First of all, I just want to say that I CANNOT BELIEVE our baby is closer to being a year than to being born. How??
Second of all, I have worked with a lot of babies in my day, from my neighborhood babysitting monopoly in high school, to a brief stint as a nanny post-college. So I was ready to make a baby registry. I knew what I wanted, what I needed, and was confident I could see through all the marketing tactics advertisers use to entice new parents.
And then when it came time to actually register, things got a little overwhelming. There are just so many choices, and new products or newer versions of old products released at an impossible rate. And how do we not have this figured out by now? Haven’t we been raising littles since the dawn of time?
So, just in case you find yourself a little lost in baby registry land, here are my very favorite baby products for the first 6 months.
And I mean VERY FAVORITE. Like, borderline couldn’t live without.
Okay, maybe I could have lived without, but my quality of life would have been low and my frustration level would have been high.
And in case you’re reading this thinking, “wow, she’s super minimalist with baby products” or, “what the heck! The thing I got her from her registry isn’t even on her list!” here is the criteria I’m using:
All products listed are:
- Things we used frequently (most products are used/were used daily);
- Things that serve a specific function that could not be duplicated by something else we own;
- Things that will either be in use for a long time, or things that were used for a short period, BUT served a vital function and will be usable for any future babies; AND
- Things that made our lives easier as new parents
We have a lot of other baby products that we have really enjoyed, but these are the ones we absolutely wouldn’t want to be without.
Swing: First, I want to know when they will start making these for adults because they look COMFY. Baby swings fall into the category of somewhere-safe-to-put-baby-while-i-get-something-done, and that is a VERY valuable category. We have this swing and our baby loves it. It is still in use, albeit not as much these days. It can vibrate and play music, too!
Pack n Play with Changer: We have used the pack n play a decent amount for travel, but the real reason it’s on this list is for the changing station attachment. We had it set up and fully stocked (we used this organizer, which I also love!) in our living room, which was SO convenient. Newborns go through a lot of diapers, so having a temporary changing station set up wherever you and baby will be spending the most time will save you a lot of trips to and from the nursery.
Beco Gemini Baby Carrier: Baby wearing is fun! And, I think pretty essential because sometimes baby wants to be held and mom/dad needs to be able to use their hands. This is my favorite carrier because it's so easy to strap on (no wrestling with 18 yards of fabric), and it’s super comfortable to wear.
A lot of carriers just have baby’s weight on your shoulders, but this one distributes it more evenly across your back. I also really like that it can be used from the newborn stage, and baby can be facing in or out, or worn on your back.
Baby 411: The only baby book we own! I love it because it covers just about everything in a concise way, gives honest, unbiased opinions about parenting trends, and it’s written by a pediatrician! It’s been a really helpful resource to us, and I greatly prefer it to crowdsourcing the internet with whatever question we have. I can only imagine how many late night calls this has saved our pediatrician from. (A lot!)
Lounger: Yet another baby product I want in my size. This was a short-lived product, but we got a ton of use out of it!
It’s super portable which is nice because it allows you to very easily take your baby with you anywhere and have a safe/comfy place to set them while you do other things (the kitchen/bathroom/outside/wherever). Our baby loved being in this!
A Car Seat Frame: MY FAVORITE. I will forever preach the usefulness of these. Our car seat clicks right into this frame and becomes an insto-presto stroller.
I use this daily everywhere I go. Errands, walks, traveling. Everywhere! The storage compartment on the bottom has gotten me through smaller grocery trips, and it even has cupholders! I’m a sucker for cupholders.
The main benefit of the frame versus a stroller that a car seat can click into is that the frame is super lightweight. This ended up being essential for me because I had to have a c-section, which comes with a recovery period where lifting heavy things is heavily discouraged and highly uncomfortable. Car seat frame for the WIN!
Stroller Hooks: - These attach to the handlebar of your stroller and hold things for you. How nice! I use these to hold a purse/diaper bag/shopping bags/my water bottle. So handy. Just be careful about the weight distribution!
Car Seat Mirror: - Babies have to be rear-facing, which means you can’t see them from your rear-view mirror while driving without one of these. I imagine without this mirror I would be pulling over every other block to get out of the car and check on Baby.
Infant Car Seat: For a hot second I was toying with the thought of just getting a convertible car seat so we wouldn’t have to own like a bunch of car seats. And WOW am I glad that idea didn’t get the green light in my head.
Infant car seats are definitely awkward to carry and get heavy pretty darn quickly, but oh boy is it nice to just be able to get the carseat in and out of the car when you’re out and about versus having to buckle and unbuckle and rebuckle your baby if you had a non-infant carseat.
Stroller Organizer: Is this too many stroller accessories? NO. You know why? Because parents have lots of stuff. And it’s good to have a place to put all of that stuff.
This attaches to your stroller handlebar and has cupholders (yes, more cupholders!) and is generally a great place to put your keys, wallet, phone, etc. while out and about.
You know who needs a place to put all of their important things, and who’s sleep deprived and extra forgetful and whose pants probably don’t have pockets because, hi, leggings were made for post-postpartum bodies? New moms. I can’t even imagine how many times I would have lost my keys/phone had I not had this as an easy place to put them.
Oh, and the cupholders will hold your coffee. Have I mentioned there are cupholders?
My Brest Friend: So, yes, I was admittedly drawn to this because of the name. But this is the best! Or should I say, the brest?
I love that it buckles around your waist - I’ve tried other pillows and found them to be quite flimsy in comparison, and they slip around so much. Since everything is sort of clipped in place with this pillow, you can be hands-free when using it. Also, it provides very nice lumbar support!
Not only was this super useful for feeding/holding baby, but it prevented him from putting pressure on my incision while doing those things. Plus, the compression it provided just felt nice!
I was buckled into this for pretty much the entire first 6 weeks of my baby’s life. I wore it any time I held my baby. I traveled with it. I slept with it next to my bed. Seriously, the brest! (are you sick of this yet?)
Highly recommend for all nursing mamas, but especially c-section mamas!
(PS - extra covers are very good to have on hand!)
Nail Scissors: I’d heard horror stories of parents accidentally clipping their baby’s skin while using baby nail clippers to trim their nails, so obviously I was terrified when it came time for Baby’s first manicure.
Baby nails are paper-thin, and babies are SQUIRMY. These scissors turned a daunting new-parent task into a total not-sweating-it breeze. They are SO easy to use, and it seems like it would be really challenging to accidentally nick a finger with them.
Muslin Blankets: We used these for so many things! I almost didn’t include them on this list, but I feel like they earned their spot. And are still in regular use!
They are great for swaddling, for providing a little sun protection, wiping up spit up, and are a really great lightweight blanket or nursing cover. Plus! They come in really cute designs.
The first 6 months with a baby are intense and precious and will test your ability to function on very little sleep. These are the products that have helped us the most during that whirlwind of a period.
I know what makes a baby product “useful” is generally determined by a parent’s personality/lifestyle. I hope you find this list helpful, but know that what works for us might not be what you need.
I would love to hear what products you have loved and/or things you’re excited to try! Let me know in the comments!