Baby Shopping Guide

Going shopping for new items for your baby? Here are the must-haves (and the don't-needs) to help you shop smart.

Around the House

Register at a baby gear store and you may be given a list that's even longer than this one. Of course, they want you to buy everything they've got! Try to keep in mind that all you really need for baby is diapers, a place for him to sleep, and a blanket to bundle him in.

But we know you're not living in the Stone Age. You need and deserve the accessories that will make your job as parent a whole lot easier. We've listed those as "necessities." Other things that you might appreciate (but which some parents have found to be a waste of money) are listed as "It's nice to have." Items that are merely decorative or not very useful are categorized as "strictly optional." Products that are unsafe appear under "no-nos."

Nursery furniture

The necessities:

____ Crib or co-sleeper

____ Crib mattress

It's nice to have:

____ Changing table

____ Bassinet (though it's only safe until 3 months or 15 pounds)

____ Rocking chair or glider

____ Humidifier or vaporizer

____ Dresser/chest

____ Hamper

____ Baby monitor (if you have a big house)

No-nos:

  • A secondhand crib (get a new one for safety)

Linens

The necessities:

____ 2 fitted crib sheets

____ Crib bumper that ties on securely (this is controversial -- some people worry that they're a SIDS risk; others say they keep baby from banging into the bars)

____ Several thin cotton receiving blankets

____ 2 waterproof mattress protectors

Strictly optional:

____ Matching quilt or a crib skirt (they're only decorative)

No-nos:

  • Pillows (a SIDS risk)
  • Sleep positioners (yet another SIDS risk)
  • Mattress padding (ditto)

Babyproofing

The necessities (not an issue until 4 months or later):

____ Gates at the top and bottom of all stairs

____ Cabinet latches

____ Drawer latches

____ Outlet covers

____ Fireplace bumper

____ Furniture anchors

It's nice to have:

____ Toilet lock

____ Corner guards for low tables

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