3 Ways to Rethink Essential Baby Gear
3 Ways to Rethink Essential Baby Gear
February 2, 2021

3 Ways to Rethink Essential Baby Gear

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3 Ways to Rethink Essential Baby Gear.
3 Ways to Rethink Essential Baby Gear

For most people, having a baby means thinking about things like strollers and high chairs for the first time since, well, you rode around in a stroller or ate from a high chair. Consequently, researching and narrowing down your gear list can be pretty daunting—if no two parents are the same, how are you supposed to know what you’ll actually need and what’s going to end up in the closet with your smoothie blender?

The best place to start is with the basics and thinking about how they might fit into your actual life (instead of a predesigned checklist). We’ve partnered up with Graco—who invented more than one of the essential baby gear categories we know today, like the baby swing and the Pack ‘n Play—to help you do just that. Here’s the 411 on what categories you most likely want on your registry and how to think about them.

A Way To Get Around

There are two ways to think about how you’ll get around with your baby:

  • Getting from point A to point B (like running errands or traveling around town).
  • How you’ll carry your little one once you arrive at your destination.

Most people start with the former (aka car seat). But before you do that, try to picture your everyday life—how you run errands and enjoy your leisure activities—and then envision yourself doing these same things, but with a baby.

For example, if you mostly do quick trips to the store and picture yourself pushing a stroller around placing items in the storage basket, you may want a travel system (aka a stroller and car seat combo) that allows you to easily transition your baby from the car to their stroller without having to disturb them.

On the other hand, if that smooth transition isn’t a high priority, there can be just as many perks to buying your car seat and stroller separately—like not having to spend money on a new car seat as your baby grows or being able to choose a stroller without worrying about car seat compatibility. If you go this route, an all-in-one car seat like the Graco 4Ever DLX will last you from birth through the booster seat years (a major plus for your wallet).

Lastly, if you want the freedom to get around without always needing to push a set of wheels (or if your routine involves spaces where a stroller might be a nuisance), a baby carrier might just be your everyday BFF. Carriers can also be helpful for getting around your house when your baby is little and craving those newborn snuggles. A structured version like the Graco Cradle Me is designed to last well beyond infancy, giving you added flexibility as your baby grows.

A Place to Sleep

When it comes to baby’s sleep, many of us head straight for the crib aisle first. But those early days of parenting can be made much easier if your baby is close by for nighttime feedings and soothing. And there are lots of ways to make that happen.

For example, if you’re considering a bedside crib or bassinet, there are features to look for you might not have even realized existed. Some newer models even come with a special technology that can actually hear your baby crying and then automatically respond with a series of soothing techniques to help your little one get back to sleep. While this technology can sometimes cost well into the four figures, the Sense2Snooze bassinet is on par price-wise with its non-soothing counterparts.

On the other hand, if you want to keep your gear to a minimum while still allowing for room sharing, a playard like this one can pack a lot of versatility into one piece of gear—there’s a changing table, a travel bassinet and a playard—all in one package. And with the raised bassinet (which also folds and comes with a carry bag), you get multiple sleep options that grow with your baby.

A Spot to Hang Out

Bouncers. Rockers. Swings. Seats. The one thing they all have in common: giving your arms a rest when you need to put the baby down. So which lounging spot is best for your family?

Swings are a tried-and-true soothing option, and newer versions go way beyond the standard back-and-forth motion. But they aren’t always the most portable soothing solution. Rockers have the benefit of being lightweight and easy to move around, but they usually offer more limited soothing motions. In some cases, though, you don’t have to choose. The Soothe My Way swing combines both, with a rocker you can remove from the swing when you want to move from room to room.

Not all babies love swings and rockers, though. If you’re not sure whether you’re going to need one for your home and want to test the concept of a baby seat first, consider looking into gear that doubles as a lounging place, like a high chair that reclines. This one features a cozy infant support spot, and as an added bonus, the adjustable height can come in handy when you’re having dinner or doing chores at standing height, like washing dishes.

There are only a few things you’ll really need when you first bring your baby home. Think about who you are now and how you live your life day to day. Because even with a baby you’re still going to be you (and pro tip: you can always get gear after the baby comes too). In the meantime, a good place to start is with versatile essentials that pack multiple solutions into one piece of gear.

This article is sponsored by Graco. Babylist’s free site, apps and emails are made possible by our sponsors. We limit our sponsored content to relevant partners that offer products and services we believe in and use ourselves.

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