Baby gear can get really overwhelming and really expensive really quickly. I’m so often asked “did you actually use XYZ” and “was XYZ worth it?” Well, in this post, I’m going to share the big ticket baby gear items that I have tried and tested and used with such frequency that I can’t live without! These fifteen items have made my life SO much easier. I hope they make your life with baby easier, too!
Lightweight Car Seat
The right car seat is really important, not only for safety but also for convenience. It’s important to consider how heavy a car seat is, too, because for the first 6+ months of your baby’s life, you’ll be carrying the car seat with them in it! Modern car seats are super convenient in that they snap in and out of a base in the car and snap in and out of the stroller so you can move baby around with comfort and ease.
Having a lightweight car seat might not matter as much when your baby is first born, but when you’re carting them around at a few months old, you’ll want something as lightweight as possible. We went with the NUNA Pipa Infant Car Seat. Also available is the Pipa Lite.
Great Stroller System
A stroller is a place to splurge because this is an item that you could be using for a number of years! I could talk for days about how much I love my stroller – so much so that I’ve actually written a whole separate blog post about it that you can read here! In summary, though, what you want to do is ‘test drive’ your stroller in every way – fold it up, push it around, check out all the features. Make sure you can clip your carseat into the stroller, too as you’ll want this convenience with a newborn.
We decided on the UPPAbaby CRUZ stroller and could not be happier with our decision. I use our stroller every single day for a walk around the neighbourhood. I’ve tricked it out with all sorts of accessories (like a cup holder) and have the travel bag, too, which proved very useful when flying (tip: go with the name brand bag here – you won’t be sorry). I have friends who use this as a jogging stroller, too.
Instead of a separate bassinet, we purchased the UPPAbaby bassinet that worked both in our home on a stand and clipped into the stroller to give us some more flexibility. It was also great when travelling with a newborn.
The most common question I’m asked by moms-to-be is should they go for the UPPAbaby CRUZ or the VISTA. The main difference is that the VISTA is a bit bigger and can accommodate two kiddos, so if you’re having them close together or having twins, that’s a great option for you.
Cradle and/or Bassinet
For the first few months of our little one’s life, she slept in a bassinet style cradle in our bedroom. We fell in love with and absolutely loved the Baby Björn Cradle. It’s stylish but more importantly I loved the mesh sides because it gave me peace of mind when baby was sleeping.
We also used a bassinet (as mentioned above). We opted for the UPPAbaby bassinet attachment for our stroller as well as the wooden bassinet stand for inside the house. We live in a two story home so this gave us somewhere for baby to lay down or nap on our main floor within earshot during the day.
We used this bassinet in the stroller for walks around the neighbourhood as well as a travel cradle for baby on road trips or visits to friends’ homes. I can’t say enough about the versatility of this piece.
A Great Breast Pump
If you plan on nursing, you’re going to want a breast pump. Nursing was my goal and although it didn’t work out for me long term, my breast pump was incredibly helpful. I got the Medela Sonata, which is effectively a hospital grade breast pump. From all of the research I’ve done (and I’ve done a ton), any model of Medela is the way to go. This is also the brand you’ll use at the hospital (in Alberta anyway!).
Go for the double pump – it’s just more efficient. I found that when I was pumping to try and increase my supply, being able to pump both sides at the same time was just a better use of my time. Also worth mentioning: the new flexible rimmed shields are way more comfortable and provide a better fit and seal.
We also used the MyMedela App for everything. I was able to track my pumping sessions, baby’s eating and sleeping habits, weight and height and so much more. It’s hard to keep all of these things straight when you’re in the trenches of early motherhood, so it was nice to have a place to easily keep track of everything…and have the answers for those questions at doctor’s appointments.
Bottle Warmer & Sterilizer
A great bottle warmer and sterilizer are incredibly important appliances to have! I loved and still love my Baby Brezza bottle warmer and sterilizer and use them every day. The bottle warmer is great because it not only warms bottles to the perfect temperature, you can also use it to warm up baby food, defrost breast milk and so much more. I love that its multi-use functionality makes it a gadget that you can use for more than one stage.
Before I had a baby, no one told me how frequently I would use my sterilizer. Even at six months old, I’m still running this machine a couple times a day. The capacity on this sterilizer is fantastic and it doesn’t just sterilize, it dries everything in the same step so there’s no waiting time after it’s done! You’ll want this for bottles, pacifiers, pump parts and more.
If you don’t plan on nursing, or if you do plan on nursing (like I did) and it doesn’t work out, then the must have piece of baby gear is the Baby Brezza Formula Pro. This machine makes formula to the perfect temperature and consistency in less than 5 seconds with the push of a single button. It will take you longer to screw on the top of the bottle than it will take this machine to make formula for your baby.
I am not joking when I say this: YOU NEED THIS. This piece if gear is something that I would have a really hard time living without! I’ve even gone so far as to plug it in in the backseat of my vehicle when going on a road trip.
Consider that when baby start solids and you’re mixing up rice cereal, this machine will make the formula you need to mix in to the perfect temperature! I’m also trying to figure out if I can turn this into a hot chocolate machine once we’re done with formula!
The Right Monitor & Tech
Finding the right monitor for your needs depends on a few different things. How many things are you looking to monitor? Do you want to keep track of baby’s vitals or just check them out on the screen? Do you want an overhead monitor or something wearable for baby or both? How important is portability? Wifi enabled? Use with a smartphone app?
I love the Motorola Baby tech products because I can control them all from the Hubble Connected Smartphone App in my phone. I can see my video baby monitor (Motorola Halo), my other cameras (playroom, etc.), my Mommy & Me Scale (so great for weighing baby) and the humidifier in my nursery. I also love that I can play music from my monitor, use two-way voice and so much more.
A friend of mine gave us a SnuggleMe Organic Infant Lounger as a baby shower gift and I didn’t know how great of a gift it was until my baby was born. I thought it was lovely and that I’d probably use it a little bit but in reality: I TOOK THIS THING EVERYWHERE. My baby lived in this thing.
When she was super tiny, it was so easy to just plop her in the lounger for a nap or to just chill beside me on the bed, couch, floor, etc. The bolstered sides were comforting to her and gave me the peace of mind that she couldn’t roll away!
I have some friends who are stroller people and others who are carrier people – I’m both. I love to hike and take baby out for walks off the beaten path and so a carrier was a must-have for me. We purchased the Ergobaby Omni 360 because it was breathable, offered back support and could carry baby four different ways. This carrier is also the easiest way to carry baby through an airport!
The best advice I can offer with a carrier is to get something that is going to last through a few age stages. It’s also good to shop for something that will fit both parents (if applicable) and have a few features like pockets for your phone, lip balm and whatever else you might want. What I really love about Ergobaby is that they have YouTube videos on how to use their carriers, which makes them so much easier to figure out the first few times.
There are so many playards or pack-n-plays out there to choose from. Our favourite is the Nuna Sena Playard with the attachable change mat. I wanted something that looked stylish because it currently resides on the main floor of my home (as a play area in my home office). The attachable change mat is awesome, too, so there’s no need to get down on the floor.
This playard is also one of the lightest on the market and it folds up nicely making it the perfect travel crib or contained outdoor play area. There’s even an insect net that you can get for this to protect baby from bugs.
A wipes warmer was something that I’d read about on countless blogs and kept seeing that it was an “unnecessary item”. Once baby arrived and I found myself warming wipes between my hands for her little bum, my husband decided we needed to invest in one of these (for the comfort of Daddy’s little girl). I love this thing so much, I wish it were portable so I had it everywhere!
True story: I recommend these to all new mamas not just because they’re a little nicer for baby’s tiny bum but because the warm wipe actually makes it easier to clean a dirty bum (no joke). My fave wipes for the warmer are the ones from The Honest Company.
Easy Diaper Bag
I originally thought I wanted a traditional tote-style diaper bag, but the more I thought about the reality of carting baby and all her gear around, the more appealing a backpack seemed. With a baby/car seat in one hand and a need to use the other hand to open doors or whatever else, it’s nice to have something that stays securely on your shoulders without sliding down.
The Settlement Sprout backpack from Herschel Supply Co. has lots of internal pockets to organize all your items and comes with a wipeable change pad, too! I got mine in the ‘raven crosshatch’ pattern because it’s unisex, wears well and doesn’t look like a diaper bag. When we’re done with the diaper phase, the padded pouch in the back can be used to hold a laptop or tablet! I actually loved this backpack so much that I got the matching duffel (that I used as my hospital bag, too!).