guest post: my favorite {and efficient} baby products, by my hope fulfilled

I am humbled daily reading Michelle’s blog, My Hope Fulfilled.  She is such an incredible woman, mom and wife and I think we can all learn a lot from this lady.  She’s known my husband far longer than I have, and I revel in her stories about him in high school.  It’s so special to me to know that my husband knew and was friends with this incredible woman long before I ever had the honor of calling him “my husband”. 

Hello Baloney Bug Readers! I’m Michelle, from My Hope Fulfilled and I blog about adoption, crafts, and everything in between. Jon and I go way back. No, that was not a typo. I’ve known the Baloney Bug hubster since the Bush I presidency but was pleasantly delighted to meet his baked good loving, creative, and fun friend-turned-wife, Joan (have you seen her new “About” Section?).

One of my favorite things about Joan is knowing and seeing how streamlined she keeps her life. If you’re not a New Yorker, like me, then the thought of two people and a dog living comfortably in a tiny one bedroom apartment makes you shiver a little. But Joan does this well – and so stylishly! I got a little taste of Joan’s reality last year when my husband, Herb, and our one year old, Levi, moved from an 1800 square foot, five bedroom townhouse, to a 800 square foot, two bedroom apartment. Can you say purge?!

If you’ve ever stepped foot in the Target baby aisle, you know the baby paraphernalia is ridic. At the risk of starting any rumors here at The Baloney Bug, or giving any future Grandmas fuel for the baby fire, I wanted to share my favorite baby things with Joan. I think New Mommas sometimes have a hard time figuring out what’s really important, but this is what has worked for us in a small space. So, Joan, shove this list to your back burner, and reference it when the time is right. I can’t wait to see a totally trendy Baloney Bug Baby Nursery some day, and your spin on my “so called” efficient, pared down list of baby needs. Here we go.

1. Say “No” to high chairs. Booster seats are cheaper, more versatile, and take up less space. This one  is my favorite – it replaces the high chair, bumbo, and infant seat.

2. Don’t buy a swing right away, some babies don’t even like them. If you decide later you need it, go for the travel version. The seat is the same size but the foot print and necessary storage space is much smaller. This one worked great for us.

3. Get a baby monitor, but pass on the video monitor and multiple receivers. In fact, you don’t even need an expensive monitor. Sometimes, my husband and I just called each other with our phones, put them both on speaker, and muted one. We put one phone in the baby’s room, and kept the muted one with us. With free mobile to mobile minutes, it totally works in a pinch! Monitor wise, this one is rated really well and is super affordable.

4. As far as baby bedding goes – STAY AWAY FROM THE PRE-PACKAGED SETS! Bumpers are unsafe, blankets can’t be used, crib skirts and valances are easy to make yourself, and sheets are pretty cheap! Buy a fitted sheet or two, get one or two nice fuzzy blankets, and use this tutorial to make an adorable crib skirt.

5. Instead of a bulky exersaucer, we went for the Doorway Seat Jumper.  Same idea, less space, less money. Win win win.

6. We’ve tried a slew of things from a plastic three in one tub to a giant inflatable rubber ducky when it comes to baby baths, but when it comes to small spaces, I would go for this classic foam ditty. It’s really all you need.

7. Two facts – you will freak out about your baby’s potential fever, and as horrible as it is to do, a rectal thermometer works best. In our case, we use a freebie hospital digital thermometer labeled “butts only.”

8. You know how I said you don’t really need a lot of blankets (might I even suggest just having one?!)? It’s because having a sleep sack or two keeps your baby warm and safe. Life. Saver.

9. I have a love-hate relationship with the pack and play. It’s great for traveling, but not so great for transporting and storing. It fits perfectly under the crib, but hogs up precious under-the-crib storage space. Definitely not a necessity for the apartment living family. But if you get one – get one with bells and whistles like this.

10. I totally underestimated the grossness of feeding your baby food. I love these spoons because my hands can stay relatively free of mush. Now that my son is a little bigger, they are perfect for his little hands, too.

11. Two to four pacifiers. Try the brand of pacifier that is the same as whatever bottles you are using first. These worked great for us.

12. Target diapers rock. They are cheap, and if you get a Target debit card (free!), the diapers are an additional 5% off and ship free to your house.

13. And finally, my favorite things to stay away from. Read, you DO NOT need this crap: wipes warmer, changing table (use a dresser with a pad), bumbo, high chair, crib bedding set, bassinet in addition to pack and play (pick one or the other), vibrating/bouncy seat, and name brand diapers.

What about you – what are/were your favorite baby items?

Thanks for letting me blog-sit. Come by and see me at My Hope Fulfilled when you have a chance!


  1. Merridith says:

    This is great advice! It’s so hard to know what’s essential for us mommies-to-be! Babies are like a whole new world!