As a new parent, I had to wade through the endless information available, and try to figure out what we actually need for this little human, and what we don’t need to waste time or money on. There are obviously millions of options out there, and I certainly haven’t been exposed to all of them in order to be able to fairly critique everything, but I wanted to share with you a list of my favourite products we have purchased or been gifted, that we have actually used and loved. This post is link-heavy, to make it easy for you to find some of these items, but I also encourage you to ask your friends, check VarageSale and Kijiji, and try to recycle and reuse as much as possible, and the when you’re done with an item, pass it on to another set of new parents. Babies can be expensive, but they tend to only use things for a short period of time, so invest where you need to, but don’t be afraid of hand-me-downs!
- Cloth Diapers and Wipes
I saw Val from Borrowed Planet at a local Mom to Mom show when I was about half way through my pregnancy, and I had given a bit of thought to cloth diapering, and knew it was something I was interested in. The idea of tossing thousands of disposables in the trash over the course of Isaac’s diaper days did not appeal to me at all. Neither did paying for them, especially those ones that get peed on before you’ve even done up the tabs! We decided to opt for the AI2’s (All-In-Two), which is a cover/insert combination, because the covers can be reused multiple times before washing, as long as they don’t get any gross stuff on them. We’ve been super happy with these diapers. We’ve had no diaper rash, no poop explosions, and they don’t stink like disposables do! We did use disposables on a few occasions when he was little and it ended in a poop explosion every time. This does NOT happen in cloth. Use code BPTGP for a super awesome 20% discount on your order, plus receive free shipping on orders over $120CA.We did have an issue for a while where I couldn’t stuff enough inserts and boosters in the cover to get him through the night with dry jammies, so we also have a couple of the Bambino Miosolos, and they have been amazing, too. I just stuff them with an extra hemp booster from Borrowed Planet, and we haven’t had a night leak since. Receive 15% off your first order when you sign up on their website.
- Cloth Wipes
The cloth wipes I added to my baby registry on a whim, and I think I like them even more than the diapers! We keep them in a wipes warmer and make our own solution and just pour it in. We usually only need one wipe with each diaper change, and you can rest easy knowing your finger is definitely not going to poke through that wipe. You can also make your own. Let me know if you need tips for wipe solutions!
- Old Style Swing
We originally borrowed a Mamaroo from friends of ours. Some babies love them, and parents swear by them, but Isaac wasn’t a big fan, especially when he was brand new. He didn’t like the side-to-side motion, and it didn’t go fast enough. Ryan picked up a Graco swing off VarageSale for $20 and it was an absolute lifesaver. When he was a newborn, we could use it to calm him down, and then at 5-6 months, we’d still use it put him in to give him a break from the floor when we were eating dinner, or were both otherwise occupied. Plus, it also came in handy in nap emergency situations – when he wouldn’t sleep anywhere else and we were at our wits end, Click Clack time. (That’s our fun nickname for this swing, based on the sound it makes as it swings back and forth. Hey, we aren’t particularly creative on little-to-no-sleep, don’t judge.)
- Portable Bassinet
Another borrowed item for us, but oh boy, did it every come in handy. He’d sleep in it in the living room when he was new, and it was another go-to for dinner time, so he could be near us, and one of us could rock it with our foot if needed. We also have taken this with us anytime we’re visiting friends or family, and he takes his naps in it when we’re away. I’m so sad that he’s too big for this now, and we’re having to lug around the pack ‘n’ play instead.
Sooooo many bibs. Our baby was a spitter-upper. Big time. He liked to spit up down the front of my top, then flash me a huge smile so I couldn’t be upset. Babies are smart. I don’t even know how many bibs we have. It’s a lot. And we used to go through them all in a couple days. Sometimes we had to ration them out, like, “That’s not enough spit up for a bib change, it hasn’t even soaked through to his clothes yet!” I actually started taking sewing classes so I could make bibs for him. Seriously, that was my main goal. Then with the extra fabric I had leftover after making bibs for him, and for our friends’ babies, Ginger and Rye was born.
There’s a big crazy cult-like Tula following that I haven’t quite delved into, with rare ones selling for thousands of dollars, which seems kind of nutty to me, but I do love my Tula. With Ryan and I both being home for the first 9 months, we didn’t had to use it as much as I expected (hoped), but we took Isaac to his first Jay’s game in the fall, and parked a couple blocks away. I wore him in the Tula as we walked to the Rogers Centre, and even while we were seated. It came in extra handy when we went to the Nursing Room for a bit of privacy, and discovered it was filthy (much like the young couple that came out of the room in front of us, with no baby… SHAME!). I didn’t want to touch anything in there, so I just loosened the Tula straps and fed him while he was still in the carrier, then tightened everything back up and we returned to our seats. We were also gifted the Infant Insert, which allowed us to use it early on. When he didn’t need the back support I still used the booster under his bum, until his legs were long enough for a proper fit. Make sure you do some research on proper baby-wearing before purchasing a carrier. Certain leg positions and styles of carrying are not recommended by many health care professionals.
- Baby Banz Headphones (and sunglasses)
We had a couple weddings to attend (that I wasn’t photographing!) in Isaac’s first couple months, so we picked up a set of these headphones to protect those sweet little ears, and I’m so glad we did. Yes, they are little awkward, especially early on when baby has no head control, but so worth it. He also wore them to the Jays game, and managed to sleep with them on while in the Tula. Impressive! The sunglasses I picked up because the adorable Babiators his Grammy bought for him were a little too big still, but hopefully will fit this spring. The Baby Banz stayed on fairly well, and he didn’t seem to mind them at all!
Let me know if you have any MUST HAVE items that should be included in a future list – or a toddler list! I’ll take all the help I can get :)
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Full disclosure: This post does contain some amazon affiliate links. Hey, baby’s gotta eat!