I remember with my first daughter, I had to have the best of everything on the market when it came to baby gear. The best stroller, the top-of-the-line bedding, the designer diaper bag — the whole nine yards, right down to the wipe warmer. It turns out that most of it wasn’t the best. It was expensive and looked fantastic, but it just wasn’t functional. The exact same thing happened at my baby shower. So many cute, adorable dresses that everyone “oohed and ahhed” over but my daughter never got the chance to wear because wearing a giant puffy dress to the park just isn’t practical. It was then that I decided to get smart the second time around and even smarter this last time on my third child.
You’ll see lists all over the Internet of people telling you what you DO and DON’T need, but what they don’t tell you is that with each passing year, the baby gear gets smarter, cuter and even more functional than ever. Every time I see a new product, I say to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?” or, “I wish I had that 18 months ago!” because the baby products now are so fun to have and use. If I was to have a baby again (that would make four), here are the top five things I would add to my list and I think you’ll want to add them to yours too.
With three kids, we’re short on space. Not only that, but what they didn’t tell me with my first child is that babies don’t like the massive space available to them in a regular size crib. They want to be snuggled and secure and not have the ability to roll around and not feel anything near them (hence, why they like to be swaddled). We had a crib and a bassinet, which was perfect. However, if your baby is on the tall side, they will outgrow the bassinet very quickly. The best of both worlds is the Alma Mini Crib
, $340, which is half the size of a regular size crib without sacrificing sturdiness or style, comes in adorable colors like orange, green and grey and also folds up nicely for storage or travel. For us, it was the perfect compromise of style and function because you could use it from newborn to toddler (max. weight 50 lbs.) and the bright color of the crib was a bright spot in our newly redecorated bedroom.
Speaking of swaddling, I don’t know where I would be today without my Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets
, $49.95. Yes, they are perfect for swaddling your newborn like a little burrito, but I also use them for all kinds of other things like as an impromptu picnic blanket, as a sun shade on the stroller, they work as blankets in warm or cold weather and sometimes, I used them as a nursing cover. I also love that they come with directions on how to swaddle (because no mom actually remembers that no matter how many kids you’ve had) and the patterns are adorable. My kids have long outgrown swaddling but these blankets I still keep around because they never go out of use.
Wipes…you use a lot of them during the diaper years. You also use a lot of them after the diaper years for quick clean-ups and hand washing on the go. I have them in my house, in my car and in my purse. While it’s obvious that if you have a baby and toddlers, you’re also going to have wipes around, you sometimes also want the illusion that they’re not there. With the new Huggies Natural Care wipes in Designer Tubs
, you don’t have to hide the ugly wipe container. You can actually leave it on the counter and not be ashamed should you get an unannounced visitor at your door because the beautiful tub blends into the decor of your living room. Currently, my Huggies Designer Tub is sitting on my kitchen counter and I don’t mind at all because it’s the one thing that is so pretty next to those unwashed dishes.
One of the biggest pet peeves in my house is stuffed animals. The kids love them. They love to collect them, but then what? They pile up and up with nowhere to go but all over the room and their beds. I regularly clean them out but then new ones find their way in. It’s a never-ending battle — me vs. stuffed animals. Two babies ago, I was introduced to the Cloud B Twilight Turtle
, $36.95, and I instantly fell in love because it was a stuffed animal with a purpose. It’s cute, it’s cuddly and it glows. It does more than glow actually, it lights up your child’s bedroom ceiling with constellations, easing the fear of darkness and making bedtime that much easier. We now own one Twilight Turtle, one Twilight Ladybug and one Twilight Carz, because sharing your nightlight with your siblings is not fun at all!
I love bags, purses and yes, even diaper bags. I change them as often as I change my shoes so finding the perfect diaper bag is nearly impossible, but what I can tell you is that a diaper bag that is disguised as a purse, is the best of both worlds. Style, function and budget-friendly definitely collide in the Skip Hop Versa Diaper Bag
, $70. It has plenty of pockets to keep even the moms of multiples happy, while the metallic colors or happy black and white pattern make it a stylish way to carry baby items.
There are so many items to choose from that I know it can be overwhelming, so the best advice I can give you is to follow your instinct on what works best for your family in function, style and in life. What’s your must-have products where style meets function?
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