Have a clear vision what you need: The more choices you have, the harder it is to decide what to buy.
The items on this list aren’t absolute necessities, but if you’ve just got to have all the trimmings, go for it.
1. ADDITIONAL CARRIER If you used a sling for your newborn, you will need to graduate to a front carrier or backpack after a few months—or, better yet, a carrier that works both ways.
Our pick: ERGObaby carrier in mystic purple, $115, ergobaby.com
2. DIAPER BAG Though you can get by with a plain old backpack or tote bag, diaper bags feature handy pockets and waterproof pads. There are hundreds of choices, from dainty bags decorated with bunnies and bears to high-fashion totes disguised as couture handbags.
Our pick: JJ Cole Mode diaper bag, $50, jjcolecollections.com
3. MONITOR A basic audio monitor will do the job, though some parents prefer video varieties. The latter are more expensive but save you from running into the baby’s room at the slightest whimper. Safety tip: Make sure any monitor cords are at least three feet from the crib so your baby can’t reach them.
Our pick: Angelcare Ultimate Baby Monitor, $289, angelcare-monitor.com
4. BASSINET A lightweight, portable bassinet (some fold up) is a plus if you frequently move your infant from room to room or spend the night away from home.
Our pick: Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Cuddle Cove Rocking Seat, $200, babiesrus.com
5. BOUNCER Many parents consider this a lifesaver; others find it overstimulating for baby, what with the vibration, music, lights and dangling toys. Most toy bars are removable, and you can get a bouncer with or without extras, or turn them on or off as needed.
Our pick: Chicco I-feel, $120, chiccousa.com
6. SWING Like bouncers, swings are considered a godsend by parents of fussy babies. Some move front to back as well as side to side. Look for a quiet motor, multiple speeds and volume control for the music.
Our pick: Bright Starts InGenuity Smart & Quiet portable swing, $70, brightstarts.com
7. DIAPER PAIL If you live in an apartment, a diaper pail is a great timesaver; if you live in a house, you may prefer just to run the dirty diapers out to the trash. Some diaper pails accommodate regular kitchen bags; others require special (and more costly) bags.
Our pick: Munchkin Arm & Hammer diaper pail, $35, babiesrus.com
8. JOGGING STROLLER This rugged vehicle has the fixed front wheel necessary for jogging (some front wheels also swivel for easy maneuverability while walking); it’s appropriate for babies 6 months and older.
Our pick: Baby Jogger Summit XC, $400, babyjogger.com
9. GLIDER OR ROCKER Whichever you choose, make sure that it has padded arms for comfort during feeding sessions.
Our pick: Serena & Lily Presidio Glider, $995 to $1,195, serenaandlily.com
10. PLAY MAT Padded machine-washable mats offer a way to safely engage and entertain your baby. They come with a variety of sounds, flashing lights and detachable toys, and each is a perfect place for your little one to enjoy some tummy time.
Our pick: Boppy Flying Circus Play Gym, $75, babiesrus.com