Since most new parents are being robbed of the opportunity to have a real baby shower, many are relying heavily on the use of online registries to go along with virtual showers or “drive-by” shower celebrations. As a result I thought it might be useful to share some of my favourite baby items for the early months while they’re fresh in my mind…
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We had this bassinet on our Amazon registry due to good reviews. For the low price compared to some other bassinets, I was happy with it. I figured with a bassinet you’re only using it for a short amount of time – I didn’t want to spend or have someone else spend hundreds of dollars on an item with such limited use. I wanted it to be safe and not take up too much space. We put it at the end of our bed (I didn’t want a beside-the-bed one because we have a king size bed and we wouldn’t have space) and it worked well there. We used the white noise and vibrate features a lot when M was very little, and she loved the mobile starting around 3.5 months (even though it’s NOT electronic fyi – so you have to spin it and then it’ll go for awhile on its own).
The weight max on it is 20 lbs (or stop use when baby is rolling over) so it can last pretty long – we are just transitioning her out of it this week (5 months) because she’s started to roll over in it suddenly and although she can roll back I think she needs more space.
This was another item I saved $$ on compared to some comparable brands. I wanted to get the Graco version, however this had great reviews on Amazon and functioned similarly. It has a bassinet top (up to 15 lbs), a play bar attachment (which I honestly found a bit redundant since it’s really only good for when the baby is on the bassinet level but that only goes up to 15 lbs and most babies are over 15 lbs by the time they want to grab at stuff like that!), and then can be changed into a playpen (lower level). It’s a good size, easy to fold up, and fits well in a car – it’s great if you go to a cabin or camping a lot and need something portable that doesn’t take up a ton of space.
This was SUCH a steal for a whole travel system! We purchased via Amazon.ca just for convenience (our registry was on there) however I know you can purchase it at many baby or children’s stores or from their website (linked in title). It comes with the stroller, the toddler/bassinet seat (convertible), the car seat and the car seat base and when you compare it to other brands it is a HUGE deal to get all those pieces for that price (we paid under 400$ CAD!). We ended up buying a second car seat base from Amazon a month later for <50$ CAD as well because we have 2 cars. Car seat is great, can last quite a long time depending on the height/weight of your baby. Car seat bases are easy to install. The car seat clips directly into the stroller so easily, and same with the other seat. I loved the bassinet mode.
The best part about the Xpand is that it can become a 2-seat stroller – so if you have two babes who need to be in it, you can attach 2 seats or the seat & car seat, whatever you please! There is a bunch of different ways to set it up on their website.
My only complaint about this item is the “tires”. I do not recommend using this stroller for long, outdoor walks or hikes – it is NOT made for this (like most strollers that are not joggers). The tires are plastic without tread. It still works great but it’s definitely not good on rougher terrain or even for daily walking – we ended up buying a second stroller secondhand which I’ll link below that I love for longer walks, the cottage, etc.
I’ve linked the Urban Glide 2 above however I actually have the original Urban Glide since we bought it gently used at a local store. Either way – the brand Thule is amazing and I highly recommend this jogger. The tires are amazing and made for rough terrain, outdoor/long walks or hikes. You can push this baby up a hill with almost no effort! I love the sun shade because you can adjust it to cover baby from the sun from almost any angle. There is also a lot of storage space in it which is great if you are going out for awhile – we keep our dogs water bowl in it, sunscreen for both us and Maggie, water, and so on and there is still extra space. The storage all zips up too so you don’t have to worry about anything falling out!
I have no complaints about this item it’s great – even better if you are a runner! It’s very adjustable, even for track running like most joggers. I do a stroller fit class (virtual right now, so via WhatsApp call) and it works great for that as well. I got it for a cheaper price since it is the first version + was gently used (~250$ CAD) so if you don’t want to spend a lot look for a secondhand or older version! If you’re someone who runs or who does lots of long/high impact walking then it might be a good investment (good as a group purchase on a registry!).
This is not a cheap item and your baby may not like it so I don’t recommend putting it on your registry necessarily. I had it on mine and removed it because I read so many reviews that said babies didn’t like it and I didn’t want anyone to spend that much and then never use it. We ended up finding this item gently used for a much more affordable price. It came into the store coincidentally the day I walked in and I saw it and bought it right away because I knew how fast they fly off the shelves when they’re less money. I would recommend grabbing this item if you happen to be as lucky as I was and be able to find it for a good price gently used! Ours basically was brand new – apparently someone had bought it for the people and baby didn’t like it but they couldn’t return it because they waited too long.
Maggie loves it – I wish we had it when she was in her first month of life because she liked the swing we had, but she didn’t love it. The Mamaroo came into our lives at a good time though, basically right when my husband went back to work. It gave me enough time to do the dishes everyday and usually eat lunch and/or breakfast without a baby in my arms, which I was very thankful for. There are many different patterns but Maggie likes the car ride pattern the best. It is good until 25 lbs or until baby is sitting up unassisted/is trying to get out of it, whichever comes first. So far we are still using it at almost-5 months.
One thing I don’t like about it is the stupid mobile! It doesn’t move. You’d think for a fully electronic item that the mobile would move but nope! You can’t even twist it up for a good spin! Maggie is so interested in it now but I have to sit there and spin it for her. Hopefully the next version they release they upgrade this a bit.
I love this rocker and it was only 59$ CAD on Amazon! We went through the whole bouncer vs. rocker vs. swing debate before baby arrived and I was hesitant to buy anything in case she didn’t like the motion. I figured this was pretty cheap and since it lasted infant to toddler it wouldn’t hurt to grab it for the price. No regrets – although it is a very simple item, at the age Maggie is at now she loves this chair. I use it in the house when I’m doing dishes so she can be close to me and on the porch so she can sit outside with us. I try to avoid using any seat for too long, but this is portable, lightweight (I can carry it with one hand while carrying Maggie in the other arm), and basic. It has a vibrate feature that she still likes now, and she loves the play bar!
This is a really basic item but I just love how easy it is to move around and she is easily entertained with the toys.
We tried this carrier at the Baby Show (Toronto) and my husband loved it – this item was purchased for him but recently I’ve also been using it too (as a newborn I put Maggie in a wrap mostly, just one we grabbed from the Baby Show made by We Made Me). I like this carrier because it was very secure when she was a newborn, and it’s perfect for us now for our fitness classes that are adaptable for baby wearing (we do barre blast virtually and just finished a 9-week long salsa babies class as well). It’s also extremely easy to put on and clip up – a huge selling point for me because I get easily overwhelmed by complicated baby carriers or baby items of any sort!
It can be worn in the newborn stage and then facing in and facing out later on when baby is able to hold their head up well and weighs more. The mini doesn’t get as long of a lifetime as some of BabyBjörn’s other wraps, however we discussed this with the salesperson at the Baby Show and decided we likely wouldn’t be putting Maggie in a wrap after a certain weight/age anyways. Baby carrier needs are very personal & something you should definitely consider/discuss before spending big $$ on different wraps!
So I thought I’d drop a Canadian brand in here – I know everyone is crazy about the Wildbird ring slings in the US. I actually have one of those as well but I try to support Canadian brands where I can so I ordered a Junior Foxes sling after Maggie was about 2 months.
First of all – ring slings are a time commitment in many ways. You have to learn how to use one (like most baby carriers) and then it takes some time to get used to using it in a way that is comfortable and convenient. Videos online can be so confusing, but Youtube and IGTV are great resources.
Knowing that and if you are OK with committing your time to getting used to and perfecting your use of a ring sling, then I highly recommend this one. I got “Mom Boss” (bright coral color) and it is so pretty and the material is incredibly soft! I actually prefer the material to my Wildbird sling. The length on the JF sling is also great – it can accommodate people with bigger torsos and chests easily, or a bigger baby. It was sent with instructions on washing, a link to some instructional videos, and I got a bonus scrunchie with my order which was a nice perk!
I really wanted this since I got pregnant but I couldn’t justify the price. Luckily we got it as a gift from my mom, with the “Sugar Plum” cover and it has ended up being one of the most used items we have. Since the first day we had M home, we used this to lay her in (while awake and supervised). It’s perfect for the couch when they’re really little – they can lay beside you without the risk of suddenly rolling off. I still use it now – she lays in it and watches me put clothes away or clean up. If she falls asleep it’s easy to transition her out as needed. It’s easy to clean – both the pillow itself and the cover can go in the wash no problem. Although it’s expensive, other than her bassinet she sleeps in every night it’s easily our most used baby item! I can’t attest to the quality of knock-off versions, but having something like this is great.
This was given to us as a gift from another mom and I have to be honest I was like – it’s cute but I doubt we’re going to use this much. I’m not a big fan of electronic toys. Boy, was I wrong. This is the first “toy” we ever used with Maggie – we would play it while she was getting her diaper changed as a newborn and it would keep her happy and entertained. I use it during tummy time, especially early on when she needed something to focus her attention on. She still loves it today – she has smiled at it when it plays music since she started smiling, and when she hasn’t seen it in awhile it’s like she is excited to see it again!
It plays a few different musical tunes and I think two different “white noise” nature sounds. We prefer the tunes, but Maggie will honestly listen to either. The songs are long enough for you to put your baby down and brush your teeth during, but then the penguin needs to be pressed again. Its belly lights up and changes colours as well. It’s not a substitute for a real white noise machine but for a newborn it works well, and we’re still using it today. I have yet to change the batteries and it has been used for 5 months now, frequently!
Maggie’s favorite toys (since she started being able to hold things) are definitely rattles. She likes anything that makes a noise or has beads in it she can stare it now that she’s starting to pay more attention to the small details of her toys. I don’t have any specific rattle recommendations since they’re all generally the same, but we got most of ours from Amazon as Add-on items for really cheap! I find them less annoying than electronic toys, easy to clean (soap + water) if needed, and you can buy ones that are easy for baby to hold when they’re first learning.
Another favourite – especially when baby is learning to grasp. This ball is easy for baby to pick up even when they’re still working on that skill. Maggie’s only frustration with it is that she can’t put it in her mouth since it is round! It’s so cheap on Amazon as an add-on item (hopefully this is similar on US Amazon!) and easy to clean. Adaptable for baby as they get older because it’s just a ball!
I can’t find our exact toy (I actually did find it here but it is way more than we paid for it!!), but we have one of these that is a horse. It attaches to the carseat or can just be played with during tummy time or in a seat. It has different colours, textures and noises so it’s great for a growing baby who likes to look at the fine details of their toy!
I have both an Einstein activity centre (gift) and a wooden play gym we asked for on our registry. Maggie prefers the wooden play gym and if you’re looking for something aesthetically pleasing but useful for your nursery, this is a great item. Best for babies who are starting to grab at things however we would lay Maggie under it since she was a newborn and she’d just look at the toys. Now she grabs and reaches for them at almost-5-months. Wooden toys are a huge craze right now my only suggestion would be to make sure they’re safe for your baby to play with & put in their mouth! We got this one from Amazon.ca, but if I had known before that some local shops around me sold them I would have bought it there!
*Our Baby Einstein activity gym is this one. Since we already had the wooden gym, I don’t actually use the activity mat at all, but I did take all the toys off of it, the pillow (which we used early on for tummy time), and the kick piano. Maggie has just started to be interested in the kick piano now, but she likes all the toys for chewing on. I also like the mirror it came with – we use that a lot still.
This is hands down one of my favourite purchases – Maggie loved this thing from the moment I put it in her mouth. I tried the Itzy Ritzy teething glove (Maggie isn’t teething but she got really interested in chewing on everything around 3 months) but she wasn’t a fan and it was hard to keep the glove on her. Once her grasp started to develop this was a perfect alternative – and it helps them get used to have their gums/teeth brushed! As a result of this brush, Maggie LOVES when I eat bananas. She thinks it’s her toy – so cute!
I am going to include some of my favourite books that we currently own, but I am also going to highly suggest you check out this thread on Twitter by one of my mutuals for a list of books about diversity, because #BlackLivesMatter and you should be teaching your child to be anti-racist, as they are the future!
Here are some of my favourite books so far:
- Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees
- Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
- I Love You to the Moon and Back by Amelia Hepworth, illustrated by Tim Warnes
- The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland
- Toot by Leslie Patricelli (Maggie thinks this one is very funny if I make all the sound effects!)
- We have several of the “That’s Not My ____ (animal)!” books & “If I Were A ____(animal)” too – these are good for touching since they’re tactile books!
Favourite Small Shop Clothing and/or Accessories Brands
I always share any vendors I buy from on my Instagram, but I thought I’d compile a small list of some of my favourite Canadian vendors since I get a few people asking!
- Royal Threadz – I get most of Maggie’s head wraps here, and I have even bought some headbands for myself from here – one of my all time favourites!
- Parker Olivia & Co – Maggie is currently one of the brand reps for this lovely little shop! Beautiful bows available from Alberta!
- Baby Tees Co – Baby gifts including pacifier clips, teether toys, bibs, etc! Maggie is also a brand rep for them!
- Ash Creations Handmade – Niagara Falls (Canada side) vendor making baby clothing, bows, etc. We love the bloomers especially and have several bows from here – including Raptors print!
- Unboxing Milestones – baby gifts, including bibs, box sets for different stages & more!
- Tiny Soles Boutique – boutique of children’s clothing & accessories. Also with stuff for mama!
- GlitterGlammCrafts – Custom mama & baby items (and daddy and anyone really)! Love the custom tees.
- Bubbas and Mamas – Bows & Scrunchies – come in matching sets! They have some additional accessories now too!
Stay tuned for my next favourite items post for 5-8 months!