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The 8 Cheapest, Best Baby Gear Buys
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by Margaret Williams
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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...
- ...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.
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.
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.
Infantino's classy Style Rider carrier ($40; Target) offers extra lower-back support and handy pockets for your keys and wallet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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