Baby buying guide

I’m no Consumer Reports but I figured I should take the time to write down a few of my favorite baby items for those of you out there expecting.  There is so much gimmicky stuff and of course you can decide how neurotic you want to be, but I thought the “my product is more BPA free than your BPA free product” and the “my bottle mimics breastfeeding best” crap was annoying.  I also tried to avoid uni-taskers and products that allowed baby to do things before they should be able to.  Case in point: I survived without a Bumbo chair and you can too (also helps I didn’t start solids until Syd could sit up herself but I digress)!

Anyways without further ado the 10 things I used/appreciated the most during Syds first 6-months!

1.      My Breast Friend – This wins the award for stupidest name for a baby product but you need to get past that because it works!  I found that Syd sorta got ‘lost’ in the Boppy when she was a tiny baby and it was hard getting her up to ‘boob’ level and keeping her there.  Disclaimer:  MBF is expensive and unlike the Boppy, it is a total uni-tasker but if you are having problems breast feeding; especially with positioning and latching; it can be a life saver.

2.      Boppy Pillow – used it from day one.  Not only does it serve as a nice place to prop baby on a slight incline, it can also be used for tummy time, breast feeding and also to help keep baby upright when learning to sit.  Even though it says “no sleeping”…I swear Syd slept most of her days away in this on the couch her first month of existence when she wasn’t very wiggly.

3.      Medela Bottle Set – if you plan to pump and feed expressed milk (and I recommend you do if your baby is playing the weight catch up game) these bottles are golden.  The nipples are smaller than your typical bottles which just seemed to engulf Syd’s face.  Not to mention you can pump into and feed baby out of the same bottle.  And when you are only pumping and feeding teeny tiny amounts like you are the first weeks this can be very handy!  (Once we started day-care we moved to the Playtex Drop-in system.  Playtex was the best for me because they had a system that allowed me to pump directly into the liners while I was at work.  That is why I chose them if you care to know.)

4.      Pacifier –  Controversy abounds on the use of paci’s early on because of nipple confusion.  However, after a few nights of screaming I couldn’t have cared less about nipple confusion.  We used Gerber NUK.  I don’t think it matters what you use, just give the kid something to suck on.  If they won’t take a pacifier or their thumb then all that is left is your boob and well that’s going to wear you thin.  My theory is that if the baby won’t take a pacifier you haven’t held it in their mouth long enough.  LOL.  No really; babies find much solace from sucking so why would you deprive them of this comfort?  Almost everything you read will tell you to discontinue use by 6-months but I really don’t pay attention to this guidance either.  At this point Syds use of her paci is fairly limited to the crib.  It is the only way we can get her to settle down for nap time so it won’t be going away anytime soon regardless of what the books tell me!  And if you do go the paci route I highly recommend a ‘silly buddy’ to attach them too; much harder to lose this way!

5.      Rings – When I got these at my baby shower I was like wtf are these for?  how stupid was I!  They are for chewing on, and linking things to, and hanging dangly things.  You can’t have enough in my opinion.

6.      Aden + Anais swaddling blankets – such soft stretchy muslin bundles of love.  Toss those crappy Carters flannel receiving blankets out the window.  A + A’s are hands down the best for swaddling.

7.      Swaddle Sleep Sacks – otherwise known as “baby straight jackets”.  Helps keep Boo-Boo from smacking themselves in the face and hence waking themselves up.  I swear these things gave us at least 2 extra hours of sleep each night.

8.      Ergo Changing Pad – I got this off of a “mom bargain” website on a whim since we have the Ergo Baby Carrier.  I used it on our trip to KC and boy did it come in handy.  I had everything I needed right on hand including a soft place to put baby.  Whether you are using the floor or a disgusting public bathroom changing table you can just lay it out and presto – plush changing time comfort.  I found it most useful for traveling…not sure why, maybe it’s because it’s hard to juggle a diaper bag in a public bathroom.

9.      Sling or other hands-free carrying device – chose something that fits you best.  I like my sling my friend made me, Royce likes the Ergo….friends like the Bjorn.  Just get something that you can put baby in so you can have both hands free.  I still put Syd in her sling on those fussy evenings where she just wants to be held but my aching arms can’t take holding her (and my aching stomach can’t go without dinner!).

10.  Bundle Me – If you are having a winter baby this will keep you from having to bundle Boo-Boo up in layers of clothes each time you leave the house.  I would just toss Syd in her car-seat, throw in a blanket (A+A above worked great), topped her off with a hat and zipped her up.  Sung as a bug in a rug and no fussing trying to get on her baby snow suit each time we wanted to go to the grocery store.

I’ll do another post at 1 year that will focus a bit more on baby entertainment and other items we found useful from months 6-12!


  1. Cathy Plante says:

    Hi Julie, thanks for the great post. Now I have a clue what to buy for shower gifts. Loved the pictures too. She is so cute. I was so glad to get to meet Sydney!! I love this blog. So fun to watch her grow!! Cathy

    • midwestkids says:

      Cathy! I’m so glad you commented! I never thought about how this could be useful for baby-shower gift buying. How nice! I’ll be sure to save a Sydney haircut for a Kansas City trip…we still have a ways to go though. I’m pretty sure we have a red head on our hands so watch out!

  2. I know this is more of a 6-12 month thing, but one thing I used all the time when Jake was 7-10 months old or so was my hand food grinder. It was so great! I really wanted to get him eating the flavors from our table as early as possible (not to mention that I hated having to make him an entirely separate dinner), so I could just pop some of our dinner in there, grind it to the right consistency, and boom, dinner. It also made it so much easier to hit up a restaurant every now and then because I could just grind up a bit of whatever we were eating:)

    I’d also have my BOB Revolution jogging strolling on my list. Expensive, but oh so worth it! That thing gets used all the time at our house!

    • midwestkids says:

      Yeah I thought about adding a stroller but they are totally dependent on the lifestyle of the family so I thought my opinion would be lost on some. Same reason why I didn’t focus too much on my bottles (but I do love LOVE the Playtex Drop-in system) either because each women has their reasons for picking their ‘system’.

      As I’m just getting into this food thing I’m sure something food related will end up on my next ‘list’. Right now me and my immersion blender are best-buds! : D

      • So true. Some people would never use the BOB so it wouldn’t be worth the investment, and then some are like us and use it all the time. Jake liked the Playtex drop-ins also. I went through 6-7 different types of bottles before finding the one he liked. (Oh and BTW, Jake gave up the bottle, so if you want a few extra 8-oz bottles and some liners, just say the word:)).

        I also just packed away my food mill since he doesn’t need stuff smooth anymore, so again, just say the word:)


  1. […] full of clothes and other necessities.  Also was armed with my backpack and her Ergo Changing pad (which again saved the day — hands down best changing pad for traveling) and of course Syd was in her sling.  […]

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