Today our sweet friend Tracy is guest blogging about her top 10 baby must haves! Most of us out there have been first time parents-to-be. We read books, visit websites and grill our mom friends on every little item that we MUST have to survive the first year with these little humans. The second (or third or fourth) time around is much different. WE’RE PROS! We’ve got this! Or so I thought when I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd. I had a 2 year old! I know it all. But in the short 2 years between pregnancies, I moved out to the burbs amongst the “mommy brain trust” and learned about some pretty awesome products that would have made the first baby much easier! After consulting with a group of moms, I’ve assembled a list of “must have” items, that everyone might not know about. I’m not including the obvious (car seats, stroller, bottles, etc) but some of the little “extras” that definitely helped out the second time around!
1. THE ROCK N PLAY: This was hands down the #1 thing everyone said when I asked what their must have item was. For those that don’t know (I didn’t with my first), it’s basically a portable bassinet with a curved bottom that you can rock. Why I loved it was it allowed us to be mobile! They fold up and are very light and we could bring them to friends’ houses and when Olivia was awake, she would lie in it and I could rock her, and then it was her bed when she slept! I’ve heard of people who use it in place of a bassinet. They now even make them that take batteries and it rocks it for you! I had the old school one that I rocked with my foot. Amazon $42.88 or $79.99 for the one that auto-rocks! Or ask around…we’ve passed one around our group of friends through about 5 babies.2. SWADDLE SLEEP SACKS: I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was never able to master the perfect swaddle! It was never tight enough and my poor girl would break free immediately. I tried all of the different iterations of blankets and then discovered the Sleep Sack with a swaddle attached! Genius! You just put them on the baby like a vest, zip them up and then the swaddle “flaps” Velcro around the sack as tight as you want. As they get older, you can swaddle under their arms. I always used regular sleep sacks with my kiddos after the swaddling days were over, but the swaddle sleep sacks were a life saver with #2. Amazon $14.003. NOSE FRIDA: Disclaimer…these sound so gross, but work so well!!! Poor little babies don’t know how to blow their little noses, and they sure have runny/stopped up noses a LOT! Poor Olivia was struggling one day and my friend Amy said “Just get your Frida”. UM, WHAT??? Then my friend Lindsey said it. Then my doctor said it! What is this thing? It is a little tube that you place in the baby’s nostril that connects to a suction that the mom puts in her mouth and you essentially suck the snot out of their noses! It’s not as gross as it sounds. There’s a filter in the middle that keeps anything nasty from coming into your mouth. It is monumentally better than a bulb syringe. Target $15.504. RUBBER BIBS: They are the only way to go once you start solids. I attempted regular cloth bibs when I started feeding my first and they were immediately stained. I still make my 3 year old wear them when she’s eating soup! Baby Bjorn 2 pack at Target $14.19
5. STEP 2 PUSH AROUND BUGGY: Christa was the first one of us that got one of these for Charlotte and we all quickly followed because they are the perfect item when going to an outdoor event with a 9mo old on up. They are little plastic cars that look like Volkswagen bugs with a handle on top for the parent to push them around. You can strap the kiddo in with a seat belt, and it has a little steering wheel and horn for them to play with. It remains a favorite for both my 1 and 3 year old. Amazon or Target $39.99
6. WUBBANUB PACIFIERS: Pacifiers attached to little stuffed animals that the baby can grab and put back in when they wake up. Enough said!!!! Amazon $13.957. DOUBLE BOB STROLLER: This is the world’s greatest double stroller! If you only get one double stroller and you ever walk or run for exercise, you need this one. My friend Claire has another brand jogging stroller, and borrows my Bob whenever we walk and I only have one baby with me (or takes my single if I have both). It has a hefty price tag, but is completely worth it! This is one where it’s worth your time asking around for someone ready to sell theirs or checking on Craigslist. I was lucky enough to buy my neighbor Reagan’s when she was done. These also hold their value and have great resale. Amazon $500-$600 based on the features. The single is also a must have, but I don’t know what I’d do without my double!8. DIAPER BOOSTER PADS: Ever have a baby or toddler that had a leaky diaper every morning? Your first guess, go up a size. When that doesn’t work how do you stop the leaks??? Diaper booster pads! They are basically baby maxi pads that you put inside the diaper, except they are even more absorbent than that. These are definitely life savers…or at least sheet savers. Select Kids Booster Pads Amazon $9.99
9. BEG, BARTER, BUY SITES: Pretty much every community and neighborhood have these sites on Facebook. I had never heard of them when I was pregnant with Lucy. When I first discovered the Memorial one from my friend Shannon, I was hooked! Great resource for local, gently used items to buy and then later to sell your things when you are done with them. One piece of advice I have is to really think about how long you actually use baby items: bouncy seats about 5-6 months, exersaucers about 3-5 months, play mats about 5 months. We spend so much money on these things that we use for such a short period of time. BBB sites are great for these, or do what our friend group does…pass them around! I have a hard time parting with my baby items for sentimental reasons, but I passed most of my bouncies, etc down. Every now and then I’ll see a friend’s baby in one of our things and it makes me so happy to see them enjoying it!10. MOMMY FRIEND GROUP: Hands down the most valuable thing to have no matter if you’re having your 1st or 5th baby! When I was pregnant with Lucy, I was so clueless! My friends Shannon, Laura and Melanie literally told me every single thing to buy and what to do from giving birth, to feeding to changing diapers! Then I moved to my awesome neighborhood and found even more amazing, knowledgeable moms. We count on each other every day for advice, for lending an ear for venting and for drinking many, many glasses of wine! You can buy all the fancy things out there, but the advice and support of fellow moms is by far the greatest asset!
Our question for you, what is your favorite baby item?