We are minimalists when it comes to the amount of baby toys and products we own. I mean, we never even had a baby gym or a bouncer! Those are essential baby products, aren't they??!?! But we survived without them. Sometimes I think that it would have been nice to have certain products (legitimate swaddling blankets, for example)... but there ARE a couple products that I am very glad we got, and will definitely keep for next time around! (No, this is not an announcement ;)
Here are 5 of my favorite baby/mother products that have saved my sanity quite a few times:
1) A carrier or wrap
The trick is finding a carrier that works for your baby. Nicole only let me put her in a wrap for the first couple weeks, and then she hated it... so I had to switch to a structured buckle-up carrier (pictured below). Having it has been awesome, though. It frees up my hands and was particularly useful for the several times I had to fly on airplanes by myself and needed both of my hands to carry luggage and Nicole's car seat. The terminals even let me keep Nicole in the carrier when I went through security! This one is nice because I can wear her on my back or front, and she can face out or in.
Really, though. Sometimes your baby just doesn't want to be put down, and you have to get stuff done. I can count more than one instance when I was really glad to have a carrier on hand.
Basically, these are miniature, travel-friendly strollers. We borrowed my sister-in-law's to take to Fresno to save on space in the car... and we still haven't given it back. Oops. But it's been super convenient to have because it's so quick and easy to collapse, and it doesn't take up much room in the car or block the entire sidewalk when we use it (which is great when we're at a crowded event). We'll have to get our own sooner or later though, so I've been looking for deals. They're pretty cheap at places like Burlington Coat Factory, but the Disney nerd in me keeps eyeing these. In case you're one of those "I don't click in-post links!" people, here's a picture of one of them. Eeee, Minnie Mouse!
3) A bumbo
This baby seat is magical. We got one the moment Nicole was old/strong enough to sit in one, and she still uses it at mealtimes (we haven't bothered to get a highchair yet, we just slap a bumbo tray on). Nicole has spent many hours in that bumbo, and Doug agrees that it was worth every penny (of course, we found it for half the normal price on KSL, so that's even better!)
4) Muffin the Moose
This toy was another magical hit! It would keep Nicole occupied for long chunks of time whether she was chilling in her bumbo, sitting on our laps out in public, or playing by herself on the ground. The feet rattle and crinkle, the belly squeaks, the antlers are great for teething, the legs are easy for little hands to grab, the tail clanks together, there are lots of colors and textures... she was obsessed. Muffin came with us everywhere for a while. You can see it here on Amazon. The "boy" version is named Mortimer and it has yellow antlers.
Here's a pic of Nicole, her bumbo, and her Moose. They were quite the power trio back in the day. Muffin was her absolute favorite, which was evident by the fact that it was constantly covered in baby drool.
5) A cute backpack for a diaper bag
I used to have a typical "carry-it-on-the-shoulder" diaper bag, but I'm so glad I switched to a backpack. It frees up my arms to carry Nicole and other items at the same time without worrying about the bag falling off my shoulder. Maybe my bag was just built weird, but it was always falling off my shoulder!!! I suppose having a long strap I could wear across my body would help, but I love the backpack. I get lots of compliments on it.
^^^This is the one I have. It holds quite a few things! (Oh, and it's from Kohl's.)
I will say this... I really want to try using a wrap carrier again for my next baby, but I'll use one that's made of a lighter material. I think Nicole just got too hot in the one we had (I know I did!). I've heard that Solly wraps are really breathable... I just don't understand why a strip of stretchy fabric has to be so expensive! There are just so many products out there, and every baby is different! Just wait. I'll be singing praises for different products someday when our family is bigger. I'm calling it.
What am I missing, fellow mommies??? Are there some products that make motherhood a whole lot easier for you? Let me know!