Lucy is officially one, and as she grows out of the baby stage and into toddlerhood, I’m celebrating by selling all of her stuff. Ha- sorry Lucy!
I’ll admit, I did have a small moment of sentimentality – particularly when I mailed off that SollyBaby wrap that she basically lived in for the first couple months – but once I saw the money in my PayPal account I was A-OK.
Selling all of our baby gear has made me do some serious reflecting on what we actually used and what was a giant waste of money and storage space – and now I’m ready to pass this totally scientific and reliable knowledge on to you, fabulous readers, so that you can create the best baby registries and choose the most awesome gifts ever for all the pregnant ladies in your life.
Without further ado….the ULTIMATE (for realz) baby registry review – with a healthy dose of sarcasm on the side, as per usual 😉
NOTE: I started this blog post like a month ago with the goal of yammering on about a few baby products I like and then it spun completely out of control and into a 20-page review of every baby product I ever got my hands on (and a few that I didn’t). I considered scrapping the post entirely once I realized how ridiculous it was, but then I wouldn’t have anything to post and I haven’t posted in forever so just…proceed with caution. And feel free to bail once you realize 20 items in that there isn’t actually a punchline – this really is just an incredibly long-winded baby registry review.
According to my mother the only things you really NEED for a baby are a box for them to sleep in and some cloth diapers. But my mom also thinks that the average adult only needs to shower once a week – so – if you’re like me and need to shower every morning in order to feel like a human, you might also need these 10 other things to get by.
With both my babies breastfeeding was incredibly important to me, but I also knew that financially (and emotionally) there was no way I was staying home with our kids – or even taking more than 10 weeks of maternity leave. So that meant both my girls were introduced to bottles pretty early on. We tried quite a few different types with Mia and found that 100% of them had way too fast of a flow (even with the slowest flow newborn nipples) for a breastfed baby. She guzzled milk, then got reflux, and then cried, resulting in providers feeding her even more milk which made it almost impossible for me to keep up with her while pumping at work. When Lucy was born I was terrified of the same thing happening. A fellow mom recommended these Comotomo Bottles which are the ONLY bottle I’ve ever used that is actually slow flow. The bottle itself is also “squishy” just like a boob, and Lucy took to them right away. She never had reflux (hardly spit up at all) and only ever took 12-15oz of milk a day at daycare. These bottles are the real deal. Super easy to clean, too!
I’ll admit I didn’t have one of these with my first baby, but if I had known what I know now after baby #2 I totally would have used one. Ergo (and other structured) carriers are awesome (see my next recommendation) but they are really too bulky for tiny babies – even with the infant insert which I found not very effective. The SollyBaby wrap is the softest, most lightweight and breathable wrap I have ever used, and they are beautiful and stylish to boot. I wrapped Lucy almost everyday as an infant and it was a lifesaver in terms of keeping her comfy and cozy while I chased after a toddler. Wrapping babies also has numerous other benefits from breastfeeding to bonding that make this purchase a no-brainer.
3. Ergo Carrier
Babies tend to get too heavy for a traditional wrap right around a year but the Ergo can be used all the way into toddlerhood. It’s also ideal for hiking and other more strenuous activities. For moms that find wraps difficult to tie, the Ergo is another great solution. I love that the new Ergo is a 360 – meaning you can wear your baby against your chest, back, or even in a forward facing position without compromising their hip development.
4. Bob Stroller
I bought a lot of strollers (just ask my husband) but I only ever use one. My Bob Revolution. I thought this would be my jogging stroller but it’s really my everything stroller. Add in a carseat adapter for whatever brand of carseat you choose and this stroller does it all from carseat carrier to jogging stroller to diaper bag carrier while the kids run wild. The Bob is also ideal for older kids, so the up front investment pays off over time. It is a little bit big but it fits nicely in the trunk of my Honda Accord, so unless you drive a European electric car or something you should be fine size-wise.
Ok so I never actually owned one of these but I really wish I did. They even use these now in NICUs to calm sick and preemie babies. We had a fancy baby swing and it was a LIFESAVER. Seriously could not live without it. It’s the only way my babies would sleep or nap in the early days. Put this on your registry, I promise you won’t regret it. And even if you do, you can sell it in a snap on craigslist.
6. Rock n Play
Most people put a Pack n Play on their registry, and TBH you should probably get one of those, too, but what you REALLY need is a Rock n Play. It is the ONLY way either of my kids would sleep for months 1-4. Ok fine, 1-7. It props babies upright a little bit to help prevent reflux and also keeps them snuggled in so they feel safe and warm. It fits easily next to the bed (in place of a bassinet) and can be rocked by hand or by turning on the automatic rock/vibrate setting.
My mother insists that those starchy blankets they give you at the hospital are more than adequate for swaddling (DYK you aren’t supposed to take those home with you – whoops!) but I think you need some of these aden + anais swaddles. They are soft, and light, and breathable and the perfect size for baby burritos. It doesn’t hurt that they come in the most amazing patterns. Also happens to make the perfect shower gift for your broke friends that can’t afford to buy you the mamaRoo.
I didn’t discover this little miracle blanket until Lucy was almost 6 months old but boy do I wish I had one sooner. It’s a traditional baby sleep sack/swaddle with what essentially amounts to a beanie baby on one side (you can wear it on the front or back depending on how your baby sleeps). The weighted bean bag is meant to feel like a hand resting on baby’s back or belly. I laughed when I first got it because I don’t believe in baby voodoo sleep magic but holy shit this thing WORKS! Lucy slept 10 hours straight the first night I tried it on her. Mind = blown.
I considered putting this in the splurge (aspirational) section because, well, it costs like $800 bucks. But if you divide that up by the number of hours you spend in it, it’s probably the cheapest baby item you’ll ever own. I chose this glider because it fit my decor and also was plush and large enough for Dan to use as well. There are plenty of other options that work well, too, but my basic advice is to choose something upholstered, with comfortable armrests and a high back to rest your head. The Nara Glider checks all those boxes.
Ok so this is NOT the crib I have BUT I wish it was. I made the mistake of buying a super girly crib (because it was SO CUTE) and not really considering anything else. Luckily, my second baby was a girl but if we had a boy (and cared about things like gender stereotypes) we may have needed to buy another one. Also – most cribs these days are 3-in-1 (meaning they can convert to a toddler and twin bed) but you need to buy a conversion kit to do it. The crib we bought was discontinued like 10 minutes after we bought it so even if we wanted to spend another $150 on a conversion kit – it’s not available. The Babyletto Lolly crib is gender neutral, super stylish, fits with any decor, AND it comes with the conversion kit so you don’t have to worry about ordering it later on – or forking over extra cash when you are at your most broke (i.e. when you have a toddler).
These are the things you can buy for way less, or definitely don’t “need,” but in the interest of self-care you should splurge on anyway. If you want to be the best baby shower attendee ever, surprise your preggo friend with one of these lovelies and retain favorite auntie status for the rest of eternity.
I realize that these are absurdly expensive for a diaper bag – but they’re really just gorgeous full-grain leather handbags that can double as diaper bags during the baby years. One of the toughest things (for me) about motherhood was feeling unkempt and unsexy all the time – even in yesterday’s yoga pants this bag says stylish. Worth. Every. Penny.
I promise you I am not insane – I know that $200 for a highchair is cray cray – but let me tell you what is not: a highchair that has no fabric on it (everything on it can be washed in the dishwasher) and no cracks or crevices for harboring months-old pre-chewed yogurt puffs. It’s also on wheels and fits in perfectly with modern kitchen decor.
Just say NO to primary color play mats! I know they’re a million times cheaper but if you care about interior design AT ALL you will cry when your hideous red and yellow playmat takes your living room from Pottery Barn to Preschool in 5 seconds flat. Your house is already going to be overtaken by baby gear, there’s nothing you can do about that. But you can choose baby gear that looks good – at a cost, of course.
You’re probably thinking that mobiles are really just decorative, but both my babies actually laid in their cribs and looked at them for like, minutes on end. So, you can probably use that when you’re justifying this $80 version. Probably. If not, rest easy knowing that you’re buying from a mama-run business and anyway who cares this is so freakin’ cute.
5. Dock a Tot
Move over Moses Basket, this is the most genius sleep aid for moms since Tylenol PM. It’s a bed for your baby that goes anywhere, looks adorable (it comes in a bunch of different colors and patterns), and can fit right in your own bed for safer co-sleeping (note: co-sleeping is an off label use in the US because, well, I’m not gonna go there). I don’t personally have one of these, because I don’t personally have $165 – BUT – I would love one. HINT HINT HINT.
These are the (mostly) hideous and brightly colored things your baby needs for brain development – or whatever. Apparently the mid century modern look isn’t popular with the under one crowd. Ugh.
I joke with Mia all the time that her kitchen is nicer than mine, which, sadly, is not really a joke. This is the nicest kids play kitchen I’ve ever seen, and since it’s wood (vs. plastic) it looks nice and holds up well – even against Lucy the Destroyer. I do recommend bolting it to a wall (Mia once hooked up a bungee cord to the door and yanked it over – WHY Mia, WHY?) and also buying felt food from Melissa and Doug because it is SO MUCH EASIER to clean up and less likely to end up rolling under the couch than the plastic stuff.
This is the best tool for learning to walk. It’s nice and heavy so it doesn’t roll too fast and is sturdy enough to use both in- and outdoors. Perfect for older siblings that want to wheel their little sisters around the house 😉
These things are annoyingly expensive and so far as I can tell, all universally hideous. The thing is, babies love them. And they keep babies contained and entertained while you do things like shower and drink coffee. If you can find one for $20 bucks at a yard sale, grab it. if not, someone will buy it off your registry because it’s a classic. Ugh.
Like the Jumperoo, these things are typically LOUD (and for good reason, babies like bright colors). This one I found to be moderately tolerable and even a little bit cute. It’s also totally machine washable and folds up pretty small for storage. Winner winner!
Teething babies = hell. Silicone teethers = reasonably helpful. Nothing truly soothes a teething baby (except boobs and/or Tylenol) but these silicone teethers are a decent runner up. This one is cute and fits easily in a diaper bag or even coat pocket. They also make necklaces with these silicone beads on them for babies to choke to you with. Or something like that.
Ahh, yes – my favorite category – clothes! I’m a little bit obsessed with baby clothes (way more than I am with my own clothes) so if you’re not into it, don’t waste your money here. But if you just can’t with Disney characters and cartoons, these brands are your go-to for adorable (if not totally affordable) kids apparel. While there are literally dozens of “small shop” and mom-owned brands that I love, these are the ones my kids wear the most.
I realize that $80 for a baby hat is certifiably insane BUT if you do it you will not regret it. These hats are not only SUPER soft and ridiculously adorable – they are also in such high demand that you can re-sell them for twice what you paid for them. If, that is, you are quick enough at “carting” to get one.
I have loved this brand since the mama/owner was sewing the clothes herself in her Brooklyn apartment. Now they’re manufactured in China and probably don’t qualify as a “small shop” but I still love the solid color designs (no cartoons or logos) and relatively affordable price tag. The tank jumpers are my favorite item ever for babies.
If you know my kids you know that they live in these moccasins. They are a little pricey at $60 a pair but you can usually get them lightly used or on sale for around $45. They last forever and ever and hold up to everything – so divided by 2 or more kids the price is decent. They are also the ONLY footwear for babies that I have used that actually stays on their feet. WORTH. EVERY. PENNY.
My friend Meaghan started this awesome kids clothing line and both my girls love it. She uses bamboo blend fabrics that are unbelievably soft AND sustainably sourced. The drop shoulder tees with velour trim are my favorite, and they match everything!
I’m not usually a fan of graphic tees but Tribe is Alive has the best designs – Pretty Young Thing and I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller are my all-time favorites.
I’m still waiting for Childhoods to come out with an adult version of these, but while I wait I will gladly fork over $50 a romper and snuggle Lucy in one every single day. So practical, so soft, so deliciously cute. One of these in newborn or 0-3mo size is seriously the best baby shower gift ever.
Holy crap you made it! You are a true follower. Or really bored. Or both. Go forth and be the best baby shower gift-giver ever, my friend!