If you're creating your first baby registry or looking for baby shower gifts, you might be shocked by just how much there is to choose from.
And if you're like us, each decision will require a ton of research. Fortunately, our TODAY team is chock full of new and expecting parents. So we decided to put our hours of investigation and rigorous testing (er, parenting) together to make it easy.
According to our in-house baby experts (ahem, moms and dads), some of the fanciest baby gear really does help. But if that thousand-dollar stroller or the crib that rocks them to sleep is giving you sticker shock, we have budget options alongside some of the pricier items.
Whether you're celebrating remotely or gathering with friends and family, here are some of our favorite baby registry items according to our editors:
Baby Shower Toys
The Skip Hop gym has sensory activities that grow with baby, and a tummy time pillow to help with early development.
No baby can resist this chewy, squeaky toy.
A few years ago, Jean Chatzky gave Dylan Dreyer a pom-pom mobile like this, and we're still in love.
This bib is a drool catcher, sensory toy and pacifier all in one.
This chewable cube is easy to grasp, with a high contrast rattle inside.
When buying stuffed animals, look for versions with embroidered eyes, not buttons that could become choking hazards.
This wooden teether is made from maple wood, which happens to be naturally resistant to bacteria.
This colorful, musical mobile keeps baby entertained in the crib.
This silicone necklace goes on mom, for baby to chew when she's close.
Strollers and Carriers
This stroller comes highly recommended and works for infants and toddlers up to 40 pounds.
"It's perfect for apartment living and we used it for travel and it fits in the overhead compartment," said TODAY Video Producer Adam Kaufman.
The Vista is a popular choice for city-dwellers who are looking for something compact that can work for a newborn.
For the early months before many strollers are safe for baby, this is the simplest choice: Just snap a car seat into this base and go.
The Ergo is a great all-purpose carrier that allows the baby to face either direction and positions weight on the hips, which is more comfortable for moms.
"Baby wraps are awesome and they were definitely ideal when my babies were newborns — but several are so thick. Not this one," says TODAY Digital Managing Editor Amy Eley.
This affordable carrier is one of Amazon's most requested registry items.
Bassinets and Cribs
Yes, it's expensive. But the SNOO has been the talk of baby circles since it was created by Dr. Harvey Karp of "The Happiest Baby on the Block" fame. The smart bassinet is meant to mimic the sound and feeling of the womb. If the baby wakes, the SNOO rocks a little more.
Dana Haller, NBC's Senior Executive Producer for Strategic Content, loved this affordable Moses basket for her newborn. "Make sure to buy extra fitted covers," she added.
Ikea's crib gets top rankings from safety experts and fits with simple, modern decor.
The Babyletto 3-in-1 turns into a toddler bed and is certified to have low emissions.
Don't bother with a crib set with bumpers and quilts — soft bedding is a hazard for babies. But get plenty of fitted crib sheets. Parents will change them often.
These are the gold standard for swaddle blankets, and come in handy for shading a stroller, too.
Think of this as a swaddle blanket for dummies.
Chairs and Loungers
Sometimes you're going to need to put the baby down. This seat is cozy and portable, and allows baby to see what's happening. Kaufman swore by it in his baby's early months.
Wouldn't you want to hang out in this thing if you could?
This 3-in-1 seat is adaptable with removable pad, tray and adjustable straps.
A car seat is the one thing you can't leave the hospital without. The Chicco KeyFit 30 is a favorite of Consumer Reports and received top billing from Wirecutter, What To Expect and others who tested infant car seats.
Keepsakes and Albums
Dylan Dreyer loved the keepsake box given to her by a friend and keeps things like Calvin's first hospital hat tucked inside.
Haller loved the baby book she got that makes it easy to keep track of milestones.
Pajamas and Clothing
Haller got Hanna Andersson pajamas as a gift and loved them so much she kept buying larger sizes. Andersson's collaboration with Amazon makes that more affordable. The opening at the feet of this style makes midnight diaper changes easier.
Pssst ... it's totally fine for your baby to wear pajamas 24/7. (You may have been doing the same recently.)
These machine-washable booties keep tiny feet warm. They also use snaps, minimizing wear and tear after repeat washes.
The matching hat is adorable, too.
These shoe-like socks come in a range of options for boys, girls and unisex styles.
Babies are prone to scratching themselves with their fingernails if their hands are uncovered, and they love shoving their hands in their mouths. This makes hand snacking all the better.
Diapers and Changing Gear
This chic backpack can be worn by moms or dads.
This portable changing pad has a container for wipes and spots to hold diapers and ointments.
Our editors have relied on this for years to cut back on diaper odors. Be sure to buy refill bags.
Pampers Swaddlers are an editors' favorite at TODAY. You will go through lots. Stock up!
Keep that delicate skin clean and dry.
The genius security strap keeps baby from rolling away, for added safety.
Several editors swear by this healing ointment for diaper rash and other irritations.
Monitors and Sleep Helpers
This monitor let Haller watch her baby in her crib from anywhere — including the office.
This white noise machine was recommended to me by a top sleep expert because it uses a real fan, not static sounds, so "it never gets annoying."
This sound machine is also a night light and toddler wake time clock — something you'll appreciate when your child is older.
This is one of the most popular pacifiers on the market.
Bathtime and Cleaning
Noodle and Boo smells delicious, like a new baby.
This bath support takes the stress out of bath time by keeping water levels comfortable without the danger of slipping.
They're ever so gentle to wipe up the spit-up and drool.
Yes, even newborns need to get their sharp nails clipped (or at least filed).
Let's call the NoseFrida what it is: a snot sucker. It's not glamorous, but it may be just the thing for a sick baby.
Haller loved this space-saving high chair for her apartment.
The Tripp Trapp is another modern option that grows with baby, working as a chair when baby can sit up with less help.
We don't know how stylish you'll feel with the Pump in Style, but in our experience it gets the job done as well as a hospital-grade pump.
A TODAY editor favorite. No fuss, no gas.
This specific type of bottle is said to reduce colic and spit-up.
A clean bottle equals a happy parent and an even happier baby.
Leave It to Mom and Dad
Amazon reports that its most wished-for baby shower gifts are those you choose yourself, a gift card and a one-year Prime membership.
For more stories like this, check out:
- From play sets to penguin booties, 32 gifts that are perfect for any 6-month-old
- 41 gifts for the 1-year-old who's growing up way too fast
- 40 best baby gifts and baby toys to buy in 2021