Last year, I shared my Newborn Essentials (click here to read) and featured the products I loved using while Oliver was little. Now that I have a very busy toddler on my hands, my essentials have changed some what and it’s time to update my list. With so much choice when it comes to babies and toddlers, it can be overwhelming trying to decide on the right product or brand to go with – and based on conversations with friends and readers, I’m not alone! It’s really important to me to support small businesses so you’ll see that most of the products featured are local South African brands. So here’s my list of tried and tested toddler essentials, the products I use on a daily basis that really make life easier – and hopefully help you narrow down your options 🙂
Ubuntu Baba (Stage Two) Carrier: I am all about baby wearing! When Oliver was teeny tiny, I wore him in a wrap almost every day and it was life changing being able to do things with two hands. 15 months down the line and we have upgraded our Ubuntu Baba Stage One to a Stage Two and I could not be happier with my decision. I spent a lot of time debating whether or not to get a forward facing carrier so that Oliver could see more when we were out walking but I based my decision on two things. One, he’s really curious and leans around to look at things and having him in a forward facing carrier made me feel completely off balance. And two, if I do happen to trip, I feel a lot safer knowing he’s on my back. We’ve been using our Stage Two carrier for about two months now and Oliver has been all over Cape Town in it. We’ve really been able to do so much with him in his pouch and he loves peeking over my shoulder on long walks – and if he’s having a particularly niggly day, I can still wear him facing me and the sleepy dust kicks in in no time (I love that he still loves sleeping on me 🙂 ) One of my pet peeves is going to a shopping mall with a pram and having to wait for a lift to move from floor to floor. I’ve recently started putting Oliver in the carrier on my back and it’s a game changer.
Trendlings Waterproof Bib and Wet Bag: I came across Trendlings completely by chance when I was looking for a long-sleeved bib for Oliver. He loves getting his hands and arms in his food and I was so tired of his clothes getting trashed. Trendlings Long Sleeve Bibs come in the most gorgeous prints, are waterproof and you can throw them in the washing machine after meal times. Oliver wears his every day and they still look as good as new despite what they get put through. The second brilliant purchase of theirs was their Wetbag. I have used this so much during the summer season as it’s perfect for the beach or after swimming. They are made from waterproof fabric which is lightweight, machine washable and easy to wipe and it’s durable – and you can get them in a print to match your bib 🙂 It’s perfect for separating wet and dry clothes as well as dirty nappies and when they say it’s waterproof, they really mean it!
Pure Beginnings Sun Milk: Summer in Cape Town means spending lots of time out doors enjoying the sunshine but there’s no escaping the fact that the sun is harsh. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve realised the importance of sunscreen and now apply an SPF50 to my face every morning. The thought of Oliver’s beautiful, soft porcelin skin getting sun burnt is enough for me to just about break out in hives so finding a good sunscreen was a priority for me. We use a few products from Pure Beginnings on a daily basis (we especially love their shampoo and toothpaste) so I decided to try their Baby and Kids Sensitive Sun Milk. It is water resistant and is perfect for people with sensitive skin who react to chemical based sunscreens. It is quite sticky and does leave a white residue but it really works. I love that Pure Beginnings products are all environmentally friendly, not tested on animals and support African Communities through their fair trade and ethical sourcing. The packaging is also really cute too 🙂
Sleeping Bags: I did a post last year on Baby Sense sleeping bags (you can read it here) and shared just how much we love them. Oliver is a very messy sleeper and is also very busy before he puts himself to sleep so a duvet would just not work. He would end tying himself up in knots or be permanently cold. It is also a really great sleep association as once he is in his sleeping bag, he knows it’s bedtime. If you’ve seen my Instastories then you’ll have seen Oliver is often in two different sleeping bags. The one is Baby Sense’s Summer Sleeping Bag which is 100% cotton and I use when the evenings are a little cooler. This only goes up to 85cm though so it won’t be too long before he outgrows it. The second one is an Aden and Anais muslin sleeping bag which is lightweight, super soft and perfect for those really hot days. I also love that their sizing goes up to 18 months + and up to 16kgs. I’ll be needing a new winter sleeping bag this year so if you have any suggestions, please share them 🙂
Lily n Jack Snuggle Bunny: Lily n Jack is a Cape Town based small business and founder of the original snuggle bunny which is probably one of the most popular comfort toys for babies! Oliver absolutely adores his snuggle bunny and won’t sleep without it. If he wakes up during the night, it’s generally because he’s lost his bunny and he needs to be holding it while sleeping. As soon as he has his bunny again, he goes straight back to sleep – it is so sweet to see how quickly he settles back to sleep with bunny in hand 🙂 Like his sleeping bag, it’s another great sleep association and worked really well when we working working on getting him to fall asleep on his own (you can read more about that here) So that we don’t have a crisis one day if his bunny goes missing, I have two that I try to alternate between but he definitely has a preference for the grey one. It’s also a a really cute scale to use when doing your weekly milestone photos 🙂
That’s it from me for now – do you use any of these products I’ve mentioned? What are some of your toddler essentials?