DISCLAIMER: I am not being endorsed to write about any of these products. Thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
As my son turned 1, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past year. I understand why they say days are long, but years are short. In the moment, many days feel like they’ll never end. I remember endless cuddles and feedings and such tiny feet curled up on my chest. I now look at my son who can no longer fit in my arms. He has transformed into a busy toddler, climbing the furniture, standing up to grab his Munchkin cup off the kitchen table, and already stashing Cheerios in his pants’ pockets.
Traveling has gotten much easier with him. We’ve made trips both locally and across the country, in the first year. Each time and, at every stage of development, we learn something new to improve the journey. We’ve learned to pack a silicone mat for eating at restaurants and that if the hotel doesn’t have a fridge in the room, you can fill the ice bucket to keep the milk chilled. If you can, take the bus. It will save you money and you don’t have to bring the dreadfully heavy car seat.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not being paid to share products with you on my blog. I have found that some baby gear enables my husband and me to save time and enjoy our lives more. I can’t help but share my knowledge. Because, frankly, it doesn’t have to feel like survival mode every day in the first year.
Our favorite baby products at home and on the go
- Fridababy Windi: My husband lovingly refers to this product as the “butt straw.” Our son struggled with gas in the early months. It would disrupt his sleep every night until we found the Windi, which was a total gamechanger for him. On particularly challenging nights, we’d use the Windi. It helped him pass the gas more quickly so we could all get back to sleeping.
- Fridababy SnotSucker: Another gamechanger and amazing product from Fridababy, the SnotSucker does exactly what it says. It pulls all the congestion out of your baby’s nose so he or she can rest and recover from a cold more quickly. Apply after you’ve misted baby’s nose with a little saline spray and you’ll be amazed at just how much snot you can suck.
- SnoofyBee: Words cannot express how much I genuinely love the SnoofyBee. I buy it for every new mom and dad when they have their baby shower. It’s one of those products parents don’t even realize they need until they’re out and about somewhere. It makes diaper changes on the go so much easier! Bonus: you can stop your baby from putting their hands in the poo by distracting them with toys.
- MAM bottles: I first found out about MAM pacifiers because stores like Destination Maternity and Motherhood will stock you up when you’re shopping for maternity clothes. And we loved these pacifiers so much we decided to try the MAM bottles. Believe me when I say these are the best! We’d tried Medela, Dr. Brown’s, Phillips, and the Infant Comotomo bottles. These are my absolute favorite because they’re anti-colic AND you can microwave them to sterilize them. It makes the cleaning process so much easier. You don’t have to worry about forgetting about a boiling pot of water on the stove. Let’s be real: no sleep deprived parent has time or energy for boiling and sterilizing baby bottle parts.
- Baby Bjorn bibs: Who uses cloth bibs when you can have BPA-free plastic ones that are easy to clean? We got these bibs as a hand-me-down and I am grateful for them every day. When our son started feeding himself at the table, these would catch quite a few pieces of avocado, salmon, and Cheerios. While they didn’t prevent me from sweeping the floor, they made clean up a lot easier for both of us. He didn’t have to change clothes and I could simply wash off the bib in the sink and hang it up to dry.
- MiniMEis: For the first 6 months, my husband and I used the Lumiere Baby 360 Ergonomic carrier to run errands, walk the dog, or cook and clean at home. At 6 months, our son weighed 18 lbs and it became no longer feasible for me to do kangaroo care around the clock. My husband found the MiniMEis, a carrier designed with dads in mind. We’ve used it in place of the ergonomic carrier as he has continued to grow. It is honestly one of the best purchases we’ve ever made. New parents constantly stop us on the street and ask where we found it. I can’t recommend it enough if you’re traveling anywhere with your baby. Bonus: give baby the best view while giving mom’s body a break!
- Summer Infant portable high chair: We have the Summer Infant 3Dlite Convenience Stroller (an umbrella stroller that easily folds up and is super lightweight). It’s the only stroller we’ve ever used and we love it so much that we decided to look into other Summer Infant products. Their portable high chair folds and packs up so easily for weekend getaways and flights away from home. If you don’t want to use high chairs at restaurants, it also comes in handy.
- Graco Pack ‘n Play: With how often we brew beer and like to travel, we needed a portable crib. To get the most use out of it, we used the Pack ‘n Play initially as a bassinet (it has the option) before our son transitioned to the crib in his own room. Around 4-6 months, I invested in a mattress for the Pack ‘n Play to make his naps more comfortable. It’s another (larger) item to load in the car on trips, but worth it when you want your baby to get some quality shuteye.
- Lovevery toys: I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve always found baby toys a little daunting. I don’t like clutter and the thought of piles of children’s toys thrown everywhere stresses me out. As you can imagine, I’m learning to live with the mess. Parenting will make you grow as a person if you’re open to changing. When we took our son to his first developmental assessment at 2 months, I realized we needed some amount of toys to help him grow. I did some research and found Lovevery. I don’t know what I’d do without our Lovevery subscription. These toys are truly made for helping babies as they go through leaps and developmental milestones throughout the first year. There’s even a guide book for parents to help them engage in enriching play and instructions on how/when to introduce each toy for new learning opportunities. I’m so happy that Lovevery recently created toddler kits for play from 13-24 months. Our son loves exploring and engaging with these toys so much that we’re going to purchase the toddler kits for him.