Guava Lotus Crib + Bassinet

We don't have a regular "crib." Our 2yo still sleeps in this daily. You can buy a bassinet insert for <$100 which we used as well. We love him being on the ground, and the zip side is incredibly useful. It makes a good transition into a toddler bed, since you can unzip it and let them figure out the freedom of a grown-up bed.

Amazon link

Lillebaby Complete Airflow Carrier

We've extensively used it hiking and international traveling, and it's held up phenomenally well. The air mesh is wonderful even in winter. It's $50 cheaper than the popular ErgoBaby, and it doesn't require an additional $25 infant insert. It fits both 5'4" mom & 5'10" dad well.

Amazon link

Deuter Kid Comfort Hiking Pack

Everyone gets the Osprey version, but the Deuter is 5x more comfy for the kid. The Deuter has a large washable pad in front of the kids' face and high sides so when they fall asleep, their head is supported. Kids' heads in the Osprey hang at 90 degrees and bounce with you.

Amazon link

Dog Crate

Yes, it's way better than portable kids tents, better made, and cheaper. There's 2 layers of zippered doors: screen and full cover on 2 sides and the top. The zippers can be locked in place so they can't finger the zipper open. It folds flat. There's a small cushion on the bottom that's sufficient to sleep on. This is our travel-everywhere containment bed.

Amazon link

Baby Bjorn Rocker

It's ridiculously expensive, but it's tensioned so that when your baby starts moving or crying, it bounces, soothing them back to sleep. It also has 3 recline positions as your baby grows.  Many babies don't sleep flat on their backs, and this one is just a simple piece of canvas fabric, rather than a plush pillow material that babies could suffocate on. It really blew the other rockers away.

Amazon link

Boppy Lounger

Almost thought of returning this gift, but it's great!  You can lounge Baby anywhere in the house much easier than moving a Baby Bjorn-type rocker. Much more useful than the more popular Boppy Nursing pillow. Nearly 2,000 4.8 stars...

Amazon link

Bumbo seat

Once your baby can sit up, you can prop them up on the counter while you work! Can bring them in other rooms with you while you work. Comes with an optional tray.

Amazon link

Summer Infant Pop & Sit Portable Booster

This thing is like gold. We use it nearly every time we go out. Kids won't fit in regular highchairs until at least 1 year, if not longer. Many places actually don't have highchairs. Or your kid needs to eat when you're out and about, not at a restaurant (the most frequent scenario). The ingenious part is it comes with straps so you can fasten it to any conventional chair, in either/both side-to-side and back-to-front directions. We keep this in the trunk of the car.

Amazon link

Guzzie+Gus Highchair

This one fits thick tables and has a great 5-point harness.

Amazon link

Changing table

We don't have a separate changing table--they're expensive and  just another piece of furniture you'll need to get rid of. We have a Lysol-able nylon pad we set up on a bed, chest of drawers, or the floor, and a simple box.

travel changing table

Kirkland Signature diapers and wipes

They're Huggies diapers rebranded.

OXO wipes dispenser

This dispenser has a weighted plate on top so when you pull a wipe, the rest stay down. It's necessary for one-hand operation with a poopy diaper.

Amazon link

Amazon Basics enhanced doggie bags

Disposal of the doo.

Childress changing pad

Simple, affordable, functional. It's no frills, doesn't have changing "station" pockets built in, folds up flat, and has a shower-curtain nylon material to disinfect and wipe clean. We have one for the house and one for the to-go diaper bag.

Amazon link

Diaper bag

Really, whatever backpack you have. Marketed diaper bags are big, heavy, and expensive.  The Tom Bihn Daylight Backpack works well, along with REI toiletry zips (one for diapers, one for formula/bottles). Packing cubes work really well too.

Miracle Blanket swaddle

There's hundreds of swaddles out there, and we preferred ones without velcro or snaps. This one has a long tail you wrap around baby multiple times.

Woolino wearable blanket

One side's merino wool, the other cotton. This one works for 2 months - 2 years; there's snaps on the side to make the armholes larger. It's an investment that will last. One of the best gifts we received and I hope to spread its usefulness.

Amazon link

Gerber wiggle proof socks

So many socks are short, cute, and non-functional. These actually stayed on. They run small--the 6mo size fit our baby starting at 3mo.

Primary.com

It is impossible to find baby clothes that don't come in multi-packs of mind-numbing greys/navy blues or pinks/flowers. Primary.com has a brilliant business: they offer 20+ solid rainbow colors and 20+ styles.  Mix and match. Great idea for a gift card for a present!

Primary.com. Solid rainbow of colors and simple styles. Most <$10.

RoshamboBaby sunglasses

They're indestructible--bendable, flexible, chewable--and come in matching adult sizes! Proceeds help Autism charities.  Don't forget the backstrap and ear adjuster kit for the kids! Great idea for a baby shower gift!

Deuter Kikki Kids Backpack

The moment that critter can walk, load 'em up! Kids love carrying their stuff and I don't want a day lost that I have to lug their stuff around. Win-win situation.

Amazon link

Adjustable swim diapers

Fits newborn thru 3 years.

Amazon link

Motherhood Maternity Clip-Down Nursing bra

The price is right and it's comfy.

Lansinoh hot/cold pack

Microwaveable or freezer-able.  Really helped to use warm before pumping to get the milk flowing, and to freeze to help reduce engorgement when stopping feeding.

Breast pump

If you can get one, rent a hospital-grade pump from a hospital.  They're more powerful and more comfortable, and will save you tons of time not attached to a terrible vacuum device.

Dr. Brown's bottles

The green inserts prevent a vacuum in the bottle, so baby doesn't swallow air and burp.

Cloth diapers for burp cloths

They're cheap, they're white, they're big enough, they're thick enough. Most burp cloths are way too small, and they're 3x the price!  Stash one in every room.

Munchkin formula dispenser

Another simple item that no one else gets right.

Amazon link

Boon Lawn drying mat

Comes in various sizes and colors.

Kirkland Signature Formula

Kirkland Signature is manufactured in the same facility as Similac at nearly 1/2 the cost. Comparing ingredients is nearly identical until you get halfway down the "Less than 2% of" list, and the containers are exactly the same.  The Wirecutter also named Kirkland Signature as their Best Buy. (Sidenote: Similac for sensitive stomachs has corn syrup as the first ingredient and sugar as the 5th ingredient, instead of milk lactose and whey protein.)

Jumbo ice cube trays

We started offering our baby pureed food at 4 months. Spend an afternoon a week pureeing frozen veggies and fruit and re-freezing into ice cubes. Have a store of all kinds of ice cubed foods for easy meals!

Amazon link

Pacifier evolved: Wubbanub

Avent Soothie + beanie baby.  They come in a vast array of animals.  The pacifier is permanently attached to the stuffed animal, so it can rest on baby's stomach and they might find it again without needing your Pacifier Re-Insertion Specialist skillz.

Amazon link

Fisher Price Whale of a Tub

Who would've thought it'd be so difficult to find a simple tub?  We were ready to resort to a Rubbermaid bin.  Tubs nowadays have weird scoop shapes in the bottom to make it nearly impossible to drown, but then Baby can barely move and kick around! This one's literally a mini tub. (This isn't to be confused with Fisher Price's Planet of a Whale tub, which has weird scoops.)

3 Sprouts laundry hamper

Cute animals, great price, mesh bottom (so clothes don't stink like sour milk), the flaps have holes that double as the dirty clothes insertion point and handles.

Amazon link

Japanese Nail Scissors

Seriously, I don't know how there's so many out there that are crap. I never once feared cutting my kid's fingers.

Amazon link

Hand/Foot Inkprint

Get baby's hand/feetprints in first 2 weeks before they plump up and get fat--all their palm/sole features disappear.

Amazon link

Zno Little Black Book Album

Kids love to look at photos of themselves. These books are printed on boards, so they're pretty indestructible. It's 24 images, no text, and you can import from Instagram or your phone. I make one at the end of each month and it's pretty painless to do, and seeing the collection grow on our bookshelf is heartwarming.

Zno link

Meh

4moms infant tub.  The temperature control is kinda cool, but the tub was a terrible configuration.  Baby would slide all the way down and be scrunched awkward.

Boppy Nursing Pillow. I only breastfed for a month.  At that size, Baby was too small to even use the boppy nursing pillow. I had to stack pillows. Maybe when they're larger, if you breast feed that long?

The Baby Shusher. It's impossible to tell what noise level it's set at, and since it's shaped like a bugle, it's deceptively loud in one direction.  And it only has 2 settings: turn off at 15min and turn off at 30min--it won't keep going.

Any baby PJs or clothing that are all snaps. Please, for the love of parents out there, use zippers.

Toys that look like food. Please, every baby needs to learn what's edible and what's not as a safety concern. Don't get them food-looking toys.

KidCo pop-up tent. Actually, it was great, but wore out quickly. The nylon pulled apart where the tent poles came together within 1 year.