Make your life easier — or at least survivable — with our top baby gear picks for the first year of your infant's life. Your mommy brain, and your wallet in some cases, will thank us.
Shortly after your baby arrives, you'll suddenly realize how important both of your hands are for your daily activities. If you want to do chores, respond to a few emails or go for a quick walk, strap that baby to your chest with the Moby Wrap (Moby Wrap, $48) for infants or the Moby Go (Moby Wrap, $80) for older babies.
Until you're a mom, you'd never guess how insane a baby's hair gets after a hard night's sleep. Hot Tot's Sweet Pea Serum (Hot Tot, $15) is the perfect answer for this adorable problem. The serum helps to smooth crazy curls, prevents ratting and has a formula that is safe for babies.
Breastfeeding is economical because... funny thing: You already own your boobs (unless you're still paying monthly on a financed upgrade). But if you're planning on breastfeeding after returning to work, or you want some freedom with your schedule to allow others to feed the baby, it's important to have the right gear. We like the Medela Pump in Style (Medela, $270) and its accompanying bottles because the purchase has everything you need to pump your boobs, store your milk and feed your newborn.
Squeeze packs of baby food will sing to you with a siren song once your baby is old enough for solid foods. So convenient. So nutritious. So clean. But seriously, store-bought squeeze foods are so freaking expensive. We like the BooginHead Squeez'Ems (BooginHead, $8) because they are reusable and you can refill them with homemade purees or bulk store-bought mixes for some major cash savings.
Diaper and wipe dispenser
There's nothing quite like the frantic search for a diaper and wipes at 3 a.m. as your infant is shooting diarrhea across the room. Enter a diaper and wipe dispenser. Bobee's version (Bobee, $40) is awesome because it comes in a variety of colors for your nursery, and it attaches to the wall so you can easily find it in the still of the night.
Babies are terribly irresponsible and they're always leaving their personal items at daycare. Thoughtless, yes, but sometimes a mother has to anticipate these inconveniences and make other plans. Name Bubbles has an adorable line of personalized daycare labels (Name Bubbles, $43) so you can put your baby's name on his items to prevent the loss of clothing, toys, bottles and bags.
A big purse
Don't waste your money on a diaper bag that will only increase the number of items you have to carry during the day. Instead, find a large purse that has room for your own stuff, a bottle, two diapers and a few wipes. It's all you'll need.
You'll need a million of them. Receiving blankets work great as swaddles, burp cloths and changing stations. We love Aden + Anais muslin receiving blankets (Aden + Anais, $50) because they're chic and lightweight for the upcoming summer months.
Remember that bit about 3 a.m. diarrhea clean-up? You'll definitely need a night-light in your baby's nursery. The Brobo plush night-light (Brobo, $30) is a very cool update to a traditional night-light because you can turn it on for five minutes while changing a diaper, and it will also grow into a toy when your child feels afraid of the dark as a toddler.
Fancy toys only hold a baby's attention for so long. Instead of investing in a lot of stuffed animals or expensive toy sets, purchase a couple of cool block sets to help your baby learn motor skills. We love Duplo, especially their new garden set (Lego, $13) for toddlers, because they're easy to grip and stack.
From our friendly talks with other women, moms would give anything for a portable vibration device (and not the kind you're thinking about). Babies love the vibration of a car or clothes dryer to soothe their crying. The Munchkin Lulla-Vibe (Munchkin, $32) makes this idea portable by allowing moms to slip a vibrating disc under a mattress pad to lull the baby to sleep in his or her own crib.
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