Now that our infant days are over, I’m sharing the baby gear to splurge on – from cribs to swaddles – that we loved and swore by for both of our boys.
^^ Tiny little Birchie!
I had a friend who was newly pregnant say to me: “Just tell me what to buy!” There is so much gear to choose from and sometimes you just need a friend to tell you baby gear to splurge on and what you don’t really need or could buy second hand to use for a short period of time. This is my list of our very favorite baby gear essentials worth splurging on.
Baby Gear To Splurge On
If you are active at all, you need a BOB. (Or a jogging stroller in general – pick your brand). The shocks on this thing are incredible, and our BOB Revolution I got in 2012 for Mazen is still going strong for Birch! The air-filled tires and shocks are crucial, and the extra large sun shade will carry you through summers. While you certainly can walk with any stroller, a jogging stroller will really help with the workout side of a walk or run. Both of my kids love(d) this stroller! And considering I’m going on ~6 years years of use over an 8 year time frame, I’ve gotten my money’s worth. The only con is it is a HUGE PAIN to get in and out of a car, so keep that in mind. (I don’t even think mind can fold anymore!)
Infant car seats are annoying because you only need them for about six to nine months before you move to a convertible. But while you do need them, they are SO important. When the baby is tiny you can’t just throw him on your hip and walk inside, so its nice to have the car seat for transport and sleeping. I loved the Mesa overall and vote for it mostly because it works seamlessly with and clicks into the Uppababy stroller I’m going to recommend below. We have Mazen’s old Clek car seat as our “big boy” convertible and it’s about to expire. Instead of getting another Clek, this time we’re going with the Nuna Rava because my sister SWEARS by it, and when a mom swears by something you know it’s good! It’s in my Nordstrom cart and I’m hoping to snag it during the sale next week (if you guys don’t get it first – ha!)
I never quite got the stroller system down with Mazen. I ended up buying 3 different ones and used them all differently (a snap n go for the car seat, an umbrella for travel, and a BOB for walking). This time around we got the Uppababy Cruz and LOVE it for anything other than jogging.
The Uppababy brand is pricey but worth the investment. The Cruz is great with the Mesa car seat when the baby is young, and lovely for infants too. I love that the seat can face forward or reverse and it can recline as well. The basket is huge so it’s good for shopping. I leave it in my car most of the time so I can use it when I get to destinations.
I chose the Cruz because it’s a little smaller, but if you’re thinking about having more than one child, I’d go with the Vista! Especially because lots of people (like my niece Emerson) love the ride-along board. Get the travel bag too because you won’t want to gate check this nice stroller without protection. The travel bag is even nice for a car trip when you need to pack the trunk efficiently, and the Stroller Organizer is great!
Or an ERGO baby carrier. Either one is good! This is definitely something worth trying to find as a hand-me-down if you can, but mine has gotten me through two babies and I still use it with toddler Birch when we’re out as a back carrier. Definitely look for one that you can use with a newborn, infant, or toddler on your back. The clickable buckles are so fast to do, and you’ll want something that can support a lot of weight when the baby is older. I had a ring sling that was good for about a month and then B got too heavy!
This is one of those controversial items on the “spend or save” list. I say go for it and here’s why: most of the other options (bouncy seats, swings, going with nothing) aren’t able to have the baby on the couch right next to you. I loved that the Dock a Tot meant that I could put Birch right next to me on the couch and he was safe and snug within my arm’s reach. A bouncy seat or swing is a good place to plant a baby, but if you want to still stay next to them you have to get on the floor! The Dock A Tot was so versatile and looked so nice on our couch where it lived. I say get it! (Or find one used!) Note: this product is not for sleeping or unsupervised use.
I love, love, love this crib for traveling and it’s high on my list of baby gear to splurge on. It is so much nicer than the Graco pack-n-plays that everyone has. The mattress lies on the floor, so it’s cozy but soft. It’s also very easy to assemble when you’re tired after a long trip. Lastly, it’s so much more lightweight than a Graco pack-n-play that you can wear it on your back! There is a convertible kit to start it out as a bassinet before you need it as an on-the-floor crib. I would get the whole shebang – the bassinet, sheets, everything – and skip a fancy bassinet (like the Halo Bassinet we had).
These are the softest sleep sacks! Birch loves his, and he’s so snuggly inside.
This was my favorite swaddle of them all. The velcro is super easy and it’s so simple to do. (Especially compared to spending 3 whole minutes getting a swaddle blanket wrapped just right!) I know there are moms and dads who are swaddle blanket ninjas, but I also didn’t love that if the blanket got loose it could potentially get in the baby’s face. The Ollie was my fav!
I love to give these as shower gifts, and they are great as first feeders. They’re dishwasher save and make cleaning the high chair tray a bit easier. The little dividers are great too, and they are shallow so baby can see over them easily.
I’ve had a traditional baby monitor and a wifi monitor and much prefer the wifi. I love that it records motion, and Thomas and I will often peek in on each other and Birch when we’re away from home. It’s good to see what time he went down or woke up without having to rely on the parent to remember. And I love that I can just carry around my phone (as I always do) instead of also having to carry around a baby monitor (especially one that is always low on batteries!)
We do have an inexpensive video monitor that we use for travel because connecting the Cloud Cam to a hotel wifi is a bit tricky, so I would recommend getting a very basic noise-only monitor to use for travel. We use the Amazon Echo Spot on my nightstand to keep our ears out for Birch at night and an iPad, computer, or phone during the day.
This is so crucial to have once the baby is mobile! He can still feel like he’s moving all around and getting out that energy, but you know he’s in a safe spot while you get dinner ready or tidy up. It will only get you 15-20 minutes at a time, but THOSE MINUTES ARE GOLD! Borrow one of these if you can or get second hand. But they aren’t expensive either.
And finally, another MVP that has gotten us through two kids. I’ve used lots of high chairs when traveling at rental homes or friends houses and this one is the best. I love that the tray sits flat, it’s small enough to fit in a sink, the seat isn’t fabric and wipes clean, the high chair looks nice, and the footprint on the floor is small. The only con is that the tray can fill with water if you let water in the sides, so wash it horizontally. This hasn’t been a problem for me! It’s just too bad I didn’t know I’d have a Birch or I would have gotten the birch wood version!
Other things you need but I don’t feel strongly about:
- Crib (get a cheap one but get a nice mattress!)
- Changing table (just use a dresser with a pad secured on)
- Diaper pail (get one with a foot pedal)
- Bouncy seats (borrow them from friends)
- A swing (my kids never liked them and they take up too much space)
- A diaper bag (get what you love!)
- Solly wrap (look for one second hand)
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Do you have any opinions on baby gear to splurge on? What have you found second hand or that has lasted through multiple kids?