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The Realist

You understand that the world is incredibly complex, and you think the easiest, least complicated answer to a problem is usually the right one. You think that trends and fads are fine… for other people. After the kid comes, you’ll be laser focused on making sure that your family life works. You will never talk about your parenting style. You’ll just parent.

You won’t labor under the misapprehension that you are or could be a perfect parent — there’s no such thing. You might chuckle when you see the carefully curated social media posts of a performative parent living their best life: perfect family in an uncluttered house, two kids building a sandcastle, or date night at a nice restaurant. This is not to say that your family life will look entirely different — it’s just that you understand and appreciate the weird, messy truths in between.

You consider yourself a pragmatist and are frugal about money. You think that especially now, as a parent, it’s important to be thrifty — to be mindful, at all times, of the future so you can be prepared for whatever unlikely event will surely occur.

What items are in your registry? You might say, only what you need. That is not to say you don’t like nice things — they just should be entirely useful. You can’t prepare for everything, so sticking to the necessities is the way to go. At dinner, the three of you around the table, you wonder, what more can a person really need?

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Huggies Little Snugglers Super Pack

In our modern era, a diaper is a diaper is a diaper, and no one does it better than Huggies. Its Little Snugglers Super Pack has 66 no-frills diapers ready to handle all your infant can “dish out” without breaking a sweat. The DryTouch liner absorbs moisture on first detection, while a specially designed wetness detector tips you off when it’s time to visit the changing pad. Fragrance-free, ubersoft, and with a subtle Winnie the Pooh design, these diapers are as reliable as ever.

$25

Cloud Island Swaddle Muslin Blankets, 3-pack

The 180-thread-count Cloud Island Swaddle Muslin Blankets come in fun colors and patterns, yet they’re cheap enough that you won’t be worried about stains. Their cotton fabric has been rated as Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX, which means that all of its dyes and composite parts have been independently tested and verified as free from harmful levels of more than 300 substances. This blanket is a product that you can rely on; you won’t think twice about using it to soothe your child or clean up the dirtiest messes.

$18

Bright Starts Taggies Door Jumper

Requiring zero screws, bolts, or tools, the Bright Starts Taggies Door Jumper is easy to install and yet provides day-after-day enjoyment for your growing child. Clamp it to the top of your doorway, and your kiddo can jump, twist, and bounce in it without fear of tipping over. When not in use, it can be quickly removed and stored away until the next playtime. It’s even great for use on the road.

$20

Fisher-Price Bouncer

Kids love jiggling around in the Fisher-Price Bouncer. Responding to your son or daughter’s natural movements, it offers additional enjoyment thanks to a removable toy bar replete with monkey, lion, and zebra spinners. The cushy seat pad, when soiled, comes out like new after a quick machine-wash. The adjustable three-point restraint ensures your child is perfectly secured, while the nonskid fit prevents them from shuffling away. When you need baby to nap, flick a switch to turn on calming vibrations to send the kiddo off to dreamland.

$20

Brica GoShop Shopping Cart Cover Gray

If you’re depending on the nearest shopping center to have a child-ready cart at your disposal, think again. For those times when you’re out and don’t want to bring along a whole stroller, we suggest the Brica GoShop Shopping Cart Cover Gray. The unit, which stretches over most carts and many high chairs, provides a clean, secure, and soft surface in which your child can enjoy the experience. It even includes a splatterproof pouch for your smartphone. If the cover becomes soiled, pop it in the washing machine and you’re ready to go.

$35

VTech Digital Audio Baby Monitor

Nothing eases the anxiety of the early days than a baby monitor, which allows you to identify distress at a moment’s notice. The VTech Digital Audio Baby Monitor provides a noninvasive means of keeping an ear to your child without the privacy concerns of some modern video feeds. Its 1,000-foot range allows for constant monitoring even in large homes, while the digital technology provides a welcome upgrade from your childhood walkie-talkie. We especially liked the belt clip for when tasks required us move away from areas where the parent unit can be easily displayed. Though the base unit plugs into an outlet, the receiver end can be run on either battery or AC power.

$18

Stork Craft Solstice 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

Made from sturdy pine, the Stork Craft Solstice 4-in-1 Convertible Crib is the perfect crib to take your child from infancy through their first bed. Available in two neutral, nontoxic, easy-to-clean finishes, it is specially designed to transition from crib to toddler bed, daybed, and your child’s first big-kid bed with a few quick adjustments. Setup is a breeze with a few common tools.

$260

Chicco Lite Way Stroller

Lightweight, compact, easily adjustable, and super affordable, the Chicco Lite Way Stroller is the complete package. Its aluminum frame provides a rigid feel without the weight, while its foldable design, with automatic storage latch and carry handle, make travel easy whether by car or by plane. A four-position backrest and removable canopy adjust with ease, while the padded handles and parental cup holder let you enjoy the journey as much as your child does. Rear-wheel suspension makes for a smooth ride, and a one-touch foot brake allows you to prevent errant movement while in public.

$100

Graco Baby Extend2Fit 65 Convertible Car Seat

The Graco Baby Extend2Fit 65 Convertible Car Seat goes from newborn through the toddler years, accommodating children up to 65 pounds. The first phase is as a rear-facing car seat. Strengthened by steel, it meets or exceeds U.S. safety standards, and yet has six reclining positions for your child’s comfort. As your child grows, the seat adjusts in kind, offering a 10-position adjustable headrest to ensure consistent protection. When your kiddo is ready, it easily transitions into a forward-facing seat until it’s time to graduate to an adult seatbelt.

$120

Skip Hop Wipe Clean Changing Pad

The Skip Hop Wipe Clean Changing Pad can help make diaper duty go quickly. Its mobile-like arm attachment can distract your infant from the unpleasantness, while it allows you a few wriggle-free moments to take care of business. When the mobile’s not in use, you can just flip it down and out of the way. A security strap further provides reassurance that your kiddo doesn’t depart the pad too early, and its nonporous material cleans easily use after use.

$71

Evenflo Balance + Wide Bottle, 3-Pack

The Evenflo Balance + Wide Bottle three-pack is the perfect starter kit to transition your child from breastfeeding to milk or formula. The nine-ounce bottles feature an innovative nipple shape that reduces nipple preference so that your partner’s breastfeeding doesn’t suffer. The proprietary nipple also reduces the potential for colic, reflux, gas, and other post-mealtime problems. With this bottle, made from BPA-free plastic and dishwasher-safe, rest assured that this challenging time will be easy, safe, and as problem-free as possible. We especially like its dual milliliter and ounce markings, which are molded into the bottle so they won’t wash away.

$12

Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather

The Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather handles bathtubs of all sizes with simplicity and a remarkable level of customization. The three-position adjustable bath ensures your child is comfortable during bathtime, while a nonskid plastic bottom prevents excessive movement even when wet. When not in use, it folds flat for out-of-sight storage, making it a trusted bathtime companion even while visiting the grandparents. After a few uses, toss the removable fabric sling into the washer for a refresh.

$19

Baby Dove Rich Moisture Tip-to-Toe Wash

For generations, parents have trusted the gentle formula of Baby Dove Rich Moisture Tip-to-Toe Wash to clean their infants. Tear-free, hypoallergenic, and pH-neutral, it cares for even the most delicate skin without irritation or distress. Maybe that’s because it’s been rigorously tested by ophthalmologists, dermatologists, and pediatricians around the world, passing with flying colors. Despite thoroughly cleaning, it won’t strip away the natural moisture of your infant’s skin. The rich, creamy lather washes clean, leaving the hint of a pleasant fragrance you’ll want to cuddle into for hours.

$6

The First Years On the Go Booster Seat

The first years require flexibility and a quick response at a moment’s notice. That’s why we love The First Years On the Go Booster Seat. A quick self-inflating design produces a robust booster seat that’s as comfy as it is sturdy. Once inflated, the adjustable T-restraint keeps your kiddo in place during mealtime while preventing accidental falls. When it’s time to pack up, open its valve, press out the extra air, and an easy-carry handle lets you get this show on the road.

$25

Timex Weekender Slip Thru Leather Strap Chronograph Watch

Timex has made watches men have depended on for generations in both peacetime and in war. The Timex Weekender Slip Thru Leather Strap Chronograph Watch continues this legacy. A chronograph function marks intervals as fine as 1/20th of a second, but if you forget it’s running, an auto shutoff function preserves your battery. Date, luminous hands, an Indiglo nightlight with night mode (which provides three seconds of illumination when you need to get up and feed the kid), and 100-foot water resistance make for an incredibly useful parenting companion. The leather band dresses it up, yet this watch is perfectly at home on a lazy Saturday morning.

$60

Safety 1st 3-in-1 Nursery Thermometer

As a new parent, when your newborn is fussy, all you want is to figure out whether you need to get them to the ER. The Safety 1st 3-in-1 Nursery Thermometer either assuages your anxiety or provides critical information to make the drive to your nearest hospital. The multipurpose device can be used as an oral, rectal, or underarm temperature-taker, providing an accurate reading in 30 seconds. Previous temperatures are stored in its internal memory, allowing you to track change over time. A beep alerts you when a reading is reached. The plastic tip is easily sanitized between uses, and when not engaged, the thermometer can be stored in its included bag.

$5

Aveeno Fresh Baby Lotion

Just the scent of Aveeno Fresh Baby Lotion’s vanilla and lavender relaxes, while the rich moisture it provides soothes irritated, dry skin. Dimethicone skin protectant further ensures your kiddo is comfortable on the way to dreamland. The pediatrician-recommended company also added natural colloidal oatmeal to its formula for a natural means of easing irritation. It’s nongreasy, fast-absorbing, hypoallergenic, and paraben- and phthalate-free. Try using it for a gentle massage with a fussy toddler to ease discomfort during growing pains.

$9

Baby Tula Free to Grow Carrier

Whether you’re looking for an infant carrier or one that will comfortably hold a toddler, the Baby Tula Free to Grow Carrier allows a long-term solution to moving with your child. With three width settings, two height settings, and a thick waistbelt to disperse the weight to your hips, the carrier is fully adjustable for both you and your child’s comfort and ergonomic needs. The cotton material is breathable and accommodates both front and back carry options. It even includes a removable hood should you and your infant get caught out in the rain. Holding up to 45 pounds, you’ll be able to get a few years of use before your son or daughter outgrows it.

$159

Fisher-Price 2-in-1 Flip & Fun Activity Gym

Whether your child needs a play space on the ground or a spot to nap on a soft surface, the Fisher-Price 2-in-1 Flip & Fun Activity Gym offers multiple uses that you’ll appreciate. When it’s playtime, flip up the arch and your child interacts with three removable toys, including a self-discovery mirror, panda rattle, and tactile toy. When it’s time to wind things down, fold the arch down for a bumperlike constraint that ensures your child doesn’t roll off. When not in use, the whole mat folds up with its toys inside for easy storage.

$23

Munchkin Designer Diaper Change Kit

Nothing will teach you about planning for the unexpected quite like parenting. That’s why we love the Munchkin Designer Diaper Change Kit. Ideally, when your child needs a diaper change, you’ll have a soft, clean surface readily available on which to place them. Odds are you won’t. This kit includes a changing mat and space for four large diapers and miscellaneous changing essentials, yet it’s small enough to carry with you, ensuring you’re never caught unprepared. An included wipes case rounds out everything you need for an emergency change, and a snapping strap makes securing the kit to a stroller routine.

$14

Pampers Baby Wipes Sensitive

Pampers disposable, cotton wipes — dermatologist-tested, perfume-free, and hypoallergenic — are great for even the most delicate children, helping to restore the natural pH balance of their skin. We love the subtle, raised texture, which cleans efficiently with only a few swipes. The thick, soothing wipes come in a handy, resealable travel pack that easily fits in a diaper bag or glove box for on-the-go access.

$15

Storkcraft Hoop White Glider and Ottoman

Some of the best times you’ll have with your child will be far from smartphones and bustling crowds. It will be just you two, sharing the time with a bottle. That’s why the Storkcraft Hoop White Glider and Ottoman is one of the best things you can have in the nursery. Its padded back, arms, seat, and ottoman are incredibly comfy, while its gentle rocking movement is catchless thanks to a steel ball bearing movement. Burp your child with confidence because the easy-clean fabric resists stains. And about that fabric: Myriad color options allow you to perfectly match it with your nursery’s décor.

$140

Crane Adorable Elephant Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier

Studies have shown the benefit of a well-humidified space for your child, reducing everything from respiratory issues to nosebleeds. The Crane Adorable Elephant Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier is an easy way to raise moisture in the air — and has a cute, fun design. A full tank hums quietly for up to 24 hours before needing a refill, and if it runs dry while you’re not present, an auto-off switch trips for safety. An easy-turn knob allows you to dial in the best setting for your space.

$50