In the spirit of answering frequent questions, here’s an article about our favorite baby gear that we’ve used for our two boys.
Lots of friends are hopping on the baby train these days (choo choo!), and since my friends know I love to give advice, they keep asking for tips and suggestions for what to buy for baby. If you’re in this situation, read on for some of our favorite baby gear!
The Number One Best Item of Baby Gear We Ever Bought:
The Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station.
Seriously. Buy it. Actually, if we know each other and you’re expecting a baby, don’t buy it. Because I will buy it for you. It’s that good.
Your kid is likely to be in diapers until about age two, so you will need to change diapers on the go for at least that long. We’ve used this on a daily basis (with only a brief hiatus between when our oldest was potty trained and our second was born).
I don’t like having a “diaper bag” that’s huge and heavy. If you pack this thing right, it’s your diaper bag all in one, and you can toss it into any bag you want to carry. I LOVE IT.
Our Favorite Baby Gear for Sleeping
I’m not going to make a specific crib recommendation. Basically, a crib is a crib is a crib. As long as they’re to standard and safe, and you like the look, then great.
One thing I will say about a crib: we got one with a storage drawer underneath. It has been VERY helpful, especially in smaller living quarters.
For a mattress, I recommend a good, breathable mattress with a firmer infant side and a softer toddler side. We purchased our Simmons Nature’s Beautyrest mattress at Rose ou Bleu in Montreal, but I’m sure they’re available anywhere baby mattresses are sold.
- Pros: It’s firm enough for baby (as recommended), and the other side is softer for toddlers.
- Cons: Honestly can’t think of any.
A travel crib is a must if you’re planning to hit the road with baby. We absolutely love our Guava Family Lotus travel crib. It’s been with us to three different continents and has yet to disappoint. When not serving as a travel crib, it sits in our living room as a playpen and easy “baby jail” when we need to leave little one unsupervised for a quick minute.
- Pros: It has a zippered side that opens up, so it can double as a playpen. It is very light and extremely easy to set up, and it comes with a practical carrying case.
- Cons: You have to buy the fitted sheet separately. It should NOT be put in the dryer, as it shrinks terribly. Also, the mattress is quite thin. We bought the additional quilted sheet which we put under the fitted sheet, providing more plush.
A rocker or bassinet is a great thing to have, for a safe place to put baby down in the living room or kitchen. We used our Fisher Price Rock n’ Play for both our boys, and it was a big hit. Our kids napped in it, as well as sat and watched people move around them.
NOTE: The Fisher Price website lists this as a sleeper. It is NOT a safe place for unsupervised sleeping, as the baby does not lie flat in the bassinet. This is fine for naps or as a hangout spot when baby is awake.
- Pros: Baby is sitting up a bit and can look around when not sleeping. Baby also feels nice and snuggled in the bassinet. Our boys loved the warm cozy security of being in here. It folds up for easy storage, and the cloth cover is washable.
- Cons: Baby is sitting up a bit, so not a safe place for overnight or unsupervised sleeping. Our boys napped in this in the living room, but always slept in their crib at night. I’ve also read complaints that the hard plastic support causes baby’s head to flatten. Dude. Don’t put your baby in here for hours and hours. And do tummy time. Jeez.
Our Favorite Baby Gear for Baby Carrying
When our oldest was born, we lived in a city and used public transportation a lot. Pushing a stroller around was not so useful, we pretty much exclusively carried our Bug until spring finally sprang.
For out and about carrying, we love the Ergo Baby Original carrier. We used it for front carrying when they were smaller, and back carrying when they were larger.
- Pros: Comfortable, lightweight, and with an available infant insert which allows for use right from birth. It works for front carrying, as well as hip and back carrying. It’s also washable and has a handy pocket for storing small things like tissues or your phone.
- Cons: It is only for facing baby towards you (no front facing). I’ve read, and our osteopath said, that front facing carrying is not good for the baby’s hips, so we were happy to use this. Both our boys liked it.
For indoor baby wearing, or for baby wearing on the airplane, we liked the Moby wrap. If you’re going to be sitting, this is more comfortable than wearing the Ergo carrier.
- Pros: Soft, flexible, and easy to use once you practice a bit. Baby is comfortable, and it’s pretty easy to nurse baby in one of these, too.
- Cons: It’s a stretchy wrap, which is not recommended for back carrying. It also gradually stretches out after being worn for a while, and baby can start to sag.
Our Favorite Baby Gear for Playing
Here are a couple of our favorite toys/games for entertaining baby.
Chico picked up the Tiny Love Take Along mobile, and both our boys loved it from the start. We attached it to the rock n’ play, and the music was honestly not as annoying as I thought.
- Pros: Nice music, cute animals, goes for about 30 minutes.
- Cons: Needs batteries, and the music gets stuck in your head.
For a fun place to park the kid when you need to get things done, or when their older sibling is screaming that “SAMMY KEEPS TOUCHING MY TOOOOOYS,” an activity bouncer or something of the kind is fun to have. I can’t speak to any one particular model, but I believe my parents have the Fisher Price jumperoo in their attic in the States, ready to break out for grandkids’ visits.
- Pros: Safe, fun place to put baby while you cook dinner. It’s entertaining and usually responds to the kid’s movement.
- Cons: THE MUSIC. It’s maddening. Also, it takes up a lot of space. If you can borrow one of these which you can then return to the owner, that’s probably ideal.
Our Favorite Baby Gear Bits and Bobs
Eating: we’ve used the Fisher Price booster seat for both our boys.
- Pros: Can be used up to toddlerhood. Easy to clean.
- Cons: Uses up one of your chairs, but that does mean it doesn’t take up much space.
We also love the Thermos Foogo stainless steel straw water bottle. It keeps water nice and cold.
Some great Ikea products for babies:
Make a Baby List
If you’re expecting and friends and family want to know what to get you for baby, you need a baby list registry. It’s the most practical way to let people know what to get that you really need/want.
Chico and I used babylist.com, an independent registry site that allows you to bring together items from all different websites. If you stick to just Amazon, then you can only choose things available there.
Yes yes, we know that Amazon pretty much has EVERYTHING these days, but not always! Especially if you’re located outside the US.
I’ve got more…
If you want to hear about our bigger purchases (car seats, stroller, hiking backpack, bike trailer, etc.), let me know in the comments below. I can write an article about bigger baby gear we like.