Mom and Baby Basics

A few well-chosen toys will stimulate your baby's development of motor skills and cognitive functions. For a newborn, choose a mobile to reach for, perhaps with black-and-white pictures. As your baby's color vision develops, introduce more colorful items, including soft and squeaky toys, rattles and rings. And don't forget an unbreakable mirror.

Bath Supplies
The smaller scale of an infant-sized plastic tub, or a contoured sponge that fits in an adult-sized tub, will enable you to bathe your baby without worry. Other supplies to have close at hand: gentle shampoo or body wash; a soft washcloth; and a hooded, terrycloth towel to dry off your little one.

Bouncer Seats
Infants love to see what's going on but don't yet have the strength to sit up on their own. A bouncer seat not only gives your baby an upright view of the world but also enables him to move arms and legs in safety. Look for a model you can easily pick up and move with you to another room. Another desirable feature: a firm-fitting restraint strap that will keep an active baby safe and secure.

A walk around the block is just what a new mom often needs to feel re-energized. Plus, it gives your baby a chance to feel, see and smell the wider world. You'll have a wide variety of strollers to choose from, including models designed for jogging and convertible designs that can be transformed into car seats or even backpacks.

In general, look for a stroller with these features: a reclining seat for sleepy infants, a canopy for shielding your baby from the sun and rain, a bag or basket to hold baby paraphernalia and a seat cover that's easily removable for washing. Also consider the stroller's maneuverability, weight and ease of folding, especially if you plan to travel with your child. Note that umbrella strollers should only be used once your baby can sit up well. This type of stroller is lightweight and folds easily but doesn't provide enough back and neck support for a young infant.

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