1. We loved the SleepSack for Ella. She pretty much resisted a traditional swaddle from the beginning so I loved having the option of swaddling her with her arms restrained or removing that attachment and allowing her arms to be free while still keeping the rest of her warm and cozy. She slept in this until she started rolling over so we got a lot of good use out of it.
2. I started with the Puj tub but didn't love it. Mostly, I hated that it only could be used in the sink. With a small house and bathroom I also resisted the plastic tubs so when my mom bought this little, cheap bath seat for use at her house and loved it, I immediately went out and bought one for us. It was perfect for use in the tub, comfortable for Ella and easy to fold up and store. I actually stuck a command hook on the wall of the shower and just hung it there making it so easy to prep and clean bath time.
3. I LOVE our Ergo carrier. We tried the Bjorn, Moby Wrap and Sling and the Ergo was by far our favorite. I have to say, I don't hate the Bjorn but the Ergo was more versatile for our lifestyle. It was easy to use for household chores, outings but especially hiking and more vigorous outdoor activities.
4. I didn't try any other bouncers and to be fair, I think it is hard to get a "bad" one but I do like our Bjorn bouncer. It doesn't vibrate, make noises or any other "special" features but we didn't seem to miss them. It is light, easy to carry from room to room or store (unlike the swing) and made taking a shower and other tasks easy to do hands free.
5. I cannot say enough good things about the Inglesina travel high chair. I know most restaurants have high chairs but in my opinion they are aways filthy, sticky things that I don't want to touch, let along set my kid in. That really isn't my only reason for thinking this a necessity. We used this so much when traveling whether on a vacation in a rental home, visiting friends or heading to the lake house. We also used it in restaurants when Ella was too little for traditional high chairs but wanted to be sitting up and part of the family. It's light, easy to clean and fold. I keep ours in the car with the stroller so its always handy.
6. Ella has always loved the sound of rain. I can't blame her, it is soothing. That is why we love this sound machine. It has several didn't nature sounds, including rain. We use it for bedtime and nap time. Generally we keep it very low and time it out unless we are having company over - then I turn it up a bit and let it run all night. I probably would weaning her off it about now with the introduction of the big girl bed but since she will sharing a room with her baby brother I think we will keep it going awhile longer.
7. I am so thankful that I registered for this stroller and included ALL the attachments like the second seat. We are completely ready to stroll around with two kiddos. I picked this stroller because I liked the toddler/older child was in front and had a view rather than tucked along the ground at the parent's feet staring at the back of a seat. The second seat is also the same as the single so it is strong, sturdy and made for larger kids. In some of the other brands, the second seat was smaller and more flimsy. Lastly, I liked that whether single or double it still had good storage underneath. It is easy to grab my diaper bag and other belongings which I can't say for my BoB (although I do love that stroller too).
8. I have to admit that we didn't really use the video feature of the monitor in first few months. With an infant that didn't move too much a sound monitor would have been plenty but as she got older and more mobile we used it more and more. And now that she is a toddler, I almost rely on it. I can't compare our monitor with any others but I can say that I have no complaint with ours.
9. I really struggled when it came to finding a highchair. To be honest, at first I really only cared how it would look in my house. All the ones that I loved were $200+ and I am sure that those are wonderful highchairs. But for $80 I LOVE ours. The thing I love most about it is that the little leg/crouch barrier is on the chair and not the tray. I don't know what to call that thing but it annoys me that most are now on the tray making it hard to set the tray down on a flat surface and making me paranoid about those 2 seconds in between setting the tray down and getting the kid out. I also love how easy it is to clean, that it reclines, folds and the height adjusts. It really is a great deal for the price. Definitely not top of the line but I think it will last through multiple kids.
There are a few items I quickly learned that did NOT work for us and the way we live. The Bumbo was one of the items that I was excited to use but realized I did not need at all. By the time Ella was old enough to sit in it (3-4 mos.) her legs were already almost too big for the openings. Now granted Ella was a perfectly plump baby with the most deliciously thick thighs but I was still hoping to get a little more use out of it. Either way, the only time I used it was when I started to feed Ella solids. It was easier to feed her in the Bumbo since her high chair was still a little big for her. I'm still debating but if I am going to replace the Bumbo I am getting the Mamas and Papas chair. Friends have this and Ella could sit in it when she was a year but it also worked well for their infant. It is the same size and serves all the same purposes. Another item I decided to upgrade was our swing. I considered registering for the MamaRoo with my first pregnancy but didn't think it was necessary so I just went with the smallest swing I could find by Ingenuity. It worked great and Ella loved to be in it but with a small house, two kids, a dog and all the stuff I don't know where I will fit a swing. That is why I decided to get the MamaRoo. It is small, compact, easy to install, light and easy to move from room to room. I just hope the little guy loves it as much as I and Ella's baby dolls do. One item I definitely do not care for was the Crane Drop humidifier. It collected mildew and residue so easily and quickly, was difficult to clean and not that effective. I got it because it was "cute" and I wanted only "cute" things in the nursery but quickly realized that the humidifier we already had (Vicks Warm Mist) was the best option for the nursery. Another item I was excited to put to use was my Moby Wrap and while I didn't hate the wrap effect and wearing Ella I did hate how THICK it was. It was such a heavy fabric and you wrap it around yourself so many times that it was heavy, hot and uncomfortable. With a summer baby I decided to try the Solly Baby Wrap since I don't want to give up on the wrap so easily. The fabric is SO much lighter and softer. I think I am really going to like it. I also didn't care for the Balboa Sling. Mostly because Ella hated to be in it but it too was big and heavy and more of a burden than a help. This time around I am using the Ergo and the Solly Baby Wrap exclusively!
Well that is a lot more information than I originally intended so for those with the patience and need to read it all I hope you found it helpful.