For such tiny creatures, babies seemingly require so. much. stuff. As someone on a budget who doesn't like a lot of visual clutter all over my house, I was on a mission to find affordable, versatile, and as-visually-appealing-as-possible baby stuff. We spent a ton of time reading product reviews and building our registry, so I thought I'd pass along some of our favorite finds to those of you who are trying to figure out if your baby needs two swings, a bouncy seat, AND a rock n' play as well as 16 different strollers (*eye-roll emoji*). Also, is the Dock-A-Tot worth the gazillion dollars that it costs? Read on, my friends...
P.S. This post started getting super lengthy so I decided to break it up a bit. Look for Part 2 of our Registry Favorites coming soon. :)
P.P.S. We ended up finding a lot of the items below at consignment shops and/or borrowing from friends. So my overall tip for those of you who are on a budget (like us!) is that you can often find a lot of these items for a lot cheaper (or free). Ask around and visit some consignment stores before purchasing. There's SO much baby stuff out there that people are looking to get rid of once their little ones grow out of it. Better to look there first before spending tons of money!
Where did we create our registry?
If you know us personally, you know that Beau and I are obsessed with Amazon Prime. So choosing the Amazon Baby Registry was an easy decision. It seems like most people have Amazon Prime these days, so we thought it would be easiest for our friends/family to make purchases with Amazon and not have to pay for shipping. AND it came with a ton of perks: $100 worth of free diapers if a certain dollar amount from your registry is purchased, a 15% completion discount on anything left on your registry, a free "welcome box" with really great products, and a few other freebies like Shutterfly prints and baby books. It was easy to set up and you can technically add products from any site that you'd like (doesn't technically have to be from Amazon). We highly recommend it!
Overall, we looked for pieces that could transition with Miles as she grows and/or be used in other rooms in the house someday.
1. nuLoom Rug: It took a lot of convincing to get Beau on board with a rug (he's Mr. functional and didn't think this was necessary), but I pulled the "I'm huge and pregnant and I deserve this" card and won. This rug is SUPER pretty and affordable too, which helped my case.
2. Baby Relax Miles Dresser: I randomly came across this dresser on Amazon and it was called the "Miles" so it was a no-brainer. Beau made a wooden changing table topper (it looks like this) and it's great for changing her diaper AND storing all her stuff. We love it!
3. Ikea Gulliver Crib: Simple, modern, white, safe, adjustable, affordable. Just FYI...I linked the Amazon version here which is more expensive than it would be if you bought it AT Ikea (I believe it's $100 at Ikea). But I know not everyone has an Ikea in their city, so here's an easy way to get one shipped to you. :)
4. Curtains: I found these beauties at World Market. They fit the vibe of the room and were very affordable. Note that they're not light-blocking, but I didn't want Miles to be dependent on a pitch-black room in order to fall asleep. So far she's napped during the day with these and it hasn't been a problem.
5. Jute Ottoman: Sadly the one we have is sold out, but this one is similar. Just search "jute ottoman" on Amazon and you're likely to find a good one, and maybe at a lower price than this.
6. Petit Pehr Pom Pom Bin: We have this bin on the shelf in her room holding all of her blankets/swaddles/etc. It's REALLY cute. We use baskets all over the house to corral her stuff now and Petit Pehr makes some really nice-looking ones. So does World Market!
8. Elephant Bookends: Because these are adorable. And they're sturdy enough to hold up the zillions of books that we have on her shelf.
9. Rocking Chair: I saw this rocker in a friend's instagram post and immediately messaged her to ask where it was from. To my surprise, it was actually pretty affordable and available on Amazon prime! It's really nice-looking in person and comfortable too. Nailed it.
10. Letter Board: Add a little hipster flair to all of your monthly baby photos. :)
11. National Park Posters: Beau and I collect these posters for every National Park that we visit together. We hung three of them in her nursery and LOVE them there.
12: Ikea Shelf: Miles' nursery used to be my office, and we actually already had this shelf in the room for all of my art supplies. We're now storing her pajamas/sleepers, onesies and pants in the drawers (which is basically all she wears), and books, baskets, etc. on the open shelves. It's perfect!
1. Target Cloud Island Sleep N' Play Set: If you buy one item of clothing for the newborn stage, buy a set or two of these. They're cheap, they have an inverted zipper for easy diaper changes, and they have built in booties and mittens to keep the babe warm. Miles LIVES in these. Also, for sizing reference, Miles was 7.5 lbs at birth and was in the Newborn size of these for about 2 months. She is on the smaller side, but I thought that'd be helpful to know.
2. Old Navy Footed Sleeper: Same as above. These are convenient and Old Navy has a bunch of nice solid colors and patterns. Size-wise, she started in the 0-3M size and has been wearing them since birth. She's 10 weeks old now and I think we can get another month and change out of these!
3. MiracleWear 5 Pack Onesies: How cute are these colors? And they're cheap and available on Amazon. Win.
4. Brave Little Ones Knotted Gown: My best friend got this for Miles and I LOVE it. The knotted bottom makes for easy diaper changes and it's super beautiful and soft.
5. Gerber Longsleeve Mitten Cuff Onesies: Simple, cheap, great.
6. Carters Pants: The cutest little pants to pair with onesies. Technically marketed for little boys but we named her Miles, so....
7. Zutano Fleece Hat: Adorable. Warm. Great for winter babies. She wears this pretty much every time we leave the house.
8. Bows and Headbands from Lottie Lemon: Super cute and affordable bows and headbands from a sweet little Etsy shop.
9. Laughing Giraffe Sleeper Gown: Super soft and makes for easy middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
10. Halo Sleep Sack: We technically haven't used this yet (Miles is still being swaddled at night), but apparently this is what she'll sleep in after we drop the swaddle. I'll keep you posted. :)
11. Zutano Booties: Quite literally the only warm, sock-like thing that will stay on homegirl's feet. These have been a life-saver this winter!
12. Freshly Picked Moccasins: We got these as a gift and LOVE them. So super cute and help keep her socks on. Win-win.
1. Avent Baby Monitor: We originally registered for and received a baby monitor that projected the video feed to our iphones via an app, but we quickly realized that we didn't like it! The video feed was unreliable and since we live in a 3-story townhouse, the wifi connection wasn't very strong upstairs (where we used the app most). Luckily we were able to return it and bought this guy instead. I like that it doesn't drain my phone battery and the connection between the camera and video thing (what do you call this?) is super strong. It's also VERY easy to set up and use, which is great. Much happier with this one!
2. Miracle Blanket: We call Miles "The Littlest Houdini" because she busts out of EVERY swaddle. Except for this one (for the most part. ha). It's easy to wrap her up in this in the middle of the night and I like that it doesn't have any loud velcro like some of the other ones.
3. Dock-A-Tot: Okay, I hesitate even including this because it is SO ridiculously expensive for what it is. I purposefully didn't add it to our registry because I thought the price was so ridiculous for something you'll only use for a few months (it is), but a friend graciously offered to let us borrow hers so of course I said yes (I'm such a hypocrite). Turns out, it's probably the baby item that we use the most. Miles takes at least one nap a day in this and it's so easy to carry her around from room to room in it if she falls asleep. Speaking of which, I should mention that Dr. Beau does NOT allow Miles to sleep in this unsupervised. It's technically not considered a "safe sleep environment" but it's great for supervised naps and lounging. It's lightweight and easy to transport, so we regularly bring this over to friends' houses if we know she'll need a nap while we're away. I also LOVE putting her in this on the counter while I'm cooking dinner. She hangs out and we sing and cook and it's probably the sweetest part of our day together. So...all in all, I'm a big fan. If the price of this is prohibitive, I think something like this or this would be similar and just as great.
4. Little Unicorn Crib Sheets: I LOVE this company. They have the sweetest patterns for crib sheets, swaddles, changing pad covers, blankets, etc. We ended up getting this "Prickle Pots" pattern for Miles' crib sheet and changing pad cover and the colors ended up informing the design of her nursery. If you're an Amazon Prime user (can you tell we're obsessed with Amazon?), some of Little Unicorn's patterns are available on Prime (like these swaddles, bibs, crib sheets, and this lovely quilt.
5. Dohm Sound Machine: We actually already use one of these in our room so getting one for Miles' nursery was a no-brainer. It's a nice, simple white noise (no weird running water sounds that make you feel like you have to pee).
6. Arms Reach Bassinet: Another item that we borrowed from a friend and LOVE. It's the perfect height and has lots of pockets for diapers, wipes, extra swaddles, etc. We keep Miles in this right next to our bed (it's the perfect height), and it's been super easy to grab her out, feed her, and put her back to sleep during nighttime feedings. It's also on wheels so I can pull it closer/further away from the bed as needed, which has been really helpful. It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it'll just be in our room for a short season so I'm dealing with it. :)
7. Burts Bees Crib Sheets: These were cheaper than the Little Unicorn sheets, so I got a set as a backup. One of the mom-hacks I heard was to layer a crib protector, a sheet, another crib protector and another sheet on the crib. That way, if/when baby wets the bed in the middle of the night, you can just rip off the top sheet and crib protector and not have to re-make the bed.
8. Crib Protector: See my comment above for why you need one or two of these. This one is great and fully covers the mattress.
9. Mom's On Call: Multiple friends recommend this book. It's written by two pediatric nurses and has tons of helpful info on baby care and dealing with different illnesses. We've been loosely following the nap/sleep schedule from this book and sweet Miles has been sleeping for 7-8 hour stretches at night ever since she was 6 weeks old. I think it's largely because of the tips we learned from this book! Highly recommend it.
Happy Baby, Happy Life
These are things that Miles seems to enjoy. I'm sure this list will grow as she gets older/more coherent. :)
1. Baby Bjorn Bouncer: We ended up finding one of these at a consignment shop (fo' cheap!) and bought it on a whim. Miles loves it! We clip the toy arch (#8 on this list) to it and she'll sit there and stare at the dangling toys for a good 20 minutes or so while I shower, get a few quick things done, etc. It's super light and folds down so it's easy to transport from room to room (or even outside if I need to put her down somewhere while I'm throwing the ball for the dog). Annnnd we'll sit her down in this after bath time and dry her off, which has been convenient. Oh, and it's not hideous. Win! If you're looking for a more inexpensive option, I've heard great things about this one.
2. Pacifier Clips: Miles is obsessed with her pacifiers, so we have one clipped to just about everything (her car seat, her Dock-A-Tot, her bassinet, etc.). Babies cannot seem to keep these in their mouths for more than 30 seconds at a time so the clips are helpful to keep them from falling on the floor. :)
3. Avent Pacifiers: We bought Avent bottles, so we figured Avent pacifiers would be good too. She likes them!
4. Wubbanub Pacifier: Every mom friend told me that we needed one of these. I can't tell if Miles prefers this to the regular pacifier just yet (all pacifiers are a win in her book), but she seems to be able to hold onto this one and keep it in her mouth a little better than the others. And I'm sure once she's old enough to realize that there's also a cute stuffed animal attached to it she'll be an even bigger fan.
5. Tummy Time Blanket: Be warned that this thing is WAY smaller than you might imagine (we were shocked when we opened it because we were picturing a large blanket...ha). But it's the perfect size for Miles and we'll lay her down on it a few times a day for tummy time. There's a mirror, some ribbons, crinkly paper, etc. for her to interact with (although at this point she really just lays on it and wiggles her floppy head around for a while and then cries when she gets tired).
6. Graco Swing: Another thing we were so fortunate to be able to borrow from a friend. Of the bouncy seat, swing, and rock n' play, this one is by far her favorite. She'll hang out in there looking very content for quite a long while and it's honestly been a life-saver. EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT, but if you want my advice on the great swing vs. bouncer vs. rock n' play debate, I would probably suggest a swing and a bouncer. A bouncer because it's portable and versatile, and the swing because if your baby is like mine, it's one of the only things that calms her down when she gets worked up. Also, for those of you that are ballin' on a budget like us, look at consignment stores and ask friends if you can borrow theirs before you buy your own. You never know what your baby is going to like and it would be a bummer to spend big money on a swing that your baby doesn't even like sitting in.
7. Rock N' Play: This was something that seemingly everyone said was a mandatory purchase. The verdict? Miles likes it, but I might not say that it's a necessary buy. We live in a 3-story townhome so I keep this one on the main floor and the swing in our room (both are pretty bulky so it's nice to not have to haul one up and down the stairs). We clip the toy arch (see below) to this and she enjoys hanging out in there and looking around. Another FYI: a lot of people swear by this as a sleep aid but that was a big No-No from Dr. Beau and his stringent safe-sleep rules (the downside of marrying a pediatrician is that you can't get away with stuff). So Miles doesn't sleep in this...it's more of a place for her to hang out if I need to set her down somewhere.
8. Toy Arch: It looks like the Prime version of this may be sold out, so keep checking back for it to be re-stocked (it should be about $20 from what I recall). Miles is weirdly entertained by this and it easily clips onto her rock n' play, bouncy seat, etc.
9. Whozit: The first toy that Miles seemed to notice and she loves it! Lots of crinkly things to touch and crazy designs to look at. Babies are funny.
10. Jelly Cat Stuffed Animals: We got a few of these as gifts and they're all so adorable. I was a big stuffed animal fan as a kid and it looks like Miles is going to be as well. She particularly loves her Toothy Donkey which is so ridiculously cute.
11 & 12. Books: One of my favorite things about parenthood so far has been reading to Miles. It seems a bit silly to read to an infant who clearly has no idea what's going on, but apparently it's good for her development. And it's been good for MY development too because all of these books are SO DANG ADORABLE and have such positive messages. This one makes me laugh and this one makes me cry. But honestly, I love them all. If you're looking for a good gift to bring to a new parent, BOOKS all the way.
That's it for Part 1! I remember scouring the internet for registry guides, so I hope you'll find this to be helpful. As always, feel free to reach out in the comments or on instagram with any questions. I'd be more than happy to provide any more advice you need!
I'll be back with Part 2 (our favorite products for bath time, health & safety, diapering, feeding, and travel gear) soon. Stay tuned! :)
Love & Respect,