First-time mamas are overwhelmed with advice and of course a list of “must have” products for their new baby. But when you can’t fit a changing table, crib, nursing lounge chair, play-yard, teepee, high-chair, SUV stroller, car seat, umbrella stroller, baby carrier, bouncy chair, baby rocker…and a million other baby items into your 500-square-foot apartment—you start to wonder what you actually need and what is a total waste of space.
After months of scouring local NYC shops and the internet for the most innovative products that are multifunctional, work for small spaces, city living and especially travel, I have rounded up a few of my favorites to help you avoid looking like a baby gear hoarder. Why have three strollers when you can have one that grows with your family… A crib or a bassinet or both? Do you really need a bulky diaper bag? How many bouncers does it take to soothe one baby? SITC has tried and tested an assortment of products and narrowed the list down to a few essentials that we love and highly recommend.
For small spaces I see plenty of those apartment cribs or foldable cribs. Let me tell you…you’re probably not going to fold down your crib or sleeper when you have a newborn/infant. Newborns are constantly drifting in and out of sleep so find something that is manageable for the beginning and preferably something that can help sooth your baby—especially if you already have older kids at home. Give yourself a little time to figure out your space before investing in a crib.
My favorite small-space sleeper is the SNOO from Happiest Baby. I instantly fell in love with this bassinet before I knew the details. This innovative and overall magical invention actually soothes your baby back to sleep. I mean…what? Where was this contraption when I was a new mama? When you live in a small space, every little sound and coo from the baby is noticeable..and will definitely keep you awake, so a bassinet that can give parents a little break and promote healthy sleep for all! But seriously, the swaddle sack situation keeps baby in the safest position (on their back) for sleep and gently soothes them from birth up to 6-months—everyone wins. Stay tuned for a SITC in-depth review of the SNOO Sleeper. I have partnered with fellow mama and writer, Julie Inzanti, who will be testing the SNOO with her newborn and giving us all the details.
One of the many drawbacks of living in a small space with kids is that there is no place to hide the baby gear. When you have little babies it is even more difficult because they need a special device for everything they do—walkers, high chairs, loungers, strollers—you can’t seem to escape it. Sometimes you just want to look around and feel like you live in an adult apartment—not a playroom! Bouncers and other baby loungers can take up a lot of space. And most require assembly to collapse and store them. BUT the BABYBJÖRN Bouncer Bliss works for a baby from o to 2 years old (or 20 lbs as a bouncer and 29 lbs as a chair) and the best part is—it folds almost flat so you can slide it under the couch, bed, crib or closet when not in use! Sanity saved!
New parents will all tell you to sleep when the baby sleeps…easier said than done when newborns seem to want mama close by. Well, with the DockATot you can safely nap in bed with your baby. Or just let them relax while you shut your eyes. DockATot comes in different sizes: Dockatot™ Deluxe+ is good for babies 0-8 months old or 5-22 lbs and the DockATot™ Grand is good for babies 9-36 months or 22-40 lbs. There are also plenty of colors/patterns available with additional available accessories like a mobile with adorable soft toys to stimulate your babe’s development and a travel bag (available in two colors) so you can take the DockATot along as a co-sleeping or napping travel bed.
There will be a point when your babe will be hearty enough for a regular stroller but that doesn’t mean you can designate 25 square feet of your apartment for stroller parking! You might have heard of the gp pockit stroller…well gb also has the Qbit LTE, which is almost as small but has attachments for a car seat, can be folded down with one hand, has a generous storage basket under the seat a full canopy and reclines! I used to always stress out about what stroller to use if I had a day of mixed activities planned, especially if I wanted to grab lunch out or go shopping—not every place can accommodate large strollers. The Qbit is stress free because it is super small and still roomy enough for storage and for the little one to nap comfortably.
I love tote bags and little fold-up bags and zipper bags. Baggu is one of my favorite brands for lightweight reusable bags that you can stick in the tiniest of pockets, just in case. Since I like to reduce the amount of things I shlep around with me on a daily basis, the little Baggu nylon pouches are perfect. They are also perfect for baby stuff!
Wherever you live you will need some type of stroller and a carseat. You can’t even take your baby home form the hospital without a carseat. And if you like to travel you will need to bring along a carseat and a stroller. I’m sure you’ve seen parents all lugging heavy carseats in the crook of their arm from the car to grocery cart to restaurant, or the stroller base. Well…wouldn’t it be nice to have the carseat and stroller in one? The answer is YES!
The Doona seamlessly marries an infant carseat and stroller into one stylish, space-saving and functional unit. Doona is the world’s first infant car seat with a completely and fully integrated mobility solution. Easy open and close—works for babies up to 31 inches and TK pounds, can fit down (most) airplane aisles, easy install with or without a base so you can hop in a taxi, car service, airplane…and go for a stroll without switching gears. It has a canopy, comes with a newborn insert, no-brainer operating buttons and instructions. I am in LOVE.
As any seasoned mom will tell you, the first bath is a little scary. Luckily with the PUJ tub you can relax. It is easy and safe and more importantly, it takes up like zero space! I use the original PUJ tub with my kids (Gemma used it probably longer than most because I loved it so much). PUJ now has a travel-size tub that is just as versatile and can literally fit into your luggage for travel! PUJ offers an assortment of bath-time essentials like towels and wash clothes. Plus, The Flyte and Original PUJ tub can hang on the back of the door or wall with nifty little PUJ nubs.
For more info on baby essentials, check out this amazing list of baby “freebies”!