Gear Guide: Baby Gear

I’m a baby gear guide junkie. I love reading the wide variety of recommendations, and seeing how one mom’s “must have” item is someone else’s “don’t bother.”

I dithered quite a bit in putting my list together because so much baby stuff is really un-essential and just up to you (or your baby). But baby stuff is also so adorable and satisfying to use when it works well that I can’t help but throw in my two cents.

Here are the items I love to use and give as gifts:

1. Aden & Anais muslin/bamboo blankets. A friend recommended these by name and she couldn’t have been more right. These are not only beautiful (we have this version as well as a few plain white ones) but also incredibly soft. They are also thin (read: breathable). They were the first blankets I felt comfortable putting on Beatrice for naps and then walking away and not worrying that she was going to suffocate. They are fantastic for: swaddling the baby, serving as a summer weight wrap (easier than additional layers on a newborn), covering a car seat or stroller to block out the sun or the busy world, and making an impromptu sun shield or nursing cover anywhere.

Grass Countertop Drying Rack

2. Boon drying grass. I love how it looks on my counter. What I like (besides the design) is its versatility: it holds bottles, pump parts, baby spoons, sippy cups, and whatever else we stick in it equally well. I’m sure by the time she’s 6 or so we’ll be done with it, but it’s definitely going to be around for a while.

Product Photo

3. Front carrier, like a Beco, Ergo, or Moby wrap. Everyone has their own preference and carriers are not everyone’s thing, but it’s been our most beloved baby gear item. When she was a newborn Bee was helpless to the Beco’s power: within 10 minutes even the loudest crying fest dissolved into slumber. Popping her into the Beco also allowed us to get stuff done around the house (light cooking, decluttering). We took her on walks and hikes in it several times a week, and its cozy warmth allowed us to keep going outside with her through temps down to 20 degrees (we zip a big coat over the carrier and look really awesome). We used it steadily from 2 weeks to 15 months, when her size and the heat of summer dropped it down to occasional use. (For our upcoming January baby I’m scouring Craigslist for a Kangaroo Korner adjustable fleece sling – it seems like the perfect thing for the cold of winter and a frequently nursing baby).

4. Babylegs. Adorable and functional leg warmers for babies. Four great uses: adding a layer on the fly, padding the knees of summer crawling babies, keeping diaper-rashed kiddos warm while they get some airing out, and putting over snowpants and the tops of boots, connecting them so they don’t gap and let ankles freeze.

19oz Super Sensitive Shampoo & Bodywash

5. California Baby products. Good for baby and they smell great. And so concentrated that our first bottle (regular size) lasted 18 months.

Skip Hop Zoo Melamine Plate and Bowl Set

6. Nearly everything by SkipHop. We have a ton of their stuff and love it all: the Treetop Night and Day Discovery Toy, the bunny mirror, dishware (pictured above), the Pronto, the Moby faucet cover, and their diaper bag. I also just got one of their Hug & Hide Stroller toys for Baby #2. I was going to a new crib sheet from them (they have really cute designs with contrasting colors on the sides) but they got bad reviews.

But as much as I love dishing about my own favorite gear items, I want to hear yours! What did you and your baby love? Did you receive any “luxury” gifts you loved having but would have had a hard time buying for yourself? Anything I need for baby #2?

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