For years I have intended to compile a comprehensive baby registry guide. Something about raising five little ones has kept me from taking on such a large project though! But, it’s time! I’m so very excited to feature a big ol’ collection of my tried and true baby items with links galore. I hope you find it to be a valuable resource.
I’d like to think I’m a minimalist when it comes to baby gear, but after compiling this list, it seems I am a moderate-ist … not quite minimalist, not quite maximalist :)
Thanks to various writing and review opportunities over the years I’ve been blessed to try LOTS of brands in the gear category. Many of those reviews are over at Baby Gizmo if you want a more in depth look. Here you’ll find what I consider to be the very, very best! Basically, the things I’ve told my sisters they need for their little ones.
I will say that gear definitely fluctuates throughout seasons of life. There are some things that are a must with your first that seem less important as your family grows. And vice versa. But, generally, everything here has served us well a long time. Enjoy diving into all things baby gear and babywearing!
We’ll kick off sweet and simple with this darling bouncer! My little ones usually have bouncer time while I jump in the shower and the design and aesthetic of this one from Ergobaby is spot on. Best of all, it adjusts for maximum safety and comfort or newborns, infants, and toddlers.
Should I have given strollers a post of their own? Perhaps. But, I’ll keep things a simple as can be and say, buy a Bob. Specifically, the Bob Gear Revolution Jogging Stroller. This stroller is the perfect, all-terrain option. I love mine for walking, jogging, sidewalks, gravel, parks, the zoo. You name it, our Bob has been there.
Now, when I had two littles of stroller age I had a Bob Duallie. It will fit through a doorway and in the back of a vehicle, but it’s big! Really great for an infant or toddler and preschooler. Super sturdy! I even ran my first 5K pushing this beast!
In various seasons I have also used and loved a Baby Jogger City Select as well as an Uppa Baby Vista – both as a single and stacking double. To turn these into a double stroller you do have to purchase a second seat. Both are sufficient and have great features. Keep in mind, they’re both expensive new yet easily found secondhand. AKA shop secondhand to save big $$$.
Speaking of Veer. Holy moly, please please don’t forgo the idea of a wagon. The Veer Cruiser is DIVINE. It is the smoothest ride, so much fun for the kids, and extremely durable. I have hosed ours out multiple times and it still looks brand new. A wagon isn’t a must, but is sure is convenient! Especially with multiple kids. Personally, I think a wagon makes a great birthday/Christmas combo gift from grandparents. Skip all the fluff and clutter and kindly ask for contributions for something your family will use and love for years.
There are handful of things that I can never quite get right in my home – high chairs is one of them. Curtains is the other … I can never find the right ones! But, although I’ve yet to find the PERFECT high chair, I have found three very suitable options.
First up is kind of annoying because it’s retired. I don’t know why Boon did this to their lovely Flair high chair, but it’s not readily available. You can find it secondhand. It looks a little space machine, but the smaller base lends to a more reasonable footprint when you have a tighter kitchen/dining space and it’s super easy to clean. It’s a winner!
Ok, next is so very brilliant – it’s the Ergobaby 3-in-1 Evolve High Chair and Kitchen Helper. That’s right! This gem starts as a high chair, morphs into a chair, and then, when your little graduates, you can flip flop it into a kitchen helper which is such a wonderful piece of furniture for little ones. It’s easy to clean and folds when it needs to be stored. I love this design!
Last but not least is the ANTILOP High Chair from IKEA. I had this one for a bit and you just can’t beat the price. It’s only $30! The base is wider and it isn’t the best fit for chunky babies, but, hello – $30!
I won’t say a lounger is absolutely essential, because a blanket on the floor has served little ones for a long, long time. But, the Snuggle Me Organic Lounger is a wonderful, portable place for littles to safely lay down, practice tummy time, or play. Some of my sweetest photos of the boys are of them in their Snuggle Me! It comes in both an infant and toddler size.
I could have written an entire post on just babywearing, but I wanted to keep things succinct and basic. In my opinion, you want two, maybe three, babywearing options. Of course, the sky is the limit in colors, patterns, fabrics, and style so once you find your favorite you can add to your collection. But, for starters, I recommend a wrap style carrier and a soft structure carrier.
For soft structured carriers, Tula is my all time favorite. Specifically the newer Tula Free-to-Grow. This carrier cinches down to support a baby as small as 7 pounds so you can use it right out of the gate. It reaches its maximum when baby is wearing a size 2T pants. At least I’ve found that to be the best gauge. Then you can graduate to the Toddler Tula. It goes up to 60 pounds and is my favorite carrier for ages 2-3. If you pop over to my Instagram and check out our hiking photos this is what I always hike with. I much prefer my little one closer to my body piggyback style rather than having the weight pulled out and up which is how many hiking backpacks are structured.
One more note on soft structured carriers – if you can swing it, buy two. One that will stay fitted to mom’s body and another for dad. It’s a true joy to get your carrier adjusted just right and ready to go every time. Sharing it between two people leaves you constantly adjusting. Get dad his own, it will encourage him to put it to use often!
Last but not least, ring slings! I love the cozy snuggles of a good ring sling! Tekhni has a wonderful Repreve blend and I adore my sling from Pacific Northwest Wovens. They have retired though so you can only find those secondhand.
You do not need a play gym or mat, but my, this one from Lovevery is pretty and functional! I did not have one for my littles but this is the one sister has for my niece and it’s top notch!
There aren’t many brands that I have had a decade long allegiance to but Diono is one of them. All of my kids have buckled up in a Diono Convertible Car Seat from newborn through 7+ years. It is THE best seat for so many reasons, but my top ones are: the steel frame, rear facing until 50 pounds, easy to take apart and clean, and a slimmer frame (so in most cars you can fit three in a row). It’s the only car seat you’ll ever need as it transitions to a booster and can support until to 120 pounds. Cancel your car seat research! You can trust me that Diono will not disappoint!
P.S. Don’t forget a car seat mat!
Ok, let’s talk diaper bags! I have always preferred a backpack style. With littles, being hands free helps so much. So, with that in mind I recommend checking out these brands:
- Lily Jade – The best interior organizer!
- Freshly Picked – Prettiest neutrals!
- The Honest Company – Love the Uptown style!
- JJ Cole – This pattern is the cutest! And I like this one too!
- SoHo – Can’t beat $30!
Most of all, I’ve learned that I like to pack a small crossbody with my purse essentials and tuck it into the diaper bag. That way if I’m heading out solo or just have a quick errand I can leave the diaper bag at home or in the car and just grab my crossbody. My favorite is from Walker Family Goods! In fact, their backpack styles could easily become a diaper bag too.
I’ve got three amazing recommendations when it comes to crib recommendations. First up is the Halo DreamWeave. It’s two-sided (infant and toddler), 100% breathable, and has a washable cover. It’s a great price point too. Then we’ve got a variety of options from Naturepedic. I especially like their mini crib mattress. Which leads me to …
For the most part we are pretty committed cosleepers. But, I do like having a crib available for some naps and occasional stints in the night. The Babyletto Mini Crib is the perfect size and style! It stores beautifully between babes too – hence the “origami” name. Highly recommend!
We’ll end on a silly note … no recommendations for a specific swing! Some babies hate them, some love them so I never spend much on a baby swing. I’ve bought and sold numerous secondhand ones because they’re a bear to store between babies so when I need one (it’s such a short season … like 3 months!) I hop on Facebook Marketplace and see what I can get for $20-30. With both Eli and Charlie it was a Fisher Price one like this. But please please please do not pay $150+ for a baby swing.
Now, if you do find that your baby loves their swing buy a cheap second one! I love having one downstairs near the kitchen and another in our bedroom or bathroom. Two places where I often need to settle a little one when my hands are full.
And that is that! All the gear and babywearing things I love and adore! I’d love to hear what you recommend from this category too! Be sure to check out some of the other categories of The Ultimate Baby Registry Guide:
- Breastfeeding Essentials
- Postpartum Musts
- Technology You’ll Love
- Furniture For Babies + Toddlers
- Go To Gear (Including Babywearing!)
- Learning To Eat
- Cloth + Disposable Diapering
- Toiletries + Bath Time
- Clothes, Shoes, + More (Including the Best Blankets!)
- Baby’s Little Library
You can also find links to many of the items I’ll be sharing in my Amazon Storefront. They’re all compiled in the Baby Registry section. Purchases made through those links help support my writing as I earn a tiny percentage, so, thank you in advance!