Those “Clutch” Products that make the First 12 Months Work!

The first year of a child’s life is so special, full of growth and wonder. It’s also very challenging for parents and full of “I don’t know” moments. As a community of parents, Good Buy Gear is intent on helping each other through some of those uncertain moments. Sometimes all it takes is some solid advice that a product will be a lifesaver for you and a developmental win for the baby, too.

Here’s a list of products that we strongly believe were invented to help us all through the incredible first year:

  1. A great stroller: Whether you are a runner, walker or shopper, sometimes you just want (NEED) to leave the house. And you should bring the baby. The fresh air and exercise – or even just groceries – are good for everyone. There are many strollers on the market at all price points. For joggers and outdoor enthusiasts we’ve consistently found that BOB strollers are the cat’s meow. Uppababy has become a crowd favorite for the beautiful design, durability, and smooth ride. They have a variety of models to choose from to suit most lifestyles with the Vista becoming one of the most popular double strollers in the new and used gear space right now. Mockingbird has recently stormed the stroller scene and is proving to be a close competitor to the Vista at a much cheaper price point.   
  2. Feeding and Support Pillow: The Boppy is the original support pillow that was a must-have on any nursing registry. Not only is it perfect for breastfeeding, it’s great for tummy time, learning to sit up, keeping baby safe on a bed or couch and SO much more. But like all great products out there, other brands came out with a competitor. Snuggle Me Organic offers a higher priced, modern spin on the coveted Boppy and it’s quickly taking its fair share of the market. 
  3. A comfortable carrierWhether you want to go for a stroll, hike a mountain or just make sandwiches, a comfortable carrier is your ticket to freedom! The right carrier that keeps the baby close and frees up your arms to do other things is pretty clutch, in our opinion. The options are endless (Baby Bjorn, Ergo 360, wraps galore) and a every baby is different in terms of preference. Try before you buy is not always an option but scoring a deal on a gently used one is!
  4. A curiosity/play mat (various brands, shapes, styles): The only time you will curse this thing is when you get tangled up trying to step over it when running to quiet the dog after the doorbell rings. The rest of the time, you will love all of the hanging details – from mirrors to animals to sounds to textures – all of which help baby explore and develop while you do something else in the room. Lovevery has introduced Montessori inspired play products that add beautiful style to a classic mat. 
  5. Teething toys (various brands, shapes, styles): From our experience, it can’t hurt to have a variety of shapes, sizes and textures of teething tools. But make sure you have some that freeze! Having some already frozen is important when sore gums are causing pain RIGHT NOW. Having enough to store in drawers, the freezer and dishwasher are often the key to success. Tip: frozen washcloths can offer pretty great relief for little ones and are super easy to wash time and time again.
  6. The right diaper bag: Once again, some parents are overwhelmed by the selection. Let’s break this down. Make sure it has a variety of pockets and will fit a WHOLE LOT of stuff. Don’t deny the amount that you may take with you – diapers, wipes, changing pad, snacks, cell phone, wallet, toys, burp cloths, blankets, extra clothes, etc. The amount could fill a Fiat. So you want a bag that can be organized – but without 598 pockets – nobody’s got time to dig through all of that. And let us tell you, choose a color or pattern that you like. Simple is fine! Is it for Dad? Black, grey and brown are classy. But if you want a bright pattern or something fashionable because your stylish handbags will be in the closet for a while, go for it. And if it has a built-in or accompanying cooler for milk or other products, that’s helpful, too!
  7. A soothing noisemaker: There are white noise machines and there are turtles with sounds of a bubbling brook. It may depend on your own personal taste or the décor of your nursery, but when you find just the right sound that makes your little one doze, pure bliss sets over the house. Just make sure a gentle but stern note is up next to your doorbell. And you may find that a white noise machine will help you get some much needed sleep as well. Of course you’ll want to hear sincere cries for food/help, but some babies are loud sleepers and there’s no need to be woken up by every slight noise that is made by a sleeping baby.
  8. A bouncer: Work those legs, baby! BabyBjorn has created an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-store bouncer that will keep your baby bouncing to the rhythm of her own beat. It’s also a safe, inclined way to let her keep an eye on the world around her. If you want all the bells and whistles (e.g. a motor powered kangaroo bouncing pattern with bluetooth enabled sound features), the mamaRoo has you covered. If only the Jetsons had one of these for Judy!
  9. Activity Center: Yes, there are those parents who cringe at the thought of this bright and large piece of furniture taking up the real estate they require. But once you introduce an activity center just sit back, relax, and watch the magic happen. Your little one will start jumping and giggling and spinning and pushing buttons and life is all happiness and roses. You can go down the hall. You can call your sister. You can even just watch your little one stretch and build muscles and learn – but from a few feet away!  It’s also an easy sell when your child loses interest.
  10. A safe place for baby to SLEEP: Speaking of the Jetsons, have you heard about the SNOO? This tech enabled, responsive bassinet will no doubt give you the gift of sleep. The hefty price tag makes it an unrealistic option for many, but there are plenty of bassinet options that aim to assist your little one with sleep as well. The handy Dockatot is a portable option that, like the name suggests, provides a safe docking station for your little one. It has many uses, including lounging, supervised napping and tummy time, and co-sleeping.
  11. Board Books: Reading is such a key element to healthy development. You’ll develop favorite authors, characters and styles, as will your little one. Board books are the jumping off point, with short and sweet stories and pages that can be turned without accidental tearing. The world of board books is bigger than Dr. Seuss and Sandra Boynton, but it doesn’t hurt to start there.
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