the first time i walked into BuyBuyBaby when i was pregnant, i cried. i just wanted to run out of there, i felt helpless and overwhelmed by the plethora of brand and product choices, and everything i didn’t know about being a mom, and having a baby.
then i spent hours every day researching what i needed, what was safe etc. i asked all my mommy friends to send me their suggestions, i read Baby Bargains back to back, and i googled the crap out of every possible baby product.
so i hope my copious and obsessive researching will help you spend more time on enjoying some me time, sleeping, reading novels, and watching movies before baby arrives, because yup, there’s very little of that after (unless of course you are a multimillionaire, or have a full time nanny etc).
i highly recommend buying the Baby Bargains book as soon as you can, and starting to read it. my friend Vanessa got it for me as soon as she saw my clueless preggo face, thank god! it’s not just about how to save money. it’s packed with critical safety and consumer product research info you need. it is the most useful, comprehensive guide to what works and what is safe, and it helps give you choices depending on your budget. it’s also updated every year, so you have the latest, up to date info on the newest products out there, and how they compare. it is an absolute MUST HAVE for every mom-to-be. here it is on Amazon.
i’m starting with the big ticket items first. these are the ones you will want help from family and friends on.
1. infant car seat
you cannot legally leave the hospital without one, so make sure you have this ahead of time, at least a month before your due date.
do NOT accept a hand me down. this is a safety issue, and car seats and car seat parts are recalled all the time. plus you don’t want one that has wear and tear, or may even have been in an accident.
yes you need an infant car seat for the first year, and then a convertible car seat that will last you for many years.
because car seats are updated and improved all the time, i recommend just listing the infant car seat on your registry, and then buying the convertible one when you need it, as babies outgrow them at different times.
we got the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30 Infant Car Seat in Nyssa. it’s safe, quality, simple, and comfortable. and i liked the gray and pink color combo (LivLuna colors obviously!). i wish infant seats came with recliners, but alas, they do not. the hard shells are the safest for the newborns. it’s like a turtle shell for your baby when you’re out and about protecting it from the world.
you will be carrying your baby around in this A LOT. the baby will be snug and cozy in the seat while you have a bite, or in my case, inhale cupcakes. you can also rock the car seat back and forth when its on a table or floor, and you can hang toys from the bar.
at about 10 months even though we were nowhere near the weight limit, our daughter got so tall that we could barely buckle the straps without squashing her. at this point she was also so heavy for me that i couldn’t carry the car seat anymore. so i recommend to forget about getting a more expensive car seat with a higher weight limit. your baby will probably outgrow the seat well before the weight limit.
now that she’s outgrown the infant car seat, we got the Britax Boulevard XE in Mosaic and absolutely love it. it’s convertible, so she’s still rear-facing, and the seat back is adjustable to different levels, so she can nap comfortably. it’s over $100 cheaper at Target than at Amazon!
2. moses basket + rocker stand
instead of a bassinet or co-sleeper that attaches to your bed, i decided to list an old fashioned, handmade, organic moses basket on my registry, after my mom’s suggestion, and boy was she right on. it is not only beautiful, it was the most convenient and useful thing for the first three months of baby’s life.
i chose the Hannah Baby Elle the Elephant Moses Basket, made in the USA by baby eco trends. it is so beautiful! i was blown away when it arrived. the quality is incredible, it’s all sustainable, handmade, and you can get the matching White Rocker Stand by Rockers by Richard on baby eco trends, which is solid hardwood, handmade in the USA, and free of MDF, plywood, particle board, and veneer.
she spent most of her time sleeping and lying in the cozy moses basket. i had easy access every time she woke, needed me to find her paci again, rock her, or sing to her gently. the rocker stand is fantastic, as i could lie in bed and stick my arm out and just gently rock her when needed.
believe me getting out of bed every half hour is not fun. i still had to nurse her every hour at times, but at least you’re not jumping out of bed to check on whether the baby is breathing or to give her the paci she needs to soothe herself.
the reason I recommend this over a rolling or attachable bassinet, is because not only can you have the baby right by your side at night, and reach your arm out and rock the cradle to soothe her, or give her her paci back, you can MOVE IT AROUND YOUR HOME!
you pick up the basket with the handles and take her from room to room with you, even while she’s sleeping. she’s in a cozy padded cocoon. you can lay it on the dining table, while you’re having dinner, or on the sofa while you’re watching TV etc. it’s brilliant. i also felt safer carrying her up and down the stairs in the basket versus in my arms.
honestly, this was such brilliant advice by my mom. i initially rolled my eyes thinking that is so old fashioned, surely there is a better modern product, but nope there isn’t. i also did not want the bassinet attached to the bed, because i toss and turn a lot, and didn’t want to risk throwing the duvet over the baby… plus being able to move her over to daddy’s side when I needed a break, or was not feeling well was a lifesaver. i could zone out, knowing he was on duty, and get some deep zzz’s.
and finally, the adorable organic cotton print sheet provided the perfect cute background for countless baby pictures including her birth announcement!
3. stylish diaper bag
whether you chose a designer diaper bag, or one that you just love the look of, do yourself a favor, and make sure it is STYLISH.
the way i justified getting a Marc by Marc Jacobs diaper bag was simple. this was going to be my main handbag for the next 3 years, at least, and if i’m going to be wearing the same one for even one year, it better look great, and make me happy. i don’t want to get sick of looking at it, and it has to be great quality.
of course it has to be practical, and it has to be gender neutral enough that DH doesn’t feel ridiculous carrying it. though having said that DH is a very manly man, and so confident in his masculinity that he’s in touch with his feminine side, and would and has carried my handbags no matter what they look like.
i also wanted it to be somewhat color coordinated with the stroller. i know, i know. BUT above all, i wanted a bag that i could use as an overnight tote for myself once diapering is over, or to shlep my laptop in etc. basically, i wanted it not to look like a diaper bag.
treat yourself. the print i have is not available anymore, but i’m in love with the new Marc by Marc Jacobs Elizababy Diaper Bag in Jerry Rose. it comes in two deliciously bright versions. hm, i almost feel like i could use another one at this point…
4. nursing chair
i thought this was such a splurge, such a luxury to have a piece of furniture to nurse in. can you use a normal ottoman? of course, and i did that for the first 2 months, and it was fine because i had no idea what a difference it made to have a glider on my physical comfort, ease of holding the baby, and soothing her.
around month 2 my baby started to need more soothing, more rocking, and it was ideal that i was lucky to get a super quality Dutailier as a hand me down from a friend. these are incredible top of the line gliders, and they’re not bulky like ottomans. Amazon has amazing discounts on Dutailier gliders.
the comfort of soothing and holding a baby in a nursing chair is unbelievable, whether you or your husband are bottle feeding, nursing, or just trying to rock a baby to sleep. it makes a huge difference, in your comfort level, and how easy it is to soothe a fussy baby. our baby is 12 months, and i’m still nursing, so i use this every day, and every night! and multiple times a night before she started sleeping through.
there’s less pricey options besides Dutailiers of course. check out Amazon’s bestselling gliders and rockers. Target also has a great selection of gliders and rockers.
5. stroller. UPPABaby Vista
unless you have to take your stroller on public transport, or carry it up stairs every day, this is THE top of the line stroller to get. if you can get family to help get it for you, awesome! i got my mom to get mine 20% off on Giggle.
another huge plus is that this is THE stroller for tall people. i’m 5’10”, my husband is 6’6″, and this was the only stroller that we tested that had an extendable bar that was comfortable and sturdy, so we don’t have to lean down.
it comes with a cozy, padded bassinet, so a newborn can lay down flat, which is critical if you want to use a stroller in the first few months. as soon as my baby wanted to see more, and be propped up, around 4 months, we switched to the seat, the top part of which also folds back flat all the way, which is super for long naps.
the stroller is also reversible, which is key! you want to be watching your baby for at least the first year. baby has plenty to look at in the stroller sitting backwards. it is key to their development to be as connected to mommy and daddy as possible, and eye contact and seeing whether they’re sleeping, or the hat slipped over their eyes is so useful.
if you have another baby while your first is still using the stroller, you can add another seat. plus you can add a standing board for an older kid.
almost most importantly, this stroller has THE BIGGEST BASKET for you to throw the diaper bag, groceries, shopping, your coat, etc underneath, so you can stroll unencumbered. also, this stroller is GORGEOUS, drives SO smoothly, is excellent at navigating different terrain (grass, road, bumps etc), has a bug cover, rain cover, and large built in sun shade.
DO NOT accept a hand me down for safety reasons. they used to ok cribs that had a panel that slid down, until they realized how dangerous these are. do not risk an accident. get a quality crib.
i wanted one that was made from real American hardwood (not particle board), and finished with non toxic paint and sealer. i also wanted it to convert to a toddler bed, and not cost a fortune.
these are personal choices, but if you are leaning into this direction, i highly recommend the Liberty Crib from Giggle. it’s beautiful, safe, super high quality, and a great price for a sustainable, quality crib. we are so happy with it.
style-wise, i wanted it to not be bulky and huge, and instead to have a vintage, traditional feel, and pretty Jenny Lind-style old fashioned look. whatever style you choose, read the crib section in Baby Bargains and inform yourself about safety and quality issues. don’t forget that you probably won’t be using the crib until you move the baby into the nursery. we moved our daughter into her room at 5 months, and did an anti-CIO gentle sleep training at 6 months.
for more cribs and nursery furniture, check out furniture.com.
7. bouncer/swing: nuna Leaf
when i saw that mamaroo thing moving around in BuyBuyBaby, i was horrified. i thought hell no, that is going to make me dizzy. and it’s huge, and plasticky, and noisy, and moves. also, it only works for a few months. i wanted to keep things simple and streamlined, and what i love about our nuna Leaf is that there’s no batteries, no noise, no cords, and it’s Oeko-tex certified. you push it gently, and it sways back and forth like a leaf. we also got the toy bar with it, so she’d have a mobile to look at.
the design is beautiful and elegant, and the best thing about it is that is is sustainable. you don’t have to pack it away after a few months like all the other baby swings. it becomes a toddler and child seat with a weight limit up to 130 pounds, as in, mama could even sit in it. almost. ok. almost. but the point is, it becomes a kid’s chair, rather than another baby thing to store away. so that’s super cost effective, and a much better investment than a temporary swing if you ask me.
if you don’t care about space, or looks, or noise, and have a lot of rooms, or floors, get this, AND the mamaroo. the more places you have to lay baby down while having them elevated, and able to look around, the better.
8. baby carriers (yep that’s a plural)
read my post ‘the 2 baby carriers you need + why babywearing will save you‘.
let me know if you have any questions! part 2 is coming soon…