As a first-time parent with a obsession with product ratings that I realise should be questioned, I spent an absurd amount of my pregnancy researching baby gear. I needed the most reliably secure swaddles, the perfect newborn bathtub and a musical mobile that was guaranteed to change my life.
Then my daughter was born; in the whirlwind of infanthood, she grew and grew (babies tend to do that, I have discovered). Before I knew it, I was packing away all the stuff I had purchased, thinking, "What the heck? I barely had a chance to use any of this."
Baby gear typically has a limited lifespan, but Natalie Gordon, the founder and CEO of universal baby registry Babylist, tells me you can stretch your funds (and minimise your clutter) by buying products that "grow" with your child into toddlerhood and beyond. Gordon, whose team tests baby items from nail clippers to swings for the millions of families who use the site, shares five products that will make your life easier for years.
"Just having a piece of baby furniture this sleek and simple is benefit enough for many new parents," Gordon says. "But this high chair is designed to have more than just good looks — it's cleverly designed to support your child as she grows. You can make adjustments to the seat and foot rest, to accommodate everything from a baby (with a baby set that's sold separately) to a 113kg adult."
Explains Gordon: "When your baby is new, the Hatch Baby Rest uses sound and light to create a 'custom sleep environment' for your child, which you can program via your phone. It also makes routines infinitely easier; one quick tap turns it from soothing white noise machine into a night light that's indispensable for late-night feedings. Later, as your kid grows into an early-rising toddler, program the 'OK-to-Wake' indicator to signal when it's ok to get out of bed and wake up mum and dad. You'll be incredibly thankful for the extra sleep you get."
"One purchase, years of play," Gordon says. "This activity center transforms alongside your child to fit kids' needs as they grow. For infants, it's perfect for self-contained play (so you can do the dishes or get a much-needed shower). It converts into a play station your child can cruise around while he learns to walk, and finally a sleek, seamless toddler table perfect for tea parties and colouring alike."
Says Gordon: "OK, technically, the Nest Cam isn't a baby monitor. It's a home security camera that we count among our favourite baby monitors at Babylist. Turns out, the features that are great for home security are perfect for a baby monitor - from live streaming on your smartphone to two-way communication so you can soothe your little one from anywhere. As your child grows, and you no longer need a baby monitor, you can use it to keep an eye on your pet, yard, or empty home while you're out."