Mommy Must Haves: Baby Edition

Now that we’ve made it through the first six months of parenthood, the “stuff” changes yet again as your child becomes mobile.

Several of these items are safety items. Once your baby can crawl (or even roll) across the floor, it’s time to invest in a few of these things!

Here are my “Mommy Must Haves” for 6-18 months.


Evenflo Top of Stair Plus Gate


We’ve had a few different types of baby gates between the 2 houses we’ve lived in since Big Brother was born. This is by far my favorite gate for a few reasons (1) it can be mounted with screws, assuring it is completely secure and (2) it can be painted or stained to match your woodwork (although that’s not required), (3) it is one of the cheaper baby gates on the market ($33.00 on Amazon).  We have spindles on the ends of our staircases, so my handy husband just used a finishing nailer to mount a piece of wood to the spindle and then we mounted the gate to that piece of wood.

Another reason I love this gate is because Big Brother (at the age of 3) cannot even come close to being able to open it on his own. It frankly takes a little practice for even adults to open. And it was worth spending the time and effort to paint and install these correctly since they will be up for a long time!

Outlet Plugs are a must. This is a serious safety issue. This is one area that truly terrifies my normally easy-going husband. No matter how much you “watch” your child, take this precaution.


Ultra Secure Cabinet & Drawer Latches

I’m an advocate for putting the majority of chemicals and cleaning supplies up out of a child’s reach as a safety precaution. However, there are some things (like dishwashing detergent that goes under the sink at our house) that just aren’t practical. Even if items in the kitchen aren’t dangerous…I still don’t want my child playing in every single cabinet. We chose the install these latches on several of our kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It makes life easier. And I don’t spend hours fighting with my child when he disobeys my “off limits” warnings over and over again.


Britax Advocate 70 CS Convertible Car Seat, Opus Gray
Once your baby has exceeded the maximum height and weight restrictions for the Infant Car Seat, you’ll need to buy yet another carseat. This is going to be your big ticket item. I typically am against endorsing a name-brand item, but I’ve found a few brands to be truly worth their value…Chicco for the Infant Carseat and Britax for the Convertible Carseat.  Having been in an accident where our car was totaled and our children walked away without a scratch, I’ll sing Britax’s praises anyday. The carseat shown above is the carseat that we replaced our other two Britax carseats with after the accident (the insurance paid). Britax seats are expensive, there’s no doubt about that. But they’re worth it (in my opinion), especially if you have younger siblings to pass the carseat down to! Do you have to have a Britax seat? Absolutely not. Do I prefer them? Yes. With that being said, you’ll need to figure out which convertible carseat is best for your family. 
Evenflo Splash Mega Exersaucer
I love our exersaucer. I bought it at a consignment sale right after Big Brother was born and it has been one of my favorite baby items. The reason? Because you can put your (mobile) baby into it, knowing that they can’t go anywhere. Of course I’m not suggesting you put your kid in it for hours on end, but for 15 minutes here and there while cooking dinner, it is priceless. Plus, it is entertaining for the wee one. :)
IQ Baby Knock-Knock Blocks
Want to know a secret that I’ve learned about babies??? They don’t really play with toys very much in the first 18 months of their life. A rattle here and a book there is about as much as you need for the first year or so. They’d rather interact with people or play with “real” stuff like remotes, pots and pans, etc. But around their first birthday, you’ll want to start encouraging your child to use blocks for cognitive and fine motor development. Your doctor might even ask you at checkups how many small blocks your child can stack anywhere from 18-24 months. I would suggest getting a set of these softer blocks that they can stack first and then getting smaller wooden blocks.
That’s my short list! What is your Mommy Must Have for 6-18 months?


  1. I absolutely agree with the Britax seats. We have 2 Marathons. The kids (now 5 1/2 and 4) have been in them since they were 4 months old and too long for the infant seats. My husband complained about the expense initially, but they are far easier to use than any other seats we've tried, more comfortable for the kids, and after 5 years show very little sign of wear. They are comfy enough that my 5 year old prefers this to a booster seat he could be in. Definitely worth every penny.

  2. Great list! I have used all these. I was going to buy an exersaucer, but I read that they develop the wrong muscles at the wrong time, so that never made it in the house. An activity mat, used from 4-6 months was a lifesaver for me, if I remember correctly, she grew out of it during the 7 month mark. Anyway, it was disappointing that a lot of those toys marked 6+ mo. were way too advanced for her. A co-worker told me that she would use these toys at different stages, and she was right, now she can stack rings and match shapes, kinda, at 19 months old. Oh, and we finally switched her over to a convertible car seat. She used the infant one for 18 months even though she had exceeded the height probably at 15 months old.

  3. I have to agree completely with the top of the stairs gate and the Britax car seats. I have been using that gate for 3.5 years now and can not tell you how many times my son has tried to open it with no luck. The Britax seats are the best, my son outgrew his first Britax in height so we recently replaced it with the Frontier 85 and I love it.

  4. I love your site and this list looks good to me, but may I make one little add on to the car seat issue? We only use a convertible for our kids, first rear facing and then later forward facing. No infant seats means less weight for mommy's bad shoulder to carry and baby goes in a wrap instead of sitting in a seat by themselves (a bit of a pet peeve of mine.)

    Britax are wonderful, but there are other brands that are just as safe, if not MORE safe that are much cheaper. My husband researched this for about 16 hours before our son was born and before I told him to just let me see what he'd found and we'd make a decision. (He could have gone on forever!) The top two seats in all the crash test data, government highway ratings, and parent opinion polls were a Britax model and the Evenflow Tribute 5 model. There was a $250 price difference and in the actual safety ratings the Evenflow came out safer. The Britax got slightly higher ratings by parents. My husband and I were first concerned with safety, then with price and yet many people questioned our registry choice. How could the $60 seat be safe? Turns out it was the safest one AND the least expensive. We would not have scrimped on safety to save money, but in this case we won on both accounts. And my husband's chart (with about 20 different seats and ALL the details and facts on each of them) made the rounds to all our expecting friends for a months!

    Sometimes brand names may be wonderful (and I know my sister loved her Britax too) but sometimes other ones are too. And the $250 left in our pocket was a nice bonus.

    Thanks for the list,

  5. I had all of these things, but one thing on this list that did not help us one bit was the outlet plugs. All three of my children could pull them out of the plugs before their first birthdays. At first I thought it was the outlets, then the brand of outlet covers, but having lived in more than one place and using more than one brand it turns out my kiddos were just good at getting them out. Still, we have them in all of our outlets to this day (our youngest is only 2) just in case, even though we find them laying around occasionally and know that if they really wanted to stick something in the outlet, they could. By the way, have you ever stepped on one of these? Ouch!

  6. We have never used outlet covers because they never seemed to stay in, and seemed to create a challenge. No cover = no interest from our son. And we did notice that we needed very little for the first year.

  7. We love our Britax! We've used it since birth. He never used an infant car seat (our stroller was a buggy style), so we'll be able to use this car seat until he is in preschool! Worth the $$ to us since we didn't have to buy the infant seat. Thanks for the link to Amazon for the gate. We'll be in the process of getting one very soon. :)

  8. I have enjoyed the Britax carseats. I have one Marathon and one Roundabout 55. I got the Roundabout for 150 dollars or so. It has side impact protection, easy to get in the car, very stable, and I like the shoulder pads and how easy it is to adjust in the front. I hate carseats that you can only adjust from the back!

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