Besides the obvious essentials like nappies, cot, car seat and pram there are a few items that I found really made life just that little bit easier amidst what seemed like an endless amount of nappy changes and sleepless nights (not to mention the almost continuous attachment to the milk dispensers otherwise known as my breasts). I found when researching what baby products I really needed with my first to be a bit overwhelming, with a myriad of products and endorsements thrown in your face, it became at times difficult to filter through what was hype, what was pure marketing and what I was really going to use. There are some products out there too that although came highly recommended and made their way on to the majority of baby essential items that I just never used, such as a mobile for the crib (great for entertaining an awake baby, but an unwanted distraction when trying to get a baby to settle), so keep that in mind and buy what is right for you and your family’s lifestyle and circumstances. My preferences are generally influenced by convince balanced with what my intuition as a mother as to was right for my baby.
This list covers the first year of baby’s life, and has been the most used loved and appreciated items that helped make my babies first year a little easier for my family. These benefits were exponential with the addition of a second child and my guess is again with the third baby.
1 Avent Microwave Steriliser, 2 BabyBjorn Carrier Miracle, 3 First Years Close & Secure Sleeper, 4 Bright Stars Ingenuity Emerson Full Swing, 5 Love to Swaddle Up, 6 BBox Nappy Caddy, 7 Angel care Nappy Bin Starter Kit, 8 4Baby Bath Support, 9 Gumdrop Soother, 10 Lamaze Garden Bug Foot Finder and Wrist Rattle, 11 Big Softies Towel Nappies, 12 Mamas & Papas Baby Snug.
Avent Microwave Steriliser $69
Whether you breastfeed, express milk, or bottle feed your baby it is a good idea to sterilise their bottles and dummies. Babies have an underdeveloped immune system, so keeping germs and worry at bay will definitely make feeding time an easier job. Not to mention the ease of use with this product, you can stack multiple bottles plus dummies, add a little water and steam away the germs in the microwave in about 3 minutes.
BabyBjorn Carrier Miracle $199
Multiple reasons why this product is a god send, my first baby was incredibly fussy and at one point for a period of just over a month would cry nonstop if you put him down. My solution was to just give him what he needed at the time which was comfort (this was right before we found out about the food intolerances, plus poor little things was covered in eczema), so I carried him around in the BabyBjorn Carrier. This was great as it soothed my baby, allowed me to keep some sanity by not watching my baby suffer and hearing him cry, and I was able to do things around the house. It was also great for getting out of the house if I didn’t want to lug the pram out, and then when I had my second baby being able to strap one baby to me and either pram or in the case of grocery shopping put my eldest in the trolley made things much more manageable for me when getting out and about on my own. What I loved about this particular carrier over others was the inbuilt back brace and support, plus the attachments to get baby in and out could be managed with one hand.
First Years Close & Secure Sleeper $69.95
At the time we purchased this, we had already had my son who slept in a hand-me-down heritage bassinet, and were having troubles getting Rose to settle in the same bassinet. Concerned about SIDS I didn’t want to co-sleep with Rose but knew that I also needed sleep and therefore a compromise was reached when I stumbled across the First Years Close & Secure Sleeper. It seemed to me to be the best of both worlds. I could lift rose out of the bassinet without evening having to get up as the side are designed to fold down when pressure is applied, then after feeding her I could place her back but I was close enough and could settler her by placing arm around her belly which worked a charm and everyone got some sleep.
Bright Stars Ingenuity Emerson Full Swing $279
(They no longer sell the baby swing I have however this is a similar product)
This is a newer addition to my baby product collection, however I thought it was worth mentioning as like the baby carrier worked to free up your arms and time to get things done, like feeding your other children or simply being able to go to the toilet. The difference is obviously that baby isn’t strapped to you, so if your back is sore or you’ve had a C-section this is a great option. The one I actually have is by fisher and price however no longer sold, and I love it because it swings both front to back and side to side (not at the same time of course) plus there is a mobile which is great for when baby is awake and a mirror for baby to look up at, It also plays music and vibrates. All these features are great but what I like the most aside from the bells and whistles is that it is a little higher of the ground which makes it easier to put baby in, plus keeps baby somewhat away from little sticky fingers that might like to prod and poke baby a little too hard.
Love to Swaddle Up $39.95
If I could only recommend one baby product this would be it. Let me just point out now I do know how to swaddle a baby, and in two ways might I add, one taught to me by the hospital the other I learnt from the happiest baby on the block DVD. However did you know babies are extremely clever or at very least supper wriggly, Mason would always manage to get out and then naturally the swaddle would somehow end up covering his face which was a worry. So when I discovered zip up swaddles at first I was like ‘we already have swaddles, I cant justify spending this amount of money on one swaddle’, but just do it, it is so worth it! Whether it’s the middle of the night, or you’re out in public trying to swaddle a fussy baby, or a husband who wraps a baby just as poorly as they do a gift (fumble fumble, aghh bugger it! Tuck everything under baby… Ta Da!). The convenience, ease of use and versatility and everything about this product is great. There is a slot down the bottom of the swaddle which means you don’t have to take baby out of the swaddle when putting them into the car seat. Also the design allows baby to have arms above the head which is great for self soothing or when baby is able to put dummy back in their own mouth.
BBox Nappy Caddy $59
This is a product that as a c-section mama I really benefited from, what I would do was stock up the caddy with what I needed for baby; so nappies, wipes, bum cream, little bagies, breast feeding accessories ect. then I would just take it with me where ever I had set myself up in the house. So if baby pooped or spewed I would have what I needed there with me organised and ready to go, this helped tremendously with not having to get up excessively which meant my scars had a better chance and more resting time to heal properly. Also when you were really tired at night, having the little caddy by your bed had the same benefits, just knowning everything you needed was within arms reach meant more sleep and less tracking down products whilst bleary eyed and sleep deprived.
Angelcare Nappy Bin Starter Kit $85
They contain the smell 100%, buy one it’s more than worth it! What else do you need to know about a bin, if it’s promoting hygiene and lessening smells in the house I’m all for it.
4Baby Bath Support $15
I have since seen some even quirkier alternatives, however this did exactly what I needed it to do and I didn’t have to get in the bath every single time with baby like I did with my first. Basically it’s a little plastic support that allows you to lie baby down in the bath with out constantly having to hold on to baby, so a real bonus when bathing a baby and a toddler at the same time (just be smart, don’t ever leave baby unattended).
Gumdrop Soother 2pk $8.95
By far the best dummies I have come across, these were the dummies given to Mason whislt he was in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) by the nurses. I’d packed a bunch of different types to try out on Mason but this was the only one he would take. We found the same thing with my daughter, she also preferred these dummies to any other. I love that they are all one piece which minimisies choking hazards, and apparently they are designed to imitate the shape and feel of a nipple which is great for breast feeding mothers.
Lamaze Garden Bug Foot Finder and Wrist Rattle $20
Such a small and simple toy, yet absolutely loved by both my kids. The idea behind this toy is to help baby become more aware of their own hands, feet and movments in general which helps with developmental mobility. Its perfect for those early days when baby is unable to grab a hold of toys yet is alert enough to be interested in playtime.
Big Softies Towel Nappies $34.95
No special features or functions with this one, they are square terry towels which despiste there name I did not use as nappies but rather as burp, spew, anything and everything rags. They absorb really well, so great for cleaning up messes. I could trow one over my sholder for burping and not worry spew was going to leak through to my clothes. We also use to fold one in half and tuck in to the bassisnt under where babies head would lie so that we could simply chngae out the towel instead of the whole bedding, which meant baby wasn’t lying in little spit ups and was just all round more cleanly (we actually picked up this trick from the nurses at NICU).
Mamas & Papas Baby Snug $89
We originally bought this as a high chair, and have since used it as a travel high chair aswell as a support for when baby first starts sitting up and wants to be involved with what’s going on around them. Its great as it also grows with baby, so the colour part of the seat pulls out, allowing more room as baby gets bigger, and the tray is also removable. The Baby Snug has very little crooks and crannys which makes cleaning this up super easy, plus it is the cutest little egg shapped chair I have ever seen, and my kids both loved it.
To be honest a good majority of these baby items are not essentials but I wanted to mention and highlight their benefits specifically to my family as its these extra products that make like with little ones so much easier. Plus its always nice to know what products are worth it and what products are nothing more than gimmicks designed to steal our money.
As far as cots, highchairs and car seats go, I found as long as they met the safety standards, they’re all pretty comparable, it just comes down to what you are willing to or have the budget to pay for. I will say however that if you either have or are planning to have your babies close together I would highly recommend the Baby Jogger City Select Pram ($999), as it grows with your family and has fantastic attachments and pram configurations that we with young ones close in age really benefited from.
Hopefully this list was some what helpful or at the very least an insight into what I use to make things easier for my family with young children.