Today’s post is one that has been requested over and over and over for a YEAR now! It’s crazy to think that Luke is 14 months old – it flew by so quickly, I can’t even believe it! I am doing this post because it’s been one that I have had quested since Luke was 2mos old! So many mamas were writing me asking if I could round up the products I really loved and used but I decided I’d wait until he was a year old so that I could really get a bigger picture. Baby stuff can be SO expensive and there is so much of it – it just all adds up! The last thing I wanted to do was mis-lead anyone into buying something so here I am – 14 months later and I am sharing the MUSTS of Luke’s first year. These are the products that are tried and true – the things we loved and used and used and would buy again if we had to… These are the products that not only did Luke love but we are parents loved. If you are new here, I work full time and I work nights/weekends as well, but I work from home mostly. So I was constantly having to juggle my mom duties + work duties. a lot of these items helped make that possible. AND so did my mom, haha! She would come every other weekend during the first year so that I could knock out big loads of work at once- but she is not for sale!
I’ll just put this disclaimer out here – this post is simply for those who have asked to see what we truly loved and used – that is all. I just wanted to share our experience. There are tons of products and variations of products and I will say – I did get the opportunity to try many as I receive a lot in PR. But this is just what dwindled down to be the *musts*. There are tons of other items we loved and used, but I just wanted to do a dedicated post to the things we found super worthwhile. 🙂
#1 PUJ TUB || This is a soft, foldable baby tub that is super user friendly and totally safe! Luke LOVED baths from the get-go. He took them in the kitchen sink for a very long time [using the Puj] because he preferred the sink over his fancy [rather pricy] 4Moms bath tub. I think we used it maybe a hand full of times and he never enjoyed bath time with it. Really & truly, it just takes room up in our house- it has some great features and functions but I’d rather have a happy bathed baby. We tried several times but he just didn’t enjoy it as much. He loves the Puj and it is so easy and functional! I know that babies are all so different so we did put the 4Moms bath in storage until we have another just in case another baby likes it.
#2 PRAISE BABY DVD || This seems random, I know, but hear me out! So, I have 6 neices/nephews and I’ve been around babies and baby ‘things’ for 11? years now. My niece Lola is one year older than Luke and her older siblings played this music for Luke one time and he LOVED it- they said Lola loves it too. To this day, he still loves it – if he if ever fussy I can put this on YouTube and he immediately calms down. Luke is a very chill, easy-going baby and rarely is ‘fussy’ but if he is, he calms at the sound of this music and he also enjoys seeing the other babies/colors/animals on the video. We aren’t super uptight over screen time – I know it can be a hot topic! But Luke rarely watches any screens really – just because we are always with him playing and out doing things. Anyway, this is the one thing we’ve let him watch and it is really sweet- I personally love the songs used. It’s not high quality or anything – which is interesting but I know many babies who love this aside of my family.
#3 WIPE WARMER|| Oh my stars! This is the one thing I am so particular about.. wipe warmers! I have this one next to Luke’s changing pad and then the travel sized one downstairs and also traveled w/it. The idea of using cold wipes on a baby is one that just makes me sad! Also, I am the same w/lotion! When we traveled in the winter I would sit on Luke’s travel wipes just to get them warmed up before changing him because I didn’t want to use cold ones. John gives me a hard time about it – he thinks Luke doesn’t care! We’ve been using these wipe warmers for 14 months now and loving them and had no issues so I’d highly recommend this brand.
#4 DOCK-A-TOT || I was on the table about this product prior to Luke. I felt like they were ‘trendy’, ya know?! They aren’t cheap and I was worried it would be a waste of money but it turned out not to be! In fact, as soon as Luke moved upstairs to his crib I took this over to my friends house and she used it for her new baby. She just recently brought it back and said that they loved it. This was her second baby so she’s done with and without the Dock-A-Tot and she is sold on it now.
#5 ERGO BABY CARRIER || This was another product I wasn’t sure if we’d really use or appreciate but trust me when I say we LOVE this thing. I am talking – we traveled to other cities and countries and this was always a must! It is seriously so functional and amazing. Luke loved it as a new baby and even more when he got bigger and faced outwards. When we travel I still get up early and work every morning so John always put Luke in this and they’d go explore or run and get coffee while I worked. John and I both swear by it – it gives you a lot of freedom and Luke loved being snuggled up to us.
#6 CAR SEAT MONITOR || I know most people use a mirror to see the baby in the carseat but I had heard from a friend that this was a good option – and it TOTALLY is. I don’t think I could ever use the mirror alone because this is so handy and easy to see and use. The camera is installed on the headrest of Luke’s seat and strapped on tightly and the screen is mounted on my dash. We ALLLLL love this thing! As I was writing this post I asked my mom to name some of the best items or most used items of Luke’s first year and this was the first thing she said.
#7 NOODLE & BOO || Oh, I love love love all N&B products! So so much. The HG products are the super soft lotion & bath wash– the others are all soo good but they can add up if you buy them regularly. I keep their wipes and some of their clothing products on hand but I don’t use them liberally at all simply because of the cost. I love N&B because it smells AMAZING – very fresh & baby-like. Luke got compliments on how he smelt so much – usually because of the lotion! I use it on his hair as well to ‘style’ it a bit. The lotion was a saving grace this winter when his skin got dry – it was the one thing that really worked for him actually.
#8 LOVE TO DREAM SWADDLE || If you read my disclaimers above, you’ll see that I have tried a lot of products out… I mean a lot. We love a lot of the easy swaddling wraps but this one ‘takes the cake’ for sure. The brand sent it to us and we had a room full of things to ‘try’ – which is overwhelming as new parents. I randomly gave this a shot and the next day got on Amazon and ordered extras and soon ordered the next size up. Luke liked to have his hands loose which was why this worked so well for us. His hands were loose, but still kind of ‘trapped’ where they wouldn’t hit him and wake him up.
#9 SOFT, CUDDLY BLANKETS || So, I am personally particular about blankets and I have *certain* blankets around the house that I prefer over others – mainly because they are super soft. When I was decorating Luke’s room, I selected blankets for him based on if they matched his nursery and how soft they were – and to this day he LOVES his blankets. He has 4 that he really loves and will snuggle against! They have been w/us through all of our flights & travels and now he brings them downstairs every morning while he’s waking up and snuggles them on me. One of our favorite blanket brands is Little Giraffe – I highly recommend these! But, you know the brand Barefoot Dreams?! It’s a brand that’s a little expensive but its AMAZING. I have a robe and a couple of items from the brand that I am crazy about and consider as ‘luxury’ items! Anyway, a friend gave us a childs blanket by the brand and it was a staple for us as well! It’s crazy plush and soft and also just beautiful!
#10 NOISE MAKER || Obviously this is a given… you will want white noise and you’ll want extra white noise makers. I got this one because my friend Jade recommended it to me. We leave it sitting on a bookshelf where it’s not an eye sore and is easy to walk in and hit the button. We did just recently purchased a second one but we literally can-not go w/o it! We have apps on our phones and we also have a travel one in the diaper bag and one built into an elephant that is soft and cozy. We use ALL of them – seriously they are a necessity.
#11 BUMBO SEAT || These have been around for years and years so this isn’t ground breaking but these are truly the best invention, ever! Ha! I just had to throw it in here because they are so great – especially if you are a busy mama who is cooking, cleaning, or working and you want to have your baby in a secure spot while you reach into the fridge for milk or… make some coffee. 😉
#12 STERILIZER|| I didn’t try any others – I just got this one because my friend Jade advised me on it.. I think. There are lots of options for sterilizers and I did like this one. It was quick and doesn’t take up too much space and is overall a good product. I do think that if I were to do it over I’d get one that also dried the products too, ya know?! I usually took the bottles/pacis/etc. out and let them dry on a Boon rack.
#13 FUZZY HOODED TOWEL || When I was talking about not wanting Luke to have cold wipes or lotion I was wanting to mention this, too! I put one of these towels into the drier right before we start Luke’s bath. I bathe him typically so I have John run and grab it when we are about to get him out so that he goes from cold water to a warm, cozy, soft towel. Again, John thinks its silly but I do this every single time!! When infants get out of the bath they look so cold and for some reason I can’t stand it so I’ve always made sure he is super warm after his bath until he gets his PJs on. I like these towels bc they are cute… haha but really, they are so soft and we use them OVER and OVER and they just wash well and are amazing quality. The are soft and fuzzy and it’s a must that they wrap around Luke’s head – especially the first 8mos! It would keep him warm and dry his hair.
#14 KICKEE PANT PJS || Speaking of PJs… this is the brand Luke has worn his WHOLE life. No kidding, I need to buy stock in the brand haha! I think we have 100 pair! I have stores calling me sometimes bc they know me as the mom who wants all the boy Kickee Pants. They are just super soft, functional, and also really cute. I used to get asked what brand PJs he wore on.the.daily – and it was always KP. They do sell out quickly and can be hard to hunt down – so if he see a pair you love just get them! If anything you can gift them or re-sell [I’ve heard some crazy stories ab this actually]. Several of my best girlfriends had little boys months after Luke so his clothes just get passed around – which is good because when they are 0-6mos they just change sizes so quickly that they don’t get a ton of wear out of everything.
#15 PIANO KICK AND PLAY GYM || Oh this darn mat… its such an eye sore to me personally. I bought one that was SO cute and black and white striped to match our living room.. and it was… okay. This is the one babies seems to really love! Luke would lie there and play and play! He would kick and grab and it was so cute.. writing all of this makes me sad actually! I forgot how little he was and what it was like for him not to be walking everywhere!! Seriously though, don’t waste money on fancy/cute ones but this is the one that babies seem to love the most.
#16 NOSE FRIEDA WIPES || These are the best invention, ever! We love Boogie Wipes but Nose Frienda sent these in PR and I was like “wait this is genius!”. They have the Vick’s smell to them which is perfect when your baby has a runny, stuffy nose. Luke was just playing with these tonight and literally blowing his nose on them! These are something you need to have on hand — since they can be harder to find and not as cost effective. However, if your baby is actually sick w/a super runny nose – try these! I hate when Luke’s nose runs bc he hates having me touch it and I don’t want to irritate his skin but he’s much more laid back about it w/these.
#17 MOMMY HOOK || Any type of hook for your stroller is a major WIN. These will save you whether you are out at the mall, traveling in another city, in the airport, etc. these are an essential. I have written a few posts about traveling w/a baby and how we depend on these hooks AND we love these stroller organizers. There are a couple of spots for drinks – which we love when in the airport but there is a compartment for phone, keys, and other random items. Both of these pieces will be a life savor if you are busy parents on the go!
#18 BOTTLES / BOTTLE WARMER || So I used Como Tomo bottles with Luke and he LOVED them! Another blogger told me about them and I loved the ‘look’ of them so we tried them and it was a go. We did receive bottles from many baby brands but this ended up being the bottle Luke liked the best. It is soft all over which is one of the reasons we loved them so much. A lot of my readers here and on my platforms asked about his bottles and then soon started asking how we warmed them which is a great question! 🙂 In fact, we didn’t realize they would only fit in certain bottle warmers so we discovered the Boon and it ended up being our go-to bottle warmer. We ended up with 2 of them and it’s small enough and easy to travel with! [The Como Tomo bottles fit perfectly into the Boon warmer.]
#19 VICKS VAPORIZER/STEAMER || This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the Nose Frieda Wipes, but have gotten our money’s worth out of this our Vicks steamer/humidifier! Luke got sick in December and that’s when we finally got this exact product. We had a couple of humidifiers but this one was the game changer. The steam it puts out has Vicks in it and it helped Luke tremendously. We also really love the Vicks plug-ins.
#20 JUMPER TOY || Oh my goodness, this thing is worth every cent! Not only did Luke love it and spend a lot of time with it, but it gave me freedom when he was younger. I could put him in this in the kitchen and I could cook, clean, unload groceries, etc. This and the piano play mat are two things that got used on a daily basis!
#21 HALO BASSINET || So this was something I was on the fence about for a short time and when I thought about it logically I knew we had to have it and boy- it is 100% worth it. I ended up collaborating and received it as a gift, but if we didn’t have the opportunity I would for sure buy it again.. and again, haha. It is AMAZING. We actually put the dock-a-tot inside which ended up being a dream for everyone! It sat right next to me – and it swivels, raises, lowers, makes music, has a nursing timer, vibrates… the list goes on! It’s seriously a dream. It’s not huge and doesn’t take up half of the room – its a great size and is so functional. I have written before that I never really read books before having Luke – no books on sleeping or anything and Luke was always a really good sleeper. He wore the little product I mentioned above [or was swaddled during his naps] and was snuggled in his Dock-A-Tot inside of his Halo and never had any sleep issues. My friend who borrowed the Dock-A-Tot [mentioned in #4] also borrowed our Halo and again, loved it. I just texted her and asked her final thoughts on it and she said ‘if there’s a next time, I am buying them!’. Hopefully she will have another and our babies will be spaced out 4 months apart again so that we can just keep using the ones I have! 😉 It definitely helps with getting your money’s worth.
Okay I am going to stop at this point because right now – I still can’t think of any one thing that was just a total game changer! I do want to mention that we had other products that were pricier that just didn’t get used a TON. For example, the 4Moms Rock-A-Roo infant swing – Luke liked it occasionally when he was very small but it wasn’t something I would buy over again if I had to- we just didn’t get that much use out of it. But I do know other moms whose babies actually sleep in those! So it all varies by baby really. I really hope this helps some of you who are expecting and adding things to your registry!! XO.
Okay – PS. I do get a lot of ?s ab strollers and if you all want I will try to do a video about the differences. We have the Quinny/Rachel Zoe, the Stokke, Nuna, and the Yoyo – they are all wonderful and we use them for different situations!