Baby Accessories Buying Guide

by Stephanie Petersen
Published April 28, 2010 | Updated February 18, 2015

Sometimes it may seem like other parents know the secret to taking care of their babies. Well, the secret is out: Having the best baby gear makes welcoming a new baby into your home so much easier. Once you have all your baby furniture and bedding, baby accessories are the icing on the cake. This guide will help you understand the options you have, so you can decide which products will make life simpler for you.

Baby Gear Options:

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  • Baby carriers:

    Baby carriers give you a hands-free option for carrying your baby around, with the added benefit of being able to keep your baby close to you no matter what you're doing. There are many carrier options, including baby slings, front baby carriers, and baby backpacks. Choose the one that seems comfortable to you.

  • Baby monitors:

    When your baby is sleeping in another room, that time should be your chance to take a nap, too; but how can you rest if you're worried about your little one? Baby monitors have become indispensable for modern parents, and new features, like clear audio and video displays, have made baby monitors more helpful than ever. Be sure to read our baby monitors buying guide to narrow down your choices.

  • Diaper bags:

    Taking your baby out on the town should be fun. Diaper bags let you pack along all the baby items you'll need to keep your baby happy while you're out. You'll find styles that range from functional to fashionable with everything in between. Some features you may want to look for include changing pads, insulated bottle holders, or cell phone pockets. For a diaper bag you will be carrying on your shoulder, look for wide shoulder straps that won't dig in when the bag is full of baby accessories. Most importantly, look for one that will be easy to clean.

  • Layette sets:

    The word "layette" comes from the French word for "little box," and a layette set is packaged together (often in an actual box) with a few or many items to get your baby started. Some baby accessories that may be included in layette sets are body suits, sleepers, baby blankets, booties or socks, hooded bath towels, bibs, burp cloths, small soft toys, and hats. These make excellent gifts for new parents.

  • Teethers:

    Made of chewy, textured materials, teethers are designed to soothe aching gums and be large enough that a baby can't choke on them. Rings are a popular style, but teethers come in many shapes, including animals. Many teethers can be put in the refrigerator for babies who find the cold to be comforting.

  • Pacifiers and clips:

    Babies are soothed by the sensation of suckling. A pacifier lets your baby suckle when he's fussy or just needs something to comfort him. A pacifier clip is used to attach the pacifier to your baby's shirt with a clip and a ribbon. If a pacifier is spit out, the clip prevents it from dropping to the floor.

  • Baby bottles:

    Baby bottles are available in glass or plastic and can all be sterilized easily. Look for baby bottles with easy-to-read measurements. You'll want to try a few bottles to find your baby's favorite before stocking up. They come in small or large sizes, based on meal size; many babies grow out of the small size quickly. If your baby is fussy after bottle feeding, she may be inhaling too much air. Baby bottles with drop-in disposable bags, an angled shape, or air vents can all prevent air from getting into her tummy. There are different shapes and flow speeds of baby bottle nipples, so you'll want to have your baby audition a few of these, too, before you buy a lot of them.