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Let’s face it- having a baby is overwhelming. Like, hella overwhelming. You’re running on 2 hours of sleep, there is a brand new alien living in your home, there are always bottles and/or pump parts to wash, and oh yeah, WHY IS THE BABY ALWAYS SCREAMING?!
My husband and I had the added fun of bringing home a premature baby! Kate was taken out of the oven just over 5 weeks early because I had preeclampsia, so she was only mostly baked and still pretty gooey in the middle… but aren’t all of the best desserts still gooey in the middle?
In this blog post, you’ll see my top 5 must-have items for bringing a new baby home. These are comfort and convenience items that will *fingers crossed* hopefully make the transition to life with a new baby just a little bit easier!
**I want to note that this list does not include basic safety items such as carseats and safe sleep spaces (like a crib, bassinet, or pack and play). Those items are absolutely essential to have for your baby’s safety and take priority over the comfort and convenience items I will be talking about.**
Keep reading for my top 5 must-have baby items (in no particular order).
This little white noise machine and nightlight is one of the most useful gifts we received when Kate was born!
My 3 facorite things about the Hatch are-
- It connects to your phone via Bluetooth. Open the app from anywhere in your home to select different sounds, control the volume, and change the light color and intensity. I use this feature all the time when Kate is in bed! She falls asleep to the lullaby sounds but often gets restless after a couple of hours. I open the app, switch to the white noise static sound, and she falls back asleep almost instantly and with very little fuss. You can also just touch the top of the sound machine to switch to another pre-programmable favorite sound/light combination.
- The sounds and light colors are able to be programmed to a particular schedule. While Kate is still too young for us to use this feature, we definitely do plan to use it in the future. Specifically, my plan is to program the light to be red all night and until a specific time in the morning, and then program it to turn green at a time when it is acceptable for Kate to get out of bed. So, for example, if she wakes up at 5:45AM, she’ll know that she needs to stay in bed (or or read, or play quietly in her room, etc.) until the light turns green at 6:30.
- The design is very sleek and minimalistic. We keep this on the tiny nightstand next to our glider chair, and it fits right in with Kate’s minimalistic nursery.
Oh my goodness, I don’t have enough good things to say about this play gym! To say that it’s one of our favorite items would be an understatement. To say that we use it daily would be an understatement. To say that Kate loves it… you guessed it, an understatement!
And it’s not just me- Kate’s physical therapist said that she wishes she could afford to gift one of these to every one of her clients. It’s just that great!
Let’s just start with the aesthetics- this thing is beautiful! The colors are neutral when the wings are folded up, and they’re bright and engaging when they’re open. The wood is beautiful and it just fits so naturally into our living room.
Setup was very easy! Washing it is also as simple as un-Velcroing the wooden arch, taking out the mirrors and/or picture cards, and throwing it in the washer. It can’t go in the dryer, so I wash it at night and lay it out; that way, it’s ready to play in the morning!
The Lovevery Play Gym comes with 5 different learning zones-
- Learn to Focus- this is the section with two clear pockets, inside of which you can place the included black and white picture cards (which is what Kate is looking at in the picture above), colored picture cards, and/or mirrors. Kate absolutely loved looking at the black and white picture cards when she was younger, and now she lays on her tummy and chats with her own reflection in the mirrors.
- How things Feel- this section has different textured fabrics sewn in to allow baby to feel different textures. Kate loves grabbing onto the fluffy red piece and trying to eat it!
- Exploring colors- this section (also visible in the picture above) has brightly-colored pieces of fabric that lift up. The foldable part also has colorful watercolor splotches that Kate loves to look at.
- Hiding and Finding- in this section, there is a pocket that contains a rubber loop sewn to a piece of fabric (attaching it to the play gym). The idea is to hide the loop and have baby find it. Kate isn’t too interested in this part yet, but she will be soon!
- Making Sounds- as someone who loves the sound of baby crinkle paper, this is probably my favorite section! It is several layers of crinkle paper that baby can roll on, scrunch with their hands, kick, etc. This section also has two squeakers that baby can push on. (This is the section that my cats are forever laying on when Kate isn’t around! Did I mention that it’s easy to wash? :))
Something else that I love is that the play gym comes with toys that dangle from the arches. There is a black and white Montessori-style ball that is easy to grab, a teething toy with crinkle paper, and a batting toy with a bell. Kate used to love just staring at the ball, but now she is starting to try and grab both the ball and the teething toy! (We currently have the batting toy put away and, in its place, hang some of her other favorite toys for her to try and grab.)
It also comes with clips that allow you to clip the black and white cards or colored pictures to the top of the arch, giving baby more practice in looking and focusing.
One other thing that I have to mention- the play gym also comes with a whole booklet of activities that you can do with your baby at every age! This booklet was so helpful when Kate was younger- you think that there’s not a lot you can do with a baby who is basically a potato, but the booklet gave us several new activities we could do with her to add variety to her day and keep her stimulated.
(We actually have this one that came with a tray, but I don’t think the tray is at all necessary.)
I am so incredibly glad that I happened across this item on the Facebook Marketplace one day! Kate loves sitting in it, and I love that it doesn’t affect her hips the way that Bumbo chairs tend to. It supports her head and comes with two toys for babies to grab at and chew on. The ears of the lamb on ours are also made with crinkle paper, which I have already declared my love for.
I put Kate in this while I’m folding laundry, cooking or eating, if she’s getting restless on the play gym, and sometimes just because she really wants to be sitting up and I can’t hold her. As a bonus, it really helps her work her trunk and neck muscles (to keep herself upright) and it totally tuckers her out. SCORE!
Oh my goodness, if you get nothing else on this list- GET A DIAPER GENIE.
You guys, dirty diapers are disgusting. They are SO gross. And babies poop A LOT.
We actually switched to cloth diapers when Kate was about 2 months old, but we still use disposables overnight (and when I wait too long to wash her cloth diapers and run out, which has happened a few times!) I can’t even imagine what her nursery would smell like without this thing… actually, I can. It’s exactly what the Diaper Genie smells like when I open it to put in another diaper.
The link above is for the whole gift set (because you will need refills of the bag), but I believe Target also has their own version of the refills that work just as well!
Picture it- your baby is just a few weeks old, perfectly small and snuggly and exceptionally sleepy. The problem is, you know that baby will be hungry soon and there are no clean bottles. You very gingerly stand up and slowly, slowly, slowly lower the baby into their bassinet… and they wake up SCREAMING, wanting to be near you and held at all times.
I know it wasn’t just my baby!
Both my husband and I highly recommend the Solly Baby Wrap. It is a long piece of fabric with a method of tying that seems intimidating, but is fast and easy after the first few times.
The Solly Wrap is soft and breathable, and it can be fitted to adjust whomever is wearing it. My husband is thin and muscular and I’m padded and fluffy, and we both find it inceedibly comfortable to wear.
We wear the baby around the house often, when she’s tired but not yet sleepy, when we need to get things done but she wants to be held, when she’s not feeling well, and sometimes just because!
We also recently took the Solly on vacation and found it to be SO helpful and useful! Kate is still very small so she uses an infant carseat that clicks into her stroller. The whole thing is very bulky, so it’s really nice to just be able to strap her on and move around freely.
We actually love and use our Solly Wrap so much that we bought a second one! That way we always have one available, even when one is in the washer.
I hope you found this post helpful! It was so fun to share my top 5 must-have baby items with you. Do you think I missed anything? Please let me know in the comments below! And, if you found this list helpful, please use the images below to share it on Pinterest.