Unique baby shower gift ideas and baby registry favorites for 2019

These picks are practical, and pretty.
Inside look at Dylan Dreyer's home
Dylan Dreyer gives a tour of her son Calvin's nursery for the "At Home With TODAY" digital series circa 2017.TODAY
/ Source: TODAY
By Lisa Tolin

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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.

Strollers. Car seats. Bassinets. Cribs. High chairs. Changing tables. Diaper pails. A mountain of stuff for a tiny, new creature.

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.

Do babies really need that thousand-dollar stroller, or the crib that rocks them to sleep? Of course they don't. And we know you may have sticker shock like we did, so we're giving budget options alongside some of the pricier items.

But according to our in-house baby experts (ahem, moms and dads), some of the fanciest baby gear really does help. Here are some of favorite baby registry items according to our editors:

Baby Shower Toys

1. Skip Hop Farmstand Grow and Play Activity Gym, $85, Amazon

The Skip Hop gym has sensory activities that grow with baby, and a tummy time pillow to help with early development.

2. Sophie the Giraffe, $25, Amazon

No baby can resist this chewy, squeaky toy.

3. Rainbow Felt Pom Pom Ceiling Mobile, $38, Amazon

Jean Chatzky gave Dylan Dreyer a pom-pom mobile like this, and we're in love.

4. Malarkey Kids Buddy Bib, $17, Amazon

This bib is a drool catcher, sensory toy and pacifier all in one.

5. Malarkey Kids Chew Cube, $13, Amazon

This chewable cube is easy to grasp, with a high contrast rattle inside.

6. Jellycat Bashful Bunny, $23, Amazon

When buying stuffed animals, look for versions with embroidered eyes, not buttons that could become choking hazards.

7. Cloud Wooden Teether with Rainbow Beads, $25, Amazon

This wooden teether is made from maple wood, which happens to be naturally resistant to bacteria.

8. Tiny Love Meadow Days Soothe 'N' Groove Mobile, $50, Amazon

This colorful, musical mobile keeps baby entertained in the crib.

9. Chewbeads Tribeca Teething Necklace, $10 (usually $25), Amazon

This silicone necklace goes on mom, for baby to chew when she's close.

Strollers and Carriers

1. Babyzen YOYO+ Stroller, $500, Amazon

This stroller comes highly recommended and works for infants and toddlers up to 40 pounds.

"It's perfect for apartment living and we just used it for travel and it fits in the overhead compartment," said TODAY Video Producer Adam Kaufman.

2. UPPAbaby Vista Stroller, $930, Amazon

The Vista is a popular choice for city-dwellers who are looking for something compact that can work for a newborn.

3. BabyTrend Snap-N-Go Baby EX Universal Car Seat Carrier, $55 (usually $63), Amazon

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.

4. Ergobaby Carrier, 360 All Carry Positions Baby Carrier, $140 (usually $160), Amazon

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.

5. Solly Baby Wrap

"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.

6. Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier, $30, Amazon

This affordable carrier is one of Amazon's most requested registry items.

Bassinets and Cribs

1. SNOO Smart Sleeper, $1295, Amazon

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.

Dylan Dreyer's son Calvin loved his SNOO, too. Eley said it was "worth every penny." You can also rent a SNOO from Happiest Baby.

2. Tadpoles Moses Basket and Bedding Set, $79, Amazon

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.

3. Ikea Sniglar Crib, $163 (usually $177), Amazon

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Ikea's crib gets top rankings from safety experts and fits with simple, modern decor.

4. Babyletto Lolly 3-in-1 Convertible Crib, $340 (usually $400), Amazon

The Babyletto 3-in-1 turns into a toddler bed and is certified to have low emissions.

5. Burt's Bees Baby Fitted Crib Sheet, $16 (usually $20), Amazon

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.

6. Aden by Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets, $31, Amazon

These are the gold standard for swaddle blankets, and come in handy for shading a stroller, too.

7. Miracle Blanket, $30, Amazon

Think of this as a swaddle blanket for dummies. (And I'm sorry, new parent, you may be a dummy.)

Chairs and Loungers

1. BabyBjorn Bouncer Bliss, $180 (usually $240), Amazon

Sometimes you're going to need to put the baby down. This seat is cozy and portable, and lets baby see what's happening. Kaufman swore by it in his baby's early months.

2. Boppy Original Newborn Lounger, $30, Amazon

Wouldn't you want to hang out in this thing if you could?

3. Bumbo Multi-Seat, $58, Amazon

"The Bumbo chair is used literally daily in our house," said TODAY Digital Editorial Director Meena Duerson.

Car Seats

1. Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat, $200, Amazon

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.

2. Britax B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat, $200, Amazon

The Britax B-Safe 35 is another repeat top pick.

Keepsakes and Albums

1. Personalized Keepsake Box, $35, Amazon

Dylan Dreyer loved the keepsake box given to her by a friend and keeps things like Calvin's first hospital hat tucked inside.

2. Baby Memory Book, $40, Amazon

Haller loved the baby book she got that makes it easy to keep track of milestones.

Pajamas and Clothing

1. Moon and Back by Hanna Andersson 2 Pack, $32, Amazon

Haller got Hanna Andersson pajamas as a gift and loved them so much she keeps 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.

2. Moon and Back by Hanna Andersson Footed Pajamas, $25, Amazon

Pssst ... it's totally fine for your baby to wear pajamas 24/7. (You may want to do the same sometimes.)

3. Zutano Baby Booties, $16-24, Amazon

"I loved getting Zutano booties," said Duerson.

4. Zutano Fleece Hat, $10-17, Amazon

The matching hat is adorable, too.

5. Trumpette 6 Pair Sock Set, $26 (usually $29), Amazon

These shoe-like socks come in a range of options for boys, girls and unisex styles.

6. Malarkey Kids Munch Mitt, $14 (usually $15), Amazon

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

1. Skip Hop Vegan Leather Diaper Backpack, $80 (usually $100), Amazon

This chic backpack can be worn by Moms or Dads.

2. Skip Hop Pronto Portable Changing Mat, $30, Amazon

This portable changing pad has a container for wipes and spots to hold diapers and ointments.

3. Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail, $30 (usually $32), Amazon

Our editors have relied on this for years to cut back on diaper odors. Be sure to buy refill bags.

4. Pampers Swaddlers Diapers Newborn Size 1 (8-14 lb), $55, Amazon

Pampers Swaddlers are an editors' favorite at TODAY. You will go through lots. Stock up!

5. Pampers Sensitive Water Baby Wipes, $20, Amazon

Keep that delicate skin clean and dry.

6. Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad, $18, Amazon

The genius security strap keeps baby from rolling away, for added safety.

7. Aquaphor Baby Advanced Healing Ointment, $10, Amazon

Several editors swear by this healing ointment for diaper rash and other irritations.

Monitors and Sleep Helpers

1. iBaby Digital Baby Video Camera Monitor, $48 (usually $160), Amazon

This monitor lets Haller watch her baby in her crib from anywhere — including the office.

2. Marpac Dohm Classic White Noise Machine, $45, Amazon

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."

3. Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise, $60, Amazon

This sound machine is also a night light and toddler wake time clock — something you'll appreciate when your child is older.

4. Philips Avent Soothie, $4, Amazon

This is one of the most popular pacifiers on the market.

Bathtime and Cleaning

1. Noodle and Boo Essential Care Kit, $15, Amazon

Noodle and Boo smells delicious, like a new baby.

2. Angelcare Baby Bath Support, $13, Amazon

This bath support takes the stress out of bath time by keeping water levels comfortable without the danger of slipping.

3. Matimati Rayon From Bamboo Baby Washcloths, $9, Amazon

They're ever so gentle to wipe up the spit-up and drool.

4. Summer Infant Complete Nursery Care Kit, $16, Amazon

Yes, even newborns need to get their sharp nails clipped (or at least filed).

5. FridaBaby NoseFrida Nasal Aspirator, $20, Amazon

Let's call the NoseFrida what it is: a snot sucker. It's not glamorous, but this snot sucker may be just the thing for a sick baby.

Feeding

1. Bloom Frescoe High Chair, $633, Amazon

Haller loves this space-saving high chair for her apartment.

2. Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair, $259, Amazon

The Tripp Trapp is another modern option that grows with baby, working as a chair when baby can sit up with less help.

3. Medela Pump in Style With On-the-Go Tote, $182, Amazon

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.

4. Philips Avent Natural Newborn Baby Bottle Starter Set, $72, Amazon

A TODAY editor favorite. No fuss, no gas.

5. Dr. Brown's Original Bottle Newborn Feeding Set, $25, Amazon

This specific type of bottle is said to reduce colic and spit-up.

6. Dr. Brown's Bottle Brush, $5, Amazon

A clean bottle equals a happy parent and an even happier baby.

Leave It to Mom and Dad

1. Amazon.com $50 Gift Card in a Greeting Card, $50, Amazon

Amazon reports that its most wished-for baby shower gifts are those you choose yourself, a gift card and a one-year Prime membership.

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