Choosing Baby Accessories: A Few Basics

You are having a baby and now you have to buy things - a lot of things. There are so many things on the market for babies that it is tough to wade your way through and decide what you really need and want.

The fact of the matter is that at times parents end up buying baby accessories that are outright useless. So here a few items that you should consider purchasing for your precious angel and hopefully, this will help you make up your mind as to what fits your lifestyle, space, budget and even your personal beliefs.

7. Bassinets

Bassinets are small basket enclosed beds for babies intended for babies from birth to about four or five months. It usually has fixed feet or rollers. This type of bed is usually kept near mom’s bed to make night nursing easier. It is also easier to reach up and gently rock baby without fully getting out of bed if a baby is fussy. A bassinet is not a necessity. However, many moms do feel that they make things easier sometimes.

There are many different types of bassinets out there. There are many different colors and many different styles to fit most room themes. There are simplistic ones with the covered basket that sits next to the bed. Then there are ones with a rocking motion that is activated by gently swinging the basket. Next there are ones that are automated with buttons to push not only to activate the swinging motion, but some even play music. There is a couple that will even allow for an iPod or iPhone hook up to play your own music for baby.

It is overwhelming to even think about the number of bassinets out there so if you are going to use one then it is a very good idea to know what kind you are thinking about before going to the store and seeing all the options out there.


A bassinet is only used for a few months before the baby is moved to a crib. Therefore, the expense that is put out to obtain one might make a determining factor in your choice to use one. There is also an issue of space. If you live in a small space or already have a lot of people in your home, space for a bassinet might be a challenge. Also, if you are on a really strict budget, you might forego the bassinet idea. This is not something you have to have.  

6 Baby Beds

Baby beds are a necessity. They are specifically designed to protect the baby while he/she is sleeping. They cannot roll out and hurt themselves, nor can they climb out, once they learn to climb, and again hurt themselves.

Just as bassinets come in many shapes and colors, baby beds are also varied in styles and colors. Some come alone and some come as a set of bedroom furniture for baby including but not limited to dressers, changing tables, etc. Some baby beds have locked sides which means that the sides do not raise or lower. Some only have one side that raises and lowers. On some styles, both sides raise and lower and have the option to lock one side.

Also, baby beds must conform to minimum safety standards. Since these standards can change at any time, it is best to go to the website of the manufacturer for consumer product safety and check for current standards not only when you set out to buy a crib but also when you get it assembled. These standards not only list how far apart the slats can be, but also how thick the mattress should be, how far from the edges should the mattress be, how high the railings need to be and so forth. Most of this is to protect your new little baby from accidental harm. Also, if you are being given a crib by a family member that is perhaps a bit older, (maybe yours as a baby) then you can also check it against current standards. There is also a phone number on the website to call for help if you have any questions about the standards.

Baby Bed Accessories

A word of caution about baby bed accessories. It is usually not a good idea to have too many accessories attached to the bed. It is simply another object for baby to pull off the bed and down on top of themselves or to choke on. Things like baby wipes holder, monitor brackets, even a hanging laundry basket, while they are individually useful, are better left attached to something else baby does not sit alone in such as a changing table or dresser. 

5 Baby Monitors

If you live in a studio apartment, you might not need a monitor. However, if you live in a five bedroom, two-floor house; a monitor might be a good idea. All baby monitors are not created equal. Just because a monitor says it is long range or says up to so many feet does not mean that is exactly how far they will reach. Monitors are tested in open fields and open warehouses or test facilities. These tests do not take into account things like walls, computers, television sets, even background static from the neighbors.

To adequately pick the best monitor for your particular needs, first decide if you want an audio only, lights and sound, or video. Then find out your square footage of your home. When you go to the store and pick one, test it that very night with all of your equipment on and see if it works in the main rooms that you will be using it. If not take it back immediately and swap it for another that will suit your needs. If so, then make sure to keep fresh batteries on hand.


There are many features that can be found in monitors. There are audio only where the monitor will pick up sounds. There are sounds and lights. This type is especially good for anyone deaf or hard of hearing as well as heavy sleepers, as sound activates lights that blink. There is also a video style that allows you to watch your baby sleeping. Your personal level of comfort will decide what you want for your baby.  

4 Bouncers

A baby bouncer is most certainly not a need. They do come in quite handy at times though. The benefits to a bouncer can be amazing. They are traditionally pretty cost effective and come in multitudes of styles and features. Also, it frees mom’s hands up to do other tasks while watching baby bounce and coo.

The basic bouncer is a seat made out of fabric supported on an iron base. The baby sits in the seat and is belted in through a buckle that comes up around the waist and through the legs. As the baby kicks the seat bounces. This is the most simplistic version of the bouncer. Next we have bouncers that vibrate. Most have at least three different levels and are operated on a battery. There are ones with more vibrating options and some can run on AC power as well.

There are also bouncers that play music. Not only do they have up to 6 different melodies or more, they can be connected to an iPod or iPhone to play any song of your choosing. Many bouncers also have toy bars that can be attached or removed at will. This is an added benefit to occupy baby. There is even a bouncer that has a blanket built in to wrap baby up in order to give that snuggly feeling in order to help baby fall asleep.


A bouncer which can help baby fall asleep while watching mom move about will sometimes miss its mark if falling asleep was the goal. Most babies will grow frustrated at some point at being strapped in and not allowed to move about. A bouncer is usually best either for sleeping babies or newborns.  

3 Playpens and Port-a-cribs

Playpens and port-a-cribs while not a necessity can be a great accessory. They fold up small for storage, they can help keep baby contained and safe while playing. They are also great for travel. Some moms have used them for night time sleeping although it is not recommended. These devices are especially helpful if you need your baby to play so you can do paperwork, mopping, talking on the phone, etc., or pretty much anything that is hard to do with your baby in your arms.

There are many different types of playpens and port-a-cribs available these days. There is the basic square with a mat and mat cover. For those who like simple, this might be the best one to get. However, there are ones that not only have vibrations and music capability but also have a way to attach or even convert to a changing table. If you are going camping this might actually be a good idea. However, since you will be paying a pretty penny for this option, make sure you really will be using this feature enough to make it worth the investment. Whatever you decide, make sure it is one that fits your needs. Just because it's an option doesn’t mean you have to have it.

Playpens and port-a-cribs also have to meet the minimum safety standards and can be found on the same websites as cribs. Before you put the baby in the pen for the first time, inspect the crib to ensure these standards are met in your device.


Although the directions say this and most people would say its common sense, still it bodes to say it. Please for your baby;s safety, make sure all the sides of the crib are fully extended and locked into place. Baby can get hurt if she is pulling herself up and the side suddenly collapses.  

2 Baby Wipes Warmer

The baby wipes warmer is most definitely not a need. Thousands of babies have grown to adulthood without a wipes warmer. With that being said, no mom wants her baby to be uncomfortable when wiping their bottom with a cold wipe. Just as there are many different kinds and styles of most baby items, the same holds true here.

The basic warmer starts around $20 and holds up to 100 wipes. It features a window that helps mom see at a glance how many wipes are left. Most of the cheap ones have a soft Led light that turns off after 10 minutes.

The more expensive warmers boast other features such as space saving, pop-up dispenser, bacteria resistant and auto shut off. Nearly all the warmers are made with a polypropylene material that easy to keep clean and most come with a starter pack of wipes.

These units can also be used with cloth wipes if the idea of a disposable wipe is not pleasing to you. If you are trying to be all green or you simply want to try to reduce how many chemicals touch your baby’s body, take heart, you can still use a warmer.

The baby wipes warmer is not a necessity but is definitely a peace of mind maker for mom. She can confidently change baby’s diaper even in the dead of winter.

What About Reviews?

There are split reviews on the wipes warmers. Some moms love them and feel they couldn’t live without them. However, other moms had some not so good experiences. The baby wipes dried up and turned brown. The cord easily gets a short in it. There is no temperature control and therefore, there is no way to keep the wipes from getting too hot. 

1 The Final Word

While having a baby is truly an exciting and wonderful time, it can also be overwhelming. There are so many accessories out there and all the amazing stuff you can buy is just too much to filter through. While there are only a few listed here, there are many, many more items to choose from.

The key to any accessory is to assess its worth and decide if it is truly a necessity or just a desire. The question to ask is this: if more space is needed than is available, do I still need this item? As with any item, there are cautions to all of the things mentioned here. Please make sure they meet the minimum safety regulations for that item. Inspect every item for defects and notify the shop where you bought it at once and either replace or return the item immediately.

Do not be afraid to ask questions of the store staff. They are usually knowledgeable and can help you make informed decisions. The key to successful buying of any item is research.

A Bit of Help

With the items listed here, there are hopefully helpful tips to help you when you go to purchase these items. The same principles work with most everything else. Safety, space, décor, use and budget all go into the selection of items that best suit you, your family and your lifestyle. Most specialized baby stores will have a consultant you can talk to and don’t worry, although they will, of course, show you what they have there, you are not locked into buying anything from them, so it's okay to just get ideas and to tell them that.  

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