In a sentence, the 5 things that I think often fly a little too under the radar are awesome blankets, a baby carrier, toys that attach to stuff, easy to wear clothes, and Amazon Mom. In much greater detail...
1. Awesome Blankets. Note the word "awesome" - not the tiny kind that only work for the first few weeks, but there are numerous types of blankets we've gotten a TON of use out of. For starters, Aden + Anais brand blankets are the perfect swaddle size. They're also super light weight, so you don't have to worry about your baby getting too warm. Both of the boys loved these blankets, and now Sylvie literally can't fall asleep unless she's holding one. We went with the all white set 4+ years ago and they still look like new (thank you bleach).
|Aden + Anais Swaddles|
You can also never have too many nice, soft large blankets or throws to lay out on the ground for your baby to roll around on. The whole fam can use these to cuddle up with in the winter time, you can toss one in the trunk for emergencies, use one as a nursing cover, or roll one out in the summertime for a picnic. I really want one like this from Pottery Barn!
Lastly, knit blankets are the best! My cousin's mother-in-law knit blankets for all 3 kiddos, and so far both boys still sleep with theirs. Carter's is so worn, it's now nearly disintegrated. I really love if they're a looser knit so they're more breathable, which the boys love too.
2. Baby Carrier or Wrap: I. Hate. Carseats. I love that they protect my children in the car, but otherwise I hate them. If you've ever carried your child in a carseat, you know it weighs something like 2,000 pounds. Even better, there's no graceful way to lug that 2,000 pounds from A to B. While it's nice to be able to carry Sylvie in the house if she's fallen asleep on the car ride home, there's really no other reason I take the carseat out (except to clean under it). Have you ever tried to grocery shop with a GIANT carseat in your cart? You can buy exactly 4 groceries.
|Sylvie fast asleep in the Solly Wrap|
All that to say, an awesome carrier is so convenient for those first 6 months when your baby sleeps a lot and can't really sit on her own. As soon as you have more than 1 kiddo, I'd say a carrier is pretty much a must as well.
I've used an array of carriers for different reasons, but my fave/easiest to put on is a structured carrier like the Ergo, Boba or Bjorn. These 3 tend to be a bit more bulky and my babies rarely slept while in them, but they always kept them content and gave me free hands. The best carrier for the earliest months, and least bulky, has been a wrap. I really like the Solly Baby Wrap (as did Sylvie), but it's also the only wrap I've used. It's important to learn how to wrap it, which I know some find cumbersome, but for the cheaper price and extra cuddle time, I thought it was worth it. I typically tied the wrap on before I left the house, which saved a lot of time and kept it clean longer.
3. Toys You Can Attach: Each of my babies preferred different toys depending on the day, but the biggest thing I'd suggest is getting lots of toys that hook to things (like the Winkel), as well as lots of extra links. Sylvie loves to chew on the links, and I can also use them to hook toys to her carseat, high chair, and even crib. Seriously, so cheap and it saves you from fetching toys off the ground at a restaurant over and over. And over.
4. Clothes: It's no secret that I love dressing my kiddos (how fun are little people clothes?!), but regardless of their gender, I can tell you there are a few practical items I've used over and over for all of my kiddos.
Basic onesies. We love Carter's brand bodysuits, they fit my babies perfectly and held up well. In the summer they're perfect on their own, and in the winter they're a great bottom layer to keep your baby cozy. If they're neutral, they'll literally last for 3 children (or more)! I also really like Carter's leggings (much more practical for diaper changes & wiggly babies than jeans).
Zipper sleepers. While we always have an array of sleepers (button up, zip up, 2 piece, nightgowns), in the end the zip up sleepers are just the best! Not only are they easier to get on and off (especially in the case of a blow out), they keep your baby cozy on the chilly nights. While they tend to run a little small, the Children's Place makes some of my favorites. Also, my husband can attest to the fact that I never get the buttons aligned on the first try. Seriously, it's a problem. Zippers all the way!
|Syl napping in her FPs|
Basically if you can find cute shoes (like FP or Bobux) with either a good elastic closure (something that works for both chubby and skinny feet) or strong velcro (I've had good luck with Livie & Luca brand), I'd say they're worth the extra money. When dealing with all the other things a newborn to 6 month old baby needs, few things are more annoying then worrying about losing a friggin shoe!
5. Convenience: Before kids we'd make a run to Sams every so often to stock up on the necessities (paper towels, tp, toothpaste, detergents - you know, the glamorous stuff). After kiddos, that errand became such a hassle, so we started looking for a better solution.
Now we use Amazon's Subscribe & Save for allllll that stuff. As an Amazon Mom I get 20% off diapers, and free shipping on everything else too. So basically once a month we get a huge delivery of all the goods we used to go to the store for, and most of them are significantly cheaper. Such a win.
Once Sylvia hits a year old, which I know will come too soon, I'll attempt to list more of my faves. Or maybe I'll be too busy chasing all these crazy kiddos!