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5 Baby Gear Essentials

Everything is easier with the right tools, and parenting is no different! This list of essential baby gear for home and travel includes the tools you need to delight in your baby's first year while freeing your time and making it easier to focus on all the fun moments.

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A Diaper Bag

The powerhouse of any essentials list, a sturdy and well-designed diaper bag will carry all of your baby's necessities with ease. Choose a bag that you love the look of that's balanced with loads of easily accessible pockets, a built-in changing pad and a strong shoulder strap or two. Inside, this creates plenty of space to tuck in and organize all of the baby's needs for the day, including feeding supplies, diapering necessities and a few favorite toys. It's always a good idea to plan for the unexpected with an extra change of clothes or additional layer for chilly days.

A Great Blanket

From warming tiny toes to providing a safe place for tummy time, a cozy blanket is a baby gear essential. A lightweight blanket is the perfect cover on a sunny day and can even serve as a nursing cover in a pinch. Or, choose a firm, soft blanket for baby to play on when you're on the go to soften a hard floor and provide a clean surface at the same time. A blanket can even be used as an impromptu changing pad and is easy to machine wash when you return home.

A Nursery Glider

For late nights at home with your baby, the nursery glider provides a welcome way to relax. Curl up together to read a favorite book, gently rock through a midnight wakeup or pair with a matching ottoman for more comfortable feeding any time of day. You can find a large selection of upholstered chairs and gliders, including some that swivel and recline for extra-comfortable snuggles. Available in a variety of styles, fabrics and colors, you're sure to find the glider that's perfect for your needs.

A Bookcase

Experts agree that reading to babies early and often is great for nurturing a developing mind. Keep your baby's favorite books easily accessible by placing a small bookcase in a quiet corner of the nursery. It's great for holding gift books, heirloom stories and even a basket or two of toys. As your baby grows, they'll know that books have a special place, one that's both easy to tidy and within their reach.

A Bath Kneeler

A parent-friendly bath kneepad is essential for a happy bath. Made of sturdy, quick-dry neoprene with nonslip features, these handy pads provide a comfortable alternative to kneeling on the bathroom floor. Add in a few bath toys and a cozy bath wrap for a relaxing nighttime ritual. This list of the top essential pieces of baby gear includes items for both travel and home. With a little help from these thoughtful pieces, it's even easier to focus on the details that are most important in your baby's first year.