Parenting

13 money-saving products to simplify your baby gear

Check out these all-in-one essentials for the best baby registry ever

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There are three things you can expect as a new parent: you're going to lose a lot of sleep, you're going to change a lot of diapers, and you're going end up with a whole lot of baby stuff. It's astonishing how much gear a tiny baby needs and—once you've figured it all out—a growth spurt happens and you get to start all over again.

While we can't really help you get through the sleepless nights and diaper changes, we can help you figure out the "too much stuff" thing. All of these genius pieces were built to grow with your child. Not only will you save on space, and the headache of figuring out how to unload one piece to make room for another, you'll end up saving a ton of money with one-hardworking piece that grows with your child through all sorts of ages and stages.

1. A convertible crib that takes them from infancy to teen

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Credit: Babyletto

This Megan Markle-approved brand grows through every sleep stage.

Babies never give you a heads up that the day is coming when they are going figure out how to jump from their crib like a Hollywood stuntman in a big budget action flick. Do yourself a favor: When you're crib shopping opt for one that can immediately convert into a toddler bed, so you’re not doing an emergency trip to IKEA moments after they’ve busted free.

The Sprout by Babyletto is one of the most popular convertible cribs on the market—even stealing a spot on Megan Markle’s baby registry. If it’s good enough for Archie, it’s good enough for us! This 4-in-1 is chic, it’s practical, and it’s surprisingly affordable. It transforms from a crib, with adjustable mattress levels; to a toddler bed; to a daybed; to a twin-sized bed without sacrificing style at any of the four stages. It’s also a GREENGUARD Gold Certified crib, which means it’s been screened for over 10,000 chemicals and VOCs, making it super safe for your kiddo at all stages.

Get the Babyletto Sprout 4-in-1 convertible crib at The Tot for $379

2. A changing table that converts into a dresser

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Credit: Babyletto

This is a changing table that ends up being a piece of furniture they can take to their first apartment.

A little bit mid-century modern and a little bit shaker, this dresser is not only versatile in it’s application, it goes with any decor scheme you can dream up.

This 3-drawer dresser starts out as a changing table that includes a removable changing tray with convenient side cubbies to keep diapers, wipes, and creams easily accessible. Then, when they're ready, it instantly transforms easily into a dresser with three spacious drawers that are so versatile your child may just end up taking this dresser with them to their first apartment.

Made with sustainable New Zealand pine wood and finished with non-toxic paint, this is baby safe to start them out right.

Get the Babyletto Sprout 3-drawer dresser with removable changing table at The Tot for $379

3. A 5-position carrier that can take them to 45 lbs

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Credit: Contours

This carrier can carry in all positions and up to 45 pounds.

Frontward facing, backward facing, hanging out on your hip, or hanging out on your back, the Journey Go is a carrier that covers all the bases—and is incredibly affordable while doing it.

What sets this carrier apart is the breathable and moisture-wicking cool mesh fabric, and the fact that you can use this with newborns starting at 8 pounds, without any need for an awkward infant insert. This carrier is rugged, and comfortable (it was our reviewer’s favorite) and, with a weight limit of 45 pounds, can take your kid right through toddlerhood. It’s also breastfeeding friendly, with no straps between parent and baby, making it versatile for all feeding stages as well.

Get the Contours Journey Go 5-position baby carrier at Target for $65.99

4. A diaper bag that will be your favorite overnighter

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Credit: Kaydee Baby

This diaper bag works just as well as a chic commuter bag.

Sure, you want products that will grow with them, but how about products that will grow with your needs too? We bought this chic-looking diaper bag almost six years ago and, if I’m to be honest, I used it just last week and forgot I originally bought it as a diaper bag.

This stylish, vegan leather backpack holds everything, cleans up easily, is remarkably scuff- and stain-repellent, and looks just as good as it did the day I got it. It’s also super-hero-level strong: It carried diapers, baby bottles, clothing changes, and toys just as easily as it carries my laptop, books, and daily planner.

Since it graduated from diaper bag to my top-choice commuter bag, travel bag, and overnighter, it’s managed to carry heavy weight comfortably, while retaining its shape and luster. It also looks just as good on men as it does on women, so my husband never grumbled about grabbing it on the go.

Get the Kaydee Baby vegan leather backpack and baby bag at Walmart for $42.99

5. A car seat that lasts until graduation

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Credit: Chicco

This car seat can face backwards for up to 45 pounds and frontward for up to 65 pounds.

Okay, not really. But this car seat can take them from the delivery room all the way to 65 pounds, which is pretty incredible and—if you have a fast-growing kid—essential. Chicco’s NextFit design constantly wins top marks for ease of installation—and the more accurately installed a car seat is, the better it performs in an emergency.

Because you’ll be having this seat for a long, long time, the 1-to-9 reclining settings make it versatile through all ages and stages. It’s just as comfortable for when they want to sit up and see the world as when they want to lay back and take a snooze—mitigating the dreaded whines of, “Are we there yet?” on long road trips.

The ClearTex fabric meets federal standards without added chemicals and all of the components are GREENGUARD Gold Certified for low chemical emissions, making for healthier air quality around your child.

Get the Chicco NextFit Max ClearTex convertible car seat at BuyBuyBaby for $279.99

6. A feeding pillow that becomes a support seat

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Credit: Boppy

The use of the Boppy long outlasts feeding time.

This nursing pillow will be your best friend during feedings and will have a second life as their favorite tummy-time assist and a cozy support seat for when they are almost ready to be upright. Also, it’s a pretty clutch butt pillow for moms who need a soft seat to sit on while they heal up after delivery.

Shop Boppy organic cotton nursing pillows at BuyBuyBaby, starting at $19.99

7. A bouncer turned toddler seat

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Credit: BabyBjörn

Reviewers with multiple kids constantly bemoan not getting this bouncer with their first!

This built-to-last bouncer is more expensive than others on the market, but its rave reviews and the fact that kids can use and enjoy it through 30 pounds make it worth it in our book.

Reviewers with multiple kids constantly bemoan not getting this bouncer with their first, “Absolutely the best bouncer ever made (saying this as a father of 4 kids from newborn to a 16 year old). We've seen them all.” Others express dismay at waiting a few months to buy one: “This bouncer allowed us to eat dinner together without holding a baby, and I could do laundry and get things done! Game. Changer. I’m so mad we didn’t have this for the first four months of his life....”

After they’ve gotten their baby bouncing out of their system, this chair converts into a pint-sized seat for toddlers—perfect for a seat at the art table or for reclining during movie night.

Get the BabyBjörn Bouncer Bliss at The Tot for $199

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Credit: Squatty Potty / Top Seat

This dynamic duo will make potty training far less cumbersome.

We haven’t held back on our love for the Squatty Potty. That review was done by one of our childless writers but parents-in-the-know have learned that the Squatty Potty is basically the most ingenious potty stool around.

It fits snuggly under your toilet so it doesn’t take up any precious real estate if you have a smaller bathroom, it’s wide and stable for smaller legs that aren’t self-assured, it’s always right there so it minimizes potty accidents while you’re fumbling to get their potty gear in place, and—as a bonus—Mom and Dad can use it too. Pair it with a convertible toilet seat for a bathroom that is potty-training ready from the get-go.

Hot tip: Pick up a Squatty Potty the moment you know you’re pregnant. You’ll understand why soon enough.

9. A toddler table that turns into a tween-sized desk

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Credit: Crate & Barrel

This table has interchangeable legs that grow with each of your kid's growth spurts.

Just as your kiddo’s legs grow, so will this desk with three sets of legs that are simple to swap out with each growth spurt. It starts as pint-sized toddler play table, grows to an elementary-aged work space, and then elevates all the way up to the level of a regular desk. Plus, it also features a paper holder and a roll of paper, so kids can use the large tabletop to create their works of art, without ruining the surface—furthering this longevity of this smart piece.

Get the adjustable kids’ table at Crate & Barrel for $396

10. A high chair that you’ll never get rid of

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Credit: Stokke

This seat can even accommodate and adult, and it works great as a step stool.

This Scandinavian classic has been around for nearly 50 years and it’s easy to see why. As with all Stokke products, its simplicity belies its genius. This high chair's brilliant design won high marks from our reviewers, who loved it's modern aesthetic, it's versatility, and it's longevity as a furniture piece—after it stops being a baby chair.

It's a chair that starts as an ergonomically correct infant high chair and converts to hold a child comfortably at any age. It also functions as a step-stool and comfortably holds an adult (we know, because we’ve used it ourselves numerous times) up to 300 pounds. How many high chairs out there also function as additional seating for adult house guests?

Get the Stokke Trip Trap high chair on Amazon for $269

11. An infant bottle that turns into an insulated water bottle

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Credit: Pura

This water bottle is so versatile it even converts into a food container with interchangeable lids.

This bottle goes from bassinet to soccer field—and just about every stage in between—with the switch of a lid. It’s stainless-steel and dishwasher safe, to make a container that is durable enough to last for years (ours has lasted for seven) and versatile enough to take anywhere. BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free silicone components easily transition this insulated container from infant bottle and transforms it into sippy bottle, straw bottle, sport bottle, or even an insulated snack container.

12. A swaddle that converts into a sleep sack

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Credit: Woombie

When they've outgrown their swaddle this transforms into a sleep sack.

A swaddle is a popular way to soothe a baby, but their use is short-lived. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you stop using swaddles after two months. This swaddle easily expands and converts into a super cozy sleep sack that will keep them warm and comfy right through to 18 months.

Get the Woombie Grow with Me swaddle and baby blanket at Amazon for $34.99

13. An activity center turned play table

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Credit: Oribel

This activity center takes them from 5 months to 5 years!

With toys that swap out for each developmental stage, this activity center is perfect for keeping kiddos entertained from 5 months all the way to a year old. What’s more is that, as soon as they grow out of the infant level toys, all you do is convert the top into a perfectly-sized play table that’s just write for crafting or snacking.

From early infant through preschool is an age of rapid development, both mentally and physically. This three-in-one activity center is a just-right-sized option that takes them through those early years, keeping them entertained and engaged with one multi-use piece.

Get the Oribel PortaPlay stage-based activity center at Amazon for $139

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