I was obsessive about researching baby gear while I was pregnant. Our registries were practically a work of art. I maniacally cross-referenced reviews in Baby Bargains and on Amazon to make sure we were getting tried-and-true products that would offer the best bang for our buck. I’m proud to say the obsessing paid off, with mostly hits and just a few misses.

Obviously, lifestyle plays a lot into gear choices, but here’s a rundown of the stuff that has made our lives a little bit easier as new parents – and you can’t put a price tag on that.

  • 1) Fisher Price Rock ‘n’ Play – Baby Y slept in this beside our bed for the first few months. The angle is great, it’s easy to set up and move, and it folds flat for travel. Best of all – it’s cheap!
  • 2) Baby Bjorn Comfort Carrier – A lot of people criticize Bjorns for causing backaches once the baby is a bit heavier. This one distributes weight a lot more evenly because of the hip belt, but still allows the baby to face out, unlike other popular carriers. I even wear Baby Y in it around the house some days if he’s fussy.
  • 3) Chicco KeyFit 30 – The MVP of our first 6 months. It took me all of five minutes to install the bases in both of our cars at nine months pregnant. (In fact, had I known how easy it would be to install, I may have stuck with one base.) It comes with an infant insert for newborns that is often an extra purchase for other seats, and while Baby Y has had many a diaper explosion in this, the fabric has never stained. It’s also a lot less obnoxious looking than a lot of seats. We just switched him to a convertible seat, which is perfectly nice, but I miss the Chicco.
  • 4) Nuk pacifiers – We probably have about 12 of these floating around. Baby Y never liked Soothies, but these have saved our lives many a time.
  • 5) Fisher Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle ‘n’ Swing – Baby Y napped in this plush swing until about 4 months old. It swings in three directions, has two recline settings, and is neutral enough so that it doesn’t look like Gymboree vomited all over the living room. Oh, and it plugs in, saving a small fortune on batteries.
  • 6) Maclaren Easy Traveler – We used this stroller frame for the KeyFit. It’s lightweight, folds practically flat, and has a roomy basket – great for travel. Chicco now makes its own frame, though, so that’s worth checking out of you go with the KeyFit and want just a frame instead of a bulkier travel system.
  • 7) Simplisse Gia Nursing Pillow – I wish I’d had this from the get-go. The Boppy never worked well for me – I’m on the taller side and had to hunch over it, and Baby Y was always rolling into me, or worse, off the pillow. The Gia puts the baby a lot higher (no hunching) and is flatter and wider (no rolling). It also has an incline, which aids digestion – a nice touch for reflux babies.
  • 8) Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light – A definite splurge, but one that’s worth it for frequent travelers. We bought this when we figured out how cumbersome pack ‘n’ plays can actually be. It’s lightweight and sets up in 30 seconds. Win.
  • 9) BabySmart Cooshee Changer – This makes so much more sense than a traditional changing pad. The first time I wiped poop off this with a baby wipe, I fell in love. Anything that cuts down on laundry is genius.
  • 10) Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddle Wraps – I talked about these in my swaddle post, but I’ll sing their praises again here: Skip the receiving blankets (useless except as burp cloths) and just get a pack of these. I’ve used them so many ways – swaddle, sun shade, burp cloth, play area, light summer blanket — that there’s no question of whether they were worth the extra money.
Baby Y sleeping with Gia and blanket

Two of our greatest hits: the Gia and an Aden + Anais blanket

There you have it – our greatest hits. What’s your favorite go-to baby gear?