When I had my first baby, we lived in a downtown condo and commuted to work and daycare by foot. This meant we needed baby items to help navigate the city that didn’t take up too much room in our smaller home. Here are some items I consider urban baby must haves:
- A good all-terrain stroller. First off, we needed a stroller that could weather the terrain of snow/ice covered sidewalks. We chose the Bob Motion. What we love about it: (a) it is compact and folds easily with one hand for storage; (b) it is compatible with our highly rated Britax B Safe infant car seat, which snaps right in; (c) it has four wheels so it is less likely to tip over than similar, three-wheeled strollers; (d) it has air filled tires you can adjust as needed (this was especially helpful after winter when the tires had deflated significantly); and (e) the basket underneath provides lots of storage space. Note: There was recently a recall on the snap-in connectors, and Britax (which owns Bob) sent us a new set to rectify the situation, free of charge. It turns out Bob is no longer making the Motion stroller. For a similar size profile, I’d recommend the Baby Jogger City Mini or Britax B-Agile. They are very similar to the Bob Motion with the exception of the wheels; both have three wheels and the tires are not air-filled.
- Buggy Lights. Why didn’t I invent these? Small simple lights that attach easily to your stroller. These are invaluable on the way home from daycare in winter when the sun sets early.
- Speaking of winter, our go-to winter urban baby item is the JJ Cole Polar Bundleme stroller bunting. It keeps your child warm and toasty and has an expandable bottom that zips out when your darling’s legs grow longer. I love the hood and the waterproof polyester for snowy days. And it washes easily.
- Inglesina Fast Table Chair. Don’t have room for a high chair? This clip on seat attaches to almost any table (I’ve used it on glass, wood and granite with no problems) and provides an instant seat for your baby. It’s great for use at a kitchen breakfast bar and at restaurants. It’s machine washable and has a built-in carrying case. I even packed it in a suitcase for a trip to the Gulf Coast and voila, highchair problem solved!
- Blooming Bath. No bathtub? No problem! This soft flexible fabric flower fits in your standard kitchen sink. We used it to bathe our daughter until she was about one and are currently using it to bathe our eight-month old son. Machine washable (notice a theme here), with a hook on the back to hang it out of the way, it makes the perfect cute and practical baby shower gift.
- Ergobaby Baby Carrier. Everyone has their favorite baby carrier, and I have the original Ergo and still love it for its durability, ease of use, and that front zipper pocket. It makes taking your baby on the bus or to the zoo a breeze. It’s also easy to adjust so that my husband can wear it as well. My only complaint is that I find the back clip a bit difficult to maneuver on my own but I’ve found that if you loosen it and bring it up higher on your back, you can buckle it and then tighten it and lower it after the fact.
- Fisher-Price Rock N Play. This genius bassinet folds up for storage, rocks and vibrates, and both our babies loved it. It’s easy to take from room to room (or to grandma’s house) and much smaller than a playpen for a baby nap location. The newer versions rock on their own but we’ve found ours usually rocks when the baby startles and then the rocking helps him settle back to sleep.
- Graco Bumber Jumper. A space-saving alternative to bulkier baby activity centers, this attaches easily to a door frame. It’s also extremely easy to adjust the height, the seat pad is removable and machine washable (what can I say I like washable items) and the straps don’t get twisted when my baby spins around.
- Storage Ottoman. While not a traditional baby item, our storage ottoman is a fantastic place to stash toys and baby gear when I suddenly realize someone is coming over to visit. It also provides an extra seat in a pinch or a perch for the cat.
Erin Probst is a mom to two adorable little ones, a spunky nearly three-year-old girl and a baby boy (she also has a wonderful husband and fluffy orange cat), living and working in and around Madison, Wisconsin. When she’s not working or child-rearing, she enjoys wine, reading, coffee (decaf of necessity) and watching Wisconsin sports, in roughly that order (sometimes sports is first depending on her mood and how well her teams are doing). Check her out on her blog downtownmadmama or on Instagram at the same handle (downtownmadmama).