November 17, 2020

A Master List: My Favorite Baby Items For The First Year

My Favorite Baby Items For The First YearLast week, Sasha turned one. With the second, you get some sort of wisdom (and confidence) that you don’t have with the first. Wisdom on so many things, including what baby things make this whole parenting thing, a wee bit easier. I’m calling this my “master baby list.” This list will have everything that I’d recommend and everything that I heavily relied on for the first year from car seats to strollers to everything in between.

My Favorite Baby Items For The First Year


Bugaboo Stroller (sold at BloomingdalesNordstrom and Amazon):

Considering I use my stroller more than our car, a good stroller is a must – especially if you’re like me and like to walk a lot. With Nate, we had the Bugaboo Cameleon and believe it or not, it’s the one we’re still using with Sasha. I actually don’t think Bugaboo makes this model anymore but in general, they make a wonderful stroller and have so many models. After using it for almost 4 years and some mild tuning (we replaced our handle ‘stickers’ with new ones), it’s still serving us really well. It’s smooth as hell and so beautifully made.

The only downfall is the lack of a lot of storage. There is some storage but not as much as say, the UPPAbaby Vista. I don’t have personal experience with the UPPAbaby but I know it’s another very popular choice. Many of my friends have it and are extremely happy with it. I’d recommend going to a place like BuyBuy Baby and testing out a few to see which one works best for your needs.

Doona Stroller (sold on Amazon, Pottery Barn Kids & Target):

For the first year, whenever we had any plans that revolved the car, this was our go-to. It’s an infant carseat and stroller in one. It’s easy to use, safe and if you’re someone who travels, whether by car or plane, this makes life so much easier. There’s no taking your baby out of the carseat and no annoying contraptions to lug around and put together. It’s truly a brilliant invention! I WISH we had it with Nate and I basically cried the day Sasha no longer fit in it. Also if you’re dining out, it’s nice and compact and rolls right up to a restaurant table. Read all the glowing reviews online. They’re 100% accurate!

Doona Stroller Cons: There are so many pros, but two cons to consider. To start, it’s pretty heavy when you need to lift it into the actual car, especially as your baby grows. Secondly, it’s expensive considering you only use it for a year.  Taking that into consideration and knowing what I know after using it for a year, I’d 100% still get it. Like I said, I wish we had it with Nate. It made our life so much easier.

Nuna PIPA Car Seat (sold at Nordstrom & Pottery Barn Kids):

We had a different carseat when Nate was an infant (The Graco) and this one is far superior. It’s tested as one of the safest in the market and compared to a few others we tried, it’s also a bit lighter which makes a big difference. I don’t think it’s the best if you’re planning to travel a lot or carrying the carseat in and out of the car a ton. It’s a bit heavy for that, but if it mainly lives in the car, it’s an excellent option. Now, if your carseat is being used as a stroller on a regular basis, consider the Doona above.

JJ Cole Cocoon Car Seat Cover (sold at AmazonTargetBuyBuy Baby):

Nate was a spring baby, so I didn’t necessarily have to rack my brain on ways to keep him extra warm. Sasha was born in November, so I was really looking for a little something extra, other than just a blanket to keep her warm, yet safe in the carseat. This cocoon was the perfect, cozy solution.

Transportation For Moms of Multiples:

Baby Jogger Citi Mini II Double Stroller (sold on Amazon and Target):

After I had Sasha, I debated two things concerning a double stroller: 1) Do we really need one? and 2) If I do get one, which one should I get? We attempted using our Bugaboo with the footboard attachment but found it very uncomfortable and awkward to push around. Ultimately, I knew having one would make our lives way easier. Nate doesn’t love to walk for more than a few blocks at a time and we love to take walks around our neighborhood. After consulting with a ton of my mom friends and reared 500+ reviews, we ended up with the Citi Jogger. Aesthetically, it’s not the chicest choice but I don’t even care. It’s smooth, easy to maneuver and fairly light considering I’m pushing around almost 65-70lbs of children.

My Favorite Baby Items For The First Year

Lounging & At Home Containment:

BabyBjörn Bouncer (sold at Amazon, Nordstrom and Target):

We didn’t own this one with Nate and apparently, we’ve been missing out. My best friend passed hers down to me and it’s been one of my most used baby items. It’s light, it’s portable and it’s adjustable, whether you want it reclined or not. I found myself using this every single day, numerous times a day. I bring it into my closet. And I bring it into the shower. I bring it into the kitchen when I’m cooking. I bring it when we’re going over someones house. You get the point! Highly, highly recommend.

Fisher Price Cradle N’ Swing (sold at Target and Amazon):

We had the same swing with Nate, and quite frankly, it has been our savior. Whenever we need a comfortable place to put Sasha, it’s been our go-to. She’s napped in it countless times and most of the time, it keeps her nice and happy. One thing to note: I had someone ask me if both the BabyBjörn and the Fisher Price swing is necessary. Necessary is a strong word, but I’d say we used both a lot. I also find that they serve slightly different purposes. The swing we used all the time from birth until about four months.

As I mentioned, both Nate and Sasha napped in it and hung out and were content for longer periods of time. On the other hand, the Babybjorn bouncer was used more from 6/7 weeks and we’re still using on a daily basis. Clearly, getting both is a pain and expensive so if you’re able to get a hand-me-down from a friend in either or, go for it! These things are so short-lived. which is annoying, but we really did use both a ton.

Baby Sit-Me-Up (sold on Amazon and buybuyBABY):

Once Sasha was a bit too big for the Baby Bjorn and the bouncer, we still needed a place to put her somewhere. Admittedly, the Sit-Me-Up is another thing that’s short-lived, but for the few months that we used it, it was so convenient to have another place to put her. At one point, you’re just shifting the baby from point a to point by, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

My Favorite Baby Items For The First YearPop n’ Play with Mat (sold separately):

This could be categorized under at home containment, travel (we always pack it) or a sanity saver. This thing is a must. We used it with Nate and whipped it back out when Sasha became mobile. When we take any road trip, we always take this thing with us as it’s easy to fold up and pack.  The mat that goes inside is sold separately, but definitely something I’d recommend as there’s no cushion otherwise. We didn’t have the mat for Nate, so we typically left it on the rug or lined it with blankets, but the insert is a better solution.


Dohm White Noise Machine (sold at Amazon, BuyBuy Baby and Bed Bath & Beyond):

Easily one of our most used purchases. Helps create a sleepy environment and drowns out any noise that may be disruptive. We actually just got our second one – one to place near Sasha and one that we still use with Nate.

SNOO Smart Sleeper (sold at Amazon and Pottery Barn Kids):

We loved our SNOO, but it’s an investment and I feel like it deserves its own post. Stay tuned!

Halo Bassinet (sold at Amazon, Nordstrom and Target):

For an option other than the SNOO, we used the Halo with Nate and it was great. In fact, it’s been going around my friend circle for the last 4 years and it’s currently on baby #5. If I didn’t have the SNOO, I’d continue using the Halo.

The Ollie Swaddle (sold on Amazon and Target):

I should preface this by saying that if you’re using the SNOO, you don’t necessarily need the Ollie Swaddle. The SNOO can only be used with the swaddles that are made for it. However, if your baby is sleeping in a bassinet or the crib, The Ollie is probably the best swaddle that I’ve used. It’s quite expensive and there are other great swaddles out there, but The Ollie just makes the entire swaddle thing, a little bit easier. It also comes in the most beautiful box and packaging, so something that would make a really nice gift.

My Favorite Baby Items For The First Year

Formula, Food & High Chairs:


With Sasha, I started supplementing with formula fairly early. It’s what made the most sense for us and what gave me the least amount of anxiety. Of course, you do what’s right for you, but if you’re reading this and feeling any amount of guilt for either a) not breastfeeding at all or b) supplementing, please be easy on yourself. I felt so much guilt with Nate, but with Sasha, I was way more relaxed and okay with the choices I needed to make.

Okay, enough of my little speech. For formula, we used Holle for Nate and HIPP Pre HA for Sasha. Prior to having Nate, I did so much research and ultimately, decided to go with a European formula as I was happier with the ingredients. My plan was to also use Holle with Sasha as Nate did so well on it, but it ended up making her very constipated. It just goes to show that not every formula works for every child. I spoke to one of the owners of where I order from and he recommended HIPP HA. It’s more expensive, which was annoying, but it ended up working way better for her.

OXO High Chair: (sold at Nordstrom and BuyBuy Baby):

Sasha got Nate’s hand-me-down high chair because I loved this one and I had zero urge to replace ours. Easy to clean, minimalistic and overall, just a great high chair.


At around 5 months, we started incorporating food into Sasha’s diet. There were some days when I was very enthusiastic and motivated to make my own food. Then there were days where I did not have it in me and wanted to take the quick and easy way out. I liked Yumi because it’s organic, made fresh and they get creative with their ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a pouch in a pinch, but this was a nice way to incorporate something else.

Eating Accessories:

Silicone Bibs, Spoons, Bowls, etc:

This shop has the best selection of silicone things for the baby.

Bibs Pacifiers:

I’m not going to lie, I initially got these because they were so pretty, but they quickly became her favorite. I’d get them from this etsy shop.


Nursing Bra:

I owned a few nursing bras with both kids. These that were as basic as they come, but inexpensive and did a great job and two of these Natori Feather bras.

Pumping Bra:

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t do extensive research when selecting a pumping bra. I asked a friend of mine which one she purchased, she sent me this link from Amazon and I immediately checked out of my cart. It’s comfortable and does the job. Whichever one you decide to go with, a pumping bra is a must so you’re at least able to be handsfree.

BabyBuddha Mobile Pump (sold at Amazon and Target):

With my insurance, I was lucky enough to get the Spectra. While it does the job and some call it the best pump that’s covered by insurance, I didn’t love the fact that I was unable to do anything else while pumping, except pump. BabyBuddha is small, but strong. It also gives the ability to do other things around the house, making the use of my pumping time, a lot more efficient. One thing to note: I know there are other mobile pumps out there, like the Willow, but the BabyBuddha is the only one I’ve tried so I’m unable to compare.

Haakaa Manual Pump (sold at Amazon and Target): 

The best $13 tool for catching milk (hands-free) that leaks from the opposite breast while nursing. Before knowing about this, I would lose so much of my leaked milk. Now, I’m able to collect at least an ounce or two that would have otherwise, gone to waste. It also seems (according to the reviews) that many women choose the Haakaa over an electric pump.

Boppy Nursing Pillow:

Simply put, this makes nursing and comfortably positioning your baby, so much easier.

baby's 1st year

For Travel:

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib: (sold at Nordstrom and Amazon):

We had the Graco crib with Nate and this one is way better. It’s easier to maneuver and already comes with a mattress (unlike the other, which we had to buy separately). If you’re in the market for one, I highly recommend this one. Even Keith commented how much easier it was to put this one together because lets be honest, I usually end up asking him to do it.


When we took our first little trip with Sasha, I received over 50 DMs telling me how great it was! Seriously. I’m rarely steered wrong by this wonderful community, especially when it’s the same recommendation, over and over again. This creates a completely dark environment for when your baby needs to nap or sleep. Ideal if there’s room sharing going on or if you’re going to be in a brighter space.

ROHM Portable White Noise Machine (sold at Target and Amazon):

The absolute best portable white noise machine. Just a warning: if and when you travel with it, make sure you keep it plugged in throughout the night so it doesn’t power off.

the best items for babies

Clothing & PJs:

Baby Carrier:

I used and loved my Artipoppe. I have a full review which you can read here.

For clothing and outfits for both kids, I love Zara and H&M from the larger retailers. For the occasional fancy or designer piece, Melijoe has the best selection. Other favorites include, MILOVES (so many great things, but I especially love their cashmere sets), Pehr and 12|12 for great basics.


My favorites have been Clover Baby & Kids and Little Sleepies Zippies. I also love the GAP for pajamas and end up getting several pairs for both kids.

Bows, Clips & Headbands:

Sasha’s Hair Bow Clips:

As soon as Sasha started having hair, I used these little clips that I purchased in numerous colors. Loved them! For even small bow clips, I really like these. 

Linen Bow Hair Ties:

These were among our rotation as soon as I was able to get her hair up in a ponytail.

Amazon Bundle For Blow Clips:

I also got this 40 pc set. I don’t use all the colors, but I still found it to be a pretty great deal.

Amazon Bundle For Headbands:

I got these before Sasha was born, but only recently started using them. I love how they look as a ponytail holder a bit more than as a headband (I’m not a big baby headband person, tbh).

Hair Ties:

For simple hair ties without any bows, I use these.

Gadgets & Things:

Baby Vac (sold at Amazon and Walmart):

I didn’t have this with Nate, but discovered it recently when I crowdsourced on instastories. Sasha was so congested and I ended up purchasing so many things that were recommended to me. Out of all of them, this one worked the best, hands down. It seems a little intimidating since it attaches to a vacuum, but I promise, it’s not as scary as it seems. The suction is gentle yet incredibly effective. It was the only little gadget that provided Sasha with any sort of relief when she was completely stuffed up. Highly recommend using with a saline spray. 

NoseFrida (sold at Amazon and Walmart):

For snot sucking jobs that require a little less work (and suction) than the BabyVac, the NoseFrida is a must. We especially use it for Nate, who will not let the BabyVac near him!

Windi Baby (sold at Amazon and Walmart):

Leave it to the Swedes to invent another handy tool. We’ve used both on Nate and Sasha on those really gassy, painful days and it definitely helped to provide a little relief.

Misc Accessories:

Other posts you may find helpful:

Artipoppe Baby Carrier Review

My Pregnancy Essentials

Postpartum and Weaning

My Experience in Transitioning From One to Two (+ Helpful Tips)

Our Updated Shared Kids Room



  • Kylie

    This list is great! I am due in January and have looked at previous posts of yours for your recommendations and I’ve added several items to my registry. So far your other non-baby recommendations have not steered me wrong! Thanks Helena <3

    • Helena

      Hi Kylie,
      how exciting!! congrats and thank you!

  • Molly

    Thank you SO much for this list, Helena!! My husband and I are first time parents (expecting a baby girl in early April!!) and it’s been so incredibly helpful to see what other parents use and swear by, especially because the market is so saturated with SO many baby products! We have a few of these recommendations already on our registry and I am definitely going to add a few more items from the list now! Thank you again xo

  • Michelle

    Thank you for this list!! Did you use the JJ Cole cover with the Doona? We are having our first in February and already purchased the Doona. I would like to get a car seat cover for the cold months but I’m not sure if it will fit!

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