Newborn - 4 Month Old: Baby Gear You Actually Use

Essential newborn and baby gear birth to 4 months from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

Now that Henry is past the four month mark (and I am somewhat out of the newborn fog) I find myself looking back at the first time parents we were just months ago and wanting to give them a hug. And a high five. And maybe a bottle of champagne. Those first few months are no joke. It’s a crazy, wonderful, emotional time. When I do take a moment to think about those tender first months, I’m so proud of us. All of us. Andrew, Myself, Henry, Otto & Clementine. We all hit the ground running, celebrated small victories, and snuggled a lot. We survived, and sometimes we made a meal. We laughed a lot and cried a lot. But mostly we just thanked God for this beautiful little boy.

Essential newborn and baby gear birth to 4 months from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

Andrew and I were as ready as any first time parents could be when we Henry was born, but that basically meant we knew nothing. You just can’t possibly grasp what being a parent to a newborn will be like until it actually happens to you. But I kept telling myself that this is how everyone feels, and everyone seems to make it. All the well-meaning advice we got the months leading up to Henry’s birthday just went in one ear and out the other. Which will probably happen to some of you reading this post. But hopefully you’ll stumble on this post during a late night feeding session (because that’s when I single handily kept Amazon in business according to Andrew), and it will all suddenly make sense.

I hope this helps weed out some of the nonsense when it comes to what you will use when your little bundle arrives. Because there is marketing - and then there is marketing to mothers-who-simply-want-the-best-for-their-little-humans-and-will-literally-buy-anything-to-make-their-baby-happy. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the “must haves” out there, but here are the things I actually used on a daily basis during Henry’s first few months.

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Bassinet: Let me preface this by saying, you do not need this bassinet but any bassinet will do. Actually, I wouldn’t even recommend it. We got the SNOO because we heard people swear by it on the internet. Well, let me be the person on the internet that doesn’t swear by it. It just felt weird to me, and Henry hated it. He wanted his momma, and I wanted to be his comfort - not a mechanical-bull type bassinet. It now holds our laundry. This one seems like a better option.

Zip Up Footie Onesies: Easy access to these diaper-filling machines is key. Buttons will become your nemesis in the middle of the night. Trust me. The quicker you can get to the war zone, the better. We like these from MORI and the Magnetic Me ones too. Footie pajamas are literally the only things Henry wears.

Stroller Travel System: We love our Uppa Baby Vista because it has grown with us over the months and really just makes everything easier on us. We are looking forward to really putting it to the test with a few upcoming trips.

Sound Machines: Get a few. These things are magic, and a huge reason Henry can sleep anywhere. We love this little one because we can take it with us and it’s small but mighty.

Dock-a-tot: This worked wonders when Henry was little and we just needed a comfy place to put him down (or give my arms a break). We didn’t use it for sleeping (which isn’t recommended) but we hear people have great success for that as well. I don’t judge. Whatever it takes to survive.

Swing: Ok, let me preface this by saying Henry is the only baby alive that didn’t like a swing. But every other baby on the planet likes their swing, which is why I kept it on here. It would have been AMAZING if I could have put him down in it from time to time, but the kid just like to be held (thank goodness for wraps!). For the sake of your back, I hope your little one likes this one.

Diaper Pail: For obvious reasons, this is helpful. Mostly if your nursery / changing station is on another level from your outdoor trash.

Changing Pad: We love this one because it’s super easy to clean. Which comes in handy with a little boy. Trust.

UPDATE: THIS HAS BEEN RECALLED. We never used it for sleeping (which was never recommended). Rock N Play: This was the one thing Henry let me put him down in when he was itty. I put it in the bathroom and that’s how I took a shower. Which all you mommas know is basically priceless.

Muslin Blankets: You can never have too many of these. We use them for literally EVERYTHING.

Swaddles: We are big fans of the swaddle - they were a big part of our sleep journey with Henry. When he was itty bitty we used these, but then graduated to the Ollie swaddle which we loved as well. He’s now in a Halo sleep sack - which makes me cry because he looks so grown up!

Monitor: Of all the things we splurged on before Henry was born - the Nanit was WELL worth it. It’s pretty amazing. I swear it helped us really learn Henry’s sleep patterns to get him to where he is now. Money well spent.

BabyBjorn Bouncer: Another great place to put your little one while you do important things like brush your teeth.

Solly Baby Wrap: Henry LOVED this wrap when he was little, and still does. I prefer using this one indoors.

Zutano Booties: The only booties that stay on kiddos! Great for the winter time!

Tote Savvy Insert: This allowed me to not need a diaper bag - I just pop it in my big old bags and off we go.

My Breast Friend and Boppy Pillow: Both are really helpful, and give your back a break - which is key.

Non toxic baby products: I was gifted these from Beauty Counter and actually really loved how they worked! We are also a fan of Tubby Todd.

Essential newborn and baby gear birth to 4 months from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

Now that Henry is a bit older and really rocking and rolling - our focus has transitioned to really entertaining Henry during his longer wake times and taking him out to explore the world. Here are a few things that really have helped.

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Lovevery Play Mat: Truth be told, I bought this mat because it was the least offensive mat option from an aesthetic perspective, but I’ve fallen in love with this company, because every little thing has been thought out and serves a purpose for learning. It’s pretty amazing to see Henry attracted to new things on the mat every week.

Sophie the Giraffe: I don’t know what it is about this giraffe, but every kid I know is a super fan. Henry is now the president. The dogs are also somewhat obsessed.

Exersaucer: There are a million options for these things, and kiddos love them. This one is great because it grows with the kids, but the toys don’t stick very well. Which is fine, because I like to switch up the toys while he’s playing anyway. We also have this one in Vermont, and Henry is a big fan.

Pack n Play: This one is super easy to put up - I’ve done it one handed with Henry in the other hand. Super helpful for when you are traveling. We also used this downstairs when Henry was little for naps.

Bath Thermometer: I know this seems like a frill, but I love the peace of mind when I am filling his bath that I won’t burn the poor kid. Because momma likes her baths scalding which apparently isn’t good for little ones…

Bath Tub: This has been great since Henry was super small. It’s super comfy and not overly plastic. We also love using this bath cushion when we bath him in the sink in Vermont.

Nose Frida: I know this looks gross. But trust me, you will use it. Mostly if you have a winter baby.

Lovevery Playkits: Going along with the playmat, I have a subscription service from Lovevery that sends Henry toys each month based on what he should be learning. I love it.

Pacifiers: We didn’t introduce pacifiers to Henry until about 4 weeks, so he doesn’t use them a ton, but he loves these wubbanubs because he can pet the little stuffed animal, and there is nothing more adorable.

Play Mat: Play mats have come a long way from the primary colored ones you remember from your youth. We use this little Nomad one in our playroom and it actually fits in with the decor. Win.

Humidifier: If you have a winter baby in New England, this is a must. We got this one as a gift, but there are so many options out there.

Ergo Carrier: Now that Henry is getting a bit bigger, this is really handy. We take that kiddo everywhere - and this is something Andrew and I can both use.

Essential newborn and baby gear birth to 4 months from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

Now we can’t forget about the toys! Henry seems to be fascinated with so much right now. I love watching his brain work as he discovered all the little things about everything. Here are the stand outs according to Henry.

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Take A long Tunes: Henry can be super fussy, this will turn on and all of the sudden he’s a new child.

Baby Gund Elephant: This this is so darn adorable, and Henry just lights up when it turns on. Clementine is also a huge fan.

Wonder Wheel: We stick this on his exersaucer and he can’t get enough.

Follow Me Bee: This is more for when he starts to crawl, but it cracks all of us up already.

Jacque the Peacock: This is a car seat favorite. Henry studies it over and over. We’ve nicked-named him psychedelic bird.

Crinkle Bag: This is part of the Lovevery play kit, and who knew a crinkly bag would be such a hit!

Fascination Station: The name says it all!

Toy Winkel Rattle: This was one of the first things Henry could really grab onto, and it still keeps his attention.

Jellycat Cow: We call him comfort cow, and Henry loves to snuggle up to him.

Wobble: Another Lovevery favorite for Henry. He could study this for hours (ok, minutes).

Ice Gel Teether Keys: Henry is started to teethe earlier than expected, and he loves these.

Magic Tissues Box: This blows his mind, and he loves to try to eat each and every tissue.

Essential newborn and baby gear birth to 4 months from Abby Capalbo | Photography: Erin McGinn

I hope this helps a bit and hopefully I didn’t forget any big items. My one big recommendation to new parents right now is signing up for Taking Cara Babies before your new baby arrives. Sleep is so important for the entire family, and we really loved her approach. That, and trust that you are the best parents for this little baby. You are all meant for each other, and there is something oh-so-special about that.