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The 8 Cheapest, Best Baby Gear Buys

  • by Margaret Williams

    Hot Seat
    Infant car seats fit small babies best, but they have a limited shelf life. Opt for a convertible car seat that can be used rear- or forward- facing from birth. The Evenflo Titan convertible car seat ($99; evenflo.com) gets high marks from safety experts and is a breeze to install...

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  • ...Or choose one with a higher weight limit so you can use it longer, like the new Graco SnugRide 32 ($160; gracobaby.com) for babies up to 32 pounds and 32 inches tall.
  • Rock On
    Park that booty here now and later: The Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker ($40; fisher-price .com) is a bouncer that grows up along with your baby.

  • Clean Sweep
    Sweet potatoes are no match for the Graco Meal Time high chair ($80; gracobaby.com). It has a reclining vinyl seat that wipes clean, and the tray features a removable, dishwasher-safe insert.

  • Carried Away
    Infantino's classy Style Rider carrier ($40; Target) offers extra lower-back support and handy pockets for your keys and wallet.

  • Sleep Easy
    Whether it costs $100 or $1,000, every new crib must meet the same government safety standards. Get a basic one with stationary sides, like Ikea's Leksvik crib ($160; ikea.com), recommended for its safety and value.

  • Keeping Tabs
    You probably don't need a monitor (trust us -- you'll hear your baby cry!), but most moms want one anyway. For $33, you get two receivers for the Safety 1st Glow & Go Monitor (babiesrus.com) and a timed nightlight.

  • Play Station
    Skip the fully loaded activity center. The Bright Starts Bounce Bounce Baby ($45; bright starts.com) will provide more than enough entertainment for your tot, plus you can always add more playthings to the tray.

  • Easy Rider
    Offering a smooth ride, an easy, compact fold, and weighing in at just 17 pounds, the versatile Chicco Liteway stroller ($130; Buy Buy Baby) will navigate bumpy sidewalks and narrow store aisles. The seat fully reclines so your infant can snooze, and the removable basket doubles as a backpack.

  • Tot Spot
    Sure, you can spend twice the price on a play yard, but why mess with perfection? The original Graco Pack 'n Play ($70; gracobaby.com) -- which comes with a bassinet and toy bar -- still gets the job done.

  • Bag It
    JJ Cole's Mode Tote Bag ($60; jjcoleusa.com) is well worth splurging for. It can be worn three different ways: as a tote, a messenger bag, or attached to your stroller handles. It comes with a matching changing pad, and the laminated canvas exterior wipes clean.

  • Sweet Dreams
    We like that everything in the chic DwellStudio for Target Baby Bedding Collection ($11 - 35; target.com) is sold separately -- fitted sheets, changing pad cover, bed skirts, and more -- so you only need to buy what you know you'll use. (Skip the pricey comforter and bumper pads because they're SIDS hazards.)

  • Extra Hands
    Bathing a newborn can seem like trying to catch a fish with your bare hands. The First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn to Toddler Tub ($18; babiesrus.com) makes it easier with a mesh sling to safely and securely cradle even the smallest babies.

  • Gym Dandy
    What doesn't Tiny Love's Gymini Musical Kick & Discover activity gym ($70; toysrus.com) do? The playmat itself is loaded with fun toys and textures for your baby to explore, plus a kickpad that lights up and plays music with every swat. You can also use the kickpad as it's own toy or with the pillow for tummy time.

    Plus:
    The Most Common Baby Gear Dangers
    Ultimate Must-Knows About Car Seat Safety
    Shopper's Guide to Safety Seats
    Sign up for the Pregnancy Planner for daily tips to help you along the next nine months and track your progress!

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