We live in such a commercial world these days and the second you get into specialty items such as bridal or baby, prices skyrocket and options become endless. Shopping for baby stuff is overwhelming enough for a new parent especially when everyone is giving you different advice, you feel like you need everything to be prepared and there are way too many options for bathtubs, strollers/car seats, bottles, high chairs etc.
As a new mom, of course I over did it a little. I bought some things that we hardly used or needed but I also bought, made and was gifted some items that we used all the time and couldn’t live without.
For any of the soon to be or new mommies out there, here are our must haves from the first six months; the things we actually used almost every day!
We had a baby that loved to be swaddled and would pretty much only sleep if he was swaddled. We used the Aiden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets from Indigo. They are a really nice size and were nice and lightweight for the summer months. At around three months when our little guy started busting out of them, we switched to a mix of the Miracle Blanket and the Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle (both worked wonderfully). The Miracle blanket works great for the hard to swaddle babes, and the halo sleep sack is another great one and is a bit easier to use (especially for grandparents) and we also used it at the end of our swaddling days when we were transitioning to unswaddled (about 5.5- 6 months) as you can unswaddle one arm at a time really easily. One of my very good friends loaned me all of her baby swaddles so we could test them all out and find the ones that worked best for us before we purchased any.
We love this Munchkin Sound System for night-time soothing. A good friend lent us theirs to try, and our little one slept so much better with it. We have the sound on a loop that plays non stop to help our little man fall asleep and sleep through the night. The added sound drowns out the noise in the morning when my hubby is getting ready for work so the baby can keep sleeping. We usually set it to the ocean/wave setting. We also have a plush bunny sound machine similar to this sleep sheep that we now use for travelling but don’t like it as much as it only stays on for 45 minutes.
I don’t know what I would do without our diaper genie. We received this Diaper Genie Elite as a shower gift and we love it. It looks sleek in our nursery and contains odor very well which is the most important part! We also have Amazon Prime/Family subscription so we get all of our diaper genie refills, diapers and wipes shipped right to our house for a much cheaper cost!
I also purchased the Diaper Genie Portable Bag Dispenser to use when we are out of the house to easily contain and dispose of those stinky diapers! While on the go, I also love this Skip Hop Grab and Go wipes container that is easy to keep refilling and holds a lot of wipes.
As mentioned in my last blog post, the Rocky Mountain Soap Factory Bum Balm works wonders for diaper rash and dry irritated skin. I received this Stain Stick as a shower gift and it works miracles to get baby poop stains out! Lastly, these wash cloths from Ikea are great for extra protection during diaper changes or when a wipe just won’t do the trick. You can’t beat the price of $5.99 for a pack of 10 and they wash really well. I have a bunch of them in the nursery and in my diaper bag as well.
One of the most used items I made were Burp Cloths. I was inspired from this DIY burp cloth post from blogger two twenty one, and decided to make my own. For someone like me who is not a sewer, it was really simple and I made a whole bunch. It helped pass the time while I was waiting on baby to arrive as well! With a baby that spits up a lot, you can never have enough of these on hand and you can pick out some really cute fabrics! I bought my fabric from Funky Monkey Fabrics (which is another great Canadian/Ontario based business).
For bottle feeding, we tried a few types of bottles, but our little guy would only take the Dr Brown Natural Flow Wide neck bottles. I purchased the starter set and then an extra couple 8 oz bottles so I wasn’t constantly washing them.
A friend of mine gave us some homeopathic Boiron Cocynatal gas drops to try when our little one was having a lot of gas issues and they worked so well to relieve his discomfort almost instantly. A definite recommendation for the medicine cabinet.
For teething, my favourite purchase has definitely the Banana Teether/Toothbrush. It looks kind of silly, but our little guy loves to chew on it. It is really easy for them to hold onto and it can reach to the back of their gums as well. My second favourite teether is from the Chew Beads product line. I bought the stroller/car seat version that clips onto the infant car seat so we have something on the go. I also purchased this similar cookie teether made by LouLou Lollipop that clips right onto baby. I find our baby loves the silicone type teething products the best and these are all very durable and definitely favourites in our house.
I also find you can’t have enough Bandana Bibs. They are great for bottle feeding dribbles and spit up and also great for all that teething drooling! They aren’t too bulky and can be quite cute! My favourites are the chew bibs that have a silicone tab at the bottom that the babies can chew, plus the fabric prints are adorable. I have a bunch of these ones by Kushies from Indigo and i have also picked up a few from Glitter and Spice (a really cute Canadian company).
A few other must haves for teething are the homeopathic Boiron Camilla teething drops as well as some Infant Tylenol for the really rough days. Both can be purchased at your local pharmacy.
Car Seat Covers
I couldn’t rave about these two products more. The OVer car seat cover is worth every penny (it’s also Canadian)! We had a newborn through the summer months and this cover kept him covered in the car seat carrier and stroller and didn’t overheat him and keeps the wind off. There are also a ton of great prints to choose from and they are always releasing more. It is great for spring through early fall use for our Ontario climate. When it started getting cool, I transitioned to this Skip Hop fleece car seat cover which we are using now and I love it. It keeps our little guy so warm and he doesn’t need to wear anything more than a thick fleecy sweater on cold days in it when we are going to and from the car. Note: I didn’t go into car seat and stroller suggestions as I honestly think there are too many choices out there and its each family’s preference based on your lifestyle, price point and needs.
I LOVE my Baby K’Tan Carrier. When our little one was small he would fall asleep in it as I wore him and I could get all kinds of things done around the house. I even made pickles once! I wear it in the house, and out and about all the time. It was easier than having to haul a car seat around if I was running errands downtown. He pretty much slept the whole time he was in it and I was hands free. Now that he is bigger, I wear him forward facing so he can see what is going on! There are so many different positions to wear baby as they grow. It’s really easy to wear and put on. YouTube is really helpful to figure out the different wrapping techniques.
We received this Skip Hop three stage Baby Bath Tub and we have definitely got our use out of it. It transitions to three different stages: newborn, infant and sitters. I always had ours on our kitchen island for bath time but now that the kicking and splashing have started, it fits in our bathtub nicely.
The one toy that we got the most use out of has been an Activity Mat/Gym. We had one given to us by family but you can get them all over the place. We had the swing and the bouncer chair, and all kinds of other toys, but he loved this mat from the beginning and even to this day at 7 months old. We clip all kinds of extra things to it as well time to time to keep it interesting. If you get anything, I for sure recommend some type of activity mat. You can find them on Babies R Us, Amazon, Indigo, Walmart and almost any baby store or shopping site.
Not really a toy, but I also think the Bumbo chair is a great piece to have. We also purchased the tray for it so we can put toys on it (or now some snacks) as well. It’s great for the floor, but I often have mine on my kitchen island most of the time as I spend a lot of time in there and he can play and watch me cook/bake, meal prep or wash dishes.
I read so many things about giving a breastfed baby a pacifier and how it could create nipple confusion and cause them not to breastfeed properly. I will tell you this: I breastfed our son for four months and he had a pacifier from two weeks old and we had no problems with nursing, ear infections or anything else. I started with the Philips Avent Soothie Pacifiers (used from newborn until about 4 months) and then transitioned to the next step Philips Avent Classic/Orthodontic Pacifiers to follow. You can get these at your pharmacy, or online. Also, pick up a pacifier clip as well because it gets really annoying picking up the soother off the floor 100 times a day!
For moms, here a few things that I couldn’t live without the first few months of new mommyhood. If you plan to breastfeed, get yourself some Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter. I also had some of the prescription Dr. Newmans Nipple Cream that I used the first couple weeks when it was really sore (just ask your OB for it before you leave the hospital).
I could never drink enough water especially while breastfeeding and I needed a one-handed or hands free easy way to drink while nursing and rocking babe so I grabbed this 32oz Bubba Mug with Straw from Amazon.
Also stock up on a big jug of Epsom Salts for post delivery soaks to help healing. I had an episiotomy so I needed to soak frequently in the tub. I added some lavender essential oil to my baths as well to help with soothing and healing.
Take the time before baby arrives and make yourself some Padsicles for Postpartum. Use Overnight Maxi Pads, Witch Hazel, Aloe and lavender essential oils. You will thank me later! It helps with healing and cooling. See this post by Pretty Providence for directions!
Lastly, I practically lived in these nursing tanks and these maternity leggings/yoga pants the first few months. Stock up on these! They are comfortable and they fit great when you are in between your maternity clothes and your pre-baby clothes. I really liked the quality from Thyme Maternity. They can be a bit pricey, but they have lots of sales, it is definitely worth it.
I hope some of you may find these recommendations helpful whether you are a soon to be mom, a new mom or even buying a baby gift for someone who is a first time mom. Every baby is different and so is the experience, but I am hoping a lot of these recommendations are more general and can be used by most new parents and babies! Keep checking back as I’ll update you all again on our 6-12 month must haves!