While I was visiting Sarah, I mentioned I had been thinking of blogging about my current thoughts on baby/toddler gear, and Sarah said, “yes please. I need you to.” So I am.

I am, on the whole, very pleased with most of our baby stuff. Of course, there are a few things I would do differently if we were having another baby. So, I guess I’ll start with the do-overs.

1. Travel System – I would skip this. I totally loved our baby car seat and I like the stroller too, but it’s just so gosh-darned big. A snap and go stroller would be smaller, lighter and serve the same purpose. Plus, it’s less expensive than a travel system and gives you time to figure out what you really require in a stroller (do you need a big basket, can you live without a baby tray, something that can off-road easily?). You could purchase a snap and go at a consignment sale since the amount of time you’ll be using it is small, but in general, I think buying strollers new is the way to go.

2. Baby Monitor – I totally love our monitor. But at about 9 months, I started to really wish I had a video monitor. That way, I could know if Colton was crying because he didn’t want to nap or because he had pulled up and couldn’t figure out how to get down. I think regular sound-only monitors are great, but if I could do it over again, I think I would go the video route.

3. Bumbo – Everybody seems to have one or want one. Ours didn’t see much use, unless I was babysitting another baby close to Colton’s age. I totally could have done without this, but I can see it being handy if I have a second baby while Colton is still young. This is something I see frequently at consignment sales; since it wears well, easy to wipe = perfect used buy!

4. Diaper Bag – I used the Hop Skip Duo Deluxe for the first four months of Colton’s life. It was a great “new baby” diaper bag, since it had a ton of space. But, it didn’t have a zip closure and despite the fact that there were two pockets on the inside, it was so large it quickly became a black hole. Plus, the shoulder strap was always slipping off, which annoyed me. And, as Colton got older, I realized I didn’t need all that space. At most, I only left him for three hours, and then that was always in a situation where there were plenty of toys, and even extra diapers if needed. So, I switched to the JuJuBe MiniBe and never looked back. I LOVE it. This is a small bag, but easily holds 4 diapers, a hard wipes case, changing pad, change of clothes, bottle or sippy, formula, snacks, a few small toys, hand sanitizer, and my keys. The backpack style is perfect for me, so I can be hands free when I have a lot of things to carry, or have hands free to let Colton walk. Plus, all of JuJuBe’s bags are machine washable, which I am beginning to think is a necessity in a diaper bag (think about it – these things get DIRTY with all the places they go and sit on the ground, being touched by sticky little hands, plus the possibility for bottle and sippy spills). These bags are pricy, but I think they’re worth it; the organization and thought for function put into these bags is just impeccable. I’ve used my bag for about a year now and have no complaints. These also come in more manly, solid colors for husbands!

But what do I love? (Besides my undying love for JuJuBe products?)

1. Miracle Blankets – My love for these know no bounds. I had two for Colton, but I saw one on super clearance at Target recently and snatched it up. No, I am not currently pregnant, but these things are just so fantastically awesome that I needed to buy it. (You can read more about my love for the Miracle Blanket here and here.)

2. The Sleepy Wrap (now known as Boba Wrap) – Some people swear by the Moby Wrap, but I prefer this hands down. With the Moby, you have to tie it leaving room for baby, the Boba Wrap is stretchy, so there’s no guess-work as to how much room you need to leave. Either way, I used my wrap a ton for well over six months – it was perfect for shopping, family walks, and any other light activity.

3. Bright Starts Automatic Bouncer – In my opinion, this is the best baby bouncer, bar none. It’s billed as the the only bouncy seat that bounces, as opposed to vibrates, which is what I loved about it. Rather than buzzing, it mimics the motion of a mom carrying and gently bouncing her baby, which I think makes it more soothing. Bouncers are small, so if you’re only going to get a bouncer or a swing, I recommend this one.

4. Fisher Price Healthy Care Deluxe Booster Seat – We’ve used this with Colton since he first started solids and I have no complaints. Since there’s no fabric, its easily wipe-able. The tray is small (but I can still fit small plates on it) so it fits in the dishwasher. I cannot imagine having a larger tray that I couldn’t put in the dishwasher regularly. Sure I wipe down the tray after each meal, but it still gets gunky enough that regular trips in the dishwasher are wonderful things. This seat straps to an existing chair, so it is great for those who have limited space, or just don’t want an expensive, bulky high chair. I love that I can easily take this with us when we travel since it folds into a little square.

So, that’s my take on baby stuff. Stay tuned as I will soon be asking you to help me solve some storage/toy rotation problems I’ve been mulling over.