When it comes to gearing up for baby, you’re going to need a lot of stuff. Some baby gear will keep baby safe; other baby gear will keep you sane. With piles and piles of gear available on the market, it’s hard to know what’s worth bringing into your home, but here are basics you will need.
Road Safety. Make sure your car seat is properly installed before you take your newborn home. Specialized infant seats will keep your baby safe in the event of an accident by having them rear facing in the car, a position the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you maintain until at least age 2. Plan to purchase an infant seat, which usually snaps into a base that stays in your car, or a convertible car seat, which will grow with your child and turn into a forward-facing toddler seat down the line. As baby grows and changes, so will your car seat needs, first to a forward-facing seat with a five-point harness and later to a booster seat that ensures the adult seatbelt fits your child safely.
A Safe Place to Play. There will come a time when you find yourself alone with the baby and you’ll need to take a shower or cook dinner. An infant activity seat is a crucial piece of gear to have when your loving arms need a break, but you want to put your baby somewhere safe. Newborns will delight in lounging in a bouncy seat or being lulled to sleep in a swing. Older babies will get a kick out of activity gyms and stations. Set those up in a safe, confined space, and let them engage in independent play while you get a few minutes to sit back.
Hands-Free Transport. A baby carrier allows you to keep baby close, but frees up your hands to do things around the house or fill your grocery cart at the store. Many a baby have been calmed by the closeness baby-wearing provides. And most baby carriers will grow with your baby, allowing your newborn to face you and snuggle close, your older infant to ride facing forward, and your toddler to go piggy-back style. To learn more, check out our comprehensive best baby carrier guide
Stylish Wheels. You'll definitely want to invest in a stroller, whether it's for walks around the block, trips to the grocery store, or off-road adventures. Before purchasing, consider your lifestyle. Suburban moms will appreciate a travel system which allows you to snap your infant car seat directly into a stroller base. Larger standard-sized strollers have plenty of space to store baby gear and make an all-day outing easy. Urban moms will likely opt for a smaller lightweight stroller, which will be easier to tote up and down stairs and takes up little valuable space in an apartment. No matter which stroller you choose, make sure it has appropriate support for your baby. Younger infants will need to lay almost flat, while older babies and toddlers will delight in sitting up straight and watching the world fly by.
A Seat at the Table: Before you know it, your baby will be delving into solid foods and need a seat of their own. High chairs come in varied styles from traditional stand-alone models to those that hook onto the table and booster seats to give older kids a lift up to table height. Consider how much real estate you’re willing to give up to this piece of furniture before making your purchase.