Baby Bjorn Baby Bouncer and Dadada Crib

Baby's First Year: A Gear Guide for Every Milestone

The initial year of a baby's life is brimming with captivating milestones. From the rapid transformation of newborns into lively infants to the emergence of bustling toddlers, the journey unfolds swiftly. Seasoned parents consistently offer the same advice to expectant parents: "cherish every moment!" To navigate through the first year with grace and maximize joy for both parents and baby, being equipped with suitable gear tailored to each developmental stage is paramount. The right gear facilitates a seamless journey, allowing you to pause, appreciate, and fully immerse yourself in every precious moment.

Whether you're compiling a registry, strategizing to secure all the essentials before your baby's arrival, or budgeting for ongoing baby gear purchases throughout the year, it's crucial to have a precise understanding of what you'll need and when you'll need it. This article will zero in on the key items parents will require for each stage of their baby's development in their first year.

Design Dua

What milestones will my baby achieve in their first year? Birth to Toddler:

 Birth to 3 months

  • Uses arms to push up during tummy time
  • Lifts and hold up head during tummy time
  • Open and close hands
  • Reach for toys while on back

3-6 months

  • Neck control developed
  • Sits by using hands for support
  • Begins to roll over
  • Can stand with support
  • Reaches for toys during tummy time
  • Can hold and grasp toys
  • Begins to show interest in food
  • Introduced to first foods - pureed cereal

6-9 months

  • Sits up unsupported
  • Begins to crawl
  • Begins to pick up small objects
  • Begins basic understanding of words
  • Introduced to pureed veggies and fruits

9-12 months

  • Can pull up to standing position, walks supported by "crusing"
  • Stands independently
  • Claps hands
  • Enjoys listening to songs
  • Begins to talk with a few words
  • Starts to eat independently with fingers
  • Begins to eat real food (soft, mashed)
  • Introduced to cup
  • Around 12 months begins to walk independently
  • Begins stacking objects

What baby gear will I need to have ready from the day baby arrives? Newborn Essentials:

When preparing for the arrival of baby, parents can take comfort in knowing that certain items can be acquired gradually throughout the first year as  baby grows and achieves new milestones. However, there are numerous essential items that parents should ensure they have on hand from the very day their baby arrives. Let's explore these newborn essentials:

Infant Car Seat (birth to about 12 months): 

Nuna PIPA aire RX infant car seat

A newborn-appropriate car seat is the most crucial item to have prepared for use before the baby arrives. Hospitals conduct a car seat fit test on the day the baby is scheduled for their homecoming. Since parents cannot leave the hospital without the right car seat, this item becomes a mandatory must-have.

Most parents opt for an infant car seat, typically used from birth for about one year. Although the period of use for an infant car seat is relatively short-lived, it's favored for its convenience. Only infant car seats can be seamlessly paired with a stroller to create a "travel system," enabling smooth transitions while on the go and during transportation. Moreover, infant car seats allow parents to remove the baby from the vehicle while still contained in their car seat, which is particularly useful during colder months in chilly climates, allowing parents to keep babies bundled while transferring in and out of the car. 

  • To learn more about the best infant car seats refer >>>here

Convertible Car Seat (birth to about 5 years old):

While infant car seats provide convenience, many convertible and all-in-one car seats are also suitable for use from birth. If you won't be contending with cold weather and stroller compatibility isn't a priority, convertible and all-in-one car seats make excellent investments because they offer extended usability compared to infant car seats. Equipped with infant inserts, these seats ensure a snug fit for newborns and feature adjustable settings to accommodate growth from birth to about 5 years old.

  • To learn more about the best convertible car seats refer >>>here

Newborn Stroller (birth to about 4 to 5 years old):

UPPAbaby Vista V2

A stroller typically ranks high on every parent-to-be's list of essentials. It serves as the primary mode of transportation for baby, whether it's for leisurely strolls around the neighborhood, quick errands in and out of the car, or, for urban families, even as the main means of transportation. While focusing on finding the best stroller that suits specific lifestyle needs is crucial, it's equally important to choose one that provides the optimal environment for a newborn.

While infant car seats offer efficiency as travel systems when paired with a stroller, they are not recommended for extended periods of use. Newborns should ideally lie flat as much as possible to promote proper spine development and ensure open airways. Therefore, selecting a stroller designed for use from birth, featuring either a bassinet attachment or a fully flat recline, is the best choice for baby's well-being.

  •  To learn more about the best newborn strollers refer >>>here

Bassinet (birth to about 6 months):

Snoo

A bassinet is the recommended primary sleep system for newborn babies. While both a crib and a bassinet are suitable for overnight sleep from birth, having baby sleep in the same room as parents significantly reduces the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A bassinet is often the best fit bedside.

In addition to the safety aspect of room-sharing with your newborn, it also provides undeniable convenience for late-night feedings and diaper changes. Bassinets create a cozy environment that may feel more familiar and comforting to babies, resembling the snugness of their mother's womb.

Many stroller brands provide sleep-rated bassinets that serve dual purposes for both stroller use and as a primary sleep system. It's crucial to recognize that these bassinets must be paired with their corresponding stand to ensure airflow through the bottom, which is what qualifies them for overnight sleep.

Another excellent alternative to a traditional bassinet is a travel crib or play-yard that includes a bassinet function.

  • To view our full bassinet assortment refer >>>here

 

Baby Lounger/Bouncer (birth to about 6 months):

Baby Loungers

Baby loungers provide significant convenience for parents and engagement for infants. While bassinets are ideal for overnight sleep and napping, parents can't always hold their baby every moment they are awake. Baby loungers offer the perfect spot for babies to "hang out" with the rest of the family.

These baby seats position infants in a more upright position, allowing them to observe their environment and interact with their loved ones while parents can keep their hands free to attend to daily tasks. There are various options available, including baby loungers, bouncers, and swings. Some are heavier and serve as more permanent fixtures in living or family rooms, while others are more portable, allowing them to be easily moved from room to room so that the baby can remain close by.

*Once babies can sit up unsupported (around 6 months) baby lounger use should be discontinued.

  • To view our full baby lounger assortment refer >>>here

Activity Arch (birth to about 1 year old):

Charlie Crane Activity Arch

Activity gyms are designed to stimulate curiosity and enhance motor skills. While newborns may not be very mobile and aren't yet ready to play with toys independently, activity gyms prove to be excellent tools for floor and tummy time. Facilitating tummy time is crucial for a baby's neck control development. By placing the baby under activity gyms, they are encouraged to look up and engage. Even while lying on their back beneath these gyms, babies will begin to reach up and interact with the fun and captivating hanging toys, fostering early sensory exploration and motor skill development.

Activity gyms:

Other key items to have for use from birth:

  • Bathtub - shop >>>here
  • Baby Carriers - shop>>>here
  • Changing Pad - shop >>>here
  • Diaper/Changing Bags - shop >>>here
  • Pacifiers - shop >>>here
  • Sound Machines and Night Lights - shop >>>here

What gear do I need for my 6 month old baby? Infant Essentials:

At 6 months, infants undergo significant developmental changes. At this stage, babies become more engaged, start grasping toys, sit up on their own, roll over, and are ready to be introduced to food. With these milestones come a new set of gear needs to support their evolving abilities and activities.

Crib (6 months and up):

Stokke Sleepi

If a bassinet has been used since birth, it's typically recommended to transition the baby to a crib at around 6 months of age. Even if the baby still appears comfortable in their bassinet, by 6 months, babies often start pulling themselves up to a seated position, making the bassinet unsafe. Therefore, moving them to a crib becomes necessary.

Furthermore, it's important to note that purchasing a new crib will also necessitate the acquisition of a crib mattress. Opting for a convertible crib is a wise investment choice. These models can initially function as a traditional crib and later be converted into a toddler bed. Some even offer the flexibility to convert from a toddler bed to a junior or full-size bed, ensuring utility for many years to come.

  • To view our crib assortment refer >>>here 
  • To view our crib mattress assortment refer >>>here

 

Activity Center (6 months and up):

Tiny Love Activity Center

At this stage, babies have typically outgrown their baby loungers and are seeking more stimulation. Activity centers become essential, captivating infants with an array of toys attached to the system, offering diverse ways to engage and play. These centers feature a seat that holds the baby in a standing position with their feet anchored at the base of the system. While the baby may not yet possess the strength and balance to stand independently, these systems aid in strengthening their legs, laying the groundwork for their first steps.

Activity Center:

Highchairs (6 months to about 3 years):

UPPAbaby Ciro

Infants typically start their food journey with cereal, progress to pureed veggies and fruits, and eventually move on to diced, mashed, and soft foods. Highchairs become an essential piece of furniture for the family dining room or kitchen. Many modern highchairs are designed to pull right up to the family dining table, allowing babies to be included at mealtime. This fosters family bonding, in contrast to traditional highchairs that often leave baby somewhat isolated. 

  • To learn more about the best highchairs refer >>>here

Highchair Accessories and Feeding Gear (6 months and up):

UPPAbaby Ciro

The introduction of food also entails the need for baby-friendly feeding gear! We highly recommend ezpz products. Both infants and toddlers seem to find it amusing to dump their plates of food, but ezpz has parents covered with plates and bowls that suction securely to either a highchair tray or directly to the dinner table, making it a challenge for little ones to create giant messes!

  • Shop ezpz products >>>here

Playard (birth to about 2 to 3 years):

Nuna Sena Aire

Although we briefly discussed the option of using a travel crib or playard with a bassinet mode from birth, playards are now emphasized as essential for infants aged 6 months and older. As babies progress through their first year, they become increasingly active and mobile. Playards provide a secure environment for babies to engage independently with age-appropriate toys. Additionally, they serve as convenient travel cribs, making them valuable assets for families on the move.

  • To view our Playard assortment refer >>>here

Jogging Stroller (6 months to about 4 to 5 years):

Thule Urban Glide

Jogging strollers can be utilized from birth by pairing them with an infant car seat or opting for models that offer a lay-flat recline or bassinet option. However, they are highlighted on our list of gear for use from 6 months and up. This is because at this stage, babies are developmentally ready to join parents for their daily run. It's not advisable to run with newborns, as achieving full neck control is a crucial developmental milestone necessary for safe running with a baby. By 6 months, babies typically have developed full neck control and will be excited to accompany parents with active lifestyles.

  • To learn more about jogging strollers refer >>>here

What gear do I need to prepare for my baby transitioning from infant to toddler?

As babies approach their first birthday, their activity and movement steadily increase. At this stage, parents should prioritize acquiring gear that supports the development of fine and gross motor skills, along with compiling a list of toys for baby's first birthday bash! Additionally, with baby's first birthday quickly approaching, it's crucial to start exploring convertible car seat options and prepare for a car seat transition.

Convertible Car Seats (birth to about 4 to 5 years):

Clek Foonf

We've previously discussed the option to skip an infant car seat and utilize a convertible car seat from birth. However, for families who initially opted for an infant car seat to begin their journey with their baby, it's time to consider transitioning around the baby's first birthday. Convertible car seats offer rear-facing capabilities, with premium models accommodating rear-facing up to 50 pounds. Although most state laws mandate rear-facing until age 2, it's advisable to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible. Once the rear-facing limits are reached, convertible car seats can then be installed in a forward-facing position, accommodating children up to either 65 pounds or 49 inches.

Alternatively, all-in-one seats function similarly to convertible car seats but also have the ability to convert to high-back boosters, making them an excellent investment for parents seeking maximum versatility and longevity in their gear.

  •  To learn more about the best convertible car seats refer >>>here

Stacking and Sorting Toys:

Mushie Stacking Cups

Stacking and sorting toys are essential for a baby's first year. These toys play a crucial role in developing fine motor skills and fostering a basic level of organizational skills. 

Check out our favorite stacking and sorting toys:

Indoor Active Play:

Piccalio

Indoor gyms are ideal for keeping older infants and toddlers entertained. Investing in high-quality indoor play equipment can offer tiny tots hours of entertainment, serving as an outlet for their boundless energy. These setups are specifically designed to enhance balance, coordination, gross motor skills, and imagination.

Bugaboo Stardust

Having a clear understanding of your baby's developmental milestones during the first year and knowing which products will be necessary for each stage is crucial. The items featured in this guide are guaranteed to ensure happy babies and parents, providing the most efficient and enjoyable first year with your baby! 

 

Questions?

Strolleria is dedicated to making the baby gear buying experience less overwhelming for parents. If you have more questions about essential gear for baby's first year feel free to chat us or email us at customercare@strolleria.com.