Essentials for Baby's First Year
We have reached that pivotal parenting milestone: our baby is one!
I've been sorting through all the baby items we have accumulated over the past year and deciding what to pack away for the next babe and what to pass on. In honor of this process, I have rounded up a list of the items we found most essential for making it through this first year, and those we bought but mostly sat unused.
Sleep is hard for the first year, to say the least. Ellington transitioned from sleeping all day to just one nap, from sleeping on me to falling asleep on his own in his own room, from swaddle to cute pajamas and a million loveys scattered about the crib.
We started out cosleeping with Ellington in a homemade wooden sidecar cosleeper. We outfitted it with the Naturepedic Organic Portacrib Mattress, a Organic Portable Crib Pad, and two organic sheets. We then had Ellington sleep in a Snuggle Me Organic on top of this. Th Snuggle Me was not on our registry, but arguably one of our top 5 newborn essentials. Ellington wouldn't sleep without the feeling of being hugged (even when swaddled) and this helped us so much!
Around 4 months, we moved Ellington to his babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 crib with a babyletto Coco Pure Mattress with Dry Waterproof Cover. I am happy we invested in a non-toxic mattress given how many hours Ellington spends on it sleeping on his stomach! We have three sets of Burt's Bees Crib sheets and that is plenty for us for now.
Our other essentials for sleep are:
Solly Baby Wrap: I am putting this under "sleep" because that is what it was primarily used for. Ellington took all of his naps in the wrap on me for months. Next baby, I am definitely buying several (because when my one wrap got messy, I just carried him for his naps and that was exhausting!)
Hatch Noise Machine: We didn't register for a noise machine. I read some articles warning against them and we planned not to use one, but sleep was a real issue for us. We tried the Dohm white noise machine but even on its loudest setting, it just didn't do the trick. The first night was used the Hatch Noise Machine, Ellington slept significantly better and we haven't looked back!
Blackout Shades: This was another item I thought we could do without, but I was wrong! I saw all those well-lit photos of sleeping babies on Instagram, read articles about day/night confusion, and thought Ellington would be fine! Four months in, I would do anything for more than 45 consecutive minutes of sleep, so we got blackout shades from Home Depot to install behind our curtains. A little light peeks through the edges, but the room gets dark enough to work!
Swaddles: Ellington loved being wrapped up tight and the Ollie Swaddle with velcro made it so much easier. We also preferred it over blankets because Ellington ran hot. After he outgrew this, we moved on to the Love to Dream Hands Up Swaddle, but then quickly moved to Burt's Bees Wearable Blankets!
Uppababy Stroller, Bassinet & Infant Carseat: We love this travel combo, but then again, we don't actually travel much! I thought the bassinet wouldn't be needed, but Ellington didn't like the constraints of the carseat, so we used it for walks up until he could sit in the toddler seat. The stroller is easy enough for me to handle/fold/get in and out of the car solo, but if you travel a lot, I could see the benefit to a smaller and lighter one!
Ergo/Happy Baby Carrier: I thought we would use the Ergo after he outgrew the Solly Wrap, but it feels too big on me. My husband likes and uses it, but I bought the Happy Baby Carrier and use that! Ellington learned to walk at 11 months, so if we are going a short distance, I just let him walk and carry him as needed.
Our goals with clothing were to (1) keep the clothes for the first six months gender-neutral to last for future children, and (2) have the newborn clothing organic, but be more lenient about older clothing.
Our favorites are Kid Wild Organics, Burt's Bees, H&M, Mabo Kids, Milkbarn, Gap, Zara, L'oved Baby, and Winter Water Factory.
We have laundry in our home, so I found we needed about 10 days' worth of clothing for each size throughout the first year. We added to this 3-5 sleepers for each size, socks and drool bibs. We have a couple hats, but Ellington would usually fuss until we took them off (I told you he runs hot!).
My husband and I were on the same page about toys - we value well-made toys that will last years and that will inspire play and imagination. In this line, we chose toys from bitte shop, Bannor Toys, Noble Carriage, Wild Creek Co., Plan Toys, Petit Collage, and of course, a bunch of books!
We also bought a Lovevery Baby play mat and a Babycare mat from Amazon. From 6 months on, he loved anything from Green Toys and our Nugget Comfort. Everything is linked on my Amazon page here for you!
BABY HYGIENE PRODUCTS
We bought and tried a number of products, but the winners were Earth Mama Organics Diaper Balm, Tubby Todd All Over Ointment (cleared up his eczema QUICKLY!), Shea Moisture Baby Wash & Shampoo, and Beautycounter Sunscreen. We don't otherwise use many products on him.
After a rough start to breastfeeding, I ended up exclusively pumping and bottle feeding. For all my pumping supplies, see this post. We use the Comotomo bottles and love them!
We started solids at 6 months, and so many products have been useful. See my Amazon page for a roundup of what we use and love!
Swaddle Blankets: We never actually used these for swaddling him, but they were great for covering the carseat and to lay on the floor for playtime.
Cloth Bibs: We bought cute ones from Little Unicorn and they never got used. They are too cute to get stained with Baby Led Weaning, but too big to be a drool bib worn all day.
Heating Pad: We ended up using a small one to heat up the Snuggle Me before placing Ellington down asleep (we removed the heating pad before he was put down). He then stayed asleep after we put him down because it was cozy and warm! I also used it when I got the chills after pumping (postpartum temperature regulation was ROUGH!) and my husband used it to soothe his back muscles after hours of bouncing Ellington. All around, great purchase!