My baby just turned 3 so really I can no longer call him my baby! As we are done adding to our family it made me go through our household and realize we no longer needed certain things. As I was throwing away things like baby powder (that we used maybe once) it got me thinking about what I found to be essential while they were growing up. I have a few friends with babies on the way and some that are getting into that next stage of baby to toddler so thought I'd put together a list of a few of the items that worked well for us and were our 'must haves'. Feel free to add your 'must haves' to the list :)
Baby - Toddler
2. Soothers - ACK - for the life of me I can't remember the name of the brand we used but it's the kind they give you at the hospital after your baby is born. You can't buy them in stores like Toys R Us but can get them in Bo Bebe or e-children. Our kids loved soothers and yet we were able to break the habit overnight with both of them.
3. Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier - When your baby (or toddler) has a cold and has a hard time breathing this thing will be worth it's weight in gold, especially in super DRY Alberta.
4. Kiddopotamus SwaddleMe - I never used a sleep sack because you can't pin the kid's arms down like in a traditional swaddle. Babies like to be super snug like in the womb so we found the SwaddleMe was a great because the swaddle is held by velcro so you didn't have to reswaddle them throughout the night. We would also swaddle them so their hands were positioned by their face because on almost every ultrasound we had (17 between the 2 kids) their hands were always right in their face; trying to put their fingers (or sometimes the whole hand) in their mouth.
5. Jolly Jumper - you don't need the kind with the musical mat, just go for the original. If you kid is destined to like it (which most are) then they're going to LOVE the bouncing alone, they don't need extra stimulation.
6. Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat - we never bought a high chair, we didn't need one after we paid 1/3 the price and bought this instead. It was so handy as we just strapped it to any chair anywhere we went - restaurants, the grandparents, over to visit friends that didn't have kids, etc. We even kept it to use at our house when friends with small ones visit us; it takes up so little space it's super easy to store.
7. Johnson's Baby Body Wash - we still use this stuff on the kids because it's so gentle on their skin and on the eyes.
Toddler - Preschool
1. Snack Traps - these were great to travel with because you could put Cheerios or goldfish in them and they won't fall out. Kids tend to take a bit to figure them out but when they do you'll find they don't make a mess and are easy to clean.
2. Playtex Cups - our kids started our with the Sipster (with double handles) and still use the Twist & Click Straw cup in the car, the playground, etc.
3. Pampers Clean 'n Go Wipes - I use these things like CRAZY! I have them in the kitchen, in the car, in the diaper bag (that no longer holds diapers but now holds changes of clothes and such - yay!!). It's hard to get the kids to wash their hands after ever activity, especially when they can't reach the sink, but if you keep a pack of these at their level they get used to wiping their hands after crafts, and eating.
5. Teach Me Time! Talking Alarm Clock & Nightlight - Ahhhhhh - let the angles singing come in here. This product is a life saver, we have one for each kid. You program it to change colours when it's ok for the kids to get out of bed. The kids really abide by it, we have the odd time they get up before it turns green but then you remind them and they go back to bed until it changes colour!!
6. Ikea step stools - the things are like $6!! Put these in your bathrooms so the kids can wash their hands and brush their teeth.
7. Children's Tylenol - you need this way more then you'd ever hope to need it but between teething and them touching the floor, door handles, toys, etc, and then sticking their hands in their mouth or eyes they'll be sick a fair amount. Suggestion: DON'T buy the Berry flavoured one as it's dyed and can stain, buy the grape one that is CLEAR.
There's just a few of the products that we found to be fantastic in our household. I'm sure I missed 4 dozen products we use all the time but these were the ones that were at the top of my head :)