Our Favorite Things for the First Year

Babies need so many things! But do they really? It is difficult (and pretty overwhelming) sifting through all of those lists on Pinterest while seven months pregnant. “Top 10 baby items you MUST have!” “You don’t want to leave these off of your registry!” Those lists are too much.

Here’s a nice comprehensive list of our favorite things (for just the first year) based on our limited baby-raising experience. They’re not the Be All End All, but they’re some things we’ve really used and liked along the way.

The big things:

  • Car Seat
    • Amanda: Graco Pace Click Connect travel system. This is what we’ve had the entire time and we really like it. Soon we’ll upgrade to a convertible car seat to take our little guy into his future car seat needs, but this one still works.
    • Kailyn: Chicco Keyfit Zip Air – This one is the ever-popular Chicco keyfit seat everyone seems to have, BUT with a mesh interior. Absolutely necessary? Maybe not, but S was born in Louisiana in the September still-Summer, so it definitely calmed my ftm Mama mind. We now have the Graco 4ever convertible, which is super lightweight and compact, has excellent reviews, and easy to change in and out of our cars.
  • Stroller:
    • Amanda: See above– we chose the travel system so it came with the stroller. Easy to assemble, easy to maneuver, and can even be use to do some very light jogging… as long as the roads aren’t bumpy.
    • Kailyn: Chicco Liteway Plus. This isn’t a travel system (which I personally feel are bulky) but it’s a durable easy to maneuver and click in stroller. Our major cons would be that it doesn’t have an adult or child cup holder tray. We did end up buying an accessory tray though for us (Mama needs her coffee and water at the park!)
  • Crib/Bedding:
    • Amanda: The main sheets we use are discontinued target brand and some kmart brand (which closed everywhere, as far as I know). Of course we have a mesh crib liner because my little guy loves to shove his arms through the slats. This is our atual crib– my mom bought it for us from Wayfair. Sturdy and simple!
    • Kailyn: Cheap sheets (we got a few at Burlington) and a good waterproof mattress cover are really all you need for the bare necessities. Later on, when she started sticking limbs out of the crib rails we used this mesh crib liner. When she started chewing the top of her crib like a beaver around 8 months we used this fleece rail cover.
  • Swing
    • A: Graco Swing By Me Portable Swing. I got this at a giant consignment sale. It did its job but we honestly didn’t use it that much after W was more than a few months old. The one thing I didn’t like was that it is battery powered. Seems great because no cords, but the batteries do not last too long and that can be problematic if you have a kiddo that loves the swing!
    • K – We loved and would heavily would heavily recommend the Fisher Price 4-1 Rock’n Glide Soother as an “around the house” swing. This has so much versatility. The top can be moved and taken off the base to be a manual swing. It glides vertically or horizontally because sometimes babies prefer a certain way. It has sounds and music, (what baby swing doesn’t these days?) and is definitely the smoothest moving baby swing I’ve come across. I actually came across ours at a liquidation sale at great price after it was recommended to me. My pregnant self was very excited at the price, but knowing how awesome it is now I would easily be willing to pay full price. 
      • I swear the Rock’n Play is the MVP of newborn recommended gear. I don’t know why this thing is the be-all-end-all of sleeping solutions, it just seems to be! My kid slept in this in our room the first five ish months, until she could roll over and we transitioned her to her crib and it was great. Easy, convenient, simple.
  • Carrier
    • A: We used a Moby wrap when W was super teeny and threw in an Infantino Sash Mei Tai carrier as well. He really liked both until I stopped using them as much and now he is NOT a fan of carriers. I really did love the Moby wrap when he was teeny because I could get things done around the house when he was fussy. It put him right to sleep!
    • K – S had a Solly wrap during the newborn days which was really nice for squishy bonding. Then I wore her in the Boba carrier and now have a Lillebaby Airflow. I like them all for different reasons, but I love the Airflow over the Boba due to it’s back support and mesh breathable material for hot climates.

The house things:

  • Food things:
    • K – We LOVE our Take and Toss containers. We keep fruits and veggies cut at pretty much all times in the fridge and take them in the diaper bag with snacks. Somehow we ended up with a bazzilion of them from our baby shower (or they multiply in the cabinet like tupperware) and I don’t even care. We use them every day. Also the Infantino Squeeze Station, which I’ll detail my love for that and making my own baby food in another post. And all the second time moms are laughing at me here and I don’t even care. Ha!
  • High chair
    • A: Fisher Price SpaceSaver High Chair! I really like this! It was easy to assemble and does a great job saving space. Bumps right up to the table, too. Definitely recommend.
    • K – We got a Cosco high chair and loved the price and ease of it. I wanted something to easily wipe down, BUT the biggest con is that the seat liner isn’t easily removed to wash (screws involved). I really like how light weight it is to move around the kitchen or house and that it folds/isn’t bulky.
  • Bath
    • A: Aveeno Baby all the way. The calming comfort wash and lotion smell so good and keep my babe sweet and smooth!
    • K – Honest Co Shampoo and Body Wash for our sensitive skin babe.

The “things you probably won’t think of immediately”

  • Medical – a good thermometer is HUGE. They’re all pretty comparable but a digital ear one is really nice to have. The Nose Frieda. Just do it. I promise you won’t regret it when your kid is pouring boogers for the first time. And no you don’t directly suck your kid’s snot. Also, even “grosser” (but really, you’re a parent now so… hah!) The Windi. If you have a gassy babe, have these on hand so your husband doesn’t have to drive all over town while you’re packing your house to move because your kid won’t stop screaming from gas. Trust me. You’re welcome.
  • Toys – Babies don’t need a ton of toys in the first year, but teethers were big for us. My kid loved these cheap teethers in the freezer while she was teething…but only the yellow one. *shrug*  She didn’t love the giraffe everyone raves away but we had the Baby Banana and she used that quite a bit! And this Manhattan teether toy was a big hit as one of her first toys to grab and gnaw on. Other than that we somehow ended up with various rattled and crinkly books which served their purpose.


So here are some things that made our lives easier or that we used constantly in the first year. Whether you’re a first time mom or expecting the next baby, we hope this little list helped you a little bit…and didn’t overwhelm you!

For more ideas that we didn’t specifically list here, check out our on-going posts about what we carry in the diaper bags daily.

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