So as my daughter turned a year old, and I sat here bawling at the notion that she is already growing way too fast for my liking, I decided to take a moment to recall several gear and products I tried and either tossed into the failed category or adopted as must-haves. Remember, this is just one person's point of view. There may be things I list that I couldn't live without that you scrunch your nose at with a sarcastic "really?" or something that I deem as " absolutely pointless" that completely saved your day from turning into a disaster. So chill....
Angels Sing Category:
Fisher Price Deluxe Booster Seat - this seat is awesome and convenient. We have carried it into restaurants and to friend's houses. Totally portable, easily washable, and compact. The only downside is it uses up a chair at the table. No biggie for us. We bought two off Craigslist (oh how I love thee): one for our dining table and the other we keep in the car. It's worth its weight in gold.
The Potty Pail- life. changing.
I love this thing so much that when we were in transition between houses I didn't have it hooked up and I panicked. My mom, Nana, was staying with baby and me while Cowboy was still at the rental. I asked her "What did you do before Potty Pail?" as I held up a very poopy diaper. She replied nonchalantly, "I hand washed them." Wait, What?!? I tell you right now. If you are cloth diapering get (or if you're handy, make) a potty pail.
Diono Easy View Back Mirror- Yes, when I got my car seat inspected the fireman told me mirrors can be dangerous as a projectile and also as a distraction but I still love my mirror. I have it attached to the middle seat headrest and she sits behind me. I peek at her no problem if I tilt my rear view mirror ever so slightly. I don't feel she distracts me and I'll take the projectile risk since everything else in my truck could be considered a projectile.
Diono Pacifica- this car seat is expensive, it's a mammoth, and it totally rocks. I take my baby's safety hard core serious. That is all.
Infant Optics Baby Monitor- It's cheap and extremely effective. I've had no issues with it and find it's well worth the $100 I paid vs the more expensive ones.
Halo Swaddles- my baby needed them. She had a high startle reflex that would make her toss her arms out and wake her every 10-15 minutes. Swaddling her allowed her to stay calm and fall asleep. It was a life saver. Some babies need them, some don't. I felt Halo delivered the best product out of the other swaddle companies.
Ergo baby carrier- Easily one of the most used pieces of baby gear I have bought to date. She LOVED this carrier and fell asleep every single time when we were out and about. A naturally mellow baby, she mellowed big time in this while people watching and enjoying being close to mama. Simple to put on and take off by self, super comfortable, and easily adjustable to swap wearers if Nana wanted to carry her. I attached Target Eddie Bauer owl teething pads around the straps for her to drool on to her hearts delight.
ASL Baby Sign Language books. This one was great and there are a handful of others. We started early but it was more to get us as parents used to signing and remembering to speak and sign. She started picking up on it before the age of one and is flying through the signs now. She still babbles and "chats" but she is able to communicate her needs through signing. I firmly believe we have avoided a ton of frustrations due to lack of communications by using sign language. She is able to tell us not just when she's hungry but what she is hungry or thirsty for. She can tell us what she does or doesn't want and what excites her. It is amazing to share this with her and help her learn things into this world. I am amazed at her wide vocabulary already and I do not feel it impedes her speech the slightest.
Don't Bother Category:
Shopping cart covers- Save yourself the car space, the money, and the hassle of this useless puzzle of fabric, elastic, velcro, and/or buckles and just buy a baby wearing device such as the Moby (kind of a pain of the butt if you are needing to take on and off frequently) or (my favorite) the Ergo. Carry that child around as you shop and you'll have the most content baby ever. I got frustrated trying to pack in and pack out that cover and found if I think a cart is that nasty that I can't wipe it down with the store's sanitary wipes then I probably shouldn't be exposing my child to that cart. Besides, I love wearing her around and she loves it too.
Shoes- Until they are walking or crawling (got to protect the tops of those tootsies) around outside and getting into things needing foot protection there's no point in putting shoes on little babies. Even for looks, it's ridiculous so stop it. I have TONS of shoes I ended up getting rid of because her feet are just too chubby to try to force into shoes. Barefoot or socked is great and helps the child learn how to place her feet correctly. I'm also a shoe minimalist in terms of trail running so my opinion on shoes runs deep. As soon as she started trying to walk/crawl especially outside and on our wood (splinters?) deck, Robeez shoes were the way to go hands down.
Food Feeders- Food enclosed in a type of net, these feeders help baby experience new food without the risk of choking. This seemed like a great buy as she liked it with frozen breast milk, however she only used it a small handful of times. Its not that expensive but I just feel in hindsight it probably wasn't needed.
All the electronic "Vtech" plastic craziness of loud singing toys that are out there now. Seriously, my daughter gets excited playing with board books, spatulas, and a bin of ribbons.