Baby Gear: The Necessities and the Niceties

At-Home Necessities

A Crib

This is a big-ticket item with a big price tag. If you're tempted to get a used model or a hand-me-down, make sure the crib adheres to current safety standards.

Another necessity, if you're considering having baby bunk in your room, is a co-sleeper. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages co-sleeping -- but with one of these handy infant beds (which securely fits against your bed), you can have Baby close by and still sleep safely.

Niceties: Cradle or bassinet.

The plus side is that a cradle or bassinet is compact and portable, but babies outgrow them very quickly (and can sleep in a crib from day one).

Bedding

It's important to use sheets specifically made for cribs, and that fit tightly and securely around the mattress. Invest in top-of-the-line sheets designed to stay tucked.

Niceties: Fancy bedding items.

Consider passing on: Matching bedding sets (bumper pads are cute but not needed for baby's comfort, plus quilts and pillows can't be used in the crib for safety reasons), mobile (a wind-up version that plays music can be a great soothe-to-sleep tool, but make sure it conforms to safety standards).

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