When we were building our baby registry before Caleb was born, it was overwhelming! There is so much baby gear and lots of opinions about what did and didn't work for different families. Since each baby is different, we made the best guess as to what we thought Caleb would like or need. Now that Caleb has been here for half a year, there are several items that have stood out as favorites, ones we wouldn't want to be without.
From day 1 Caleb has loved to have his hands up by his face. The more traditional swaddles didn't work too well for us for long periods of time because he couldn't have his hands up by his face plus he was also an escape artist and we'd find he'd freed one or both of his hands. The Love to Dream Swaddle Up swaddles were more comfortable for him and he slept better.
When he was four months old, we worked on transitioning him to sleep sacks instead of swaddles so we used a transitional swaddle from Swaddle Designs that still allowed him to have his arms up comfortably but he also had his hands free and could use his arms to push up if he rolled over onto his belly.
At five months, he fully transitioned to the Halo sleep sacks and continues to sleep well.
Rocker and bouncer
The Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker could be used through toddlerhood which is why we chose to register for this one. Caleb loves his rocker. We kept it in the dining room (which connects to the kitchen and living room) for his first four months and we would put him in it while we eat dinner or if we need our hands free to do a chore. He enjoys the hanging toys, he can rock himself when he kicks his feet, and the gentle vibrating feature helped him take short dinnertime naps when he was a infant.
My in-laws gifted us the Baby Einstein Neptune's Ocean bouncer. Caleb did not like it when he was first old enough to use it. He likes it a lot more now that I've raised the seat up to the next level and he doesn't have to squat as much. He still doesn't like to stay in it for very long yet but he is usually content to stay there most of the time I'm washing and styling my hair every day which is a huge help (washing my hair and making the bed are the two things that I make sure I do every day to help me feel put together). He seems to be liking it more the older he gets.
Wraps and carriers
I feel like I need to add a disclaimer to this one. We have three different carriers: one we bought, one was given to me at my baby shower, and one was passed on to us. We use and love all three of these since we have them but we would by no means need all three if we didn't have them. One would definitely be sufficient.
When Caleb was a newborn, I could put him in the Boba wrap and he would immediately settle and fall asleep. I loved having him close to me and he loved being nestled up to me or his daddy. Now that he's older and has good control of his neck, he is able to be in there facing outward. It takes some practice to get it tied right but once I put it on two or three times I don't have any trouble. I usually find myself going back to the Boba since it's comfortable for both of us. If I had to pick one wrap/carrier I'd choose this one.
The Ergobaby is a lot more comfortable on my back but it's also a lot harder to put on and adjust. If we're going on a walk I'll choose this one since it's comfortable for longer periods or if he needs more protection from the weather since it has more structure.
The Baby Bjorn is by far the easiest carrier to put on and great for times when I need to quickly put him on. It is harder on the back but I usually use this for shorter times. Andrew usually chooses this one since it's quick, easy, and he feels comfortable putting him in it by himself without me there to spot him.
Caleb was born with a lot of nasal congestion. He still can have a lot of stuffiness. At first we used a bulb syringe but we soon switched to using the NoseFrida. It's so easy to use and does a great job getting the snot out of his nose with less discomfort for Caleb.
One of the most nerve-racking things I've had to do as a mom is cut my baby's fingernails. I was so nervous that I would cut his skin and he would always jump at the last second which made me even more nervous. This electric nail file has been a huge help. It takes the stress out of nail care since there is no danger of cutting his skin. If the nails get too long, I still have to trim them a bit with clippers but I don't have to get as close and I can finish up with the file.
Bottle drying rack
We tried very hard to make breastfeeding work but in the end, the best decision for both of us was to switch to bottle feeding. At first we had the bottles drying on a towel by the sink but it took up a lot of space and we always had several drying. We found that this Oxo space saving drying rack is perfect for our kitchen. It fits nicely up by the wall and out of the way but still close to the sink.
We never would have thought about needing this but after all the stress around Caleb's Pyloric Stenosis, a baby scale is on our must-haves list. A friend of ours offered to let us borrow theirs and it was so exciting to see Caleb rapidly gain weight after his surgeries. We think we would have a lot of peace of mind if we have one with our future babies after what happened with Caleb (though the likelihood of that happening again is very slim since Pyloric Stenosis most often happens with first born children who also happen to be boys and bottle fed).
It will be interesting to see if these items will still continue to be must-haves with our future children.