A Seasoned Mom’s Must Have Baby Gear Guide, Part 1: Latest and Greatest Additions to the Baby Gear Scene
Jessica and Samantha here again with more must have gear for your growing family. Now that we have a couple years of Mom-ing under our belts and are adding more kids to our baby squad we’re combing the market for the latest and greatest baby gear to hit the scene to make your life with kids as fun, functional and fashionable as possible. Here’s some of our favorite products out on the market and why we love them.
Need more baby gear help? We have you covered! We tackled the new baby phase with Lady and the Blog’s A New Mom’s Ultimate Baby Gear Guides Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV and Part V and made the transition to toddlerhood with A New Mom’s Ultimate Toddler Gear Guides Part I, Part II, Part III and Part IV. We’re even doubled down to tackle the must have gear to make life with two kids as fun, functional, simple and stylish as possible with A Mom’s Ultimate Two Kids Gear Guide Part I. Now that we’re seasoned moms of three kiddos we’re revisited the baby phase to bring you the latest and greatest baby options on the market for the new baby in your life.
OUR FAVORITE INFANT SEAT: Melissa & Doug Beep-Beep & Play Activity Toy
It’s an exciting day when your little one gains head control and is ready to start exercising their core muscles to practice sitting up on their own and Melissa & Doug has designed the perfect infant seat with their Beep-Beep & Play Activity Toy for your little one to be engaged and entertained while they practice key developmental skills. The Beep-Beep & Play Activity Toy has a clicking steering wheel, light up dashboard, rear view mirror and engine that revs when the toy key is inserted. My favorite detail is the tiny cup holder in the trunk for babies who need to pack a bottle or favorite toy for the road.
As an added bonus, you can visit Melissa & Doug online for “more ways to play” where Melissa & Doug gives you instructions and inspiration for activities to do with your 9-15 month old to jump start their imaginative play making this an infant toy that truly grows with your child. The Melissa & Doug Beep-Beep & Play Activity Toy retails for $99.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This activity toy is as entertaining for older siblings and parents as it is for the little one and it helps them develop their sitting muscles and explore the world around them and practice key developmental skills. As a bonus, Melissa & Doug gives you guidance on how to utilize the Beep-Beep with an older child to get the most out of your favorite infant toy.
OUR FAVORITE PLAY GYM: Skip Hop Explore & More Amazing Arch Activity Gym
Every seasoned mom knows that a great activity gym is a must have item for entertaining your baby when you need a bathroom break or to work on critical tummy time skills and the baby geniuses at Skip Hop have designed the perfect activity gym that is a must have for all moms in the know. The Skip Hop Explore & More Amazing Arch Activity Gym has 20 different developmental activities from sound-activated dancing fox, pull-string peekaboo owl that hoots, hanging hedgehog musical teether, and more. The Explore & More Amazing Arch Activity Gym moves between two positions for overhead and seated play and includes a tummy time pillow so there’s nothing additional to buy to help your little one become a master of the tummy time. In addition to all the amazing features and activities to engage and delight your baby, my favorite feature is the parent pocket hidden behind the mirror to take the perfect baby photos or video chat. The Skip Hop Explore & More Amazing Arch Activity Gym retails for $90.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Not only does the Explore & More Amazing Arch Activity Gym make tummy time fun for your little one, but the hidden cell phone pocket ensures that you’ll snag the perfect picture where baby is looking at the camera, what more could you ask for? As a bonus, the generously sized mat is big enough so there is plenty of room for big brothers or sisters to crawl in and join in the fun.
OUR FAVORITE DEVELOPMENT TOYS: Lamaze Olly Oinker Pig and Monkey Links
Ask any seasoned mom what toys are in her go-to baby entertainment arsenal and Lamaze toys are sure to make every mom’s list. And with good reason, Lamaze’s collection of brightly colored, adorable toys are interactive and entertaining while helping your little one work on key developmental milestones from visual and auditory tracking, teething and more. I am in love with the newest additions to the Lamaze toy family: Olly Oinker Pig and Monkey Links which are both sure to keep your little one entertained and engaged at how and as you journey out and about. I love that the adorable Olly Oinker includes Lamaze’s signature bright colors, teething toy and crinkle fabric and (my personal favorite) attached clip to ensure that it’s easy to take on the go without losing a precious friend. I love how easy it is to attach the Monkey Links to my little one’s stroller to keep them entertained whether they are joining me for errands or siting on the sidelines at his older brother’s soccer class and I am amazed how many new ways my little guy can find to engage with the monkeys for endless hours of entertainment. The Olly Oinker retains for $14.99 and the Monkey Links retail for $19.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Lamaze toys never fail to entertain our kids for hours and these latest additions to the Lamaze menagerie are no exception. As a bonus, Lamaze toys are so durable they will survive older siblings and be ready for new adventures when the new baby arrives.
OUR FAVORITE CAR ACCESSORY: Skip Hop Style Driven Backseat Mirror
Every seasoned mom knows that when hitting the road with your little one a backseat mirror to keep an eye on your precious cargo is a must have. Fortunately for us, the baby gurus at Skip Hop have just introduced the perfect backseat mirror that is the perfect blend of functional and fashionable. The Skip Hop Style Driven Backseat Mirror is convex to provide a wide angle view of your little one. For my toddler I have tried several competing brands of backseat mirror and I was amazed at the difference in clarity and wide angle the Skip Hop mirror demonstrates. The edges of the mirror are also padded and covered with a stylish faux leather trim so safety and style join functionality to make this the must have mirror for life on the go with a little one. The Skip Hop Style Driven Backseat Mirror retails for $20.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Easy to install, this backseat mirror is a winner. As a bonus, the faux leather trim makes the mirror look as stylish as it is functional.
OUR FAVORITE BOTTLE SYSTEM: First Years Breast Flow Starter Set
Whether for breastfeeding, formula feeding, or somewhere in between, we love a product that is flexible to accommodate every parent’s lifestyle, and does it well. The Breastflow bottle set is the closest alternative to breastfeeding that we have come by yet. Unlike traditional bottles, the Breastflow bottle uses dual motions of suction and compression, allowing for an experience that closely mimics feeding from the breast directly. The silicone vented nipple is designed to help reduce colic symptoms, gas, and spit-up. Convenience is built in, allowing for dishwasher and hand-wash cleaning. Each Breastflow Starter Set includes two 5 oz. bottles with slow flow nipples, two 9oz bottles with medium flow nipples, 4 storage lids, a container for formula or snacks, and a full-size gentle bottle and nipple brush for cleaning. The First Years Breast Flow Starter Set retails for $19.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The versatility of the Breastflow design is perfect for youngsters that are transitioning or weaning from breast to bottle, delivering that much more ease and comfort in the process.
OUR FAVORITE ACCESSORY FOR COZY NEWBORN BABY-WEARING: Lalabu Soothe Shirt
If you’ve ever felt envious of a kangaroo’s pouch, look no further. Lalabu introduces innovative and stylish design with their Soothe Shirt and Dad Shirt collections. The easy to use pouch allows for babies to be held in a gentle, calming, and supportive environment that makes it easy for moms to carry, nurse, and snuggle their baby. With a built-in nursing bra, inner mesh panel for breathability, a pouch extender that grows with baby, it is the ultimate shirt for versatility. Recognizing dads as an important figure in baby’s life too, the dad shirt has a slim, stylish v-neck design that he will be excited to wear. No need to remember to pack the carrier or tote along one more thing- Lalabu has moms and dads covered, and are all about snuggling bundles of joy. The Lalabu Soothe Shirt retails for $50-75 for mom and $75 for dad.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Babies can now be closer than ever to moms and dads, anywhere, anytime, and best of all, it is sublimely easy. No wrapping techniques to master, or straps to contend with, Lalabu products make it simple to just slip baby in, and focus your little one.
BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL: For this whole week, Lalabu is offering $10 off everything on the site (automatically applied sitewide), as well some bundle deals! Code “bundle2” gives an additional $25 discount on any two products for a total of $35 off, and code “bundle3” gives an extra $50 discount on any three products for a total of $60 off!
OUR FAVORITE HIGH CHAIR: BabyHome Taste Highchair
Lightweight at just 7.7lbs, the Taste Highchair is a stylish addition to any dining room or kitchen table setting. It is furnished with a polished aluminum frame, and wide, stable base, which ensures safety against potential tip over accidents. The seat is featured in a quilted liner, which makes clean up a breeze with a simple wipe, and protects children from 6-36 months with a 5-point safety harness. Compact folding makes this a great space saver, and its color varieties take stylish to new heights of clever and fresh. The BabyHome Taste Highchair retails for $169.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: A highchair that brings families closer together at mealtime, the BabyHome Taste Highchair has a fully removable (and dishwasher safe!) tray, so that little ones can eat right at the table.
OUR FAVORITE WARDROBE STAPLE: Skip Hop Star-Struck Footie & Hat Set
Once again the baby gurus at Skip Hop find themselves as a favorite in our Guide, and with good reason. Not only do we love their extensive collection of baby gear but as they expand into the clothes market they have found yet another way to blend fashion with functionality to make their Star-Struck Footie & Hat Set a must have on every seasoned mom’s recommendation list. The Star-Struck Footie & Hat Set has side snap buttons for easy on and off and non-scratch labels so baby will be as comfortable as they are cute. The 100% cotton design is machine washable and the matching hat ensures that accessorizing is a snap. As a bonus, the whimsical designs are gender neutral which is always a plus when handing down clothing between siblings or giving a gift to friends who are keeping the baby’s gender a surprise. The Skip Hop Star-Struck Footie and Hat Set comes in two styles and size range of newborn, 3 month, 6 month and 9 month and retails for $22.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Washable, comfortable, easy to put on and cute on top of it all, what more could a parent or stylish baby ask for? As a bonus, Skip Hop makes the set very reasonably priced so you don’t have to hesitate to pick it up in both patterns.
OUR FAVORITE NURSERY DECOR: Lorena Canals Rugs
Decorating a nursery is one of the most fun and daunting tasks to prepare for a new baby’s arrival but Lorena Canals has you covered with their extensive collection of rugs that are sure to have something for every style of nursery under the sun. Lorena Canals rug are eco-friendly, 100% cotton and hand made with natural dyes so you can feel good about your little one lounging around on them for play and rest. But even more amazing than their range of designs and thoughtful manufacturing process, Lorena Canals rugs are all machine washable! I love baby gear that is designed to survive a baby and these rugs are the perfect example of this. Lorena Canals rug prices vary with size and style.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Whether you’re converting an existing space to a nursery or updating a nursery, a great rug can transform the whole room. Make that rug machine washable to survive all the messes that go along with mommy-hood and you have a must have rug from Lorena Canals.
OUR FAVORITE CRIB MATTRESS: Newton Wovenaire Crib Mattress
When shopping for a crib mattress, it can be difficult to tell them all apart. Upon discovery of the Newton Wovenaire Crib Mattress, the difference in quality and function became clear. Designed for easy airflow for maximum breathability, this mattress performs so well, even a baby can breathe right through it. This equates into a safe experience, introducing a significantly lower risk of suffocation as compared to “organic” and “breathable” mattress competitors. The Wovenaire is made of 90% free air and 10% food-grade polymer. The 3-D cloud cover is made of 100% polyester, and contains no latex, foam, springs, glue, or allergens of any kind, making the mattress 100% recyclable. The comfort for baby delivers a sweet sleep experience, bringing peace of mind to the entire family. The Newton Wovenaire Crib Mattress retails for $300.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The mattress core can be washed with soap and water, and includes a machine washable cover- a perk that most other crib mattresses cannot offer. With its commitment to a safe, clean, and comfortable experience, this mattress is one you can feel good about passing down between children, giving the gift of a good night’s rest.
OUR FAVORITE WINTER ACCESSORY: JJ Cole knit bundleme
All seasoned moms know that when the cold winter months come a good stroller and car seat blanket is a must to keep your little one warm when you’re out and about running errands or exploring the world. Enter the JJC Cole knit bundleme that combines fashionable and functional for the perfect winter accessory that you can’t live without. The bundleme eliminates the need for blankets and jackets in car seats, strollers and joggers and allows the safety straps to rest directly on the child for safer stroller and car seat travel during the bulky clothes season. As a bonus there is a removable top so it’s easy to adjust the temperature for your little one as your surroundings change. The JJ Cole knit bundleme includes a matching knit hat and is sized for babies from birth to one year old. The JJ Cole knit bundleme comes in three colors and retails for $89.95.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Almost as cute as your little one and cozy warm, this is a must have piece of gear to keep your bundle of joy cuddly, warm and fashionable all winter long. As a bonus it’s machine washable so your bundleme will keep looking good no matter what messes you encounter along the way.
OUR FAVORITE SWING: Fisher-Price Elephant Safari Cradle ‘n Swing
The Fisher-Price Elephant Safari Cradle ‘n Swing offers adorable functionality and versatility in recognition that every baby is unique. It soothes baby by rocking both side-to-side like a cradle and head-to-toe, perfect for little ones with a preference. The cradle swing actually senses baby’s weight, meaning it won’t slow down as baby grows, and doesn’t need a push to get started. Soothing is further facilitated with 16 different songs and nature sounds to choose from, and sweet elephants hanging overhead to encourage eye tracking. The Fisher-Price Elephant Safari Cradle ‘n Swing retails for $159.99.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This swing includes an AC cord for battery-free operation, which is great for uninterrupted rocking and conservation. Usable from birth until the child attempts to climb out, its seat pad and insert is machine washable making it as convenient as it is adorable.
Need help with gear when adding a second child to the family? Check out:
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Samples provided for review. Opinions expressed solely ours.