Baby registries can be overwhelming! Thankfully when we found out we were pregnant with Caleb, our dear friend Ellen sent us a fabulous list of items she used with her two boys. She broke down the list into three categories by necessity which made this overwhelmed mama-to-be a whole lot more relaxed! Because we have similar personalities and lifestyles I knew that if she didn't use a particular "must have" gadget, I probably wasn't going to either. Now that my sister-in-law is pregnant with her first, I thought it'd be helpful to share an updated list based on our experience. It's so easy to get overwhelmed with options pre-baby and you have no idea what will really work and what is a waste of money. Everything here I would highly recommend. I've stared items that would make great gifts for any new mama.
These are must haves in my book!
the first years true fit car seat - we bought a convertible one that will last from infant-booster. Everyone says how
nice/convenient it is to have the bucket seat you can take in and
out, but it only lasts a year (if that!), then you have to buy another seat.
There might have been once or twice this past year that I wished I had one, but that's it!
gerber prefold cloth diapers - these make the very best burp cloths. They're not exactly stylish, but are so much more absorbent (and affordable) than the cute ones!
bumGenius 4.0 one-size cloth diapers - we used cloth diapers, which is super easy these
days- plus if you put it all on your registry, then you don’t spend
much, if any on diaper stuff for 2 years (besides some wipes, and
a few things of throw-away for times you don’t want to deal with
carrying around dirty diapers). We transitioned to cloth diapers at around two weeks. Though we've tried a variety of cloth diapers, these have been our absolute favorite with Caleb. The world of cloth diapers is a bit overwhelming, as there are now tons of choices, learn more about our cloth diapering experience here. *clothes - Caleb lived in sleepers for the first few months of life. We loved these sleepers that zip from the bottom up making it easier to change diapers. Baby clothes are super cute, but honestly Caleb didn't wear much other than sleepers and onsies for the first six months, so having a bunch of "cute" outfits wasn't really practical for us.
*rockin' green classic rock cloth diaper detergent - if you're going to do cloth diapers, it's essential that you have the proper laundry detergent to get them super clean. There are lots of DIY recipes out there, but until you get your routine down and learn more about your particular water and washing machine, I highly recommend buying a commercial detergent to get you started.
*california baby shampoo/body wash - we have been using the same large bottle of baby shampoo/body wash for more than a year! I especially like the unscented version. It doesn't take much of this and less is more when using soap on baby's sensitive skin!
*lifefactory glass baby bottles - whether or not you plan to bottle feed, it's nice to have a few on hand "just in-case". I love these glass bottles as they have interchangeable lids that go from sippy cup to water bottle over time. Side note: I highly suggest having (or having access to) a breast pump. Check with your insurance as often they'll cover some, if not all, of the cost for new mamas!
aden + anais muslin swaddle blanket - we have eight of these. They are super lightweight and perfect for wrapping baby up, throwing over the carseat, laying down on a public restroom changing table, nursing cover, blocking sun while in the car, and they're even absorbent enough to use as a burp cloth!! We are still using these almost daily!
These items were great for us, but not necessary for everyone.
*chicco travel seat hook on chair - this one attaches to your table, or a stand alone chair and comes in a protable carrying case, so you can take it
anywhere- even camping and put it on a picnic table! We used this exclusively for the first year, first on the table and later, when he got too heavy for our little table we attached it to a chair.
stokke tripp trapp highchair - Caleb received this as a gift for his birthday and we love it! It's made of wood, easy to clean, and adapts to fit the baby perfectly over time. I also love that it doesn't clash with our kitchen! A worthwhile investment that you'll get years of wear out of!
graco fastAction fold jogger stroller- At some point your baby
will decide (or you will decide for them) that you don’t want to carry the little
guy/girl all of the time, or it
is super hot, or you have a 2nd
kid, you know… So, you may need one of these. The more versatile,
the better! This stroller is rugged enough for rough terrain, yet light weight enough that even I (at 5 months pregnant) can put it in the trunk with ease!
*ergo baby original baby carrier - this is, hands down, the most used baby item we own. We did not start using it until Caleb was 4-5 months old, but it was a must for getting our boy to sleep when we were out and about. It's perfect for grocery shopping, traveling, or just to help get mama hands-free to make dinner. Best part is Dad loves to wear it too!
*moby wrap original baby carrier - we didn't get the Ergo carrier until Caleb was a few months old, and because we opted not to get a bucket carseat, we needed a way to carry our boy around. We loved using the mobi wrap when Caleb was a newborn. I loved how close he was when wearing the wrap - and he slept so soundly when in it! The downside to this wrap is there's a learning curve in putting it on and unlike the Ergo, it's not a quick on/off type carrier.
*graco sweet slumber sound machine- white noise has been a sleep saver for us. Early on we realized how difficult it was for Caleb to fall asleep - he's super easily distracted and so curious that he couldn't calm himself and shut out all the noise. We purchased this after we moved upstairs and it's been a blessing as Caleb's bedroom is right off of the kitchen. It's hard to do much in our small house while he sleeps without making much noise, but with this sound machine, we're able to drown out some of that racket.
*summer infant swaddleMe organic swaddle wrap - Caleb loved being swaddled at night. He has always been a good sleeper - sleeping through the night at about 6 weeks - but would often struggle to calm himself enough to actually fall asleep, swaddling helped tremendously! We used these until about 7 months when he was just too wiggly to keep them on. The velcro makes them a breeze to change diapers in the night too!
These items came in handy those first few months, but are far from necessities to me, just nice to have.
summer infant best view digital color video monitor - we shared a room with Caleb until about 8 months, but once we moved upstairs, it was important to me to be able to hear AND see him in the night. This monitor helped ease my anxiety and helped me get a good nights rest because I could turn the volume up but the video off. And if I woke up in the night I could just peak in on him via the camera instead of opening his door and risk waking him up!
*boppy pillow - I could never quite get the hang of nursing with this pillow, so we didn't use it as much as I thought we would. However, it did come in handy when Caleb was starting to sit up and we used it as a support for tummy time.
fisher price bouncer - at some point you're going to need to put the baby down...you know go to the bathroom, shower, change the laundry, make dinner, etc....and that's when this seat came is really handy for us. Caleb especially loved it when he started to move more and could make it bounce on his own. I love that it's so light weight, making it easy to transfer from room to room and even out onto the porch.
*brica fold n' go travel bassinet- I thought we'd use this far more than we did. We brought it outside a few times, but mostly we used it when traveling to visit family. It's easy to fold and store - takes up very little precious cargo space - and makes a nice safe sleeping space for baby. *books and toys - Everyone loves to buy baby gifts, especially toys! We limit battery powered obnoxious toys in our house and encourage people to buy wooden toys vs. plastic and books are always welcome! Some of our favorites during the first few months were wooden teethers, grasping toys, and indestructible books. heads up - links throughout are referral links. If you purchase through them, I receive a small commission.
Although fall doesn't officially start for another week or so, it sure feels like fall around here.
One of the best parts about this time of year is all the outdoor festivals! This weekend, we decided to head down to Decatur and visit Pasture's Delights for their Fall Festival.
This dairy farm is one of the few raw milk sources in northern Indiana. While at the festival, we learned all about their milking process, and even got to try some fresh RAW milk!
Caleb loved checking out all the animals.
And we all enjoyed the homemade sloppy joes, fresh corn on the cob, and fresh raw milk ice cream.
Then Sunday afternoon, we headed over to Cook's Orchard to pick some apples. We visit this orchard many times throughout the fall as it's only a few miles from home. We love being able to pick up a bag of fresh apples or a gallon (or two!) of fresh cider!
It was a lot of fun to take Caleb for the first time, and loved seeing him excitement about picking apples off the trees. He loved trying the different apples and running through the rows of trees.
This year Caleb and I will being doing a super informal tot school. This year our focus will be on colors, we'll spend about two weeks exploring the "color of the week"!
Here's a little of what we've been up to in our first two weeks of tot school exploring the color red!
We started with a scavenger hunt around the house to collect all the red items we could find. These items were then used to create Caleb's "red" discovery basket that we keep in his room to explore.
Every morning, we start our day with a little story time after breakfast. Our library has awesome kits for kids that include loads of books that center around a specific theme, so this week we're exploring the "red" books. We've found a few new favorites. "Red Truck"
and "Big Red Farm"
We recently installed a magnet board (cookie sheet!) and felt board in the kitchen to give Caleb some activities to do while we cook or clean. This week we used red magnets and I cut out shapes with red felt. He loved picking up items out of the baskets and putting them on the boards.
Next we tried our hand at a "writing" activity. Caleb used a red dry erase marker to color the word "red" printed on paper inside a sheet protector. He loved scribbling, but especially loved making it disappear by wiping the sheet clean!
Our homemade red play dough was a HUGE hit!
As was the red bath paint!
Because we're taking a laid back approach to tot school this year, there is no pressure to "do school" each day. We're just having fun!!