5 Baby Gear Essentials
One piece of baby gear you must have is a car seat. Government regulations demand it and the hospital won’t let you leave with your baby unless you have one. There are two basic types: an infant car seat and a convertible car seat. Infant car seats are rear-facing and accommodate most babies during their first year. As the name suggests, convertible car seats can be positioned rear-racing for babies, and converted to front-facing for older children. A big plus of infant car seats is they are easy to snap-install and easy to remove from the car. Most also have a convenient carrying handle, and some will snap into a stroller.
For parents, a stroller provides mobility for errands, fresh-air strolls and even a bit of exercise. For baby, a stroller is a place to sleep, play and take in the exciting new world. As much as any other item on your baby essentials list, a stroller should suit your family's lifestyle. If walks will be long and frequent, you’ll want a rugged stroller with plush cushioning for baby and lots of storage space. A travel system offers a versatile option, combining a stroller with an infant car seat in one piece.
It's difficult to say who will love your baby carrier more: you or baby. Strollers and cars seats provide mobility, but nothing matches the soothing warmth of a baby carrier. It lets you cuddle baby while keeping both hands free to perform tasks at home, or navigate through crowded stores.
Playard / Playpen
For practical moms, a playard (also called a playpen) is a safe, versatile place for newborns to sleep and play. As you move from room to room throughout the day, it's easy to roll this baby essential along with you, so your little one is never out of sight. And when you nap or go to bed in the evening, you can park your playard next to you for easy feeding and changing. Traveling is also made easier because the playard offers a familiar place for baby to sleep, whether you're visiting Grandma or enjoying a weekend getaway at the beach.
From day one, your baby will need a place to sleep safely and comfortably. The sensible solution is a crib because it will accommodate baby for the first eight months to two years. There are many styles of cribs, some of which convert into a bed. Most cribs offer the convenience of a drop-down railing, which can be lowered for easy access. Another handy feature to look for is an adjustable height base, which can be lowered as your baby grows taller.
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