First year baby gear picks after 3 kids, part one

30 August 2022

Miss Susanna is officially one, which means my baby gear days are officially done. Before they retreat too far into the past, I thought it might be helpful to offer a final round-up: of what we loved, what stood the test of time (and three kids), and what loved so much we repurchased. Of course, I stand by the claim I made even before my first pregnancy: 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.


Crib | After we retired the crib that June used (the same one I used as a baby!), we replaced it with this Jenny Lind style. I think it looks sweet for a boy or a girl, the price can’t be beat, and it still looks brand new after two babies.

Travel crib + bassinet attachment | Easy to set up and fold back into a backpack, compact, looks good… this pack and play has it all. One of my very favorite pieces of gear that we used for all three kids! They all slept in the bassinet in our room to start, then used it on overnight trips for the next few years.

Swaddle Me swaddles + Magic Merlin suit + sleep sack | There are tons of swaddle options out there (and aggressive opinions about all of them), but if you’re looking for somewhere to start your research, we used the Swaddle Me for all three babies and loved them! We did have to buy a new one each month because the velcro wore out, but they’re priced reasonably enough and work well enough that we were willing to do it. Just pull the end under tight tight tight :)

For the younger two, we used the ridiculous-looking Magic Merlin suit to ease the transition to sleeping arms-out once they could roll. We only needed it for about one month each, but it was incredibly helpful for that brief period! Your baby might hate it, though, so this is a great item to borrow from a friend, if you can, before buying!

Only our youngest has really used a sleep sack, but she seems to love this quilted version. I do not think it matters what kind you get – this one was a gift, I think!

Sound machine | Nothing fancy, but we love this one. Definitely get one with raised buttons or you’ll be feeling around in the dark trying to turn it on. This one is great for on-the-go.

Sweet crib sheets, blankets, and muslins | Each of our babies had 1-2 patterned crib sheets, a special blanket for naps at school, and a muslin for a lovey that was also used as a nursing cover, burp cloth, car seat cover… all the things. We have and love pieces from Little Unicorn and Clementine Kids.

On the Go

Stroller + stroller fan + parent console | Strollers, maybe the most out of all baby gear, are extremely personal; what you choose should depend on your lifestyle and how you plan to use it. That being said, we love ours! It’s lasted through all three kids and at this point, the wear-and-tear is showing: the brake has snapped off, the elastic is sagging, and there is significant fading. But we’re still loyal :)

Car seat + base | The Chicco is a classic for a reason. Nothing fancy here, but it gets the job done. We got an adapter for our stroller so we could attach it when they were very young, and that was great! We did have to repurchase this for Annie, since it was out of date by the time she arrived. Shows how much we loved it, because we purchased the exact same thing :)

Ergo | From her fifth day of life to about a year old, June rode in our Ergo 360 several times a week, if not every day… and her siblings followed suit. It was our baby-wearing apparatus of choice by far – easy to use, we could throw it in the wash, comfortable for both John and I to wear, and pleasing to all three babies.


Ikea high chair | To me, this high chair is the apex of form, function, and price. It is sleek, not overwhelming in a space, super easy to clean, and $30 (was $20 when we bought it!). Winner on all fronts. There are lots of cute stores on Etsy (like this one) that sell cushion covers and tray place mats and foot bars if you want to jazz it up a little, too.

Silicone bibs | So easy to keep clean, which is basically all I want in a bib.

Kiinde system | Like strollers and swaddles, there are strong opinions about bottles. The only thing we tried was the Kiinde bag system, and all three babies accepted it, so take that for what you will! While I wish it was more eco-friendly, the convenience of the bags moving straight from pumping to the freezer to the warmer to feeding was a delight.

Glider | I was on the fence about getting a glider, but I’m SO glad we did. (I went the semi-homemade route: bought a $25 glider on Craigslist, bought fabric, and took it to the upholsterer. My favorite thing about it is its petite scale, which makes it easy to get in and out of with a sleeping baby!)

Bamba snacks | To help prevent peanut allergies!

Burt’s Bees cotton burp cloths | I don’t know whyyyyyy these are so expensive, but they really are superlative. We probably have 20 – all white – and there were absolutely days in the first few months when we’d go through all 20 before bedtime. So soft, so easy to fold neatly because of the seams, not too big, not too small… I wish I didn’t have to recommend them so strongly, but I do.

Back soon with part two and the final three categories! In the meantime, I would 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.

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August 30, 2022 9:27 am

We are expecting our first and have no idea where to start on baby gear! Thanks for the tried and tested recommendations! Looking forward to parts 2 and 3 :)

August 31, 2022 8:48 am

I only have 1, and she’s 6 months old, so I’m nowhere near an expert, but the Swaddle Up swaddles were amazing for her! She slept with her arms up and hated having them confined in a velcro swaddle. I also loved the 2-way zipper for middle of the night changes. And I agree- there are so many opinions on bottles! I tried what felt like everything on the planet, but we ended up with the trusty Dr. Brown’s. So many parts but they helped alleviate so much reflux and gas so I really owe Dr. B my sanity, ha!

September 1, 2022 12:56 am

I love these kinds of posts and probably enjoy reading them more now than before I had children! I echo your sentiment about strollers being extremely personal. They are so lifestyle dependent as well. I can’t believe I am that person who owns multiple strollers but they have been essential (for me) for getting out and about at different stages. We loved the stroller you have for our first, and then got a double for when we had two under two, and now have a travel stroller – it’s the only type of stroller that would fit a big baby wearing a rhino brace for hip dysplasia. The travel stroller is now my everyday stroller because it’s so small and light. On the flip side, I did not like using the ergo at all! My husband did but I never felt comfortable with it. Once our babies were big enough we (and they) have loved using hiking backpacks.

I’m curious, do you have any thoughts on transitioning from two to three kiddos? I really enjoyed reading about your transition from one to two.

September 1, 2022 3:41 pm

Sweet Thomas babies!!! Especially since you were the key influencer to my early baby gear decisions (forever grateful for that Target walk-through :)), it’s fun to see which items we have both stayed loyal to going-on-six kids later and where we’ve gone “separate” ways! Ditto-ing the Jenny Lind crib, Lotus pack and play, Little Unicorn swaddles/blankets, the Ikea high chair, and Burt’s Bees burp cloths. We vary the most in the “on the go” category, interestingly!

Kate R
September 2, 2022 4:01 pm

Love this list! My #1 pick after 2 kids is the Dr Brown’s formula pitcher. It’s like $10(?) and saves SO MUCH time in bottle prep for formula drinking kiddos.