There are definitely baby items that I realized after the birth of my son were only recommended because people got $$$ from recommending them. Then, there were products that seemed very pricey that we got as gifts that I totally get why they’re pricey, my son loved them! Hopefully, that isn’t foretelling the future that he just has really expensive taste.
One-a-day Prenatal. I complained to my husband at first that these were really difficult to take because of the shape. The size didn’t bother me because I have taken cod liver oil for as long as I can remember, and those are huge. It was the shape for me that was weird. However, I got use to it. I would just buy the 60 day bottle from Walmart. I ordered 2 for delivery from Target and they tasted horribly fishy. The bottle I bought in store from Target was fine. Learn from my mistakes, go to the stores and buy them. My local Walmart runs out of these a lot so I swapped to the Nature Made prenatals after birth. If you’re breastfeeding, you need to make sure that you keep taking your prenatal.
Leggings. These were the best maternity leggings I found. I ended up buying 2 pairs; I wish they made non-maternity versions. I bought these $6 tank tops from Walmart and threw button downs that I already owned over them, and basically had a pregnancy uniform. I was pretty adamant I wasn’t going to buy a ton of maternity clothes and with a couple basics, I made what was already in my closet work for me.
Starting out: infant to 3 months
The Boppy. This has since been recalled, which I understand, but we only used it while we were sitting right next to him. We never left him alone on the Boppy and were pretty militant in our supervision of him (I mean, there were giant notices on it saying not to leave the child in there alone). We used it heavily the first month, and then the recall notice came out and freaked me out. But by the time the notice came out, he was starting to move so it made more sense to just put him down on the floor. We didn’t destroy it and place our claim for a refund because I had gotten it 50% off with the intention to use it as a cat bed after our son was done with it. My cat LOVES it. I’m not going to recommend a specific baby lounger because I only have experience with the boppy, but it was nice to have something to set him down in next to us.
Halo swaddle sack. This was his favorite sleep blanket. We didn’t use the swaddle option long enough to have to transition him out of the swaddle, but it would make it easier to do so. I liked it because the swaddle fabric gave him a little extra warmth during cold winter months. The fleece made sure he was toasty without being too warm (I read overheating can contribute to SIDS so that was a major concern). I wouldn’t use this in the summer unless you keep your air conditioner really cold, but it was perfect for winter. They make a non-fleece version also.
Skip Hop Changing pad. I knew that I didn’t want a changing table specifically made for changing diapers. This was a great option that we just used on the bed in his room. It wipes clean, has the great mobile distraction for when he got older, and has a buckle for safety. Now, we just have it on the floor and change him on the floor and slide it under the bed when we’re done.
Getting older: 3 months to 6 months
Sophie La Girafe Teether. We had put this on our registry because there was no way I was paying close to $30 for a small toy. Let me say, He LOVED it though. It’s a great size and he especially liked chewing on the hooves, which are a little bit harder which were great for his gums when his teeth started erupting.
Baby rocker. This rocker, while still expensive, is cheaper than the Baby Bjorn or Ergobaby options. It folds flat and was great for travel. The cushion is removable so it was easy to throw in the laundry. I used it a lot to be able to take the opportunity to shower so it eventually just lived in our bathroom.
Fisher Price Jumperoo. Our pediatrician recommended around 4 months that our son could go in a jumper. He was obsessed with this jumper. The only bad thing about it was for some reason, after a couple of minutes of jumping, he would always have a dirty diaper. So maybe if your baby is constipated, just stick him in this jumper…. All jumpers that kids love are going to be obnoxiously colored and pretty ugly, but this one isn’t nearly as bad as the others. Besides, our son lives in the house too, he needs to be represented in the furniture. He’s over a year now and we have it still set up. He doesn’t go in the jumper anymore, but will stand outside it and play with the objects. I swear it has helped his balance.
Currently: 6 months +
Banana toothbrush. Oh my goodness, my son loves this. We give it to him during his bath when we need him not to squirm. He goes to town on it.
Skip Hop Highchair. I POURED over high chairs and spent countless hours shopping for the perfect one. I knew I wanted it to be a hard seat because we were going to do baby led feeding, which gets messy, but also didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg. And because high chairs are expensive, I wanted one that would grow with our son. Eventually, he’ll get to use this as just a regular chair in his room. I could talk all day about this high chair, but don’t want to spend too much time on it. I have to say, don’t expect to take this chair back and forth between its options every day, it isn’t meant for that. It is meant to grow with your kid, not service several kids at once. This chair is stable, easy to clean, and a great buy. Also, it wasn’t until months later that I realized this was the same brand as his changing table.
Stacking cups. This continues to be our son’s favorite toy. Proof that toys don’t need to be ridiculously expensive to hold their attention. We find these cups stashed everywhere throughout the house at the end of the night during cleanup. They are always the first toy he takes out from his toy drawer at the beginning of the day.
A little word of advice
Sure, you can probably go without the things mentioned above or choose cheaper options, but when I was exhausted I appreciated the convenience of some of these items. In fact, I bought an activity saucer from the local thrift store for $8. He loved that and it stayed in our kitchen to keep him occupied while I fixed dinner. So, make sure you check your local thrift stores, facebook market, Mercari, and Poshmark. I got all of these items new, because of the convenience and because we were fortunate to have loved ones purchase them for us, but if you start looking for stuff early in your pregnancy you’ll save a lot of money. I spent all my time researching what to buy and not looking for used items, but to save you some time, I highly recommend all of the above products!! (For example, I bought a ring sling on sale but still expensive from Wildbird and my son hated it. I kicked myself a little because I didn’t even think about looking on Mercari and there are a million of them currently listed at pretty reasonable prices). I’m starting to go through all my items to sell, so trust me, you can find them for cheap only slightly used.