First year baby gear picks after 3 kids, part two

8 June 2023

It’s only taken me the approximate gestation time of a human baby to produce part two of this mini series, but who’s counting?! Ha! Because I know you all have been waiting with bated breath, here’s the second half of my final baby gear round-up: what we loved, what stood the test of time (and three kids), and what we loved so much we repurchased.

If you’re approaching this phase of life, I hope you’ll find our experience an encouraging reminder that babies don’t need much gear to be happy and healthy. Yes, there are some things that are incredibly helpful, but perhaps fewer than you might think. With that being said, here are a few that made the cut for us – some I’d consider true necessities, and others, fun extras.

Quick note for those who might be new: we have three kids, and the span from the oldest to youngest is 5.5 years. Here’s part one, covering gear for sleeping, on the go, and eating!

Health and Hygiene

Diapers + wipes | We used Up & Up brand for the entirety of June’s diaper career and they were fantastic. Then Target apparently changed something about the construction between our first and second babies, and we had terrible issues with leaks for Shep. We switched to Kirkland, the Costco brand, until he was six months, when we switched back to Up & Up for convenience and price. We did the same for Annie. Throughout, we used Water Wipes, which are the absolute best – they’re literally just water and some fruit extracts and they never pill or tear. We get ours at Target or Amazon.

Nose Frida | Our children all hated the infamous snot sucker, and yours probably will, too, but sometimes it’s just the only thing that’s going to get the gunk out of their tiny noses.

Hooded bath towel | Each of our kids got an animal-themed hooded towel as a gift, and though they’re not strictly necessary, they’re awfully cute. The hood and smaller size does make them easier to wrap up and hold while slippery.

Body wash | The scent of this shampoo/body wash will always bring me back to the first few months with each of our babies, which is sweet. We also use this one, and both are truly tear-free – I can rub bubbles all over their faces with no consequence :)

Changing pad | We had a standard changing pad with a cloth cover for our first two babies and switched to this one for Annie. I liked it, but in hindsight I am truly appalled I ever considered buying the Keekaroo version, which is pretty much exactly the same but twice as expensive. This is an excellent item to buy secondhand if possible.

The Puj tub | Again with the absurdly expensive baby items – but this foldable bathtub really is a lifesaver for the first few months of baths. Babies are almost incomprehensibly small, slippery, and floppy at the beginning, and it made us feel so much better to have them somewhere safe, comfortable, non-slippery, and within easy reach (instead of bending over a tub) in those early days. This is another excellent item to borrow or buy secondhand.

Bath toys | There are lots of fun bath toys out there, but the favorites in our household have always been stadium cups, this set of foam letters, and tiny animals.

I’d skip: a diaper pail, a wipes warmer, a diaper cream spatula, and baby washcloths (regular ones are fine).

For Fun

Stuffed animals | Jelly Cats are the softest and sweetest stuffies, hands-down. I love their little expressions and how they’re the perfect size to fit in little hands. They’re sold in many boutiques, so this is an item I love to buy at my favorite independent stores.

Crinkle book | Babies are absolutely fascinated by the sound these books make. Ours helped us log many miles on road trips.

Action stackers | These blocks are not the most attractive, but all of our kids LOVED them. They were recommended by June’s physical therapist, and they’re great for catching a baby’s attention.

O-ball | These lightweight balls are my final toy recommendation. Since they’re so easy to grasp, it’s possible for even little babies to grab them and produce noise, which they find delightful.

Board books | Of course. I’ve got plenty of recommendations for you here!

For Mama

Underwear and nursing/pumping bra | A generous friend gifted me these before Annie was born and what a delight – a major step up from what I used with my first two. I particularly recommend the undies if you have a c-section!

Nursing pads | An absolute must-have if you’re breastfeeding. I used the same set with all three – you throw them in the wash and use them over and over and over.

Nap dress | I kid you not, this dress was worn 2-3 times a week in the last months of pregnancy and the first months of Annie’s life. The perfect late-pregnancy, post-partum, easy-breezy summer outfit and for me, worth the expense.

Maternity pajamas | Even though I snagged these in a Black Friday sale, it initially felt overly-indulgent to buy something so expensive that I would wear for such a brief season. I quickly realized, however, it was SUCH a joy to slip into something comfy and well-fitting after days of highly questionable outfits that were just barely holding it together. And you can wear them even when you’re not pregnant, so really, just go ahead and do it :)

I’d love to hear any of your favorites in these categories, or a popular item you did without! :)

P.S. My five must-have baby registry items and favorites from the first six weeks and the cost of our first year with a baby.

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June 8, 2023 6:54 am

It’s here! Thank you for sharing. In an amusing follow-up to my comment on part one, since the arrival of our third child I have now become a huge fan of the ergo and use it almost every day. Different baby, different daily activities, different me, I guess. Plus a really helpful person showing me the t-shirt method for getting it on and off. So there you go!

And, now that our third has arrived, I agree, the transition was pretty similar to the transition from one to two kiddos.

June 8, 2023 9:53 am

I always love seeing posts like this! I was lucky enough to find the Keekaroo second hand for $10, and the Puj tub for $6. It’s so nice to just wipe the changing table down when there’s an accident! I do love hooded towels for babies and toddlers. I really like the 3 Marthas every kid hooded towel once they grow out of the infant ones. I got one for my first as a gift, and then had to get one for my second after fumbling with the regular towel too many times. It just makes it so much easier to scoop them up all warm and cozy.
For my first, I used the bum spatula all the time, because she was prone to diaper rashes, and only maybe a dozen times with my second. I kept maternity clothes pretty minimal!

Kelly Strawberry
June 8, 2023 10:28 am

I am a total splurger when it comes to baby bath wash! I always go for the Burts Bees or Baby Bum brand. The scent is just perfect. :) I also always used Dreft laundry detergent because it makes all the clothes have that baby smell that is just delightful.

June 9, 2023 2:51 pm

I will die on the butt spatula hill! Literally threw it out in a move 3 months in because my daughter had never had a rash. Then she got a fairly persistent rash at around 5 months and since then I have bought four more! In my defense, two were when we forgot ours on vacation and a two pack was all the local target had.

Having said that, I agree with everything else :)

June 9, 2023 2:56 pm

Jelly Cats and the Nose Frida (also known as the “snot sucker” in our home) for the win! I have so many memories of holding one our children tightly to me while David performed the “snot suck”! But seriously, so helpful to have in those early months!

June 13, 2023 2:20 pm

we didn’t have a diaper pail initially, but got one from a good friend that was about the throw theirs away, and when we had a frequent pooper up to the 11month mark (multiple times a day but stiiinky, which felt like a lot to walk straight to the garbage shoot), I was very grateful. we recently ditched it to get the space back, but I’m all ears for how people handle poopy diapers in the early days and after they start solids. We also went completely without a changing table due to space constraints, and I don’t regret it! we have a fold out diaper pad that we use on the living room floor. I just avoided changes for a few days longer than I would have otherwise post c-section.
I’ll also second your rec for the puj tub. we did a larger baby bath (since given away on our local facebook group) in the interim between the puj and sitting in the big bathtub, but next time might go to a bath seat in that period. once he was much bigger, we received this bath toy as a gift, and when I tell you his sweet little mind was completely blown, please believe me! so fun for the cause and effect experimentation stage. We don’t have a lot of toys with batteries, but I really can’t recommend that one enough. I have also liked having baby washcloths, simply because they’re small, soft, and take up less space! you can use them for post meal cleanup too. we wouldn’t have had enough grown up washcloths for the frequency of baby cleaning, so we needed to make some kind of purchase anyways.
for toys in the early days – this ikea play gym is sturdy, relatively cute (I like that it’s bright colors for the baby but simple design with a wood base), and simple to store. heartily recommend if you have limited floorspace. this rocket was also such a big hit that we broke the ratchet that makes a clicking noise with use – it will definitely be on my list for a fun add on for friends who are expecting to pair with another more practical registry gift.