Newborn to Six months: Baby 'Must-Haves'




Being a new mom is overwhelming enough without the thousands of options 
presented to you as "must haves" for your baby.

During my pregnancy,  it became my part-time job to research baby gear & read reviews till I found the 
best products for our lifestyle and family. 

I really love sustainable, eco-conscious & Canadian made products 
My palette of choice is a minimalist colour scheme of neutral tones, bright colours being an accent.
 (As an artist it was important that things coordinated and didn't look like a confetti of primary colours exploded everywhere in our home - which I feel most baby items are designed to look like) 
I also really like products with natural ingredients. With baby toys I prefer wooden and plush over plastic and toys that encourage exploration and creativity, over active toys with all the lights and sounds. 

Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I'd like to share a list of the best products I have found for newborn - 6 months old.
I want to clarify that 'must -haves' is more of an expression - baby's really have very few true must-haves: a warm & safe place to sleep, milk (and a way to drink it) and a committed parent to help them feel loved. Diapers also help. 

So without further a do - here is my Elenour approved list: 

*Feeding & Health Items*

Silicone bottles : Como Tomo
These bottles have been heaven sent. They are wide and easy to clean, they are silicone so they can't break like glass bottles can but are a great option if you want to look for a non-plastic bottle option. They are also anti-colic and are really good from switching back and forth from breast to bottle as they feel 'breast- like' and are a true 'slow-flow'. I have also heard of moms using these bottles as a way to wean older babies (who don't want to take a bottle) off the breast.  I bought ours at well.ca 

                 Along with the bottles here are some other products we have really loved

Natural Baby bottle soap - Dapple Bottles & Dishes 
Boon drying rack - Nice to have a place to let bottles 'live' 
Munchkin bottle brush - This has been really helpful  and it comes with a 'nipple brush'

Big Burp cloths & Swaddles : Aden + Anais
I feel like there are a lot of great brands of both these items. But I really liked the Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs - They are big and durable and come in a lot of fun patterns and colours. They can also be used as both a bib & burp cloth as their name suggests. Also the Muslin swaddles by Aden +Anais are the
softest swaddles I have and I love them!

Pacifiers : BOKA natural maple wood pacifiers
I feel like everyone saw Elenour with a wooden pacifier they were so interested about them. These are Canadian maple soothers that we have really liked. Elenour uses them to soothe and, recently, has found another use for them as teethers by turning them around. They come in two different sizes and different nipple types. We used silicone but natural latex is also available.  http://www.arboreka.ca


Diaper cream / Barrier cream : Solution Nappy Ointment 
This stuff smells so good and it's quite magical at healing diaper rash. It's main ingredients are Organic Calendula, Shea Butter & St. John's Wort

Eco friendly & Chemical-free diapers : Honest Company Diapers - Parasol 
These are the diapers we have been using - I think they both have their advantages and as Elenour grew, at different times one brand seemed to fit better than the other. Parasol diapers are very soft and absorbent, and each pack comes with two different designs. However, they don't have a newborn size to start off with. I find Honest company fits better all around and prevents more leaks. They often go on sale on Amazon.ca & Well.ca so it's worth stalking up! Both these brands sell beautiful diapers that keep our planet beautiful as well! They also have subscription options but, as we changed sizes so quickly, it was easier to buy more of one size when we needed it.


 Baby Bath: Blooming Baby 
This was a perfect option for us, having a large sink and wanting something padded. I really like how it hugs your sink and creates a soft and safe surface for a baby bath. It also looks adorable. We have a white and grey flower but they come in all different colours. They are also adorable for baby's first bath photos. 

Nail Trimmer: bbluv Baby Electric Nail Trimmer
Those hands, those little nails, oh so cute but OH SO SHARP! I was pretty terrified of cutting baby's nails so I opted for the option that put my mind at ease. I found this trimmer to be pretty good. I felt at peace using it from the start and would recommend for the nervous parent who wants those nails shorter. Once Elenour's hands grew bigger - around 6 months we switched to a nail clipper that my husband uses just to save time- I still only use this Electric trimmer if I need to. 



* Activity Related Items* 

Baby Bouncer :  BABYBJÖRN
I loved this bouncer because it was is a kinetic/ natural bouncer verses the typical plug or battery kind. This was the bouncer that had an abundance of good reviews and after having it for 6 months I know why. This is also a great place to put babies down, Elenour loved to sit and be rocked in it - its unplugged so you can take it with you into the washroom or when you're taking a shower and you can pull the cover off and wash it. I think the best selling feature about this is that you get quite a long use out of it. Elenour still uses it now even as she is over 6 months and has started to learn how to rock herself in it which is fun to watch( the website claims it's good until age two, a much longer time then I have seen for other bouncers). I found Elenour really liked being upright as a newborn, to keep an eye on her surroundings, and was content sitting close to us in her BabyBjorn bouncer. 

Activity Gym: Bubs & Windy 
Canadian made, thick and cushy activity gym that matches a neutral colour scheme. When I found this brand - I had already received an activity gym off our registry so I returned it and bought this one instead. Everyday I am so thankful I did! It is beautiful and is well made. It has an extra padded base so it's good to use on harder floors. Elenour is 6 months now and still enjoys it (even though it's starting to give in to her advanced "wrestling" moves)

Breathable Baby wraps: Keep Company Goods - Tuck & Bundle 
I loved the idea of wearing my sweet newborn and so I did a lot of research to find some baby wraps that were breathable as I knew Canadian summers & babies - can get fairly toasty. Keep Company Goods is a Canadian company and I really like how soft and breathable their wrap is ( they use a unique blend of organic cotton and bamboo) Their website is www.keepcompanygoods.com


Tuck & Bundle is based out of Texas and I really loved the colours their wraps came in as well as their branding. Also made out of a breathable Lendzing Micromodal material that is super soft. Their website is tuckandbundleshop.com. 

Foam Play Mat: Skip n Hop Geo Tiles
Right about the time Elenour started turning over, I started looking for an option for foam mats. I had found an amazing company named Little Nimrod that makes designer floor mats - but they only deliver to the US. And although I tried and strategized a way to bring them over the border, I found an alternative that has worked well with my monochrome theme. Skip Hop's Play spot geo foam tiles. They come in black and cream as well as grey and cream and can be used to make a larger variety of patterns. 
Special items: Cuddle & Kind dolls 
When I first saw these dolls I fell in love, but holding them in my hand I was blown away by the detail and quality of them. They are an investment, but each doll supports 10+ meals that go to children in Peru. Also all the dolls are handmade by fair-wage women employees in Peru. We since have raved about them to other friends and would HIGHLY recommend. They can be found at cuddleandkind.com

*Sleep Related Items *

Sleep sacks:  Love to Dream  -   Juddlies
I found that Elenour slept best in her sleep sacks - especially as a newborn. We got a couple hand me down Love to Dream sleepsacks and we had to go buy more because we loved them. They allow baby's hands to be up inside the sack which Elenour really liked but it kept their sharp nails away from their soft faces at night (which is very helpful). Elenour has used hers up until 6 months but I know other baby's have not been a fan once they have gotten more mobile around 4+ months. 
In that case what I recommend is Juddlies which is a Canadian company that makes thick sleepers you can use during all seasons. The open arms mean babies can wear short sleeve sleepers underneath it in the summer or long sleeve ones in the winter. Elenour has really enjoyed using her Juddlies sleepsack and since its not the first layer of defence against leaks, it doesn't get dirty as often, so we can reuse it night after night. (Yey!) You can find these online at Well.ca

Baby Lounger: Snuggle me organic
I really loved having a safe and cozy place for Elenour to nap that wasn't in my arms. We originally had a Boppy lounger but she out grew it within the first couple of months and it didn't have a cover to clean like the snuggle me does. Since buying my Snuggle me I have seen it used with super fresh newborns and they often love it. Check out their website at snugglemeorganic.com - they also have products called 'imperfects' that are discounted & posted on Thursday.

Sound Machine: Soundbub
I have a love-hate relationship with sound machines but a love-love relationship with sleep.  We had previously gotten another white noise machine as a gift and my husband and I weren't loving the sounds it made - I also didn't find it particularly soothing. I had a friend who recommended this one and we love it. It can be used plugged in or cordless (when it's charged) and has three nature-based sounds. The first is a ocean shore ( our favourite), the second is rain fall and the last is a bubbling brook.  

Baby Monitor: Nanit
This was our most recent purchase- we had an audio only monitor until it stopped working for no apparent reason. Thankfully we got a refund and were able to use that money towards the Nanit. I will say this is quite the investment - it's like the Apple of baby monitors. It is slick and has amazing video quality and operates as an app on your phone. It sends you notifications when movement is detected in the crib or when sound is detected. It also has a monthly sleep analysis feature where you can see daily breakdowns of your child's sleep and can give you feed back on how to improve it. We haven't tried the monthly sleep analysis yet, although it comes with one month free with purchase of the monitor. So far I have really like the Nanit - I like that it's just an app and not an extra device I need to charge and keep with me. I like that unless I keep the app open and stare at the screen, I can just go on with my day and know I'll be alerted if she is turning or crying. We bought ours on Buybuybaby.ca  

Travel Crib: BABYBJÖRN travel crib/ play yard light
I really love this travel crib because it is really easy to set up, has a nice padded mattress and is also light and compact to carry. This crib is ideal for the nights out or over at family. I have also heard it used as an actual crib in urban apartments that are tight on space.




Bedtime Book: The Jesus Storybook Bible 
This book is the best. I find it interesting and engaging as an adult and the colourful illustrations are great for children.  This book has so much wisdom but packaged down to a funny and child friendly retelling of the Bible stories - all the while pointing to Jesus in each story. I think this book is as important for adults as it is for children, bringing the stories to life and helping us look at them differently as part of a unified story.  




*** Baby Furniture***

I haven't listed any nursery furniture / high chairs and you may be curious as to why. 
The reason is almost all of Elenour's Bedroom furniture was upcycled and refinished by Jonathan and I.
We used an old desk a friend had given us to create her change table ( with the addition of a change pad & wooden box for wipes and ointment) We used an old dresser we had refinished a couple years ago for her clothing. We got a rocking chair from REstore and refinished it as well. We also refinished her highchair that we found on Kijiji that a family had used for all their five children.

We refinished most of the baby furniture for two main reasons, first I wanted solid wood baby items that would last generations - that was important to me - especially since a lot of 'fake wood' has harmful glues that gas off and are harmful to humans. 

Second, it was a huge money saver. Baby furniture can cost a fortune- especially for hardwood, so we sourced our own pieces and finished them ourselves. *disclaimer* It will take way longer than you plan for you to finish your pieces so give yourself plenty of time in advance of baby! 

The only thing bought for the nursery was the crib. It is the convertible oval shaped crib called Sleepi by Stokke. We originally started with a mini crib that we had bought second hand and upgraded to the expansion full size crib when Elenour out grew it ( they say it lasts for the first 6 months, but Elenour is quite long for a baby her age so we moved her in around 4 months. 

I really recommend this crib for 4 main reasons - first it is hardwood and durable. Second it is beautiful and the mini crib that works as a bassinet takes the most adorable birds eye-view photos. Third - possibly it's best feature, it fits through door frames and has wheels it can be rolled easily from room to room. 
This is really great for transitioning baby out of your bedroom and into their own. Fourth- it is convertible so it can convert from bassinet size to full crib to toddler bed ( with the additional purchase of expansion packs and mattresses) 

Finally, a new mama tip - there are a lot of baby things you can get second hand like off Kijiji or Facebook Market place or Once upon a child. Just make sure you can wash them & clean them well.




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