Since 2009, Jessica and Samantha have been contributing writers for Lady And The Blog on everything from the runway looks at Fashion Week, to celebrity interviews straight from the movie sets. Over the course of time, we have become great friends, and in recent months, had our babies within 8 weeks of each other. Having become expert product reviewers during our time at Lady And The Blog, and taking a lesson or two from our experiences as new moms, we sought out to sift through the overwhelming amount of baby gear out there to find the most essential products as one enters parenthood. Samantha with her baby girl Penelope, and Jessica with her baby boy Noah, bring you the New Moms Essential Baby Gear Guide, exclusively on Lady And The Blog, to share with you our experiences with our favorite must-haves in the baby product market. Whether you’re a mom (or dad!) for the first time, or have been to this rodeo before, we aim to present you with the finest quality, cutting-edge, and most importantly, safest products that make this most rewarding and challenging new phase in your life, that much more enjoyable!
OUR FAVORITE HIGH CHAIR: Bloom Fresco Chrome
This high chair has every bell and whistle make your life easier. The seat rotates 360 degrees and the pneumatic pole adjust up and down which means that it’s easy to adjust the seat so baby is sitting up to the table with the rest of the family for meal times. The wheels hidden in the base of the high chair means it’s easy to move the chair around on a whim and the 3 position recline (a fully lie-flat newborn cradle, semi recline and upright seat) means the chair adjusts to every phase of baby’s development so they are always safe and secure and sitting up to the table with the rest of the family fostering wonderful family dinners from birth. As if that wasn’t enough, the chair and liner are easy to clean and the removable tray washes right in your dishwasher.
This is by far the most commented-upon piece of baby gear in my apartment. They Bloom Fresco Chrome is so sleek and futuristic looking most people don’t realize it’s a high chair at first glance. I love the thought that went into the little details of this high chair designed to make my life easier, like the internal storage that holds all the different parts to transition the chair between baby’s different stages, and the nesting trays which means I can remove the top tray after meals, throw it in the dishwasher to be cleaned and have a clean space for baby to play without having to take him out of the high chair. The Bloom Fresco Chrome retails for $649.
Why We Love It: Both functional and fashionable, the Bloom Fresco Chrome Chair gives you a safe and versatile high chair that grows with your baby and at the same time adds a fashionable piece to your living room or kitchen so there’s at least one corner of your house that doesn’t look like it’s covered in baby gear.
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL HIGH CHAIR: Joovy Hook
The Joovy Hook is a simple and ingenious travel high chair that easily and securely clips onto any table. The high chair has an anodized aluminum frame that makes it strong but lightweight and the chair is a leatherette that looks great while still being very durable and easy to wipe clean. I love the Joovy Hook for it’s simplicity, it quickly and easily snaps open with the push of a button, clips onto the table and then is secured by non-slip rubber covered clamps that won’t damage your table. I had my husband take the Joovy Hook for a test run and he had it securely attached to our table in under 5 minutes on his first try! Best of all, the Joovy Hook quickly detaches and folds flat into it’s convenient carrying case that includes a shoulder strap for easy carrying but is so lightweight and folds down so small that you can even throw it into your diaper bag. The Joovy Hook retails for $69.00.
Why We Love It: For families on the go, the Joovy Hook is the must have accessory to make mealtimes easy whether you’re away on a trip, visiting grandma or even in a restaurant without a high chair. The easy fold design and lightweight size means you can keep your Joovy Hook in the diaper bag, stroller or car so you always have it at hand for meals out and about with your little foodie.
BEST BABY FOOD: Plum Organics
What to feed your baby is one of the toughest questions facing busy moms and Plum Organics has got you covered with delicious and nutritious food options for every stage of your baby’s development. One of the most interesting new additions to the Plum Organics food line is the new Stage 2 World Baby flavors. Plum Organics is the first brand to have a dedicated line of internationally inspired baby food and the results are delicious and nutritious. Containing ingredients like coconut, green lentils, black beans and apricots, World Baby Stage 2 is suitable for babies age 6 months and up and are inspired by the cuisines of Mexico, Thailand, Italy and Morocco. The World Baby collection features an exotic range of flavors with a hint of herb or spice that will help your baby to develop a gourmand palate from an early age.
When your little one moves past the baby phase, Plum Organics has you covered with their Mighty 4 toddler essential nutrition blend. The Mighty 4 is a genius way to make sure your toddler is getting balanced nutrition even when they are in a picky mood and getting them to eat anything at all feels like a battle. Each Mighty 4 pouch contains 4 essential food groups: vegetables, grains, fruits and dairy and comes in five healthy and appealing flavors like sweet potato, blueberry, millet & greek yogurt and spinach, kiwi, barley & greek yogurt.
Why We Love It: Plum Organics makes baby food that is both healthful and delicious while being very convenient to grab for busy babies and toddlers on the go. More than just good nutrition for your little one, the dynamic flavors help you to develop your child’s palate so you have a tiny foodie in training.
BEST BABY FOOD POUCH STORAGE: Boon Petal Pouch
Now that you’ve stocked your pantry with lots of yummy Plum Organics pouches to feed your little one, you need a neat and convenient way to store those pouches, and Boon has got you covered with their Boon Petal Pouch. Each Petal holds 15 pouches and spins so you can easily peruse all your pouch options. The Petal can stand on the countertop or be mounted under a cabinet making storage of your baby’s food convenient and attractive. The Boon Petal Pouch retails for $17.99.
Why We Love It: This simple but functional design makes storage cute and gives you the perfect excuse to leave your baby food pouches out on the counter in easy reach because they look so darn cute.
OUR FAVORITE BOTTLES FOR BREAST-FED BABIES: Joovy Boob
One of the toughest decisions for breastfeeding moms is what bottle to use that will allow the breastfeeding mom some freedom without creating a problem for the breastfeeding relationship. Enter, the Joovy Boob designed especially for breastfeeding babies. The Joovy nipples are specially designed to make the transition between breastfeeding and bottle feeding as seamless as possible with nipples in 5 flow rates that are specially molded and baked to prevent nipple collapse while feeding. The second Joovy innovation that makes them such a fantastic bottle for breast fed babies is the CleanFlow vent system. The CleanFlow vent system is a one piece PPSU plastic collar that fits into the neck of the Joovy Boob bottles and ensures proper venting regardless of how the bottle is held. This proper venting reduces air intake by the feeding baby which helps to reduce colic, and the easy drop-in ring design means assembling the bottle, and keeping it sterile while you assemble it is a snap.
The Joovy Boob offers three different bottle system options, the Boob Baby Bottle PP (BPA, phthatalate and lead free), the Boob Baby Bottle PPSU (made from medical grade plastic, BPA, phthatalate and lead free) and the Boob Glass Bottle (glass, available with a silicone sleeve). The Boob Bottle System also has a lot of great accessories to make your life easier. The Joovy Boob Breast Pump Adapter is compatible with most major breast pumps and allows you to pump directly into the Joovy Boob bottles without messy transfers or additional containers to clean and sterilize. Once you’ve pumped into the bottles, Joovy‘s Sealing Cap lets you store or freeze breastmilk right in the bottle making the whole pumping processes even easier.
Why We Love It: In addition to being designed so they help your baby transition seamlessly back and forth between the bottle and the breast, the Joovy Boob bottles are a must have for breastfeeding moms because they are easy to assemble and wash, and make mom’s life easier with adaptors that allow you to pump directly into the bottles and high grade plastic that means you can freeze milk right in the bottles after you’ve pumped so you can worry less about pumping and cleaning bottles and get back to playing with your baby.
A sterilizer for bottles and more, the Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer is adjustable in its size, and suitable for bottles of all sizes and forms. The 6 minute steam cycle kills 99.9% of harmful germs, creating a clean environment as it comes in contact with baby. Since it cleans with just water steam, no chemicals are used, making this product as safe as it gets. Not just for bottles, the Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer can also accommodate breast pump parts, cups, pacifiers, and other parts. The Philips AVENT 3-in-1 Electric Steam Sterilizer retails for $74.99.
Why We Love It: Contents remain sterile for up to 24 hours if the lid remains unopened, so it’s forgivable if you get sidetracked during the six-minute cycle. The three-in-one design allows for multi-purposes, depending upon what you need sterilized, all the while taking up minimal counter space.
OUR FAVORITE BABY FOOD MAKER & BOTTLE WARMER: Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and Bottle Warmer
Preparing a nutritional homemade meal for baby has never been easier. The Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and Bottle Warmer steams and purees in the same 4-cup work bowl, allowing for plenty of leftovers to store. The Bladelock System holds the blades in place while pouring, and the precision of its chopping make for a perfectly prepared meal in seconds. A built-in bottle warmer heats baby’s bottle temperature to just the right temperature in a short amount of time. Includes a recipe booklet, spatula, bottle adapter ring, and an integrated measuring cup.The Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and Bottle Warmer retails for $129.00.
Why We Love It: This handy, user-friendly baby food maker is respectful of space, while offering all-in-one capability. Bringing Cuisinart’s famous reputation to the counter top, it is useful as a food processor for Mom and Dad’s meals too, and eliminates the need for a separate bottle warmer. Aesthetically pleasing as it is efficient on time, effort, and kitchen real estate, the Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and Bottle Warmer is a winner in its category.
OUR FAVORITE UMBRELLA STROLLER: Joovy Groove Ultralight
Once your kiddo has outgrown the car seat and frame stroller days, it’s time to find the perfect lightweight umbrella stroller, but have no fear, Joovy has you covered there too! My favorite is the Joovy Groove Ultralight, a lightweight umbrella stroller that is easy to fold, has lots of great features and comes in an array of fun colors to boot. In addition to the gorgeous colors above, Joovy has recently added a fabulous Jade green color to their repertoire with more colors being added all the time.
The Joovy Groove Ultralight is true to its name, weighing in at only 13 pounds but it is capable of carrying a child up to 55 pounds. The Joovy Groove Ultralight also boasts a super sized canopy, parent organizer, mesh pockets for toy storage within the child’s reach, easy folding and a deep nap recline and adjustable leg rest for easy nap time on the go. Finally, because the folks at Joovy think of everything, the stroller even has an attached carry strap so it is easy to transport when folded and not in use. The Joovy Groove Ultralight retails for $189.99.
Why We Love It: The Joovy Groove Ultralight checks all the boxes for the perfect umbrella stroller: easy to pop up and down, lightweight and great recline options to allow your little one to nap on the go. Bonus points for the genius shoulder strap that makes it even easier to grab your Joovy Groove Ultralight and take it on the go.
OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL STROLLER: Joovy Roo
One of the toughest challenges for city moms is navigating taxis with a baby so I was so excited to find the Joovy Roo to make that struggle a whole lot easier. The Joovy Roo is a frame stroller that is lightweight and folds down easily with one hand into a compact, lightweight size and is compatible with all of the major car seat brands including Chicco, Gracco and Peg Perego. The car seat easily snaps into the frame where it stays securely locked until it is released. Quick, easy and lightweight, everything a mom dreams of in a stroller. This is also a great stroller for travel when you need to have a car seat but don’t want to lug a separate car seat and stroller combo.
Quick, easy and lightweight, but Joovy didn’t stop there. Unlike other frame strollers, the innovative folks at Joovy have added a twist to the Roo: the car seat actually snaps in a side mount position (see photo above, center). This genius side mount position means you can pull the Roo up to a table and having the baby facing you while taking up a fraction of the room and without the handle in your way. This genius side mount makes it so much easier to interact with the baby while in the stroller making this little stroller the ultimate convenience companion when you need to take the baby around in the car seat. Seeing double? The Joovy Roo also comes in a Twin Roo version that fits two car seats for parents with twins. The Joovy Roo retails for $99.
Why We Love It: A lightweight and easy to use frame stroller for your car seat is a must for running errands around town in a taxi or Uber or for taking trips when you don’t want to cart a large stroller through the airport. Bonus points for Joovy’s innovative sideways facing design that lets you pull the stroller up to a bench or a table so baby can be engaged with you without having to take them out of the stroller.
OUR FAVORITE CAR SEAT COVER: JJ Cole Car Seat Cover
As the temperature starts to drop in the fall, bundling up the baby is going to become priority number one, and thanks to JJ Cole, keeping baby cozy in the car seat is affordable and easy. The blanket style design with elasticized outer band means baby is cozy and warm without trying to keep a blanket perfectly tucked around a squirmy baby. The cover is made from weather-resistant nylon and fleece and is machine washable. Because of the simple elasticized design, the JJ Cole cover can stretch to be compatible with all standard-sized car seats on the market. The JJ Cole Car Seat Cover retails for $29.99.
I loved how easy it was to pop this cover on and off the car seat and I loved that I could zip and unzip the front cover as we went in and out of different places and the temperature changed for hot summer day to freezing air conditioning and I know that this is the perfect piece of baby gear to keep my little one cozy and warm as the temperatures drop from fall to winter.
Why We Love It: This cover provides a simple and stylish way to keep your baby cozy in their car seat. The cover is easy to put on, easy to remove, washable and the understated quilted design and range of colors ensures that there’s a cover to suit every mom’s taste.
OUR FAVORITE PLAY MAT: Fisher-Price Rainforest Melody & Lights Gym
The Fisher-Price Rainforest Melody & Lights Gym helps babies develop sensory skills with a broad range of activities to keep babies engaged and stimulated. Perfect for tummy time or laying on the back and playing, the gym includes music and rainforest sounds, lights and music that responds to baby’s movements and a butterfly mobile that spins at baby’s touch.The interactive and reactive lights and sounds not only keep baby entertained but they also help with critical brain development including teaching baby about cause and effect. The gym also includes 10 loops for linking toys, a crinkle leaf to stimulate baby’s senses and a menagerie of animals including a soft monkey and toucan, a roller ball elephant and mirror. This toy has a plethora of stimulating and engaging activities that ensure that your baby will be entertained day after day and always find something new to explore. The Fisher-Price Rainforest Melody & Lights Gym retails for $69.99.
Why We Love It: Our babies can stare at the rainforest canopy on this play mat and be mesmerized for ages which is the most ringing endorsement I can give any product out there. Run don’t walk to grab one of these for your little one and they will thank you by amusing themselves and giving you a free moment to marvel at their cuteness with both of your hands free.
OUR FAVORITE TOYS: Lamaze Cuddle and Squeak Koala, Assorted Lamaze Travel Toys
Lamaze toys are across the board the most colorful, fun and engaging toys to keep your baby engaged and entertained as you develop your child’s brain through sensory experience. With amusing names like Rusty the Robot, Mortimer the Moose, Captain Calamari, Jaques the Peacock and more picking out the perfect Lamaze toys from the bunch is sure to be as amusing for parents as it is for the baby.
Logan the Lion Teethimal (above left) retails for $6.99 and will keep baby amused with its textured, teething body, ribbons and rattle sounds. The flexible body makes it a great toy for teething and tactile exploration. Cuddle and Squeak Koalas (above center) retails for $19.99 and makes a snuggle 2 part toy that will entertain your baby with crinkle ears and feet. Baby Koala can be removed from Mom Koala and includes squeaker stick and a leaf teether. Sir Prance-a-Lot (above right) retails for $15.99 and entertains baby with a squeaking knight, clacking rings to simulate the sound of galloping, crinkle sounds and knotty legs for baby to grab onto and play.
Why We Love It: These toys are bright and colorful and sure to engage and entertain your baby for hours. Affordably priced and well made, these toys will amuse your baby from birth to toddlerhood and still be in great shape to hand down to younger brothers and sisters.
Want to know more about the best baby gear for a new mom? Check out:
Samples provided for review. Opinions expressed are solely ours.