(This post contains affiliate links but is NOT sponsored)
This post has been 3 years in the making! I’ve been wanting to round up my favorite baby and toddler products for awhile now but wanted to make sure that everything I shared was tried-and-true. And now that I’m using these products with my second baby I feel qualified to share the products that have worked for both of my boys so far!
A little bit about me and my kids: My first son, Harrison, was born in 2017 and is now almost 3 years old! I also have a new baby boy, Christian, who is 5 months old. We live in a relatively small apartment in Los Angeles. So when I was looking for baby products I needed them to be multi-purpose and easy to store because we do not have a lot of space for kids stuff! I also knew that I wanted to have at least one more baby after having my first son so I wanted products that I could use with another baby as well.
Must-Have Products for Babies and Toddlers
Toys and Stuffed Animals
Babies really don’t need a lot of toys so I would advise that you don’t buy any other toys and just get a subscription to Lovevery. Lovevery is a subscription box for babies and toddlers 0-24 months that gets delivered about every 2-3 months and contains education and montessori-based toys. I started this subscription box when my second baby (Christian) was born and I really wish I had done it with my first (then I could have just re-used all the toys with my second!). The toys are really high quality, fun, and cute – without being an eyesore. I also love that you get a pamphlet with ideas on how to use the toys, developmental milestones, and more! It’s really educational for the child and parent. My oldest is almost 3 years old and he even still likes to play with the baby toys! And that’s the great thing about them – a lot of them are open-ended so my oldest can use his imagination and make them work for his level of development.
I’m on my third box from Lovevery (for months 5-6) and it’s my favorite one yet! I think the price is very reasonable – it’s about $40 a month (You pay about $80 every 2 months). If you are trying to save a little money I think you could skip the first box for months 1-3. Babies that young basically just do a lot of sleeping and eating and don’t need a whole lot of toy stimulation. Just get a box of black and white flashcards and give your baby a lot of face to face interaction and you’ll be good!
(I bought the Lovevery boxes myself but I love them so much that I recently signed up to be an affiliate. So if you click on the link above I might make commission – but it doesn’t cost you anything extra!)
These stuffed animals/loveys are THE CUTEST but they are also intentional and teach children valuable lessons like how to deal with their emotions and how to be mindful. I bought the Slumber Sloth for Harrison as a baby to snuggle with during the day under my supervision. Now that he’s older (almost 3) he sleeps with the sloth at night. I’m planning on getting the Otter Snuggler for Christian.
Slumberkins also has books based off all their characters and my oldest loves them! They book series have great lessons on everything from conflict resolution, self-esteem, gratitude, relaxation and more in the form of fun stories that your little one will want to read over and over. I have this set of 4 but I’d love to get even more sets!
Imani Collective is one of my favorite brands for plush toys and nursery/kid decor. All their products are handmade by women artisans in Kenya and Texas who are paid a fair wage in ethical working conditions. I’ve been able to speak to the founder of Imani Collective and this company is truly trying to make a difference.
(Imani Collective Interactive House Pillow, Mesh Crib Bumper, Crib Rail Covers, BabyLetto Crib)
I also love the aesthetic of all the pieces in their collection. I currently have the Llama pillow, Interactive House Pillow, Wall Hanging (no longer avail), and Faux Cactus (no longer avail). Their plush toys make cute nursery decor but are also fun to play with. Harrison had fun pulling the mini stuffed toys out of the Interactive House Pillow when he was younger. I also love their Farmer’s Market Tote with the plush fruits and veggies. They just released their Rocket + Astronaut Plush toy which is so cute!
Gathre mats are a MUST if you have kids. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they are functional, easy to clean, and interactive. They have a ton of different styles, colors, and patterns to choose from. I have 4 different styles that I recommend:
Micro Changing Mat: This is a great on-the-go changing pad because you can fold it up and it’s easy to clean. I also use this in the house for quick changes on the floor. I have the black one which is nice because it doesn’t really show dirt.
Mini Mat: This size mat is great for under a high chair or as a play mat for easy clean up. It’s also easy to fold up and take on-the-go so I’ve used it to sit on outside as well.
Padded Mini Mat: This is a GREAT mat for babies during tummy time. It’s not too hard and not too soft so it’s great for babies to roll around on. This mat doesn’t fold up but it does slide perfectly under our couches if we need to get it out of the way.
Printed Mats: These mats are so fun and great for playing and learning with your toddler. I have the ABC Mini mat and the Homestead mat and Harrison loves them. I got these wooden letters to use with the ABC mat so he could practice matching his letters. But there are so many different prints to choose from like the World Map, Numbers, ASL, and more!
(Gathre Mat, Wooden Veggies, Wooden Train)
Play Kitchen + Supplies
As Harrison got older he started to want to play with all my kitchen things. So we got him his own kitchen play set and he loves it! We have this play kitchen from IKEA and it works great and is inexpensive. I love that it’s kind of a blank canvas and can be customized if you are into DIY. He also loves these stainless steel pots and pans, wooden fruits/veggies/eggs and wooden toaster set!
Bouncers and Playsets
Skip Hop Bouncer
Harrison LOVED bouncers but I hated how big and overstimulating a lot of them were. I’m not against having colorful/musical toys but some just seem like TOO MUCH. That’s why I love the Skip hop Bouncer – it has colorful and has interactive elements but it’s not an eyesore. Plus, it FOLDS UP which is super important because we live in a small apartment and there’s not a lot of room for baby toys/equipment. The only bad part about this baby product is that you can’t use it once the baby gets too big. So it’s currently folded away in a closet until Christian is old enough to use it.
Skiphop Activity Center
Multi-purpose baby products are also a must for us because I don’t like the idea of using something for only a couple of months before the baby outgrows it. This activity center has 3 different set ups so you can use it from age 3 months to toddler! It starts out as a baby seat that swivels around to play with all the toys. Then it converts to a table with toys so little ones learning to stand and walk can play around it. Then it converts to a table that older kids can use and sit at. We still have it set up as a table in the kids room and I’ll be converting it back to the baby seat as soon as Christian can sit up on his own better. P.S. You can use toys from the Skip Hop Bouncer on this activity center too!
BabyBjorn Bouncer Seat
This is the baby seat/bouncer we used everyday with Harrison and now we are using it with Christian. It can be used with infants and older babies. I know a lot of people have the fancy rocking baby seats like the mamaRoo. This seat is different because it relies on the baby’s own momentum to start bouncing. It also folds flatter so it’s easier to store. As much as I’d like to try the fancy rockers, we just don’t have the room to store them. But this simple bouncer has worked out great with both my kids. You can also attach a toy bar for added fun!
If you are looking for a more affordable baby seat, we just got this Fisher Price foldable seat and it works great! We used one with Harrison when we were visiting family as well. It’s under $40!
Play gyms are a must-have for floor play time and to practice reaching for objects. I have this Play Gym from Clover + Birch because it’s smaller and it folds up but I love the Play Gym from Lovevery – especially if you are going to get their toys. It looks like it also converts to a little tent which is fun for older babies!
Guava Family Bassinet + Crib
This is a 2 in one system that starts out as a bassinet and converts to a crib. It also folds up into a backpack so it’s great for travel. As I’ve mentioned before – we don’t have a lot of storage space so I wanted something that either did double duty so we could use it longer or that easily folded up – and this product does both! It is a little pricey but it was worth it for us because we needed something that was compact, easy to store, and would do double duty!
The bassinet is a no-frills bassinet and doesn’t have some of the features that more advanced bassinets do but it gets the job done! If you are someone that travels often then this is a great bassinet because it’s light and folds up into a backpack. Once your baby is too big for the bassinet you can convert it to a crib. It’s not as easy to fold up as a pack-n-play but I love that it has a zippered side door which you can open up to get access to the baby to play on the ground. It also folds up to fit in the backpack.
Side note – you can’t fit the bassinet and the crib in the backpack at the same time so you have to choose which one you want to travel with. However, the bassinet and crib use the same frame so all you have to do is pack the extra mattress/fabric for either the crib or bassinet in your suitcase if you need both while traveling.
This is a MUST HAVE for parents, in my opinion. I was hesitant to get the Owlet Sock with my first baby because it is rather expensive and I’d heard some conflicting reviews*. However, I ended up being really stressed out at night for the first couple weeks when my first baby was born and couldn’t sleep because I was always worried the baby would stop breathing at night. So for my second baby I knew I had to get this.
The Owlet sock is a little “sock” that you put on your baby’s foot and it tracks their oxygen levels and heart rate. You can access all the info on the app and it also has a charging station that will sound the alarm if something happens. If your baby’s heart rate or oxygen dips below a certain level, the Owlet will sound the alarm on your phone and the charging station to let you know something is wrong.
I started using the Owlet sock with Christian right when we got home from the hospital and it gave me such peace of mind. I was able to sleep at night while the baby was sleeping. We still use the sock on Christian and he’s almost 5 months old. It’s also fun to be able to see how long and how well your baby sleeps at night through the app!
*The Owlet sock is not a substitute for safe sleep practices and you should always be vigilant when your baby is sleeping. There have been some instances when the sock has left burn-like marks on the baby’s foot so you should be aware of that possibility as well. We haven’t had any issues with it and we’ve been using it every night for 5 months!
P.S. I got mine from Amazon.com during Black Friday sales and was able to get $100 off!
This is the swaddle that worked really well for both Harrison and Christian. Harrison didn’t mind a variety of different swaddles but Christian prefers this one. I love this swaddle because it’s really easy to get the baby in and out and works for small and large babies so you don’t have to keep switching out the swaddle for a bigger size. It also allows for easy diaper changes because you can open up the bottom of the swaddle without having to un-swaddle. This swaddle works with arms in and out as well. It is a bit pricier but totally worth it!
I also love Aden + Anais muslin swaddles to use as blankets during the day and during supervised naps (not during night time sleep). They are really soft, durable, and multipurpose! I didn’t have luck using them as swaddles because I don’t have the patience to wrap them right but maybe you will!
(Natursutten Pacifier, Aden + Anais Swaddles)
Pacifiers are a really personal choice and it depends on your baby. Some babies love them and some don’t! Harrison loves the Natursutten pacifier and took to it right away. Christian didn’t need to take a pacifier because he found his thumb right away! But I love the Natursutten pacifiers because they mimic the feel of the breast and are made of natural materials. It’s also all one piece so you don’t have to worry about it falling apart and baby chocking. I know a lot of people like the WubbaNub but I didn’t want to use it because of the suffocation risk (I didn’t want the baby to fall asleep with the attached stuffed animal).
Mesh Crib Bumpers
Bumpers are kind of controversial and, in general, not recommended by pediatricians because of the risk of suffocation. However, once Harrison was old enough to sleep in his crib without a swaddle he started rolling around a lot and I was afraid his arms and legs would get stuck in between the crib slots. So I felt like I needed something to prevent that. This bumper is perfect because it’s a breathable mesh bumper that goes all the way around the crib. I felt very comfortable using this and we never had any problems. This bumper prevented his arms and legs from getting stuck and also kept his pacifier from falling out of the crib.
Crib Rail Cover
Once Harrison started teething he CHEWED UP his crib rails. In order to prevent that we got these padded rail covers. They worked great and were easy to put on/take off, and wash! The only downside is, they didn’t cover the corners of the crib so Harrison was still able to chew the corners a bit…haha. We even kept these covers on the crib as Harrison got older because he would start to jump around and we didn’t want him to hit his face/teeth against the hard rails.
(Imani Collective Wall Hanging, Interactive Pillow, Llama Pillow, Pehr Mobile, Crib Rails)
Feeding + Mealtime
Boppy Pillow + My Breast Friend
I would suggest getting the Boppy if you are looking for a multi-purpose product. You can use it for nursing and also as a prop for the baby during tummy time and support for sitting up. However, I was able to use the My Breast Friend nursing pillow in the hospital and it was much more comfortable to use to breastfeed my newborn. If you are a first-time mom or are struggling with getting the correct nursing position I would recommend the My Breast Friend pillow because it’s more supportive.
This is a hospital grade breast pump that I was able to get through insurance and it’s worked great. Definitely check with your insurance company about what pumps are covered for you. I know there are breast pumps that are smaller and more convenient to carry around (like the Haaka hand pump and the Elvie) but I’ve heard they don’t get as much milk out. I actually do have the Haaka pump and it’s great in a pinch on-the-go but it wasn’t able to empty my breast.
Boon Grass Drying Rack
This is a great drying rack for all the tiny baby bottle pieces and other small utensils. I’ve been using it since Harrison was a baby which was almost 3 years ago! It’s easy to clean and the clear version isn’t an eyesore on the counter. There’s also a lot of fun cleaning accessories you can get to go along with the boon rack, like this cleaning brush.
Munchkin Miracle® 360° Trainer Cup
The Munchkin Trainer Cup is the only cup we’ve used with Harrison and it works great. I never used sippy cups to transition him from bottles to cups because I heard sippy cups aren’t great for their mouths. Your toddler can drink anywhere around the rim – like a regular cup. And the best part is – it’s no spill! So you can safely carry it in your diaper bag and your toddler can carry it around the house without making a mess.
Silicone Bibs + Mats
There are a lot of different brands of silicone bibs out there but you are looking for one with a deep front pocket to catch food. We use these silicone bibs from Cloud Island. I love the silicone bibs because they wipe clean and catch all the food! It makes cleaning up a lot easier. Don’t even bother with cloth bibs!
We also use a silicone mat because they are easy to clean and have sections for different foods. We use one that I picked up from Target but I love the design of the ezpz mats!
I really wanted to love the fabric wrap carriers but they were too complicated for me…lol. I also tried a Baby Bjorn Carrier and didn’t like it. Finally, I found the Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier with Harrison and I have the Ergobaby Embrace Carrier* to use with Christian. I love both for different reasons. The 360 Carrier is great for travel because it’s a little sturdier and has compartments and more features. The Embrace Carrier feels more like a wrap and is a comfortable and simple option for wearing around the house. You can read my full review here!
*I bought the Ergobaby Omni Carrier myself and then was lucky to be able to work with Ergobaby for the release of the Embrace Carrier.
(Ergobaby Embrace Carrier, Gathre Mat, Wooden Toys)
Baby carriers are a very personal choice for you and your baby. I would suggest waiting until your baby is born and then trying a few different carriers and styles to find which one works best for you both. You can go to babywearing meetings or borrow carriers from friends to try out before you buy. I went to a babywearing meeting in my town to try a few carriers before I purchased the Ergobaby Carrier!
Mina Baie Diaper Bag
If you are looking for a high quality, modern leather diaper bag then Mina Baie is the way to go! They are so chic and look like a regular bag – not a diaper bag- which I love. I have the Harper Backpack and I LOVE IT! There’s lots of compartments inside and out and you can wear them as crossbody bags, backpacks, or on your stroller. A lot of moms use the Fawn Diaper bag but they aren’t made of real leather. Plus, I feel like EVERYONE has one. If you are looking to be different and support a local Los Angeles based small business then definitely look into Mina Baie! I actually got to check out one of their sample sales in person and all the bags were gorgeous! I know they are kind of pricey but a diaper bag is a bag that you are going to use for years – especially if you have multiple children – so you want to invest in one that you love. Diaper bags also get a lot of wear and tear so a high quality one is essential, in my opinion.
Ubbi Diaper Pail
This diaper pail is sleek, doesn’t take up much room, and keeps the stink from getting out! It also takes regular garbage bags so you don’t have to buy specialty ones for the diaper pail. I always forget to change out my diaper pails often but it does a great job of not letting the stink get out! Sure, you could just throw the dirty diapers in a regular trash can but that gets REAL STINKY REAL FAST.
I don’t know why anyone wants to bother with fabric changing pads because when babies are little they pee everywhere! Which means you constantly have to be switching out changing pad covers and washing them. No thanks! The Keekaroo changing pad is chic AND easy to wipe clean. We honestly didn’t use this changing pad with Harrison because I always ended up changing him on the floor with the Gathre mat. BUT we use this more with Christian because we keep it on the floor in our bedroom for diaper changes at night. If you are someone who plans to use a padded changing pad a lot then I would 100% recommend this one.
(Keekaroo Changing Pad, Natursutten Pacifier)
Pehr Baskets + Mobiles
I love the aesthetic of all the Pehr baby products. They are simple, yet whimsical and cute with just the right amount of color. I love the storage baskets and we use the Hamper size basket for baby clothes and the small bins for toys, diaper supplies, clothes, and more! I love these because I van keep them all around the house and they aren’t an eyesore. They actually match the decor of my space! The mobiles are sooo cute as well. We have this colored pom pom mobile but I love the animal ones too.
Shop Amazon.com for Baby and Toddler Products!
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I’ve rounded up all the baby and toddler products from above that can be found on Amazon.com PLUS even more items on my storefront if you don’t feel like searching for them yourself!
Phew! That’s a lot of stuff! Just remember – what works for some babies doesn’t work for every baby. I know some of these items are expensive so my advice would be to borrow whatever you can from friends/family to try out with your babies before you invest in something if you can. But I hope this post helped narrow down some options for you!