Everything in this slideshow
Day One: Swaddlers
Wrapping your baby with her arms tucked in tightly at her sides often has a soothing effect on fussy newborns. But getting the technique down with a blanket can be tricky.
Halo’s Chenille SleepSack Swaddle 3-Piece Set, $48, eliminates the guesswork. The cozy sleep sack features two fabric panels that easily secure with Velcro.
When she’s outgrown the swaddling stage, at around 4 months old, remove the panels and continue using the sleep sack. (The set also includes a cotton bodysuit and footed pajamas.)
Day One: Car Seat
Before you give birth, you will need to purchase a car seat and have it properly installed. (You can’t bring your baby home from the hospital without it.) A convertible car seat, which faces the rear for younger babies and the front for toddlers, is an item you can use for years.
The Britax Marathon 70, $280, has top-of-the-line safety features designed to reduce crash forces and divert them away from your baby. Rear-facing: 5 to 40 pounds. Forward-facing: 40 to 70 pounds.
Day One: Bassinet or Crib
Bassinet or crib A bassinet lets you sleep close to your newborn and is also a mobile solution for baby’s naps.
Restoration Hardware’s Baby & Child’s Heirloom Bassinet & Mattress Set, $299, and European Diamond Matelasse Bedding, $219, features rolling casters that can be locked in place. The foam mattress includes a moisture- and stain-resistant cover, rhbabyandchild.com.
For the nursery, try Graco’s Stanton Convertible Crib, $160, which converts to both a toddler bed and day bed, walmart.com
0-3 Months: Glider
Settling into a comfortable chair with your baby—while nursing, reading or at bedtime—is certain to become one of your favorite ways to spend time with her. A glider, such as Monte Design Vola Glider, $995, offers a smooth forward-and-back motion, and the gliding Vola Ottoman, $385 (not shown), lets you put your feet up, montedesign.net.
Another option: Dutailier Ultramotion Modern Glider, $299, and Ultramotion Modern Ottoman, $149, dutailier.com.
Day One: Breast Pump
If you plan to breastfeed, a good breast pump is essential. A double-electric model, such as the Lansinoh Affinity Double Electric Pump, $150, expresses your milk much faster than a manual pump and allows you to personalize your pumping experience with separate controls for suction and speed.
0-3 Months: Carrier
Nestling your baby against you in a carrier will give her a warm, comforting spot to rest while freeing your hands. The Moby
Wrap Organic Carrier, $60, lets you easily and securely carry your baby in a cradled position, on your hip or directly in front of you. It can even be used with twins.
0-3 Months: Stroller
A sturdy but lightweight stroller makes getting out easy. The First Years Wave Stroller, $350, features a sleek European look, minus the hefty price tag. The bassinet converts to a regular stroller seat, and a simple twist and turn of the seat lets your baby face you or the road ahead. The First Years Via Infant Car Seat I450 (not shown), $160, is compatible with it; most infant car seats also attach.
4-12 Months: Bathtub
A baby tub makes bath time easier; you can wash her at counter-height without straining your back, and use both hands to get her squeaky clean. Fisher-Price’s Precious Planet Whale of a Tub, $20, features a nonslip surface and an insert that allows infants to lie back comfortably and securely. For an older baby, remove the insert so she can sit on her own.
4-12 Months: Feeding Tools
1. Bowls are a must-have for serving and storing baby food. Munchkin’s Collapsible Feeding Bowls, $6 each, fold flat so they don’t hog all your cabinet space, diapers.com.
2. Between 4 months and 6 months of age, it’s time to start introducing first foods. Playtex Infant Spoons, $4/three-pack, have a long handle with a soft, flexible tip and are BPA- and phthalate-free, playtexbaby.com.
3. When it’s time for first sips, try Dr. Brown’s Training Cup, $5/6 ounces, with a soft spout for easy transitioning from bottle to cup, handi-craft.com.
4. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles, $18/three-pack of 5- or 9-ounce bottles, have a natural, extra-wide nipple shape, babiesrus.com.
4-12 Months: Developmental Toys
For playtime fun, check out Manhattan Toy’s Find the Frog Activity Book, $15, a colorful, soft first book with simple phrases you can read together, manhattantoy.com.
Soft stacking toys, like Haba’s Wonder Dice fabric blocks, $29, encourage building, while each block offers a fun surprise, such as varied textures, mirrored surfaces, crinkles and jingles, maukilo.com.