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The Only Baby Gear I Really Needed

I bought mountains of supplies, but really only ended up loving a handful of things.

By: Laurel Pantin

One of the most intimidating things about new motherhood that didn’t actually need to be intimidating was what stuff to get. I spiraled so hard about which stroller to buy, which car seat to get (in New York we only have enough space for one of each thing—some of my friends in other cities have multiple strollers for multiple scenarios).

Given that space is so limited here, I didn’t want to buy (or register for) a bunch of stuff I wouldn’t need or that didn’t work. Of course, I did anyway, and I’ve ended up giving away a lot of things that just didn’t work for us but hopefully would for another family.

However, there are a few things I’ve loved and feel like I kind of couldn’t survive the “fourth trimester” without.

One last piece of advice: Have diapers, wipes, formula (you never know if you’ll be able to breastfeed until you try it), and bottles on hand at least one month before your due date. Ellis was three weeks early, and we had NONE of those things, making the first night home quite stressful.


The Snoo: OK, yes, this is an insanely expensive bassinet, but it really, really helped Ellis sleep longer stretches, thus allowing me to sleep longer stretches, thereby saving my marriage. It has a gentle rocking motion and produces white noise, but also responds to Ellis’ fussing to help soothe him. It gradually escalates the rocking motion and the noise to calm him, and if in the end he won’t calm down, it sends an alert to your phone that you need to attend to your kid. However, if you can sleep through that level of meltdown, I’m not sure an alert to your phone would do much good.

It’s genius, and really, truly worked for us. Also! If you do buy it and your kid hates it, or it doesn’t improve their sleep, you can get a complete refund for 30 days after it was delivered. Plus, it’s beautiful.

The Dock-A-Tot: I have massive amounts of fear of Ellis rolling off the couch, and this little bed thing allowed me to place him down and leave the room for brief moments. Totally necessary, this is a must-have, in my book.

Keekaroo Changing Pad: To be fair, Ellis does not love this thing. I think he finds it cold and not pleasant or soft. This is the one area of this life where I’m like, tough luck, kid. It’s basically a wipe-able rubber changing table, rather than one with a cloth cover. If I could count the number of times he’s had an “accident” mid-diaper change, I’m sure it would be nearing triple digits, and it’s so nice to not have one more thing you have to rush to the washing machine.

Babyzen Yoyo Stroller: This stroller is super small, super light, and folds up to fit in an overhead compartment on a plane. Does it have the best shocks? No. Is it the Escalade of strollers? No. It is, however, agile and sleek, and doesn’t make me feel self-conscious when I try to bring it into a restaurant. I love, love, love it. I researched the shit out of strollers, and this one is far and away the best I could find for a super city-centric, travel-heavy lifestyle.

Nuna Pipa Car Seat: It attaches easily to the stroller, attaches easily using a seat belt in an Uber or cab, and isn’t super heavy. An all-around win for me. Being city-based, I was really stressed about the car seat. I thought I’d have to lug around the base for it and install it in every taxi I took. Nope, this one is super easy and super safe to secure using a regular seat belt.

Solly Baby Wrap: Interesting how 90 percent of my must-haves deal with mobility… I hate being cooped up! When Ellis was really tiny, I loved wrapping him up in this thing and wearing him around. He’s gotten a bit heavy for it, but I still use it for short trips and love it. It’s really nice, especially in the beginning, to have him close to me, rather than in a stroller, and when it’s cold outside, I loved being able to zip him up in my coat and still be able to kiss his perfect, sweet little grandpa face.

Roller Rabbit Onesies: Yes, these are also super expensive for baby clothes, but they have the cutest prints and the softest cotton that’s neither too warm nor too thin. I swear Ellis sleeps better in these. I’ve invested in three of them for every size, and it’s all he sleeps in. Little pampered guy!

Gerber Kimono Tee Shirts: I bought a ton of these before he was born and tie-dyed them. They’re really easy to get on and off, which is super important, especially when babies are really small. Ellis hates having his clothes changed, and hates being messed with, so anything that snaps around his body rather than going over his head makes my life easier.