I have so many friends and readers who are about to give birth to their first children and have been asked a number of times about the absolute must-have items on their registries. I always share my full registry, but today, I thought I’d share my top ten favorite baby products based on three criteria: design, utility, and lifespan.
1 // OXO Wipes Dispenser. This may seem like a frivolous purchase, but it is anything but. I’ve had countless moms write in to let me know how much this changed the game! You can open it with one hand (crucial) and the weighted plate means you only remove one wipe at a time versus yanking at a chain of fifty. The design also keeps wipes moist / prevents them from drying out. This all means you’re not winding up with fifty half-used/half-dried-up individual wipes packs, so I ultimately think this saves money. I order wipes in bulk via Prime’s subscribe & save program, and a box comes once a month. I loved this so much I bought two for our two separate diaper stations in our old home. Glad I’ll have that second one handy with micro on the way — I’ll keep it in our bedroom!
2 // Boon Drying Rack. Still use this. Before mini arrived, I remember asking a girlfriend why it was necessary. “I mean, can’t I just put the bottles away when they come out of the dishwasher? Or let them dry on a dish cloth like the rest of our bulky stuff?” Well, I could — if I wanted a ton of clutter, bottle parts rolling onto the ground, and pieces that might never fully dry. The design of the Boon grass dramatically expedites the air drying process as you can fully invert items, while the grippiness of the grass enables you to make the most of a small area of counterspace without twenty five bottle parts and caps leaning against one another, about to tumble over. I also appreciate the opportunity to corral everything into on designated area; it gives me the semblance of order. AND. On the rare occasion it’s not in use, I like that it can be leaned on its side and stowed in a cabinet.
3 // Babyzen Yoyo Travel Stroller. I was so on the fence about this investment, as we already had a very pricey everyday stroller (a Bugaboo) with all the bells and whistles and I wanted to make do with a cheap travel stroller. But the truth is that I use this stroller at least once or twice a week — anytime we take mini on the subway — and it is an INCREDIBLE stroller. It folds up into a tiny and very portable square that can be slung over a shoulder and does not suffer so many of the deficiencies other travel strollers do — bad folding mechanisms, heavy weight, a fold that leaves the dirty wheels laid up against the child’s headrest, a design that makes it difficult for taller folks (like Mr. Magpie) to push without hitting their feet/shins against the wheels, etc. The Yoyo is easy to use, lightweight, and — though it doesn’t have the suspension of a full-feature stroller — smooth.
4 // Wooden Nesting Blocks. This is the EXACT set mini inherited from Mr. Magpie — I can’t believe I found the EXACT SET on Etsy! But any set of nesting blocks would probably do the trick; these and these are cute. Mini has loved these since virtually the day she was born. The bright colors/shapes/objects on the side) have always attracted her attention, and once she figured out how to stack/nest, they provided hours and hours of fun. I also love that they’re cute enough to display openly (no garish plastic!) and that they teach the concept of size. A fantastic toy to have on hand.
5 // OXO Formula Dispenser. I had so many parents stop me whenever I wielded this in public. “Oh, what is that?” “Oh, that’s so smart!” By pre-portioning formula into the little dividers, I was never scooping out of a spillable baggy and bottle-mixing was a breeze. I kept this in my diaper bag at all times and it saved me — especially on travel days. Brilliant.
6 // Boppy Newborn Lounger. I loveeeeeeed this. So nice to have a soft, lightweight, portable spot to deposit baby while laying in bed, sitting on the couch, taking a shower, etc. So much easier to move than, say, a rocker or glider or swing, and can be tossed in the wash when it needs a cleaning! For $32, a must-have for any new parent. Mini spent so much time in this…I anticipate micro will do the same.
7 // Skip Hop Activity Center. Mini adored this — ADORED THIS — from the minute we unboxed it. The toys were interesting for her to interact with, the music made her smile, and she loved being upright. I have the fondest memories of her sitting in it while Tilly ran by — and she was just gurgling and giggling for hours on end. The center is brilliantly designed, as you can lower the foot base as the baby grows, and then remove the insert and convert the entire thing into an activity table, which mini used for almost a year until we upgraded to a nicer-looking wooden one for her birthday. When I think about the cost per use, this paid for itself a loooong time ago. (Bonus: it can be dissembled and stowed with the legs separate from the top, a feature of which we are availing ourselves until micro needs it.)
8 // Puj Bath Kneeler. When you are on your knees scrubbing a baby every night, this becomes…a godsend. Especially now that I’m pregnant. I love this thing, and also love that it’s not hideously patterned/colored and can easily slide into a cabinet.
9 // Large Woven Basket. I spent an oddly long amount of time hunting for mini’s laundry basket and wound up with this inexpensive Target bin. It’s super lightweight and non-precious so I’ve never minded throwing truly foul/soiled items in there, and it’s been easy to wipe clean. There’s no fabric liner to contend with / stain / worry about laundering. I also love how large it is — big enough to stow a ton of laundry and also an easy target (no lid to remove! no narrow opening to negotiate!) Mine came in solid white, but this gray one is identical in every other way. I also got smaller baskets that coordinated that I used for toys. They’re still kicking! Such a random thing, but one of the best purchases I made for mini’s room.
10 // Tie between the ToteSavvy Diaper Bag Insert and the MZ Wallace Backpack. The Totesavvy enabled me to convert my Goyard into a highly functional diaper bag. I loved how easy it was to keep everything organized and upright with this — and I still use it from time to time, especially on travel days and/or days I’ll be out and about. I also appreciated that it meant I could easily remove my baby stuff if I wasn’t going out with mini, without having to transfer a bunch of stuff to a smaller bag. Meanwhile, the MZ Wallace backpack has been a GAMECHANGER while traveling alone and navigating the city by myself with mini. It’s roomy, super lightweight and collapsible, made of a water/stain resistant material, chic, and highly functional when it comes to ease-of-access-for-critical things. The two “cupholder” pockets mean I always have mini’s water/sippy/bottle in arm’s reach, while the small zippered pouch on the back means I can keep things like hand sanitizer, my subway card, an emergency pack of raisins, and my house key easy to access without unzipping the entire thing. The inside of the backpack includes a zippered compartment (where I hide my wallet — I’m so scared of someone robbing me blind while my hands are full!) and two little sleeves that usually house an easy-to-grab snack (perfect size for a Gogo Squeez / yogurt pouch) and a precious/beloved toy (ahem, her Little People). I can’t rave enough about this backpack if you live in a city and need to be hands-free while navigating public transit on your own with a toddler or baby. FANTASTIC. I even take it to the playground after someone tried to steal my wallet from my bag when I left it in the stroller! I don’t trust anyone.
What are your must-have baby items?
A couple of toddler/baby items on my radar right now:
+This, to organize mini’s collection of Gogo Squeezes and Annie’s snack bags. I buy both in bulk from Target and they’re such a handy size and shape to throw in my bag while on the go. I think I might achieve more Marie Kondo zen if I organize all these snacks…
+California Baby bubble bath. People rave about this stuff! Gentle, good smelling, and — importantly — big on bubbles! Mini loves bubbles; just added this to my Amazon cart.
+Precidio Drink in a Box. I’m attracted to the strong reviews (no leaks?!) and the stor-ability of these box sippy cups. Plus — chic!
+Loving this pretty floral collection for H&M — especially this dress! And how cute is this bunny in a dress to coordinate with a dress for mini?! A sweet and affordable option for Easter at only $15, thanks to that darling bunny!
+Love this popsicle/ice cream print rashguard for the fourth of July!
+This $15 swimsuit reminds me of more expensive styles from Minnow Swim.
+Saks is running a great sale on Kissy Kissy, my favorite infant sleepwear brand. I love this cottontail onesie!