OK. After time and thought and a year of having a baby, I’ve put this together in hopes it can be of help to you preparing for your baby!! There are SO many things out there it can be really overwhelming, so I just want this to be useful to you and take some stress away. I’ve got friends having babies and asking what I recommend and I am passionate about this ha! When my husband and I were looking at baby gear, our thought process was:
“We want the minimal amount of things without making this harder than it has to be.”
So…I guess my baby product motto is…
“Minimal but comfortable.”
Now one thing I totally get and I want to make clear: these things can add up and be expensive, and I want you to realize that my goal is not to talk you into a certain brand. I’m just sharing what we have and kind of reviewing those things- and I’m not sharing anything we haven’t found very useful and necessary. We had baby showers where gracious friends and family gifted us things and even a couple of cool brands I’ve gotten to work with! I’ve seen several of these items though in consignment stores and on Facebook Marketplace, so totally check there! And I’m sharing this on Cyber Monday so hopefully you can get some deals on things!
We were gifted one of these from Plum & Sparrow and little did I know at the time how much we would use it! This allowed John Shepherd to sleep in different places so easily when he was a newborn. Anytime we were away from home- having a day visit or spending the night with our parents, we always made sure to bring this for him to sleep him. We had bought a Baby Bjorn bassinet to have beside our bed during the early weeks, but looking back we totally could have saved money and just had one of these on a stand. Also, its beautiful! We don’t have the stand, but I’m sharing one of those too, because I think this is a great option.
Snuggle Me Lounger
I feel like this little thing was invaluable during the newborn days and gave me a lot of peace of mind. It is a cozy, safe place to lay your baby down. I would usually have him in this on the couch, and it allowed me to be able to set him down without me worrying about him falling or rolling around. He seemed quite content in it too. Unlike the Dockatot, its supposed to give the baby a hammock-like feel that makes them feel snug and secure. *His face never looked smooshed in this either for anyone maybe worried about that.
Baby Bjorn Bouncer
Other than the SnuggleMe, this was really the only other thing we used to set him in. We had this in place of a swing or swing-type thing. It allowed him to sit up more and he was happy to be able to see around and would play under his gym in this. It doesn’t have batteries, so no need to worry about that. The way its designed your baby can pretty easily move his legs to bounce himself a bit. One thing I’ve really appreciated about it is its compactness. It doesn’t take up a ton of room when out and it stores soooo easily. This bouncer is incredibly light to pick up and move to another part of the house. I’m about to pull it back out to see if he enjoys sitting in it to watch movies, though he rarely sits still. It’s made to grow with your baby!
I feel like this deserves a little section of its own. I am a big fan of baby carriers. I don’t know if these contributed to it, but John Shepherd is the snuggliest little guy! There are so many options of baby carriers and I’ll tell you why I love all three of these.
We’ve been using these slings from the early weeks! They take a little practice and getting used to, but are so worth it in my opinion. Don’t be intimated by these and don’t be discouraged if you don’t have it the first try! I watched Wildbird’s tutorials on Instagram and we had it down in no time (shoot less for it being perfect, and more for the 2 of you being comfortable!) These are awesome because they are incredibly lightweight and not bulky at all. This was perfect for bringing to church, family get-togethers, and short walks, and just time at the house. And they fit easy in the diaper bag! I use it less now since he’s walking, but we do still use it for short walks and even last month during a fussy, teething day. It basically is holding your baby but giving your arms a break. I ultimately chose this one over the Solly baby wrap, because I figured I could get longer use out of it! I was originally afraid the Wildbird wouldn’t be as good as the Solly wrap with a newborn, but the Wildbird turned out to be great during the newborn days and I never regretted not getting the Solly wrap.
This has been our go-to recently! Great for walks without being too cumbersome. It’s super easy to wear and adjust, and gives you the option to wear them on the front or back. We didn’t have this when he was a newborn, but I have seen people using this for newborns! It has more support now that he is bigger than the ringsling in my opinion. It also is really cute without being as expensive as other carriers that look like it.
This carrier is what we have used for more intense walks or hiking. We took the sakura carrier hiking, and this would have been the better option for a 2 hour hike. It has more padding. This one is great for more adventurous activities or when you’ll be wearing your baby for a very long time, but it is the bulkier option of the 3 (although very comfy with the padding).
In conclusion for the carriers: I feel like She and I are walking a lot, so I’ve appreciated all 3 for different reasons. It really depends on how much you are wanting to wear your baby and what you are hoping to do while wearing your baby. They are all great and we’ve used them all a lot.
The main reason we went with the Uppababy Mesa carseat is it goes with out Uppababy Vista stroller we have. The carseat has been great though! Our moms were so impressed with it when he was a newborn saying how comfy and secure he looked in it. It has a newborn insert to support their head. It also can be used without the base which is really nice! No complaints at all.
After lots of research we decided on the Uppababy Vista. It has held up great. I ultimately decided I wanted it because it can accommodate up to 3 kids and we really desired to have kids close together. The carseat attaches super easily! We mainly use the rumble seat now, and there are lots of options on how to turn and adjust baby in it. It is expensive though and we received it as a gift from a lot of the women from my church I grew up at. It’s easy to stroll, and although I do not jog with it, its been great for walks and handles super well outside off-road. However, I have been hearing its easier to have 2 kids side-by-side rather than one in front of the other. We’ll see what works for us when the time comes! However its been a great stroller and I’ve really enjoyed it. There is a newer version out, but we have the older one.
*I also want to mention though- it comes with a bassinet and we have friends who have used this as their main bassinet for the baby to sleep in! There is a stand that can be purchased to use it like this I believe. So it could keep you from having to buy a bassinet!
At the beginning of the year, before Covid happened, we decided to buy a Doona carseat/stroller. We usually are doing lots of traveling, and although we did lots less traveling because of Covid, when we did travel, this thing was amazing. Its a carseat that converts into a stroller. It works so well going through airports and is SO easy to covert to and from a stroller to a carseat and vice-versa. I’ve totally seen some people have this for their main stroller and carseat. I think it really depends on where you live. For me, not living in a city and some of our walks turning off-road and the occasional gravel, we could’t have this for our main stroller. It’s perfect for pavement, but is a little top-heavy on uneven ground. It has been nice though even for little trips around town because its easier to bring him in a store or restaurant in this rather than our full stroller. It’s definitely been worth it for us and I look forward to being able to use it with our new baby!
This is my top recommended item to friends and if you are going to splurge on one thing, let it be this! I get that it’s not for everyone, but WOW I slept so much better having the Owlet smart sock on him at night. It tracks your baby’s heart rate and oxygen levels while they sleep and will alert you if their levels dip. My sister is a NICU nurse and thinks this product is fantastic. John Shepherd wore it every night till he was about 7 months old, and we actually pulled it out recently when we were worried about a possible oxygen problem. It also was such a blessing to have when he got RSV at 4 months. We had maybe 2 false alarms that seemed to be the result of the sock not being on properly. Yes the false alarms scared me, but would not at all deter me from the product. We opted to just get the sock and not the Owlet monitor as well. We chose a different monitor that we could move easily.
This is something I actually didn’t put a ton of research into! The Owlet was my main priority. But this one has been great. Connects to my phone through wifi, user friendly, and is super easy to move. I liked being able to send it with John Shepherd if he was staying with his grandparents. No complaints. Only negative was going on vacation and being at a place with spotty wifi, but wasn’t a huge deal for that short amount of time.
This is the diaper bag I have and love! I definitely prefer a backpack style because its so easy to have it on my back while I’m carrying John Shepherd. This one has plenty of room and great compartments. It’s also beautiful and something I don’t see myself ever tiring of. If this one gets worn down I fully plan on just buying another ha! But a year later its still in really good shape and looks great!
Yes, diapers are a no-brainer, but this brand is just so good I had to share! We’ve tried several different brands and these have by far been my favorite. They are the softest, most absorbent we have tried, and are free of a LOT of things. I think he has had 1 or 2 accidents in the 6 months we’ve been using these (I think both were my fault for us being out and about and waiting too long to change him), but a couple weeks ago while I was waiting on a new shipment of Coterie diapers, we used another very popular brand and he had 4 accidents in a week and a half! I was shocked. The other thing I really appreciate about these is they are some of the only all-white, printless diapers I can find. Especially in the summer he was wearing lots of white and light-colored clothes and diapers with prints show through. One more plus is they just started a subscription option!
Shep has been a paci baby since day one and I am thankful for it ha. He has preferred the pacis with round/bulb nipples- I think he’s always been able to hold this one in his mouth better. Our favorite brands are BIBS and Sweeties. BIBS are the cute plastic ones you see that come in pretty colors. He likes these but has liked the Sweeties even more. The Sweeties are natural rubber ones, and I noticed because these have a permanent little “handle” sticking out, they were easier for him to grab and pop back in his mouth, especially when napping. They also are softer and if he fell asleep with one under his cheek didn’t seem to leave a mark. Both are great and we put clips on the end to help keep up with them!
Our favorites have been Ryan and Rose clips! Soft beads he can even chew on and lots of options. They lay flat on him too.
Gowns were the best during the newborn days! LOTS of diaper changes and baby is not moving around much, so these were the way to go for us. Out of all the ones we tried, L’oved Baby is a great choice and has lots of nice colors to choose from, but the Little Me brand was the softest and easiest to put on and work with.
Baby Socks with Snaps
No socks stay on a newborn. None. At least our newborn. Except these. These are the best for a shoeless, winter baby! We even have a pair now that has grips on the bottom.
This thing, in my opinion, is a must-have for any breast-feeding mom. While you’re nursing, you suction this to whichever side the baby is not on, and it catches all your let-down. I had a friend who only had this and never used an electric pump, and had sooo much milk stored. Thats what worked for me as a stay-at-home mom, because I was never away from him for too long. I only had this, and it worked for us for the 4 months I breast-fed. I said I’d try this and then buy an electric pump if I needed one. I never needed anything more, but depending how long we go with this next baby, I may try an electric?
Gathre makes the most incredible leather mats. The micro mat which we used as a changing mat was invaluable when we had a newborn and were changing so many dirty diapers every day. It wipes clean! We had a cushioned fabric mat but always opted to lay this on top when he was dirty to keep from washing the fabric one daily. And the bigger mats are so nice to lay them on and are great to take outside!
This is the cushioned fabric mat and basket I mentioned above . These truly are partly decoration, but I want to mention them because they turned out to be really helpful! We’ve noticed especially as Shep has gotten older that he moves around less when he is being changed in this basket rather than on the bed or on the floor. He HATES being changed right now so this really is a big help. There are lots of these on Amazon and probably similar, less expensive options, but this really is one of the only things I bought to decorate his nursery ha. And we have the cushioned mat to go in it also, otherwise it does seem uncomfortable to him.
We were gifted the Stokke Tripp Trapp and its been so great! It is very expsensive and I have yet to decide if we’ll buy another for baby #2, but its truly been the best high chair out of any the ones he’s been in. John Shepherd moves A LOT and can wiggle his way out of most high chairs or at least fight the straps when he thinks he can possibly get out. This has the best harness and has been the easiest to adjust to his size (it has a footrest so they can sit properly). What’s different about this chair is its made to grow with your child and can literally be used as an adult chair. We have a friend who had one for 3 of her kids and said they used them till they were teenagers. So maybe we will get another now that I’m thinking about it ha!
Baby Food Maker
I’m not one for having a ton of different gadgets in my kitchen, but this little guy has made clean up so quick and easy its been so worth having him take up a little space in the pantry ha! I went with Beaba after it was recommended in “French Kids Eat Everything” and my sister-in-law had one and liked it. It’s the only baby food maker I’ve had, so like lots of other products on here, I can’t compare it to much, but we haven’t had any problems with it. It steams and then purees the food all in one. You could totally do the steaming and pureeing in other kitchen items you have, but with us not having a dishwasher, every dish counts in this house, and this makes clean up a breeze.
This was our baby gift from my mom and I have really enjoyed it! We put it in our living room because I figured I’d be holding and nursing a newborn a LOT, and didn’t want to be alone in his nursery. It was great and its still my favorite place to sit. It glides, reclines, swivels, and is very comfortable.
Pregnancy/ Nursing Pillow
For whatever reason I was initially very against getting a pregnancy pillow. They just looked so obnoxious and I literally don’t have room for one in my house haha. But when my best friend had her baby and had this nursing pillow that doubled as a pregnancy pillow, I thought I could live with that and like it! It’s small and super helpful for nursing when you’re learning, and very comfortable and not too huge to sleep with. I’d always find John Luke and our dogs trying to snuggle up with this cozy pillow ha.
Hatch Sound Machine and Light
I truly don’t know what we’d do without this thing lol. We’ve used the sound machine since day 1 and it definitely helps drown out the other noises in the house. You can pick the sound (we only use white noise because our sleep consultant recommended that!), adjust the volume, pick the color of light and the brightness. I think it connects to an app, but its so easy to do on the machine and simple. The light allows us to peak in while he’s asleep. (He also is not “addicted” to the sound machine. He sleeps through the night at my mother-in-law’s without one.)
Muslin blankets have been great for us for swaddling him as a newborn, as a light blanket to cover/ warm him, and also as a burp cloth. These are 10x better than a burp cloth, and pretty much replaced ours. We were going through sooo many burp cloths a day, when these can take so much more spit up. 1 of these is equivalent to like 5 burp cloths. They’re light and easy to pack too. Target has really cute prints and Sugarhouse Swaddles from Etsy has pretty muted colors and any color you could imagine!
We swaddled John Shepherd the first few weeks and then transitioned him into a sleep sack. Out of the 2 we had, this was our favorite and has withheld better than the other. It’s more expensive than others but lasts them from 2-months to 2 years. We have one and then the other we would use when this was in the wash, so he literally wears it every nap and night. It acts as a blanket to warm him without him getting twisted in it, but I also use it for every nap because I feel like it seems to calm him down. It makes it slightly hard for him to stand up and walk around his crib haha.
Tons of baby blanket options, this feels kind of unnecessary, but just sharing this because it was a gift that ended up being out favorite! Perfect size and so soft.
We went ahead and invested in a really good travel crib since we travel so much. We went with Baby Bjorn over similar ones just as we’ve been impressed by other products by them. This can also double as a playpen. This one fold up and takes down very easy, fits in my suitcase, and is rather light. We’ve been very happy with this and John Shepherd slept in this for a while at home while he preferred it over his new crib!
Now just a few toys and activities because there are so many to choose from and we kept things very minimal when he was little and this worked for us! My mom got him this gym for Christmas and it was a hit! He was 3 months old and really enjoyed it from then until he was about 7 months old and we only took it away then because he was pulling up on things and it would fall over on him. This was an every day toy that kept him entertained for may hours!
Swish, Rattle, & Sophie
I feel like these were his first and only toys for a while and they were great!