From cribs to car seats and bottles to bouncers, babies need a ton of stuff, which is why finding baby products that grow with your child is essential. All that stuff takes up a whole lot of space, after all. Not to mention, they cost a lot of money. The question is, which of the countless items out there are worth the investment?
Whether you're a first-time mom trying to make sense of her baby registry or a seasoned pro just looking to streamline, it makes sense to spend your hard-earned cash on items that grow with your baby. These "grow-with-me" products adjust, transform, and transition to bring your little one from the teensy newborn stage all the way into toddlerhood — and in some cases, beyond.
By choosing gear with an extended lifespan, you'll save money in the long-run — even if the upfront cost is a bit higher. Babies grow fast (too fast, although it may not always seem it), and they'll quickly become too big for tiny, infant-sized gear — in other words, start up the car, because you're headed back to the store to buy the same product in a bigger size. Cha-ching!
So if you're looking to find something you or your mom-to-be friend will get a lot of use out of, here are 12 baby products that can grow with your kid.
1. A Stroller That Thought Of Everything
If you're a heavy stroller user, the much beloved UPPAbaby VISTA is worth investing in for your growing baby. Roll around town using your infant car seat or the included bassinet when you've got a tiny one, then switch to the regular seat as your baby grows. (You can even purchase a bassinet stand for nighttime sleep.) UPPAbaby makes a second seat (sold separately) for twins or siblings, and each seat can be configured to face in or out with multiple stages of recline either way. It's not a jogging stroller (check out the BOB Revolution SE for that), but beyond that, it's got you covered — wherever your wheels may take you.
2. A Car Seat For Extended Rear-Facing
Car seat safety experts agree that little bodies are best protected in a rear-facing car seat — even beyond the age of two, which is the minimum turn-around age recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A convertible car seat with a high weight and height limit in rear-facing mode, like the Foonf (nope, that's not a typo), will allow your precious cargo to travel in the safest position for as long as possible, whether your little one is five pounds or 50.
3. A Baby Carrier For Every Occasion
Baby carriers have been a lifesaver for countless moms, including yours truly. They're a great way to soothe fussy newborns (or just tote them around while you have the use of both hands), and as babies grow, carriers make it easy to run errands, navigate crowded spaces, or just cruise the neighborhood with minimal gear. This 360-degree baby carrier allows moms to wear their littles on the back, hip, front-inward, or front-outward, and with the newborn insert (sold separately), it can be used with babies as small as seven pounds.
4. A Sleeper For Babies To Toddlers
Play yards are ubiquitous in Baby Land, but not all are created equal: The Fisher-Price play yard plus inclined sleeper offers a safe, snuggly sleeping zone for the tiniest of babies (surely inspired by their wildly popular Rock 'n Play), which can be removed to create a larger sleeping or play space for older babies. Good news for anyone who's struggled with other play yards before: This one is lightweight and easy to fold, because battling your baby's temporary bed is no fun for anyone.
5. A High Chair That Will Practically Last Forever
The ultra-chic, ultra-Scandinavian Tripp Trapp high chair is way more stylish than your average high chair. Plus, it will last you from the early-eater days all the way through adulthood (really) thanks to its innovative design that features up to eight different seating configurations. You do have to purchase the baby set, cushion, and tray separately, but given the chair's 300-pound weight limit, you'll keep it around long past the high-chair days.
6. A Newborn-To-Toddler Activity Center
The Evenflo Exersaucer is a bright and colorful toy that can be used from birth to toddlerhood. It starts out as a play mat — using the fabric seat as the mat itself — after which it converts to the adjustable-height Exersaucer as pictured. Once your baby outgrows that, simply remove the circular base and seat, then reconfigure the activity surface into an "S" shape — now you've got yourself a fun play zone for toddlers.
7. A Three-Piece Seat Set
Whether you live in a small apartment or a house in the 'burbs, all that baby gear will eventually start to take over your life. Trust me. Streamline some of the big-ticket items with this three-in-one set that includes a bassinet safe for sleep, a bouncy seat with an MP3 attachment and speakers, and an adjustable high chair. All attachments connect to the same sleek, aluminum frame, which can be raised or lowered depending on your needs.
8. Cozy Bunting With Multiple Uses
Babies look adorable in marshmallow-man bunting, but it's not safe to use puffy clothing or blankets in a car seat if they go between your baby's body and the car seat or the car seat's straps. With this multipurpose baby bunting, you can safely dress your little one in thin layers, then fasten the bunting across the car seat for increased warmth. Hook it onto your baby carrier or stroller to keep your baby cozy while you're on-the-go.
9. A Three-In-One Seat
Once babies have mastered sitting with full, independent neck support, they can take their new skill set to the Bumbo Multi Seat — a three-in-one seat that will bring your baby's bum into toddlerhood. Use the cushy foam pad in floor seat and booster seat modes; then, as your baby grows, remove it to create more space for their chunky little toddler legs. It even features a tray that stows neatly in the back of the seat, helping to avoid the "now where did I put that tray..." conundrum that would otherwise be sure to ensue.
10. A Crib That Converts Four Ways
Sure, you can buy your baby a crib that doesn't convert into anything special — and then you can buy a toddler bed, a full-size bed, and maybe even a day bed as your baby grows. Alternatively, consider a four-in-one convertible crib, like this chic, Scandanavian-inspired model by Babyletto that will take your child from cradle to college. Four products in one? Sweet dreams are made of this.
11. A Transitional Trike
Even babies can have a sweet set of wheels with this convertible Joovy tricycle that can be used as early as 18 months, thanks to the baby surround, footrest, and adjustable handle for parents — all of which can be removed to transition the trike for toddlers. The wheels are injection molded with urethane threads, which sounds really science-y, but basically means they won't make that brain-rattling noise when you're cruising around the neighborhood.
12. A Monitor For Multiple Ages
Many parents find that having a movement monitor underneath the crib mattress offers peace of mind at nighttime, which, if you're like me, is priceless. Still, these kind of monitors can be expensive, which makes the Angelcare rise to the top. Moms benefit from the movement-monitoring early on, and then can continue to use the video and sound components of the monitor as their babies grow into sweet (but sneaky) toddlers.
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