1. Doc-a-tot
  2. Graco Pack and Play
  3. Aden and Anais Muslin Blankets
  4. Organic Cotton Burp Cloths
  5. Ubbi steel diaper pail

When my daughter was six years old, we found out that we were going to be welcoming a new baby girl into our family. It was beautiful…a blessing…a miracle…and I was panicking a little bit because we had a fully capable, independent six-year-old who could do things like use the bathroom and get dressed by herself. She could get her own cup of water and feed herself snacks. She could clean up her own toys and put her clothes in the hamper. And we were going to be starting back at zero. The newborn nightmare I was dreading most were the sleepless nights. Mama likes her sleep, and there is never enough of it, even with a 6-year-old. A newborn would surely throw that routine into an uproar. We obviously had some prior knowledge of how to raise a newborn girl, but it is amazing how much things can change in just six years in the baby product market. 

Being the budget conscious family that we are (read: cheapskates), we like to see what we can get through without spending an arm and a leg. These items are all things that seem out of our spend as close to $0 as we can price range. 

  1. Doc-A-Tot

Ok, hear me out. These things are kind of crazy expensive. We got ours second-hand (actually, third hand if you must know). A Doc-A-Tot is a large pillow that has some raised sides where you can place a baby safely. Having a Doc-A-Tot allowed me to lay the baby down safely and play with my older daughter with both hands. It also gave me the chance to fold some laundry, empty the dishwasher, or just rest my body for a few minutes. Big Sister loved to make her Little laugh and coo in the Doc-A-Tot. Little Sister loved to look around and learn all about her world from the view of a comfy resting spot. It is only useful for a few months of life, but those are some of the most difficult months, and this product definitely helped make things easier. 

  1. Graco Pack and Play

We had three different portable cribs within Little’s first months of life. These are just so useful in so many ways for a really long time. And you probably don’t need three. We had the Graco Travel Lite Crib. It appears to be unavailable now because baby products evolve quickly, apparently. I really liked the size of this for putting a sleeping Little next to my bed in the early weeks. She was handy for nighttime nursing, but I wasn’t worried about having her in bed with me. It allowed me to get a few minutes of uninterrupted sleep on the rare occasions she wasn’t crying. This miniature pack and play folds down smaller than the regular size and makes traveling a little more simple*. It was also great as she got older because it was a perfect play yard to put her in when I needed to be hands free. We continued to have this out in our living room until she was 20 months old, but she probably could have used it even longer. We also kept a full-sized Pack and Play (Big Sister hand-me-down) in our bedroom for a safe place to put her from time to time. We still have that up and use it regularly. 

*As great as the smaller Pack and Play is for travel, it is most important that you remember to pack it when you go somewhere. If you don’t, you will need to buy the cheapest one you can find, which will not be Graco, and you will regret every minute of it. Spring for the Graco price. Sometimes you just can’t cheap out on quality.

  1. Aden and Anais Muslin Blankets

They are so pretty, but that is not actually a great reason to buy something, so it may seem. In addition to there being so many beautiful designs, other benefits include that they are huge and they are lightweight. I had 2 warm-weather babies and these make a great cover when you just need to warm up a little. They also make a great playmat for tummy time for a new sitter. They are big enough to cover over a car seat or stroller to keep the sun or other undesirable air contamination out. I use mine as changing pads because they are a little thinner and fit in the diaper bag better. We also just recently used it to cover her legs in the stroller on a chilly night. And did I mention they are pretty? 

  1. Organic Cotton Burp Cloths

If you are new to the baby world, you may not realize that babies spit up. A lot. Like, how can they possibly have any more things inside of themselves to spit up? And why does it keep happening? I found that it was imperative that I had some sort of burp cloth within arms reach at every waking (and sleeping) moment. All burp cloths are not created equal. Some that are a terry cloth material are just too thin and were rendered useless after one to two uses. When I discovered organic cotton burp cloths, I was sure to keep them on hand at all times. They were thick, cute, and washed easily. I’m not entirely sure if it was the organic part, or the cotton part, or the combination of the two, but they were well worth every penny for me. 

  1. Ubbi steel diaper pail

Babies stink. I mean, they are cute, and sweet, and their little heads are just so kissable. They can also create a lot of stink. The baby diaper pail market is valued at just under $400 million, and there are so many different choices available. Some are operated by a foot pedal. Some require their own special bags. Some proclaim that it locks odors inside. This one, the Ubbi steel diaper pail, is made of steel (obviously), which does not absorb odors. It has a sliding door that can lock, so curious hands can’t open it up and let out the stink. Those features truly work, and my Little Love consistently thinks that the locking mechanism is part of how it is opened. She loves to mimic everything I do, and when she can’t get the sliding door to open, she goes right to the lock, which she also can’t get open – good work, Ubbi. This diaper pail holds on to smells so well that when the door is opened, a huge waft of week-old diapers joins the air. This is also quite a problem when it is time to change the bag. The good news is that once the dirty diaper bag is out of there, the smell dissipates and we are back to a good, fresh smell. One feature that I particularly like about the Ubbi is that I can use any trash bag I already have on hand. It fits inside a rim on the inner-workings that holds the top part of the bag in place. It is very easy to change the bags and does not take any special skills or directions. With my Big Love, we used a different brand of diaper pail. By the time she was 18-months old, the smell of dirty diapers had breached the defenses and we had to throw it away. We did not want to pay the price it would cost to get a fancy new diaper pail, so we just made sure to throw them away outside as soon as we could. With the Ubbi, we are just shy of two years, and it is still working as well as it did on day one. At $70, this is a steep price to pay for a place to throw poo…but can you really put a price on clean air? 

Of course, this is just my opinion. There are plenty of people who will think I am wrong, or that I left something off the list, or that I have wasted money on something unnecessary. These are the products that I loved that were not the ordinary bargain price that I am used to paying – and I have no regrets. 

What baby products do you think are worth the splurge? 

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