Ah, the first year of having a baby….There’s nothing else like it. That year is magical, beyond any magic you’ve ever known, but also…freaking hard. Thankfully, this modern age has thought of some brilliant items to help out along the way.
Many of the heavily used essentials (think pacifiers and bottles) need to also be approved by that fresh, yummy little chunk of yours, so sometimes it takes a few go-arounds with your babe to find the right match (for what it’s worth, my little man loved these pacifiers and this bottle the most).
Beyond those items, there were a handful of incredibly key pieces of gear my husband and I truly depended on in the first year. This is the baby gear we swear by, whether to give your arms a much-deserved break throughout the day, to help your little champion practice new skills, or even just to clip those sweet little fingernails that grow faster than weeds.
If you’re active on the trails, this is the greatest carrier once your baby has neck strength. It fits like a backpack, has the most brilliant engineered seat for your kiddo, and has so many smart pockets to fit water bottles, keys, diapers, hats and all the snacks you could need. You can also set it down on the ground with a kickstand while your baby still happily sits in it! This one grows with you well beyond the first year, as the backpack is good for kids up to 48 lbs.
If you plan on breastfeeding, this manual breast pump is a must. It was not only most recommended to me by other moms when I was pregnant, but I used it far more (like, so much more) than the breast pump I received through my insurance. It’s a genius design so as not to waste the breast milk that leaks from the other side as you’re actively breastfeeding, helps you store up milk faster, PLUS it majorly helps with clogged milk ducts (trust me on that one).
Using a sound machine was one of the ways my husband and I felt better equipped at helping our little man sleep well. We actually tried a few others but preferred the small size of this mini white noise machine, and the ability to control it from an app on our phones was (and still is) incredibly convenient.
I experienced both worlds of breastfeeding and formula, as we ended up having to switch over exclusively to formula around the time my son was 4 months old. Let me tell you, if formula is in your future at all, this is hands-down the best investment we ever made. Think of it as a fancy little coffee machine for your baby, but whipping up delicious bottles instead of caffeine by just the TOUCH OF ONE BUTTON. It is worth every penny.
We loved having this baby gym, and our little man spent a lot of time under it. It’s incredibly helpful in a baby’s developmental growth, and the natural wood is so aesthetically pleasing.
A baby lounger makes your life so much easier! It’s a safe place to set your baby down, and thanks to the rolled-up sides it gives a cozy sensation they’re still being snuggled. Oh yeah, they’re totally cute for photo ops, too. We found so much relief in using this to give our arms a break, and even a secure area to practice sitting up and play with toys as they grow!
We loved this bath for warm evening washes before bed. And since it’s a bath that transforms as your baby grows, we used ours all the way until our little man was ready to be in the big tub. PS: a bath kneeler is a really nice pairing, too.
Beis makes the most brilliant diaper bag of all time. It has everything you could ever want or need. It includes a pouch to hold pacifiers (which can be removed and hung on your stroller, used in another bag, etc.,), a teething toy, an odor-proof bag to put dirty diapers in a pinch or wet clothes after the beach, a portable changing pad and insulated drawstring pocket for bottles. Not to mention, a ton of other perfect pockets, too. Can also be scooped up in the color beige.
This is essentially the same bag as above, but the backpack version! I was gifted one of them and had bought the other myself — they were each so incredible I decided to keep both. I still use them today and switch them out based on what we’re doing!
The Jolly Jumper is unbelievably fun for both parent and baby — watching them light up as they bounce their chunky legs is the best. Since this one comes on a stand (instead of the classic door frame model) it requires a bit of space, but since our little guy had legs that didn’t seem to ever stop moving, this was well-used!
11 | The Ollie Swaddle
Simple cloth swaddles are the easiest when your baby is super-new and tiny, but as our guy grew and we established longer sleep patterns, the Ollie swaddle was by far the most amazing design for consolidated sleep. The velcro makes it phenomenally easy for anyone to use, swaddle pro or not, and it was the best at keeping baby asleep while still having the moro reflex. Once the swaddle phase is done? THIS is pure gold.
12 | Muslin Burp Cloths
My son had pretty intense reflux for the entire first year, so after trying out a few types, we ended up purchasing a couple packs of these burp cloths (great gift to give, too)! Absorbent, soft and the perfect size.
Baby nails only stay soft enough to peel back for a short time (oh, and they grow like weeds), so I found myself needing a trusty clipper. Warning: baby clippers are not all created the same, but this one by the American Red Cross was the absolute easiest to use and felt the softest to handle. We still use it weekly!
Toys aren’t as interesting in the first year, but gear that allowed the baby to move, reach, and wiggle safely was the most heavily used in our home. This walker is no exception, we ended up using it relentlessly once our guy could stand up on his own. He even pushed this around the house to practice walking.
We had our fair share of items we never used (or loved), but the items above are our favorite baby gems, the items I’m saving in storage (just in case) and things I would totally gift a best friend in a heartbeat.
Oh, and some good noise makers are fun to have around, too!
Let’s be friends on Instagram! Sharing life from my sleepy little beach town, daily style, makeup favorites, Gilmore Girl bing-athons, and endless cups of coffee – all with a good dose of adorable toddler content, too.
This one’s for the pinners…