Having a baby rapidly accelerates the accumulation of STUFF, which can be an issue when space is at a premium. Joys of city living! So when we find things that are above and beyond awesome, it feels like: YES, this was worth it.
I’ve said before but it’s worth saying again: the amount of things marketed to moms as “MUST HAVE” makes me kind of nauseous. You don’t need much at all to raise a happy, healthy baby. Besides coffee. These are simply things that have made our lives a little bit easier or more fun over the past few months.
Without further ado, here’s our faves!
Baby Bjorn Chair
We love the Baby Bjorn Bouncer. In the early months, we’d recline it all the way back and gently bounce Hudson to calm him down or even lull him to sleep for a nap. (And sometimes, that bouncing was done with my foot while eating or reading, if we’re being honest here!) These days, Hudson’s figured out to kick his little legs to just the right rhythm to get it bouncing himself—proving that he is indeed the genius I’ve always said he is.
But the real beauty of this seat is that you can put it anywhere. Bathroom floor while I’m getting ready for work? Done. In the kitchen while I’m prepping dinner? Chop chop. Baby gear is surprisingly heavy for such little people, so the ability to pick it up one-handed and deposit it wherever I need to put him safely for a while is invaluable. Plus, since he’s bouncing himself, I totally think it counts as exercise. Bonus points for not being bright yellow/red/blue.
Skip Hop Playmat
We have hardwood floors throughout our whole condo. In the early days of playtime on the floor, I’d layer up blankets for him to lay on. But as he got more active, I wanted something with a little more cushion for that big, beautiful baby head. Amazon turned up a handful of frightening mats with a variety of animals and primary colors, and while I’m accepting more of the baby toy/color aesthetic into my home and heart these days—mama’s gotta draw the line somewhere. Upon further research, I came across SkipHop’s version which I consider reasonably inoffensive and actually even cute (for his room.) So far, it’s been a great purchase and we’ve split the tiles into two mini-mats with one in our living room and one in Hudson’s room.
Unfortunately, our cat loves it as much as we do and I’ve yet to find a way to keep him from sticking his little claws into the soft foam.
Skip Hop Foot Muff
Since J and I are still hanging on tight to our car-free lifestyle, the stroller is our only set of wheels and gets a lot of use. The cold weather threw me initially, but this footmuff— which is the weirdest name for a stroller sleeping bag ever—has kept our strolling game strong.
With this, I can put Huds in his stroller wearing only his normal clothes. That way, when we get into a store or restaurant, I just unzip the little vent and he won’t overheat like he would in a big puffy coat. I also don’t have to deal with wrestling him in and out of a baby snowsuit when I take him out of the stroller when we’re out and about.
Since we’re friends here, I’ll be honest with you: this birdie haunts my dreams. He sings, “I’m a birdie, a cute fluffy birdie. Chirping, cheeping, tweeting, singing just for you!” in an impossibly annoying voice.
However, Huds LOVES this thing. At this age, toys fairly interchangeable, but if given the choice he always goes for his birdie. It’s the lights, the singing, the crinkly wings—Hudson’s big smiles when he sees this guy are worth me singing the cute fluffy birdie song in my head all day. And out loud.
Aden & Anais Breathable Bunny Lovey
When we buckled down to do a little sleep training with Hudson around 5 months, I wanted him to have a lovey that he could sleep with for a little bit of comfort. (I know, that’s the definition of a “sleep prop” and the opposite of what I should be introducing during sleep training, but here we are.)
We started off with a stuffed bear but watching him pull it over his face caused me so much anxiety that I put in an immediate order for this breathable muslin bunny from Aden + Anais. Thankfully, it did the trick and then some: the bunny is now a major part of his nap routine and he usually naps with one bunny ear in his mouth and the blankie part covering his eyes. Three cheers for safety and being adorable!
When I was pregnant, I recall seeing approximately three thousand advertisements for Aquaphor and receiving half as many samples. Turns out, that’s because it’s awesome. I really, really wanted to like the Honest magic balm for Hudson’s excema, but… it just didn’t do anything for us. When I finally picked up a tub of Aquaphor, the dry patches on Huds’ face were markedly improved within hours, and it’s become our go to. It also makes my cuticles look great, which is helpful because I can’t remember the last time I got a manicure 😃
There are a few mom stereotypes that I’ve wholeheartedly embraced, like wearing leggings too often.
Do you remember the indignity you’d feel when your mother wiped, tissued, and even LICKED HER FINGER then rubbed something off of your face? Well—greetings, motherhood! I’m all over it. I can’t stop myself from trying to clean up Hudson’s face, which is a futile and unrewarding endeavor. In addition to the usual cocktail of drool and milk that coats a baby’s face, Hudson has a blocked tear duct, which means that eye waters a lot—to the point that there’s often one big, fat, adorable tear rolling down his cheek. I was looking for something safe enough to clean up his face when we’re out and about that I wouldn’t freak out about getting too close to his eye.
I found these Water Wipes, which are just water with a tiny percentage of fruit extract. While I meant to use these only for his face and hands, I accidentally put a pack into the wipes dispenser on his changing table, and they are way more effective at cleaning up a messy baby than all of the traditional and “all-natural” wipes we’ve been using. I have no idea how they work so well, but I love knowing that I’m not smearing a bunch of chemicals all over his little bod. As soon as I go through the literal thousands of normal baby wipes that we have stashed in a closet (thank you, Amazon Pantry) I’m switching over to these for everything.
Skip Hop Stroller Organizer with Zip Off Pouch
I believe the last time I carried an actual purse was when Jason and I went to see a show and had dinner over the holidays. And if we’re being honest here—the bag I’ve been using for work is actually a diaper bag. (It’s huge, and it has lots of pockets!) While I should really invest in a new work bag for morale, I’m good with my purse-free life on most days when I’m with Huds, and it’s mostly thanks to this nifty organizer.
I keep my wallet, keys, chapstick, hand sanitizer, Hudson’s Mr. Noggin rattle, a pacifier, and a backup pair of gloves for both Hudson and I in here, and we are ready to take on the world. (And I am laughing to myself as I’m typing this for seriously overdoing it because I also keep a full diaper bag with us—and we are honestly never going more than 5 blocks.) There’s a front pouch that zips off, so on the rare occasion that Hudson and I separate ourselves from our wheels, like at the Children’s Museum, I can put my wallet and phone in the zip off wristlet to carry with me and say a little prayer that Mr. Noggin will waiting for us in the stroller upon our return.
I will say that they advertise it being a cupholder and unless we’re talking about a very small bottle of water, it’s not that.
All this time, I’ve believed that among Hudson’s many gifts is a particular talent for removing socks from his feet within seconds despite not having mastered using his hands. He’s like a sock ninja.
I recently asked for some advice on one of my Facebook mom groups and included a picture of Hudson with my post. While I got lots of great advice, I got an equal number of moms asking: but what are those booties!? So… apparently all babies are born with this gift, then? #stillspecial!
He happened to be wearing his Zutano booties in the picture, which were a gift from friends, and total game changers for our cold weather. The snaps actually keep them in place—Hudson has not yet managed to get these off of his feet. And he doesn’t seem to be trying, either, probably because they’re super soft and cozy.
So that’s it! And can I just ask how I suddenly have a six month old baby?!
Mamas with older babies, what were your favorite toys or gear for the first six months? What about for the next six months?