It's time for another baby registry post, and this time let's talk about everyone's favorite, baby gear (or as my husband says, the reason we are broke). This category's recommendations can differ quite a bit based on you and your baby's needs, but these are simply my recommendations.
Chicco Keyfit 30 - Disclaimer: This is a product that I did not use with Grace but have used with other children. We bought Grace the Graco Snugride 30 based simply on the fact that it was rated well and almost 100 dollars cheaper than the keyfit. There is nothing wrong with the Graco seat and we were happy with it in the beginning, but overtime it just did not fit my large baby well because the shell tapers near the top. Grace's shoulders were squished. The Chicco does not have this problem and seems to fit larger babies well. It is also incredibly easy to install. BONUS since it is a popular seat most strollers are compatible.
If you are looking for a more natural option for carseats check out Orbit. Their carseats do not contain flame retardants and I have heard good things about them.
Chicco NextFit - Ok, I know that some people are going to tell you that you do not need a convertible carseat right away, and that is true. But keep in mind that if you have a larger baby they may outgrow their infant seat quickly. My large (98 percentile in weight and height) baby got very uncomfortable in her Graco Snugride 30 around 4 months and she let us know it, LOUDLY. Luckily, car rides became somewhat more pleasant when we switched to the NextFit. This thing is so easy to install (it is only two straps.) In fact we only bought one carseat and my husband easily moves it from one car to the other in just a minute or two. It is also uber plush with all of the bells and whistles (which you don't need, but...they're nice to have.) I love that it has one of the tallest shells of any carseat at 49" and has a rear facing weight limit of 40 lbs. Extended rear facing, here we come. It also has a slim front to back profile allowing my 6' 3" husband to ride comfortably in the front seat. The only downside is that the straps are a little hard to pull tight, but it just takes an extra second or so to make sure Grace is secured tightly. Bonus: They now have a zip option that makes the cover so much easier to remove and wash for when those potty training accidents happen.
Skip Hop Chelsea - This purchase was 100% for me. I absolutely love this diaper bag. I really wanted a bag that didn't scream "baby on board" and I think I found it. It has a million different pockets that makes staying organized easy PLUS it comes with stroller straps and a changing pad. What more could a girl ask for?
Boba 4G Carrier - This soft sided carrier has been my most useful purchase, and I actually use it a lot more than I thought I would. It has become a staple in my car. I love that it can be used from birth without having to buy any extra attachments. I originally used it to walk the dog with Grace as neither of them did great with the stroller. It also came in very handy when grocery shopping as I could pop her in the carrier and actually have room for groceries in the cart. I still use this carrier on days when Grace wants to be held all day or if we are going somewhere where a stroller is just impractical, like a crowded store or event. Now that Grace is 9 months old it is the only place she will nap when we are out. If we are going to be out all day I just wear her for her naps.
Boba Baby Wrap - Newborn nap must have! Grace loved to sleep on our chest for naps during the first 3-4 months of her life. All I had to do was wrap her up and she would be out. This wrap allowed me to have my hands free while Grace napped. I was never able to master actually doing housework, but if you can manage it, awesome. It was just too difficult with a baby in front. I loved the Boba Wrap more than the Moby, because it is made with spandex. I could wrap the fabric tight to my body and not have worry about leaving room for the baby. This ensured a snug and secure hold every time. By the time Grace was about 4 months old she just got too heavy for me in the wrap, and we moved on to a soft-sided carrier.
BOB Revolution Flex - I love to run, but I absolutely hate running with a stroller. Therefore, I have never used this stroller to run, but I still am in love it. It is effortless to push even through grassy fields and down gravel trails. This is my everyday stroller, and it has been used on all kinds of terrain without issue. It is a little wide and bulky, so I use a small lightweight stroller when Grace and I hit the mall or other indoor venues.
City Select Stroller - Disclaimer: I do not own this stroller, but did get the chance to use it during one of my years as a nanny. This stroller is so versatile with over 16 different configurations. It can be a single, a double, a pram or even a sit and stand. It is a little long when used as a single, but it easily converts to a double with the addition of a second seat. It is my stroller of choice for when I have two little ones.
Update: When I welcomed my second child I bought this stroller and later sold it one year later. It worked great when I had two kids under 2, but as they grew it became impossible to push uphill or turn quick. We live in a very hilly neighborhood and this stroller just did not work for us. Yes, this stroller was great for fitting through doorways and navigating the mall. However, it did not stand up to the gravel trails and hills that we tend to do while walking with a stroller. Not to mention the riding board attachment was all but useless. I could not walk decent with the board attached. My toes constantly hit it while walking with a normal stride. I quickly bought a Bob Duallie Pro and it was the best decision I made.
4Moms Mamaroo - One of those products where your baby either loves it or hates it. Grace loved it for the most part, but did not like the motion until she was at least 2 months old. Until then we just used it as a baby holder. Unlike ordinary swings that rock back and forth the Mamaroo has several different rocking patterns to choose from. Grace loved the car ride motion. We never did use a traditional swing, so I am not sure if she would have preferred that, but this seemed to do the trick. The 2015 models also let you control it from your smart phone (my techie husband is so jealous). The only down side is that we used it for such a short time. By the time Grace was 4-5 months old she preferred her Exersaucer.
Fisher Price Rock n Play - The king of baby containment devices. It is small, portable, and everyone that I know raves about it. Back when Grace would nap anywhere, (those were the days) we took this thing everywhere we went, within reason. All we had to do was lay her down, give her a few rocks, and she would be out. This device holds baby in a slightly inclined position and the fabric forms around them making them feel secure. I never used it overnight as the directions clearly advise against, and I did not want her to get used to sleeping on an inclined surface.
BRICA Mirror - Absolutely, a must have for me especially since Grace is a horrible car trip companion. While other mothers drove their peacefully sleeping baby around, Grace would scream bloody murder for the entire drive. When we absolutely had to drive somewhere this mirror allowed me to see her in her carseat. Disclaimer: Some car seat experts deem these unsafe as they can become projectiles in a crash. Make sure you do your own research and come to your own decision before using one.
On top of all these products I also found the NoseFrida (Gross, I know, but it really does work), the Exergen Temporal Thermometer (for a quick temp check), and Camilia (for teething pain) indispensable.
Whew! Ok, I know that was a long post, but hopefully you found the information helpful. For the moms out there, do you have a favorite gear item you love? If so, put in the comments below. I always love reading about other products and seeing what others find useful.
Next week we will explore my must have list for feeding.