If you’re a mom-to-be living in the ’burbs, chances are you’ll be logging countless steps in your house and a lot of mileage in your car. While storage may not be an issue, lugging baby items up and down the stairs and from room to room likely will be. Your gear has to also withstand terrain beyond city sidewalks, such as grass paths, dirt roads and park meadows. So what are the baby registry must-haves that’ll meet your new mom needs and actually suit your lifestyle? Use The Bump guide to find everything you need for suburban living with baby—and which things you can safely skip.
Baby Registry Must-Haves for Suburban Moms
A stroller/car seat combo lets you quickly get baby in and out of the car without the hassle of unstrapping her from her car seat. The best part: If baby’s asleep, she’ll likely keep on snoozing as you move her from car to stroller (and vice-versa).
Video baby monitor
Sure, it typically costs two times more than a sound-only model, but getting a visual check on baby without crisscrossing the house to stop in the nursery every time you’re the slightest bit concerned is worth it. And when baby gets older, the monitor can be repurposed as a home security system.
Bassinet or co-sleeper
Yes, baby has his own crib in his own room, but having him nearby saves you from several back-and-forth trips during nighttime feedings.
If you live in a split-level house, a travel yard is your go-to playpen, naptime space and safe zone for those times you need to quickly step away to answer the door or deal with the laundry.
Glider or rocking chair
Since you’ve got the space for one, a glider can be your late-night feeding station, bedtime story zone and favorite cuddle destination all in one. You’ll probably use this seat more than any other in your home for the first year, or longer!
Car sun shade or (legally) tinted windows
Some babies are particularly sensitive to the sun’s glare and can get pretty cranky about it while you’re driving. A peel-and-stick sun shade (instead of one that attaches by suction cups, which become a safety hazard if they come loose) provides baby some relief and, an added bonus, the shading keeps the car cooler, making it more comfortable when the weather heats up.
Baby Registry Items to Skip
Heavy or complicated stroller
You’ll be hoisting the stroller in and out of the car trunk daily, so the last thing you want is to spend a lot of time fumbling with a cumbersome stroller—or worse, risk throwing out your back.
Baby tub thermometer
You can test the water temperature with the inside of your wrist. If it feels hot to that sensitive body part, it’s likely too hot for baby. No gadget needed.
It’s just as effective to set your dishwasher to “sterilize,” or use the heated dry setting to kill germs.
Go ahead and get the full-sized play yard, play mat, high chair and baby swing if you have the space for it. Full-size items are often less pricey than compact versions.
Tricks and Tips from Suburban Moms
These moms have been there, done that. See what they wish they had known back when they were registering.
“You'll want to carry your baby around the house and keep your hands free, so register for a sling! Don't fall for elaborate models with straps and adjustments and Velcro. You'll frustrate yourself (and your baby) to no end trying to get the contraption on and secure. I couldn't get baby to hold still, and I couldn't get my partner to figure it out! Go simple.” —Carrie Aulenbacher, mom from Erie, PA
“We could not live without our video baby monitor. We got one that has an app we downloaded on our phones and iPad. It's great because we can move it all around the house and go outside. We wouldn’t have needed this in our old apartment.” —Maegan Watson, mom from Shorewood, IL
“Living in the suburbs and driving virtually everywhere in an SUV, I’ve really appreciated having click-in and -out infant car seats for my kids and a lightweight car seat frame stroller. I also like a car seat cover that keeps really ‘friendly’ people from touching baby while you’re in stores; it also keeps baby warm in winter when you’re getting in and out of cold vehicles.” —Anita Fowler, mom from Sandy, UT
“Since we live in a multi-level house, I love having changing tables on both floors. It saves us from schlepping up and down stairs with a baby in desperate need of a diaper change.” —Sara N., mom from Stoneham, MA
“The Baby Bjorn Bouncer is a great baby registry item for suburban moms. It’s a little pricey, but you can move it easily from room to room, unlike some of the other bouncers.” —Angela M., mom from Mohegan Lake, NY
Best Baby Gear for Suburban Moms
Best Travel System: UppaBaby Vista With Mesa Car Seat
Versatility is key with the splurge-worthy Vista stroller: Use it with the bassinet (with SPF 50+ adjustable sunshade) or your Mesa Infant Car Seat (sold separately but no adapters needed), and add a second child up to 50 pounds using the full-size toddler seat (included). Features you’ll love:
- The Vista’s reversible toddler seat can face forward or backward, and sit upright or recline partly or fully.
- An extra-large basket is roomy enough for a diaper bag and other gear.
- It stands when folded, so the fabric won’t hit the ground and get dirty when you need to stash it in the garage or at the park.
Buy it: $1,249, Amazon.com
UppaBaby Mesa Infant Car Seat
This top-rated seat weighs under10 pounds, to make light work of moving a sleeping baby from the car to the stroller. Features you’ll love:
- A SmartSecure system makes it easy to install (it takes 10 seconds!), so you won’t hesitate to loan it to Grandma while she’s babysitting.
- The side impact protection of this seat ranks high for peace of mind.
Buy it: $300, Amazon.com
Best Umbrella Stroller: Maclaren Volo
Once baby is 6 months old, you’ll want to keep an umbrella stroller stashed in the trunk at all times so you’re ready for anything, like an impromptu trip to the supermarket or the long-awaited visit to the zoo. The Maclaren Volo is sturdy, durable and dependable, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Features you’ll love:
- Weighs a mere 9.5 pounds, so if your toddler wants to walk on his own, you can still carry it easily in case he changes his mind.
- Folds down compactly using only one hand.
- Comes with a rain cover—keep that in the trunk too.
Buy it: $130, Amazon.com
Best Baby Monitor: Project Nursery Baby Monitor
Upstairs or downstairs, kitchen or living room—keep an eye on baby wherever you are. Use the large 5-inch high definition parent unit or the 1.5-inch mini monitor—the world's smallest audio and video monitor—for added portability. Features you’ll love:
- Don't worry about the batteries running out too soon: The mini monitor will last for eight hours, and the parent unit is good for 16.
- The system features a remote pan/tilt/zoom camera with a room temperature sensor and infrared night vision.
- Audio and video is transmitted via a safe, static-free digital wireless connection, keeping baby even more secure.
Buy it: $120, Amazon.com
Best Crib: Babyletto Bingo
Chic, modern cribs aren’t just for city living. Babyletto's midcentury-inspired clean lines and natural color scheme lend a cool, modern vibe to any nursery, plus a pop of color. Features you’ll love:
- It’s three-in-one, meaning it converts from a crib to a toddler bed to and daybed as baby grows.
- Combine sleep and storage with four built-in cubbies.
Buy it: $549 at Amazon.com
Best Playard: Nuna Sena Aire
The playard is quintessential travel gear—but you don’t have to stray far from home to get plenty of use out of it. This one is compact and stylish enough not to overpower whatever space you find yourself in. Features you’ll love:
- The zigzag design allows you to open it in seconds. And you can fold it back up with one hand.
- It's the only playard that can fold with the included upper cot for infants still attached.
- Away from home and in need of a changing table? A changer attachment can make it happen.
Buy it: $430, Amazon.com
Best Activity Mat: Skip Hop Camping Cubs Activity Gym
You may be stuck in the suburbs, but consider this baby's foray into the great outdoors. Except without any dirt...or BPA, or PVC, or phthalates. Features you’ll love:
- Those poles, dangling toys and mesh backdrop are all removable, sp baby can enjoy overhead play, tummy time or seated play, all with one mat.
- Over 17 built-in activities encourage developmental milestones and sensory skills.
Buy it: $74, Amazon.com
Best Bathtub: Skip Hop Moby Smart 3-Stage Tub
Sure, you could wash baby in your tub or the kitchen sink, but a baby bathtub prevents slipping and sliding, making the job easier. Plus, this one will last well through toddlerhood. Features you’ll love:
- The mesh sling cradles baby for the first three months of bathing and can be adjusted to help babies 3 to 6 months learn to sit upright.
- Once baby can sit on his own, you can take out the sling altogether, using the tub through 25 pounds.
- All done? A drain plug allows for easy cleanup, and a hook lets you store it on a shower head or bar.
Buy it: $30, Amazon.com
Best Nursery Chair: Babyletto Kiwi Electronic Recliner and Swivel Glider
It will happen: You'll soothe baby to sleep and then sit there, frozen, terrified of moving and waking him up. Luckily, you'll never want to leave this chair, or really need to. Features you’ll love:
- A built-in USB port means you can charge your phone—and call for backup if you need it.
- At the push of a button, this seat silently reclines almost flat.
- It swivels 270 degrees and glides back and forth when in the upright position.
Buy it: $600, Amazon.com
Best High Chair: Inglesina Zuma
This sophisticated design is a welcome contrast from all that cutesy gear, and wheels allow you to easily roll it from the kitchen to the dining room, where you can adjust the height of the seat to match the level of the dining room table. Features you’ll love:
- With a simple push and pull, the eight-level high chair becomes small enough to fit under the table for storage.
- Baby needs an after dinner nap? The 3-position reclining backrest lies almost flat.
Buy it: $250, Inglesina.com
Best Diaper Bag: Skip Hop Forma Backpack Diaper Bag
From newborn essentials to toddler outfit changes, the Forma can hold it all. And while all diaper bags boast a ton of pockets, this one adds organization to a new level. Features you’ll love:
- The front compartment holds two storage cubes to keep essentials—like snacks—isolated.
- The side bottle pockets are insulated.
- The changing pad pocket is big enough to double as a laptop pocket.
Buy it: $70, Amazon.com
Best Bouncer: 4Moms Mamaroo
The 4Moms Mamaroo looks like a little baby spaceship, and it’s kind of out of this world in how it can keep baby chilled out while you take a breather. That’s because it doesn’t vibrate or swing—it sways and gently bounces baby in ways that mimic the experience of being in a parent’s arms, on a car-ride or riding a wave. Features you’ll love:
- Bluetooth-enabled means you can control it from your phone. Baby falls asleep? Turn the motion and sound off without waking her
- It plays soothing sounds or The Beatles, Beyoncé or any tunes from your phone’s playlist
- You won’t also need a separate bouncy seat or swing—this is the best of both worlds!
Buy it: $220, Amazon.com
Best Skin Care: Mustela Baby Oil
Add this to your changing table arsenal. While all baby oil is intended to moisturize baby's skin as you massage, this one does it with 99 percent natural ingredients. Features you'll love:
- Worried about sensitive skin? This formulation was tested against just that. It's hypoallergenic and gentle enough for newborns.
- Sunflower seed oil and avocado oil are the first two—and main— ingredients.
Buy it: $12, Amazon.com
The Bump Ultimate Stroller Guide:
Updated November 2017
Model Pictured: Christina Caruso / @christinacarusostyle