Ideally, you want to hold your newborn close; practically, you need your hands free—at least some of the time. Get the best of both with the BabyBjörn Carrier Miracle. It’s the classic BabyBjörn design, updated with organic cotton material and a flexible, ergonomic waist belt for optimum weight distribution. Newborn to 26.5 pounds. $150 at babybjorn.com
moves like mom
Experienced moms may tell you a bouncer seat is a must, and we agree. It’s the perfect place for baby to rest when you need to shower, wash the dishes or simply sit down for a few minutes of “you” time. 4Moms mamaRoo Plush is the typical bouncer made better. This mom-inspired version moves like you, in figure eights: up and down; high on the sides and low in the middle; even in circular motions like an ocean wave. $200 to $240 at 4moms.com
Lightweight, breathable, slightly stretchy and made from 100 percent cotton muslin, Luna Lullaby The Soothing Blanket is ideal for newborns, older babies and even household uses. It’s the perfect material for swaddling (there’s an instructional video on YouTube), but you can use it for so much more—as a changing surface, burp cloth, breastfeeding cover-up, car seat or stroller cover-up, tummy time mat…and later, to dust your furniture. $34 for a three-pack at lunalullaby.com
Use high-tech advances to your advantage and monitor your baby from the next room—or anywhere in the world you can pick up Internet service. The revolutionary Summer Infant Peek Plus Internet Viewable Baby Monitor System lets you look in on your little one from the monitor’s receiver, your computer and your smartphone; just download the free app available for iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. $350 at summerinfant.com/peekplus.
these diapers are keepers
Cloth diapers have come a long way, baby. Try Kushies Ultra All-in-One Diapers, reusables featuring five layers of cotton flannel with a middle soaker layer and, of course, a waterproof exterior. Preemie, newborn, infant and toddler sizes available. $11 to $18 each at kushiesonline.com
baby in bamboo
Bamboo fabric makes up 95 percent of Kicky Pants’ silky-soft, short-sleeve one-piece bodysuits, and five percent Lycra gives them just the right amount of stretch. With nine colors and six sizes to choose from, these basic pieces just might become the cornerstone of your baby’s wardrobe. (The ruffled-butt style is irresistible for girls!) Sizes newborn to 24 months. $20 each at kickypants.com
Giving your baby a bath is no easy feat, but with some practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. Boon’s Naked Tub helps you with the job and won’t take up valuable living space. It reclines, expands and completely collapses when you need it out of the way. $70 at amazon.com
a winning seat
A car seat is perhaps your most valuable baby essential—one you can’t leave the hospital without. The Cybex Aton is an innovative, German-designed award winner that employs a tensioning system in the base for an immediate tight installation; no knee in the seat required. Vibrant color choices include Shadow, Eclipse and Chili Pepper. 4 to 32 pounds and 30 inches. $229 at cybex-online.com
Preparing your baby’s bottles just got easier, thanks to the Munchkin Night & Day Digital Bottle Warmer and Cooler. The portable device keeps breast milk chilled, then heats it to the perfect temperature for feeding when you’re ready—even in the middle of the night. And when you’re sleep deprived, you need all the help you can get. $50 at diapers.com
Possibly the only stroller you’ll ever need, the Kolcraft Contours Bliss Pram, Stroller and Carrycot is loaded with amenities. The reversible seat functions as a carrycot for newborns, then a pram (aka stroller seat) for older babies. The included car seat adapter allows you to attach virtually any infant car seat, and the detachable carry cot can be used anywhere as a perfect nap spot. Newborn to 40 pounds. $350 to $380 at kolcraft.com/products/brands/contours
Maureen Healy is a frequent contributor to New Parent who specializes in new products.