Top Ten Baby Products for the First Year

There are A LOT of baby products out there, and there are definitely many of them we could get by just fine without. BUT some of them are super convenient and make parents’ lives easier!

As a modern mom-on-the-go, there are a few baby products that have really helped me, products that other moms see and comment “What is that?”, “Where did you get that?” or “I wish I had that when mine were little!”

These are my favorite baby products from my first year as a mom. They are products I like to give as shower gifts, or that mom friends of mine have seen and then bought their own.

SwaddleMe Wraps & Miracle Blanket

Swaddling is very important for babies in the first couple months of life. It is comforting and warm, and helps them to sleep. But, if you have a wiggly little Houdini baby like I did, these are two options for a much more secure swaddle.

swaddling blanket

Just try and swaddle me!

Chain links

These are versatile and helpful in different ways throughout the first year. The first use for them was to lower the toys on her play gym so she could reach/see them better. As her reach extended, we would remove links until there were eventually none. We also use them to attach toys to her car seat and stroller handles so she has something to play with, but when she drops or throws it, it’s clean and easily recoverable!

chain links

Pacifier straps

Attaching your baby’s pacifier with a clip on strap is taboo, but if you do so judiciously, it’s perfectly safe. Any time my daughter has her pacifier clipped on, she is supervised, never playing by herself or in her crib.

That being said, these are a sanity saver. We keep a pacifier clipped to her car seat and stroller straps so she is calm and soothed in her seats, and the pacifiers aren’t lost. Before we started using the straps, she would drop her pacifier in the car seat, and we would have trouble trying to find it under her or on the floor of the car to get it back to her. After a while, she learned how to find the strap and put it back in herself!

The straps are also helpful in restaurants and other public places – places you definitely would not want to give your baby her pacifier back after it hits the floor.

Chicco hook-on high chair

This was recommended to me by another mom, so I put it on my registry and got one for myself. This is not necessarily something for everyone, but if you’re like me and have a tiny baby who is ready for a high chair, but too little for the ones at most restaurants, this is another sanity saver. It’s yours, you know how clean it is, and that your baby fits in it. We even took it in our suitcase on vacation!

high chair

Body carriers

Depending on your amount and level of activity you’ll be doing with your baby, I recommend having two types of carriers.  A sling-type carrier is great to have to easily pop her in and out of it, wear it around the house or in the grocery store when she’s too small to ride in the cart.

Slings can be easily stuffed in a diaper bag or kept in your car, and you can easily machine wash and dry them when your baby spits up on them. They can also be a blanket or nursing cover in a pinch.

We also used a more “serious” carrier that was more expensive, but extremely well engineered to hold baby in four different carry positions, with her weight well distributed so the wearer doesn’t get a shoulder or back ache carrying her.

This one is more complicated to put on and strap her in (not terribly complicated, but more involved than a sling), so it’s not the best for everyday baby wearing. It IS fantastic for going out for walks and hikes, or longer planned shopping trips when you don’t want to take the stroller. We found that a lot of times she was happier in the carrier than the stroller, so my husband or I would strap her on with this carrier and everyone was happy (and no one had a sore back from carrying her).

Cant take a stroller here

Can’t take a stroller here!

Fisher-Price Seahorse (a.k.a “The Christmas Miracle”)

A friend of mine who has three young ones (including twins a few months older than my daughter) told me about this seahorse that glows and plays lullabies. He said it really helped his twins go to sleep on their own; they would coo and stare at it, and fall asleep. I’m not sure why I didn’t follow his advice sooner – I really wish I had.

We were having a lot of trouble getting our daughter to go down for naps, and bedtime was a major production. We were losing whole hours of our evening trying to get her to go to sleep, and when she finally gave up, we were too tired to do anything else and it was close to OUR bedtime.

As a “Hail Mary”, I picked up the seahorse while I was Christmas shopping. Ever since we started using this seahorse, our daughter goes to sleep ON HER OWN like a pro. The first couple of nights she protested slightly, but never got overly upset. She would be calm and quiet within five minutes. We call it the Christmas Miracle.

Silicone and disposable placemats

Once we moved away from the Chicco seat because our daughter was big enough to handle herself in the standard high chairs, I bought these to put on the table in restaurants so that we don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the table for her, or what kind of mess she might leave for the busser.

I love the silicone one, but it doesn’t stick to all surfaces. I can just fold it up, stick it in my diaper bag, and wash it with dish soap when I get home. If the silicone won’t stick, I have disposable plastic ones with double stick tape on the back.

Grocery cart seat cover

grocery seat coverSeveral companies make these, and some people might say they’re unnecessary, but I love mine and use it every week for our grocery trip. I keep in it in the car so that it’s always handy, and can machine wash and dry it. I have two main reasons that I use and enjoy this product.

Cleanliness: Who knows what kind of germ or food residue is on the cart? She’s tiny, and her immune system may not be able to handle it. Since she’s a baby, she’s not just sitting in and touching the cart – she’s licking and chewing on it. During a recent grocery trip, I overheard two women close to my own mother’s age commenting that they wished they had a cart seat cover when their children were little. “Every time I took them to the store, they got sick.”

Comfort: It’s soft for her, but it also has seat straps that go across her lap, versus the ones built in on the carts at my grocery store that hold just under her armpits. She’s safe and secure, but she looks so uncomfortable!

NUK Learner Cup

These helped her transition from bottle to sippy cup. The spout feels like a bottle nipple, but is shaped like a sippy cup top. She also learned to hold it herself with the handles (which are also removable). Even better than all that – dishwasher safe!

nuk learner cup

Video monitor

When we were picking out items for our registry, we did a lot of research on monitors. We bought a standard sound monitor that received great ratings from consumers. That served us just fine for the first few months.

My husband found a deal on a D-Link camera, and decided to try it out in our daughter’s room. We use an app on our phones to view her. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at first, and wasn’t sure we really needed it, but since about four months old she’s been all over the place in her crib, and it’s nice to be able to check on her. If she cried, I could look and see what might be wrong – like her leg stuck between the crib bars, or pacifier missing.

Now that she’s older and goes to sleep on her own, I can check in and see if she’s settling down, or needs an extra hug. Hearing her cries tells me a lot, but the video makes it clear.  I especially love it in the middle of the night, when she sometimes still cries out. When I hear crying or a thump on the monitor, I pull up the camera app on my phone, and watch her, thinking “Do I need to go in there?” Most of the time, she goes back to sleep pretty soon, and thanks to the video monitor, I didn’t even have to get out of bed.

We also peek in at her from time to time, and laugh at the silly position we can’t quite believe she’s sleeping in.


None of these are sponsored by the companies; these are my personal opinions, not necessarily endorsed by Strong is Our Sexy.


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