Best Gear That Grows with Your Baby
The Best Gear That Grows with Your Baby
April 14, 2020

The Best Gear That Grows with Your Baby

The Best Gear That Grows with Your Baby.
The Best Gear That Grows with Your Baby

If you’re building a registry or shopping for baby gear essentials, you may have a bit of sticker shock over certain products. And it can be even tougher to come to terms with when you realize you’ll only need many of these items for a pretty short time.

The good news is there’s a lot of baby gear out there that grows right along with your little one—you just need to know what to look for. These baby gear “investment” pieces will take you way beyond the newborn days; in fact, some can even last well into elementary school.

This category-by-category breakdown of the best baby gear for the long haul will help you choose products that will save you money, space and time and will go the distance.

Jump to: Strollers / Cribs / Playards / Car Seats / Carriers / Swings & Bouncers / High Chairs / Toys

Stroller

Most single strollers are designed to hold one baby at a time, while side-by-side doubles are built to accommodate siblings or multiples. But what if you’re pregnant now and hoping to expand your family again down the road? That’s when a convertible stroller makes a great investment.

Think of a convertible stroller as a single stroller with an “add on” option. Convertible strollers easily transition from a single stroller to a double—and sometimes even a triple—with a few quick adjustments and the addition of some accessories. They range in price from affordable to luxury, and they’ll save you the hassle of having to buy a whole new stroller when your second kiddo comes along.

The City Select is one of the best all-around convertible strollers when you consider price, functionality and design. It boasts over 16 different configurations and can carry up to three kiddos with the addition of a glider board.

One of the trendsetters in the luxury stroller market, the Vista is one of our favorite high-end convertibles. Many parents prefer its front-to-back design over the side-to-side configuration of other doubles as it makes it easier to maneuver the stroller through tight or crowded spaces. It also holds up to three little ones (with the addition of a PiggyBack board), and you can’t beat the look, luxury fabrics and long list of features.

The Xpand is a versatile, well-priced convertible stroller that features up to 22 different configurations. It also comes with an infant car seat included, making it even friendlier on the wallet.

Other convertible strollers to consider:

  • The Nuna DEMI Grow Stroller ($799.95) converts from a single to a double and boasts 23 different possible configurations. Parents rave about its smooth ride and impressive list of features.
  • The Mockingbird Single-to-Double Stroller ($395) is a great alternative to the higher-priced Vista V2. It features many of the same capabilities and arrangements at a fraction of the cost.
  • For ultimate stroller luxury, check out the Bugaboo Donkey3 Mono Complete ($1,399). It expands from a single to a double in three quick adjustments and has great storage and tons of high-end features.

Crib

While it is possible to transition your toddler from a crib directly into a full-size bed, many prefer the security and smaller size of a toddler bed instead. Shop for a crib that converts into a toddler bed so you won’t need to worry about buying a separate toddler bed before you make the jump.

Pro tip: If your crib requires a toddler bed conversion kit, purchase it at the same time you buy the crib. This will ensure that you have it on hand when it’s time to make the switch in case it gets discontinued.

The classic look of this crib fits in any nursery decor. It converts to a toddler bed and a daybed with the addition of this guardrail.

This is one of our favorite cribs for a clean, modern look. It converts to a toddler bed and a daybed as well as a full-size bed—and everything you need to make the switch is already included.

Playard

A playard provides a safe place for baby to chill and play—but did you know it can also work as a sleep space and a changing table? Investing in a playard that serves all three of these purposes is a great way to save money and space.

This playard from Graco is one of the brand’s most popular models and for good reason. The reversible topper doubles as a bassinet on one side and a changing space on the other. We also love the playard’s breathable mesh sides and push-button fold.

For a higher-priced, more streamlined option, the 4moms playard with a removable bassinet and changing table is a standout favorite. You can’t beat the set-up and break down here—it’s quick and effortless. The bassinet and changing table work for little ones under 18 pounds and who aren’t yet rolling over.

Car Seat

A car seat is a registry must-have and likely one of the more expensive items you’ll add to your list. Getting an all-in-one car seat—a seat that’s designed to work from the baby days all the way until your child is well into elementary school—is an economical way to go. It means that instead of purchasing three, or even four, separate seats, you’ll only need to purchase one.

There are pros and cons of all-in-one seats, though. You’ll want to read up on them before you decide if this type of seat is the right fit for your family.

This Britax all-in-one seat is packed with safety features and is extremely easy to install. It’s designed for 10 years of use and converts from a rear-facing infant seat to a forward-facing five-point harness and ultimately to a high-back booster.

At well under $200, the Grow and Go seat is one of the most affordable of its kind. It works rear-facing, forward-facing and ultimately as a belt-positioning booster up to 100 pounds, and it has three recline positions for added comfort.

This four-in-one seat has a six-position recline and offers 10 years of use. New features include a removable (and washable) seat cover, an integrated belt lock-off for easy installation and harness storage for easier accessibility.

Other all-in-one car seats to consider:

Baby Carrier

Any baby carrier is a great investment, but if you’re looking for one that goes the distance, you’ll want to choose one that works from infancy and that has a high weight limit to last you well into the toddler years. One with multiple carry positions is also a good idea—that way you can find something that’s comfortable for you and for your baby.

The Omni 360 can be used right from day one (no infant insert required) and works until your child is about four years old. It has four carry positions and lots of room for adjustments to get just the right fit.

A ring sling does take some practice, but lots of parents swear by them. It’s great for keeping a younger baby close and comfortable but works just as well for an older one, up to about 35 pounds or so.

This versatile carrier can be used in three different positions and with children up to 45 pounds. We love all of the fun prints and patterns and the wide, padded shoulder straps.

Swings & Bouncers

Swings and bouncers are great safe spaces for containing your little one. They’re often expensive, though, and have limited use before they’re outgrown. If you’re going to invest in one, we recommend looking for a model that will grow with your baby and eventually convert to a toddler seat.

This modern seat is inspired by the movement of a leaf in the breeze. It gently sways side to side or up and down (no cords or batteries required) and instantly soothes most babies. It converts to a toddler seat when your little one grows.

A parent favorite, this minimalist-inspired bouncer uses baby’s own movements to gently bounce up and down. In the early days, you can use it from birth until when your little one can sit up independently; it can then be reversed and used as a chair.

High Chair

When selecting a high chair that will grow with your little one, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. Look for a chair that’s ergonomic enough to support a younger baby but large enough to hold an older toddler and beyond. A chair that pulls right up to the table is a plus (after you remove the tray, of course), as is a booster seat that attaches right to a regular chair.

The iconic Tripp Trapp is the ultimate “grow with you” high chair. It doesn’t come cheap, but it can be used from the first days of solids all the way until…well, however long you’d like, really—it holds up to 242 pounds!

For a (much) more economical option, check out this versatile seat from Bumbo. It works as a floor seat and as a booster that can be secured right to your kitchen or dining room chair. You can use it from about five months of age until your toddler is around four years old.

This sturdy high chair pulls right up to the table (a feature we always appreciate) and can hold your little one until about three years old. After that, it converts to a toddler step stool you’ll be able to use in the kitchen and beyond for years.

Other high chairs to consider:

  • The Lalo 2-in-1 High Chair to Play Chair ($195.00) is a modern, minimalist chair that does double duty as a high chair and a toddler chair.
  • Fisher-Price’s no-frills Healthy Care Booster Seat is affordable, easy to clean and works from the time baby starts sitting independently until they reach 50 pounds.

Toys

Don’t let your baby gear have all of the fun! Toys that go the distance are also a great investment.

A play gym is a great idea for younger babies but is often outgrown quickly. This one goes the distance until your little one is about a year old, then converts to a play fort for imaginative play.

From a standing activity center to a play station to a toddler table, this toy will earn its spot in your play space for years. We also love the modern aesthetic.

This ultra-modern, ultra-cool tricycle is a definite splurge, but it’s also the only one you’ll need from the time your little one starts riding until they’re about three years old. It converts from a parent-powered trike to one your toddler can ride all on their own. It even folds to easily fit into the trunk of a car.

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