There really is nothing that will actually prepare you for bringing a new baby home, but there are a few items that helped us along the way. Earlier I posted about my thoughts and experience with The First Year with our Audrina. Thanks for all who messaged or commented on how much you enjoyed reading it. I still can’t believe I have a one year old. Today I’m sharing my favorite picks for baby’s first year.
There are so many items the internet tells you you need for a new baby. I’m here to break it down into the items that were must haves starting from the beginning.
A good Infant Car Seat and Stroller
Before you’re allowed to leave the hospital you need to have a car seat to put your newborn baby in. We LOVED the ease of the Mesa Infant Car Seat because it has a base that’s easy to install and with green arrows to let you know if it’s in align. We also had the Vista Stroller that holds the carseat or stroller seat, it made going from the car to walking around seamless and super easy. I highly suggest getting a car seat/stroller set that matches. Plus a cover for a sun and protective shield.
Swaddles and Sleep Suits
We went through quite a few swaddles and sleep suits throughout the first year and these are the ONLY ones I would use again. At first we used SwaddleMe 0-3 month swaddles they have velcro and were super easy to wrap her up with as opposed to trying to actually swaddle a blanket yourself.
Then when she was a bit bigger we transitioned to a Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle, which was great because we could keep her arms in or out. When baby starts rolling you want their arms out of the swaddle so we gradually transitioned to one arm, then both arms out with these swaddles. Plus they come in different sizes for your growing baby.
When Audrina started rolling I would try to sleep her with her arms out of the swaddle but she always wanting to chew on her hands, keeping her awake. So I decided to try the Magic Sleepsuit. This worked great and kept her on her back during sleep, but once she became strong enough to move around and roll in the sleep suit we again had to transition. So she now wears a Halo Wearable Blanket and I plan to keep her in this throughout Toddlerhood.
Is four different sleeping swaddles and suits excessive, I don’t know?!? But this is what worked amazing for us and I would do the same all over again. OH and as for pajamas, just set aside anything with buttons, you won’t bother even trying in the middle of the night, ONLY zipper pj’s!
Other Sleep Essentials
While we’re on the topic of sleep, once we brought Audrina home we put this portable bassinet in the living room during the day for her to nap in and up in our room at night. When she started staying awake more to play and needed a soothing space to sleep I started napping her in her crib. We did use a swing and the Rock and Play, but she really wouldn’t sleep much in them. Girl just loved her bassinet and crib for some reason.
She also slept with white noise, I love the Hatch Sound Machine because I can control the volume, light, and sound from my phone. We also love this humidifier, it’s quiet and definitely feels like it helps the air quality, especially in the winter with the heat blowing.
Audrina didn’t use a pacifier for the first few weeks so we could get breastfeeding down. Then when I tried one she wouldn’t take the soothies so a friend recommended Bib’s Pacifiers. I’m considering them a sleep essential because she mostly uses it to soothe as she falls asleep. But we did take the pacifier with us places so these Pacifier Clips are another essential unless you want to constantly keep picking it up off the floor.
I don’t really have a preference when it comes to bottles, sippy cups, plates, mats, etc. But there were a few feeding items I would highly recommend throughout the first year.
If breastfeeding you NEED a Haakaa, it’s a manual breast pump you attach to the other breast the baby is not feeding on and it catches milk that normally just drips. I only use it in the morning when my breasts are full, but this was the easiest way to establish an extra stash of milk without having to pump. In the beginning when she was tiny I also always used a my Breast Friend Pillow which made nursing a lot more comfortable.
If you read about our experience throughout the first year in my last post, you know Audrina had reflux and spit up A LOT. These Muslin Burp Cloths were the BEST at soaking up spit up and I still use them to wipe her face sometimes because they are so soft. And now that we’re teething and drooling I always put a little Bib Bandana on Audrina.
Once she started solid foods and feeding herself I really like these Waterproof Bibs because they catch some of the food they drop and are so easy to clean.
We have this 6 in 1 High Chair which is nice because we can use it as she grows and it’s relatively easy to clean. If you have the space for it, it’s nice to have a standing chair so you can move them around the kitchen.
Audrina eats most of her food herself, but I do try some purees made in a food processor with her so she can practice feeding herself with a spoon. These GooTensils Spoons are great because I can load food on them, hand it to her, and it doesn’t fall off when she brings it to her mouth.
Frieddie the Firefly was the first toy Audrina ever seemed interested in. She would follow him with her eyes, try to catch, or chew on him. I took him everywhere we went.
We started reading books as soon as she was staying awake longer. Any board books are great, but Peak a Who and Brown Bear Brown Bear I feel like are her favorites. These Indestructibles are also fun because they can play with them when they’re little before they start understanding how to turn pages.
For the first few months she LOVED playing on this Piano Play Mat and we even took it with us when we went on vacation. Once she started moving around more, it was too small, but we still play with the piano part and definitely got some good use out of it.
When Audrina started to roll and move around a bit more I loved this Sit me Up to keep her in place. This was such a great purchase because she loved to sit up rather than lay down and it was good to keep her off the back of her head. I still use this every so often if I need her to stay in place just for a few minutes because before you know it you’re chasing a crawling baby around.
When she was a bit older we got her this Joovy Walker which let her get moving around on her own. Our house is pretty small so she doesn’t have much room to move but she flies around the kitchen island multiple times a day. I like this walker because I can easily set different toys on it. You learn fast baby’s attention span is only so long, so it’s nice to be able to switch out the toys she’s playing with, even though half the time they end up on the floor. Now that she is walking on her own, we still put her in the walker when I want a minute to get things done or use the Learning Walker to practice.
For her first Birthday we got her this ride toy bike she’s still trying to figure out, but I feel like it’s a step above the walker.
There are so many other baby toys you could purchase and it’s tempting to buy them all to keep them entertained. I would say these $5 Stacking Cups and these Shape Sorter Blocks were the best investment for us once she started sitting and crawling.
For Audrina’s nursery I loved having a large dresser with a changing table. I recommend these changing pad liners for accidents that happen. It’s nice just to throw the liner in the laundry and not have to change the whole sheet.
Also on the changing table I have a variety of creams, lotions, oils, etc. One brand I love is Tubby Todd Bath for their all over ointment and dream cream. These both helped with some baby acne we had in the beginning and cleared up an eczema outbreak.
Another item I loved and wish we used a lot sooner is the Ergobaby carrier. I was nervous about it at first, but now put it on with ease for walks or to go into the store with her.
Do not forget about yourself during the first year. That means booking hair and nail appointments, scheduling girls night, and sleeping when you can. You will need it! But besides those essentials, around the house I usually wore comfy clothes and nursing bras or tops from Target. And I loved having this steel coffee mug because it kept my coffee warm and I couldn’t spill it on Audrina while nursing. I have also never been more thirsty than while nursing so I love this Hydro Flask large water bottle to keep my water cold and remind me to keep drinking. And wine, definitely enjoy a glass or two of wine every so often.
And that just about rounds up all my favorites for baby’s first year. Most importantly, don’t get too attached to anything, they are constantly changing and before you know it the first year is over and you have a toddler, AH!
Questions of the Day:
What were some of your baby favorites?
Tell me what are your toddler favorites for our future.