My Fave Baby Things: The First Year

Our Hunny, Milo, is fourteen months old and it’s safe to say that my husband and I have been through almost every baby-related gadget, onesie, sleepsack, spoon, sippy cup, soother, etc. I am a sucker for marketing and I love pretty things. But, if I don’t like a product I would never recommend it to parents. I spent the last ten years conducting research in graduate school. Research is what I do. So, you can bet your ass I spent an embarrassing number of hours researching some of these products before purchasing. I’m talking reading Mom Blogs, watching YouTube videos, reading every detail about the product on the company website, etc. And then there were products I happened to stumble upon either on Instagram or while strolling through baby stores for hours because I just wanted to get out of the house.

I hope you and your babe find this list of baby things helpful. Save yourself some stress. Click the link. Buy.

1. Miles Baby Playsuits: 


Who knew that finding PJs for a baby would be such a difficult task. Sure, we went through lots of brands and Milo didn’t only wear Miles Baby PJs, BUT, had I known about this brand before having Milo, maybe I would have stocked up on these! At twelve months old, he is now transitioning to two piece PJs (my little man is growing up). But, I must say, these footless playsuits are the PERFECT PJs for your babe. The material is so soft and stretchy. It’s like luxurious sweats for babes. I know there are many baby brands that are super soft and stretchy (usually made from bamboo). The biggest issues I found with the thin bamboo PJs were the tiny, flimsy zippers, and that you have to hang them to dry. The miles baby PJs have a solid, high quality zipper, and you can put them in the dryer. Who has time to hang baby clothes to dry. I need it dry like yesterday! Don’t get me started on SNAPS! Why do baby PJs with snaps even exist? Who likes trying to get those tiny ass snaps done up in the middle of the night, while you’re half asleep, while you’re baby is squirming around. It’s rage inducing. Do yourself a favour and boycott snap PJs and invest in zippers!

Finally, babies vary so much in length and grow at different rates that I find the sizing for baby clothes to be so inaccurate and not consistent across brands (so frustrating if you like online shopping). If a PJ fit Milo one week, the next week his feet were sure to be almost busting through the seams. We always looked for footless PJs for this reason. They last for so long! 

2. Marpac Dohm Sound Machine:

I would add this sound machine to any list of favourite things for anything or anyone that sleeps. I have been using this sound machine myself for years. Why did I think to buy a sound machine you ask? Well, after having surgery on my nose in early 2015, I could hear myself breathing at night. I only breath through my nose when I sleep (so, when I have a cold and a stuffy nose it is a real b*itch). I don’t understand how people fall asleep breathing through their mouth. Doesn’t your mouth get all dry inside? While I was healing after my surgery, I could only breath through my mouth and it was pure torture.

Anyways, back to the sound machine. I couldn’t fall asleep hearing myself breath, so, I started to look into white noise machines. I tried some apps on my phone that make a fan sound, but I didn’t like it. This Marpac sound machine is NOT a speaker playing the audio of a fan. It actually makes the fan sound from the inside with some kind of motor-fan thingy. And, you can adjust the tone by turning the top and opening or closing the vents. It is phenomenal. I bring it everywhere with me… literally. Funny story: I was sleeping at my parents house a couple years ago and I guess my Dad had woken up to use the washroom could hear my sound machine (not knowing what it was). Turns out he was walking around the house in his underwear trying to figure out “what was on”. Woke up my Mom at 3am to tell her something “was on” in the house. My Mom was like “that’s Renee’s sound machine!” Now, if you read anything about babies and sleeping, you’ll see that a sound machine is highly recommended. Since Milo was born he has slept with this sound machine beside his bassinet and now crib. It is the best!   

3. Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder: 

We used these things so much and we still put ice cubes in one when Milo’s teeth are bugging him. Before I was comfortable giving him pieces of solid fruits to eat, we would put them in here and he LOVED chewing them. WARNING: it is messy AF. But, he always looked like he was having so much fun. I usually let him make as much of a mess as he wants and then I just deal with it after. Also, don’t put banana in there. It is a real pain in the ass to clean out.  

4. WubbaNub: 

Besides being insanely cute, these are so handy. Milo has two (a fox and a dog, if you’re wondering), and while they aren’t his “all the time” soothers, they are great for in the car, in the stroller, while playing in the pack and play, etc. Because, they are easy to pick up. Also handy at night time because they can find them easily on their own (that might mean one less trip to your baby’s room, #worthit). If these aren’t “sleep safe” then disregard that last sentence. But if they are then hooray for everyone. If you have dogs they will definitely think its a dog toy and try to steal them, FYI. I don’t know if anyone else has a baby that is super fussy with soother nipples, but, Milo only likes the nipples like the WubbaNub’s have. They aren’t that easy to find. Most soothers have a totally different nipple shape. I never thought my baby would be such a nipple snob.

5. Jimmy Fallon’s DADA and MAMA Books:

These are the most simple books and I think that’s why they work so well for young babes. It’s literally just words repeated over and over. My son LOVED these books. I remember driving back from my friends house one evening and Milo started fussing in the backseat. I started rehearsing lines from the DADA book (“DADA… Moooo, DADA… Woof Woof, DADA… Ribbit Ribbit!”) and he was instantly quiet and happy. I’m not even lying. And yes, I did this the whole 20 minute drive home because I feared that if I stopped, he would cry. This makes me laugh because I literally just did this exact same thing this morning. Milo was being a pissy pants on the way to daycare and even at fourteen months old he loves the ole “DADA… Mooooo” song and dance. He instantly stops whining and listens. I’m like his puppet basically. 

6. Love Child Organics Baby Food Pouches:

One of my favourite things to do when Milo started eating solids (purées) was to make our own. BUT, it took a lot of time and planning to do. I would make a list of recipes I wanted to try out, go buy the ingredients, steam veggies, cook quinoa or rice, bake the chicken breasts, etc. etc. I got super creative. I’d blend the recipes and make a bunch of pouches and freeze them. This was great until we were out for the day, in a rush, or he refused to eat one of my creations (pfffft). I was so happy to have these Love Child Organics pouches on hand. He LOVED every flavour. We only really gave him the meal pouches with protein and veggies. Although, sometimes I would mix a bit of a fruit pouch in his cereal to give it a yummy flavour. These also came in handy when he started daycare as he was a bit reluctant to try their food. But, he was comfortable having the pouches, so I knew if he didn’t eat their food, he would at least have a pouch and a full tummy. I have noticed that during days where teething is being a real bitch, Milo doesn’t want to eat solid foods as much as he normally would. Pouches to the friggin’ rescue!

7. Re-Play No Spill Sippy Cup:

When I first saw these at the local baby store in Sudbury (shout out to Jump!) I couldn’t figure out why they were so popular. I was specifically looking for sippy cups and I was told that these fly off the shelves. So, I bought one. There were other really cute options in the store (for a lot more money) so, naturally I bought one of the cute ones too (because I’m a sucker). Well, turns out the cute one collects dust in our cupboard and I went back to the store to buy a second Re-Play cup. These cups have a removable silicone piece that fits into the lid making it spill-proof!! So, you can fill it with water and put it in your diaper bag or let your babe hold and play with. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough to convince you, these are made from 100% recycled material in the USA. One of our asshole dogs just chewed the lid to one of these. So, off I go today to buy a new one. 

8. Pehr Sleep Bags:

Sleep bags, or fart sacks, as my Mom calls them, are similar to baby PJs in that there are so many brands out there and you think it shouldn’t matter which one you get… they’re all the same… right? NO!! They are not all the same. Some sleep bags have the snaps above the shoulders (like the one in the photo) and some have just arm holes that you have to get your babes arm through. Well, if it just has the arm holes, be aware that if the material is not stretchy, it is going to be a real b*tch to get their arms in. The material of the sleep bag matters. Think of it like your comforter or duvet. How warm or cool is it? Is it thick? Heavy? Depending on the temperature in your babes room, you will have to get a sleep bag with an appropriate TOG. Yes, TOG. Have you seen this acronym on the sleep bag tags? Like me, did you say to yourself “wtf does TOG mean?” Well, thanks to Google, I can tell you that it represents the “warmth” of a product. So, if your babes room is warm, then get a lower TOG sleep bag. If your babes room is cool, get a higher TOG sleep bag. If you look up the brand of sleep bag, they should have a table with the TOG and temperatures. So scientific! Next up is zippers. I’ve realized I have a thing about zipper quality. But, when you’ve had to physically rip a $70 brand new bamboo sleep bag off your child because the zipper is jammed (I won’t mention any names but it rhymes with Byte)… you become a raging lunatic about zippers. To be honest I’ve had trouble with zippers on all our sleep bags (Pehr included). But, I weighed the pros and cons. I wish Miles Baby made sleep bags with their zippers. I know what you’re thinking, “why don’t you just marry a Miles Baby zipper!?”

9. Dr. Brown’s Bottles:

If your baby has gas (your baby WILL have gas) these bottles are a must-have. When Milo first started getting a bottle, we had Avent. Then, when we noticed he had a gassy tummy at night, we switched to the Medela bottles that are supposed to be similar to breastfeeding or something. He was still a gassy babe. So, after more research, I came across these Dr. Browns bottles. They helped Milo’s tummy so much! The little contraption on the inside prevents the babe from sucking in air. Genius. Why don’t all baby bottles do this? Milo still uses these today. The one major downside that you should be prepared for is the extra cleaning involved. The pieces inside are annoying to clean but… I’d rather take a few extra minutes to clean them than have a gassy babe. 

10. Huggies Little Movers Slip-On Diapers:

I’m not even sure why other diapers exist. When Milo was a newborn we tried a few brands of diapers. Other than Huggies, we didn’t like any of them. Huggies have been our go-to! I have some friends who swear by other brands, but, I just can’t understand it. When we tried other brands I was so annoyed with the feel of them, the fit, and the velcro little strappy things at the sides were not sticky enough! I had a hard time with that last point. How do you describe doing up diapers at the side? What do you call the little velcro-like things? When Milo was just a little blob that didn’t move, we used the regular diapers that you seal yourself at the sides. Well, when Milo started moving like a bat outta hell, we came across these slip-on Huggies. #lifechanging. The slip-ons make it so easy to put a diaper on a busy-body baby. Milo can be crawling away and I can still wriggle them on. He can be standing up playing with toys and I can slip them on. It has relieved so much stress in the changing diapers category of our lives. And, not to worry, when you want to take off the diaper, you can still undo the velcro strappy things at the side. Similarly, if you want to tighten the diaper or loosen it, you can undo the sides and re-adjust. But, I recommend just leaving it alone and moving on with your life. You need these diapers!!! 

11. Baby Zen Yo-Yo Stroller:

In my opinion, the best stroller to use when your baby is tiny and not sitting up on their own will not be the best stroller when they are able to sit up on their own. So, it was a real slap in the face when we kinda drifted away from our expensive travel system stroller (the one that the infant carseat clicks into). That travel system stroller (we have the Quinny) came with a “big boy” seat (that’s what I call it) to use when he grew out of the infant carseat. We have barely used this seat because once he was big enough to sit up on his own we switched to the Baby Zen Yo-Yo. Initially we bought this stroller because we were travelling to Vancouver and wanted a light weight stroller that folded up nicely. Well… I love this stroller so much that now we use it as our every day stroller. It stays in the back of the car and goes everywhere with us. It has super handy accessories like an umbrella, shopping bag, backpack you can carry the stroller in, etc. I can also whip it open with one hand while holding Milo in the other arm. People in the grocery store parking lot look at me like I’m a god damn magician… and I feel like one.

I hope you find this list and mini-rants helpful in your search for the best baby products! Stay tuned for my fave postnatal products (seriously, everyone who has a vaginal birth needs these items) and my ultimate hospital bag (suitcase) for the most high maintenance of mama’s to be (that was me).


XOXO Renee Reina

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1 Comment
  • Mimi
    November 15, 2019

    Great piece Renee! New parents can read and use your tips as they wish . Hopefully they will have as much success as you had.

YOGA: physical challenges, raging anxiety, and prenatal practice
My Fave Baby Things: The First Year