Yippee! The baby is here. And that probably means you’ll be spending as much time as you can with your new grandchild at your house. Translation: You need stuff for the baby at your house so your kids don’t have to lug the baby’s gear back and forth. (Trust us, it’s worth the expense.)
The array of baby products to buy is dizzying, so we’ve cut through to give you the only seven essentials you’ll definitely need. And if you’re a long-distance grandparent, consider borrowing these items from friends before your grandchild visits.
A lightweight stroller
Taking walks with your grandchild is one of life’s great pleasures. People walk by, oogle and praise your adorable grandchild. But you want to make sure that the stroller you buy isn’t too heavy for you to push or cumbersome to use. You’ll want a stroller that:
- is sturdy
- has a five point harness to keep the baby secure
- has a reclining seat back so the baby can lie down and sleep
And before you opt for the lightest of all strollers, an umbrella stroller (named for the curved shape of its handles), know this: Yes, umbrella strollers are light and usually the least expensive option out there, but they are generally for children over 6 months old, so if you’ve got a new grandbaby, you’ll need a sturdier stroller.
- Britax B-Lively Lightweight Stroller reclines, folds up flat and is easy to use. Plus, Britax is a company known for it’s attention to safety and detail. Buy it now!
- Quinny Yezz Stroller is super lighweight (11 lbs) and is stylish to boot. Buy it now!
Cribs can cost hundreds of dollars and take up a lot of space in your den or spare bedroom, but you need somewhere for the little one to sleep (and rest when you need a rest!) One of the best inventions ever-portable cribs/play pens. They fold up to store almost anywhere when you’re not using them, and they are great for sleeping and putting the baby somewhere safe to play. Plus some portable cribs come with a bassinet attachment and changing table for when the baby is a newborn. Our favorites:
- Graco Pack ‘n Play Newborn Napper DLX Playard, Manor. This portable crib is our hands down favorite, and can take your grandchild from newborn to infant to toddler. It comes with an oh-so-convenient changing station and bassinet. Buy it now!
- BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light is super easy to set up, is ultra-light, weighing just 11 lbs, and it can take your grandchild from newborn to age 3. Buy it now!
Such a small item, but when you don’t have it, it can be a nuisance. Metal spoons are too hard and too big for the baby’s tiny mouth. Spoons are inexpensive and you’ll be happy to have them.Our favorites:
- Gerber Graduates BPA Free Soft Bite Infant Spoon. Soft and durable at the same time, plus they’re made with BPA-free plastic. Buy it now!
- Nuby Hot Safe Spoons. Great looking and also BPA-free. Buy it now!
Books (forget most of the toys!)
Grandparents can go crazy buying loads of toys for the newborn, but really, babies don’t use many toys. They find you far more interesting. Better to spend your money on some classic books that you’ll be able to read your grandchild again and again. A few favorites to consider:
- Is Your Mama a Llama Buy it now!
- Guess How Much I Love You Buy it now!
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar Buy it now!
- Goodnight Moon Buy it now!
- I’ll Love You Forever Buy it now!
And if you do want to buy a few toys, we recommend a soft baby-friendly mirror, like the Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror, for them to look at themselves, and a flexible teething toy that they can hold such as the mega-favorite Sophie the Giraffe Teether from Vulli.
Even if you want to, you canâ€™t hold the baby all the time! A gym mat is a clean place to put the baby down and has activities attached to it so the baby can look at things and play as she gets older. There are loads of different kinds of mats out there. We like ones that have lots of flaps and activities, as well as black and white fabric, since those are the two colors babies can focus on first.Our favorites:
- Baby Einstein Caterpillar and Friends Play Gym, has adorable animals, is bright and lively and has lots of activities. Buy it now!
- Genius Babies Activity Play Mat is black, white and red, which is great for newborn eyes, and has lots of hanging items for baby to swat at and play with. Buy it now!
One of the most anxiety-provoking things you can do with the baby is bathe her. She’s so little, and you don’t want her to bang her head. If you’re nervous about bathing the baby, then a mini-bathtub will make it a whole lot easier. They’re designed to hold the baby in place, and many have a sling to hold newborns. Our favorites:
- The First Year’s Infant To Toddler Tub with Sling is adjustable, has a drain, and is perfect for newborns all the way up to toddlers. Buy it now!
- Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Sling N Seat Tub basically grows with the baby, and can be used for when the baby is big enough to sit up. Buy it now!
You might also want to consider…
- A car seat – Simply put: Installing them and de-installing them is a bear of a project. You need to make sure they are super-secure, which can take a lot of time and sweat. If you’ll br driving the baby around a lot, it’s worth it to invest in one. Before you choose a car seat, check out Consumer Reports Car Seat Buying Guide.
- Bottles/sippy cups – Ask the parents which brand they use, since babies are often very particular about their bottles and cups, then keep a few in your house in case the parents forget to bring them.
- A rocking chair – Yes, it’s a big expense, but babies do love motion, and holding a baby and rocking him to sleep is what it’s all about. You’ll be glad you have it. And then when they’re too big to be rocked, you can donate it to another new grandparent.