If you’ve read any of my product recommendation lists before, you know I hate using the term “essential” simply because I think that what I might deem essential for me, may not be essential for you. That’s why I always use “faves” – because these are my favourite items, and ones I got the most use out of. We had a lot of stuff on our baby registry – and honestly, I got most ideas from recommendations from other people so I thought it might be useful to share what we asked for, got, and really liked/found useful.
I have to say when I was making my baby registry I had no idea what I needed other than like ?clothes and diapers. I think that is the situation with most first time parents – you just can’t know what you’ll love/use/need until you have your baby there with you! For example, with something like a stroller – you need to see what it’s like taking a baby in and out of it before you write a review. Clipping in the car seat might be challenging, the straps might be annoying to use, a few weeks in you might notice a problem with the wheels (I say this from experience – see below) or another feature that you just can’t know about from pushing the stroller back and forth in your house beforehand. End rant. Anyway – on to my list of recommendations.
There was some stuff that wasn’t on our registry I also really liked, you can find that list (for the first 4 months) here.
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*Disclaimer: This blog is intended for informational purposes only. The information on this blog should not be used as a substitute to medical advice or medical treatment. As always, your Primary Care Provider, a doctor, or another health professional is your best resource for specific questions and medical advice. If you believe you or a loved one are experiencing a medical emergency, please contact 911.*
I did a lot of stroller research while I was pregnant. I wanted a stroller that would fit nicely in the back of both my vehicles (SUV and a smaller car), that wasn’t bulky, that was easy to open/unfold, and that accommodated a multiseat setup (meaning – I could clip my car seat in directly but it also had the option for a seat as baby grew). My bonus desire was to have a travel system that could in the future accommodate two babies (because yeah – I want more!!).
After many weeks of looking, I found the Evenflo Pivot Xpand travel system on Amazon – which was perfect since we were doing the majority of our registry on Amazon (we had some items on Buy Buy Baby too, however at the time there wasn’t a local store so most of our purchases came from Amazon). It had 4.5 stars (which is my requirement for Amazon purchases – I am super reliant on reviews, read through many of them & generally won’t buy items with lower ratings because I guess I’m a type 6w5 and my perfectionist personality reflects on my buying habits?) and the price point was excellent! You could get this whole travel system for under 400$ CAD?!
Yes. I watched a ton of Youtube videos of people opening the stroller and attaching the different seats because I am “building impaired” and didn’t want anything complicated. I also compared it to other travel systems and the price alone was a huge selling point – this was going to be a gift but I didn’t want anyone, even my mom, spending their life savings into a stroller.
We did get this item and I use it pretty much daily, even though you might know we also have another stroller (jogger – we have the original) we use for walks.
If you’ve read my other posts about it, then you’ll know I’ve pretty much only had one issue with it and that was the tires.
The tread wore down almost immediately (probably because I began using it in the midst of a Canadian winter outdoors). However – Evenflo’s customer service is very good and I e-mailed them regarding this issue and they responded almost immediately to handle it. Based on the reviews, I don’t think this is necessarily a common issue – and honestly, for city/indoor use it doesn’t really matter – it still rolls fine. If you’re planning on going “stroller off-roading” though I’d recommend getting something a little more heavy duty like the Thule Urban Glide, strictly for those adventures.
My favourite parts about this stroller system are:
- The whole travel system – it comes with (yes – included in the 399$ price – not for an extra cost!!) the car seat, car seat attachment, and the toddler seat which can also convert into a bassinet (we used this a lot early on). All seats are easy to attach into the stroller. Bassinet/toddler seat is easy to convert quickly. Car seat and car seat attachment are easy to use and adjust.
- The storage space down below – it has a surprisingly big basket underneath which is great if you need to grab some groceries or bring extra stuff with you (for example, I have taken Maggie’s diaper bag, my purse, a yoga mat and a large blanket in there for our park yoga classes with no issue).
- Folds up small – fits nicely in both my cars (Chevy Equinox & Toyota Corolla) that have very different size trunks. Unfolds simply with one push. It’s also lightweight and easy to carry.
A bassinet was one of those items I wasn’t even sure if I needed, but I am so glad we put it on our registry and received it because we used it for 4.5 months!
I originally was looking at Moses basket style bassinet, with the Jolly Jumper legs/stand. I read a lot of reviews that this type doesn’t last quite as long as some of the actual bassinets (just because babies grow so quick!) and since I wasn’t sure how long Maggie would be in our room for sure, I decided against it. I didn’t want to spend a ton on this item because I knew she’d use a crib for longer (which we were gifted, off registry but I talked about it here), but I wanted something safe, secure, not too big (we have a big master bedroom but I didn’t want something that took up a ton of space either way) and that could be placed conveniently close to the bed for the late night feeds.
I found the Fisher Price Soothing Motions bassinet, once again, on Amazon! It met my star/review requirements so I put it on the registry and we were lucky enough to receive it as a gift from a family member.
I have to be honest – Maggie wasn’t a huge fan of the “soothing motions” (vibrate) – or at least they didn’t help her go to sleep.
What I did like about the electronic part was the little light you could turn on – that made it easier to navigate getting her out of it in the night without turning on any larger lights. I also personally like the ‘white noise’ and nature sounds it played – it actually helped me sleep haha! Not sure if it actually helped Maggie much in the early days but it did seem to help calm her down (we use Alexa for white noise now which I’ll be talking about in an upcoming post). There are a couple different noises and settings on it and honestly every baby is different so one may be more helpful to you than another – or maybe none. It’s hard to say without trying it – but that part of the bassinet isn’t “necessary”. You can just use it for its safe sleep-place function.
Another part I didn’t love was the mobile – it was so cute and Maggie became obsessed with it at one point but I had to spin it. This is similar to my issues with the Mamaroo. Make it electronic!
My favourite parts about this bassinet:
- The size – it fit nicely at the end of our bed – it could even fit beside we just have a king size bed so I didn’t want to have to crawl to the end to get out in the night. Especially in the early weeks postpartum – that would have been challenging. I also found it was long enough to accommodate a growing baby till the appropriate weight maximum (or till rolling over).
- It’s safe – mesh siding made me feel better since Maggie liked to turn her head to one side as a newborn and would sometimes shuffle over to be right against the side of the bassinet. I’d still check her anyways because, new mom paranoia.. but yeah.
- FYI – Kushies bassinet fitted sheets fit perfectly on it as well!
Wait – you didn’t get the Graco?! Ok I honestly was told by many to get the Graco Pack N Play and I would have because it also has excellent ratings/reviews, but when I saw the price difference (I’m frugal, I guess) I went with this one. They are both available on Amazon, but the price is ~70$ CAD different!
So I figured I’d put the cheaper one on the registry (I tried to put things on the registry at a variety of prices because I hate going on someones registry and seeing that all the items are like 100$+ – not good for people you aren’t super close with/people who maybe don’t have a ton of expendable cash to spend but want to get you something you want) and it worked out!
We use this primarily when we are travelling (the lower level) or at the cottage, but we also used it very shortly as a transitional sleep space between the bassinet and Maggie’s crib in her own room. The upper level accommodates a weight up to 15 lbs but we stopped using it pretty early on – it was good in the newborn days as a place to lay Maggie down safely (we set it up in our living room for easy access/convenience).
Thing I didn’t love = play bar. It’s accessible from the top level but babies are usually close-to over 15 lbs if not already over by the time they actually want to play wit them? A mobile may have been more useful – though I’m sure she still stared at the toys as a newborn it just felt sort of pointless.
One other thing is the “mattress” on the bottom – I know it has to be thin for ease of set-up/use/portability but I just didn’t like it even as a nap space. She has a hard time sleeping on it at the cottage because well – it’s not comfortable. It is fine as a play space though – but I know lots of people use it for naps/sleep too so just something to think about (I like to be realistic). I know the Graco is a bit better for this – so just something to think about.
What I did like about this playard:
- Super easy to set up – it’s as easy as a stroller really, it’s snaps into place! It takes up more room than our bassinet did but it still wasn’t overbearing in a small space (we use it at our cottage and it fits surprisingly well in a small room).
- Very portable and comes with a bag – makes it easy to store & bring places. We take it on our roof rack when we go to the cottage! The bag keeps the actual playard protected.
- It’s nice to have – especially before Maggie was crawling, it was a good safe space to put her down. Now that she’s moving she still goes in it (mostly at the cottage) but she prefers to be on a play mat. I use this space and the crib though in the day time for the same purpose in different rooms – safe spot to put the babe down!
I went a little overboard with the rockers/swings/similar items I put on the registry – but I was sure we wouldn’t get them all (we didn’t) so I gave people a variety to choose from that I liked. This item I actually purchased us off the registry with a gift card that was given to us at my baby shower (which was great because we just bought everything left on the registry we wanted!).
I am a big fan of items that transition/grow with baby. That is why I also put the high chair (below) on our registry. Like I said – I’m frugal. It also just makes life easier if I don’t have to be running out to buy something new all the time as she grows.
This chair is a rocker – so it is manual, however there are electronic components to it. The chair vibrates – and Maggie actually loved this feature! I kept the play bar off when she was little but put it back on when she was starting to show more interest in that – and this was a play bar I actually found useful. We used the chair from newborn until very recently – when she started to pull herself up to sit. The great part is the chair can be changed to toddler mode so you can use it afterwards as a seat! I’ll probably just wait till she’s a bit more stable and able to get up/down off things to do that.
I honestly can’t think of anything I don’t like about this rocker – my baby enjoys it, it has a long “use” life, and it is only 59$ CAD on Amazon! There is a Deluxe version as well but to my eyes the only difference I see is the canopy? Which is definitely not necessary – this one works just fine as is.
Baby Monitor (But We Use Wyze Now)
So we put this monitor on our registry because we didn’t want to spend a lot on it. Honestly the quality of the video and sound was good – it would go into sleep mode when there was no movement and then turn on when baby moved a lot or cried. I never had any functional issues with it but the battery is awful! The monitor would not last very long – sometimes it wouldn’t even last a few hours, but usually it needed to be charged every 2-3 days which is pretty frequent for something that isn’t on all the time.
If this isn’t something that bothers you – it is a good basic baby monitor system. No extras, easy to use. The camera is small and has a long cord. It needs to sit flat though – it doesn’t have a wall attachment or anything, but if you legitimately just want something simple then this is an okay option for that.
We now strictly use this as our “cottage” baby monitor, because we set up our Wyze camera in the baby’s room. I love the Wyze cam – funnily enough we actually originally purchased it way before Maggie was here to check in on the dogs and cats during the day in our apartment!
I never thought to use it as a baby monitor until my husband discovered (as we struggled with the battery power of our other one) that people do use it for that – and it makes sense. There is a Wyze app on your phone which means you can easily check the camera – it’s also a cool option if you have a spouse that travels or is overseas/etc because even they can check the camera. The camera has good quality imaging/video. I just flip my phone on it’s side and leave it up like a monitor.
The best part about Wyze is the price – 39$ CAD! That’s crazy. You can get a different model for a bit more than can turn side to side too, but it’s not really needed for “baby monitor mode,” if you will. Other bonuses: it has 2-way audio, is compatible with both iOS and Android, and it can have a use when you no longer need a baby monitor. This is a HUGE plus for me – I love multipurpose items!
If you are a big Amazon/Alexa user like we are, then you can also have your Amazon Echo Show act as the monitor, freeing up your phone. Thus far, we’ve had no issues with this. Some people won’t like it because it’s on your phone/wifi – that may be a bonus to the other monitor – no wifi needed.
What I love about using the Wyze system:
- No big clunky monitor that needs charging – it’s on my phone or I put it on the Echo in my living room. It’s convenient and I don’t have to worry as much about battery/charging (not that your phone doesn’t also require this but my phone does not die as quickly – I also don’t find the app is heavily draining personally, on my iPhone 11 Pro – this may be different on a different and/or older phone).
- Camera can be put on a surface or on wall – there is a wall mount with the Wyze, so if you need or prefer a different perspective, you can set it up just how you want it.
- It’s affordable – we actually spent less on this than the original monitor cost and are happier with it.
- It can be used after Maggie/future babies no longer need it – this was my goal with my nursing chair too – I wanted something we could use somewhere else in the future (if these items are still functional of course).
Another grows-with-baby item that I loved from our registry. We’ve only been using it for about ~3.5 months now but so far so good!
High chair was an item I wasn’t sure I should even put on the registry? It felt so far off – feeding her food! But I did anyways because I figured why not? It’s a good key item to knock off the list if we can – and we were lucky enough to receive it from some good friends.
I kept this in the box in our garage attic until she was about 4-4.5 months and able to sit up with assistance. We started just putting her in it a few times during dinner so she would get used to “having dinner” with us. Since then we’ve been using it for all her meals (but you might have noticed from photos I also have a portable high chair we love too for travelling – it just wasn’t from our registry).
What I love about this high chair:
- The size – it’s bigger but not too big. I find it’s a good size for a growing baby. I considered getting the Ikea high chair because it has great reviews too but I’m kind of glad we got this one only because I think, as it’s 3-in-1 it might last a bit longer (but the Ikea one I mention specifically because the size of it was better for people with maybe a smaller dining area). To be honest though, this one fits nicely in the back corner of our dining room. It’s on wheels so it’s really easy to move if needed too.
- It’s 3-in-1, my fave! I love items that grow with baby, as I’ve said. This one has 3 modes so it can be used for quite awhile.
- The tray has a removable part – so if I forget to wipe it down (this happens sometimes I won’t lie – I’m busy sometimes and have to feed her quickly then head somewhere!) I can just take the top part off and feed her on the under tray! Gross mom hack but yeah. Both parts are easy to clean and wipe down.
- Everything is removable – you can easily clean the trays (sometimes, this summer, I brought them outside and hosed them down), any parts of the actual high chair structure and the cover is removable and easy to throw in the washing machine.
It also has adjustable straps and if you’re wondering about the cover – I have been able to find replacement covers on Etsy with different designs! There are a few, I’ve never ordered but I’ve been thinking about it lately.
No issues with this item so far! It’s worked well for us.
I bought the Boppy as a breastfeeding pillow. For some reason, buying a breastfeeding pillow felt really stressful for me because I felt like I wasn’t sure what I needed?! I had obviously never breastfed before and even though I had helped women with it, I wasn’t sure what I would like or prefer; what would work for me and my baby.
Boppy had great reviews, so I went with it (I believe I asked for recommendations on Twitter too). I’ll have to admit – early on, I found the pillow really small. My midwife office had way bigger pillows with more support and so did the breastfeeding clinic I went to early on. I guess I was a bit nervous too and still learning how to position Maggie on it – I often used a large king-size pillow in bed and a blanket instead of the Boppy in the early days.
Once I got more comfortable, I went back to the Boppy and I ended up really liking it. I honestly think the early days I just wanted extra support because I was learning and that it would have worked fine for me if I had been more persistent about it.
What I liked most about it:
- Changeable covers – always a plus for an item that is bound to get spit up or breast milk (or poop…) on it. They also have super cute designs on Amazon!
- Multi-use item – again, me with multipurpose items. This can be used for baby for tummy time, propping and sitting up. I used it most to help Maggie when she was mastering sitting up on her own – I found it was a bit too tall for her to use for tummy time really and she honestly didn’t need the assistance. We also had another tummy time pillow that came with one of our activity centers and it was smaller, so when I did use one for a short time it was that one. We also used it as a prop when she was small!
We got the one I linked above, however there are several others now available with slightly better ratings – I looked through the reviews though and what people have rated low for were not issues we have had with this item.
My only complaint about this play gym was that the teethers/toys didn’t hang low enough for the early days! I notice some of the newer play gyms do have longer ropes so that they hang lower.
I really liked this – we have used it since Maggie was a newborn. Early on we used it less as a play gym, and more as a “mobile” or just something for Maggie to look at. She always found it interesting to lay under. As she grew, she started trying to reach up and now she is able to grab the toys from laying down or sitting up!
It was really easy to assemble (though my husband, a cabinetmaker, tells me he could have made it better minus the painting) and it’s easy to clean. It’s overall a pretty simple item, but I liked that it was ~aesthetic~ for the nursery and Maggie ended up liking it more than another activity centre she got so I was pleased!
I am actually planning on releasing (in the next 2 weeks) a blog post about what we love for bath time, so I won’t get too much into this item here but it was on our registry and we do love it (no complaints).
I got another bath item I really liked but I’ll talk about it in that post too!
This was the item I put on the registry for my husband – this was his daddy carrier! However.. it ended up being more of a mommy carrier too. Whoops.
We actually tried this carrier at the Baby Show in Toronto. Cody even got to carry a weighted baby in it (which was apparently quite heavy) and we both really liked the design, how easy it was to put on, and that the brand was known/reliable.
I can’t say I have any complaints about this carrier – I didn’t use it early on though. For the newborn stage, I highly recommend purchasing a wrap or a ring sling (preference dependent – personally, I preferred the wrap early on). Babies like to be nice and snug against you when they’re really little and it’s harder to achieve that with this carrier.
This is great though if you’re out and about (we took Maggie to the zoo pre-COVID… ok we went to the zoo with a newborn and pretended it was for her) because babies weight is well dispersed and it minimizes any back discomfort you might get from walking long distances with a baby on you. Baby faces in when little, and then can switch to outward when they’re a bit bigger. I liked it for our Salsa Babies classes because it felt a bit more secure than the wrap (which I did use the first couple classes). She’d always fall asleep in it!
Now that she can face outward, she loves it. She loves being able to see what is going on.
I guess the only “downfall” to the mini is that it has a lower weight max compared to some other carriers this style – however we collectively decided we *personally* wouldn’t be using it past a year anyways, so it didn’t bother us. I have my ring sling if needed for up to 35 lbs.
- Easy to put on and do up, or adjust – since my husband and I were both using it, we needed to adjust it slightly for each of us for comfort. Being easy to put on was a MUST have for me – I am not good with complicated things. This has colour coding and only two parts that need to do up everytime – very simple and easy to do.
- The appearance – it’s not bulky, and it’s a nice looking carrier.
- Easy to clean – always a bonus because again, this is an item that can easily get dirty!
And this was my “mommy” item (so was the next purchase but that’s OK).
I knew when I got pregnant I was going to at least try breastfeeding (and here we are, at 8 months strong EBF!) and I had heard good things via Twitter about this interesting contraption.
I have talked about this before, but I also received the Naturebond version of this as a gift – the only thing I liked better about that one is the stopper! I think the suction on the Haakaa is much better, at least for me.
My main issue with both these products though is that they look cloudy – we don’t have a dishwasher so I manually wash ours with soap and a bottle brush. I find they always appear cloudy, though I’ve read this seems to happen to almost everyone. Since it’s so cheap, I’ll probably just replace mine soon anyways.
Other than that, it’s easy to sterilize, wash, and once you get the hang of it – easy to use. I’ll mention one other issue – why don’t they all have suction bottoms?! I’d highly recommend getting that one, because they tip over really easily – however I did see a mom hack recently to put it in a coffee mug so it doesn’t fall! So smart. Unfortunately there is no hack for your baby knocking it off your breast and your milk going bye-bye. That’s a big let-down… haha. K. I’m done.
Overall I’d recommend this item to any mama who is planning to breastfeed or try breastfeeding. I personally received a pump that I haven’t used (still have for emergencies) because I get enough milk from the Haakaa for storage (keep in mind that I am on mat leave for a year so this might not work as well for someone who has a 6 week maternity leave; also important to note not everyone has great results with it). It’s still useful to add to a storage supply though!
Ok, I said this with a mommy item but actually Cody and I chose this one because we would both use it. It’s cute (me), but it’s also a backpack (dad). Perfect.
I did not want a purse bag personally, because I already have a million purses and I didn’t want to have to carry two. In the early days, I put my wallet into the Lekebaby bag so I didn’t have to carry anything extra, but now I often bring my small purse + the bag just because sometimes we go in places where I don’t need the diaper bag with me and can leave it in the car. I also just like to have my stuff in one bag always because when I start switching bags is when I start losing stuff or forgetting where stuff is. I am a creature of habit.
Honestly – a diaper bag, and EVERYTHING on a registry, is totally preference based. I can tell you that you should absolutely get some sort of bag to keep your babies things in – whether it’s specifically marketed for diapers or not is your call. They basically just have extra pockets and slots in them for organizational purposes – you could easily just use a backpack if you don’t want to spend money on something like this.
That being said – this bag is only 49.99$ CAD right now! Which is cheap compared to a lot of diaper bags on the market. Also it’s cute!
Another bonus to a backpack style bag is better weight dispersion and less sore backs for mama or dada. If you decide you want to combine your stuff with babies stuff in one bag, it can get kind of heavy, so a backpack style can help with this. Again, totally preference based.
This bag also comes with insulated front pockets if you’re bringing bottles with you and a change pad (however I’d purchase the Lekebaby change pad that folds up and clips onto this bag because the one that is included is thin – good for public bathrooms though and easy to wipe down).
And that’s what I loved from our registry! Do I recommend you buy all these products? Not necessarily – put on your registry what is going to work best for your family and what you need. Also what you like and want. These are just some items we asked for and received that we actually use a lot – most of them still today at 8 months!
Two additional things:
- One thing we did get that I didn’t mention was diapers – I didn’t ask for a specific brand on the registry (I honestly think firmly choosing a brand takes a bit of trial and error, as well as exploration on your own) but just asked for diapers – we got a few boxes and put them to good use in the newborn stage. The best thing about an unopened box of diapers is that you can exchange them if you need to at places like Walmart and I believe Target also does this in the U.S. – so if you’re not sure if you’re going to 1) like them or 2) use them, just don’t open them all and exchange them for a different brand or size as needed.
- I also asked for books in lieu of cards at our shower – we read all our books! This was a great way to start building a library for Maggie and many people wrote personalized notes too so very cute little touch for baby to look back on one day!