It can be overwhelming if you’re expecting a baby and trying to put together a baby registry — especially if it’s your first. Not only because you need a lot of baby stuff, but also because there’s just so many options to choose from.
From bassinets to baby monitors, we’ve tested all types of baby gear to find the very best baby accessories that you’ll need for the first year — and beyond.
Here are the best baby products that stand up to our rigorous testing. We absolutely love them.
Uppababy Mesa V2
The UppaBaby Mesa V2 hit all the marks of a quality, easy-to-use infant car seat. Our baby tester loved this seat, snuggling right in and falling asleep almost immediately every time we used it. The harness is comfortable both for an infant (with the infant insert installed) or an older baby, which wasn’t the case for all the seats we tested. It’s also easy to tighten or loosen the harness as needed, with just a push of a button.
The Mesa V2 weighs a little under 10 pounds, putting it on the lighter end of all the car seats on the market. It was thin enough to fit well into the backseat of our Honda CRV, and its strap-based system made it easy to install.
Some car seats require a kickstand, but the Mesa uses a belt that autoretracts as soon as you latch it in, securing the seat into the car. The Mesa comes with a base but if you ever find yourself without one, you can also use the “European routing system” to thread a seatbelt through the back, which keeps the car seat secure. To remove the car seat from the base, you only need to grab the handle on the back of the seat; it’s a one-handed release.
The only true downside to the UppaBaby Mesa car seat is that you’ll need to buy into the slightly pricier UppaBaby system if you want to attach the car seat to a stroller.
If budget is your priority, you can also browse our list of strollers under $200, such as the Summer Infant 3Dlite Stroller, which is a top pick by our testors.
- Easy to install
- Easy to clean
- Not compatible with other stroller brands
Guava Lotus Bassinet Kit + Crib Bundle
There’s a lot to love about the Guava Family Lotus Bassinet. Not only is the Lotus great at being a bassinet, but it can transform into a pack and play as well. While it’s on the expensive side, if you add up the price of buying a high-quality baby bassinet plus a separate play yard, the Guava Family Lotus makes for a sweet package dealfor $299.
In addition, the Lotus has the best and most compact fold of any product we tested. Did we mention that it folds up into a backpack—which is also included? While portability isn’t important to everyone (and not all bassinets we tested even had a way to fold-up) the compact design is easy to move and great for exploring the world with your newborn baby or your toddler—or even just for setting up in the living room. It’s also quite convenient for when it’s not in use, as it makes storing it especially easy in even the smallest apartments.
- Can transform into a pack and play
Uppababy Cruz V2
The Uppababy Cruz V2 is our favorite stroller, hands down. It’s wide enough to be stable, yet narrow enough to easily fit through doorways. It’s cozy enough to hold a baby, but also adjusts to accommodate a preschooler. The large wheels are large enough to absorb bumps, yet it’s slim when folded, and it stands on its own.
The five-point harness keeps your baby safe without being difficult to buckle and unbuckle, and the UppaBaby Cruz’s folding mechanism is convenient and clever, though it’s not a one-handed fold.
The stroller looks and feels luxe, but it only took 10 minutes to put together and the storage space is outstanding—the basket holds up to 30 pounds.
- Huge storage basket
- Smooth ride
- Adjusts for big and small riders
- Canopy has excellent coverage
- Handlebar only has three settings
The Joovy is equal parts luxury and economical compact. Some of the extras, like the snack tray, aren’t necessary—but you will be thankful that they are included anyway.
Tiny when folded, you can store this stroller just about anywhere in your home (or car) without thinking twice. It can accommodate a car seat, has added storage in the back in the form of a zippered pouch for wallets and keys, and has a reclining seat for kids in need of a nap. It checks all of the boxes, and then some, making it a great choice for almost everyone. The Kooper falls square in the middle of the compact stroller price point, making it a good investment.
- Snack tray included
- Plenty of storage
- No strap
Nanit Pro Camera with Flex Stand
The Nanit Pro is one of the best smart baby monitors on the market. With easy setup, a user-friendly app and basic subscription features that provide must-have information to parents, the Nanit provides value most in that first year of life.
Parents can expect high-resolution views of the baby’s crib from their smartphone, and, for those with two babies, the Nanit offers a split-screen view for simultaneous monitoring of both children. It also features a night light, and temperature and humidity readings.
The Nanit’s biggest boon is for parents looking for peace of mind against SIDS and just in general. The Nanit features breath monitoring, thanks to its breathing band that counts breaths per minute and sends data alerts to the camera and app, in real time. On Nanit’s website, parents can also purchase wearables for older babies and toddlers, such as sleep sacks and pajamas.
Unfortunately, the Nanit offers a significant drawback: Its subscription ends after just one year, only continuing as a paid service thereafter, and the app only offers access to two people, which means additional caregivers are a no-go.
- Compatible with Amazon devices
- Crystal-clear picture
- Split-screen for more than one monitor
- Subscription ends after one year
- No hand-held unit
Happiest Baby Sleepea 5-Second Baby Swaddle
The Happiest Baby Sleepea, designed by Dr. Harvey Karp, boasts itself as the world’s first 5-second swaddle. With its double zipper that can open from top or bottom, inner arm wrap with extra-quiet Velcro, and breathable cotton and mesh to reduce overheating, this swaddle was the number one winner in multiple rounds of testing.
This swaddle was a game changer, especially for babies who had several dirty diapers in the night during those first few weeks home. This swaddle allowed for easy diaper checks and changes and babies settled into the swaddle almost by the time the zipper was up.
One of the babies slept so soundly in this baby swaddle that mom was reluctant to switch it up to continue testing. And the other, a veritable swaddle Houdini, failed to bust out of this swaddle even during an extra-long night of sleep. Overall, we have very few negative things to say about the Sleepea.
- 100% organic cotton
- Extra-quiet velcro
- Double zipper
- None that we could find
Skip Hop Moby Smart Sling 3-Stage Tub
The Skip Hop Moby 3-Stage Smart Sling Tub was one of the most comfortable baby baths we tested, largely because of a mesh sling that can be set up to accommodate a newborn in a full-recline position as well as a just-learning-to-sit baby in a partial recline position. You can also remove the sling entirely for a baby who can sit upright.
Appropriate for babies from newborn to 6+ months (up to 25 pounds), this tub is a little over two feet long and about 1.5 feet wide and a foot tall, which means it takes up about half the length of a standard adult bathtub. It has a hook that allows for easy storage on a shower curtain rod or towel bar, and a drain that empties the water easily post-bath. You can also wipe down the plastic sides of the bath with no problem and the mesh sling dries quickly, reducing the likelihood of developing mold or mildew.
The Skip Hop Moby is also stable, meaning that it doesn’t slide around in the bath while your baby is being cleaned. And because of the mesh swing’s flexibility, you can easily reach the baby’s nooks and crannies for cleaning. Our tester baby cried every time bath time ended because he wanted to stay in the Moby for longer.
- Hanging storage
- Stable set up
- Adjustable recline based on baby’s age
- Easy to clean
- Larger footprint
- Possibility for mildew in mesh sling
Comotomo Baby Bottle – 8oz
If you’re introducing a bottle to a baby who has been exclusively breastfed, the Comotomo Bottle is an ideal choice. Our baby took to the squishy, silicon bottle quickly, as it comes closest to mimicking a breast, compared to the other bottles we tested. After just a day of using these bottles, we immediately added them into our family’s rotation.
The Comotomo bottles are wide-necked, which means they’re easy to fill with refrigerated or pumped breast milk, or to mix formula in with minimal spillage. The top of the bottle is easy to open and close, and the nipple pops out for straight-forward cleaning, plus there are few crevices for dried milk to get stuck in. We loved that this bottle can be put in the dishwasher (top rack!), and it’s also microwave safe.
During our leak tests, which involved dropping the bottle (with a cap on) from hip-height, letting our 11-month-old son shake the bottle, and tucking it into a diaper bag during trips to and from the grandparents’ house, the Comotomo was the best of the bunch. These bottles are slightly squishy, which means they’re also easier to store than most of their competitors, and they don’t retain that sour-milk smell that can sometimes permeate plastic bottles.
The Comotomo comes in 5-ounce and 8-ounce iterations, in various colors. You can also buy a transitional sippy-cup spout for the bottle.
- Easy to clean and fill
- Mimics a breast
- No moderated flow
- Difficult to see ounce markings
Complete Playtex Diaper Genie
In terms of cleanliness and odor management, the Diaper Genie Complete may have the greatest diaper disposal system out of all the ones we evaluated. Two spring-loaded arms within the bin pin the bag shut and form a small chamber at the top. Without requiring you to exert any force with your hand, the dirty diaper is released into the bag when you simply drop it in and shut the lid.
All that’s left of the refill mechanism is one enormous, long trash bag compressed into the iconic ring form.
The bag is pulled through and tied off at the bottom. Simply remove the pail when it is full, cut the bag with the included cutter, and knot any loose ends. This allows you to quickly empty the pail in the event of a very odorous diaper and allows you to fill it multiple times before needing to change the refill ring.
Carbon filter to eliminate smells
Ring refill for simple draining
Refill bag expenses can mount up.
Contours Journey GO
The Journey GO won our award for best baby carrier. They all came in small, compact boxes with a picture of a model wearing a baby on them. Right from the box you can see all the features and different ways to wear the carrier.
The Journey Go features breathable 3D mesh and moisture-wicking fabric with five different carrying options, making it perfect for your journeys on the go. The 5-in-1 design allows you to wear it for newborns, facing in, facing out, on your hip, and on your back. It was easy to set up and we noticed right away that even with so many configurations it is still lightweight.
Some of the things we liked right away with this carrier is that you can use it for newborns starting at 8 pounds (no infant insert needed) all the way up to 45 pounds, so it will truly grow with your family and take you up to the toddler years. The carrier is also breastfeeding friendly.
The biggest con for this carrier is that your newborn must be at least 8 pounds in order to safely use it, so if you have a tiny baby or a preemie you’d have to wait a few weeks to start using it safely.
- Can be used from infancy to 45 ounds
- Many carry positions
- Breastfeeding friendly
- Includes sunshade and pockets.
- Cannot use until baby is 8lbs or heavier