When you’re crafting your baby registry, it can be tough to know what is actually necessary and what will just end up being clutter.
As my baby finishes his first year of life (HOW did that happen already?!) I’m reflecting on the baby products that have made our parenting journey a little easier and have given us some time back. From playtime to essential gear, these items have been our go-to companions:
Lovevery Play Gym and Play Kits
First up, we have the Lovevery Play Gym and their thoughtfully curated Play Kits. This play gym offers a beautiful, stimulating (but not super bright, loud, and overstimulating) environment for babies, encouraging sensory exploration and development. It was one of our first gifts off of our registry from another family who had loved theirs.
I’m so glad we went with Lovevery. With high-quality materials and a variety of engaging activities, the play gym was perfect for him up until he got more mobile at 10 months old. Now that we’ve converted it into a tent, I think he’ll still enjoy it as a toddler. The Lovevery Play Kits are equally impressive, delivering age-appropriate toys and activities right to your doorstep as your baby grows based on the Montessori method. Prices range from $140 for the Play Gym to $80 per Play Kit. Read my full Lovevery Review.
Guava Lotus Bassinet and Travel Crib
The Guava Lotus Bassinet is a dream come true for traveling parents. With its lightweight and easy assembly, it’s perfect for creating a safe and comfortable sleeping space right next to your hotel bed. It’s small enough to be a carry on, though you can check it as well. We have the bassinet conversion kit, which turned it into a bassinet when he was younger. Prices start at $229 for the crib alone and $349 with the bassinet conversion kit. Read my full Guava Lotus review.
Willow GO Portable Breast Pump
I had no idea before giving birth just how important having a good breast pump would be. When it became clear I’d be exclusively pumping, I knew I had to be untethered to save my sanity. Thank goodness for wearable breast pumps, which can be put into a bra and don’t have any wires or require you to be plugged in. I tried several, but my favorite ended up being the Willow GO. It made it so much easier traveling with breast milk and pumping on the go! Read my full Willow GO review.
Let’s talk about comfort for both baby and parent. The Boppy Nursing Pillow (NOT the lounger) has been a lifesaver during feeding sessions, providing support and ensuring a cozy and ergonomic position. We used it for the first six months of my child’s life when he would contact nap on our laps, and probably would have for longer if he hadn’t grown so big so quickly (he’s always been in the 100th percentile for height and 80/90th for weight). It’s also great for tummy time and propping up your little one during play. With various designs and covers to choose from, the Boppy is a versatile and affordable option, priced around $55+.
This one is slightly *controversial* since every time I share about it on Instagram stories someone DMs me that it’s overkill, but I honestly love our Slumberpod, and even have it over our crib at home to block out light. It’s essentially a bottomless tent made of stretchy blackout curtains that create a dark environment that’s useful for sharing rooms when you travel, and for creating a dark environment at home. Read my full Slumberpod review. It starts at $199 (use code bemytravelmuse$20 for 5% off!).
Solly Baby Wrap
I adored the Solly baby wrap early on in my baby’s life. After a little bit of a learning curve with how to tie it, I could eventually do it in seconds flat, and it was always my go-to because it had the best weight distribution and was incredibly soft. It also had thick straps that could easily create a dark cocoon for my baby to sleep. Sometimes, when he was upset, putting him in the wrap was the best way to calm him down. Plus, I love baby wearing. I would’ve used this for so much longer if my baby hadn’t grown so quickly so fast, but would still recommend it for anyone with a newborn (full Solly Baby review here)! They start at $60.
Artipoppe Baby Carrier
This is definitely a splurge, and there’s no need to go for something this high end, but I loved the patterns and the quality of the Artipoppe baby carrier. I loved it so much I actually got three! The materials were softer than our Ergobaby mesh although I prefer the front-carry mode of the latter more. Read my Artipoppe review and know that if it’s out of your price range it’s just one of many baby carriers to consider.
Snoo Smart Bassinet
If you’re looking to catch some extra Zs, the SNOO Smart Bassinet might be your sleep savior. This high-tech bassinet features soothing motions and white noise to help your baby sleep more soundly. When your baby cries, it goes through a rocking and sound routine to lull them back to sleep. We used this from day one until our baby self-weaned at 5.5 months and I’m convinced it helped out so much. For most nights, we only had one waking and getting my son to sleep was often as simple as putting him in the bassinet while still slightly awake.
While it comes with a higher price point of around $1,700, you can opt to rent (or buy and sell secondhand, which is what I did). Though pricey, its innovative features and the potential for better sleep make the SNOO worth it.
Guava Roam Crossover Stroller
I have ended up trying quite a few strollers, and was surprised to find that so few of them could really tick all of the boxes. The Guava Roam stroller comes as close as I have found since it is a great stroller for all-terrain needs, can be perfect for jogging, has storage, and it folds up small. It’s also affordable starting at $599. Read my Guava Roam review for the details.
Osprey Poco LT Child Carrier
If you love hiking you’ll want to get one of these! This lightweight and comfortable carrier provides a safe and secure way to bring your little one along on hikes and adventures and is WAY more comfortable than a standard baby carrier, albeit much bigger and bulkier. With its adjustable straps, padded seating, and ample storage space, it ensures a comfortable experience for both parent and child. The Osprey Poco LT Child Carrier is priced at around $259.
GB Pockit Stroller
When it comes to compactness, the GB Pockit Stroller takes the crown. This lightweight and ultra-compact stroller folds into a small package that can fit into your bag or overhead compartment. We bought one (or rather, the QBIT which has more features, read the comparison here), for our Europe trip and now when I want something easy to fold and light, I take it on paved adventures. It doesn’t have the suspension of the Guava Roam, but it’s so easy to pop in the trunk and open and close with one hand.
If you’re looking to whip up healthy and homemade baby food, the Beaba Babycook makes it so much easier. This nifty device steams, blends, defrosts, and reheats food with the push of a button. It has such a lovely design, too, and easy-to-clean parts. Even though we mainly do baby-led weaning it’s still been useful for steaming and processing muffin ingredients. It starts at $249 for the duo. Read more about the Beaba Babycook options here.
When it comes to keeping our little one comfortable and dry, Coterie Diapers have been a game-changer. These premium diapers are designed with a super soft and absorbent core, and have been the only diapers we’ve tried that don’t leak at night. Coterie Diapers are available through a subscription service, with prices starting at around $90 per month.
I resisted getting a rocking chair at first. It just seemed like yet another thing we needed to buy that would take up a lot of space. I also thought that I could share my office with the baby nursery, which I now find hilariously naive. Once we got a rocker, we’ve used it for every nap time and bedtime and will probably hang onto it well after we need it for the baby. Here’s what to look for in a rocker or glider. We got ours on Facebook Marketplace.
Da Vinci Otto Changing Table
I also didn’t think I would need a changing table (ha!) but my aunt and mom assured me that, like the rocker, it was necessary. It has saved my back, and I certainly miss it when we’re traveling and resorting to changing on beds and back seats. I liked the Da Vinci Otto since the company prioritizes nontoxic building materials, uses sustainable wood from New Zealand, and it has storage. The changing table top can be removed when you’re done with it, and it can still be a functional piece of furniture for years to come. The Da Vinci Otto Changing Table is priced at $199. You’ll also see the Ubbi steel diaper pail and a wipes warmer above, both of which I’ve been glad to have.
Hatch Sound Machine
The Hatch Sound Machine helps create a soothing environment for your baby’s sleep. With its various sound and light options, it can be easily customized to your preferences. We have two – the Hatch Restore and the smallest, simplest Hatch Mini for travel. Prices for the Hatch Sound Machine range from $59 to $89, depending on the model.
Skip Hop Activity Center
This was awesome right from when he was 4 months old. It was a way for him to be upright, engaged by playing with the different toys, and was just another great hands-free way to hang out with him. We still use it a bit now! This interactive play center offers a variety of engaging toys, sounds, and textures to stimulate your baby’s senses and promote motor skills development. With its adjustable height and 360-degree rotating seat, it provided hours of entertainment from when he was 4-6 months old. The Skip Hop Activity Center is priced at around $120.
Inglesina Fast Table Chair
Although we have a standard high chair (The Stokke Clickk which I honestly hate), our little guy loves hanging in the Inglesina and watching me cook. He also has his breakfast there in the mornings while I enjoy my AM cup of coffee. It’s great for travel as well, packing down small and attaching to most tables. Read our Inglesina review here.
Although there are more things that we use from day to day, like obviously bottles, car seats, and diaper cream, these were the products that I didn’t know definitely belonged on my baby registry. They have ended up being so useful, and in many ways have been the ultimate parenting hacks.
I also want to acknowledge that this is a pricey list and many of these things are top of the line. I like having these quality products for my baby, but I also buy many of them secondhand and sell them again when I am done. Sometimes I essentially use the item for free, like in the case of the SNOO. Read more about how I do that here.
I hope this list helps you to have a more stress-free parenthood experience!