Registry – Big Toys and Gear

registry-toys-working momsWelcome to installment six of our registry for working moms: big toys and gear, all of which can be helpful to put on your baby registry so you don’t have to spend several hundred dollars on toys your kids only play with for a few months. (These also tend to make great gifts for family members who may want to get you one or two “memorable” gifts versus a slew of smaller items — I still remember who got us most of the toys I mention here.) Thus far in the registry series, we’ve talked about carseats and strollers, cribs and sleeping gear, baby clothes, and baby carriers. Today we discuss swings, crib toys, play mats, bouncers, and play centers. Our baby registry series will include these categories (stay tuned!):

  1. Carseat — necessary from coming home from the hospital!
  2. Stroller — how many have you tried, and how many do you keep? (e.g., big stroller, umbrella stroller, jogging stroller)
  3. Cribs and sleeping gear — places to sleep, sleep gear, sleepwear
  4. Baby clothes — daytime clothes, swaddling gear, PJs, baby socks
  5. Babywearing carriers — infant and 15-lb.+ options
  6. Big toys and gear for babies — swings, crib toys, play mats, bouncers, and play centers
  7. Essential books
  8. Diaper bags
  9. Nursing clothes
  10. Breastfeeding gear
  11. And one final category: The Biggest Flops (stuff you hated)
Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Cradle 'n SwingThe Swing. This swing is amazing, and absolutely something I would recommend to other moms who are just registering. When we were having sleep problems, this was the only way to get them to sleep… with Jack I can’t tell you how much writing I got done while he slept in this thing. It’s worth the floor space and the investment. You’ll thank me later. It’s available at Amazon in five models — My Little Lamb (pictured), My Little Snugakitty, My Little Snugapuppy, Rainforest, and Luv U Zoo — for $108 to $299. Fisher-Price My Little Lamb Cradle ‘n Swing
Infantino Safari Fun Twist and Fold Activity Gym and Play MatThe Mat. It’s odd that the company pictures the baby on his back, because I always thought the real usefulness for the playmat was for tummy time. The bottom of the mat has sensory things (colors, different fabrics, crinkly puffy things, one of ours had singing lit-up flowers) and of course there’s a mirror, all of which made tummy time that much more tolerable for both my boys. Harry never cared for lying on his back looking at the danglies, but Jack spent a lot of naked time on a towel on the playmat, airing out whichever diaper rash he had at the time. (I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that he has eczema and sensitive skin now. Anyway.) We liked the mat and were happy we had it, but do note that you can also just get a floor mirror for a mere $15. The playmat comes in six styles — Safari Fun, Baby Animals, Lil Gems, Pond Pals, Vintage Boy, and Sweet Safari — whose prices range from $35 to $84. Infantino Safari Fun Twist and Fold Activity Gym and Play Mat
BABYBJORN Bouncer Balance SoftThe Chill Baby Bouncer. We were lucky enough to borrow this from a friend for Harry, and he loved it. It’s certainly less involved (and more stylish to look at) than the Rainforest Friends bouncer, which both boys also had and loved (see below). Particularly for the second child, though, this bouncer seat was great for hanging out and watching his big brother (we also used the Rock n Play for that, too). The bouncer comes in nine color combinations (black/brown, black/dark gray, black/gray, brown/black, brown/chestnut, dark gray/rust, khaki/beige, rust/orange, and silver/white) and three material choices (cotton, mesh, and “organic”). Prices range from $132 to $175. BABYBJÖRN Bouncer Balance Soft
Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer, Rainforest FriendsThe Crazy Baby Bouncer. This was one of the first baby toys we tried to use with Jack — and in the beginning, it almost seemed like too much stimulation. Lights! Sounds! Dangly toys RIGHT IN YOUR FACE! And a vibrating seat! It was like the Vegas of baby toys, and it was a bit much for him in the beginning. I didn’t yet know about the Babybjörn bouncer, so we just put him in the seat without the top attachment, and he seemed to like that. After a while we started putting on the attachment too, and eventually we turned it on. At the end Jack loooooved this thing and would happily play for 20 minutes at a time. Harry had both bouncers, and loved and used both — we used the Babybjörn one more for hanging out or before bed, whereas the rainforest one was more of an activity in itself that absorbed each baby. (We also had the Bumbo floor seat, which I wouldn’t really recommend; it seemed like neither of my babies were particularly comfy in it, even though they weren’t really chubby babies. It’s also a bit controversial as a baby seat.) The bouncer is available in Rainforest Friends ($59) and My Little Snugabunny ($44) at Amazon. Fisher-Price Deluxe Bouncer, Rainforest Friends
registry exersaucerThe Exersaucer. Finally, we come to the Exersaucer. We registered for this on the advice of Baby Bargains, which if I recall correctly said it was safer than jumparoos and morphed into several different “stages” to grow with your baby. Stage 1 is a baby mat for tummy time; stage 2 (pictured) is an enclosed place to sit your baby so they can swing around, bounce, and play with the whole 360 degrees’ worth of toys; and for stage 3 it opens up to allow a standing/walking baby to have more of an activity table. All three stages involve lights, music, and lots of sensory things — crinkly, puffy items, etc. Stage 2 is a godsend, because by then your baby has likely outgrown the swing, and finding a place to happily confine your crawling, curious child for 10 minutes so you can hop in the shower is a bit difficult. I’d say that stage 3 was useful and appreciated by both boys, although they also liked their activity table; stage 1 seemed so inferior to the playmat that we barely used it at all. But Stage 2 makes it worth every penny. :) It’s $89 at Amazon. Evenflo Exersaucer Triple Fun Active Learning Center, Life in the Amazon
Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders AquariumHonorable mention #1 (nice if you can get it, but not necessary): Side-of-Crib Toys. There are many toys like this one that attach to the side of the crib — the idea is that since you’re not supposed to put anything in the crib with the baby, you can put music/lights/etc. on the side of the crib for the baby to play with. We had a different one for Jack, but we just got this for Harry, who at 19 months just had his binky taken away. He’s probably too advanced for it (he can work the buttons better than I can!), and it might be better for a younger baby who needs something to focus on while falling asleep. It’s $79 at Amazon. Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Aquarium
Cloud b Sound Machine SootherHonorable mention #2: Sound Machine Toys. If you want a friendly version of a sound machine, this sheep is nice and soft — it also attaches to the outside of the crib. Amazon has it in five options — Sleep Sheep, Blue Owl, Frankie the Fox, Marvin the Monkey, and Giraffe — that range from $22 to $78. I’d say this product is superior to the other plush toys that sing and then turn off, like this singing seahorse or Scout, both because a) you’re not supposed to put anything in the crib with baby, and b) if you DO and then the baby unintentionally touches the plush toys, they may start singing and wake the baby up. (SCOUT, I’M LOOKING AT YOU.) Pictured: Cloud b Sound Machine Soother

Things I Wouldn’t Register For In This Category:

I’ll be honest — you’re already going to need a lot of storage space just for the swing and exersaucer. They come in huge boxes! But they’re so expensive, and you can use them so quickly with a baby, I think they’re worth putting on your registry. Things I wouldn’t put on your registry:

  • This chair was super hot last Christmas. Harry still can’t figure out how to play with it and he’s 19 months!
  • Any sort of play yard other than a portable crib like Graco (which is confusing because they sometimes call the Pack n Play a play yard too!) — you just won’t need it until the baby is mobile, which is many months away.
  • Activity table — we had one, but I would say that a) you don’t really get to that stage until the baby is older, and b) if you have the Exersaucer you don’t need one.
  • Any huge play house or play set — it’ll be a while before the baby will be excited about this.

Ladies, what other big baby toys did your little ones appreciate and use — and which did you appreciate the most? What items did you get from your baby registry and were happy you did, and what was unnecessary, looking back? Any hot new toys I’m missing? 


pricey toys to consider adding to your baby registry


  1. Anon in NYC says:

    My daughter loved the rock and play with vibration (a registry gift) for the first 3-4 months, until she outgrew it. It was the only place we could reliably get a good nap out of her.

    The activity mat (also registry) was really handy for the first several months as well. She didn’t really get into the hanging toys until about 3.5-4 months though. Now she’s still not rolling over (7.5 months!) but she can sit unsupported, so it feels a bit less useful now.

    We didn’t have the sleep sheep or any cute white noise machine. We got the dohm sound machine, and it works really well.

    We got a hand-me-down Exersaucer from a friend (and I think it was a hand-me-down for her), and while I’m glad we didn’t have to buy it, especially because my daughter doesn’t seem that into it, I wonder if we had gotten a newer model with more bells and whistles if she would be into it. She is very much into her activity cube though (Hape Country Critters).

    Another thing that we just got for the holidays is a Baby Care play mat. You can find them on Amazon for about $100. It’s come in really handy over the past several weeks because we have hardwood floors and it’s nice to have a softer spot to put her down in the living room.

  2. We did not register for a swing or a bouncer. Snagged a FP swing off Craigslist when kiddo was a couple of weeks old, used it until five months, and then re-sold. And I got the Bjorn bouncer off my mom’s group (with the toy bar!!!) and my kiddo is still sitting in it at 10 months, although not for as long as I’d like.

    I did register for a playmat and it was handy. She still uses it a bit now because she’s not super mobile yet. I see these go very inexpensively on my mom’s group.

    We have a Graco bumper jumper on one of our doorways and she LOVES it. Bonus: not a huge footprint like an exersaucer or jumperoo. I’m not sure I really believe that one of these is that much better than the other, though.

    We also received that FP chair as a gift over the holidays. Still in the box.

  3. Philanthropy Girl says:

    We share the older model of the Fisher-Price swing described here with my sister (it works, we’ve been alternating having kids). It wasn’t a total necessity for us; we have a good sleeper and mostly used the swing so we could put him down to do other stuff, instead of using a bassinet or Moses basket. It is invaluable for my sister, who is two for two on colicky babes.

    I hate a lot of infant toys because I think they’re over stimulating, and playmats and exersaucers both make that list. My son loved his simple playmat from Ikea, which had a sun with a mirror, a crinkly cloud, a goose, and a cat – all plush. It folded up for easy storage, and could be used without dangling toys for tummy time. He didn’t have an exersaucer at all, although used one on rare occasions at my parents’.

    We used our bouncer – a pretty basic FP model, I think – once he was rolling around and we needed to contain him. I really liked the Bjorn model, but it wasn’t in the budget, so we used a real simple model and removed the hanging toys when he needed less stimulation, or when we were interacting with him or he was watching us or the cats.

    I am a huge sleep sheep fan – at 16 months we still use ours on a regular basis and I’ve even started using white noise when I’m having a hard time sleeping because it seemed to help the baby so much. I like that it doesn’t run all night and that it hangs on the crib -although once he was standing up in his crib he liked to turn it on and change the sounds himself. The ocean sound was the preferred sound in our household, and I found the whale noises odd at best. I found the drawback of using it so consistently is that if it is left behind when we travel it’s a bit of a problem. We both have white noise apps on our phone in the event we end up somewhere without the sheep. We didn’t have any other side of crib toys.

  4. I will agree with the plug for the Fisher Price Cradle Swing. That thing is a godsend. I’ve owned 3 (one for each of my twins and one for my youngest because we got rid of them before she was born).

    I also want to add an even stronger plug for that sheep. It was useful when she was a baby (particularly for travel when you don’t necessarily have your sound machine), but she still uses it at 2 1/2. Now, she will wake up in the morning, turn it on herself, and go back to sleep. And it plays a nice long time. Not like the song on the swing that stops after 3-4 minutes.

  5. Rock n play. We had four — two in the living room and two in the nursery. The kiddos slept there for the first 9 weeks or so (until I freaked out one day that they absolutely were going to suffocate if they slept in there one more night, and so we moved them to a crib for nighttime). When we first brought the boys home, one of them absolutely would not sleep if he wasn’t being held. But he would sleep in the rock n play. We also could pull these up to the table at dinnertime and have a nice view of the babies while we ate. Vigorous rocking helped when they were in their fussy stage. (There were a few dinners we ate, each furiously rocking a rock n play with one hand and eating with the other, hoping we could get through dinner without too much screaming.) They’re easy to fold and transport and so are pretty easy to take to visit someone and are better for napping than car seats.

    Swing. We got ours off of a listserv for $30. It was a God send. One of our guys was a total fuss monster for about six weeks and the only thing that worked was putting him in the swing.

    My guys really like the Kick n Play baby gym. I could put them both in there, side by side, and they’d kick at the piano and play with the hanging toys while I made myself breakfast in the mornings.

    Speaking of crib side toys, who else had this when they were babies? I don’t know if I actually remember mine or remember it only from photos, but seriously I think every baby born between 1975 and 1985 had one.

    • Oh wow. I wasn’t sure what you were talking about and then saw it and said “yes, absolutely, of course I had that.”

    • Philanthropy Girl says:

      I feel like mine might still be lurking around my mother’s house somewhere.

    • I got one off of Ebay for my daughter. She has had it since about 11 months, now 18 months and loves it. We are obsessed with buying her vintage toys. She is going to hate us someday!

    • I think do actually remember mine because I remember what it felt like to push the red thing to make the thing go up and ring the bell.

  6. Our baby was never into the activity mat. At first it was really overstimulating for him, and then later he was happy enough just on a quilt with some toys. Much easier to just fold the quilt up when he wasn’t lying on it. Ikea makes a simple bar with hanging danglies that we might use with a future baby, though. We also got very little use out of our exersaucer — again, too overstimulating until he was just about physically grown out of it. Unless our next baby turns out to be very different, I don’t think we’d get one again. Before the baby was mobile we would just put him on the floor if we had to shower or something, and now we put him in the high chair.

    The bouncy seat, though – TONS of use before he could sit up on his own, with or without the danglies. You could also take it outside and work out while the baby hung out and watched.

    • I could have pretty much written this reply. I’ll add that the $20 FP bouncy seat works fine and is machine washable, for those times when baby fills it with poo.

  7. Sarah says:

    Graco makes a pack-n-play with a removable bassinet insert. If you are planning on having the baby in your room for the first couple of months (and have the floor space) it’s just as good and cheaper than a traditional bassinet. And, as a bonus, you have a playyard/travel crib when the baby grows out of the bassinet.

  8. The pack-n-play with bassinet insert was really useful right away for us as well. We got the 4mom’s version which also has an easy to attach bassinet. It is in our kitchen living room so we have a safe place to lay down the little one where she can play a little, do tummy time, or just hangout while we’re cooking, cleaning, need to do something with both hands. It is rated up to 18 pounds/when baby can sit up. Then we have a playyard/travel crib.

  9. (was) due in june says:

    My baby never liked the rock n play, and only tolerated the swing. She seems to be the only baby I know who felt that way. That Baby Bjorn bouncer is the only reason I get out of the house most mornings. I LOVE that thing. And PS the whole cover is machine washable.

  10. Preemie Mom says:

    I don’t think I’ve seen the Fisher Price Sit Me Up Seat mentioned, and I’ll put a plug in for that. We got the version with the detachable tray, which was useful in the later months. LO loved sitting up in this, and it was useful for the few months when he was leaning forward and out of his bouncer. It was particularly useful for us because we were told no Exersaucer for our preemie by his doctors, but actually got the recommendation from friends with non-preemies.

  11. Katala says:

    Rock n Play (with auto rocker, sound, vibration) and activity mat were used daily until my guy didn’t like to lay down to chill anymore. We never had a bouncer, that probably would have been a good transition. We got a seat/saucer (sort of a bumbo with surrounding tray and toys) from summer infant that he will still tolerate while we shower. We would have had nowhere to store the exersaucer – the jumperoo came in when the rock n play went out. Similarly no room for a swing, but the auto rock n play did the trick for us. Now that he’s just starting to pull up, the vtech sit/stand activity center is a hit. Jumperoo is on the way out since he’s getting too big and wants to stand on his own. Thinking an exersaucer might have lasted longer, but he loooved the jumperoo for a couple months there.

  12. EB0220 says:

    This is one category that I wish we hadn’t wasted money on. The Rock n Play was great. Otherwise, my kids slid down in the bouncy seat, played in the exersaucer infrequently and never really cared for swings. I had an activity gym thing that was not attached to a mat and allowed toys to be interchanged, and that was useful for a short time. No side of crib toys, no sound toys. (OK, my mom got a sound toy for the carseat that we used briefly.) Definitely a minimalist in this area!

  13. Mom2Pugs says:

    Does anyone have tips or tricks for managing visiting grandparents coming to stay right after a new baby is born? I have my mom and MiL lined up to visit in quick succession after kiddo comes and am trying to figure out the best ways for them to be helpful while not driving me insane. My mom is a pretty good cook, so I’ve got a list of freezer meals for her to work on while she’s here, but the MiL is trickier. She doesn’t cook and has some physical limitations (can’t bend down) due to fairly recent surgery. Any advice is super appreciated!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Have MIL spend a few nights in the same room as baby so you can get a full night’s sleep. She doesn’t need to bend down (as long as your baby is sleeping at waist level), just needs to sit in a chair and rock/feed the little one. all. night. long.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think there is two things to consider: (1) what will annoy you the most and (2) what are the best/worst at? I knew I would be annoyed by questions, so my mother and MIL were instructed to do what they liked (holding/diaper/clothing choices) with the baby, unless they had received contrary instructions from us. We were new parents without a clue. BUT they could not instruct us how to take care of the baby.

      • SoCalAtty says:

        This was my plan when MIL came to visit. Then baby decided he was not at all interested in a bottle! Best laid plans…

    • Meg Murry says:

      Can your MIL fold laundry if you dump it out of the basket onto the couch next to her? Can she stand for a while but not bend down, or is she also limited on standing?

      If she can stand but not bend can she do dishes? Push baby around in the stroller if it’s not too cold outside and you help her get the stroller in and out of the house? Walk or drive down the street to pick up takeout for dinner?

      If her movement is severely restricted, can she research prices online to find the best deals on the last of the items on your registry? Help you address thank you cards or announcements?

      Basically, is there something she is good at that you can ask her to help with? If not, can you suggest to your husband that he must be the primary MIL entertain-er because otherwise she isn’t actually going to be helpful to you, she is just going to be an extra chore on your list to deal with.

      How soon after birth is your MIL coming to visit, and is she staying at your house? If it’s not long after you gave birth and she’s not very useful, I suggest you read “the lemon clot essay” – google it. Yes, it’s a bit over dramatic – but overall the sentiment is true, don’t have guests in your house after childbirth that are more work than help.

      • Mom2Pugs says:

        Thank you all, these are pretty great tips. MiL is probably going to come about 3-4 weeks after baby arrives. She usually goes to bed pretty late, so maybe I’ll have her do baby duty until midnight/1 AM-ish so I can get at least half a night’s uninterrupted sleep. She is OCD neat and can bend to waist level, just not below waist level, so dishes aren’t a problem. I think I’ll definitely assign her to dishes and laundry. She should be able to manage those easily. As far as what annoys me the most w/r/t in-laws, it’s a hard problem to identify precisely… they are very easy going and have always given us our space. I.e., never asked/nagged about when we would get married (after a decade of dating), have kids, etc…It’s almost too much space, to the point where I feel kind of uncomfortable asking for their help. BUT, they did say they wanted to come and help after the baby comes, so I guess we’ll see. Lemon clot essay was mildly terrifying, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for a far less dramatic recovery from childbirth…

        • Meg Murry says:

          Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. But the reality is you are going to be sore and possibly leaking bodily fluids. Don’t be me and let your in-laws feel like you have to hide in the bedroom for hours at a time because the only way you can figure out breastfeeding is to do it completely topless (this was me for the first few weeks). If you won’t feel comfortable BF in front of your MIL and your husband will be around, develop a code word for “get this woman out of my living room in the next 15 minutes”.

          My MIL is a great person for an in-law, but at the end of the day, she’s my MIL, not my mom – I didn’t need people I needed to be on my best behavior around – I needed people who I could cry and be cranky and who would be helpful to me around.

          • Mom2Pugs says:

            Fair enough. I understand that there’s going to be some fluid leakage post-delivery. Hopefully, along with other bad/scary things I’ve heard about pregnancy, this one will be not as bad as it’s made out to be. There’s definitely some distance between the MiL and I; I do feel like I need to be on maybe not my best behavior with her around, but I’m definitely not going to feel great about being a complete emotional wreck and whiny mess with her around. The in-laws did offer to stay at a hotel when they come (we have a ton of space , so there’s no need to do this) which we thought at first was a little off-putting, but now that I think about it more, it would be nice to be able to have an escape hatch.

          • Meg Murry says:

            Is it just MIL or MIL and FIL? Unless you have a list of things FIL can do to be helpful or know that he will disappear and entertain himself, FILwas the more difficult one for me – MIL at least tried to be helpful, FIL was clueless and useless to me for anything more than holding the baby and cooing for a few minutes, and we only had the living room to hang out in, no additional “public” rooms, so I was always the one who had to leave the room, leaving my husband behind to entertain them. Plus BF in front of MIL was awkward but something I got over, but I was not willing to even attempt BF in the same room as FIL.

            The recent surgery may be a good out for you to suggest she may be more comfortable in a hotel bed than your guest room, especially if your house involves stairs.

            Plus guests staying at a hotel generally eat at least 1 meal out – if she doesn’t cook and is at your house will she be expecting you to provide breakfast lunch and dinner? Or are they just more of the “don’t really cook but will make themselves cereal, sandwiches and canned soup” type?

            After baby is born you need people that fall more on the side of helpful and self reliant than on the side of “guests I need to cater to and make sure they have food and drinks, clean towels and extra toiletries, etc”

  14. NewMomAnon says:

    We had the FP Sit Me Up too, and my kiddo liked that a lot more. It could also be folded and stored under the crib, which was nice. I agree to wait on/avoid the Bumbo, even though we used it in lieu of a high chair for several months (yeah, I know it isn’t supposed to go on the table).

    Which leads me to the piece of equipment I don’t see listed – the high chair. Total dud for me. We got a big fancy high chair that was supposed to “grow with the child” when my kiddo was 8 months old. By 18 months old, she refused to sit in it and I switched to a $10 booster seat. Six months later, she now refuses to be strapped into anything and wants to stand on a dining chair. My parents have a $20 SafetyFirst booster with an optional tray that she has used all throughout that time, and it would have been fine for me too.

    The other piece of gear that I think is worth mentioning is baby gates. They are expensive but relatively slim to store, so I suggest that people register for them if they want them.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Yup, my inlaws also bought us a really expensive high chair (in this case, Amish crafted oak) that was a total waste of space, difficult to get my son in and out of and impossible to clean. We had one of the “strap to a chair” boosters at my mother’s house and it was so much more useful, so that’s what we got for baby #2 and never got the fancy highchair out of storage.

      One thing I’ll point out is that this list is aimed at “working moms” – if your baby is going to be in daycare all day, you almost definitely don’t need 1,000 baby containing and entertaining devices – just somewhere safe to place them when you are cooking dinner or need to go to the bathroom or change over laundry. If baby is going to be at your house with a nanny or you have an extended maternity leave (beyond 3 months, more into the 3 month territory), you’ll get more use out of these types of large items.

  15. Anonymous says:

    So much of this stuff is used for such a short period of time and takes up a massive amount of real estate. I have happily borrowed or been given hand me downs for most of it, and have started buying used for other stuff. The swing saved us from about 2-4 months before we could sleep train. LO at 7 months loooves the jumparoo which we have happily borrowed from someone. Not sure what Kat means about it being more unsafe than an exersaucer (from what I’m aware of, you’re to limit any type of baby contained activity to about an hour a day). My LO from about 3-6 months absolutely loved her play gym. I could shower with her under it and I would take it to a boot camp class where she would happily play by herself. Basically my LO loves ALL THE GEAR which is why I am happy to get it borrowed/used (but I didn’t want a baby shower so to each their own)

  16. shortperson says:

    the exersaucer was a total fail for us — it takes up so. much. space. even in our big suburban house with storage space. and it’s such an eyesore. and baby barely used it. but the activity mats, baby bjorn bouncer (with the toy bar sold separately) and this thing: got a ton of mileage

  17. Tunnel says:

    Rock n’ Play was great for the first 3 months.

    Pack n’ Play with a full size bassinet insert for until your baby can sit up. My bassinet insert was half size and our LO is tall so we had to move him down to the bottom way too early. I used the changing table attached to our PNP a ton too (loved not having to bend over). We kept our PNP on the first floor so that I did not have to constantly take baby upstairs for naps.

    Fisher Price Rainforest play mat was used daily until LO was about 5 months. He loved that thing and was rolling over at around 8 weeks to see all of the colors and animals.

    Sleep Sheep! Amazing! I loved the portability of it too – you can attach it to the car seat, the crib, etc.
    Fisher Price Sit me Up is so much better than the Bumbo and it folds to easily store away, but it has a limited use period of maybe 2-3 months (before your baby can sit well unassisted).

    Exersaucer and jumper take up a lot of real estate, but they are a great way to keep baby busy and safe when you have to cook or do some laundry. Originally, we were planning on just getting one or the other. We went with the Exersaucer (“Triple Fun”) because it also had a little bit of spring in it for jumping. But then we got a hand me down jumper (FP Laugh & Learn) and it is totally different and baby loves to play in it. We keep the exersaucer in our kitchen. LO was super into it from about 5-6 months to 8-9 months, and would then still play with it but not for as long. LO loved the jumper from about 7 months forward.

  18. quail says:

    Second the recommendation for the vibrating Rock’n’play – never got a swing because kid loved the RnP. I would not register for an exersaucer because it will be sitting around forever until the kid is big enough to use it. Just find one second hand when you need it as baby storage device. My kid’s feet did not touch the ground until he was too big to enjoy it (we shoved law casebooks under his feet, haha). It still is in his nursery and he loves to use it as an activity table now that he’s cruising. Honestly I would register for one early-sleeping item (like a swing or rock n play) and skip the rest as registry items.

    What I would put on a registry is a travel crib (and extra, extremely overpriced fitted special sheets)We have the Lotus travel crib and it has been ESSENTIAL to our sanity. I guess a pack n play is like a travel crib, but I think “travel cribs” as such take up less space and are easier to put together and carry. Aside from actual overnight trips/vacations, we use it a lot to bring kid to a friend’s house so he can take a nap in another room while we hang out. Or, if friend with kid comes to our house, we have a safe place for a nap for them if ours is in his crib. Early on we achieved the same thing with his car seat or the RnP, but once he could roll and preferred to sleep on his tummy the crib was great to have.

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