When you find out you are pregnant, there is no end to the number of people who want to give you lists (or, if you're really lucky, color coded spreadsheets) of the MOST IMPORTANT BABY STUFF YOU WILL EVER NEED.
Those lists are what led me to have a full on panic attack in Buy Buy Baby trying to fill out my registry.
There is plenty of baby stuff that is useful and really important, there is also a lot of stuff that is totally superfluous and loads of things that fall in between. For me, there are a few things that were the essentials...like a car seat. And a crib. And stuff I hated so so so much (you suck, Boppy pillow). And things I never really cared about (Jumperoo, exersaucer, those mini mitts for the baby's hands, swings).
Here are five things I really like, love, use on a daily basis.
1. aden + anais Swaddle Blankets
These blankets really are worth every penny spent on them. They are big, soft and adorable. You can use it for swaddling, as a nursing cover, a stroller blanket, a changing pad, even an actual sleeping blanket. It's basically a Thneed without the environmental repercussions. Greatest baby shower gift EVER.
2. Ikea Antilop High Chair and Tray Table
We held off on buying a high chair for a looong time. Basically until the day I was ready to feed Reese solids for the first time and not a day sooner. It was partially because I didn't want an enormous piece of baby stuff in our already crowded apartment, and partially because I'm incredibly indecisive. I considered a bunch of expensive ones (Stokke, Bloom) and one that folded (Fisher Price), but we ended up buying the $20 one from Ikea and I'll be damned if it wasn't awesome. We sprung the extra five bucks for the tray.
3. Maclaren Volo Stroller
Strollers are one of those brand-loyal things that parents in New York get really really way too into. People who love their UppaBaby act like Bugaboo people are America-hating-Commies and Bugaboo owners think City Mini people can take their one hand foldable stroller straight to hell. Don't get anyone started on the running strollers. It's a war out there. At a certain point though, everyone needs an umbrella stroller and I think the Maclaren Volo has been amazing. It's light, easy to fold, durable, and comfortable. It's enabled us to get in and out of buses, subways, cabs, etc in the city, basically allowing us to leave a 20 block radius.
4. Beaba Fork and Spoon Set
There is a spot in time after you start solids with a baby when you need special spoons that are soft and small. That time does not last very long. But the amount of time between needing soft spoons are using real cutlery is very long. Since baby food time ended with Reese way back when and we have yet to enter silverware land, we have been using the Beaba forks and spoons. They are easy for her to spear pieces of food, scoop up yogurt, and generally learn to eat like a person very quickly. The only downside is that there is only one pink fork and one pink spoon and when they are dirty, Reese has to pick another color. Life for a toddler is hard.
5. Ladybug Backpack. (similar)
I don't exactly know why, but there was a minute there when all of Reese's friends needed backpacks. The idea of being able to carry one's own stuff was just the absolute coolest. My aunt gave Reese a ladybug backpack from Hanna Andersson and she is so adorably proud of it. The best part for us is that it has totally usurped the diaper bag. Now that Reese is old enough, I can throw a couple of diapers and wipes in the bag, plus a small baby doll friend and a sippy cup of water and we are on our way. Sometimes she'll carry it herself, but if not, it's so light that it makes it easy to tote it along and hold her hand as we walk. Not to mention it's like half her height and makes her look a little like a turtle, which is hilarious. Our specific one is not available anymore, but this Skip Hop one is very close, or, you could have a cute little hipster with this Fjallraven Kanken mini, or relive your 90's youth with an L.L. Bean pack.
Bonus mention. It isn't a baby item, but I must give a shoutout to my Rebecca Minkoff cross body bag. I wear this bag every...single...day. It allows me to be hands free when pushing a stroller (shoulder bags are so very awkward for stroller pushing) and on the playground, it's big enough for the essentials (wallet, keys, phone, seven lipglosses), and nice enough to wear when I'm not on mommy-duty.