I have had so much fun sharing our favorites over the last year. I love finding gadgets that help make parenting a little easier. Of all of the products we have used over the last year, I wanted to compile our top favorites that I will buy/use over and over again.
The VTech-Musical Bubbles Octopus I definitely one of Parker’s favorite bath toys. It sticks to the wall, and actually stays there, so it’s out of the way but reachable. We have been using some of the J&J shampoo for the bubbles and it seems to be working rather well. P loves to hit the piano keys and play with all of the bubbles that pop out.
We researched several brands of shampoos and washes and decided with the J&J Naturals brand. They smell great, are safe for P and have done a great job getting him squeaky clean from all the jelly and black beans he has been consuming lately.
I have gladly accepted the challenge in finding cheap solutions to keeping all of Parker’s stuff organized. The BRICA Corner Bath Basket is the perfect size for our tub and holds all of Parker’s little toys.
My mom maybe able to use the old elbow trick to tell if the water is too hot but I like using the Aquatopia Bath Thermometer to make sure. It beeps when the water it too hot or too cold to let you know. Extra bonus it’s a turtle too.
We have tried several different towels but I find myself always reaching for the Circo Hooded Towel. It is lightweight but does a great job drying P off quick. Plus the little hood is adorable 🙂
The Boon Bath Tub Appliques are so much fun in the tub. Granted P tries to eat them most of the time. I start trying to stick them to his hear and now he tries to do it on his own.
We had gotten the Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Soothe & Glow Seahorse
for a shower gift before P was born. I think he was a few weeks old before we opened it and I immediately thought, “why did I wait so long!” It was an instant favorite. The soft music and light glow were perfect. It fit next to him in his R&P and helped soothe P to sleep at night.
The Aden & Anais (A&A)
are something we have used every single day since he was born. We initially used them as swaddle blankets since they are large, square and light weight. Qualities a good swaddle blanket must have to make that perfect burrito. Unless you have a little Hodini on your hands…
Up until we transitioned P to his crib (6 months) we used an iPhone App on our phones for white noise. It worked great but we weren’t willing to give up our phones once he moved. We had done a little research and really liked the features of the HoMedics Sound Spa Relaxation Machine
. It has a sleep timer, different noises and is very light and portable. This has made several overnight trips with us.
We have gone through more humidifiers then I care to admit. We just seemed to have a string of bad luck with ones not working properly or breaking. I was relieved when we ended up with a Crane Drop Shape Cool Mist Humidifier
because I had heard nothing but good things. It it small but holds enough water to run throughout the night and does a great job in Parker’s room.
A fellow mother suggested I register for a few different types of pacifiers for Parker. Kids really vary with what they like and it’s good to have a few different kinds on hand. Parker ended up really liking the NUK Pacifier
so that is what we have stayed with. They have a 0-6, 6-18 and 18+ which was really nice in the beginning. While I am at it, I recommend getting a few sets in different patterns. We had 3 sets in the 0-6. I kept 1 set in the diaper bag, 1 set in the living room and 1 set in his nursery. It makes it easier to keep track of them and know which room they belong. There is nothing worse then laying on the couch with a baby who has just fallen asleep and realizing the paci is in another room 🙂
This last item is by far my biggest must have for the nursery. I think many parents may shy away from the Fisher Price bConnect Digital Soother
because it is a little pricey. This bad boy is the main reason our transition to the crib went so well (about 10 days). It kept his attention long enough to calm him down and relax. We had it in the crib from 6 month to about 11. By 9 months, he had learned how to turn it on and would in the middle of the night or in the morning. If it was in the middle of the night, it would put him back to sleep. By 11 months, he was trying to figure out how to get it off so we decided it was time to retire it.
I love have the Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bag
on hand. When I was nursing/bottle feeding they were great to sanitize the bottle parts and even his pacifiers. One of my favorite parts about these is you get 20 uses out of each bag. Now I always carry one in the diaper bag just in case.
The Munchkin Pacifier Wipes
are great to keep in the diaper bag to quickly clean off a bottle nipple or pacifier. I think after I year, I am working on my 3rd pack so they last quite awhile. You can just use a wipe but I like using something for its intended purpose.
We use Charlie’s Soap
on Parker’s clothes and cloth diapers along with the Rockin’ Green
. Both to a great job. I love that the Charlie’s Soap
has no perfumes, fragrances or chemical brighteners. The Rockin’ Green
does an amazing job on Parker’s cloth diapers. After a year, they still come out smelling fresh with no stains.
We use several of the BabyGanis products (Nursery Freshener
& Stain Remover
) but the BabyGanics All Purpose Cleaner
is a favorite in our cleaning supply section. I try to be as green as possible and make as many cleaners as I can. Sometimes though, I just run out of time and need something that is convenient but safe for Parker and my family.
We use the Dapple Wipes & Dapple Dish Liquid
on all of Parker’s dishes, bottles and toys. I absolutely love the smell and feel comfortable with using it on everything he puts into his mouth. I try to sanitize all of the toys he uses regularly once a week but it ends up being every other week usually. His teethers and such get soaked in water with the Dapple Dish Soap and his larger toys get a quick wipe down. I am all about exposing Parker to some germs to build an immunity, but I find this is a healthy balance with keeping him healthy. We are going on month 13 with out so much as a sniffle!
I think out of all the categories here, this one is the products I am most proud of. I have gotten so many compliments while out about many of them. Usually it is from moms with older kids who say, “I wish they had that when I was a new mom!”
The Tiny Bites Food Shears
are a must for the diaper bag and even at home. It makes cutting up food so much easier and quicker. I use it to cut up chicken, grapes, pizza, veggies and pretty much everything else. It comes with a cover, are small but do a fantastic job. They also come in a set of 2 which is great for the diaper bag and the kitchen.
There are mixed reviews on mesh teethers out there. I decided to take a chance on the Sassy Mesh Teether
because I thought it would be a safe and fun way to start introducing Parker to different foods. Yet another reason why I often take a chance with things. This little gadget was amazing and I never had a problem getting it clean. The handle and mesh part separate and the mesh bag can come out to clean. We put banana, avocado, strawberries and a ton of other messy foods inside and Parker went nuts.
Sippy cups are another item an experienced mom told me to buy different brands of. Again, each kid is different and they will gravitate to different ones. We ended up LOVING the Nuby Sippy Cups
and now have three different versions as Parker has gotten better as using them. I was so excited when I was chosen to be a Nuby Mommy Blogger
I never realized before I had P that this is actually a transition of bibs throughout the first month. For the first few months, you need cloth bibs and burp cloths to soak up the BM and F and catch any spit up. Once they start on baby food, plastic bibs are great because they clean up easier and the food doesn’t leave stains. By the time they start on table food, pocket bibs like the Summer Infant Bibbity Bib
ones are pretty much a must have if you want to save yourself a lot of time. These bibs catch a ton of food and P loves taking food out of there to eat once everything is gone on his tray.
Have you ever seen Legally Blonde? Do you remember the scene in the beauty salon where Elle Woods teaches everyone the “bend & snap”? Well that’s how Rob and I stated to feel about the sippy cup situation. Between his developing motor skills and urge to put it down at the edge of the high chair. After a few weeks, we had enough. We wanted to find a way to help teach him but one that wouldn’t require us to constantly bend over. The Booginhead SippiGrip was the answer. We now have one in the diaper bag for restaurants and one on his highchair.
I am by no means a germaphobe but even I have limits when it comes to the surfaces I will let Parker eat off of. We used a plastic mat for awhile but the tray was awkward and it never seemed to stick to any surfaces. One day Parker and I stopped at Chick-fil-A for lunch. I wasn’t a huge fan but it was convenient. Not only did I love their kids grilled chicken nuggets and fruit cup but they have plastic disposable sticky placemats. I was so in love with them that the Disposable Placemats
are now a staple in the diaper bag.
You can check out some of our other Diaper Bag Favorites here
I have to admit that this category is a favorite because of all the fun contraptions we used. I am going to talk about these a little out of order based on purpose.
We used the Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play
and Chicco Lullaby Playard
for sleeping purposes. You can read a little more about Parker’s transition here
. The Fisher-Price Rock n’ Play
is amazing. It is light, can fold up easily and very comfortable for lounging and sleeping. Parker took naps and slept in this bad boy for 4 months. We took it on day trips, overnight trips and vacation.
Then we transitioned him to the Chicco Lullaby Playard
(next to our bed) from 4-6 months. I do love this playard because it has a ton of bells and whistles you can use at home but can leave them when you take an overnight trip or vacation.
The 4moms Mamaroo
is one of those new age high tech gadgets. It basically takes the need away from throwing little one into the car and driving them around. There are different settings like car ride, kangaroo, and rocking with optional music and iPod port. Parker loved sitting in this and just looking around. He would also take naps a lot!
The Fisher Price Space Saver High Chair
is a great invention. It sits on every chair (that we have tried so far) and is secured underneath and behind the back. It is spacey, comfortable and has a full size tray. It is also small, light weight and travels really easy. If has a reclined position so Rob and I were able to start eating dinner at the table around 3 months. He would just sit there and watch us.
The Fisher-Price Jumperoo – Animal Krackers
was rated for 4+ months but we started putting Parker in it around 3 1/2 months. He had good head control and all we needed to do was put a pillow underneath so his feet could touch. He loved watching the light early on and then quickly learned how what to do with all of the gadgets. This was awesome to have when he wasn’t sleeping and I needed my hands free to do something.
We got the Little Tikes Snug ‘n Secure Swing
at a consignment sale when Parker was about 10 months old. He was unsure about it at first but now loves swinging in it. It’s great to get a little outside time 🙂
I did not have much luck pumping (a story for another time) so I really liked using the Medela Breastmilk Freezing & Storage
because the containers were small so I wasn’t wasting fridge space and I felt better filling up the containers.
The NUK Reusable Nursing Pads
were really important in the beginning. Even with my extremely low milk supply, I would often leak especially out of the shower. I loved that their were washable and very comfortable.
We bought the Medela Pump in Style Advanced Backpack
when Parker started refusing to nurse around 4 months. I wanted something affordable but efficient. I liked that all of the parts fit into a backpack I could throw into the card. The double pump cut my pumping time in half. I only ended up using this for about a month before I switched to EFF but was happy with its performance. Unfortunately my body just wasn’t producing enough.
Bottles are similar to pacifiers and sippy cups, every baby is different. We tried a few different versions but ended up loving the Born Free Deco Bottle
I just love the Boon Lawn Countertop Drying Rack
. We have one in the kitchen and one in the upstairs bathroom where we make Parker’s morning and night bottles. It’s a great way to keep all of his stuff separate. I love the look of it on our counter and with some of the flower accessories, we can dry bottles, parts, sippy cups and pacifiers all at once.
A bottle and nipple brush is really important to have if you bottle feed. I love the OXO Tot Bottle Brush with Nipple Cleaner and Stand because it stands up on the counter. The wide brush, long handle and slim bottle brush make it easy to clean each part of the bottle.
It’s not easy running errands with a little one. A trip out that use to take 30 minutes now takes 2-3 hours and quite a bit of gear to make it as smooth as possible. Although it’s more work to go out with a little one, I think it is very important to start taking trips out as soon as your ready. Some wait until they have healed from childbirth/c-section and others choose to wait the recommend 2-3 months. We started taking Parker out to stores a little over a month old. We made sure he was bundled, protected and this momma bear obviously gave off the “hands off” scent because no one dared come near him.
The Go Pod
is an awesome invention that you think to yourself, “well, duh”. Basically it is a camping table with fabric in the center and two legs holes. I had first seen this while at a mommy exercise class. It is so compact and lightweight but at the same time, durable (noticing how I usually gravitate towards those 3 features!). I love that there is a bottom so you don’t have to worry about little ones feet getting durty. There are also cup holders and toggles so you can attach toys.
Parker didn’t really like the Beco Butterfly II
until about 8 months. He wasn’t a fan of his legs being spread apart that wide. Now that he is a little older though, he loves this and being worn when he is tired. We also use this to backwear a lot which I enjoy because it’s easier to carry around 25+ pounds!
The Winfun Baby Driver Stroller/Car Seat
was an item Rob wanted for the stroller. He rarely asks for things so of course I didn’t have a problem with it. It was a great find because Parker loves playing with it on his stroller. My favorite is when someone slow is in front of me and he just happens to beep the horn. 😉 That’s my boy!
I know a lot of moms told me shopping cart overs were a waste. I initially didn’t register for one or buy one before Parker was born. We happened to find a Boppy Shopping Cart Cover
at a consignment sale and for $5 I just couldn’t pass it up. I am glad we got it because I don’t think it is a hastle at all. We even used it to help fill in high chairs early on when we were just transitioning Parker. It’s simple to put on (I have done it with 1 hand). I also like that there are toggles so you can attach toys. Now that it’s summer, I think the soft fabric is a lot more comfortable that the hard metal and plastic seats. I know I wouldn’t want to sit on one of those in the grocery store for an hour…
Before Parker was born I took advantage of one of AAA carseat inspecition days. While I got flying colors for my installation, I was scolded for having the BRICA Day & Night Light Musical Auto Mirror
. They said that they were dangerous because drivers can get distracted looking into the mirror instead of their eyes on the road. This was one of those warnings that went in one ear and out the other. I understand the danger but frankly, I am not that stupid. I take advantage of red lights and stop signs to pier back at Parker. Personally, I think it is more dangerous not to have one. When he was smaller, I was able to see if he was just sleeping or that he was fine if he started choking. If he was crying, I could monitor and make sure it was an, “I am unhappy cry” and not a cry of distress (although I can tell them apart now without even looking). I say, if you are comfortable having one, get one. If not, don’t get one. Simple enough 🙂
Sophie the Giraffe Teether
| Fisher Price Discover ‘n Grow Kick and Play Piano Mat
| LeapFrog My Discovery House
| Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Ocean Orchestra Musical Toy
Yay, the fun category!! 🙂
I am really excited to take about the first toy, Sophie the Giraffe Teether
. If you have been following our favorites along over the last year, you may remember that she has been talked about in not one but two of our monthly favorite collages. Not only that, you may also remember that I was honest with my initial opinion that it was an over priced posh toy… I am woman enough to admit that I was DEAD wrong. Sophie is simply amazing and a toy that a baby will like from 0-12+ months. She is made of natural and safe material so you don’t have to worry when the spots start fading from all of the giraffe nibbling that will go on. This item will be in every baby shower gift I give from now on.
Parker loves his LeapFrog My Discovery House which has continued to keep his attention since he was 6 months old. Each side has different buttons to press and things to keep his little fingers busy. It says quick stories, which make no sense IMO but keeps Parker entertained so I don’t question it.
One of my good friends had the Fisher-Price Roll-a-Rounds Swirlin Surprise Gumball Machine
. She has a 2 1/2 year old and a baby girl so she let us take it home after seeing how much Parker enjoyed playing with it. He quickly learned how to put the balls in the top and push the handle for them to come out. He likes it so much, I picked one up at the consignment sale last week so we could return hers.
This has certainly been the most stressful line of products out of all. Keeping a child safe is important for any parent but it is so easy to overlook something at times. All parents have a different comfort level as well. I know some who don’t believe in playpens or locking cabinets. If I was able to keep my eyes on Parker 100% then I would probably be okay with out them as well. The truth is, I have chores to do, laundry to wash, dinner to make and yes I take some time to myself each day to craft and blog. my eyes can’t be on Parker all the time. So, these are what we have found to be a good balance between letting him learn on his own but keeping him safe at the same time.
I’ll first talk about the Angelcare 4 Piece Baby Video Sound and Movement Baby Monitor
. SIDS is in the back of every parents mind because no one really knows how it happens. While this monitor isn’t the definitive solution, having the sensory mat and video monitor gave me piece of mind when we transitioned Parker to his own room in the crib at 6 months. There are mixed reviews about these types of monitors. For it’s price, parents often want some statistics to back it up. Like, “how many lives did it save”. The truth is, you can’t really figure that out. Our mat went over maybe 25 times in the 5 months that we used it. I am not sure if any of those times he had in fact stopped breathing. If we hadn’t been alerted and come into the room to check on him (often nudging him until he woke up) I can’t say with certainty he would have been alright. I do know that he is a healthy baby boy and that is all that matters to me.
The North States Superyard Play Yard
works great to keep Parker’s play area gated. I want to be upfront and acknowledge that they do not recommend that you disconnect the gate like I did. It just works better for what we need. It has given Parker a chance to develop independence while playing and I have to admit he is pretty good at it. I do tend to stalk him from afar and watch him play 🙂
We have several different kinds of gates in our house because of our ridiculous amount of stairs. Our favorite is the Summer Infant Dual Banister Gate
. It looks the nicest and was the easiest to install and use (one handed).
We use the KidCo Spring Action Cabinet Lock
for a few cabinets in the kitchen (cleaning supplies and sharp gadgets) as well as all bathroom cabinets. I like having some accessible to he can explore but never having to worry about safety. Unless he gets attacked my the Tupperware monster that is.
The Kidco Universal Outlet Covers
was my request. There is an outlet behind his crib and in his play area. We didn’t want to completely cover them up so this was a great solution.
I think every mom has their baby item obsession. For some it’s carriers, others it’s diaper bags, for me it’s strollers. There are just so many different needs.
We used the Chicco Caddy and Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Car Seat from about 0-5 months. I LOVE this set, especially the Chicco Caddy. The basket underneath is huge with plenty of room to fit those over packed new mommy diaper bags. It is very light and easy to maneuver. You’ll miss it when you move on.
We decided on the Graco Size4Me 70 Convertable Car Seat as our convertible car seat. We plan to rear-face as long as possible.
Then we have the strollers. We originally purchased the Joovy Groove Umbrella Stroller but it wasn’t a good fit at the time. Parker was only 5 months old and I needed more space in the basket. We put it aside because I knew it would be perfect when he got a little older.
We then found the LiteRider Classic Connect Stroller about a month later. This stroller has some great features and is the perfect transition stroller. There is a huge basket below that can be accessed even if P is laying down sleeping. It folds up easy and can maneuver in stores really well.
We picked up an Umbrella Stroller at a consignment sale for super cheap. This is great to have on hand as a spare. We also use it at consignment sales or when our car is packed tight and we don’t have room for larger strollers.
I need to go back and talk about the Joovy Groove Umbrella Stroller a little more. About a week or two ago we pulled out the again. I am falling in love with it more and more each day. I think it’s a great stroller for now. It has a removable basket which is great for consignment sales. All we had to do was make a few modifications and pimp it out a little (more details coming soon) and it is what we have been using. I love that it is more compact, is still durable and comfortable and can travel easier. We plan to bring it to Disney with us in January.