When it comes to gearing up for baby, a city mom’s needs are very specific. We would never buy a stroller that couldn’t fit down the narrow aisles of our favorite neighborhood deli, for example. If we live in a walk-up building, we consider the weight of any baby gear, knowing we’ll have to lug it up several flights of stairs—along with baby, a diaper bag, and more. Every day, we navigate overcrowded subways and collapse strollers on buses. We accommodate all of baby’s stuff without the benefit of basement or attic storage, extra closets or kitchen pantries. All of this means that city moms need to think very strategically about each purchase. Luckily, we’ve gone ahead and done that for you here, in our official Baby Registry Guide for City Moms, where you’ll find the downscaled, lightweight, foldable, packable, multi-tasking must-haves for your life with baby in the urban jungle.
City Mom Must-Haves
Compact (aka umbrella) stroller
It’s a workhorse for city living, easily navigating tight spaces like buses, busy sidewalks, museums and zoos, and it’s a snap to fold and carry with one hand—or toss in the back of an Uber.
Mini crib or co-sleeper
You’ll want baby close by at night for easy feeding, and with space at such a premium in the city, a mini crib or co-sleeper can double as a nursery during the newborn months.
Travel crib or play yard
Think of it as a portable nursery—a safe, comfortable place to station baby in any room, whether you’re home, at a friend’s or traveling.
Durable, well-organized diaper bag
City living means spending lots of time on the go—and needing lightning-fast access to key items—so your diaper bag should be durable and offer just-right storage options for your needs.
Portable high chair
Most city apartments won’t accommodate a full-size high chair but really, it’s not even necessary. Smaller, portable versions work just as well for every day and are great for restaurants and travel.
Collapsible baby bathtub
Bathtime is safer and easier with a dedicated baby tub, and a collapsible model will take up minimal space when bath time’s over.
Easy-to-use baby carrier
Wearing baby in a soft, structured carrier is the probably the most hassle-free way to get around town. There are no cracked sidewalks or potholes to avoid or strollers to open, close and carry.
Baby Registry Items to Skip
They take up tons of space and are not 100 percent necessary. That said, consider borrowing one from a friend, so you can use it for just a month and then send the behemoth on its way.
Toys for older babies
City babies have to live in the moment. Stick to a few board books and loveys at first; then buy new playthings and books as baby enters each new stage.
Diaper disposal system
If you live in an apartment building, you probably have a trash chute nearby, and most city moms take their trash out daily if not more frequently. Reuse your plastic grocery bags as diaper disposal bags and toss them in the trash as you go.
With space at a premium in city apartments, skip the changing table and stick a changing pad on top of a low dresser instead.
Buying in bulk
Since stocking up isn’t an option, sign up for a delivery service, like The Honest Company. You’ll get essentials like diapers, wipes and baby lotion sent right to your door (or your doorman), every two to six weeks.
What You Need on Your Baby Registry and Beyond, According to City Moms
“We used a mini crib for a long time. It folded up and could go right under the bed. Also, just register for only the absolute necessities. That means no swing, bouncy seat, big high chair (hello clip-on!), bottle warmer, pacifier sterilizer etc. –Ellen L.
“I loved getting shipments of things like diapers, but only so often. We used Honest diaper delivery. Having a delivery meant I didn’t have to schlep a million diapers and wipes along with my baby and stroller. We could stock up, but not worry about running out with the baby all the time to get them. I also like how with Honest you can choose to have deliveries between 2 and 6 weeks too since you use fewer diapers as baby grows.” –Anu K.
"I loved my 'travel system,' where the car seat attached right onto a frame to turn it into a stroller. I used it a lot when my son was too young for an umbrella stroller. It made outings via taxi super-easy; and once I got there, I could stroll without having to lug around a car seat (which can be heavy!)." —Judy C.
“We used an umbrella stroller as our everyday stroller and it lasted us six years and through two kids. We could fold it at night under our bed. It reclined just enough so kids could nap on the subway or en route, or if we were enjoying dinner out.” –Anne Elise
Editor Picks: The Best Baby Gear for City Moms
Best baby stroller: Baby Jogger City Tour
It seems like everyone has the Baby Jogger City Mini. But the new City Tour makes zigzagging through the city even easier since it's 7.5 pounds lighter. But it doesn't skimp on features you need, like a large UV 50+ canopy and a storage basket. Other features you’ll love:
- Single-hand fold and lock feature makes it super simple to collapse and stow in the back of a cab or in a closet at home.
- An included backpack-style carrier makes it easy to take on trips—and it meets airplane carry-on requirements when folded.
Buy it: $200, Target.com
Best travel system: Doona Infant Car Seat
If you’re lucky enough to have a car and need a travel system with car seat option, we found a product that serves as both—no attachments necessary. Features you'll love:
- The conversion from seat to stroller is easy: Click a latch to release the wheels. Click again and the latch collapses the wheels back under the seat.
- Double walls beef up side impact protection.
Buy it: $500, buybuybaby.com
Best compact stroller: Babyzen Yoyo+
Trust us: You’ll want a dependable lightweight stroller for getting around hassle-free day-to-day. This stroller weighs only 14 pounds and is a cinch to get up and down subway stairs and in and out of elevators. And it's one of the few compact strollers that can be used from birth thanks to a newborn carrycot attachment. Features you’ll love:
- It folds up accordion-style to become smaller than most shopping bags.
- A “soft-drive system” and four-wheel suspension mean a very smooth ride over city streets.
Buy it: $420, bloomingdales.com
Best diaper bag: Skip Hop Dash Messenger Diaper Bag
The Dash, with 11 roomy pockets—including side pockets for bottles—makes it a no-brainer to find the paci, diaper, wipes or anything else you’re looking to grab in under a New York minute. Features you’ll love:
- Comes with a washable travel changing pad and is easy to clean.
- Snaps onto the handles of almost any stroller to give your shoulders a rest, and quickly converts back to a shoulder or messenger-style bag.
- Lots of cool patterns and colors to choose from.
Buy it: $65, amazon.com
Best high chair: Inglesina Fast Table Chair
For city baby, the best high chair is no high chair—but rather a seat that clips safely to the table. The Inglesina Fast Table Chair is super lightweight—under 5 pounds—and is collapsible, with carry bag included, for easy portability. It can be used with most tables (without scratching) for babies six months to 37 pounds. Features you’ll love:
- Handy rear pocket is perfect for small accessories and toys.
- Sturdy enough to use every day at home and easy to keep clean.
Buy it: $70, bedbathandbeyond
Best bouncer: Skip Hop Uplift Multi-level Bouncer
Another high chair solution? This bouncy seat that raises to table height! It's a great option for keeping baby safe and entertained while you tend to other tasks. Features you’ll love:
- This thing will keep baby occupied: It plays songs and nature sounds, vibrates and includes a tuck-away toy bar.
- The removable seat and infant insert are both machine washable.
Buy it: $120, skiphop.com
Best baby tub: Stokke Flexi Bath Bath Tub
Baby won’t use the big tub for a while and city bathrooms tend to be microscopic, which is why the Stokke Flexibath is a great option for your newborn to 4-year-old. Features you’ll love:
- Super lightweight, folds flat and can be stored under the sink.
- Cool, modern-looking colors and a fun shape also offer ergonomic support for growing baby.
Buy it: $46, buybuybaby.com
Best carrier: Cybex Yema Carrier
You’ll want to keep baby snuggled in close while navigating dense crowds. Cybex came up with a super stylish, unique cocoon-like design that works from birth through age 2. Features you’ll love:
- You have options: Carry in the front parent facing position, the hip carry position or the back carry position.
- Thickly padded shoulder straps and a padded waist belt provide stability and comfort for hours of carrying.
Buy it: $200, cybex.com
Best crib: Babyletto Origami Mini
A crib that actually folds up and stores away when you're done with it? Yep, that exists. And it's still made out of wood. Features you'll love:
- Wheels make it easy to move from room to room if baby needs to make space for guests.
- Choose from two adjustable mattress levels for a height that works for your family.
Buy it: $269, Babyletto.com
Best bassinet: Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, Premiere Series
You’ll want baby sleeping close by during the newborn months, and this bassinet is as close as bed-sharing gets while keeping baby safely in his own space. It sits on a sturdy, compact base, so it’s great for smaller rooms. Features you’ll love:
- Swivels 360 degrees to bring baby closer—and for hassle-free getting in and out of bed.
- Plays lullabies and soothing sounds and has two levels of vibration, a nightlight and a nursing timer.
Buy it: $250, amazon.com
Best playmat: Bubabella
No bells and whistles here—just thoughtful design. Bubella's understated Bambi print is a welcome addition to any nursery. And the shoulder strap means it can be a welcome addition the park or grandma's house too. Features you'll love:
- Velcro lets you turn this mat into a jungle gym, of sorts, when baby is older, creating a tunnels and play structures with different folds.
- It's 50 inches x 59 inches in size, but folds down to 19 inches by 24 inches.
- The exterior cotton fabric is machine washable.
Buy it: $99, Bubabella.com
Best baby monitor: Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera
It’s like having a personal security detail for the nursery, and then you can repurpose it for home security later. Features you’ll love:
- Streams securely to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
- Provides a 130-degree wide-angle view of the room in high definition, even after dark, using night vision.
- Two-way talk back allows you to monitor baby’s sounds and reassure her from a distance.
Buy it: $198 , amazon.com
Best skin care: Mustela No-Rinse Soothing Cleansing Water
Sort of like hand sanitizer for your baby, this is something you'll definitely want on hand for subway trips. It thoroughly (and gently) cleans your baby's face and body without needing to be rinsed off—but you will need to apply with a cloth or wipe. Features you'll love:
- Forget the midday bath struggle—quickly clean messes without water.
- This multipurpose cleanser soothes while it cleans.
Buy it: $15, MustelaUSA.com
The Bump Ultimate Stroller Guide:
Updated November 2017