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You asked: Baby Products I ADORE

I've gotten several inquiries lately asking about the latest and greatest baby must-haves and I figured with the Target baby sale going on right now (ends Saturday), it is an appropriate time to talk baby. Whether you're an expecting mother or need to buy a baby gift soon, this post is for you.

I'm going to first start off by stating the obvious - what works for one mom, might not work for another. These are purely recommendations as to what has worked for me and some of my mommy friends. I think it's important for y'all to know that I am a minimalist. I personally don't believe in all the extra "fluff." The baby industry is a multi-buzillion dollar industry that lures mothers into thinking if they don't have it, they won't be able to function. Reality check - save your money and stop stressing over your registry. You don't need a special sanitizer for a pacifier that lands on the ground for two seconds. It's also important to know that I am pretty hard-knocks when it comes to raising children. I don't think bottle warmers are necessary. Or wipe warmers. Do you really want your kid wigging out when you're changing them out of the backseat of the car because you don't have a warm wipe for his precious bum? Save yourself the outrage.

Besides the essentials like the high-chair, carseat, changing pad, and such; here are some top picks that we adore (in no particular order):

1) The Brookstone Tranquil Moments White Noise Machine: This has been my lifesaver. Many pediatricians recommend white noise as part of a baby's sleep regimen. The monotony of an external noise is extremely soothing especially for babies with colic. It is also great at filtering and masking distracting outside noises so baby will stay sleeping. Chase's favorite two settings: White (scratchy) noise at night and Car noise for nap.

2) Aden & Anais Swaddle Wraps: A good swaddle blanket is a MUST. The tighter you can wrap that baby up, the better. The Aden & Anais allows you to do just that. 100% Cotton Muslin's light, open weave fabric allows a baby's body temperature to regulate itself naturally in order to prevent overheating. They are a bit stiff at first but will get softer as you wash them. Aden & Anais wraps are a generous size, measuring 47" x 47", so that new and seasoned moms alike can swaddle babies of all sizes with ease.

3) Puj Tub bathtub for newborn/ Primo Eurobath for 6+ months: Ahhh the Puj tub. Can't say enough good things about this product. A revolutionary bathtub design that fits in both pedestal and bathroom counter sinks and can be hung and stored flat. Say goodbye to an aching back AND storing a big bulky tub. The hypo-allergenic, non-toxic foamy material supports and comforts baby and makes bathing super easy. At six months when the baby has outgrown the Puj Tub, I suggest the Primo Eurobath. Again, a LIFESAVER. I love the freedom that this tub offers. The unique molding cradles the baby safely and allows them to lounge back and splash around, while allowing both of your hands free to bathe. Both of these tubs, get a DOUBLE THUMB'S UP!

4) Summer Infant's Video Monitor: I've never used a monitor so I can't stand 100% behind this one but my girlfriends swear by the video monitor. Although much more spendy than a noise monitor, the video will save you from unnecessary interruptions/walk-ins. You want one with great zoom and pan features, no static and a clear picture. This particular video monitor is currently on sale at Target - marked down from $199 to $149.

5) Swing or Vibrating Bouncer: My son hated the swing. I, on the other hand as a baby, spent countless hours in the swing. Again, each kid is so different. Chase however loved the bouncer. Deciding between a bouncer or a swing is a tough one but you definitely need one of them. Heck register for both but if you're limited on space, I would say go with the bouncer. My girlfriend whose son sleeps like a baby in the swing, would tell you different. BUT...I personally like the bouncer because it is very portable. I would bring the bouncer in the bathroom so I could shower. Then I'd move it next to me at the computer. Then I'd move it in front of the TV for some Baby Einstein stimulation. I liked it's versatility and portability most. And they are CHEAPER. ;) The Rainforest Bouncer that Chase loved is currently on sale at Target - marked down from $54.99 to $49.99

6) Pampers Swaddler's Diapers: Hands down - the. best. diaper. on. the. market. Unlike Huggies, they don't leak. This isn't a recommendation. This is a must buy. Don't waste your money on other brands. Pampers Swaddlers are the only way.

7) Bob "Revolution" Jogging Stroller: Another one that I haven't personally used but after experiencing the enthusiasm that exudes from my friends that have the Bob, I can assure you it's well worth the money. With Chase, I bought the Chicco Travel System. Although I used it quite frequently when I could still transport Chase in and out of the car in the carseat, it was bulky and didn't allow me to work out/run with it. Once Chase outgrew the Chicco carseat, I moved on to a small MaClaren umbrella stroller and never used the Chicco stroller again. If I could go back, I would have bucked up for the Bob from the get-go. It's got great versatility - good for the everyday errands and amazing for working out. To make it a travel system, you can buy the carseat adaptor.

8) Ergo Baby Carrier: Another one that my mommy friends recommend. I used the Baby Bjorn and never had any problems with it but the majority of moms swear that the Ergo is 10 times more comfortable for both parent and baby. The only down side about the Ergo that I see is that the baby can only face inward. Chase loved to be able to look out once he got big enough in the Bjorn. But you can use the Ergo for much longer as it will accommodate more weight. If you are wondering about a wrap - 1) they are too hard for men to figure out, nor do they want to be all wrapped up and 2) they always seemed too hard to maneuver out of when I needed to transfer a sleeping baby.

9) Lots and lots of onesies, sleep sacks & pajamas that zip - not button! Forget all the cute outfits and shoes. Babies LIVE in onesies their first three months. And they grow out of things so quickly, it's not worth wasting your money on tons of cute clothes that they'll wear once and most likely spit up on. Due to the high risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), sleep sacks are great for newborns since it is advised that no blankets be in the crib. And lastly, if I had any say in the manufacturing of baby clothes, I would ban all buttons on pajamas. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to button pajamas in the dark.

10) Boon Drying Rack: This drying rack is easy to dry a variety of things all at once, not just bottles. It's a little more expensive than other drying racks but it's more than just a cheap piece of plastic. The grass blades holds everything straight up and keeps them organized. A product after my own heart.

So there you have it. Again, only suggestions but ones that have been tried and tested by real moms. My one word of advice - aim for simple and functional. If you are looking to give a gift, I suggest going with a theme. Set your budget and then pick two or three like items off their registry. Pair the bathtub with a towel and washcloth set or with some Aveeno shampoo and body lotion. Pair the swaddle blankets with some pajamas or a bedtime book. If you want to give diapers, give some wipes and Triple Paste Diaper Rash Cream. Pair the drying rack with the bottles specified on her registry and a bottle washing brush. You get the idea.

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