Before I jump in to everything we’ve used and loved I want to have a few disclaimers:
-First off, GRACE UPON GRACE. Jesus is ultimately the most important thing I'll ever need when it comes to parenting and taking care of my babies. I'll never be able to care for them in my own strength and I have to rely on Him daily for wisdom and discernment when it comes to what's right for our family. Give yourself grace, mama, and trust that the Lord will equip you!
-This is what WE have used and loved. These are our experiences. This is by no means a list of what you should have, what you should do, etc. My goal is to give you a list of everything that we love just so you can have an overview of how some different products have been used in this season of our lives.
-We have two babies that are 10 weeks apart. (If you’re new, we have an adopted son and a bio daughter!) I realize that this is a unique situation! There are a few products we’ve used and loved because of having TWO tiny babies at once, so keep that in mind!
-Every family does things differently. Everyone parents differently. Anything I mention or reference here is strictly based on our own parenting styles and what works in our house!
-There are some affiliate links here and shopping through those wouldn’t cost you a dime, but it would go to support our little family of four!
-The city select baby jogger stroller was the most expensive item we wanted (and it was gifted from some of my family! WIN!) but as we stroller shopped we realized that this was absolutely the best option for us. I love that it can be a single stroller, a double stroller, and it has so many different seating options! The seats can face out, face you, face each other, etc. Another huge bonus for us is that the seats lay SO far back. We actually never used infant car seats on our stroller, we would just put them right in because the seat lays so far back. I really wanted the bassinet attachments, but we honestly didn’t really miss them because the seats are so great! (although next baby I might invest!) I'm actually going to be reviewing another stroller soon (that's a single!) that will very possibly be a great stroller at a lower price point than this one if you're a single child mama needing some options!
-The Evenflo Minno Twin stroller is one that we got over the summer. It was sent to us for free in exchange for a sponsored post (you can read my review here) and it was truly such a blessing to us!! While I really love the city select, the minno twin is a simple umbrella stroller that I can get in and out of the van quickly and it’s perfect for quick errands and church. (the city select second seat has to be attached each time because it won’t fold with it on- not a huge problem but it just takes an extra step!) We will still use our baby jogger when we are doing something where they will be in the stroller for an extended period of time (the zoo, going on walks, anywhere we want a “smoother” ride) but I love this stroller for quick errands or when I’m by myself!
-We’ve been SO lucky to be able to borrow so many things from friends. Including our infant car seats! We used the Chicco Keyfit 30 Infant Seats from our friends and I got online and ordered new covers. They served us so well and we really don’t have any complaints, although I will probably shop around a little bit more next time around. But I’m so thankful that this wasn’t a huge financial burden for us!
-As soon as we got our van we moved the babies into convertible car seats. We got the Maxi Cosi Pria 70 and we LOVE them! They are really padded and I feel like the babies are comfortable and also safe. (I found them on sale at Albee Baby! Albee Baby is a great place to look for sales!)
-We have two of the Sonilove Car Mirrors and they are big and fit the seats well!
-Our mamaroo is one of my favorite purchases! I found it at Bargain Hunt (a discount store) for a super great deal and then we’ve borrowed the 4moms bounceroo and rockaroo from a friend. We only used the bouncearoo for a short time and it probably isn’t one I would invest in myself. We really have loved the rockaroo, but from time to time it’ll stop rocking! Ultimately I think the mamaroo is worth the investment, but I do think the rockaroo would be an amazing, cheaper choice!
-We’ve used our playmat SO MUCH. We’ve used it for tummy time and for playtime almost every single day! Once both babies hit six months old, we haven’t used it as much and I think we’re about done with it. I bought ours used at a consignment store (washed it of course!! Ha!) but I’ll buy a new one next go around. I love the ikea one!
-We got the sit me up floor seat right before Crawford was born and Campbell started using it regularly around 12 weeks. It’s been one of our most loved items! I love that it helped them practice sitting up and working on head control when tummy time just wasn’t convenient. I could put Campbell in it while I fed Crawford so I didn’t feel like he was just laying on the floor all day! It’s been a great item for us to be able to move around the house easily and it gives them something different to do.
-We have two of the Ikea high chairs and I don’t think we’ll ever have anything else! They are so affordable ($20!), simple, and relatively compact. I bought the cushions that go with it to keep the babies sitting up a little easier and we have the Yeah Baby Goods cushion covers and placemats. I LOVE the placemats because I can rinse them off and put them in the dishwasher and not have to worry about completely cleaning down the high chair after every feeding. The cushion covers are fun, but not totally necessary. I do think the placemats would be a great item to add to your registry!
-We have the angel care bath seat and I love it because it is light, small, and you can hang it to dry easily! I didn’t love it when they were really tiny because I felt like they just slipped to the bottom of it, so we really didn’t use it until they got a little bit bigger. (I took a bath with them most nights, honestly! It was so much easier this way.)
-While they were really small we used an infant bath tub that we borrowed from a friend and it was perfect! If I had to do it all over again, I would probably get one of those instead because it was more convenient from the very beginning. This is the tub I think I'll get next time!
-We learned that Crawford has pretty sensitive skin and I really desired to make informed decisions on the kinds of products we use on our kids. While we aren’t perfect and in no way are we a completely toxin free home, I am trying to make better decisions when I can. One way we’ve done that is by switching their products to Beauty Counter. I’ve LOVED the baby line and it’s worked really well for us and has helped Crawford’s skin. It is a little bit on the pricey side, but we are still on our first set of every product and we've been using it since February! (You can order from my friend Lisa!)
-I'll be honest, I don't love normal baby towels. I feel like every little thing sticks to them and it drives me crazy. In my humble opinion, skip out on the cheap target ones and find some that are terry! You can still get the cute designs and hoods without the velcro like material that makes me nuts! My favorite terry option is this chicken!
**We have strictly formula fed from the beginning. We decided that formula feeding was the best choice for our family and I don't regret our decision for a second! If you're a mama to be, I pray that you find freedom in whichever choice you choose for your family knowing that you're doing everything you can as a mama to take care of your new babe. You're a strong, capable mama who by the grace of God can feed your baby with joy... whether that be by nursing or formula feeding!
-Once we knew that there would be TWO babies coming and that we would 100% formula feed, we joked that the Baby Brezza Formula Pro would be the best thing to have. We weren’t really serious about it, but then I found one at Bargain Hunt for 50% off retail so we took the plunge. AND WE’VE NEVER LOOKED BACK!!!! It’s 100% not a necessary product, but it has simplified our lives and made feedings easier. I love that I can literally just push a button and a bottle is made, at the perfect temperature, in seconds. Yes, it requires some cleaning and care but I fully believe that it’s paid for itself!!
-We originally registered for the Playtex Nurser Drop-in Bottles because we knew several friends who had used them. But after Campbell was born at less than five pounds, I wasn’t comfortable using such a large bottle for a tiny boy!! I also didn’t feel like you could see how much he was eating as easily so we quickly switched to Dr. Brown’s bottles while we were in Texas. I didn’t love washing all of the parts, but I felt confident in knowing exactly how much he was eating and that we were helping with any gas problems as best we could! Campbell was about 3 months old when we switched him to the Playtex Nurser bottles (at that point I was washing like 16 bottles a day and couldn’t do it a minute longer!! ha!) and he switched great without any issues at all. Once he was bigger and eating the same amount more consistently I wasn’t as worried about not knowing the EXACT amount he was eating. (side note: the more we’ve used the playtex the more I can read how much they’ve had. But I still don’t feel like it’s totally as accurate as the Dr. Brown’s) Crawford switched a little later, around 4-5 months I think. Since then washing bottles has been so much easier! (I realize that the plastic bottle liners aren’t the most amazing choice, but it’s one that makes the most sense to us in this season of life.) At the end of the day, I really loved having both bottle options and would recommend both!
-We use the walmart brand gentle formula and it works great for us! So thankful that we don’t have any major tummy issues as they’ve gotten bigger.
-We use inchbug labels and I think they are the greatest thing! They aren’t as necessary now because they are eating the same amount, but we use them when we go to church so we know whose bottle is whose and in case they every get misplaced! They’ll be great on sippy cups as they get bigger, too.
-We have two different formula dispensers to keep in the diaper bag. This one is my favorite because the hole is bigger. We have another one and the hole is smaller so it takes forever to get all of the formula out. Find one that has a bigger hole on the top!
-Our favorite bibs are little unicorn, aden + anais, and tomee tippee! (Now that they are eating mostly “real” food I need to get some new bibs that can be wiped down/that catch things that don’t quite make it to their mouths. I’ll add those here as we use them!)
-I could have added this to the gear section, but I wanted to put it here because we’ve used them the most during feedings. The boppy newborn lounger has been, hands down, our most used items. I was SO worried about how I would feed two babies at once and this has been a LIFESAVER. I can put each baby on the lounger and then face their heads towards me and feed them easily. I have seriously used them EVERY SINGLE DAY and they have made life so much easier!! We actually borrowed both of ours from two different friends, but I’m going to just buy them new ones instead of returning the ones we’ve used DAILY! Ha!
-We honestly didn’t use this for long, but we did use the app baby nursing when they were both newborns. It made it a little easier to keep up with feedings and changes! We used it with Campbell for a month or so and with Crawford... maybe a week? Ha! Second time around we felt a little more confident!
-our most favorite sleeping product, the dockatot! I had heard of it before, but honestly didn’t know much about it and didn’t know anyone who had one until right around the time Campbell was born. A friend had one and after talking with her about their experience, we decided to go out on a limb and order one for Campbell. (We lucked up on a great deal at Albee Baby!) We were both a little hesitant because of the price point but decided it might be worth it. IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT. Both babies ended up being great sleepers in the dockatot! We splurged and got a second for Crawford so that they could both sleep in them and I really think it helped us to ALL sleep. The Cole fam will forever use the dockatot from 0-6 months! Ha!
-Our top favorite swaddle is the halo sleepsack just because we felt like we could get them the most snug. We also used the swaddleme swaddles and liked those too. But we would usually choose the halo! (We swaddled until around 4 months I think?)
-We don’t sleep without sound machines in our house and we have this one for Campbell and this one for Crawford. I like Crawford’s a little bit more because there is an actual “white noise” sound and it’s not the ocean (Campbell just listens to the ocean option) and I also like that hers can be battery operated!
-We are a fan of video monitors in our house! It gives me peace of mind to be able to see them so that I don’t feel like I need to check on them every time they cry or cough. We have this Summer Infant monitor in Campbell’s room and it’s definitely done it’s job! I like that it is super wide and you can move the camera from the parent monitor. Originally we were going to let the babies share a room, but we later decided that it was easier on us for them to be separate for now. We have a cheap video monitor in Crawford’s room and it’s actually been great for us up until now! Until she was 6.5 months old she was sleeping in the dockatot and now that she’s out and moving around the crib a little bit more it’s a little harder to see her. I think this monitor is great to have as a backup for traveling or at grandparent’s house, but we will definitely be adding a second camera to our Summer Infant monitor before too long!
-As far as sleep schedules go, we follow Moms on Call. Everyone has their own opinions and what works for them, but we have sleep trained in our house and have had such a good experience following the Moms on Call book. Both babies have been sleeping through the night since around 10 weeks and we’ve dealt with very little crying. So far so good!
-As far as clothes go, we are really simple around our house. We spend a lot of time at home so you can usually find the babies in their pajamas (yes, we spend lots of time in jams! Ha!) or in a simple onesie. We have been lucky enough to have borrowed a lot of clothes for Crawford and we borrowed a good bit in the beginning for Campbell when he was in preemie clothes (and our friends Bennett + Shep have given him some cute hand me downs too!). I really haven’t had to buy a ton for them, but I usually hit up our local consignment store, Once Upon a Child for some random things we might need!
What we wear a lot of and what we’ve loved a lot:
-sleepers!!! (most of ours are Carter’s brand)
-plain tees from walmart (They are like $3!)
-I LOVED these Burts Bees outfits when they were tiny
-we used honest diapers with Campbell when he was a newborn because I felt like they fit him the best being so small. Crawford used some Honest, but mostly just whatever we happened to have.
-our church threw a diapers shower for us and it was a HUGE gift to us. Having boxes and boxes of diapers and wipes has saved us so much money!! We just ran out of diapers a few weeks before Campbell turned one and we still have wipes left. It’s been amazing!
-Because we were gifted so many we’ve used lots of different brands and I don't have much of an opinion on diapers. From our experience so far I am fine with any store brand (we use mostly walmart) during the day and we use Huggies little movers at night! As far as wipes go, our favorite that we have been gifted is the Kirkland's brand from Costco! (Although once we run out I would like to find a "safer" wipe option that fits in our budget!)
-I never really thought that we needed one, but someone gifted us a diaper pail and I’m SO glad they did! With as many diapers as we do everyday it’s nice having somewhere to put them so our entire house doesn’t smell!
-We started baby food right at 4 months and I decided I wanted to make it myself. Someone gave me a baby bullet they no longer used, but honestly if we had a nice blender (ours broke!) I would just use that. I don’t see the need in having something extra when a regular blender would do the job!
-I made baby food from the end of February to the end of June. If there’s enough interest I can do a post on how I made things and what really worked for us, but to speed things up a bit I’ll just share a couple of the feeding things we’ve loved: these bowls with lids, these bowls from Ikea, these spoons, this feeder (do NOT get the mesh ones, they are miserable to clean!) this sippy cup is the ONLY one that's worked for us (we've tried at LEAST 5 different kinds), and we love these puffs and these mum mums! This could have fit with our bottle category above, but I LOVE the white (!!!) boon grass as a bottle/cup drying rack!
-I want to be really intentional about the toys we choose to have as the babies get older and I’m trying to stay away from collecting toys just to have them. Right now they love balls, sorter shapes, wooden rainbow stacker, large puzzles, and LOTS of books! Their favorite books are Brown Bear, Brown Bear, The Pout Pout Fish, The Hungry Caterpillar's ABCs, and The Jesus Storybook Bible.
BLANKETS + EXTRAS:
-bamboo Aden + Anais blankets- a million times better than normal muslin!! These are SO soft.
-we love our angel dear lovies! Campbell's puppy is his most prized possession.
-Crawford has a little unicorn security blanket (it comes in a two pack!) and its so soft and sweet. She snuggles with it all day, every day!
-Campbell has never really used a paci after those first few weeks with a wubanub. Crawford however LOVES a paci and we’ve used the Mam Newborn and the avent freeflow. Love the avent ones because I can get it in white. I don’t love all the random colors and patterns on other pacifiers!
-We have a humidifier to use whenever they are stuffy and I think it should definitely be on a new mama registry.
-We diffuse essential oils in our house and I have a roller ball of sniffle ease for whenever they are stuffy! (Sniffleease is already diluted, but I dilute it further when I make the roller ball)
Can't forget about the Mamas! Here are just a few things that I love being a new mom. From podcasts to "happys", here are a couple of things you might enjoy or that could be a great gift for a new mom!
The Risen Motherhood podcast is one of my top favorites. Always rich in biblical truth, I love the encouragement and topics they cover!
There's nothing better than a warm bath at the end of the day with a natural bath bomb!
I LOVE a pair of pajamas. And having a "cute" set helps me to not feel so frumpy if I wear them all the time! Ha!
Gimme the Good Stuff is a website I'll often visit when I'm searching for a new product to see how things rank in terms of "safety" and toxins. I'll be honest, not everything we use in our house is the "best" choice, but we're doing what we can with what we have! I love being able to use it for reference, but I don't want to ever live enslaved to those lists. Freedom in choice, mama!
-Some places to shop around: Nordstrom (for free shipping! That's where I've gotten their sippy cups) Amazon (Prime, people!) Albee Baby (often free shipping and good deals!) Spearmint Love (free shipping and a TON of brands!)
This isn't really a "mama" thing, but the promptly journals are a MUST HAVE for me. It's like a baby book but better. It's a journal from newborn (or adoption! They have a specific adoption book!) to 18 years and places to write different things about them and letters to them every year on their birthday. I'll sob buckets when I had these over to them when they turn 18.
Well, I think that just about does it! A list of practically every product we used the past year. If you're a soon to be mama or you're looking for gift ideas, I hope you've found this list helpful! Mamas and caregivers, what are your "must haves" that I didn't mention here?
Would love to know your favorites!