I’ve written extensively about a lot of the baby gear we’ve found helpful at different stages of minimagpie’s life, but a few of you have written to say that it can be difficult to ferret them out across so many minimagpie posts. Below, a complete list of all of my absolute favorite baby products — possibly a one-stop shop for your baby registry!
The Best Baby Diapering Gear
Diaper Pail: Ubbi. It really contains the smell, and you can use regular trash bags in it (doesn’t require you to buy their own brand). Plus — it’s sleek and comes in good colors; I don’t mind it in her nursery.
Wipes dispenser: OXO Tot. This sounds like a silly extravagance, but try it — the weighted plate makes it so much easier to grab just one wipe at a time, and they keep your wipes from drying out (every other disposable wipes container lets air in!)
On-the-go diaper bags: Munchkin. Trust me, you need a roll of these in your diaper bag at all times. Handy not only for disposing of diapers on the go, but for containing soiled clothes.
To-go wipes dispenser: OXO. This fits into one of the pockets of my diaper bag organizer and means that I can just order huge bags of wipes in bulk and then distribute them between the wipes dispenser in her nursery and this one.
Wipes: Huggies Fragrance-Free Natural Care. We bought these at first because they were available at Costco and we assumed all wipes were created equal. But then I tried some organic fancy all natural wipe and it was dry as a bone. These are well-moistened and gentle. I’ll never use anything else! We’ve always used Pampers Swaddlers diapers, but there’s no real rhyme or reason to it; it’s what they used at the hospital so we stuck with them. We have them delivered monthly via Amazon. I’ve heard that the Honest Company ones are scratchy even though they have great designs; not sure if that’s true or not, but it was enough of a deterrent, along with their higher price, to prevent me from testing them.
Diaper cream: Weleda Calendula. [Updated October 2018.] I used to say Aquaphor; it’s what the nurses and pediatricians I’ve consulted almost universally recommend. It’s gentle but it works. But now I say Weleda because it clears up mini’s rashes the most quickly.
Changing table gear: We repurposed a dresser as mini’s changing table and to be honest it’s a little high for me to comfortably change her on it (I’m 5’1), so I always change her in her crib by putting one of these down beneath her. We also always have one on top of her changing pad, which is already covered by a changing pad cover. It’s just an extra layer of security so you don’t need to change the whole cover if — I mean when — there’s a little spillage, which basically happens daily. The liners can be tossed in the laundry. If we have a second baby, I am intrigued by these, which get wonderful reviews. One big surprise to me when I had mini was that you really need to have stations around the house for changing diapers; I did not feel like schlepping upstairs to change her diaper if we were all on the first floor. I think the Keekaroo could be a good solution for that — you just bring it down with you in the morning. We used Gathre mats as stations around the house — one at the foot of our bed, another down in the living area, and always one in my diaper bag. These are WONDERFUL because they fold up into a small square, come in lovely designs, and are easy to wipe clean.
The Best Baby Bath Gear
+Wash cloths: Gerber. Tiny and inexpensive, with one scrubby side and one soft side. These are very well-designed for all your baby cleansing needs. A normal sized wash cloth is just HUGE! I found it felt like I was dragging a yard of fabric through the water.
+Infant tub: Puj. I loved that I could fit this into the sink and then unfold it and stow it flat; I used it until mini was maybe 5 months old, even though she was probably a little too long for it by month 4. My one gripe with it is that it was a little difficult to clean; everything clings to that styrafoam material, and it can discolor easily. I would stick with the blue or gray.
+Baby tub: Boon. Love this tub. It’s a simple and inoffensive design, you can reposition the seat at different levels of recline for different ages, and there’s a drain in the bottom of it, which is highly helpful and not a universal feature across all baby tubs, which is mindboggling — how often do you overfill it after rinsing baby’s hair?! I do wish it balanced better on its side when drying, but overall, I would give this the highest marks. I’d read a lot of other baby tubs are difficult to keep clean — mold issues abound — but there’s never been an issue with that in this tub!
+Rinser: Skip Hop. This sounds like a silly purchase, but trust me — you need it. Keeps soap and water out of baby’s eyes!
+Kneeler: Puj. Another seemingly silly purchase, but when you’re bathing your baby while kneeling every night of the week, this makes a huge difference! I also like the simple design.
+Shampoo/Body Wash: Noodle + Boo. I also like Mustela, but Noodle + Boo edges Mustela out just a bit because it lasts a LONG time and just the tiniest amount of it suds up really well. I find that I go through Mustela much more quickly.
+Body lotion: Mustela. They say that babies don’t need lotion — that it can in fact dry out delicate baby skin — but I have used their body cream since day one as I felt mini’s skin was dry and it’s worked like a charm. I love the scent.
+Bath toys: Rubber ducky (must-have; this one is neat because it will change colors if the water is too hot) and Skip Hop squirties. Oh my God, mini loves those squirties and their accompanying mini life rings so much. She thinks it’s hilarious when I squirt water at her, and she likes to stack the squirties inside of the floating rings. Plus, anything with lots of little parts is heaven for her.
+Brush: Sugarbooger. Gentle on the scalp.
+Nail scissors: Piyo Piyo. These have always felt easier to use than nail clippers. Trimming baby nails is actually very difficult — they’re so tiny and paper-thin! — so I always do it while mini is asleep.
+Ear swabs: Johnson + Johnson. Believe it or not, babies produce earwax. I use these after bathtime. I remember reading a random blog from someone sharing her biggest surprises with a newborn, and one of them was that she had no idea she needed to clean her baby’s ears until her doctor told her, gently, that her baby did not have good ear hygiene. Woops! I learned my lesson through her!
The Best Baby Mealtime Gear
+Bottles: Philips Avent. Bottles can be so particular to the baby, but a lot of my mom friends have had good luck with these. You can change out the nipple for a faster speed if your baby seems to be angry at the slowest flow. We also liked Comotomos but found that the caps were difficult to keep in place.
+Burp cloths: Aden + Anais and Gerber Cloth Diapers. The Aden and Anais ones are very smartly designed to fit over your shoulder/around the crook of your neck, or to be worn around the baby’s neck. But at the recommendation of my sister, we also bought a huge pack of Gerber cloth diapers that we used as burp cloths, and they’re super-thick and absorbent. An excellent utility play, too — I’ve wiped up noses, messes, butts, spills — EVERYTHING — with these.
+Formula: Hipp, the Dutch version. I’ve written about this at least a dozen times, but I find this to be the best formula. A lot of the domestic ones have a horrible smell and stain clothing easily; Hipp is virtually odorless and we’ve had no issues with staining. It also has no synthetic ingredients in it, unlike most domestic brands, and I found it to be much gentler on mini; she was less gassy once we switched. Thank you to the reader who turned me onto A New York Baby as my source for Hipp! She ships free and SO QUICKLY. I usually get my orders within a day or two.
+Drying rack: Boon. Before mini, I didn’t get why bottle racks were necessary. “Can’t you just let them airdry on a towel like other items?” Boon grass dries bottles and bottle parts so much more quickly by letting air in all the right places, and it contains the mess. When you don’t need it (which is admittedly close to never), you can stow it on its side in a cabinet. I loved this so much I bought one for our upstairs bathroom since we were frequently feeding mini in our bedroom and then would have to schlep all her dirty bottles downstairs several times a day; this enabled us to have a cleaning station upstairs, too. I also bought a travel set by them!
+Spoons: Boon Swap and Olababy. I love the Boons because they have a super tiny well — just the right size for baby-size bites! — and you can use the metal end to saw things into smaller pieces if you need to. It also means you don’t need two spoons if you’re feeding your baby yogurt followed by chicken. The Olababy ones are wonderful for letting mini learn to feed herself. She loves holding a spoon!
+Pulp feeder: Ashtonbee. I loved this for feeding mini strawberries and apples and oranges before she was old enough for finger food. I would often freeze fruit and put it in there, which was helpful while teething. I’d seen others that were made of fabric; these are super easy to clean because they’re silicon.
+Bibs: Superbibs. We have some of the Baby Bjorns, which are solid plastic with a trough at the end to catch food, and those are decent, too, but I find that they get in minimagpie’s way — they sort of awkwardly bash into her high chair plastic tray. The superbibs are a lightweight fabric that can be tucked in front of her. They also fold easily — perfect for on-the-go mealtime — and are a cinch to clean. I just rinse them down with water and soap, and throw them in the wash once a week. They also come in a smaller size we used when mini was younger.
+Mat: Ezpz mini mat. This has totally changed the game at mealtime — she used to love to smear her food all around her tray. This prevents that and keeps her focused on eating. There’s a larger size version of this, but the mini fits on her Phil + Ted tray, which is a little bit smaller than most trays.
+Booster seat: Ingenuity. We loved this in our old home — we’d put her in this right up on the counter (which was super wide) and she’d play happily while we’d cook dinner. It was also easy to feed her in this. I still use it when I’m cleaning the kitchen or applying my makeup and want to keep an eye on her close by. You can remove the colored insert so that she fits into it for longer!
+Bottle soap: Dapple. I tried a bunch of brands before settling on this — it’s the best, and I have a reader to thank for the rec! It has no scent (a problem with most detergents; I hated that she was drinking soap-scented milk for so long!) but it actually cuts through the fat/grease of breastmilk/formula.
+Freezer tray: Beaba. I like that you can pop individual portions out of this from the freezer without disturbing the other “pods” of food.
+Snack catcher: Munchkin. I did way too much research on this. But trust me — this is the best. Keeps snacks from spilling, but easy for mini to get her hand in and out.
+Sippy cup: The jury is largely still out; we’ve tried about five different brands trying to get her to learn to drink water — everything from sippy cups to straw cups, which are apparently supposed to be the best for “oral development.” These Munchkin 360 miracle cups are the only ones she seems to consistently get!
+Formula dispenser: OXO. Possibly my most commented on piece of baby gear. The number of parents who have seen it and, eyes wide, ordered it on the spot? At least five I can think of. I did a LOT of research on this little doo-dad, too, and it’s the best — fairly easy to pour the formula out; simple to clean; small enough to fit in a diaper bag; easy to use with one hand! A MUST for travel! I would just pre-fill bottles with water and then pre-apportion the right amount of formula in this. Genius.
The Best Baby Playtime Gear
+Activity mat: Fisher Price. Hideous, but so dearly loved. I can’t tell you how many moms have told me that they wish they’d just gone with the ugly/bold-colored playmats and playcenters. Babies love them and react to them so much more strongly than the cooler-looking Scandi simple wood centers.
+Activity center: Skip Hop. A true lifesaver. How many hours mini has spent playing happily in this, giving our arms a much-needed break! And she still finds the toys fun, if you can believe it! The music isn’t as terrible as some of the other toys she has, which brings me to…
+Sit-to-stand learning walker: Vtech. I can’t tell you how much I despise and loathe the sounds and songs on this little eyesore. But mini is SO HAPPY WITH IT. She loves the picking up the phone and opening and closing the barn door in particular — but there are SO many different interactions she has with it. Pressing buttons, opening doors, pulling things dangling on threads, playing a piano, etc. And that’s just while sitting in front of it. She also loves when we hold her up and help her push it forward. It’s meant to be wonderful at teaching babies to stand/walk. I had really wanted to buy her this, but it’s apparently out of favor with most pediatricians (I think because it’s dangerous if there are stairs around, which we don’t have). But the truth is that we couldn’t fit both her activity center AND this huge walker thing in our apartment.
+Musical set: Hape. She plays with this EVERY SINGLE DAY. She loves the drumsticks. Right now she’s very into putting the drumsticks into their holes, which takes quite a lot of concentration, but she gets it!
The Best Baby Sleep Gear
+Sound machine: Sleep Sheep On-the-Go. We like the “travel” version because it comes with a velcro piece that makes it easy to affix to your stroller, crib, rocker, etc. We put this on during every nap and bedtime. I’m sure she could sleep without it, but I think it serves as a cue that it’s bedtime.
+Baby blanket: Little Giraffe. Babies don’t sleep with blankets for the first year of their lives, but I use this all the time while rocking her, snuggling with her, out and about, etc. It’s the softest, snuggliest, plushest blanket, and it holds up well in the wash.
+Sleepsack: Burts Bees. I’ve tried a few brands, and ran into issues with poorly made zippers and fabric quality. This one is affordable, but has a lovely soft cotton and a nice weight. I love the designs — mini owns it in the star print.
+Crib sheets: Land of Nod. Most of mini’s crib sheets are from here. They’re very well-made and come in the cutest prints.
+Pajamas: Kissy Kissy. My absolute favorite brand for bedtime — such soft and luxurious cotton, and I find that the sizing generally runs true-to-size. I was so disappointed when I splurged on some monogrammed Beaufort Bonnet Company jammies (which are SUPER CUTE) only to find that they run itty bitty. Mini could only fit into hers for like two weeks!
+Onesies: 1212. THE SOFTEST.
+Swaddles: Aden + Anais. We never cared for any of the velcro/wrap swaddles. We always swaddled her ourselves using Aden + Anais swaddles, which are super breathable and soft, but the right size. (Apparently not all “swaddles” are square, which they should be!)
+Bassinet: Monte Ninna Nanna (<< for some reason marked down $100 here!). I love love love love the design of this beauty. Mr. Magpie was originally very against spending this kind of money on something the baby would sleep in for a few weeks/months, but I’m so glad we got it — it’s beautiful, silent (doesn’t make a noise when you rock it), and sturdy. I considered so many options and my runner up was the Halo Bassinest. I personally think that for the incremental cost, the Monte is SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL that it’s worth it.
+Baby sleep pods: The Boppy Lounger. Could not have lived without the Boppy lounger. I loved that it was lightweight and I could plop it right down on the bed, couch, or floor wherever I was and she could snooze away. Once I learned (thanks to a reader) that I could just throw it in the wash, it became even better. I’m very intrigued by the Dock-A-Tot, which people rave about — I can’t quite figure out why it’s so much more expensive than the Boppy though when it seems like they do the same thing! We also used the 4Moms Rockaroo quite a bit. I wouldn’t say it was a magical product — it didn’t miraculously soothe mini to sleep or anything — but it was SO handy to have multiple spaces to put her down, and she liked the motion.
+Baby booties: Zutano. These don’t really belong in “sleep gear,” but I didn’t know where else to put them! These are the absolute best, though. Super warm and cozy and they never fell off her feet, even when she was just a week old. They come in super cute colors, too.
The Best Baby Travel Gear
+Stroller: Bugaboo Cameleon with the off-white fabric kit. Simply the best. The lightest weight and the smallest footprint of all the “full featured” strollers. I am especially loving this investment now that my life is basically 100% pedestrian — we never drive anywhere! — and I realize what a luxury this stroller is. A few things I love about it: the sunshade can be pulled fully over the baby if she falls asleep and the seat can recline to different degrees, so you can have her flat or upright or somewhere in between, which is great when mini falls asleep while we’re out, or back when she wasn’t quite old enough to hold her head up. I also love the harness — one snap and she’s out and it’s easy enough to do with one hand. Finally, the stroller is incredibly adaptable — you can push the handle bar forward or backward so that if you’re, for example, trudging through snow or mud, you can have the big wheels “in front” to help with traction. You can also raise and lower the pushbar easily so Mr. Magpie and I can comfortably stroll with her despite our vastly different heights. It takes a minute to figure out how to collapse it, and — even then — it’s still pretty big, but what else do you expect with a full-feature stroller? P.S. a few of the dads I know insist that the “suspension” on this stroller is “AMAZING!”, especially when compared to the Uppababy, though I know so many parents who have and obsess over the Uppababy Vista. They always rave about the generous size of the basket underneath which, admittedly, is a huge selling point. The Bugaboo has a much smaller storage space. I haven’t found it an issue, though!
+Stroller hooks: Think King. I love these. Super minimalist but hold REALLY heavy bags and can be repositioned easily.
+Foot muff: Bugaboo. A must have for these cold winter days. Also works with other strollers!
+Drink holder: Bugaboo. I love that these hang onto the side and are easy to pull off/snap on. I’ve seen ones that sit up at the handlebar, but those make me so nervous — what if you walk over a divot and your hot coffee spills onto your baby?! Also, I didn’t think I needed these originally, but they come in major handy!
+Stroller mitts: 7 AM Enfant. So warm and cozy.
+Travel crib: Nuna Sena Aire. Sleek and plush. Not as lightweight as you’d think, though — it’s a BIG thing to lug around.
I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff, so feel free to ping me if you have any other questions! I spend SO much time researching all of this gear, so I feel very confident with my choices, and I’ve been very happy with the results. There were a few things we registered for/purchased that I didn’t care for, and I’ve left those off. For example, I just never got into any of the baby carriers. I always felt like mini was going to fall out of the baby Ktan and the Lillebaby is kind of a necessary evil. We use it all the time when taking the subway, but it’s a pain in the butt to configure. We had to watch like 23 videos to understand how to convert it from an inward facing seat to an outward facing seat, and when Mr. Magpie and I switch, it takes a good five minutes to adjust all the straps. It’s just annoying — but we need it. Similarly, I hated basically all nursing covers. I always felt like they were strangling me and getting in my way. Again, a necessary evil. I never got into the nursing pillows either. Smeh.
Anyway, please share any other wonderproducts or reactions in the comments below!
P.S. I didn’t include a lot of Minimagpie’s nursery items — decor, furniture, etc., but you can find most of them listed here, at the bottom of the post.