I’ve had three kids. I’ve been a mom for over five years. And you know what? I STILL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING.
Just wanted to get that out of the way.
There are so many articles with titles like “10 Essentials for All Moms!” or “Must-Have Toys For Toddlers” and I’m sorry but I’m not having it. No one item is going to work for every parent. No single toy is going to engage every child. People are soooooo different, so blanket statements like that just don’t do it for me.
Babies need to eat. They need to sleep. They need to be clothed, kept safe and warm, and snuggled by people who love them as much as possible. Honestly, they don’t need much stuff, but the stuff they do need is pretty dang important. And it’s stressful as a parent to try to navigate all the options looking for the safest, most nutritious, most attractive, most educational, most cost-effective baby gear on the market. There are just so many options!
When The Baby Cubby reached out to me last month—they wound up being one of the generous sponsors of our fall giveaway!—I was delighted to partner with them…and not just because they sent Ryan some fun birthday gifts. Yes, I received compensation for this post, but all delighted opinions are mine. Because not only do they carry some of the best stuff on the market (we’ll get to that in a minute!) but they genuinely care about the families who will be using their products.
Their team is made of parents who want to support other parents. They do their research so you don’t have to. They’ve created social media pages and a community blog where they can engage with us about all the difficult and wonderful aspects of parenting. Best of all, they price match—even with Amazon, which is AWESOME—and offer free shipping on any order over $49. (I’m a sucker for a good deal and free shipping.)
In short, they’re a fantastic company, dedicated to helping overwhelmed parents find the right products for their babies. I’m really grateful to have a chance to work with them.
To celebrate my third baby’s first birthday (WHEN DID HE GROW UP I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING) I thought I’d share some of my favorite baby gear for their first year. These are all products we have used, or would like to have used, or maybe want to buy now because a lot of that first year stuff can be used past then too.
While I dress my newborns almost exclusively in pajamas, once they start getting interactive and mobile, I bust out all the cute stuff. Tea Collection is one of my favorite kids’ clothing brands. The quality is phenomenal. And the fabrics and styles? I honestly wish they made clothes in my size. Mila is wearing one of their dresses here and a t shirt here; Ryan’s in a romper in these pics. I can’t wait till he grows into these little corduroy pants. (Their sizing runs a little big, FYI.)
Not sure this counts as “clothing” but this Chewbeads teething necklace is calling my name. Mila hasn’t outgrown her need to gnaw on things, so these might be just right for her. Also: pretty!
Margot was in the pack and play until she was almost two. Ryan sleeps there now. And Mila actually slept in a little box for the first few months of her life. Fancy cribs aren’t, in my opinion, necessary. But heaven help me if I ever find myself without a swaddling blanket! Little Unicorn is my absolute favorite brand for swaddles. They’re HUGE, excellent quality, and so gorgeous.
That said, this crib is soooo pretty. Want.
None of my kids would take a bottle or pacifier, so I can’t speak to that. But breastfeeding? I’ve done a lot of it in the last five years. My Boppy is a very dear friend now.
stuffing their faces with both hands eating solids, a good bib is probably a good idea. I always forget to use one, so my babies usually eat naked or have stains on their shirts. Will I ever learn?
Along with that: teething. So fun. The girls really liked this banana toothbrush. I want to get Ryan this wooden donut (SO CUTE) but he’s already got most of his teeth so I’m afraid he’d just chew it to splinters. He’s a huge fan of this bracelet, though, and so am I.
Oh, and Ryan is OBSESSED with sippy cups. I really want to try out this sippy lid that fits over regular cups. Could be extra useful when we’re at a restaurant or a friend’s house.
We got a Puj tub for Mila when the brand was pretty new, and we have used it for all of our babies. One of the best purchases ever. It opens up flat and has magnets, so we store it stuck to the side of our washing machine in the laundry room. So easy. It’s a little too small to fit in my giant farmhouse kitchen sink, but we put it in a huge mixing bowl to compensate while bathing newborn Ryan. I love it so much.
I’ve heard great things about Tubby Todd products and really want to try them. We’re still dealing with eczema issues over here, so gentle and natural products are always my top choice.
Baby boy is OBSESSED with throwing balls and pushing cars around. We’ve got a couple of these that he’s played with for ages now. If he hadn’t just gotten a whole heap of trucks, I’d get him this adorable wooden bunny racecar too.
I’m a huge fan of wooden toys in general. The Baby Cubby sent us this darling camera (the viewfinder is faceted so looking through it is like a kaleidoscope!) and if my kids weren’t already too loud for me to hear myself think, I’d probably get a bunch of the musical instruments and rattles.
Books aren’t toys, but I don’t care. Buy all the books. More specifically, buy all the BabyLit books and give them to me. I love them and so do all three of my kiddos.
I didn’t have an actual diaper bag with my first two, so when I was pregnant last summer I figured it was time. Now I can’t imagine not having my Little Unicorn bag.
And I don’t think The Baby Cubby carries them, but a bar of quality dark chocolate or, in a pinch, a handful of chocolate chips goes a long way. Just saying.
Of course you also need a car seat and probably a stroller, maybe a baby carrier or wrap, and plenty of other things not listed here. (Shout out to my Poang rocking chair from IKEA!) Like I said, this isn’t my list of essentials so much as a list of things I really really like. But don’t worry! The legitimate must-haves—like car seats—are available at The Baby Cubby too.
Other than emergency chocolate, they’ve got everything.
You can see more awesome baby gear in The Baby Cubby’s holiday gift guide!
Bonus: The Baby Cubby is offering my readers a 10% discount! Use the code jenbosen10 at checkout to get 10% off your purchase from today through 11/24 (which is Thanksgiving, incidentally).
Thanks for supporting the brands that help support my family! And thanks to The Baby Cubby for sponsoring this post and being such an awesome resource for parents!
Since I brought it up…what would you consider ESSENTIAL baby items? And what are some of your less-than-essential-but-still-favorite baby products?