When BabyE was six months old I wrote a list of our six must have baby items we had used up until that point. Since then that has become one of the most popular posts on GrowingSlower. So now that baby is one year old, I wanted to share my updated list of must haves baby products for the first 12 months.

The top must have baby products. Advice from a frugal & natural mom of two about the real essentials for baby's first year from sleep to play and more!

12 Must Have Baby Products for the First 12 Months

When we were preparing for his arrival, I resisted getting every baby product “they” say you “need” in part because of our small home and to minimize the environmental impact of having a baby. I tried to minimize the number things we put on our baby registry list.

Despite my minimalist approach, there are simply some things that you do need with a baby in the house. You can still minimize the impact on your home and the environment by picking only the best most functional products available. I hope my list of 12 must have baby items for the first twelve months will help you do just that.

1. Baby Deedee Sleep Sack

If not for the Baby DeeDee sleep sack, I don’t think BabyE would ever sleep! He fought his way out of a swaddle by a couple of days old and never looked back. Instead, his sleep sack keeps him still long enough to fall asleep and has become his sleep cue when we put him in it every night. It keeps him warm and cozy all night. I love the cute khaki and lime green color for boys. It also comes in pink for girls. It’s available for sizes 0 through 36 months. There’s also a Baby Deedee Lite Sleep Sack for summer. It was out of stock everywhere when we needed it, so I ended up making my own.

2. Baby Trend Jogging Stroller
I know, I know, a stroller isn’t exactly a product a good attachment parent would promote. While I do absolutely love my baby carriers (see #12 below), I believe there is a time and a place for a good stroller as well. In my mind, there’s no reason to spend $400 or more on one of the high-end joggers when the Baby Trend does the job so well for much much less. The Baby Trend Jogging Stroller is light weight and folds up easily. It has a lockable front swivel wheel so it’s easy to maneuver in crowds or keep a straight path while jogging. The big wheels easily go over grass, gravel, curbs, and anything else you may come across. I also love the big storage area underneath. It is amazing how much I can cram in there. Every where we go people are asking what brand it is because it is just that great. It also comes in a Double Jogging Stroller version and in a Travel System with infant car seat and base.

3. Real Nappies Flushable Diaper Liners

I wasn’t too thrilled to add a disposable element to our cloth diapering routine. With the introduction of more solids into Baby’s diet, flushable diaper liners became a must. The Real Nappies brand are the most affordable and functional that I have found. They are wide and long enough to actually catch what they’re intended to catch, ahem, and they don’t get bunched up. I can easily flop them in the toilet without ever touching anything icky. 

4. Baby Proofing Products

As baby became more and more mobile, it was clear that some child proofing was in order. I didn’t want to go completely overboard and be that paranoid parent with a lock on absolutely everything. On the other hand, I didn’t want to spend my entire day redirecting. A certain amount of baby proofing can help give baby more independance to safely explore. A refrigerator lock or plug cover may cost $3 or less, but mommy’s sanity is priceless!

Here are a few of the baby proofing products that I have found to be both functional and high quality. 

We’ve all seen those plastic covers that plug up the little holes in electrical outlets. Those are great as long as you never actually need to use any of your outlets. The Kidco Outlet Plug Cover allows you to safely cover outlets even while you have large plugs to chargers and power strips plugged in. Pure genius! There are other similar products out there, but the Kidco brand is the only one that I found that works for modern outlets that have two screws.

Similarly, the Safety 1st Power Strip Cover prevents kids from playing with power strip outlets even while you have larger plugs and chargers plugged into them. It even adjusts for power strips of different lengths.

The Safety 1st Fridge Latch is a stick-on product that keeps kids from opening the refrigerator on side opening models. It also has an option to stay unlocked when baby isn’t around. It’s not so much that I don’t want baby to have any eating autonomy. It’s more that I don’t want the lemon juice and hot sauce pulled out on the floor for the 39th time today, thank you very much!

We use the Dreambaby Sliding Locks on cabinets that have door pulls side by side. This is a great option when you don’t want to stick or screw on anything permanent to your cabinets. It also works great for side-by-side refrigerator models.

5. Booster Seat

This Fisher-Price Booster Seat is very similar to the one we have. Even before Baby was eating solids, he loved to sit up at the table and participate in family meal times. The whole thing is plastic, so it’s easy to wipe down or even spray off in the sink. We never use the tray, but if you did it is dishwasher safe. The booster folds down for easy storage and travel. I won’t complain if you use my affiliate link, but this would be an excellent candidate for purchasing used on craigslist. You can save money and prevent new plastic from entering the waste stream.

6. Car Mirror
Baby has been a long time protester against the evils of the car. Until he was five months old he screamed the entire time he was strapped into his carseat. I guess he loves being green and hoofing it, or at least riding along as Mama walks. Attaching a car mirror to the headrest behind his rear facing carseat has really helped. He smiles and waves at his reflection as soon as he sits down and stays happy for much longer than before. 

7. Burp Cloths
I kind of expected having a new baby would be like moving into a new house.  I remember when we got married and bought our condo.  It seemed like we were constantly making trips to the store for stuff we “needed” to set up our home.  Of course there has been a shift in our identification of our wants versus needs since then, but I was still surprised that there were very little unanticipated needs for Baby.  The one thing that I had not expected was all of the fluids that come out of a very little baby!  Our small stash of burp cloths was just not enough, so DH did an emergency run to the store to get some more. We needed a little less than two dozen to keep up. Support a small business by shopping Etsy or make some yourself. 

8. Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper
Co-sleeping has been an integral part of our nighttime parenting routine from the beginning. In our version, Baby starts out the night in his own side-car co-sleeper.  It’s been a great arrangement for us as I’m often too much of a light sleeper to have him in bed with me full time.  It allows us to stay within “arm’s reach” but each with our own space when needed. As time has gone on, baby now starts out the night on the co-sleeper mattress on the floor next to our bed.

9. Jumper
Baby started using his jumper at just shy of four months old. This has been the perfect activity for our very active little boy.  This is one of those baby products that little ones use for a short time and quickly outgrow, so it’s a great thing to borrow or find recycled on Craigslist. 

10. Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator

As the name implies, you are essentially sucking the snot out of your baby’s nose.  Once I got past that uncomfortable fact, I realized what a great product this is. The idea of a traditional bulb nasal aspirator grosses me out because there is no way to thoroughly clean it out. With the Snotsucker, it all comes apart and can be cleaned and sterilized. Of course, there is a filter and two tubes between you and the snot, so it never actually comes close to your mouth. This doesn’t even come close to the ick factor of mothering some days. 

11. Baby Carriers

We started out using the Moby Wrap.  I loved how I could leave it on without thinking about it or it getting in the way.  It probably wasn’t the most stylish accessory, but it allowed me to put baby in and out of it quickly all day long. When my Baby Hercules neared twenty pounds, the Moby could no longer contain his back diving ways. We then moved to the Ergo Baby Carrier.  It is the ultimate in baby carriers with super cushioned shoulder straps.  It amazes me how I can hardly feel the weight as I carry him in the Ergo.  The best part of it is that it’s so easy to use, all members of the family can easily get Baby strapped in and enjoy bonding time. The Ergo is still allowing us to happily wear our now 27 pound baby. 

What are your favorite must have baby products? 


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