Top 9 Baby Items: Birth to 6 Months

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Recently my mom asked me what my top 3 most-used baby items were. I had been thinking about this for a while, honestly. When you're a first-time mom, you can easily become overwhelmed (at least I was) with all of the items out there, as well as all of the suggestions from all sorts of different people. I was fortunate enough to receive solid advice from three close friends/family members (shout out to Maggie, Catherine, and Becca!).

I decided to put together a list of my top 9 most-loved baby items and share them here. Maybe you're expecting a child or maybe you're going to be invited to an upcoming shower. Either way, I hope this advice will help.

Before I begin, I just want to say a couple of things: first, this is not a comprehensive list of things we use and like. We have plenty of things that help us out a lot, but I came up with this list as a group of items we truly LOVE and could not live without. Second, if you got us something that's not on this list, please don't for a moment think we don't like/love/need your thing. We absolutely do! We registered for several things not on this list that we really like. Third, this list doesn't include things like diapers, wipes, and books -- you know, things your baby needs to simply exist in the world! Fourth, this list is best used if you're looking to buy a gift for someone who has a newborn-6 month old. Bert is not quite 6 months old yet, and he's not yet sitting up on his own or eating solid foods, so I'm sure as his needs change so will this list. Finally, it's worth noting that Bert is breastfed so we don't use very many bottles. If you're planning to bottle feed, high five! You're doing what's best for your family! I'm just not the person to ask about formula/bottles because I do not have any insights.

Without further ado, here's the list in no particular order (beginning with the top left item)! I've also included links to where you can find these items:

1. The Boppy Lounger -- I didn't know what this was, so I didn't even know to ask for it. Catherine sent to us because she said she loved it with her first child, and I am very grateful she did. When we first got it and I was explaining what it was to Joe, he said, "So it's a dog bed?" Basically! Although this item specifically states it should be used on the floor only, I'll go ahead and tell you right now that where I use it most is on the couch beside me when I breastfeed Bert. It gives me a place to lay him down in order to switch feeding sides. We also sometimes lay him there as we eat dinner so he's part of the family. Truth be told, he's almost totally outgrown this (truth truth be told, he probably is already a little past comfortable length!), and we will be sad to see it go! Bonus tip: if you have a dog, make sure you put this lounger out of reach when you leave the house or your dog might do what Jane Austen does, which is use it as a bed. Just like Joe said!

Bert in his Boppy Lounger wearing his sleeping gown (discussed below).
2. The Boppy Nursing Pillow -- After using this once, my only question was: how do moms feed their babies without it? In the hospital I stacked up a few pillows to nurse Bert, but when I got home I had two of these bad boys waiting for me. It just makes nursing so comfortable, and you're not worried about pillows slipping. Even now, when I have to breastfeed Bert away from home I'm like DANG! my arms are so tired. Bonus tip: if you have a two-floor home, get yourself two of these! We leave one in our family room where I feed Bert downstairs, and we also have one upstairs for feedings I do there. 

3. Diaper Genie -- Look, I'm the first person to look at something and be like, "Do we really NEEEEEED that?" I'm here to tell you with the Diaper Genie, you really NEEEEEED that. I really do not want to be running diapers outside to the trash all day long, nor do I want my house smelling like baby poo and pee. Are the refills a little pricey? Sure, but you can get off-brand ones, and you can also get the refills at Sam's Club, which is what we do. Bonus tip: if you have a two-floor home, think about getting yourself two. We were gifted a new one at our shower and also given a used one from some friends, so we keep one upstairs in Bert's room and we keep another downstairs beside our house trash can. So convenient. (If you're a new mom and you receive two for your shower, KEEP BOTH!)

4. Chicco Key Fit 30 Infant Car Seat -- This car seat is great. It was recommended to me by multiple moms. Basically, it comes with a base that you install in your car. Once the base is installed, this car seat just quickly clicks in and out. No need to strap your baby in sideways while you're standing in the rain outside Walmart. After using this thing one time, I couldn't help but wonder to myself how my mom was able to strap and unstrap a baby's car seat in her van whilst corralling four other children all while standing in the rain outside Walmart. Seriously, Kathy, how did you do it?! Bonus tip: get yourself an extra base or two. We have one for my car and one for Joe's. If you live near family and maybe grandma will be driving baby around from time to time, get her one too. 

5. Chicco Key Fit 30 Caddy -- It's a stroller that holds your car seat. Seriously. Just like you click the car seat into the base in your car, you can just click your car seat into this caddy and go. It's amazing. No need to strap and unstrap your baby while you're standing in the rain outside Walmart! After using this thing one time, I couldn't help but wonder to myself how my mom was able to strap and unstrap a baby into a stroller whilst corralling four other children all while standing in the rain outside Walmart. Seriously, Kathy, how did you do it?! (Are you sensing a theme here?) Bonus tip: if you travel and take this caddy with you, don't leave it 8 hours away at your parents' house when you go back to your house after Thanksgiving. Like certain people I know did. Luckily, said people were able to get a used one for $30 on Facebook Marketplace. 

6. Nuby Teething Bib -- We received a lot of bibs that are cute and nice. My mom sent us two of these and after using one once I WAS HOOKED. They are absorbent, they stay in place and don't slide around Bert's neck, and they have a little teething bit he can use to chew on. They are amazing. When I told my mom how much I liked them she got us a bunch more. (Thanks, Mom!) Bonus tip: these are reversible, and one side has a cool pattern while the other side is more of a solid color in case you're one of those people who likes your baby's outfit to match. 

7. Hatch Rest Sound Machine -- For a little while I was using a white noise app on my phone to help Bert sleep. Then we received a  Target gift card from Joe's coworkers, and we decided to spring for this sound machine. It has several sounds to choose from, and it also acts as a nightlight too, so it can grow with the baby. You can program your favorite sound and color combinations so you're ready with one tap of your finger! Apparently you can also control it from your smartphone, which I have not done, but maybe I will do! Bonus tip: when your baby is sleeping in your room for the first several months, this white noise machine might also help you. It helped us to not hear every little movement Bert was making throughout the night. 

8. Baby Sleeping Gowns -- We're not devoted to one particular brand of these, but baby sleeping gowns are great. I didn't know to register for them, but how I found out about them was my mom asked me if we had any. When I said we didn't, she sent us some. (Thanks again, Mom!) We solely used these for the first three months of Bert's life. When your baby is waking up throughout the night and needs to be changed, these make it SO EASY because you quickly pull them up, change the baby, and pull them down again. No fussing with zippers in the dark at 3:17 a.m. They also allow the baby's chest and arms to stay warm. Bonus tip: these are also super cute! Many times I thought Bert looked like he was auditioning to play an apostle in Jesus Christ, Superstar when he was wearing one! 

9. A Waterproof Mat -- We're not devoted to a particular brand of these either, and, in fact, we never had to order one because our hospital gave us one. But I did find these on Amazon. We kept ours under Bert's bassinet so we could quickly pull it out and change him on it for nighttime changes. If he got poo or pee on it, no problem, we just wiped it off. Bonus tip: this is also great for when you travel. 
Bert on his waterproof mat. As you can see, he was basically always too long for it! 
So there you have it! These are nine things that we are so grateful we have had for Bert's first six months of life. If you have any questions about these items or about other things we have and use (crib, bassinet, swing, Pack 'n Play, etc.) -- or things that we haven't found useful or tips on anything else -- I am always happy to help if I can! Of course, it's important to find what works best for you and your family, but if you were like me and really had no idea where to start, I hope this list will help! Next I'm thinking of doing a list for things that are necessary for a new mom and maybe also one for how I organize Bert's things. 

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