*Thank you Tiny Love for sponsoring this post! I did receive compensation for my review of this product, but as usual, all opinions are my own and I do not endorse anything I do not absolutely LUV!
Because Dakota was born almost 2 months early, it’s been a little slower pushin’ over here on reaching some of her “milestones” than our other kids. Which is TOTALLY OK! For me, I’ve never put pressure on when my children sit, crawl, walk, give up their bottle (or binky) or worry when they’re going to stop needing things like their blanky or favorite stuffed animal in their backpack to get through the school day. “Pack that blanky in your backpack, baby!” These days are fleeting and the last thing I need is for them to grow faster than they already are! I know they won’t be taking their bottle or binky with them to college and they’ll be crawling/walking in no time. So, I’ll be honest, I just don’t worry about when their timing is to take that next step… no pun intended.
I’ll also say that I don’t believe that when a child sits, crawls or walks typically has any major indication as to their level of intelligence or their physical capabilities in their future (unless, of course, other conditions exist). I’ve learned through experiences from our first child, now to our third, that parents can put a lot of pressure on themselves as it pertains to their children’s milestones. For me, I say LET THEM BE LITTLE. And I embrace whatever pace my littles decide work for them.
So, as a third-time Mom, I’ve learned through experience to sort through the items you actually need and those that you don’t. And then I’ve been able to decide what luxuries are MY must-haves. (Cute baby accessories, obviously.) I’ve learned what I like in a carseat and stroller, and what is unbearable. I’ve learned what are luxuries and what are necessities. Having said all that, things on one’s list will definitely vary from family to family, based on your lifestyle, budget and your baby’s personal needs. Here I’m breaking down for you the items I’ve purchased (or received, from the companies I’ve collaborated with) for our baby #3, what I think you NEED and the fun stuff I just LUV to have. I’ve broken down for you what I think about these items and why:
CAR SEAT & STROLLER: This is obviously the most important purchase and should be at the top of your list. Unless you never plan to get in a car, it’s something that you have to have, so obviously it’s at the top of my list. With our first child, we purchased the car seat based solely on safety ratings. It was ranked the #1 car seat on the market in safety ratings, but we quickly learned it was extremely heavy! Having had a c-section, I had a really hard time getting from place to place holding the baby in the seat (which you do pretty much everywhere you go in the beginning). This time around, I took several things into consideration…
I actually went to the store to check out/test out some car seats and strollers, and went with a specific brand in mind that I had researched extensively and thought I would get this go-round. I even was offered a collaboration with the brand, so I would have been able to have this stroller and car seat at no cost. However, when I got to the store, I discovered the stroller and car seat we ultimately ended up purchasing. Yes, we gave up a free $1,000+ set to purchase one, because I liked these ones I found SO much!
I remembered how hard it was to carry the heavy car seat I had with my daughter. (We even ended up buying a cheaper car seat for my son just so we didn’t have to lug that heavy one around again.) So THIS ONE I recently found appealed to me majorly, because one of it’s greatest highlights is that it’s the lightest weight rear-facing car seat on the market at just over 5 lbs. I’m telling y’all… it’s LIGHT! Knowing I’m going to be having extensive surgery this delivery, I was pretty much sold at that, but the amazing safety ratings were enough to sell me site on scene. Bonus, it’s not chemically-treated and it comes with certified organic cotton inserts.
THE STROLLER glides like an ice skate. The all-terrain wheels and all-wheel suspension make it a super smooth ride, in comparison to all of the other strollers on the market I’ve pushed. But one thing that has proved to be SUPER important to me in a stroller is storage space! I like to shop! (I know, shocker.) So it has to be able to hold a significant amount of shopping bags and my diaper bag. And it needs to be able to hold extra bags and souveniers, etc. for when our family of 5 is at Disney World, Busch Gardens or the other parks we frequent. Because the honest truth is, a stroller isn’t always just for pushing a baby… it’s for holding all of our stuff too! So I LUV how accessible and open the storage compartment is. The adjustable-height vegan leather handle makes it feel like the Cadillac of strollers, as far as quality is concerned, and it’s helpful for my husband, who is the one to push the stroller a lot.
On top of all of that, it’s like-flat reclinable. (If you’re a new mom, this is A MUST!). The UPF50+ canopy folds SO far over the seat that it makes for perfect dark napping and great sun protection when outside for long periods of time. (I live in Florida, so this is crucial.) There’s also a large, mesh peekaboo window on the top of the canopy so the air circulation is great, and you can see in to check on baby. OH!!! I also LUV that it has the cool little pocket on the back for your keys/phone, etc. so those things are easily accessible. There are even more features, but the last I’ll say is this… above and beyond all of this, it’s sleek and stylish. Total function with stylish appeal. Want to know more about it…? Read the reviews from users themselves… they’re all awesome…
2. HALO BASSINET SWIVEL SLEEPER: So, with our other 2 kids, we had a traditional cradle by our bed that we’d use the first few months after bringing them home. Again, having had c-sections, it wasn’t very convenient. I always wanted the baby right by me in the beginning, so I could easily look over and check on them… (You know that constant “are you breathing?” check we do over and over, in the beginning?!) So, I’d put the cradle right by me where I could see them easily. But because of my c-section incision, it was really hard in the beginning to get up and down and to bend over to get the baby in and out. It was also hard to get in and out of the bed with the cradle right up against the side of my bed. So, when I had to get up in the night to get baby supplies, go to the bathroom, etc., I had to do the awkward scooch all the way down the bed to get out of the way of the cradle without waking baby, WITH the abdominal pain from my surgery. It was just never convenient.
One of the main selling features of the Halo is that it can be right up against the side of your bed, but the bassinet can swivel a full 360 degrees so you can get in and out of your bed easily, without having to move anything, or scooch to the end of the bed. The other main selling point for me is the retractable sidewall that lowers. So, with major surgery, I can pull the baby right up next to me, pull down the sidewall, and easily get her out to feed in the night, without even having to get up. THAT, FOR ME, was 100% the selling point. I’ve never wanted to fully cosleep. But I do LUV that this has the benefits of cosleeping, having baby right next to you, without actually having to share the bed.
One con people have mentioned in reviews is that the base of the Halo is heavy, so it’s not easy to move it room to room. However, they’ve added a new option, where you can remove the bassinet from the base and get an extra, easily mobile base to attach the bassinet to, so you can use the Halo in any area. This feature makes it easy for travel and being on-the-go, too. I know, with this delivery, I’m going to require help from loved ones after baby comes. I LUV that this new feature makes her sleeping quarters easily movable. It also has a nice little storage caddy you can put on the side for diapers, etc. Another convenient feature that lets you stay put in bed more often. (Believe me, in the beginning, this is clutch.)
3. DOCKATOT: One item that didn’t exist when I had my other babies, but I’ve been told is the holy grail of baby gear these days, is the portable sleeping station called the Dockatot. OK… so when we brought home BOTH of our babies, we had issues with them not wanting to sleep in a big, open sleeper. If you think about it, babies are used to being fit snug inside your tiny womb and wrapped into their own little ball. Enter world… their arms and legs are out in the open and they’re supposed to sleep in this (to them) big, huge bed. So with our other babies, we’d either put them in the car seat to sleep and put that right in the cradle, or their portable swing chair, or anything that made them feel more nestled and not so wide open.
The Dockatot is created to feel like a comfy little nest, that keeps baby feeling snug all night long. Added bonus, I’ve been told it fits perfectly inside the Halo Sleeper. So, I’m hoping I can use it right in there. Say baby falls asleep on the sofa next to you, in the Dockatot. You can easily bring her in the Dockatot to the Halo/crib/etc. and put her down for sleep where you want her located for bedtime. It’s also ultra-portable and great for travel. AND… best part… when you’re ready to transition baby from sleeper to crib, you can use the Dockatot in the crib too, so they still feel equally as snug in the now even bigger bed.
Dockatot has also added an awesome bonus feature where you can add a toy arch with removable toys to the top of the station for baby play. So, if you’re trying to narrow down how many items you have to purchase, this serves as a playmat too. Kills two birds with one stone, so to speak.
4. DIAPER BAG: Obviously you’ll need a bag to bring around with all of baby’s necessities. One option I ABSOLUTELY LUV is using this diaper bag organizer. It comes in 2 sizes and can be used in your favorite tote that you already own, and keeps everything organized and compartmentalized perfectly. I plan to use the large version in my LV Neverfull and also ordered the smaller version for other bags I may use day to day. Some other options for diaper bags I think are super cute:
5. ROCKER: I’ve heard mixed reviews from different moms on whether or not their kids liked to swing. I, for one, can say BOTH of my kids LUV’d to swing! The swing was a Godsend when I needed to get things done or just needed to be hands free a little. (Note: Babies LUV to be held!). The Fisher Price Rock N’ Play didn’t exist when I had my other kids but I will say other moms have RAVED about this item! It can function as a sleeper (kind of like the Halo I spoke of above) AND has a soothing rocking/vibrating feature, so can be used for this as well. I am still unsure if I’ll use this, however, because of having the Halo for sleeping and also having received the 4Moms Rockaroo Infant Swing off my registry (also heard good things), but I’ll keep you updated on this.
I will say… since it’s been a while since we had our last child, I asked publicly on my Facebook what baby items my friends thought were the must-haves of today… and the 2 top products mentioned were the Dockatot and the FP Rock N’ Play.
OTHER ITEMS TO CONSIDER:
Swaddles: I’ve been told that Ollie Swaddles and Halo Sleeper Swaddles are the best, so I’ve ordered both. The Ollie Swaddles make great gifts because they come in the most adorable little boxes. They’re SUPER soft and have great reviews. Don’t believe me? Google them.
I also have an assortment of muslin fabric swaddle blankets. I say you can’t have enough of these because you use them all day for wrapping baby, burping baby, covering baby, etc. So… swaddles… necessity.
Cart Hammock: Ok, so this isn’t a NECESSITY! lol But if you follow my Instagram stories, you heard me talk about the Binxie Baby Hammock. One day (when we were TTC) I saw a baby in Target chilling in her little baby hammock, while her mom sipped her Starbucks and perused the aisles of every mom’s favorite store. Let me tell you… this baby was HAP-PY! So, bottom line.. I knew if/when we were to get pregnant, I was getting a baby hammock.
Clothes, Accessories, Blankets: The most fun part… wearables. There are tons of adorable onesies, gowns, accessories, shoes, etc. that I could speak of for far too long. But for now I’ll just link some of my favs below and will continue to post them on my Instagram as I get to dress my little doll. So stay tuned…
Some of the Fav Wearables, Blankets, Accessories:
To summarize, below are clickable photos (will take you directly to shoppable links) of my baby gear favorites and must-haves:
I’ll continue to update you after baby, as I’ve actually been able to use each of these items. So stay tuned to my Insta and other social channels! If you have any questions or opinions on any of the items I’ve mentioned, I’d LUV it if you’d comment on this post! Thanks for sharing this journey with me. I can’t wait to get to the other side of this difficult journey I’ve been on and just be able to enjoy the fun stuff and snuggle my little angel. Can’t wait to introduce you…
*Some items in this post have been sponsored or gifted, and affiliate links have been used with most of the items I have linked. This means I receive a commission if you purchase items at my recommendation. This did not influence my decision to pick the items I’ve mentioned, as I hand-selected what I wanted to use and endorse. Thanks, as always, for your support.