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Baby’s First Year Must Haves

Baby’s First Year Must Haves

Michael Horn, Baby gear

baby must haves, newborn, Michael Horn

mom blogger, chicago blogger


After our last trip I had a ton of questions about baby gear, especially with regards to travel items. I decided to just do one large blog post on my favorite baby items, both travel and things I use at home. Keep in mind my little guy is 10months old at this point so my favorites, thus far, are for his age and/or younger. 


1. Hatch Baby Scale

When I started to put together my baby registry several people recommended the peanut changing pad (which we also have and love). However, I stumbled across the hatch changing pad that is same shape, material and price but also has a built in scale. For us this actually was a huge plus because little man was a premie so they were constantly worrying about weights. 

2. Ubbi Diaper Pail

This one is pretty simple. The room never smells, the color choices are great, and the price is reasonable. If you have a multilevel home I would recommend grabbing a couple. I did one in the nursery and then one in Grey’s play area in the basement. 

3. Dock A Tot

I cannot even explain in words how often I used this. I would plop this thing anywhere (that was a safe flat surface) and lay him in it for all his daytime naps. The Horn house loves Dock-A-Tot. They have so many gorgeous color options available

4. Little Nomad Play Mat

I know I know… a play mat is a play mat. The difference? These foam play mats are gorgeous! I have one on our main floor of our home and people are often SHOCKED that it’s a play mat instead of a nice rug. Helps keep certain rooms in the house looking less “child take over” like. Moms feel me on this.

5. Lullaby earth airflow topper

I actually ended up going with the lullaby earth breeze crib mattress but another solution to this, if you already have your mattress, is the airflow topper. I was terrified of bringing home this tiny little human and placing him in his crib alone at night. This mattress gave me a little more peace of mind. It has a breathable pad for safety, helps regulate temperature by increasing airflow and is waterproof. The topper is also machine washable.


6. Babyzen Yoyo

If you travel, at all, ever you will LOVE this stroller. For the first few months we used it exclusively with the nuna pipa (there are add on clips for this). Then, once he was a bigger we used it just as a regular stroller on all our trips. It folds up and fits in the overhead of the plane so 1. you don’t have to check it and worry about damage 2. you have something to push baby through the airport in. It comes in a ton of colors and is Michael’s legitimate obsession.

7. Nuna Pipa Car Seat

When we started looking at car seats, safety was top priority. Once we had that narrowed down we ended up choosing this, among other reasons, for its weight. The PIPA is 7lbs, which I believe is the lightest or one of the lightest they make. Its a European brand and they have higher safety standards than in the US so it is also very safe for baby!

8. Motorola baby monitor

We have the nest cameras installed in the nursery at home but we love this to take with us on trips, or if we go to the boat. It has amazing clarity on the monitor, great sound and you can play music through the base to help baby sleep. Really small and light weight. I wasn’t sure on our exact model but I linked the one that looks identical to ours.

9. Guava travel crib

This travel crib is so easy to get around with. It folds up into its bag and can be worn as a backpack. We also bought the cover for it and have used it outside for little man to sleep in during the summer when we are at other peoples houses. We recently travel to Europe with it and had no issues. A nice solution to the heavy or bulky pack and plays.

10. ErgoBaby carrier

There are a lot of amazing wraps that I have seen and that my friends use but this was easier for me to figure out and a great option for Michael to wear as well. I did several mommy and me classes with Grey when he was younger and I would love to wear him during the workouts. Michael also would wear him when we travel or for family walks.


11. Monica and Andy Blankets

Greyson LOVED being swaddled for months so I tried out a lot of different blankets. I really thought the quality of the blankets from Monica and Andy were the best. The swaddle stayed longer, the blankets are so soft, and they come in the cutest prints!

12. Magnetic Pajamas

Okay these are slightly pricey for jammies that baby outgrows in a flash BUT when it is 3am and you don’t know what day it is, it is amazing to just lineup the sides and be done. No buttons. No fuss. These are by far Michael’s favorite. So much so that he would actually do the babies laundry if there weren’t any that were clean for that night haha… Big plus.

13. Nested bean zen sack / Baby merlin magic sleep suit

When he was a little tot the nested bean zen swaddle was our best friend. The light weighted pouch on the front chest area mimics a mothers touch and he would sleep all night in this! Once he outgrew swaddles we started using the merlin suit. Since I’m still not comfortable giving him blankets this is like a wearable blanket with the added benefit of keeping him from startling himself awake. We LOVE LOVE LOVE both of these for sleeping.


14. Fisher Price Play Piano

This was a Greyson favorite in our house. He could slide back and forth, step on the piano with his feet, shake the tambourine or sign into the microphone. It would keep him busy just long enough for me to get some things done. They sell them at a ton of places but I linked one that I found for the lowest price.

15. Skip Hop Activity Gym

I tried to stick with neutral(ish) colored baby gear because if we have a girl next I can still use it. This little ‘activity gym’ was great for us! We would do tummy time on it and then once he would roll over he loved just playing with the animals hanging down. Another Greyson favorite!

16. BabyBjorn Bouncer

So we had the 4Moms MaMaRoo and I will say it was nice but so heavy. I didn’t really have the option to move it from room to room. I was gifted this bouncer and Greyson loved it. I could place it wherever I wanted and give him a little bounce and he was good to go. However, it doesn’t move on its own so you have to push it yourself. Plus and minus to both. Either way, Grey loved this one most and often ended up dozing off in it.


17. Medela Freestyle

Greyson had only breastmilk till he was around 9.5months. Then we started introducing formula. After a lot of research and several recommendations we ended up going with Holle brand. Any who, since I was breastfeeding/ pumping for so long I developed a bond with my Medela haha. This little number went everywhere with me and I will say I loved not only being handsfree while pumping but also the small compact size of the pump. I actually went through my insurance and they paid around 60-70% of the total cost and then I covered the rest.

18. Brest Friend Nursing Pillow

At 2am in the dark this pillow was my “brest” friend! Okay, but seriously, it was amazing. It definitely saved my back and shoulders when it came to posture while feeding little man. I was easy to use and can be fitted to your size. Overall, a favorite from this breastfeeding mama.

19. Dr. Brown’s Bottles

I have always used these bottles with little man and we never had any feeding or digestion issues with him (knock on wood). The design has a vent in place which helps with digestion, to reduce feeding problems and it crates a vacuum free feeding. All big pluses for feeding a newborn.

20. Drying Lawn by Boon

Why can’t I be clever enough to invent things like this? I have a few of these throughout the house and they are great to dry out Greyson’s bottles and all the parts. You can add on little trees for the smaller pieces. This way you don’t have wet bottles sitting all over your kitchen. Back when he was still waking up in the night, I put one in our room so in the night we had clean bottles ready and/or a place to rinse them after.

Okay, I’ll stop there before this becomes a novel. I could go on and on about baby things. Maybe I’ll do another later on about smaller items that he loves… tethers, toys, ect. Hope this helps for now! I loved all of these items and think they made a difference with little man. I will say the only other ‘big item’ things I didn’t mention and love are my bugaboo donkey stroller and my halo bassinet. I finally felt comfortable around 3months putting him in his own crib for the night but still used the halo for naps sometimes during the day. I did have to use some extra padding though because he didn’t like the firmness of it. Thanks for reading! x0x0

Michael horn, chicago blogger



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