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Illustration by Chloe Giroux for Fatherly

The Best New Baby Gear of 2020

All the new strollers, bouncers, carriers, bassinets, and other new products that make life with baby even better.

Caring for a newborn is as grueling as it is rewarding, and with each passing year, the caregiving toolkit seems to grow exponentially bigger, with more and more baby gear. Features on car seats multiply, carriers become more intricate, monitors monitor more things via more devices at more times of day and night. Some are gimmicks, but some baby products really do make life easier. How’s a new parent to know the difference?

With research. We’ve studied the brands, the reviews, the input of experts and parents to create our list of the very best of 2020’s new strollers, car seats, baby bottles, bassinets, and other gear that will ease your parenting journey and let you focus on the good stuff. Which is really what it’s all about.

The Best New Baby Carriers

CoPilot Baby Carrier and Backpack by JP Outdoors

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Baby carriers can be a little too cutesy-looking. Or cumbersome. Same with diaper bags. The CoPilot is none of these things: Part baby carrier (for babies 8 to 30 pounds), part rugged backpack, and part “parenting bag” with built-in changing station, it’s eminently practical, streamlined, and looks like outdoor gear — because it is. The 40-liter backpack is made from tough 420D ripstop nylon with water-resistant coating, and has a cooler compartment, food and clothing bags, and padded 15-inch laptop sleeve. The carrier attaches to the backpack (creating a balanced load), and you can wear your child in either rear- or forward-facing modes. 

Buy Now $189

Embrace Newborn Carrier by Ergobaby

Newborn baby carriers tend to be either soft fabric wraps that work well for tiny babies but are impossible to tie, or clunky, high-tech contraptions that are designed for older babies and require awkward inserts. The new Ergobaby Embrace newborn carrier, however, gets it right. The soft carrier is easy to put on, with just a few simple buckles instead of a labyrinthine wrapping pattern, and has a padded neckline for baby’s head. The wide, soft straps, cross in back, providing extra support, and are expandable: you can spread the cloth band across your shoulder. Newborns must face inward for safety reasons until they’re 26 inches long, but the carrier can be used for babies up to 25 pounds, making it long-lasting for a newborn carrier. Size can be adjusted to fit Mom or Dad.

Buy Now $80

LÍLLÉlight Baby Carrier by LÍLLÉbaby

Sometimes minimal truly is better. Made from hemp and organic cotton, this lightweight new carrier is clean, unfussy, and thoughtful. It has a tie-waist in the front, which looks good and also helps you get a great fit. The carrier itself comes with a detachable hood and fits babies 7-36 pounds, using three carry positions. 

Buy Now $99

The Best New Strollers

Alterrain Pro Jogging Stroller by BOB Gear

There’s lots to love about BOB’s new cruiser, starting with its one-handed, free-standing fold and automatic lock mechanism. Plus, it looks dope as hell when you’re taking it for a spin. It has air-filled tires, ultra-smooth suspension, a foot brake, and an ergonomic handlebar handbrake. Speaking of handlebars, this one has a holder for your phone, plus four other pockets for ample storage. The weight limit is 75 pounds, which means your kid can chill in the ultra-padded seat until they’re 9 years old.

Buy Now $600

Spring Travel Stroller by Thule 

There are tons of strollers out there to choose from, so when it comes to picking one out, it’s all about the details. The Thule Spring is hassle-free: You press a button to fold it, and it just… folds. Like that. The handlebar is adjustable, which is a nice and fairly rare touch at this price point. The seat reclines, the canopy is vented, the fixed footrest makes it easy for kids to climb in on their own. And best of all, this thing glides like it’s a sports car, thanks to its killer suspension and swiveling front wheel, making urban outings and park trips a thing of joy. At 23.4 inches wide, it fits through doorways, and with a 64-pound weight capacity, you’ll get years of use out of it. 

Buy Now $400

Jet Super Compact Travel Stroller by Silver Cross 

When you fold this stroller up, you simply roll it along like another suitcase — a brilliant idea for road warriors, and anyone sick of wrangling unwieldy gear. The stroller fits babies up to 55 pounds, and clocks in at 13 pounds, about the weight of a bowling ball, so hauling it around is no big deal. Plus, it looks sleek as hell, and (for those who dare to fly) fits into overhead bins. It has a one-handed fold, an adjustable footrest, and has a multi-positioning reclining seat. And yes, the sweet travel cover is included.

Buy Now $399

Mommy Power Stroller Hook

This handy hook provides a hands-free resting place for up to 25 pounds of stuff (think grocery bags, pocketbooks, and whatever other stuff the kids hand you.) But the real zinger is that it doubles as a portable universal charger. So, you can push the stroller without your bags weighing you down and with your phone charging. It even has an indicator light so you can locate it in the dark. 

Buy Now $40

The Best New Baby Car Seats

Sirona S SensorSafe Convertible Car Seat by Cybex

Switching a car seat between rear-facing and front-facing modes is, generally, a massive pain. The Sirona S, however, makes it easy, thanks to its 360-degree rotatable seat, which swivels around and then can easily be locked into place. This might seem like a gimmick, but it makes getting your child in and out of the seat, as well as adjusting the seat’s recline, much less awkward. In addition to a lock that keeps the seat from rotating while the car is in motion, innovative safety features include a load leg, which braces the seat in front, and the brand’s patented SensorSafe clip, which alerts parents via wi-fi if the chest buckle comes undone, or if you somehow forget your kid in the car. The seat has a 12-position recline, and is suitable for kids weighing 4–50 pounds in rear-facing mode, and 22–65 pounds in front-facing mode. 

Buy Now $500

PIPA Lite R Car Seat + RELX Base by Nuna

Imagine a car seat that weighs about as much as a bag of sugar. That’s the newest offering from Nuna, whose previous model, the PIPA Lite, was the lightest car seat on the market. The company’s latest release, the PIPA Lite R, is the new featherweight champ, weighing in at just 5.3 pounds. This rear-facing seat, which must be used with the special RELX base, proves that heft doesn’t equal superior construction or safety. It’s made of aerospace aluminum and specially designed lightweight foam, and is free of fire-retardant chemicals. It installs in seconds, and has indicators that turn green when the seat and the “stability bar” in front are clicked securely into place. Most importantly, it takes some of the heavy lifting out of caring for a newborn. It can be used for babies weighing 4–32 pounds. 

Buy Now $400

Fit4 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat by Chicco 

If you’d rather not buy three separate car seats for every stage of your child’s transportation needs, invest in this brilliantly designed beast instead. It will honorably serve you until your kid is 10. Yes, 10. The car seat has clearly labeled 4-stage construction and easy-to-remove layers that you essentially peel off as your kid gets bigger. The Fit4 has nine recline positions and a 10-position headrest, and is slim enough that you can fit three of these across the back seat. In rear-facing mode, it fits babies 4–40 pounds; forward-facing mode works for kids 26–55 pounds; and the booster is designed for kids 40–100 pounds. 

Buy Now $350

The Best New Diapering Aids

Lumi Ultimate Baby Monitor Bundle by Pampers

You don’t have to obsess over whether or not your baby pees enough, but you may choose to, and this groundbreaking all-in-one monitoring system — which includes a smart baby monitor, sleep sensor, 10 days’ worth of diapers, and an app — is here to help. The Lumi baby monitor, designed with Logitech, has 1080p high-definition resolution and a night vision camera, and gives you a 180-degree view of the nursery. There’s continuous and two-way audio so you can hear every burp, snore, and cry. Plus, the monitor tracks room temperature and humidity because of course it does. But the true standout here is the sleep sensor, which works only with Lumi Pampers diapers (and lasts through 1,000 diaper changes): it attaches to the diaper by Velcro and tracks wetness and diaper changes. It all comes together in the app, which lets you keep track of blowouts, vaccinations, sleep patterns, feeding routines, and developmental milestones. It’s the ultimate in Big Brother nursery tech.

Buy Now $299

Light-Up Diaper Caddy by Skip Hop

Middle-of-the-night diaper changes are hard enough without fumbling for wipes in the dark. This light-up caddy stores all the things you need for a changing in one organized spot, and has an ingenious touch-sensitive light built into the handle. It’s also portable, eliminating the need to stock multiple rooms. The adjustable center ensures that big items can fit, and the light goes off automatically after 10 minutes, allowing you and baby to get back to bed, if not to sleep. It’s such a great idea, it’s a wonder it hasn’t existed until now. 

Buy Now $42

Diaper Cream Applicator by SwipenSnap 

Avoid the pesky hassle of getting diaper cream caked under your fingernails — and touching heinies any more than you need to — with this easy-to-use diaper cream applicator. Unlike other applicators, this device attaches directly to the diaper cream tube, which means you can keep one hand safely on your kiddo, and the tip is soft, flexible, and ergonomic, making it easy and gentle on your baby’s bum. The product is compatible with the tubes of most major diaper cream brands. 

Buy Now $20

Redyper Diaper Subscription Service

The sheer and unparalleled convenience of single-use diapers isn’t up for debate, but 4.2 million tons of them went into landfills in 2017 alone, according to the EPA. Gross. Enter Dyper, the subscription service that delivers eco-friendly, Oeko-Tex-certified nappies every month and uses an algorithm to predict how many you’ll need, based on previous usage. Subscribers who sign up for the brand’s new Redyper program get bags and a specially designed hazmat box for used diapers, which are then composted through a partnership with TerraCycle. The diapers themselves are made from bamboo, and are unscented; they’re made without chlorine, latex, alcohol, lotions, TBT, or Phthalates. 

Buy Now $68

The Best New Diaper Bag

Picos Carbon Diaper Bag Backpack by Pacapod 

Admittedly, it’s hard to get excited about a diaper bag. Which is why this updated version of the popular one from Pacapod is so innovative. It’s made from a sleek technical fabric, so it actually looks like a pretty dope backpack. It has a new sliding chest strap, which comes in handy if you’re wearing your kid in a sling or carrier. It has side bottle pockets, carabiner tabs, and a new front zipper that gives you immediate access to wipes, diapers, and your tech. 

Buy Now $190

The Best New Feeding Aids

Battery-Operated Bottle Warmer by Baby’s Brew 

The Baby’s Brew battery-operated bottle warmer lets parents prepare bottles anywhere without needing to rely on an outlet. Once you choose a temperature (ranging from room temperature to body temperature for breastfed babies), the bottle heats up in 5 to 10 minutes; the relatively slow process is designed to preserve nutrients and avoid pockets of hot liquid that can be created when bottles are heated up too quickly. It comes with a formula dispenser, but works with breastmilk, too. The warmer holds a charge for 8 to 12 hours, fits in a cup holder, and accommodates most bottles (and there’s an adapter for the few that don’t fit). 

Buy Now $75

Sit-To-Step High Chair by Skip Hop

Skip Hop’s newest high chair has a grow-with-me versatile design that converts from a high chair to a toddler step stool (and easily back again). The height-adjustable seat can be reclined in three angled positions, can be used for infants up to 3-year-olds (or 33 pounds), and comes with an infant insert, soft head support, and five-point harness for added safety. The step stool can be used by anyone up to 200 pounds and has a handle/safety bar, making it a secure perch for a little kitchen helper as they grow. The high chair has tons of little conveniences, like a bib hook in the back, and it folds up, making it super-easy to store. And one of the best things about this high chair, with its wood accents and unfussy design, is that it looks good, making it one less garish baby item to look at. 

Buy Now $200

Cacti Bottle Cleaning Brush Set by Boon

Want a plant but can’t be bothered to water it every morning? This cacti bottle-cleaning brush set by Boon, the market leader in cute countertop bottle accessories, might just be the way to go. Each “cactus” is a brush handle, for a total of four different brushes, and the vase doubles as a drain to keep water out and prevent molding while keeping the brushes organized, clean, and accessible. Brush bristles are well made, with durable nylon to draw the naughtiest goop out of bottles, straws, sippy cups, and breast pump parts. It comes in white or a more organic (read: schmutz-camouflaging) terra cotta.

Buy Now $15

Nursery and Toy UV Sterilizer by Munchkin

That nasty lovey that smells like last month’s composting? The pacifier that wound up in some crevice of the car? Your phone that you bring to the outside world of germs and close to your newborn? Those are just a few of the reasons you might want to consider this spacious sterilizer, which uses 21 UVC lights to disinfect all the gross things your kids play with and shove into their mouths. It zaps bacteria and viruses — including coronaviruses, although SARS-CoV-2 was not specifically tested — in five minutes. You can either use a rechargeable lithium ion battery to power it, or charge it via USB.

Buy Now $130

The Best New Baby Food Maker

Babycook Neo Baby Food Maker by Béaba

Yes, you could just use a saucepan on the stove and an immersion blender to make baby food (or, of course, just buy it). But Béaba’s newest model really does make it easy — and economical, when you do the math — to do the homemade thing. Like previous Béaba models, the Babycook Neo steams, blends, warms, and defrosts, and allows you to steam-cook veggies, fruit, and even raw fish or meat in about 15 minutes. But the Neo does it bigger, better, faster, with a glass bowl that, at 5.2 cups, is bigger than its predecessor, a stainless-steel steamer basket, and timed cooking with auto shut-off so you never have to worry about watching or overcooking the baby’s food. Plus, it’s made in Europe and looks the part, which doesn’t hurt.

Buy Now $250

The Best New Baby Bottles

Glass Baby Bottles by Hevea 

Glass bottles don’t leach any weird chemicals, but unlike plastic, they break. And given that babies love to throw stuff (throwing stuff never, ever stops being fun), that leaves parents with something of a conundrum. Enter Hevea, which makes glass bottles encased in a bouncing rubber star ball. Kids can grab the ball and hold the bottle to feed themselves. But better yet, the ball acts as a type of bubble wrap, preventing cracks and ensuing shards from falling all over the place. 

Buy Now $30

The Best New Breast Pump

Electric Breast Pump by Willow 

The Willow stands out as the only wearable breast pump that gives nursing moms two pumping options: They can deposit the milk into either a bag or reusable containers. The third generation of the beloved pump goes even further, by helping moms produce more milk: It has built-in suction technology that adjusts automatically to individual preferences and your output. The latest version is even quieter than its older siblings, has two new lower levels of suction, and a new sensitivity setting because pumping, well, sucks. A lot. 

Buy Now $500

The Best New Baby Toys

Activity Arc by Done by Deer 

This activity arc is not only unusually adorable and soft; it’s also portable and fully adjustable (height, width, and toy placement). Unlike most activity centers whose arcs don’t separate from their mats, this one is weighted and free-standing, so can be moved to wherever your baby happens to be lounging around. Even better, the folks at Done by Deer know that the most interesting things to baby might be, say, a ribbon, so the arc has lots of places to attach additional toys or objects (with caution, of course). The arc can be used on its own or with a coordinating quilt or playmat.

Buy Now $114

Baby Car by Plan Toys

At first look, this might seem like something straight out of a Star Wars movie, or like some kind of abstract sculpture, but this wooden objet is actually a baby car, designed for little hands to grasp, push, and pull. There’s more to it than you think: it helps babies develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and of course, being made of wood from rubber trees, it feels and looks good, encouraging sensory play. Designed for kids 6 months and up.

Buy Now $18

Water Rattle by Philos Toys

Babies are somewhat (sometimes?) amused by rattles and their sounds. But they’ll really be engaged by this one, which contains two tiny duckie friends floating on a tiny pool of water. Babies will be hypnotized by the movement of the water, still or shaken. All of the fun of water play, without the need to draw a bath.

Buy Now $9

The Best New Baby Bath

Cleanwater Tub by 4moms

The 4moms Cleanwater tub seems like an opulent whirlpool for your infant, but it’s better than that. The ingenious bath simplifies bath time with its separate reservoir for clean water, side drain for draining out dirty water, and a built-in color-coded thermometer that ensures perfectly warm water. So, your child can luxuriate in pristine water and get rinsed clean without your having to dump cups of aqua over their head and body. The tub works in a kitchen sink or adult tub and has tons of thoughtful details: a padded back, a cup and built-in cup holder, as well as a removable insert for newborns.

Buy Now $60

The Best New Baby Wellness Gear

Paci Weaning System by FridaBaby

Terrified of how you’ll break your child’s pacifier addiction without tantrums and tears? FridaBaby’s here to help. This dentist-designed pacifier weaning system follows a patented five-step process to gradually reduce the sucking satisfaction obtained from orthodontic pacifiers. The system — which Frida claims will help babies ditch the pacifier for good within 4–9 days — consists of five pacifiers, each labeled for specific stages that are progressively shorter and less satisfying. The Paci Weaning System is best for kids aged 6–18 months. Its silicone-based material is BPA- and Latex-free and is dishwasher- and sterilizer-safe.

Buy Now $20

Silicone Teether Rocket by Manhattan Toy

Leisure space travel might be a long time coming, but with the Silicone Teether Rocket, your kid at least gets to sample a taste of the galaxy now. Teething toys generally serve as a counter-pressure to stimulate the gums and ease the breakthrough of a newly formed tooth. This one’s textured silicone exterior provides a safer chewing surface to alleviate some of that teething pain, and is PVC- and BPA-free. Most importantly, though, it’s effing cute and is part of a collection of similarly cool space-themed baby items.

Buy Now $10

Smart Baby Thermometer by Vava

Not only does this baby thermometer look more like a futuristic alarm clock than something that measures body temperature, but it’s also insanely easy to use, especially when dealing with wriggling infants who don’t appreciate a thermometer in their mouth or up their butt. You turn the base on, remove the silicone temperature patch, and pair it with the device. Then, you insert the patch into a piece of body tape (much like a Band-Aid) and place it under your baby’s armpit, where it stays put. You get a temp reading in about a minute; and you get alerts if your baby’s fever goes up. The battery lasts 24 hours, and charges in less than two hours.

Buy Now $79

The Best New Baby Sleep Gear

MamaRoo Sleep Bassinet by 4moms

The Snoo is roughly the price of a mortgage payment, yet parents swear by its miraculous sleep-inducing magic. Enter the MamaRoo, which has many similar features for a fraction of the cost. It has five motions (car ride, wave, kangaroo, tree swing, and rock-a-bye) and five speed options to lull baby to sleep. If you need white noise, you can play the sounds of rain, ocean, a fan, or that old standby ‘shh.’ The bassinet pairs with the app, so you can control everything remotely. The height is adjustable, and the weight limit is 25 pounds. 

Buy Now $350

Smart Sock 3rd Generation Heart Rate Monitor by Owlet 

If you’ve ever gotten up in the middle of the night to double-check that your newborn’s chest is rising and falling, this product is for you. Simply place the sock on your baby’s foot before bed, and the device will track their oxygen levels and heart rate all night long. If anything veers away from normal, you’ll get a notification on your smartphone. The sock is small and cozy, so your little one won’t even know it’s on. It charges wirelessly and is designed for babies up to 18 months old (5 to 30 pounds). 

Buy Now $299

Stay Clean Humidifier by Safety 1st 

Humidifiers are awesome appliances that add moisture to dry air. They’re also five-star hotels for mold and various forms of bacteria, all of which thrive in moist, dark environments. That’s where Safety 1st’s gadget, launching in October, comes into play. It’s equipped with a chemical-free LED antimicrobial disinfecting light that kills up to 99.9 percent of most common bacteria without the use of UV light, meaning it’s dim enough that you can run it at night. It also disinfects both the water and the humidifier tank continuously to stop microbial growth, so you get all the humidity, and none of the nastiness. 

Buy Now $70

The Best New Bouncers and Rockers

City Sway 2-in-1 Rocker and Bouncer by Baby Jogger

This rocker-bouncer duo isn’t revolutionary, but it’s portable and sturdy with a sleek, neutral design, which can be hard to find in the bouncer world. The rocker weighs less than 10 pounds and can be folded flat, so it’s easy to store (you can use the storage bag that comes with it), move from room to room, or bring to Grandma’s for the weekend. The rocker has three reclining positions, vibrates, and is made of stain-resistant and breathable fabric. 

Buy Now $200

Up and Down Bouncer by Béaba

Most baby bouncers are garish enough to give you a migraine. Not the Béaba. Not only is this thing gloriously neutral enough to look good in your living room, but it’s also height-adjustable, meaning you can see your baby (and vice versa) from anywhere. It has four adjustable heights and three reclining positions, including a (doctor-recommended) lie-flat option. Plus, it has a natural rocking motion if you release the wedge at the bottom and has carry handles that double as toy bars. You can use it from birth until your baby is six months old. 

Buy Now $220

The Best New Baby Play Yard

Here I Grow Play Yard by Tiny Love

Multi-purpose baby products don’t get any better or more thoughtful than this six-in-one bassinet, play yard, and changing station. Use it in bassinet mode with an infant, and as a play yard when your kid can sit up, at around six months. As with many baby products, the devil is in the details: The colorful hanging mobile turns into a tummy time playmat when paired with the bassinet mattress; the changing station has a sizable pouch for storing diapers, wipes, and creams; and the sides of the play yard are made of breathable mesh so you can always see your baby. And it’s got two wheels, so you can move it around.

Buy Now $200

 

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