Expecting moms and experienced moms alike know there’s a long list of baby products you must buy for your newborn, and today I’m here to share with you 5 baby products that we couldn’t live without during our first 6 months with Gemma. Of course, your baby needs to be fed, they need a safe place to sleep, you’ll go through more diapers than you ever imagined was humanly possible. Yes, there are lots of “essential items” for a newborn, and that list contains far more than 5 items. Sorry, bank account.
But with that in mind, these are 5 baby products we couldn’t live without the past 6 months. I repeat. This is absolutely, hands down, not an exhaustive list of all baby products you need to buy for your newborn. It’s just some of our favorites that will hopefully help another soon to be mama out there.
Our 5 Favorite Baby Products for 0-6 Months
1. Lightweight stroller frame
If there are 2 things that have saved me more times than I can count since Gemma’s been born, it’s our lightweight stroller frame and our backpack style diaper bag. When I was first creating a baby registry, I spent far too long researching strollers, and thoroughly vetted about 25 different strollers before deciding on the Baby Jogger City Mini GT. The price point was good for a stroller that could carry us from infancy long into toddler age, reviews are A+, and I had many, many, many friends who recommended it first hand. But somewhere along the way I read to also consider a stroller frame. And thank goodness.
So why do I use our stroller frame more often than our jogging stroller? Well let me count the ways…
- It’s far easier to fold than our jogging stroller (I can do it one handed while holding a baby/carseat).
- It takes up far less space in our trunk.
- It weighs less.
- It has less fabric, so I don’t worry about it getting banged around.
- It’s underneath basket is easier to access and holds more.
- It has a built in cupholder and small storage compartment, so I didn’t need to buy a parent stroller.
- An infant carseat snaps right in. No clunky attachment necessary.
We use our lightweight stroller frame on walks around our neighborhood. We use it in the grocery store. And at the mall. In the airport. When visiting friends. Really the only time we don’t use it at this stage in Gemma’s life is when we’re taking her on a walk someplace where the path is bumpy or uneven (like a trail).
As soon as Gemma transitions to her convertible carseat, we’ll transition full time to the Baby Jogger City Mini GT, but our Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller Frame is truly something we couldn’t have lived without the last 6 months. For less than $100 I highly encourage you to take a look. In my opinion having a lightweight stroller frame like our Chicco Keyfit Caddy Stroller Frame it’s worth it’s weight in gold.
2. Formula dispensers and bottle drying racks
Completely switching gears, let’s talk about formula feeding. I breastfed and pumped for only a short while with Gemma, so pretty earlier on we were navigating the world of bottles and formula. Two accessories that I had not initially purchased were formula dispensers and extra bottle drying racks.
In the early days of formula feeding, I nearly lost my mind. At first I didn’t even know how to use formula. I kept trying to figure out just how to make a routine out of formula feeding, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I wanted someone to walk me step-by-step how they purchased, organized, prepared, stored, fed, cleaned their bottles and formula. Remember, I’m a super literal person. I need you to spell it out.
The questions that ran through my mind were giving me anxiety. Do I put the formula or water in first? Does it matter? Do I mix the formula right in the bottle? Or make a large pitcher and then pour into bottles as needed? Do I make bottles right before feeding time or well in advance? Does formula have all the same rules as breastmilk, or do I need to find a new handy chart about how long formula lasts under different circumstances?
While in hindsight all of these questions were fairly simple to get sorted out, two quick purchases made a world of difference to our feeding routine.
First, I bought a few of these Philips AVENT formula dispensers. There are plenty of brands and styles available, but I just happened to grab these first and they worked. These formula dispensers allowed me to pre-measure and store the exact amount of formula Gemma would need for each feeding. It seems silly, but this felt like a huge timesaver at 2AM in the morning, and as long as it makes you feel better and more at ease, I say go for it.
The other purchase that helped calm my anxiety and allowed us to get into a smooth feeding routine was an extra bottle drying rack. Our primary “bottle station” is in the kitchen. We have one small plastic bin that holds all things feeding: our formula container, bottles, nipples, covers, lids, disposable nipples, on the go formula packets… and probably some other items too. We also keep a bottle drying rack, a bottle brush, and a small bottle of dish soap next to our sink. These two small areas keep everything we need for feeding easy to access and also contained, so our kitchen is not yet overrun with baby stuff.
But at bedtime, in the middle of the night, and in the early morning the last thing we found ourselves wanting to do was run downstairs to grab a bottle or trek back downstairs after a feeding was over to wash a bottle.
So we set up a second “feeding station” in Gemma’s bathroom that is conveniently located in the hall on the way from our master bedroom to the nursery. We now keep one bottle, a formula dispenser filled with 3 feedings worth of pre-measured formula, and an extra bottle drying rack and a bottle brush upstairs at all times. Restocking this feeding station has become a part of my regular routine, and we’ve now saved ourselves so many unnecessary trips downstairs. At this point it’s just convenient. But in the early weeks when we were up multiple times a night, this second feeding station was a lifesaver.
If you’re interested in our exact set up, we use the AVENT drying rack next to our kitchen sink, but have a large white Boon drying rack upstairs because I’m a nut and think it blends into our bathroom better. We threw on a single ‘twig’ attachment so we can dry bottle rings and nipples more easily.
3. Gripe water
Before bringing Gemma home I was very meh about baby medicines. I literally don’t think I had stocked up on a single item for our medicine cabinet. Well turns our Gemma was not the happiest newborn on the block. She came into this world carrying quite a set of lungs. She wasn’t colicky, and despite a short stint with reflux medicine, we don’t think she had actual reflux. But there were 6-8 weeks of her life where she cried. A lot. For reasons we never figured out.
When we thought she was having tummy troubles, we tried gas drops, but they never seemed to do anything.
As soon as she was old enough to use gripe water, we made the switch and haven’t looked back since. Gripe water helped tremendously when she had tummy troubles. It takes away her hiccups within seconds (I swear, it’s like magic). And it even calmed her in the middle of a nighttime scream fest when we had no idea why she was crying and had run through all of our usual tricks.
We still use Mommy’s Bliss Gripe Water to this day. In fact, I have it shipped automatically with Amazon’s Subscribe & Save!. We use the normal version but it also comes in a nighttime version, and if you’re interested in trying both normal and nighttime, this Little Remedies two pack comes with one of each!
4. Activity gym
We received our Skip Hop Explore and More Amazing Arch Activity Gym as a baby shower gift from a dear friend when I was pregnant with Olivia. It came out of storage immediate after we brought Gemma home. And I’m pretty sure she has spent more time on this activity mat than any other place. Second to her crib. She loves, loves, loves it.
This gym keeps her endlessly entertained. The best part is that it continues to function as a fun and safe space for her as she develops. The arch on the activity gym can be positioned above her when she’s laying on her back. It also moves into a position that helps encourage tummy time. And now that she’s sitting up she loves to reach for the arch when it’s in it’s upright position. I can also sit her in front of the arch when it’s on the ground, and she gets to look at herself in the mirror and play with her toys from a sitting a position.
Baby activity gyms come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Pretty much every baby toy brand makes at least one version, so your options are endless. All I can say is that ours from Skip Hop has been ah-mazing. And if it’s too bright and babyish for you, try this neutral, toned down version by Skip Hop!
Okay, I swear we do hold and cuddle and play with Gemma, a lot. But another must-have, couldn’t-imagine-life-without-it baby product is our exersaucer. I held off on buying any baby-station toys for as long as possible. Her activity gym really did keep us that well entertained. But as she’s grown and started enjoying sitting and standing more, I knew it was time. So around 4 months old I purchased a Baby Einstein Rhythm of The Reef Activity Saucer. I found one used on Facebook marketplace for $25, and my goodness. It’s the best $25 we’ve ever spent for Gemma. We also have the Skip Hop Explore and More Baby’s View 3-Stage Activity Center which is great because it will transition into a table for her to play next to when she’s able to stand, but the exersaucer is hands down her favorite place to be.
And there you have it. Our list of 5 baby products we couldn’t live without during our baby’s first 6 months. If you want to see other products we love to use and those we regret, you may enjoy:
- Baby products I regret not buying
- The only products I actually keep in our diaper bag and
- Our favorite newborn baby toys
Tell me, what are the products you live for and recommend at every chance you get?