Sponsored by Babylist and ShopStyle Collective.
Obviously, it took us a while (like…uhhhh, six years) to commit to the idea of expanding our family. The whole cancer storyline threw a wrench in things, but then, even when that was nearly behind us, there was most definitely a sense of whoa, are we really ready to start over…again? that made even the concept of adding another little one seem especially daunting. Especially after so much time had passed.
Those visions I initially had of our two potential kiddos walking to school together, or building blanket forts in the living room, or — you know — growing up and leaving the nest at relatively the same time? They shift dramatically when you realize your oldest will be hitting puberty by the time the younger is off to kinder. Oh, the adventure that awaits!
But I can already attest: one of the biggest advantages to the fact that this little girl is due a full seven years after our first? Hindsight. And plenty of it. Particularly where baby stuff is concerned.
And then again, so much really…hasn’t changed.
So, below, I’m sharing 10 items that we had, loved and will 100% have on hand again for this second round. And keep in mind: these aren’t just those decadent items that you’re only bold enough to add to your registry because “hmmm, what if someone is feeling exceptionally…generous…” Nope.
They’re all items I’d happily pay for myself. Again and again.
Oh…and all but one? Are under $100. So, whether you’re looking for yourself or someone else, this is a solid place to start, friends.
Thanks, Hindsight! The Baby Registry Checklist We’re Counting On The Second Time Around
This isn’t a comprehensive list, mind you — and I recognize that every family’s needs are different — but there’s so much superfluous stuff you’re absolutely convinced you need when you initially prep for baby, and thanks to hindsight (which is proving to be more of a help than a hindrance for perhaps the first time ever!), the 10 baby essentials you’ll find here are genuinely useful, tried and true, and, in many cases, even pretty dang time-saving.
And if you are building a comprehensive registry, I can’t recommend Babylist enough. Not only do they offer plenty of products directly through their site (I quickly found all 10 of my very specific product recommendations), but you can also easily add anything from any online retailer to your registry, opening up loads of additional options. Seriously handy (and cool).
Note: Aside from the Bottle Box below, I’ve avoided the whole category of “feeding” here for the time being. So much of how baby is fed comes down to the parent’s choice and circumstance, so not only are the associated products exceptionally personal — the whole conversation surrounding bottles, sterilizers, warmers, breastfeeding accessories, pumps and the like could take up an entire post. Happy to chat directly about our feeding experience in the comments — and I’m sure I’ll be documenting what this next experience is like in more detail down the road. Especially since I’ll be attempting to do it…gulp…single-breasted.
Here we go!
1. Babylist Boxes: Bottle Box, Swaddle Box + Diaper Box
This is the ONE item on this list I didn’t have access to when we were pregnant with Lana. At least, not in this format. Did we individually register for five different types of bottles so we could test them all before committing to a system? (And yes, bottles most definitely are accompanied by their own system of parts and accessories.) You betcha. But the Babylist Bottle Box would have turned those five registry items into one streamlined purchase or gift (and at a better value, too).
Same goes for the Babylist Swaddle Box. Especially for a second child, whose bottle and swaddle preferences might end up being drastically different from what worked for the first. Chris completely mastered the classic muslin swaddle with Lana (she could miraculously Houdini her way out of almost any of the velcro situations, no matter how snugly we cinched them), but I’m all for trying something new with #2. Chinny swears by the Love to Dream swaddle for her little guy (and he looks like the sweetest little peanut space alien zipped into it), so I’m super excited to see that it’s one of the four items included in the Swaddle Box, too. And the value is great when you buy the swaddles in the Box. It basically amounts to you getting one swaddle more or less free — and with free shipping + returns.
Even the Babylist Diaper Box is especially relevant for us. We cloth diapered Lana, and despite the fact that we had a genuinely great (if not a bit labor intensive) cloth diapering experience, it was also extremely water intensive. To the point where the cost savings, for us, and the environmental impact, were nearly a wash (no pun intended). So, for this second round, I’m excited to not only revisit the Honest diapers that we defaulted to when traveling with Lana but also try a couple of other new-to-us, eco-friendly diapers and wipes brands before landing on a favorite.
It’s worth noting: there are even more Babylist boxes you can choose from, but I genuinely think these three are the most helpful/provide the most bang for your buck. Some of the others, like the Babylist Library Box, are sweet — especially if you’re building a collection from scratch — but fortunately we’ve hung onto a large collection of favorites. (And even if you’re a first-timer, so many people end up gifting books a la carte that you’ll quickly build up a lovely library without even trying. Promise.)
By far the biggest investment on this list, so I’m just going to get it out of the way. Unless you live in a densely populated, urban area, you can’t go wrong with a BOB stroller. Yes, they’re larger and heavier than others, but unless you’re in the market for a true lightweight, umbrella-style stroller, the extra few pounds won’t phase you in the long run. They’re agile as heck, easy to push, roomy and comfortable for the kiddo. Not to mention the generous seat size means you can push your little one around until they’re far older than is appropriate. (Lana took a ride in it just a few months ago when her little cousin decided he was going to walk.) Chris and my mom both love how easily the handle height is adjusted, too.
And if you have any intention of actually running or hitting the trails or even walking somewhat athletically with baby on a regular basis — I mean, that’s what this stroller does best. We opted for the “pro,” mainly for the hand brake since I actually ran with it (in an area with hills, no less). Bonus points that the design has come a long way since we bought ours, and the current lineup is far more sleek and city-inspired in appearance.
There are loads of white noise machines out there, but I love that the Dohm Classic provides an actual, mechanical whooshing sound that you can adjust the volume and intensity of with the little vent openings on the top and sides. No weird, digital sounds here (a friend recently joked about them potentially being full of subliminal messages, hmmm…). Lana still sleeps with hers nightly, and we have one in the guest room, too, since it’s such a soothing addition. Love the minimal appearance, too.
At under $100, the Chicco LullaGo Anywhere Portable Bassinet is hands down the best bassinet you can buy for the money, whether you intend to use it for travel or not. It’s sleek, simple, super-lightweight (we moved Lana’s from room to room for naps and nighttime — it’s also just a safe, convenient place to pop down baby for a few). And at 12 lbs, it really is fast and easy to pack up for travel by car or plane. It only holds up to 20ish lbs, but we plan for Baby #2 to use this exclusively for the first few months before we move her into her own space. And we found that changing pad covers work beautifully as sheets for it. (We liked the soft, muslin ones.)
When it came to babywearing, we had a structured carrier (the Ergo), a stretchy wrap, and a linen ring sling, and both Chris and I preferred the ring sling, by far. It’s the fastest and easiest to get in and out of; it’s easy and compact to pack into a purse or diaper bag; it’s the sleekest to wear under a coat or cardigan (on the flip side, we also found it’s also the coolest to wear in hot weather); it’s exceptionally soft — and only gets softer with every wash; and it actually looks pretty dang chic when it needs to. (I wore Lana to quite a few weddings.) The WildBird slings are made of 100% Belgian linen, are sewn by professional at-home seamstresses and are so beautiful (I particularly love this exclusive pattern), but I’m also loving the idea of the pocket on the Kyte Baby linen ring sling, which is honestly perhaps the only feature I missed ours having the first time around. It’s a bit more affordable, too.
Never reach for one of those pointy bulb snot suckers again. The NoseFrida is simple and wildly effective — you literally suck snot out of little stuffed up noses using your own suction (read: your mouth), and it’s way less gross than it sounds. Worth every penny.
I really didn’t want to buy into the hype around this French cult favorite teether thingie Sophie the Giraffe, but Lana did, indeed, love it — even before she was teething. It’s the perfect thing for little hands to hold, fidget with, slobber on — and it’s natural rubber with natural, food-grade, coloring. It bought me an extra five minutes in the Target checkout line many a time. We even had a back-up Sophie in case the original went by the wayside.
These are billed as prefold diapers, but they’re are easily the most affordable, softest and most absorbent all-purpose burp cloths out there. Lana was a doozy of a spitter — literally don’t know how she retained a single calorie in her tiny bod — so we had dozens. They wash like a dream (and get more and more absorbent with more washing), don’t retain stinky milk funk, are easy to throw into diaper bags or stash in the car. Lay a couple down as a makeshift changing pad when you’re out and about? Sure! Not the most exciting purchase, but an unbeatable essential.
Everyone is obsessed with putting socks and shoes on babies, but the former always get wiggled off and the latter are kinda (OK, really) unnecessary. So, if their feet need to be covered: these Zutano booties. They snap on and off easily, but baby is less likely to wriggle free of them. And they’re available in cozy fleece or a lighter organic cotton, too.
10. Ubbi Diaper Pail
We used this chic diaper pail with reusable liners for our cloth diapering situation, and it still sits in the corner of our guest bathroom for when friends with babies stay over. Clean design, lots of tasteful colors (this subtle pattern is cute!) and, most importantly, it contains smells as advertised. They make eco-friendly disposable bags, or you can go the route we did and choose reusable liners. (Most any will fit so long as the capacity is correct.)
Shop My Fave Babylist Items Featured In This Post
So much fun (and a little terrifying, if I’m being honest) revisiting some of our most-used baby products in anticipation of our impending arrival — but that whole hindsight thing also calms my nerves just a bit. 🙂 I can’t recommend building a registry with Babylist enough – all of the essentials, plus products I know and love in one place? Babylist just makes it that much easier.
Big thanks to Babylist and ShopStyle Collective for sponsoring this post. I love the idea of the Babylist boxes to kick off a registry or as a cost-effective way to experience a variety of popular products — and building a registry with Babylist and being able to add products from all over the web is pretty dang cool. And thanks, as always, for reading along and supporting the brands and partners we’re so excited to share. We genuinely appreciate it.
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Photography by Carolyn Stockman. Thank you, friend!