Wednesday, July 6, 2016

the ultimate baby registry

I have learned so much from my first, second & third pregnancy and the products we love to use everyday and the ones we can go without. With our third baby arriving soon we have decided to clean out our baby stash to simplify and replace certain things with better products. 
I have so much fun catching up with my sweet friends who are expecting or have littles of their own. We often swap advice, share tears and chat about our favorite baby items that make life a little easier for the chaos of parenthood. 
My hubby encouraged me to write an ultimate baby registry post since we are often asked our opinion by friends and family. We are no experts, but we do quite a bit of research and enjoy testing different products. Together, we cannot stress enough to register for items you truly want. Do not settle. If you don't get everything you want, several stores offer completion discounts. We settled on a couple products and neither one of us can stand them whether it's due to style or function. Yes, we recommend some products that are a bit more pricey, but we do so because they truly are awesome products that make everyday tasks more enjoyable. So, today I'm sharing our ultimate baby registry filled with products we have used, love and recommend to our family and friends. 
*None of these products are sponsored, just one set of parents sharing what works with the world*

Nursing & Feeding
Boppy Nursing Pillow | This pillow helps support your new babe while you breastfeed or bottle-feed. Placing it around your waist as you sit down makes this experience more comfortable and enjoyable. We also recommend the Boppy Lounge Pillow which is filled in the center. Both of our kids love this pillow, even today. It works great for baby and prevents them from sliding down too far like the regular Boppy Pillow. Our kids today, 4 years & 19 months still use their pillows for watching movies and playing on the floor.
ComoTomo Bottles | Initially we used Born Free bottles and to this day still enjoy & recommend them. Kensi was great about transitioning back and forth between breastfeeding and bottle feeding which made it nice for Mike to feed her. Finnley refused to take a bottle, period. We recently came across the ComoTomo bottle which resembles and mimics breastfeeding. Our friends who currently use the ComoTomo bottle love it and we are so excited to try it with our third babe.
4Moms High Chair | Earlier this year I shared a post on high chair comparisons while we were searching for a free standing chair. After much research and reading through numerous reviews on six different chairs we purchased this one by 4Moms. We adore this chair for many reasons such as the ease of attaching the magnetic tray one-handed, adjustable chair height to accommodate our dining table and countertop and the ease of cleaning. If you are searching for a countertop chair, we recommend the Inglesina countertop chair. This chair is machine washable, folds up easily and is great for traveling or taking to a restaurant.
Boon Squeeze Spoon | This spoon is ideal for smooth baby food eating. The colored top comes apart and allow you to fill the spoon with pureed baby food. Gently squeeze the handle and the food dispenses onto the spoon tip, allowing a less messy feeding time. 
Medela Breast Pump | We first purchased this pump before our oldest was born and it’s still going strong four years later. The accessories are very compatible and the pump itself is a breeze to use. I love the stylish bags they’re installed into making it more discreet. Before registering for a pump call your insurance company and ask what type of voucher they provide for a breast pump. Some have restrictions on specific brands, but all companies are now required to give some sort of voucher for you to purchase one.
Ubbi Snack Cup | We have gone through so many snack cups it’s not funny. So far all of them have either broke, lost pieces or our kids have figured out how to dump the snack and pull the lid off leaving a messy trail wherever they go. Late last year we came across the Ubbi cup and seven months later we have not broken them, lost any pieces or made a mess. Our kids love the easy to hold handle and flip lid. Mike and I especially love the removable spill guard allowing it to be used for a large variety of snacks. 
Boon Drying Rack | One more item to register for is a drying rack to hold all your bottle parts, breast pump accessories and snack cups. We started with the small Boon Grass and are now moving up to the Boon Lawn. This drying rack is easy to clean and the accessories do well for drying bottle rings, pacifiers and medicine syringes. 

Puj Grippy Bath Treads | Bath treads are ideal for babies, toddlers and littles. They’re not something I’ve seen a lot of expecting parents register for. We didn’t register for them simply because everything we found was splashed with characters and we hated them. Luckily, Puj makes a beautiful, fun and gender neutral set perfect for any bathroom. Also, they are easy to clean and don’t collect mildew or build up mold.
Shampoo & Body Wash | We really like the natural bathing products for our kids. We tend to buy what’s on sale and product hop between Honest, Babyganics, Mustela & TubbyTodd.
Thirsties Cloth Wipes | These cloth wipes are actually made for cloth diapering and recommended by one of my sisters, but they make for awesome bath time washcloths. They’re thick, absorbent and don’t roll up. They keep their shape and wash very well.
Bean B Clean Scalp Massaging Brush for Cradle Cap | When we had Kensi in Nebraska we were given one of these brushes by the hospital and by the time we had Finn it somehow got lost in the move and I was so excited to get a new one when Finn was born, but the hospital where we had Finn didn’t have any. This cradle cap brush works wonders for their little heads when they get all dry and start flaking. Pair this with Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns and you won’t be dealing with anymore cradle cap.
Angelcare Bath Support | Like snack cups, we’ve also tried a few different bath tubs. We don’t like big, bulky ones that never fit anywhere except for the tub and you have to remove it every time you need to use it. We’ve also tried what was suppose to be easy and collapsible which turned into a pain in the butt because it wouldn’t collapse or open and the baby kept sliding down. We’re hoping third time is a charm and we’re trying this Angelcare Bath Support. It fits into our linen closet and seems easy to clean, but we will update this item once our sweet babe arrives.

Healing Balm | We keep both of these in sets in the house and in the diaper bag. The Honest Healing Balm has worked wonders on our kids and their rare diaper rashes, baby acne & eczema. The Zoe Organics Everything Balm works awesome for cuts, scrapes, sunburns & bug bites. 
Diaper Bag | I like a functional diaper bag that is also stylish and Skip Hop makes great diaper bags. I have this Kate Spade bag, but once we had Finn, trying to fit more into it made it difficult. I currently use and love my Day Bag by Nena & Co
Changing Pad | There will be times where you will have to do a diaper change in unthinkable conditions such as a bathroom floor, dressing room or the grass. Having an easy foldable or rollable changing pad is ideal. I’m currently crushing on this Micro Mat by Gathre because it’s lightweight, fits easily into a bag or purse and waterproof.  
The Honest Company Diapers | We usually tell our friends and family to not register for diapers because there are several different brands and everyone has their own opinion about them. With that said, when we’re asked what diapers we use or swear by it’s Honest. We’ve tried other big name brands and have not had very good experiences with them. We’ve found our babies’ sensitive skin to be irritated by the chemicals used in most ‘big name’ brands, along with leaks and the fact we were going through more diapers on a daily basis. We love Honest diapers because they don’t leak, they’re safe for our babies’s skin and they offer adorable prints. They are more per diaper up front, but we go through less Honest diapers than any other diaper and highly recommend everyone to try them.
Diaper Pail | Having a diaper pail near the changing area or whatever room you plan on doing most of the diaper changing is a must. Depending on the type of diaper you choose to use will make you want a diaper pail for sure. We like our Munchkin Diaper Pail by Arm & Hammer. The bags are easy to install, don’t break the bank and baking soda helps alleviate the stinky diaper smell.

Health + Safety
Samsung Baby Monitor | We are about to embark on the baby monitoring world for the first time. We didn’t feel the need to have one with our first two babies, but we’re opting for one this time around. I know with trying to keep our older two entertained during baby’s nap time might require us to be on the porch or in the backyard and having a monitor is a must. 
Carseat/Cart/High Chair/Breast Cover | We love how multi-functional these covers are now. Not just the bulky grocery cart and high chair cover, but they can cover the carseat and be used as a breastfeeding cover. They’re made from cotton knit fabric which keeps them light weight, breathable and easy to store in your diaper bag without taking up too much room. There are several different small shops who make these today including Native Wilds and Milk Snob
Digital Thermometer | You’ll be surprised how often you use a thermometer once your baby arrives so investing in a good one is worth it. We recommend a digital thermometer that takes the reading from the ear or across the forehead. You can also talk to your pediatrician about what he/she recommends to get the best reading to ease your mind and racing heart at night.
Nose Frida | Everyone thinks this contraption is gross when they first hear about it, but we promise it’s not. Yes you are sucking mucus from your baby’s nose, but no it’s not going to go into your mouth. There’s a foam filter located inside which prevents anything from traveling into the mouth piece. You will love the Nose Frida after the first time you use it and your baby can breath again. Be sure to read all the instructions and follow them so you don’t use it too early on your baby or cause harm. 
Crane Humidifier | When the babes, Mike or I are sick and can’t breathe we pull out our humidifier. It’s a little bulky, but it really does help us sleep better when we’re all congested or dried out and need some extra moisture in the air.

Rock’n Play Sleeper | We recommend this over a bassinet due to the coziness of cradling your baby and the incline it provides. It’s light weight, easily folds up and is great for traveling. Our babies slept in their Rock’n Play for the first 5 months and then transitioned to a flat surface such as their crib.
Crib | Do register for a crib. There are several different types including ones that can convert into a toddler bed and even a full size bed. We first opted for a basic crib that did not convert because we knew we wanted to have more than one baby and would be using the crib again. We recently purchased a crib that converts to a toddler bed for our newest babe on the way since Finn is not ready to transition into a bigger bed at this point. Training your baby to sleep in their crib will help make bedtime routines and sleeping in their own room easier as they become older.
Sound Machine | We feel like a sound machine becomes more practical with the more babies we have. When we had our first, we used it but not consistently. Because she was the first she was use to the quiet and noises would wake her up. Our second can sleep through quite a bit of noise and uses the sound machine every day for nap and at night. He’s a little scream monster so this baby will probably need as much noise as possible to sleep.
Hangers | This seems like a simple item to register for and it is. You will use baby hangers a lot. Regardless if you have a dresser there will be plenty of clothes you will want to hang especially if they come in a set with a onesie, pants or skirt. Make your closet space as functional as possible and invest in some organizational boxes such as these to help keep things simple and clean.
Changing Pad | If you have a dresser in the room a changing pad helps make diaper changes easier by not having to sit on the floor every time. Having the baby at your standing height is much easier. 
Muslin Blankets | Our kids love snuggling with muslin blankets and call them cozies. We have cotton ones, bamboo ones, some are from Aden + Anais, Oh Joy! Target line and Little Unicorn.

Play Time
Board Books  & Art Cards | Reading to the baby while pregnant and while they’re an infant is important. Just because they can’t quite understand the pictures or hold the book doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy listening to the sound of your voice when you read aloud to them. We love the BabyLit series, which is a twist on classics, but there are so many great books. Some of our other favorites include Duck & Goose by Tad Hills and  You Are My Cupcake by Joyce Wan. Contrast art cards are also great for infants as they continue to develop their eyesight. Babies can see black and white patterns very well unlike colors. 
Playmat | Activity mats are fun to have for a baby. They’re soft and cushioned, and usually have different textures attached to the base for sensory play. We especially love the design of Land of Nod’s Be On the Sea Floor Mat.
Teethers | Some of our favorite teethers include Sophie the Giraffe, Zoli Sticks and natural wood teethers. 
Bumbo Seat | This chair is ideal for helping and supporting baby while learning to sit up. It’s great to use for play time, meal time and outside time.

Travel Gear
4Moms Play Yard | We actually have the Aprica Haven play yard we purchased four years ago, but the 4Moms play yard functions in the same way. We love the ease of the push down/pull up to collapse the play yard. Unlike several others where it can be challenging just to set it up, this one is easy and doesn’t leave us with a migraine.
Rear Facing Mirror | Having a mirror attached to the headrest in the backseat in order to have a line of sight to our rear facing baby is a dream. We love being able to see what’s going on in the back seat, whether they’re sleeping, trying to reach something or fussy. There are several different ones and not all are compatible with all cars. Do your research and find one that fits snug to your backseat headrest so you’re not struggling with it every time you get in the car. 
Baby Jogger City Select Stroller | We originally bought the Baby Jogger City Mini GT which is a three wheel single stroller. We love this stroller and the ease of the one hand fold, but when we were expecting Finn we needed a double. We went with the City Select Convertible because it converts from a single to a double and back again. This stroller design is genius. There are 16 different ways to configure the seats and since it’s stacked front to back instead of side by side it fits through all door ways and on sidewalks. We also like how the accessories are sold separately so we can ‘build’ the stroller based on our needs. We have the parent console and the infant seat conversion kit to snap our infant seat in when needed. Honestly, we should have registered for this one from the very beginning knowing/hoping to have more than one baby.
Infant Carseat | The infant seat is only going to be used for the first year, max. We have the Chicco KeyFit 30. Because it will be needed, also register for a 5 point harness convertible carseat such as this one. Be sure to check expiration dates on carseats as well; most have a five year life. Convertible seats can sit rear facing  apporoximately up to 45 pounds and forward facing up to the 65-70 pounds range. Parents are also highly encouraged to rear face their babies until they are at least two and some states here in the U.S. have already begun to make it law for the safety of the child. It’s important to get a seat that’s safe, comfortable and have it installed properly by visiting your local fire department.
4Moms Rockaroo | Almost all babies love to swing, especially ours. We’ve gone through two large swings that take up half the room. When the second one broke on us we went for the 4Moms Mamaroo. We LOVE IT and so did Finn. This time around we’re swapping out our bouncer and bought the 4Moms Rockaroo which is smaller than the Mamaroo and it moves front to back. We’re constantly moving around the house and going outside, so having the Rockaroo will allow us to take the baby wherever the rest of our crew is venturing off to. Both products are compact, light weight and easy to move. We love the 4Moms products and don’t think you can go wrong with either of them.
Solly Baby Wrap | We didn’t get the picture on our design board above, but having a body baby carrier is ideal. We love our SollyBaby Wrap and actually have more than one. They can seem intimidating, but once we used it once or twice it was easy. The material is a lightweight cotton knit that has a little pull and give to make it very comfortable to wear. We don’t get hot wearing it and we love the fact that we can both use it since it’s adjustable. Most of the time it’s easier for us to wear the baby rather than carry the infant seat around.

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