essential items for baby and toddler

I remember how overwhelmed I was when I started my baby registry. There are so many options! It took me three days just to decide on a stroller! I mean, who knew that you need an umbrella stroller, and an infant caddy stroller, and a Bob? (Well, you don’t need all three but I sure did love my caddy stroller that went with the infant seat, and I use my Bob stroller daily.) So I want to share those essential baby items that will last you well into toddler-hood.

I will probably do a second post on items that are great for the first year, but this post focuses on items that will last you well into the second year. These are the items that I use often and don’t regret purchasing. (As an aside, these are all links to Amazon because to be honest, that’s where I buy most of my stuff and that’s also where I registered.)

Let’s start with some basic essential baby items, shall we?

Here are a few basics that you’ll use right from Day 1:

Feeding time!

I use the Luna Lullaby Bosom Baby Nursing Pillow. It’s ridiculously soft, however I will say that it’s too big for a newborn. For the first month or so Massimo would slip down between me and the pillow. My doula brought over her Boppy pillow for me to try and I really didn’t like having the pillow wrap behind my back so I stuck it out with the Luna Lullaby and I’m so glad I did. This pillow is big, it’s easy to adjust, and since it is larger it still works great! (I am still nursing at 16 months.)

Massimo never was good about taking a bottle so I don’t have too many great recommendations there, but we started using this Doidy Cup when Massimo was about 4 months old so that my husband could feed Massimo while I was away. It’s great because it teaches your child to drink from the rim. It was pretty messy at first but I have to say that the little guy was great at drinking from a cup very early on (6 months). He still drinks his milk out of this cup almost daily.

These aden + anais burpy bibs are another pricey item but well worth it, in my opinion. They are huge, and are both burping cloths and bibs! Massimo didn’t spit up much (thank goodness!) but I still had one of these stashed in every room, just in case. Once he started eating solids, these became our go-to bibs because of their large size. Seriously, these are just awesome. I did find some budget versions here and here.

inglesina high chairWe didn’t go the traditional high chair route, but rather we use the wonderful Inglesina – Fast Table Chair With Dining Tray. This is great because we can hook it into our kitchen island between our bar stools, or hook it to the breakfast or dining table. We’ve taken it with us on vacation and it folds down so it’s much smaller than a traditional high chair.







Avanchy Suction Cup PlateThis Suction cup plate and bowl by Avanchy is great for keeping the entire plate or bowl of food from ending up on the floor. I like that it’s bamboo and that the plate has three compartments. It’s not completely toddler-proof…Massimo can pull the entire plate off but it usually takes him several attempts so I can at least push it back down and reinforce the suction before he’s successful.





Diaper changes!

Ok, so my beloved diapering item is expensive. And when I just checked Amazon for the price I found that the price has gone up even more, but I have to say that it’s worth it. It’s the Keekaroo Peanut Changer (pictured above in blue) and it’s awesome. It wipes clean easily (no messing around with table liners!), keeps the kiddo relatively contained, and it is cushy enough to be comfortable. When Massimo was younger (between about 2-7 months) this was his happy place. He would lay on this changer and squeal and talk and laugh and it was awesome. My husband actually suggested getting a second one for him to sleep in because he was so happy on it! We don’t know why it made him so happy, but we agree that this is worth the cost. (If you register for it and don’t receive it, you can do what I did and use the Amazon registry completion discount to buy it at a discount.)

I also use this BABYBJORN Smart Potty. We do Elimination Communication (otherwise known as Infant Potty Training), or at least we used to, so Massimo has been sitting on this potty since he was 6 weeks old. We had a pretty good stretch there for a while where he would poop on it every morning. It was a beautiful thing, not having to change that dirty diaper. (It’s a different story now, since he’s decided he hates diaper changes and potty time!)

General Necessities

These are just some basic items that you’ll need for baths, general ailments, etc.

Coconut Oil and Tea Tree Oil are my go-to remedies for many issues. Both coconut oil and tea tree are beneficial for treating cradle cap (I would mix the two together and apply to Massimo’s scalp the morning of bath day, then wash it out that evening). Coconut oil is also great for diaper rashes, not to mention it can keep poo from sticking to your little one’s behind…it makes diaper changes a little easier. 🙂 Tea Tree is also great for insect bites, scrapes, etc.

You’ve probably heard of the NoseFrida and for good reason: this bad boy is way better than the regular snot sucker you get from the hospital or birthing center. It was a little too big to use on Massimo for about the first month or so, but after that we never looked back. Trust me on this and get one.

You’ll also want some Boogie Wipes and Boogie Mist. For a kid with a runny nose, nothing is better than these wipes! They are soft and won’t irritate the nasal passages. These are something I never use but then once Massimo gets a cold I go through almost all three packs at once. So buy the three pack and keep them on hand. The mist helps dislodge those sticky snot balls that get stuck in the nose sometimes! Not an every day item, but good to have on hand. It’s much better than making your own saline spray because the mist isn’t quite as jarring as squirting it up the nose with a bottle.

I don’t know about you, but I was petrified to clip my baby’s nails…they are so small and I was afraid I would make him bleed. Then I found these Piyo Baby Nail Scissors and it’s been a breeze. They seem much safer and user friendly than the clippers!

Clevamama bath towel

The Clevamama towel

And finally for bathing, I love this baby bath towel by Clevamama. I also have an Aiden + Anais towel and a Little Giraffe brand towel and they are now way too small and I never use them. I reach for the Clevamama towel over and over. And I love that you can snap it around your neck so that it acts as an apron while bathing! This towel will last well past the first year.

BOB strollers are awesome if you are going to go for a lot of long walks with your kiddo. I wore Massimo for the first 6-8 months, but after that it was the BOB all the way. It’s too heavy to travel with but it’s fantastic for long walks around the neighborhood. You can find them used off of Craigslist pretty easily (that’s what I did). Massimo in the BOB stroller


I don’t want to post too many toys, but here are a few of our favorites!

Any of the Baby Einstein musical toys are big hits in our house. The Take Along Tunes Musical Toy is perfect for stashing in my purse or the diaper bag and whipping it out if he gets whiny or bored while on the go. M also loves to dance so for his first birthday I picked up this Musical Turtle and he loooooves it! He dances to it multiple times a day.

Speaking of turtles, I may have gotten this Tranquil Turtle more for myself than Massimo! The whole family loves this!

This VTech Baby Talk and Go Farm Rattle is hands down Massimo’s favorite toy. He’s been playing with it religiously since he was about 4-5 months old! Now it stays in the car and it keeps him entertained in the car (and it’s stopped many a “I don’t want to get in the car!) meltdown.

I’m a big believer in having kids participate in music, so I picked up this set of 10 musical instruments for Massimo’s first birthday. Now, it says ages 3+ but the only items that I thought really present an issue are the castanets and the triangle (due to small rubber parts) but he’s played with them under supervision with no issues. The xylophone, bells, shaker eggs and mini tambourine are all big hits! He plays with the xylophone every day (actually, so do I!).

So there you have it…a few of my favorite things! What are some of your essential baby items that you still use? Let me know in the comments below!