
Park blanket – We used this waterproof park blanket all the time during Little M’s first spring and summer. He played for hours under the tree in our back yard every day. I keep it in my car now that going to the park is a more active venture.
Bravado tanks – Little M was a winter baby and these were great for layering under shirts so I wouldn’t show post-baby belly to the world while nursing.
Bravado Bliss bra – I was a big fan of the popular Bravado Seamless Silk nursing bra, but loved the Bliss. It’s a little thicker, has a little more shape, has a touch of lace to make it look a little less utilitarian and it’s an underwire so no risk of mastitis. I also had several cheap bras from Target that I hated.
My water bottle – As a breastfeeding mom I am constantly drinking water. During the first year I drank so much that I had two bottles just so I wouldn’t have to be running to the kitchen to fill one so often.
DSLR camera – I used my Nikon D80 every day! I also have a 50mm lens that I love for portraits.
iPhone – What wasn’t documented with my Nikon has been documented with my iPhone. I literally have to copy photos off weekly because I take so many photos it uses all my storage. My phone was also great during the early months when I was breastfeeding for hours every day and looking for a little adult contact. Hellobee.com via the phone was just the contact I needed!
One line a day book – I write in this book every single day. It’s so fun to look back and read about what we did this day last year.
Pump – I had the Medela Pump In Style and the Freestyle. While the freedom of the Freestyle was awesome, its suction was not good at all and my supply dropped drastically because of it. My new insurance covers pump rental now, so next time I’d opt for renting the hospital grade Medela Symphony above all else.
Moms on Call 0-6 – We won a six-month-long personal consultation from a blog contest and the advice we got from the nurses at moms on call was great newborn sleep wise. I also bought their 0-6 book and found the suggested schedule to be sooooo helpful during the first couple months. Little M slept through the night at under 3 weeks thanks in part to their advice, so I highly recommend their book. One note, however, is that they are not entirely breastfeeding friendly so like with all things, you should take everything with a grain of salt. For example they suggest pumping and feeding a bottle for the last nursing of the night. Pumping for a feeding is not a good substitute for nursing in the early days when your supply is being established. Instead following their advice to a “T” I nursed and then we gave Little M an extra ounce via a bottle from milk I’d pumped after nursing him in the morning.
Happiest Baby on the Block – 5 S’s worked like a charm. I watched the DVD and Mr. S read the book. We recommend the DVD.
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Of course there are things on here that we didn’t need and we had plenty of stuff not listed here, but what’s here is the baby gear that was well used and well loved during our first year.
What was your favorite first-year gear? Did I miss anything a mom-to-be can’t live without?