The New Mom's Essential Guide to the Best Baby Gear

The list we're giving to our expectant friends and family.

Everything in this slideshow

1 of 27

Mom-Approved Baby Gear

Getty Images

Mom-Approved Baby Gear

If you've ever bolted up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat over strollers, debated breast pumps with your bestie, sent out all-caps emails to your mom friends for their registry recommendations— or all of the above—this is the story for you. To give you the short answer on exactly what you need for Baby, we picked our favorite gear and shipped it to a panel of real-mom testers. They strolled, studied sleeping babies and discerningly issued their stamps of approval. We found you don't need 289 things to be fully prepared—try 24. You're about to become ridiculously ready for your little love.

2 of 27

Meet The Moms

Meet The Moms

Our judges aren't pros, they're parents—the closest credential to actually having a master's degree in baby stuff.

Jessica Garvin, Atlanta—Mom to Harper, 2, and Eloise, 6 months
Find her at Little Baby Garvin

Erin Boyle, Brooklyn—Mom to Faye, 5 months
Find her at Reading My Tea Leaves

Katie Bower, Loganville, Ga.—Mom to Will, 4, and LJ, 6 months
Find her at Bower Power

Caroline Harper Knapp, Houston—Mom to Knox, 1
Find her at House of Harper

3 of 27

The Essential Carrier

The Essential Carrier

The bucket seat of the Ergobaby Four Position 360 Carrier assures your cutie is ergonomically situated however he prefers—front-inward, front-outward, on the hip or back. And the wide waistband and padded shoulder straps guarantee your comfort. Newborn to 33 pounds. ($160, ergobaby.com)

Our Real-Mom Tester Says: "There's no fabric barrier between mom and baby, so discreet breastfeeding is totally possible."—Erin Boyle

4 of 27

The Essential Multi-Purpose Stroller

The Essential Multi-Purpose Stroller

The Baby Jogger City Mini keeps you and your jock-in-training on the move. The wheels lock in place for a smooth long-distance stroll or swivel to maneuver around tough terrain. The seat fully reclines, and with the purchase of an adaptor, it's compatible with Maxi-Cosi, Nuna and Cybex seats. Newborn to 50 pounds. ($250, buybuybaby.com)

Our Real-Mom Tester Says: "It folds up with only one hand and is compact enough to fit in a small trunk. And the large canopy for full coverage from the sun is really nice—especially for us Southerners!"—Katie Bower

5 of 27

The Essential Infant Car Seat

The Essential Infant Car Seat

The 8.6-pound Maxi-Cosi Mico AP makes sure your pint-sized passenger is safe with extra side-impact protection and an indicator to show when it's installed correctly. But the cozy extras—padded seat, multi-position canopy, and ergonomic handle—aren't to be missed. The perch is compatible with Maxi-Cosi and Quinny strollers, as well as other brands, like Baby Jogger. 5 to 22 pounds. ($200, babiesrus.com)

Our Real-Mom Tester Says: "These days, I'm toting around everything but the kitchen sink. This car seat is so light and easy to lift on and off the base—it's a lifesaver."—Jessica Garvin

6 of 27

The Essential Diaper Bag

The Essential Diaper Bag

Keep bottles, snacks and diapers neatly contained with the Skip Hop Duo Special Edition Diaper Bag in French Stripe. Plenty of pockets and magnetic closures make it simple to find what you're looking for, and the fabric wipes down for an easy clean. The contemporary carryall also comes with a changing pad. ($64, skiphop.com)

7 of 27

The Essential Bodysuit

The Essential Bodysuit

Your peach will need a lot of LWB s— little white bodysuits—and Carter's 5-Pack Short Sleeve Bodysuits are a perfect pick. They're 100 percent cotton and have a wide neck—the better for getting your bambino dressed in a hurry. ($16, carters.com)

8 of 27

The Essential Diaper Pail

The Essential Diaper Pail

The oval-shaped Ubbi Diaper Pail is a game changer—no special bags are required; it's made of powder-coated steel and it holds 58 cloth or disposable diapers. ($80, target.com)

Our Real-Mom Tester Says: "I use a cloth diapering service and the diapers get picked up weekly. In the meantime I want the apartment to stay fresh. I was able to slip the bag required by our service right into the pail—no odors."—Erin Boyle

9 of 27

The Essential Monitor

The Essential Monitor

Whether you wonder if your squirt's rustling awake or you just want to gaze at her as she dreams, the Motorola MBP36 has all angles covered. It tilts, pans and zooms and includes infrared night vision, room temperature reading, lullabies and remote camera adjustment. ($250, amazon.com)

Our Real-Mom Tester Says: "I love the large screen. You can really zoom in and scan the room—and it's nice to be able to talk to Baby, too."—Katie Bower

10 of 27

The Essential Breast Pump

The Essential Breast Pump

The closed pumping system on the amazingly affordable Evenflo Advanced Double Electric Breast Pump prevents expressed milk from backing up into the tubes and passing on bacteria to your sweet pea. It feels made just for you with 32 speed and suction settings and three flange sizes, so you get a perfect fit. Plus, it includes online instructional breastfeeding videos. ($100, evenflofeeding.com)

11 of 27

The Essential Baby Tub

The Essential Baby Tub

The 4Moms Infant Tub fits into most sinks and a side drain allows dirty H20 to funnel out while fresh water flows in. Another nifty feature: A color-coded digital thermometer keeps tabs on the bath's temp so you can focus on giving your bub a calming scrub. ($50, shop4moms.com)

Our Real-Mom Tester Says: "This is totally innovative, since newborns tend to pee (or worse) with every sneeze."—Jessica Garvin

12 of 27

The Essential Bottle

Courtesy of Summer Infant

The Essential Bottle

No chemicals here! The Born Free Glass Bottle is clear of any BPA and other synthetics. Plus, Babe can guzzle at his own pace thanks to vent technology that allows him to control the milk flow, for a suckle that's similar to breastfeeding and helps with gas and colic. And the sipper's handles, spouts and nipples are interchangeable for an easy transition from bottle to toddler cup. ($10, newbornfree.com)

Our Real-Mom Tester Says: "I love how easy these are to clean. It's also nice to have the option to switch the top to a sippy cup so Knox can have water during meal times when he's not taking a bottle."—Caroline Harper Knapp

13 of 27

The Essential Crib

The Essential Crib

The iconic style of the DaVinci Jenny Lind 3-in-1 Convertible Crib is gender-neutral and fits well in any design scheme. It's made of pine from sustainable forests and has a nontoxic finish, plus it offers four mattress heights and converts to a toddler bed and daybed. Amp up the bunk's charm by opting for the peppy Lagoon or Sunshine shades. ($249, davincibaby.com)

14 of 27

The Essential Play Yard

shutterstock.com

The Essential Play Yard

The Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light is flush with the floor, so it won't tip over with your teeny tot inside. The 13-pound cot unfolds with one simple movement and there are no loose parts to attach, so it's a snap to set up—even in a tryptophan haze after turkey dinner at Grandma's. Newborn to 3 years. ($300, babybjorn.com)

15 of 27

The Essential Highchair

The Essential Highchair

The Stokke Tripp Trapp easily wipes down and adjusts as your sprout grows, including the height, depth and footplate (inserts for kiddies from 6 months to 3 years, sold separately). 6 months to 300 pounds. ($249, stokke.com)

Our Real-Mom Tester Says: "The modern design isn't an eyesore in my dining room. And I love that this isn't something you only use for a few months—it grows with your child."—Caroline Harper Knapp

Related: The Essential Shopping List

16 of 27

The Essential Umbrella Stroller

The Essential Umbrella Stroller

The Maclaren Mark II weighs a feathery 7.3 pounds but is still loaded with features like roomy underside storage, an extra-large sun visor, ergonomic, antimicrobial handles and water-resistant fabrics in snappy color combos, like Silver with Red frame, Carmine Rose, Midnight Navy and Spicy Orange. 6 months to 55 pounds. ($195, shopmaclarenbaby.com)

17 of 27

The Essential Convertible Car Seat

The Essential Convertible Car Seat

Traditional convertibles stay in the car, but you can transfer the Orbit Baby G3 Toddler Car Seat to the (separately purchased) G3 Stroller Base. The bottom of the flame-retardant-free lounger rotates to face you so you don't need to lean over to buckle in Pee Wee. Rear-facing 15 to 35 pounds; forward-facing 25 to 65 pounds. ($380, orbitbaby.com)

18 of 27

The Essential Bouncer

A. Y. Photography

The Essential Bouncer

The Fisher Price My Little Snugapuppy Deluxe Bouncer will win your bunny's approval. The plush, machine-washable fabric keeps Baby's head positioned comfortably. Plus, she'll be super stoked with hanging toys and fun songs and sound effects. Newborn to 25 pounds. ($56, babiesrus.com)

Bower says: "I like that it's lightweight and easy to move. And it gives my older boys a nice way to interact with their baby brother."

19 of 27

The Essential Sleeper

The Essential Sleeper

Buttons are so 2013. The machine-washable Magnificent Baby Footie has magnetic fasteners that close on their own. ($30, magnificentbaby.com)

20 of 27

The Essential Activity Seat

The Essential Activity Seat

Your smiley babe will love the 20+ activities on the Evenflo ExerSaucer World Explorer so much, you'll finally be able to change out of your sweats and brush your hair. The 3-in- 1 fun spot transitions from birth to 24 months. ($129, babiesrus.com)

21 of 27

The Essential Bassinet

The Essential Bassinet

The Halo Bassinest ensures cosleeping with your night owl is safe and easy. It nestles right up to your bedside and swivels so you can keep Baby extra close, plus the side wall lowers so tending to your lovey is a cinch. It also includes a nightlight, lullabies and soothing sounds, vibrations and a nursing timer. Up to 5 months or 30 pounds. ($250, halobassinest.com)

Garvin says: "After my C-section, I had such anxiety knowing I would have to sit up, get out of bed and lift my baby multiple times in the night. This bassinet eliminates all of those problems. It makes a world of difference."

22 of 27

The Essential Swaddle

The Essential Swaddle

The genius Love to Dream Love to Swaddle Up lets your glowworm sleep with his arms up, which means that he can suck on his hands or rub his face to self-soothe. It's also stretchy, comes in an organic version and requires no wrapping. ($30, lovetodream.com)

Knapp says: "Knox tried to fight his way out of traditional swaddles and would usually win. These provide a much more natural sleep position for babies."

23 of 27

The Essential Humidifier

The Essential Humidifier

The Crane Drop Cool Mist Humidifier keeps the air moist to help relieve dry skin and cough, cold and flu symptoms, which means easier breathing and rest for your nugget. More winning qualities: It's whisper quiet, uses less energy than a household light bulb, doesn't require a filter and has an auto shutoff sensor. ($50, crane-usa.com)

24 of 27

The Essential Pacifier

The Essential Pacifier

Big air holes and a curved shield make the Mam Start Pacifiers an ideal choice. The suckers are BPA -free and the storage case can be used to sterilize them in the microwave. ($6 for a two-pack, babiesrus.com)

25 of 27

The Essential Crib Mattress

The Essential Crib Mattress

The Babyletto Coco Core Dry is free of glues, dyes, chemical flame retardants, allergens, phthalates and off-gassing materials. Instead, it uses natural coco coir. Organic accolades aside, it's also waterproof. ($269, babyletto.com)

26 of 27

The Essential Feeding Pillow

The Essential Feeding Pillow

The square design of the Nook Niche gives your little nibbler space to spread out. It's made of organic cotton and eucalyptus and its cover is machine-washable. The prop's available in precious shades like Lawn, Misty and Poppy. ($100, nooksleep.com)

Boyle says: "This pillow makes for comfy nursing, and I love that it's created with 100 percent organic materials— including the stuffing— which can be hard to find."

27 of 27
Next Slideshow

7 Products That Will Change Your New-Parent Life

Need some great new-parent hacks to make your life easier? Check out... more
Begin Slideshow

Comments

Add a comment
close