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13 Must-Have Baby Items All New Parents Need

These baby gift registry items will help new parents feed, soothe, and entertain their bundles of joy.

1. Baby carrier. Baby wearing lets you do household chores hands-free, or take your baby for walks without hauling out the stroller. A carrier is also great for your partner to wear during outings, so make sure you both try on a variety of models to ensure optimal comfort.

2. Swing. Baby won’t nap in his crib? Put him into a motorized swing and he’ll be off in the land of nod before you know it.

3. Diaper bag. A bag with lots of internal and external pockets is ideal, and a shoulder strap is a must. Choose a bag that you and your partner both like, since sometimes your partner will be out with the baby solo and will have to carry the bag. And remember: don’t leave the house until you’ve packed all of the diaper bag essentials.

4. Bouncy chair. With its soothing music and rhythmic bouncing, this is a great way to keep baby entertained while you do a few quick chores.

5. Muslin blankets. These lightweight (and often adorable) blankets are wonderful for swaddling your baby (if you choose to do so) and double as burp clothes, a nursing cover, and an extra layer if baby gets chilly.

6. Jolly Jumper. Babies need exercise too! This will entertain your baby and help improve her balance. It’s also wonderful for parents to hear the giggles and squeals of delight as baby jumps. Play some music and have a family dance party!

7. Stroller. Travel-system strollers are steep investments, but they’re also essential for life with a baby. You don’t need a high-end model (unless you’ve got the desire and means for that), but you do need to consider wheel-size (what type of environment will you be pushing your stroller in? Muddy country roads? Snowy city sidewalks?); compactness/weight (if your home is short on square-footage, strollers with collapsible bases are ideal); and carseat compatibility (if you have a car, choose a stroller that has adaptors for a bucket carseat; that way, you can transport a sleeping babe from the car to the stroller, and vice versa, without waking him up).

8. Infant tub. Sponge baths are appropriate for newborns, but there will come a time when your baby will need a more substantial scrub and will still be too little to go in a standard bathtub. There is a variety of infant tubs available, many with built-in support for the baby to help make bath time a less stressful experience for everyone. Don’t forget the bath toys!

9. Baby monitor. Whether you prefer a video or audio monitor, you’ll need something that lets you hear your baby if he wakes up.

10. Breast pump and nursing pillow. Don’t open these items until the baby arrives and you know whether or not they’re necessary. You can return unopened items if you don’t end up needing them, but if you do need them, you don’t want to rush around town looking for them once you’ve got a (hungry!) newborn on your hands.

11. Bottles. Register for glass or plastic bottles in varying sizes so that you’ll have them on hand as your baby (and her milk intake) grows. These will also help your partner and other caregivers get involved in feedings.

12. Pacifiers. Not all babies like pacifiers, and those that do tend to be picky, so register for a few different brands and see which one sticks. Remember: pacifiers soothe babies and parents!

13. Infant carseat. This is an absolute must if you plan to travel with baby in a car. Consider the weight of the seat itself because it will get heavier to lift and carry as your baby grows. Consult your local police department for proper installation techniques, and be sure this is in your car before you go to the hospital.

Don’t miss our 7 Baby Items That Are A Total Waste Of Money checklist. Plus, check out these helpful tips for creating and maintaining your baby gift registry.