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The Best of Baby: A Review of the Baby Products I Used in the First Year of Motherhood

January 3, 2019

When I found out I was pregnant, I sat on the computer for hours browsing through countless sites to try and nail down exactly what to put on my baby registry. Originally I thought this would be an easy task. I mean, I have been surrounded by babies/kids pretty much my entire life, both through family and babysitting opportunities. However, with the amount of baby gadgets out on the market now, it made the job of picking and choosing EXTREMELY challenging.

At first, I thought I’d write this piece after I had 6 solid months under my belt. However, once the time came, I felt that I should wait and see the whole year through. I really wanted to get through more milestones, everything from sitting solo, eating solids and walking. More importantly, I wanted to see what I’d use during all the up’s and downs of my girl’s development. In the end, I’m glad I made that decision to wait because in these past 12 months, I have certainly learned a lot.

Now before I jump into it, I want you to keep in mind that everything I’ve reviewed are things I have personally used and are things that agreed with my life/parenting style and of course, baby. Just because I may have found a product that I didn’t love, DOES NOT mean this will be the case for you. Being a first time mommy has been all about trial and error and I’m hoping that my experience will come in handy in case any of you lovely mamas are finding the idea of a baby registry daunting. 

0-6 MONTHS 

  1. Fisher Price Baby SwingThis was actually gifted to my husband and I by our neighbors who were done having babies and thought we’d get some use out of it. Why I had originally thought I’d buy a more expensive model,  I saved myself the money and found that Cassidy was perfectly happy with the simple back and forth motion. With a cozy seat and straps to secure her in, this swing offered different swing levels and a few different sound options. Additionally it had a light up star mobile on top, which came very much in handy on fussy nights. 
    • CONS:
      • I was annoyed by the “clicking” sound the swing made when it rocked. Cassidy didn’t seem bothered but after a while It started to grow on my own nerves
      • Cassidy out grew this swing pretty quickly. In fact, she was too long for it by the time she was 3.5 months old. I think other models offer roomier seats so if you think your babe might be tall, maybe reconsider another option.
  2. Chicco Key Fit Travel System (Car Seat & Stroller)After a trip to Babies R’ Us, Keven and I settled on this stroller & car-seat combo. While we had known of pricier models on the market (such as the UPPA), we hated asking family to spend more and thought we were being smart of going more “budget friendly.” For the most part, we loved the car seat. It was easy to install, easy to carry and comfortable for our girl. The stroller was decent as well and made it super simple for us to move Cassidy from the car to stroller without having to wake her up or unstrap her. As for the stroller, when it was time for Cassidy to sit in it without the car seat, it leaned back far enough to provide a comfortable napping space. Additionally, it was very easy to fold up and lift into the car. 
    • CONS: 
      • The car seat cover was a bit difficult to clean so if you decide to go with this model, cross your fingers for zero blowouts
      • The stroller, after 2 plane rides, has started to suffer in terms of wear and tear. The wheels have started to get stuck and make it challenging to use. For this reason it has not been used in 3+ months and I have instead opted for my jogging stroller for pretty much everything. 
      • It only fits one baby so in the future, if we are to have another babe, I will have to invest in another double stroller. I think if I could do it again, I’d invest in the UPPA VISTA model because it allows for future modification to add in another baby. 
  3. Prince Lion Heart Diaper Warmer- Now we didn’t get this product until after Cassidy was born. Beforehand, I had been told repeatedly not to waste my money on a diaper warmer because all it will do is dry out my wipes and then cause my daughter to hate being changed when on the go. HOWEVER, after having my baby during one of the coldest weeks of December 2017 (it was in the teens during the day and negative wind chills) I couldn’t stand to think about her being any colder by having a cold wipe used on her. With over a year later all I can say is that I whole heartedly disagree with anyone who has a negative thing to say about getting a wipe warmer. This model, in particular, has yet to ever dry out my wipe. This was helped by a sponge, they provide, that you have to soak in water and then place on the bottom. After about 3-4 months, you may find it is time to replace the sponge. If not, they will start to dry out and then cause your other wipes to do the same. Additionally, I never found Cassidy to be affected by occasionally having a colder wipe used on her. I tried to introduce the change every once in a while, and by doing just that, she has never had a problem.
    • CONS:
      •  I HAVE NONE! I seriously love this thing. 
  4. Graco Pack and Play- Now this something we registered for and didn’t really use until Cassidy was about 5 months old. We got the set that has a bassinet and changing table but never had any use for them at the time of her birth because the house we lived in previously was tiny and her room was not too far away. However, in the future I can definitely see us having this set up down stairs so that I don’t need to go upstairs each time a new babe has a diaper change. Aside from all of this, this pack and play is super easy to set up, really compact and easy to transport.
    • CONS: 
      • The mattress provided isn’t the most comfortable so I would recommend buying a separate mattress to insert in. 
  5. Fisher Price Rock N Play- This was another gift that our sweet neighbors gave us. We had an older model that just vibrated but it did the trick. This thing was a God send for a sleep deprived mama. Cassidy struggled with her bassinet in the beginning and when she had fussy nights, I used to plop in this and she’d soon drift off to sleep. Along with the fact that it was easily transportable, I was able to move Cassidy all around the house (even down in the basement for a workout or two) and she was happy as can be. 
    • CONS:
      • NONE! AGAIN, ANOTHER FAVORITE RIGHT HERE
  6. Owlet Smart Sock 2Right here is my FAVORITE product above everything else. Now I’ve met some people who have heard of this sock and have thought it silly and unnecessary. However, after having a baby who was briefly in the NICU and pairing that with a first time worry wart of a mother, this product gave me such wonderful peace of mind and spared me nights of stress and restlessness. Although it is a pricey investment, it has been 100% worth the splurge. While we don’t use this anymore, since Cassidy is now 1 years old and in great health, I know for sure that I will be using it for any future children. Not only did I like it because it gave me an insight into my girl’s vitals (heart rate and oxygen levels) it also allowed me to see what stage of sleep she was in (low heart rate=out cold & high heart rate = waking up or awake). We never had any false alarms and any time it did go off was because Cassidy was smart enough to knock it lose or pull it off. Hence the reason she no longer has to wear it. Aside from all of this, Owlet provides great customer support 24/7 in case there are any questions or issues. 
    • CONS:
      • ZERO! I love this thing!
  7. Avent BottlesNow I feel like I didn’t do as much research in this department as I have heard other mothers perform. I didn’t really know much about choosing nipple sizes and all that jazz. So, with that being said, I went with a bottle that had good reviews and was BPA free. In the end, this bottle was perfect and we have had no complaints at all. They come in various sizes and are easy to wash and dry. 
    • CONS:
      • There has been some slight discoloration but they still work the exact same.  
  8. Fisher Price Rainforest JumperAgain, another wonderful gift from our neighbors and it certainly got a ton of use. From 4 months till 8/9, we’d plop Cassidy right in and she’d have a ball. This jumper was full of different gadgets and decor that stimulated our girl and kept her busy. This was just the thing to keep her busy as I cleaned house, made dinner, etc. 
    • CONS:
      • I wish it wasn’t so big but I guess that is to be expected. In our old home, which was 2 bed 1 bath, we were tight. In our new home, we had no problem, so I guess it really just depends on the space. 
  9. Snuggle Me OrganicFrom day one, Cassidy has always hated being swaddled. She kicked her way out of any blanket I put her in and even to this day, would much rather be naked if possible. Of course, with this being the case, it made for a really rough start because even though she hated it, she needed the swaddle to keep herself from startling awake. That’s when I learned about the swaddle me and loved the idea behind it. Instead of the Dock a Tot, this pillow really cradled my baby and kept them in a swaddle-like position. This was the perfect thing for Cassidy since it was able to cocoon her but also not restrict her in the same way a swaddle did. It fit perfectly in our bassinet and was used up until the time she was 6 months old. I would have even used it longer but my girl grew too long and was able to push herself out of it.
    • CONS:
      • Really there is nothing negative I could say about this. If anything I wish they’d make a size larger for the 6-12 months of age range
  10. Avent Bottle WarmerWhile I did primarily breast feed Cassidy, I did also freeze as much milk as I could so that I didn’t have to worry about her being hungry, should I have work or run an errand. Shaped perfectly to fit the bottles I described above, this warmer certainly was a help, however I do have a few cons about it that I will make mention of below.
    • CONS:
      • When it was time to warm up the milk, it took at least 5 minutes to reach a proper temperature. And this was when I used hot water to start.
      • The setting, while seemingly simple, aren’t as clear cut or explained unless you read the manual. This is total understandable but did seem to pose a few problems when other family members would try and work it.
  11. Medela Breast Pump This product was one that was free from my insurance and if you know me, free is one of my favorite words. So, with that being the case, I settled on the most basic model. I didn’t have any need for the travel case or car adapter, since I am primarily at home. Considering this is the model I used in the hospital with Cassidy, I didn’t find there to be really any problems when using.
    • Cons:
      • While there were no problems, like I said above, the only thing I wish Medela could do differently is come out with a pump like that of the Willow, which is cordless and can be used anywhere. That’s not really a con though, more a lofty dream.
  12.  Freshly Picked Diaper Bag Lastly, this one product is one that can be included on the 6-12 list, and beyond really, since I still use it to this very day. Although it is a bit pricier than the standard diaper bag, I decided to treat myself to an early Mother’s Day gift. Wanting a bag that was both stylish, functional and durable, I knew that this would fit all those requirements plus more. Not only is it perfect for fitting all the things your babe will need, it is also really helpful for travel in general. In fact, it fits a laptop perfectly. It’s an excellent carry on for when flying.
    • CONS:
      • ZERO. I love this bag and would totally buy another if possible.

6-12 MONTHS

  1. GB Pocket Umbrella Stroller If you want a stroller that is super lightweight, compact and easy to travel with, this is the one. For the past two times we have flown, it has been our go to. In fact, it is small enough to even bring aboard and stow overhead if you are allowed to do so.
    • CONS:
      • I am not much of a fan with the way the seat is positioned. Because it is a seat made of softer, more foldable material, it doesn’t seem to straighten up enough and leaves cassidy is a very awkward half slanted position
      • The seat also doesn’t go back very far so it isn’t the best for when your babe falls asleep. 
  2. V-Tech Play TableWhen Cassidy started to start pulling herself up to stand (around 9 months I think), I immediately wanted to get her something that would encourage her to do so more often and also keep her busy. After seeing this product for sale for more than $30, I decided to check out Facebook marketplace and was able to find a used one for sale for $5. FIVE DOLLARS, GUYS! Sure I had to lysol it and it had a few signs of wear and tear but who the heck cares? Im pretty sure Cassidy doesn’t notice so it works! Anyway, this has been a favorite of Cassidy’s. She loves to hit all the buttons and slowly has started to figure out all the different functions of it. 
    • CONS:
      • Price for a new one stinks so I highly encourage trying to get a used one. 
  3. V-Tech Sit to Stand Walker–  Same thing with this product, once Cassidy started showing interest in practicing walking, I refused to buy a brand new one. I hated the fact that I’d be spending $40+ dollars on a toy that would only get banged up. So just like the table, I found this walker for $5. Again, it needed another scrub down and once it was clean, it looked brand new. Cassidy is obsessed with it and has gotten so much better with her balance. I love how it offers the ability for the face plate to be taken off so that Cassidy can sit with it and explore. 
    • CONS:
      • Like above, the rice for a new one stinks so I highly encourage trying to get a used one if possible. 
  4. Graco 4-Ever Convertible Car Seat At about 10 months, Cassidy was VERY ready to be moved out of her infant car seat. She fussed about not being to sit up and frankly just looked silly in it. Her feet hung over the side and just looked squished. So thats when we got the Graco 4-Ever Convertible Car Seat. For this purchase, I did do plenty of research and saw all different models, from every price range and finally learned that this is one of the most commonly used and well revered car seats on the market. It has high safety scores and lots of features that make it a great addition to the car. The thing that really sold me was the fact that it would grow with my girl and be able to stay with her, even until the time she is able to sit in a booster seat. 
    • CONS:
      • So when we went to CA back in October, I was frustrated because I had bought a seat for Cassidy and figured I’d use this car seat, since it says it is “FAA approved.” However, after talking with an airline representative, I learned that this seat is WAY too big for pretty much any airline seat, even if you were first class. So that was super annoying. 
  5. Cosco Car Seat- So with the issue above and not being able to bring our Graco 4-Ever carseat on the airplane, we learned about using the Cosco Car Seat for traveling purposes. For such a cheap price tag (<$40 at Walmart) we decided to get it and see how it would work. We loved it! It was so light weight and easy to install in both the airplane and car. It was also really comfortable for Cassidy to be in. Another plus was that it was easy to clean (had to learn that the hard way after Cassidy had a massive blow out). 
    1. CONS:
      1. As far as safety, I don’t think I would want to use it long term. It lacks the extra padding in the head area, so that makes me feel a little nervous. 
  6. Fisher Price SpaceSaver Baby High ChairLast but not least, in our old home (remember it was much smaller than where we are now) I didn’t have much room for a high chair. So I opted for this model and save the space, using a chair we already have at our table. Now that we are in a bigger space, I still love this high chair. It is super compact and light weight, which makes it easy to bring with us when needed, and additionally it is super easy to clean. 
    1. CONS:
      1. It leads a little space underneath so you will have a bunch of food trapped under the chair so remember to clean it frequently. 

 

 

 

 

 

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