I am a baby stuff minimalist. I’m also generally not that concerned about name brand things. If it’s cute, I’m usually just as happy with the Target knock-off as the real deal.

But I’ve found a few things that I really think are worth spending some money on, if you can swing it. And since few = five in this case, I’m linking up with Heather, our new Five Favorites hostess.

1. Diaper Cream 

I have had and used plenty of the cheap stuff. But the good stuff is so, so much nicer. I love Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
, which smells like vanilla (and NOT like a codfish) and clears up the red bumps in a day (and, according the the Amazon reviews, can be used as a natural sunblock!?).

I also love the Healing Calendula Balm from Radiantly You. My friend Samantha is a rep for the company and let me try it, and it somehow feels really luxurious. If that’s at all appropriate for something you’re smearing on a baby’s butt. But, seriously, it just melts right into the skin and moisturizes the heck out of everything it touches. And all of the Radiantly You products are all natural. AND the whole company was started by a Catholic Mom! You can check out Samantha’s page here.

I resisted Sophie Giraffe for a long, long time. My whole life, I guess, since apparently the first Sophie Giraffes were made in France in 1961, and she appeared in the movie Three Men and a Baby in 1987. (Thank you Wikipedia.)

So, it’s a really old toy. But I only became aware of it when my first two were little and we lived in Northern California, where ALL the super fancy Eco-friendly moms gave them to their babies. Well, I assume the moms did too, the nannies did for sure. I totally wrote them off as unnecessarily expensive and ridiculous.

But my sister’s very sweet friend had received two of them as baby gifts and sent one to Lulu and . . . man. That’s a good baby toy.

Yes, it is ridiculous to spend twenty or thirty bucks on a squeezie giraffe toy. But I’d absolutely do it, now that I know how much my baby loves this thing. She can chew on the head. Then she can turn her over and chew on the feet. She can squeak it herself. She loves it. I love it.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, she’s named after Saint Madeline Sophie Barat, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart. (Also Wikipedia.)

I have had and used a few different baby carriers, and the Ergo is by far my favorite (Theresa has tried ALL of them and agrees). It’s more expensive than most other brands, but the difference in comfort and useability (spell check says that isn’t a word, but I say it is) on the Ergo over all other brands I’ve tried make it worth it. I just bought one off of Amazon, and the whimsy factor is very high with it. I got my first one used off of Craigslist for half price and it was good for three of my babies worth of very high usage. I also hear you can get deals on them from Zulily sometimes.

It’s amazing. It’s UH-mazing. Maybe your baby doesn’t have the long flowing locks of my baby. But your baby will probably get hair eventually, so you’re going to want this brush.

It. Doesn’t. Hurt. It is a brush that you can use to brush the hair of babies and children and have them NOT scream as if they are being skinned alive a la St. Bartholomew.

I don’t understand it either. I’m assuming it’s made of unicorn hair or dragon heartstring or something, but I’m not asking questions.

It works on Betty’s wavy, medium-length, very thick hair (as long as you brush from the top and then again from underneath). It works on Anita’s short, straight, fine hair. It works on my niece Lucy’s long, fine, curly hair.

5. Running Stroller

This one is the biggest splurge of the bunch. But if you are a runner and you plan to run with your baby, you will hate it a lot less with a good running stroller. You might still hate running with the stroller. I do. But if you’ve got a baby and you want to run, you’re probably going to need a place to put the baby.

I’ve never felt tempted by one of those high end pram-type strollers. I’m all about cheap umbrella strollers for everyday use. But you get what you pay for with running strollers, and there is a BIG difference in how it feels to run with a cheap running stroller, or one of those strollers that LOOKS like a running stroller, but really isn’t. There are a lot of those around. If it doesn’t have wheels that look like bicycle wheels, it’s not really a running stroller.

The BOB Ironman Duallie Stroller
is, in 100% of the running moms I surveyed (that would be me AND my sister in law) the best of the best.

Craigslist is a great place to get a running stroller, since many moms only need them for a couple of years and a good one will last much longer than that.

So those are my picks. How about you? Which baby products are worth the investment for YOU?

p.s. Links are Amazon Affiliate Links, which means, if you click through to Amazon from my blog and buy anything, I get a tiny percentage. So . . .  thanks! (For 2-4 the link is right next to the number.)

For more baby gear I love, check out:

THE ESSENTIALS ONLY GUIDE TO BABY GEAR: SIX MONTHS TO ONE YEAR

Or check the comments. There’s a lot of good stuff down there.