Are Baby Nests the Next Newborn Essential?

This multipurpose item may be an essential addition to your baby gear.

If you're welcoming your first baby, you might be finding yourself completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of items a little baby needs—and that's why you might be intrigued by this new concept in baby gear, which some moms are calling a "must-have." What's so great about it? Well, it might be the key to replacing several other large baby essentials in one cozy little package.

Introducing baby nests, which represent a seriously simple (yet genius!) option for little ones to use while sleeping, playing or even nursing. The nests are plush and cozy for baby—and they also happen to be practical and portable. The womb-like items are remniscent of this Finnish box tradtion, which revolves around the concept of putting babies to sleep inside boxes, then using the sleep solution as a portable play/lounge area for your little one.

DockATot is one of the brands that manufactures baby nests—the company describes its version as a "multi-functioning dock" for infants: Babies can sleep comfortably right inside the nest, which can also double as a play mat, a portable bed and even a changing table. DockATot's version starts at $165, and it might just be a lifesaver for moms who travel a lot or live in cramped quarters that don't make it easy to store a whole range of baby items. You can also find more affordable options from retailers like Toys R Us and Etsy.

Planning to pick up (or register for) a baby nest? Run the one you want by your doctor before using it. We don't have to tell you how vulnerable newborns are, and making sure that something your baby will spend a lot of time in is 100 percent safe is absolutely essential. But with the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending babies sleep in with their parents for the first year, this might be the perfect way to keep your baby close without taking up a lot of space in your room.