Best Baby Gear for Grandparents’ House
Best Baby Gear for Grandparents’ House
December 21, 2022

Best Baby Gear for Grandparents’ House

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Best Baby Gear for Grandparents’ House

Grandchildren bring an incredible amount of joy to your life. They also bring an incredible amount of stuff, and trying to wade through the wide world of baby gear to figure out what you need in your home may feel a bit daunting.

We’re here to help.

Whether your grandbaby is visiting for the day or will be making more frequent appearances, this grandparent-friendly baby gear guide walks you through what you need to keep them safe, comfortable and happy.

And before you hit “add to cart” over and over again, don’t worry—you most definitely do not need all of the things on this list. Stick to the essentials first:

  • A safe place to sleep.
  • Diapers and wipes.
  • A few basic first aid and childproofing supplies.
  • A few toys and books.

Once you have those items sorted out, you can add on depending on how often you’re planning on hosting your grandchild.

The Comforts of Home

A Safe Place to Sleep and Play

What Our Experts Say

Whether your grandchild is spending the night or just visiting for the day, a safe place for the baby to sleep and play should be at the top of your gear list. This playard from Graco is a well-priced multitasker. It includes a wipeable changing area that doubles as a newborn seat, a detachable bassinet and a lower-level play and sleep space. You’ll be able to use it for years and it takes the place of three separate pieces of baby gear. There are wheels on one side so you can move it from room to room and integrated storage to hold diapers, wipes and other essentials.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Graco Pack ‘n Plays are some of the most popular playards on the market. They’re well made, affordble and packed with useful features. But they’re also heavy (think 25+ pounds) and can be tricky to open and close.

If you think any of that might be an issue for you, instead consider a lightweight playard with an easy setup and breakdown, like The Guava Family Lotus Travel Crib & Playard. You’ll pay more, but you’ll gain mobility (the Guava weighs only 13 pounds) and save yourself the hassle every time you need to set it up.

Additional Information
Age range Changing table and bassinet: under 15 lbs; Seat: under 3 mos and unable to roll over; Playard: under 35” tall, unable to climb out

A More Permanent Sleep Space

What Our Experts Say

If you know your grandchild will be staying over more regularly, it may be worth investing in a more permanent sleep space like a mini crib. This one has a compact footprint, rolling wheels for easing transport (they lock, not to worry!) and folds nearly flat so you can tuck it away when it’s not in use. It also converts into a twin bed so you’ll be able to use it long past the baby days. Just be sure to also buy the conversion kit, ideally at the same time you purchase the crib in case it ever gets discontinued. You may also want to buy a separate DaVinci Mini Crib Mattress as the one included with the Dylan is quite thin.

What Grandparents Need to Know

If you’re not familiar with a mini crib, think of it as similar to a full-size crib—just smaller. (The interior of a full-size crib must measure 28 inches wide and 52 inches long, while a mini crib generally measures anywhere from 20-25 inches wide and 34-40 inches long.) A mini crib can be a good solution for a grandparent’s home since they’re more compact and portable than full-size cribs and can be stored more easily. And if you’re concerned about longevity, don’t be; most mini cribs last until a child is about two to three years old. (Or until they start climbing the rails!)

Additional Information
Age range Stop using when the child begins to climb out or reaches 35”

Soothing Sounds

What Our Experts Say

If your grandchild is used to sleeping with a sound machine at home, consider keeping one at your place, too. The familiar sounds may make it easier for the baby to fall asleep and stay asleep, especially in an unfamiliar environment. This one by Yogasleep is under $25, easy to operate and offers 20 different sound options including fan sounds, white noise and nature sounds. There’s also a dimmable nightlight built right in.

What Grandparents Need to Know

White noise—a blend of various pitches of sounds that create a continuous buzz or hum—is something that lots of parents now use to help soothe their babies both for naps and overnight sleep. There has been lots of research around why it’s beneficial (it can help babies fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer), and as long as you don’t turn it up too loud, it’s completely safe for baby.

Additional Information
Age range All ages

For When Your Arms Get Tired

What Our Experts Say

We get it—the thought of putting down your grandbaby for even a few seconds may make your grandparent heart skip a beat. But just in case you need a little break, keeping a bouncer at your house is something to consider. This combo design switches between bouncer and rocker mode, a nice-to-have feature that gives you options depending on what your grandchild prefers. There’s also a removable toy bar and a flat fold so you can stash the bouncer away when it’s not in use.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Items like bouncers, rockers and baby swings are safe spots to keep baby while you’re getting other things done and can even help soothe some babies when they’re very young. But which one’s best? And do you need all three? (Don’t worry, you don’t.) Read up on how to choose a bouncer, swing or rocker, the pros and cons of each and how to decide which one is best for you.

Additional Information
Age range Maximum child weight: 20 lbs

An Extra Outfit

What Our Experts Say

Having a few backup outfits at your house in the event of a spit-up, blowout or other messy event that babies tend to specialize in is never a bad idea. These footies are soft, warm, easy to get on and off and can be worn both for sleep and play. They’re also affordable and work for newborns just as easily as they do for older babies. Consider purchasing a few across a range of sizes so you’ll always have a standby on hand.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Meet the two-way zipper, hands-down one of the best innovations to hit baby clothes over the last few years. Two-way zippers do exactly what their name implies: zip two ways, from the top or bottom. That means you don’t have to completely undress baby every time they need a diaper change, a win for you and your grandchild.

Additional Information
Age range Available in size newborn through 24 mos

You May Also Want to Consider:

VTech
If you’re having frequent sleepovers, keeping a monitor at your house will make things a lot easier on everyone. This one features a clear, large screen and is easy to set up and use.
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Goumi Kids x Babylist
Muslin blankets can be used for swaddling during the first few months and for lots of other things (playmats, stroller blankets, etc.) afterward.
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Ready Rocker
This adjustable, lightweight wedge turns almost anything (think beds, sofas, chairs, etc.) into a rocker.
Buy Now

Diapering

Diapers, Diapers and More Diapers

What Our Experts Say

A lot may have changed since you raised your children, but one parenting truth stands the test of time: you can never have enough diapers. Keeping a few packs of diapers at your house will make life a lot easier for everyone when your grandchild comes to visit. Honest’s Clean Conscious Diapers are made with plant-based materials, feature a wetness indicator so you know when it’s time for a diaper change and are really absorbent. They’re also free of fragrances, latex and lotions so they’ll work even if your grandbaby has sensitive skin.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Honest diapers are a popular choice among lots of new parents, but this recommendation is just a suggestion. You’ll want to check with your child to see which brand of diaper they’re using, as parents (and babies) can sometimes be pretty particular. You can also check Babylist’s How Many Diapers Do I Need for Baby’s First Year? guide to brush up on things like the average amount of diapers babies go through at each age and diaper sizing.

Additional Information
Age range Available in size newborn (up to 10 lbs) through size 6 (35+ lbs)

Multipurpose Wipes

What Our Experts Say

There isn’t much to these wipes, and that’s exactly the point. WaterWipes are made from 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract. They’re fragrance-free and do a great job of cleaning sensitive little bottoms as well as faces, hands and whatever else needs a quick wipe-down. Just be aware that because these wipes are made from minimal ingredients and 100% viscose (a plant-based material), they’re best used within about four weeks of when you first open the package.

What Grandparents Need to Know

When it comes to baby wipes, there are lots of different brands and options. We recommend keeping things as simple—and as pure—as possible, which is why we recommend WaterWipes. They’re ideal for sensitive skin and work just as well on newborn bottoms as they do on sticky toddler hands. You can also order them in bulk, so you’ll always have a package ready to go.

Additional Information
Age range All ages

A Mess Saver

What Our Experts Say

You’re going to wish these were around during your days as a parent to (messy) little people. These thin liners are washable and waterproof, so they’ll save whatever surface you’re changing your grandchild’s diaper on from a poop explosion or any other mess. That means less cleanup and less laundry. When they do get dirty, just pop them right into the washing machine. You can also dry them, but they’ll last longer if you hang to dry instead.

What Grandparents Need to Know

You don’t need a dedicated changing table to change your grandchild’s diaper when they come for a visit. Throw down a towel on a bed or other firm, stable surface and add one of these liners and you’re ready to go.

Additional Information
Age range All ages

A Multipurpose Mat

What Our Experts Say

This Gathre Mini Play Mat may look basic, but you’ll find so many uses for it. Want to create a spot for baby to play? Put this soft leather mat down on a carpet and add some toys. Need a place for a quick diaper change? The mat is wipeable and water-resistant, so you can place it on the floor and change a diaper without worrying about stains or a mess. It even works as a splat mat under a high chair or outdoors on the lawn at the park or in the sand at the beach. When you’re done, simply shake it off or wipe it down with a paper towel or wet rag.

What Grandparents Need to Know

When you’re shopping for grandparent-friendly baby gear, look for multifunction items like this one. Could you buy a separate playmat, splat mat and outdoor blanket? You could, but this versatile mat does all that and more—and will take up much less room in your house.

Additional Information
Age range All ages

You May Also Want to Consider:

Skip Hop
If you’d prefer a dedicated spot for changing baby, consider a wipeable changing pad. It has a non-skid base and can be used on a dresser or even on the floor.
Buy Now
Earth Mama
Perfect for soothing tiny bums—and it’s 100% organic.
Buy Now

Feeding

Support for Feeding—and More

What Our Experts Say

Some of your favorite moments as a grandparent may be feeding and snuggling your grandbaby. This pillow makes both of those things a lot easier. It helps support the baby so they’re in the right position for bottle feeding. It’s also perfect if your arms get tired or if you need any other type of support while you’re holding your new addition. The cotton slipcover comes off for easy washing, and the pillow itself is machine washable, too.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Although the Boppy is technically considered a “feeding pillow,” it’s a lot more than that. You can use it throughout baby’s first year for many other things like propping (around three months), tummy time (around six months) and supported sitting (around nine months). Just remember to always supervise baby while they’re using the Boppy and never use it for sleep or in any sleeping space like a bassinet or crib.

Additional Information
Age range Ages 0-12 mos

A Seat at the Table

What Our Experts Say

Looking forward to adding an extra seat at the table? It may feel like eating a meal with your grandchild is a long way off, but most babies start solid foods around six months old, so you’ll need a place for them to sit before you know it. You can purchase a full-size high chair if you have the space, but we recommend opting for this booster seat instead. It’s under $50 and straps onto almost any type of chair. The smooth plastic seat is a breeze to clean (no tiny crevices where food can get stuck here!) and there are three height adjustments to fit almost any table. You can use the included tray for younger babies, then remove it and use the seat as a booster right at the table once your grandchild gets a little older.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Some grandparents have room for a full-size high chair or simply prefer one if they know their grandchild will be eating at their house regularly. If that sounds like you, we still recommend a high chair that’s lightweight and easy to fold so you can move it around or out of the way when you’re not using it. The Best High Chairs for Small Spaces guide has lots of good suggestions.

Additional Information
Age range 4-24 mos; max child weight 50 lbs

Baby’s First Tableware

What Our Experts Say

This one-and-done tableware set has everything you need for your grandchild once they’re ready for solids. It includes a suction bowl with a lid, a bib, two infant spoons, a straw cup and a suction divided plate. It’s all made from 100% food-grade silicone and is top-rack dishwasher safe.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Odds are that when you were raising your children you started solids by spoon-feeding them purées. Lots of parents still do this, but there’s a new kid in town: baby-led weaning. This feeding method skips purées and spoon-feeding and lets baby self-feed finger foods right from the start. As the time approaches, you may want to talk with your children about how they’re planning to start solids so you can learn more and support them.

Additional Information
Age range 4+ mos

For Keeping Clean

What Our Experts Say

Most parents pack bibs in their diaper bag when they know they’re going to be eating away from home, but since they’re affordable and don’t take up much space, we recommend also keeping a stash at your house. These bibs from Bumkins are some of our favorites. They’re easy to get on and off and feature a large pocket to catch spills. Most importantly, they’re made from a unique fabric that’s wipeable, machine washable and resistant to stains and odors.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Bibs are made from all types of materials including cotton, silicone, polyester and more. While cloth bibs work well for the early days, once your grandchild is eating solids regularly, you’ll want to move onto a waterproof bib like the one above.

Additional Information
Age range 6-24 mos

Health and Safety

First Aid

What Our Experts Say

Keeping your medicine cabinet stocked with some basic health and first aid products is generally a good idea, but it’s even more critical when there’s a baby in the picture. This kit was curated by emergency room doctors and parents and is filled with hospital-grade supplies and soothing items for baby’s first year and beyond. It stands out from other first aid kits for two reasons: the items are full-size (think things like gauze, chest and foot rub, alcohol pads, a rectal thermometer, nail scissors and more) and it includes step-by-step guidance on how to use them plus when to level up and call the doctor, 9-1-1 or head to the ER.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Just as parents-to-be should make sure they learn basic first aid and infant care before their baby arrives, grandparents should, too. Good news: you can take these types of courses right from the comfort of your family room. Things like infant CPR courses and general baby care are all available online. It’s also important to read up on medication safety guidelines for babies and the most up-to-date rules on safe sleep.

Additional Information
Age range All ages

Basic Babyproofing

What Our Experts Say

Babies are on the move before you know it, and ensuring your home is safe for a curious little one is important. A good place to start? Outlet covers. This pack comes with 24 faceted covers to keep tiny fingers out of unsafe spaces. They’ll be easy for you to pull out, though, thanks to the ergonimically designed backs.

What Grandparents Need to Know

There’s a lot to consider if you’re thinking through babyproofing your home. Start with this childproofing checklist from an ER doctor that covers what you’ll need to do to prevent some of the most common household-related injuries.

Additional Information
Age range All ages; keep in mind most babies begin to crawl between about 7-10 mos.

A Cozy (and Portable) Spot for Bathtime

What Our Experts Say

This baby bath from Boon is ideal for grandparents’ houses thanks to its portability and functionality. You can use it in the sink or your adult tub, and it’s designed to cradle and support baby comfortably during bathtime. (There are even swaddle wings built right in that you can wrap around your grandchild to keep them extra warm.) It’s also inflatable; it quickly inflates and deflates in seconds so you can store it in a closet or under the bathroom sink.

What Grandparents Need to Know

If kneeling to bathe your grandchild in the regular tub is going to wreak havoc on your back and knees, look for a baby bathtub like the one above that can be used in a sink instead. (Just make sure to measure your sink and the dimensions of the baby tub first.) Another option is a freestanding basin-style bathtub that you can place on a counter. They’re bulkier and harder to store, but don’t require you to bend over during bathtime. The Skip Hop Moby and Lalo’s The Bath Tub are two favorites.

Additional Information
Age range Max weight 20 lbs

You May Also Want to Consider:

Tubby Todd
Keeping a few baby-friendly hair and skin products on hand will make bathtime and any baby sleepovers a little easier. This bundle includes hair and body wash, a moisturizing balm, lotion and a bubble bath.
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UnbuckleMe
Unbuckling a car seat can be tricky, especially if you have arthritis in any of your fingers. This innovative tool makes it a lot easier.
Buy Now
Safety 1st
These pressure-mounted baby gates won’t leave holes in your walls and are extremely user-friendly.
Buy Now

Play and Activity

A Sensory Toy

What Our Experts Say

Keeping a small basket of toys at your house will make playing with your grandchild even more fun. These sensory panels are packed with features to stimulate the senses of both newborns and older babies. Each panel has two different sides and includes things like black and white patterns and tactile elements like crinkles and peek-a-boo.

What Grandparents Need to Know

As you remember from raising your own children, babies learn through play. Choosing toys that line up with your grandchild’s age and developmental milestones can help their brains, bodies and social and emotional skills. Get a quick refresher on baby milestones for the first six months and how to encourage them through play in our Best Toys for Babies 0-6 Months guide.

Additional Information
Age range Newborn+

A Starter Library

What Our Experts Say

It’s never too young to start reading to your grandbaby. This starter library includes five favorite board books that work from day one through toddlerhood.

What Grandparents Need to Know

Snuggling up with a good book will likely be one of your favorite moments as a grandparent. Get up to speed on kid lit and check out our recommendations for the best classic books, activity books, books about family, ABC books, multicultural books and holiday favorites.

Additional Information
Age range All ages

A Play Gym

What Our Experts Say

And speaking of play—this piano gym from Fisher-Price is a favorite. It’s packed with songs, sounds and words to engage all of baby’s senses. There are four ways to play (lay and play, tummy time, sit and play and take along) and it grows with baby, two features we love as they mean it’s a toy that will stick around for the long haul. And it’s quick and easy to assemble (and disassemble) so you can tuck it under a bed or in a closet when your visit is over.

What Grandparents Need to Know

There are lots of other options for play gyms and activity centers that you may want to consider for your home, depending on space and how much you want to spend. Another favorite is Skip Hop’s Explore & More 3-Stage Activity Center. Babies can start using it around four months old, and it eventually converts into a play table once your grandchild gets a bit older.

Additional Information
Age range 0-36 mos

A Note About Car Seats

If you’re planning on being a regular caregiver for your grandchild or know there will be times when you’ll be driving them in your car, you’ll need a car seat. Here’s what you need to know.


Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and the Babylist Health Advisory Board.