I am BY NO MEANS an expert–but I am a mom of almost 3. I feel that gives some credit towards the must haves of parenting. I have A LOT we didn’t use, things we needed more of, things we were sure to make gender neutral to reuse, and things we put on all 3 registries. I was also a day care teacher (spent 6 months in the infant room) so I have some experience with that perspective even if I did not send my kids. This is based on my experience only.
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Travel-on the go
Oh the diaper bag. I went through a couple I had things I loved and hated about each one. I hated the ones that didn’t hold their shape and stand up. I hated the ones that didn’t have all the pockets to separate, sort, and organize. When I finally had it down, I needed one that fit it all for 2 kids. in diapers. Then, I loved the bag but hated how it hung on my stroller.
Now I need one that is big enough to fit a potty trained preschooler with sensory needs, a potty trained toddler, and a newborn. I keep this “emergency” diaper bag in the car with back up clothes, sunscreen–things you would possibly forget or need in an emergency but they do not need to come everywhere with you. I have settled on this Diaper Bag for all 3 to bring in places with us.
We bought a Travel system with baby 1. I personally liked the 3 wheel one. We loved the system and the carseat and base worked perfect. I loved the neutral print and colors. I loved everything about this set–but has since been discontinued. There is a similar one linked above.
When we were expecting baby 2, we purchased the Double Stroller. It was compatible with our current carseat (not expired yet). For baby 3, we are going to use the same double stroller– carseat is still not expired. We will put baby in the front seat, Nolan in the sit of the back and Stella stand. Make our double a triple. Where our friend Maddox is sitting, we will click the carseat one one.
Carseat cover is essential in Wisconsin. There are very few birth months you wont use it at all. That being said, when picking a carseat cover you must be sure to only get one that goes over the carseat like a shower cap. It cannot go under baby or affect straps at all. I have linked the one we had for Stella. We liked it a lot for winter.
For summer and shade reasons, I used my Cover Me Ponchos Nursing/carseat/cart cover. It kept the sun and bugs out, I could pop it off to nurse, and then pop it on again to go. I loved the versatility of these covers for that reason. I also loved the material.
We received the Ultrasonic Mosquito Repellant as a gift to try. We tried it out just as the mosquitos were leaving for the year, but we are excited to try it out again this year. I am hoping we can hang on baby’s carseat and keep the mosquitos away from baby without having to use chemicals on baby’s skin.
Pack N Play We are travelers. We go to the cottage, we visit friends, we go on weekly trips with friends and family. We found the pack N play to be essential. We like this style as it can have baby up high or lower. We take the top part off and use until the kids are in big kids beds–after 2 for both of our kids. These things have come on the pontoon boats, hotels, cabins, cottages and more! If you have one as a hand me down or from previous children, you may want to look into the Pack N Play cleaning methods (found on Pinterest)
Summer Play Yard This beautiful thing is fondly referred to as baby jail. We bring this with us any time we need to keep baby safe. It is bigger than a pack n play but serves a similar purpose with no padding in the base. We have even put it in the water at the lake (1-2 inches of water) to keep the toys from floating away and the kids who didn’t like sand off the lake bottom. We were always close (as we would be if they were in a bath tub), and there were no waves to topple baby over. We also used this on the beach, in our yard, and by the camp fire. We also purchased the sun shade to give the kids a break from the sun–especially if they are too young for sunscreen.
We used the bath seat (infant) for Nolan in the regular tub, and then with both kids. We plan on using it with baby 3–all 3 kids in the tub. (I do bath night along and this is the best way to not leave anyone unattended in our house. We put the seat on the left as it gets deeper closer to our drain on the right.
Towel-I am a big fan of the Norwex children’s towel. Grandma gets them embroidered as well. I love that these cover the kids and last into toddlerhood and they have the Norwex quality and materials.
Diaper Genie I like the one with the foot pedal that opens up lets the diaper fall in, and clasps behind. I did not like the one you had to manually open, then push the diaper in–gross and hard to do with one hand.
We never had weight/nursing concerns with our littles so we were fine with a typical Changing Pad. That being said those who need to closely monitor how much milk their little one has or closely monitor their weight, I have heard great things about the HatchBaby.
On top of our standard changing pad, we had a changing pad cover. When there is a leak you just toss it in the laundry–so you may need a couple to change out. That being said, with Stella, we discovered Changing Pad Covers that were WIPEABLE. This was a game changer because unless it was a complete flood, we never needed a new one. Just wipe with a baby wipe and go. This was a must for our next one. The only thing is it can be a little cold on their back so I try to have them lay on the pad while I get prepped (safely and with one hand on them) so they warm it up before I undress them.
Diapers. I like to stock up on diapers, but I am not a huge fan of having too many of one size and doing the whole exchange thing. I much prefer to stock on what I most likely will use and go get more if I have to.
Newborn 2 jumbo boxes/packs (one for each floor)–If you have a big baby you may not be in these long
Size 1 3 jumbo boxes/packs
Size 2 2 boxes/packs–This size has so much overlap with 1 and 3 that we don’t last in them long. Our doctor doesn’t even have size 2 at the office since kids are in them so little they provide a 1 or 3 when they give us a diaper after scales.
Size 3 3 jumbo boxes/packs
Wipes-You will use wipes for everything. All the time. Even once potty trained, we still had wipes. Accidents, mess clean up, in the car, etc. You cannot go wrong with wipes. Stock up on wipes. So.Many.Wipes.
Items we found no use for:
Wiper Warmer– Yes, the idea is great. I wouldn’t want a cold wipe when I am used to being all warm in the womb either, but I also wouldn’t want to be used to warm wipes and then be out in public and it be freezing–that may make a public restroom diaper change even more traumatic. We personally skipped.
PeeTeePee We got one of these for Nolan. It was a great idea, while he is exposed you get the teepee on and finish going about getting the diaper happening. The problem, they don’t stay on well defeating the purpose. They are never around when you need them. They get pee on them and they need to be cleaned and then you, again, don’t have them when you need them. They are not absorbent so all it does is cause the pee to flow back downwards onto the pad or clothing.
I plan on nursing my babies. I have been successful with the first two, I have the same hopes for the next one. We live in Wisconsin so the amount of vitamin D we get from the sun is actually pretty minimal. Therefor, we supplement with VitaminD. We find the dropper works better than a syringe because baby can suck out the liquid from the dropper at their own speed. With the first 2 we used this one because it had a dropper. I got this one on sale for this one so we will try this one (using the dropper from the first 2)
We appreciate having a thermometer on each floor. Before 18 months, we take a rectal temp for the best accuracy. We found when when we called the doctor and actually had this temp they were more satisfied with the temperature we were reporting. (you will need vaseline for this!) We find this KINSA thermometer to be great with the kids when they are older and awake because the bubble popping on the phone entertains them. I keep this in the diaper bag so we have one and it’s app that is compatible is on both of our phones. We recently got this Thermometer to get an ear or forehead temp for when they are so sick we need to do it quick or when they are sleeping and we are monitoring a temp.
Acetemetephen/Tylenol (children can’t have Ibuprofen until 6 months). We also try to go dye free because that is what we have for Nolan. We ask our pharmacist (daddy) to dose if they are under the weights listed on the bottle.
Baby Monitor with video was a life saver for us. We were able to peek in when we heard noise and figure out if the baby was going to go back to sleep or not. We also like to have one that has a camera for each child but one parent unit. We also liked the feature of having the capability to talk to child. We can then shhh or or soothe from the monitor. As they get older, it can also be great for a stern “get back in your bed.” This is the one we just got for traveling–we have a “retired” one that has 3 cameras in our house.
Vibrate was key for us. We had a bassinet for the first 2 kids, but we they outgrew that around 8 weeks. We wanted to have that same capability but with a larger bed so we found one that was a vibrating bassinet section of a pack n play. This was great bed side bed while allowing that vibrate to help soothe baby back to sleep.
We found by having baby in a crib, in their room, with only the crib sheet was a good habit. Our kids learned to go to bed in their own space. They were safe, they were able to learn how to go to bed. We do not cry it out, but they do learn to have their own sleep and not NEED a parent to help them get to sleep–though we are able to get right there quickly with the monitor if needed.
Is a crib skirt essential? No. I just enjoyed the ability to hide all the things under the crib.
We personally enjoyed the sound machine/projector and a mobile. The sound machine helped drown out the sounds of the house. The projector provided entertainment and stimulus. The mobile also provided something fun for the child to look at–while making the nursery cute and beautiful.
Velcro swaddles/wearable blankets–plan on sending your kid to daycare? If they have recently been trained in SIDS, many are no longer allowed to have ANY kind of blanket in the crib–including a blanket to swaddle. They need wearable blankets or a velcro swaddle. I never took the time to learn how to swaddle with a blanket only for it to not be tight enough. I invested in velcro swaddles that were adjustable in tightness. We found this to be very important in our child’s sleep.
We found the Zippadee Zip to be an amazing wearable blanket, post swaddle/swaddle transition. Our kids loved them and it really helped keep them warm and was a HUGE sleep cue. We put zippy on, they knew it was bed time. This was great especially if “bed time” was out of the ordinary like in the car, in a stroller, etc.
Simply for convenience in the dark, we only use PJS that zipper. Buttons are too hard. All sleepers we own have a zipper. I recently discovered ZippyJamz which took it to a new level of night time convenience and have a zipper just on the crotch for nighttime changes allowing you to pull as minimal of baby as possible out of the pjs to get a change–keeping them cozy and warm and allowing them to get back to sleep easier.
Bottles (1 of many kinds). We found that kids can be particular about their bottle-especially if they are nursing. After having A LOT of bottles we never used we learned and got 1 of a lot of different kinds of bottles for Stella and then bought more in the ones she liked.
Bottle warmer I never personally used a bottle warmer because I was nursing. Some parents like to pump and have dad help at night. This would be helpful. There are also moms who work or even take a break and this would also come in handy. It was much faster and wasted less water than running under hot water. We did find the bottle warmer to be worth our time.
As mentioned, we are a nursing family, but I have worked in the day care and I know if you send your child to daycare on formula, the pre-measured formula dispensers were crucial. No guessing for us, no storing the big containers, and it was a quick dump and warm. Highly recommend for any powder formula families.
Washing bottles is inevitable for most families. If you hand wash you’ll want a Drying Rack (this one comes with silicone bottle brush too). I like this one because it is a little more attractive, can hold little things on the bottom, and as water drips the things aren’t sitting in it. You do need to pick up the gras and wash the base tray occasionally…I just put in the dishwasher. I also like a silicone bottle brush since it holds less germs/bacteria. The link provided here comes with the silicone bottle brush.
Nursing Cover. I tried a couple different kinds. With a wire, with out, with an adjustable strap, etc. Though I am not one who believes one should HAVE to cover up, some mothers prefer to. I finally settled on this one. Without the wire it was easier to fold. I could also use this one as a carseat cover and even a blanket. I liked the patterns and found the price point to be nice as well.
Boppy. I found the boppy to be essential in my nursing. I had one on each floor. I brought it to the hospital with me. I used it for child to lounge in during the day and for photos as well. Once sitting, I felt much safer with this behind them so if they tipped it was onto this. Where we went, a boppy went too. I got this one for baby 3 because it is the right colors and gender neutral. I have a cover in both genders from the first 2 as well. I will have one upstairs and one downstairs again.
High Chair with a foot rest. I have read somewhere (one of the mama feeding groups on Instagram I am sure) that children eat better and its better for their posture if they have a footrest on their high chair. I liked that this one had a footrest that was adjustable. It also has the capability of coming off and being a booster seat. I liked items that could be used for longer and more ways than one when registering for Nolan.
Now with more children it still works great but I am learning the new things and I would love a Stokke high chair. It is beautiful, it can last for ages (infant-toddler) and it is has the footrest. I love it so much, but cannot justify getting a new one when this one works. The cost is a little steep for these chairs, but if you are getting it for a first child (or at least plan on having more kids after this one) it is easily justifiable with the time you have left.
Bibs/Bapron. I personally loved the Bapron because it stayed on. I also loved how washable it was. When I was using regular bibs, they would get stained very easily and I would spend a lot of time trying to get them clean. These are for 6 months – 3 years so the time span they can be used and the washability totally justify the price. Stella still uses hers!
Pump. I worked with Nolan and stayed home with Stella and I needed a pump both times. I would recommend checking with your insurance company to to see if a pump is covered and if it is, how you go about obtaining one. Some will reimburse you with a doctor note. Some cover completely if you go through a medical supply company. I am sure there are other variations if they cover as well. There are many different options out there and how you get your pump may also affect what your choices are. I recommend doing insurance first, then looking into their specific options second so you dont fall in love with a pump and then it not be the kind covered.
I personally washed my Pump parts and bottles dishwasher. I didn’t PERSONALLY feel a sanitizer was necessary for either of them. This is a personal preference.
Swing (we like it goes front back and side side). We also loved that this one was able to be plugged in, had vibrate, has a mobile, and has music. It even has the ability to play the music on your phone by plugging in. We found this to be a great help in the middle of the night, as a safe place to place baby if we are having a hard time and we need a break, and just for a change of environment. Our kids have enjoyed the swing.
Another tool we used A LOT was the Snuggle bunny bouncer with vibrate. I could sit on the chair/couch and bounce the child with my feet. I could talk to and interact with the baby while still having to hands to pump, eat, or be a human for a moment. When we would bounce the seat, the birds would spin and they loved watching the birds too. This was my saving grace when I hadn’t eaten all day and I just needed a small break but could still be face to face and social with baby.
Jumparoo. When our kids were big enough to jump, they loved to jump. We couldn’t do any of the doorframe jumpers as we have no doorframes that have trim to hold them up. We used this one even before they could jump to work on head control and look around play sitting up. If they couldn’t reach the floor (Stella was super short) we would put a pillow under their legs–we were told not to let them dangle. This one is adjustable in height as well. I hate the amount of space this takes up, the colors, and how obnoxious it is, but the kids just love it.
A blanket works, really it does, but my kids loved their play gym/mat. They were able to learn to roll trying to reach one of the sides, they liked the mobile, the contrasting colors, and so on. We loved this one!
The Bumbo was a huge must have when we had Nolan. We used it a little but not a ton with him because his legs were so chubby. Then we thought we would use it more with Stella but her little legs were so skinny when she needed it that she still tipped and I felt she was safer with the boppy. It did come in handy occasionally and when we did use it we would put it up against the couch in case their head control wasn’t great yet. This helped them get off the back of their heads and up a little sooner.
Sophie the Giraffe got some flack for having mold, but this is a crowd pleaser when it comes to my kids! I love the look of Sophie and I love how it is fun for all 5 senses. Like all toys, make sure you only let kids use it when you are supervising.
Oball–and similar toys. These are great for oral development. They are also great for the little hands to hold onto. They can also be hooked onto strollers and carseats with rings. It allows the child to move their tongue and strengthen (picture moving food around in the mouth and speaking). There are many varieties of these toys from the basic ball, rattle, car, football, etc. These were loved my our kids.
Structured-Ergo with infant insert. Once I was past baby 1, a carrier was essential. I literally did not leave the house with 2 under 2 (and then for months after that) without my ergo. Stella was in the infant insert for an obnoxiously long time (due to size) so we ended up rolling a towel up her butt to help with height but give her the big girl motion. I plan on using this one still though it is not as compact and small for travel, it is plastic clips so should pass security if they allow you to leave it on.
I used the Moby wrap when the babies are very little. I used it for both and I liked it, it just took some time to get all wrapped into. Nolan visited his first pumpkin patch in in one and Stella left the hospital and went straight to her uncle’s high school graduation party in it. The wrap helps keep warm and close from germs.
Things I have learned about and want but 1) not sure financially and 2) not sure I need for third kid but you may want to look into
Haakaa silicone pump. I have history of a “healthy nursing body” In other words, I am a cow. When I nurse on one side, I flood the other. By using this pump as a collector on the other side, I will save milk AND have less mess. I will for sure have one of these when baby comes!
Finn + Emma Macrame Collection. Kids always seem to chew on things that don’t look like toys. This adorable collection will be great because they are chewing on what doesn’t look like for them because it is absolutely the cutest thing ever, but it also is actually made for them! I cannot wait to use these! They are currently hanging on the crib mobile bar and will hang on the carseat as well. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE this play gym bar, but not sure it is in the cards for us this baby.
Neither kids took a pacifier. We tried every type out there and they both just passed. For a short while Stella took one to bed to chew on and play with, but never actually used it. This baby we are trying the Ryan and Rose PatPat. We are hoping this new design is one this baby finds interesting! IF we were to get our child to take pacifier clips, I would hope that we could also get some of the cute clips out there!
Wildbird ring sling. I was doing carriers before but I love the idea of a ring sling. What first drew me in was the weight–up to 35lbs! Great for carrying up to all 3 kids! Then I loved the look and the compactness for traveling and always having one in the car. I have a single for a newborn and then a double to grow into (and use with Stella and occasionally Nolan as well).
There is no denying Nolan is a crazy man. I would like a Plum and Sparrow Moses basket just to give baby a little bit more of a barrier and Nolan a bit more of a do not cross line. Plus, look how gorgeous these babies are!
I am not sure which one is better I have heard RAVING reviews for both the snuggle me organic or the dock a tot. They also form that barrier and also a snuggle that can help with sleep on the go and co-sleeping if necessary. I think they would be a great sleep accessory.
The most versatile and mobile camera I have seen is the Lollipop camera. I absolutely LOVE how easy it is to move the monitor and it is stylish as well. Sounds, tracking, sound detection, etc. This looks like an AMAZING way to keep tabs on baby (or all 3 kids!)
I have heard rave reviews about the rock and plays, especially the ones with auto rocking features. They help baby feel snuggled and safe. I am debating one of these because we have always put our kids to sleep flat on their backs in the pack n play/bassinet or the crib so transitioning to a bed was never tricky. I am not sure if I want to add another thing to wean in…but if this child is different from its siblings and needs it, I am for sure going to look into one!
We recently purchased the Go With Me Chair. This chair can be high chair and then convert to a camp chair, too. With all our trips having a portable chair (folds up like a bag chair) and a hard tray. It will be especially helpful with knowing the age of this baby during the summer months–it will be a great way to contain baby out of the dirt and in a safe place.