We made it! Rhona is officially three months which means she's technically not a newborn anymore! In a short amount of time, I've quickly learned what the essentials are around here. To sift through the best of the best, here are my go-to sites for product reviews and registry help: Babylist, The Bump, Peace Love Organic Mom, The Gentle Nursery, and magicbeans. Most of these items were chosen because they fit our lifestyle, aesthetic, and take up minimal storage space or could serve multiple purposes. They may not be the best for every one but they're the definite essentials for our family.
Before we had the baby, I researched day in and day out about all things baby that was on the market. It was one of the fun ways we got to prep for Rhona, and I always want to the what and why behind the products I'm buying. One of the biggest blessings during my pregnancy was that I got to journey alongside my sister, who was 3 weeks ahead of me. Even though it's my first and her third, it was a really special time for us. Together we sought out to find and research all things baby. Funny thing is, we never read into sleep training, which looking back, was not our brightest idea. I thought babies just slept when they're tired - oh, how I was so so wrong. Now what you're really here for - the essentials list!
Baby Tracking App // This app is something I use every single day ever since we were in the hospital. We track all her diapers and feedings here and we can sync it up on any device, so if Ian is ever unsure of when her last feed was, he can look it up on his phone if I'm resting!
Bassinet // We have the Guava Family Lotus Bassinet + Travel Crib. We love that the Lotus Bassinet can be moved anywhere around the house and we've taken advantage of it by moving it numerous times, sometimes a couple times a day.
Infant Car Seat // In the beginning, we were leaning towards just getting the convertible car seat with an infant insert so we could get more use out of it but I'm so grateful we got this infant car seat by Maxi-Cosi. It's SO lightweight, easy to clean, and it attaches to our stroller.
Stroller // We knew wanted a full-size, all-terrain stroller. There's a newer version of this stroller with an all black frame and very chic leather handles, which my sister has! The fabric on this stroller is also Oeko-Tex certified, which basically means the fabric used has been rigorously tested to be safe for a baby's skin. Whichever stroller you choose, I'd recommend to find one that you can push with one hand. For us that was a non-negotiable. A yummy drink in one hand while strolling is the perfect combination.
Crib + Mattress // There are sooo many good options for both but we ended up getting the Ikea Sniglar Crib and the Newton Baby Crib Mattress. We didn't buy the crib until recently because we knew she'd be in the bassinet until then and wanted the option to move her in and out of the nursery. Originally, we were going to go with the Babyletto Lolly, which is still an amazing crib. My sister has the Mercer and loves it. These both are Greenguard Certified, have non-toxic finishes, and come with the conversion kits. The Sniglar was my runner-up so we went with it based on how well it fit our space and the low cost ($$), which is hard to beat! Sadly, it's currently sold out til next year, or so I hear. It's solid beechwood, comes with a toddler conversion bar, and there isn't a finish on it so that made me love it even more. Then, I saw the Newton Mattress on IG and after learning it was breathable, COMPLETELY washable, had been awarded a handful of praise worthy certifications (including the Greenguard), I was won over.
Baby Monitor // We got the Nest Camera a few weeks after Rhona was born. We loved that we could watch her from any device, that I could choose to only hear sound or just watch the live stream without it, and we can use it as a security camera when we no longer use it for the kiddos. If you're wanting another option, I've heard great things about the Lollipop Baby Camera!
Diaper Pail // I didn't register for one, but I ended up purchasing one a month before Rhona arrived and we've used it every day since she has been home. A true essential. The one we have is stainless steel so it keeps all the stench in. You can also use any trash bag in this one - no tailor-made bags needed!
Changing Pad // Another thing I didn't register for, because I thought I'd just change her with our Gathre mat anywhere in the house. A mama friend recommended one and I decided to go for it. If I was buying one, I knew it had to be wipeable because... who wants more laundry? These were the three options we chose from: Bumbo, Keekaroo Peanut, and the Leander Matty. We ended up going with the Bumbo because it was the only one that would actually fit on top of her dresser. We now keep the Gathre mat in the diaper bag.
Swaddles // Rho has been a professional at breaking out of her swaddle since day one. In the hospital, she'd always manage to get an arm out no matter how tight we swaddled her. The three swaddles that worked best for us and didn't bunch up at her face in the middle of the night were the Ergobaby Swaddler, the Woombie and the Love To Dream Swaddle. We used the Ergobaby one until she grew out of it then moved her to the Woombie. This was a game-changer. When she got a little older, we put her into the Love To Dream swaddle so she can have her arms up for soothing. Now that she's a roller, we have her in this sleepsack from Ergobaby.
White Noise // Currently, we use a fan for white noise in Rhona's room. I like that it helps circulate the air in there because it can get pretty stuffy during the daytime when it's not on. We also just got the Dohm White Noise Machine, which we've traveled with and have liked! Some would say it's not as loud as it would be if you played white noise on your phone but it's all up to your preference! Update: We got the Rohm and it is a ton times better than the Dohm. It’s louder, and more portable. We keep it plugged in for naps and nighttime.
Bath Tub // Rho's cord fell off exactly 2 weeks after she was born but before that, we gave her sponge baths on the changing pad. The Puj is so easy to use and we plan on taking it with us for traveling. We got ours in this convenient kit that came with a cozy, hooded bath towel.
Bouncer // I can't say enough good things about our Babybjorn bouncer. Rhona absolutely loves this thing and I love that it gets her off her back. Whenever she got it dirty, I slipped it off and threw it in the washer. SO easy. When she gets older, I can turn the slip over and make it a toddler chair. Did I mention that it folds flat? Win, win, win.
Baby Carriers // We started with the Solly Wrap and Ergobaby Adapt. Walks in the wrap became part of our daily routine since she loved to take naps in it. It's not for everyone - it's literally one long piece of fabric and you have to have the patience to put it on. It does get quicker the more you use it, that's for sure! Ian wasn't crazy about how it fit on him, but he loves the Ergobaby. We chose the Adapt because it didn't need an infant insert and we liked it more than the handful he tried on at a baby expo we went to. I did end up getting a Wildbird Ring Sling but it honestly hasn't been my favorite, to wear OR to carry Rho in. I read it needs to be 'broken in' and I have maybe used it three times since buying it so we may have to wait until Rhona's a little bigger.
Bottles & Drying Accessories // We have the white Lawn drying racks and the Sprig. We were planning to use the Comotomo bottles because we thought it'd be an easy transition between the bottle and nursing, but because she had so many tummy issues as a newborn, we used these Dr. Brown's glass bottles from the moment we introduced the bottle at home. They're glass and feel really great, my only complaint is that there are numerous parts to clean.
Sleep Training // Since Rhona was three weeks old, we started implementing the Babywise sleep training method. Thanks to my mother-in-law, as soon as she put Rho on Babywise, we suddenly had a different baby! Happy, cried less, and slept more. I think the schedule brought her security and the comfort of knowing that when she woke up, she was fed and had some waketime before going back down for a nap - the eat, wake, sleep cycle. Since the book can get a little confusing, this resource came as an awesome recommendation that simplifies things: Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. Rhona has responded really well to this method, which made it a really positive experience for us - sleeping through the night since 7 weeks old! We're at a place where we know her better so we can be much more flexible by going off her cues, but still sticking to a general schedule for feedings and naps. Here is the version of the book that I have. It was really tough to stay consistent and it's definitely not for every one, so my opinion is to find the right sleep training method, combine different training styles for your baby, or maybe you don't believe in sleep training and that's great too! Find what serves you and your baby best.
Since creating this post, there are obviously new and improved products on the market but if you're looking for tried and true, these were it for us! Hopefully you got some good stuff out of this! xx