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30 best luxury parenting products that are worth it, from the Snoo to the Uppababy Vista

We test out the most innovative products on the market, from robo-cribs to self-driving strollers

Holly Baxter
New York
Monday 25 March 2024 20:00 GMT
We find out which of the luxury baby products are actually worth it
We find out which of the luxury baby products are actually worth it (The Independent)

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a couple in possession of a baby must be in need of an eye-wateringly expensive stroller. And a bottle-warmer. And a convertible high chair. And a tasteful baby play gym. And a carrier. And a self-rocking, fully-automated crib system.

In this economy, what exactly is a new mom with a non-astronomical salary supposed to do? Which of the luxury baby products are actually worth it — and which are better off left to people with more money than sense? Likewise, which bargains punch above their weight and which are just awful duds?

Armed with my newborn son, my husband, and a complete lack of “a village” (both of our families live abroad, so these products were our lifelines), I tried out pretty much everything for the first eight months of his life.

Blessed with a baby who never sleeps and a tiny New York City apartment, I made sure to only recommend things that are worth the space they take up.

Smart cribs that will actually help your baby sleep

Cradlewise convertible smart bassinet and crib: From $1,399, Cradlewise.com

(Cradlewise)

The Cradlewise is a beautiful-looking, Scandi-chic crib with mesh sides and a wooden frame, and, despite its eye-watering price tag, it comes with a number of add-ons that do make it worth the expense. It has a built-in sound machine that offers a lot of what parent favorite, the Hatch dream machine ($59.99, Hatch.co), can do, as well as a baby monitor that sits in the bar above the bassinet. That monitor connects to an app so you can watch your sleeping baby in real time on your phone, and the gadget even keeps a check on your baby’s pre-waking movements so that it can bounce and soothe your little one before they fully wake. That gives it an edge over the Snoo, which works by picking up on the sound of your baby crying and so necessitates a full, angry wake-up before it starts to soothe. In general, everything feels more technologically slick.

I assumed my baby would want to sleep in a standard, smaller bassinet but he wouldn’t accept it. Instead, the gentle movement of the Cradlewise won out. It’s also worth noting that you get a 60-day trial period, during which you can return the crib for a full refund if your baby doesn’t take to it. There was a period of time when my own baby rejected the Cradlewise for a few weeks. I couldn’t tell you why but, just as quickly as it began, that period ended and he now happily sleeps in it again — and because it’s a convertible crib rather than a newborn bassinet, it can be used until he’s two years old.

I’d say the Cradlewise is the minimum viable “large” crib — and its wooden frame is made for easy gliding along the floor without damage. We slid this thing in and out of our bedroom and the living room with ease, multiple times. So, if you’re living somewhere, like we were, where space is a serious commodity, I can’t recommend the Cradlewise enough.

Buy now

Snoo smart sleeper bassinet: $1,695, Happiestbaby.com

(Snoo)

I wanted to hate the Snoo. By God, I really wanted to hate it. It’s expensive, it’s weird-looking, it’s surely unnatural. And there are a lot of things I did hate about it when I threw in the towel and rented one during the dreaded four month sleep regression – including the fact that it randomly broke on my final month of testing and required recalibrating on my phone. And it can only be controlled using onephone, unlike the Cradlewise, so say goodbye to both mom and dad being able to adjust the settings (though the button at the end of the bassinet can turn it on and off.)

Read more: Best cot beds for babies and toddlers

Having said all this, my Snoo arrived within three days of ordering, and I was grateful for it. Though it’s a little dystopian-looking, with its straitjacket-like white sleep sacks that you hook into place so it can gently shake your baby all night, the thing works. In fact, it’s the only thing my baby would sleep in for eight weeks. My previously screaming-at-all-hours infant happily got strapped into the sleep sack and was rocked to sleep in the bassinet, waking only once per night while he was in it — sometimes even sleeping through. Even if he woke when I was hooking the swaddle into the bassinet, he unfailingly went straight back to sleep. Magic.

Reluctantly, I do have to recommend this magical device. It’s also worth noting that the Snoo is the only crib on the market that guarantees to keep your newborn baby on their back all night – a feature that recently won it FDA approval as a device that can help prevent SIDS.

Buy now

Must-have strollers, from all-terrain to high-tech buggies

Uppababy vista V2: $999.99, Uppababy.com

(Uppababy)

You can’t turn around in Brooklyn’s trendier areas without bumping elbows with an Uppababy Vista these days, and so my husband started chasing people down and asking if they were actually worth it. Eight months pregnant, I limped behind while my extroverted life partner asked the opinions of people who were just trying to go about their day. “DO YOU LIKE YOUR STROLLER?” he’d yell at them, as they walked past on their way to a bakery or a farmers’ market. “DON’T WORRY — MY WIFE IS ABOUT TO HAVE A BABY!”

The resounding opinion of people we asked around Prospect Park was: “Yes, the Uppababy is worth it”. So, we decided it was paramount to try out the Vista V2 for ourselves, and we were glad we did. It has a carbon frame with leather touches and the setup is minimal: The frame arrives ready to be clicked out and the seats are complete. The Vista V2 retails for just under $1,000 and includes both the bassinet and the toddler seat, meaning it should last you from birth all the way up to pre-K.

We started out with the bassinet, of course — which has a very comfortable mattress included, and a long weatherproof canopy perfect for protecting our summer baby from extreme July temperatures in New York — and moved on to the toddler seat when he was three months old. With the addition of the infant insert (sold separately), you can start using the toddler seat in its most reclined position that young — and this was a game-changer for us, because we had a curious, refluxy baby who wanted to see out. When he got even more demanding about being shown the world at seven months, we were able to literally take him out the stroller at the park, flip the seat around so it was facing outwards, click it in, and stop him crying immediately. It really was that simple.

Read more: Best prams and strollers that come tried, tested and parent-approved

I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention the huge basket at the bottom of the Vista. It can carry 30 pounds of items, which for me translated into: a diaper bag filled with wipes, diapers, pacifiers and spare clothes; two bottles of wine; a bag of groceries; two extra blankets; a pair of shoes; and a handful of toys.

There’s no getting round it, though: The Vista V2 is a bruiser. Its “true weight” — the frame and seat combined — is 27 pounds. Those big wheels that protect Baby from every bump in the road and that sturdy frame that gives you reassurance while you traverse the neighborhood translates into something that folds into a monster. The good news is that it folds easily; the bad news is that you’re going to need an Uber XL to take it anywhere. We considered this a price worth paying. And for what it’s worth, we did manage to fit the frame inside the trunk of a standard Uber — but it took up every inch of space in there, leaving us to carry diaper bags and other assorted baby paraphernalia on our laps for the journey.

Buy now

Silver Cross wave stroller: $1,399.99, Silvercrossus.com

(Silver Cross )

Silver Cross — famously beloved by the British royal family — is Uppababy’s European counterpart. However, both are available in all territories, and both are now attempting to eat each other’s lunch. The Silver Cross wave, which retails for just under $1,400, is the only stroller on the market that equals the Uppababy vista V2. It is staggeringly beautiful for a buggy, with tasteful leather accents and a robust chassis, especially in its navy and brown configuration. And it actually stands up independently when you fold it, which a lot of strollers say they do but don’t in practice (I struggled to get the Vista to do this — it was hit-and-miss, whereas the wave managed it every time.)

That being said, the wave isheavier than the vista — only by a little, though it was enough to mean I struggled to lift it where I could still easily get the vista up steps and into car trunks on my own. This is balanced out, however, by the fact that the wave can carry heavier weights than the vista, so you don’t need to worry about a 95th-percentile toddler aging out prematurely. This stroller will hold you in good stead for years to come.

The Wave’s bassinet is safe sleep certified, made of temperature-regulating bamboo and its bassinet is one of the plushest on the market. With wheels that powered over every crack in our Brooklyn pavement and a huge basket underneath plus extended magnetic safety features, I’m happy to say that the Silver Cross wave is worth the price tag. Other alternatives in the same space just can’t compare in terms of easy maneuverability, foldability, storage or look.

Buy now

Cybex e-priam: $1,499.90, Cybex-online.com

(Cybex)

There are a few strollers out there with some kind of “high-tech” offering — the self-driving Ella by Gluxkind ($3,300, Gluxkind.com) was recently referred to as “the Tesla of strollers”but the only one worth your time is the Cybex e-priam.

The electric version of Cybex’s very stylish priam stroller ($1,199.90, Cybex-online.com), which in itself is a good runaround buggy.. In general, this company excels in making strollers that stand out from the crowd: the frame comes in a choice of silver or rose gold; the seat covers are fully customizable and all the accessories are pleasingly affordable, especially considering the e-priam is a premium product.

The stroller is electric but not some kind of bizarre self-driving monster. Instead, it kicks in to help you push when you’re on hilly terrain or, well, just tired. And, as an extra little bonus, it will also move itself back and forth to soothe the baby when the stroller is parked (say, if you’re having brunch outside and want your sleeping newborn to stay asleep.) It feels like just the right level of automated for a 2024 baby, with an intuitive app and fun features, but also the ability to become a normal, no-tech stroller if you switch off the battery and go about your day.

Buy now

Bob Gear alterrain pro: $699.99, Bobgear.com

(Bob Gear)

Jogging strollers are a crowded market and they’ve become incredibly popular in the past few years (not to mention the wagons you see people lugging around in their hands or behind their bicycles round the city.)

Read more: Best running buggies for zooming around with your little one

The best in class here is Bob Gear’s alterrain pro. It’s not a small stroller — no jogging stroller worth its salt will be — but that’s not what you’re going for in this category. Its wheels are second to none in terms of what kind of terrain they can handle: the stroller goes easily on hikes, across grass, through city streets and even on sand.

The alterrain pro also has an incredibly powerful brake, a very serious safety harness, and a seat that any baby (of over six months) will find comfortable. We found that it really was worth getting a stroller made by a specialist company like Bob Gear as other brands that try to make a jogging offering on the side just don’t have the full expertise. If you’re planning on adventuring with your baby, this one includes absolutely everything you could possibly need.

Buy now

The bottle warmers that make feeding time a breeze

Ember baby bottle system: $399.95, Ember.com

(Ember)

This is my husband’s all-time favorite baby product. If you’re unfamiliar with the Ember smart mug ($129.95, Ember.com), it’s found in the kitchen of every coffee snob and next to the laptop of pretty much every tech bro. The mug keeps whatever’s in it (usually coffee, obviously) at the exact temperature you’ve programmed it to, so that you never end up with a sad, cold cup of caffeine.

Before I got the Ember baby bottle system, I’d already bought an Ember mug as a gift for my husband, a friend, and my father, so of course I was going to be sucked in by their foray into the baby space. The bottle system consists of a small puck and two self-warming bottles. Rather than mess around with kettles and boiling water, or huge, steam-powered machines, the little puck uses electricity to warm breastmilk or formula in the bottles to the exact right temperature for baby consumption (i.e. body temperature).

The bottle system also comes with an insulator, so you can warm up your bottle and then keep it at your bedside or in a backpack. And the warming puck itself can be detached from the outlet and carried around with you for a day out, which was particularly useful to us during car rides when our baby would suddenly freak out and need a feed. There’s no way around it: The Ember baby bottle system is expensive, at just under $400, but we’ve used it every single day of our baby’s life. The only downside is that now my eight-month-old son eats more than 8oz per feed, we’re on a waiting list for the larger-size bottles.

Buy now

Chicco bottle warmer and sterilizer: $59.99, Amazon.com

(Chicco)

If you’re not ready to pay $400 for an entire “bottle system”, the Chicco bottle warmer and sterilizer packs a punch for just under $60. It’s fully digital, does two arduous jobs in one and is an award-winner, too. I found the gadget to be super user-friendly — and so did everyone else I know who tried it. Plus, it takes up hardly any counter space.

Chicco makes some innovative bottles that are worth a mention, too. The Chicco duo Invisi-glass bottles ($12.99, Chiccousa.com) have a thin layer of glass inside and a sturdy layer of plastic on the outside, meaning that your baby’s mouth only ever touches glass. For plastic-anxious parents, that’s a big bonus — and the bottles don’t smash when your baby throws them on the floor, either, because of their outer reinforcement.

Buy now

Baby carriers that are both stylish and reliable

Artipoppe zeitgeist: $370, Artipoppe.com

(Artipoppe)

It’s all over Instagram, so I thought the Artipoppe baby carrier might be a pretty little nothing. But this $370 carrier is actually worth its weight in gold. Of all the carriers I tried, this one was the easiest to secure by myself — it’s a simple criss-cross motion that’s easy to do across your back, with a tightener at the waist — and it distributed my baby’s weight the most comfortably. We tried the Artipoppe on both me (5 foot 5 inches, 120 pounds) and my husband (6 foot 3 inches, 200 pounds) and it was able to be adjusted comfortably and safely on both of us, and we used it from when our baby was a seven-pound newborn right up until today, when he’s a 25-pound eight-monther. We plan to keep using it, too.

Read more: ​​Best baby carriers and slings, reviewed by parents

It’s easy to see why the Artipoppe is beloved of celebrities and social media junkies: its zeitgeist carriers, in their variety of tasteful colors and patterns (mine is blue with swans), are more like fashion accessories than carriers. And yes, it helps that they come in technicolor packaging with a personal note from the founder. But they are extremely well-made, with comprehensive instructions that are easy to follow, and they hold the baby in a position that is always comfortable and, crucially, good for their hips.

I’ve worn the Artipoppe zeitgeist carrier pretty much everywhere: on planes, on hikes, through the city, on subways, in parks and round the house. It just never fails.

Buy now

BabyBjorn baby carrier one: $199.99, Babybjorn.com

(BabyBjorn)

A little more affordable is the BabyBjorn carrier one, which retails for just under $200. This carrier, which we chose in a fetching leopard print, does take a little longer to get on, with its multiple clips and adjustments, but it feels extremely robust once in place. It has four carrying positions and three different height positions and can even be worn up to the age of three, as it converts from an inward-facer to an outward-facer and a back-carrier. The extra faff is worth the fact that the baby carrier one has serious longevity, so I’d also recommend this one as a strong option.

Like most products from the BabyBjorn brand, it’s trustworthy, made of baby-friendly materials, and signed off by experts. It held my baby very securely and he preferred it to competitors like the Infantino. Bonus points for fathers: Women kept stopping to tell my husband how much they loved it when he took our baby out and about in it.

Buy now

Go hands-free with the ultimate baby bouncer

BabyBjorn bouncer bliss: $259.99, Babybjorn.com

(BabyBjorn)

“Do I really need a bouncer?” you may ask. You’ve never needed one in your whole life. It looks like it’s just some overpriced material seat. When will you even use it? Is it worth spending $200 on that? Look, the answer is yes. It’s the only place I could put my newborn down, ever, while I made myself a coffee, breakfast or grabbed a snack. For some reason, you will use this thing all the time and your baby will love it, too. A newborn feels secure in it and an older baby can sit up in its higher position and happily bounce themsleves for 15 minutes. Did I drag this bouncer into the bathroom so I could shower and/or use the toilet more than ten times over the past year? You bet I did.

I can’t explain why this bouncer is so much better than others on the market but I can tell you that it’s probably the only purchase that every single person I know agrees is king of the baby products. It has three adjustments, so you can keep it up to toddlerhood and it’s easy to wash after poop explosions (because, by the way, there will be poop explosions.) Plus, you can get it in pretty much every color. Just buy it, okay? Or stick it on your registry, or get it on Facebook Marketplace. You’re going to need it.

Buy now

The ultimate (game)changing mat

Keekaroo peanut changer: $149.95, Keekaroo.com

(Keekaroo)

Everyone on parenting forums talks about this changing mat. It’s shaped like a peanut, it angles downwards on the bottom so that when your baby inevitably pees all over you, and themselves, the pee gathers in an easily-wipe-able pool at the bottom rather than spreading everywhere. Plus, it’s made of patented, fully liquid-resistant material that really does only require a quick wipe down even after the worst poop explosions.

Again, this is an angry recommend. I don’t like their weirdly old-fashioned website and the fact that they ask you to call them on the phoneif you have queries, like it’s 1995. I also don’t like that it costs $150 when you can get another changing mat for $20. But I tried the $20 options — the flat kind that don’t streamline the pee and that don’t inhibit bacterial growth — and trust me, you need the peanut changer.

Read more: Best changing mats to help make new nappies less stressful

There’s a reason why it sometimes has weeks-long waiting lists. Other changing mats frayed at the sides, covered my baby in pee, and/or required an outer waterproof layer to be unzipped and washed separately after accidents. You don’t need that in your life when you have a newborn, especially if you don’t have in-unit laundry facilities. Yes, you’re going to feel like a bit of a loser paying this much for a changing mat. But if you think of it in terms of cost-per-use, it’s one of the least expensive things you will own (newborns need changing up to 15 times a day.)

Buy now

The furniture that every nursery needs

Babyletto sigi electronic recliner and glider: $899, Babyletto.com

(Babyletto)

When I was in my third trimester, people kept telling us that we needed a rocking chair but we couldn’t really fathom why, or what would differentiate that from just sitting on a yoga ball. Others — mostly friends based in the suburbs, with large houses — claimed we needed an entire nursery full of new furniture. We are low on space but big on convenience, so we were judicious with what we thought we needed.

Nothing is better suited to apartment living with a baby than Babyletto furniture. And though a whole new glider chair is something that we umm-ed and ahh-ed about, a sofa simply isn’t enough — especially if you’re breastfeeding. This recliner wins in terms of a few things. Firstly, it arrives packaged in two easy-to-assemble halves, requiring all of ten minutes to put it together. Secondly, the sigi comes with two USB ports built into the inside of the chair, which is incredibly helpful when you’re sitting with a newborn baby for hours on end, feeding on and off and inevitably scrolling through your phone. It also rocks at a gentle pace, comes in “eco-performance fabric”, which is worth every penny (basically, it feels and looks like a normal chair but if you throw colicky baby spit-up, poop or pee onto it, it wipes clean in seconds), and it’s perfectly proportioned for a breastfeeding mother.

Read more: Our favourite brands for your baby’s first bedroom

This was also the only chair that both me (5’5”) and my husband (6’3”) both found comfortable. And despite the fact that it is a large piece of furniture, it takes up less square footage than most other recliners on the market. It’s not cheap at $899 — but it’s not exactly expensive for what it is, either.

Buy now

Babyletto gelato 3-drawer changer dresser: $399, Babyletto.com

(Babyletto)

This is one of Babyletto’s smaller dressers, with three drawers, and we found it to be invaluable. We installed it as our changing station-cum-baby closet, and we’re still using it that way almost a year later. Its drawers are generous and deep, and the whole piece of furniture is beautifully made, with stylish chrome feet. It was important to us that this looked like a proper piece of furniture we actually liked, because it sits in the middle of our sitting room (again: small apartment problems.)

The gelato dresser has a removable changing tray on the top, which fits pretty much every changing mat (including our Keekaroo peanut.) Then, when you exit the “baby jail” stage, you can simply unscrew the tray and you have a nice-looking dresser to use forever. Pretty good for $399.

Buy now

Stop your house stinking with this bougie diaper pail

Munchkin UV diaper pail: $129.99, Munchkin.com

(Munchkin)

The Munchkin UV diaper pail was one of those things everyone laughed about when we mentioned it. It combines a patented “self-sealing system” that swallows the diaper and keeps it from stinking up the place with a UV lid that kills bacteria on the inside. Trust me, your diaper pail will get covered in gross stuff, and you will appreciate that there isn’t bacteria proliferating on the inside. The fact that we could wipe it down with normal wipes and then trust that it wasn’t colonizing E.Coli was a big relief (other diaper pails necessitate taking apart and spraying with bleach every time you experience a poop blowout.)

The downside is that obviously you do have to plug this in for it to work. But that’s a pretty small downside for the obvious upsides. The refill bags — which my husband affectionately refers to as “poop snakes” — are not exactly cheap, either, but we tried out the basic Amazon alternatives and found that they really didn’t keep the stink in as well, so we’re fully on the Munchkin train. Some people swear by the Ubbi diaper pail, which is much cheaper, or the ubiquitous Diaper Genie. But neither of those had the odor control of the Munchkin — and neither of them have a UV offering, either.

Buy now

Travel safely with these trusty car seats

Uppababy mesa V2: $329.99, Uppababy.com

(Uppababy)

The Uppababy mesa V2 car seat won out for us. It comes in a variety of colors, has a best-in-class safety rating, can be attached with just a seatbelt if you’re Ubering/Lyfting around a city, and can be installed with a base if you have your own car. As a non-car owner, I found it important to have a seat that could easily be attached with the seatbelt in a “European routing” style, and that had instructions printed on the side in case I forgot while I was loading my baby into a taxi. The Uppababy is also such a popular brand that pretty much every stroller has adapters for it.

Buy now

Cybex cloud G lux: $449.95, Cybex-online.com

(Cybex)

The other car seat we loved was the Cybex cloud G lux. This one has a much bigger recline — 45 per cent more, according to the brand — than pretty much every other car seat on the market. That makes it an especially good pick for a travel system and, like the Uppababy, the Cybex is popular enough that its adapters will click it onto a number of strollers, even if you don’t go for a Cybex pram. It also has a patented safety system that sends flashing alerts to let you know when the baby is in the car, intended to stop a parent from accidentally walking away from a sleeping infant.

Buy now

Britax one4life: $349.99, Britax.com

(Britax)

Things get trickier once your baby outgrows their infant car seat and you have to move into the world of convertible, toddler-size seats. Depending on whether you’ve got a teeny bean or you’re rocking a 95th-percentile hulk of a baby (guilty), that’ll happen between a year and 18 months, so it’s best to be prepared.

Read more: Best car seats, tried and tested

The Britax one4life is your best option here. At $350, it’s pretty great value for a seat that can be used for 10 years. It starts off as a toddler seat and converts into a child-size booster seat and flips round as your baby grows into a school-age kid. It has the same easy seatbelt attachment system as the best infant car seats — meaning you can clip your baby in, in three quick steps — and it’s got all the safety features you need, plus an extra patented safety feature they call the SafeCell crumple zone.

Buy now

Make mealtimes easier with these high chairs

Lalo the chair: $235, Meetlalo.com

(Lalo)

You’re going to find it hard to find a high chair more beautiful than this one from Lalo. Ever since we put it together when baby turned six months, people visiting our apartment have pointed out how nice it looks. Even people without kids.

With solid wood legs, a large, wipe-clean tray, and a plastic seat with a comfortable, easily washable insert, it ticks all the boxes. And the $235 chair is a three-in-one, meaning it converts into a toddler and then child-sized chair as your baby grows. You can’t ask much more of a high chair, really.

Buy now

Cybex lemo chair: $279.95, Cybex-online.com

(Cybex)

The lemo from Cybex looks like a competitor to the ubiquitous (and very pricey) Stokke tripp trapp, but it gives you even more bang for your buck. The lemo is, as far as I can tell, the only four-in-one offering on the market. It starts off as an elevated baby bouncer, which my newborn absolutely loved. When it was time for us to eat dinner at the table, he suddenly wanted out of the beloved BabyBjorn and into the Lemo.

The lemo then converts into a high chair and a toddler and child-sized seat. It’s sturdy and neutral, and it doesn’t take up a load of room in a small apartment. At $450, it’s not cheap — but it will last you through every stage from newborn right up to kindergarten.

Buy now

Inglesina my time high chair: $249, Inglesina.us

(Inglesina)

The Inglesina my time high chair, a $249 offering that is sturdy and large when you’re feeding your baby but folds up small so you can keep it conveniently in your apartment, is also a definite recommend.

This is Inglesina’s premium offering with an ergonomic, leatherette seat that’s wipe-clean. The fact that it can also be adjusted to four different heights also makes it a particularly good offering if, like us, you have a kitchen island rather than a standard kitchen table. This high chair has won a number of different awards since it was first developed in 2019 and it’s clear why.

Buy now

Fun ways to play with your baby

Fisher-Price kick and play piano gym: $39.99, Amazon.com

(Fisher-Price)

People said we would buy it. We held out on buying it. Eventually, we cracked and ordered this piano play center, with its songs (“Stomp Stomp Stomp” and “Purple Monkey”) that have a weird cult following on parenting forums (John Legend did a cover… seriously.) It’s $39.99 and babies love it. Just buy it.

Buy now

Lalo play gym: $115, Meetlalo.com

(Lalo)

Lalo is difficult to beat when it comes to beautiful baby gear and we fell in love with its play gym(or rather I should say that our son did.) The brand does well to design baby offerings that don’t just look like gross, stressful, neon junk but also that still interest infants. It’s not “sad beige baby” — it’s still well-researched, appropriately colored stuff — but it doesn’t destroy your living space.

Read more: Best teething toys to ease pain

Case in point: the play gym features a black and white ball with a bell inside, a black and white teething-friendly silicone chain, and a large mirror. These hit all the milestone-friendly necessities (high-contrast toys and mirrors are particular good for babies in their first six months) while still looking nice if you have to store them out in the open. And it turns into a cute little tent for toddlers to hide inside once they outgrow it.

Buy now

The baby food processor that makes weaning simple

Baby Brezza one step baby food maker: $104, Babybrezza.com

(Baby Brezza)

The Baby Brezza one step baby food maker is magic. It steams food you put in and blends it in one step, and it comes with pouches that you can then put your homemade baby food into to keep throughout the week. When our son turned six months, my husband and I freaked out about how we were supposed to pour time and money into making simple, unseasoned “meals” for him while also feeding ourselves. This machine solved all that. It comes in glass and safe plastic; both work well, and both are compact enough that they won’t take up too much space on the counter.

Buy now

Bottle-feeding must-haves that'll make your life easier

Bobbie organic infant formula: $26, Hibobbie.com

(Bobbie)

We tried our combination-fed baby on a number of different formulas. His verdict was mostly: Give me back the breastmilk. The only formula he took immediately and seemed to enjoy was Bobbie. We’re the kind of hippies who want our formula to be free from corn syrup and palm oil, and preferably made from organic ingredients, so that sat well with us. We continue to use it today. Bobbie also sells some cute, admittedly pointless accessories that I just really liked, including a thermos and a baseball cap with a line-drawing of boobs and a bottle on it. I wore that one all summer, because why not?

Buy now

Tommee Tippee steridryer: $79.99, Amazon.com

(Tommee Tippee)

This big, utilitarian bruiser of a sterilizer takes a load of bottles, pacifiers, teething toys and whatever else you might need to de-germ, and dries it as well as steams it with the touch of a button. Drying stuff after you’ve sterilized it is the nightmare no one talks about when you have a baby — sure, you might be able to steam something in 15 minutes, but then you’re supposed to let it air-dry rather than touch it with kitchen roll or a hand towel.

You can either be organized enough to have your clean bottles dry overnight in the open air, or you can fork out for a machine that also dries. And it keeps everything inside sterile for 24 hours if you don’t open the lid, too. We used it from day one and we still use it daily.

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Pump while you’re on the go

Elvie pump: $299.99, Elvie.com

(Elvie)

It took me so long to get my head around my bulky yet beloved Spectra breastpump that I was scared to convert to the Elvie. But this portable pump — that you can quite literally just stick inside your bra and allow to get to work — is life-changing, especially if you’re still breastfeeding when you go back to work (or you want to occasionally go out without your baby). The suction is a little less than you’d get with a large pump that plugs into the wall, but the freedom is worth it.

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Nursing bras for postpartum and beyond

Not to be unnecessarily graphic, but my bra size went from a B to an E in a matter of weeks while I was pregnant, and never went down. Navigating this new boob-filled landscape was a lot. I was used to being able to go out without any support at all, and all of a sudden I was leaking milk and lugging around a chest that felt about ten times heavier.

Read more: Best maternity and nursing bras

I cycled through pretty much every bra during that time, from Target’s most bargain-basement offering to my old H&M faithfuls to specialty offerings from parent-only websites. The below truly are the best of the best.

Bodily the do anything bra: $58, Itsbodily.com

(Bodily)

This silky bra is supportive and so well-designed, and it actually looks nice. When you’re pumping milk, it’s hard not to feel like a cow. Somehow, I could hang out in this bra while attached to a Spectra and still feel good about myself. I bought one in every color, and I never do that.

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Bodily the everything bra: $48, Itsbodily.com

(Bodily)

It looks like nothing, but it’s so ridiculously comfortable. This will matter a lot to you, and you will not feel comfortable in anything. For a long while, I literally had to put Silverettes over my nipples to be able to walk around without going, “Ow, ow, ow.” This bra made things feel better.

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Thirdlove form seamless nursing bra: $46, Thirdlove.com

(Thirdlove)

This is reinforced enough that milk doesn’t leak through, but not so reinforced that it looks padded. It has he, and somehow its material is stretchy enough to fit to your form while also looking great under a T-shirt.

I’ve worn my two Thirdlove bras since the day I gave birth right up until now. They also hold up really well in a washer and dryer, which is pretty important when you don’t have time to handwash all your delicates any more.

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Get a good night’s sleep and ease back pain with our round-up of the best pregnancy pillows

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