When I was pregnant and had to figure out what I needed to buy for the baby, it was the hardest thing E.V.E.R. Do you know how many baby things exist? And do you know how much energy a pregnant lady has to research baby things? The answer is 1.68 billion, and zero.
I had no idea where to start. I asked friends. I also searched all over the internet for blogs talking about favorite baby items and some of them were really helpful…but none were really thorough. So I decided to talk a little about what products have made my life easier since having Berkeley in the hopes that it will help some other anxious pregnant lady down the line who finds her way to my blog during her searches 😉 Some of this stuff you wouldn’t put on a registry per se (hello, granny panties!), but they’re necessities for the days and weeks following your baby’s birth.
**Warning, this list is LONG and comprehensive…and perfect for women like myself who like to be told exactly what they need**
(I’m sure I still forgot some things, so let me know if there’s something you think I should add! Also, be on the lookout for an “older baby necessities” list in the coming months, since I was also clueless about what to get post-newborn stage)
* an asterix indicates necessities for Reflux babies who spit up a ton
Waterproof changing pad liners*- These things are awesome when baby has a blowout or pees while you’re changing him/her. It keeps the changing pad cover clean (unless it’s a REALLY big blowout or a pee you don’t catch in time) and it’s much easier to toss in the laundry than a whole changing pad cover. Luckily the changing pad itself that I chose is wipeable too! I also used these underneath the sheet in my bassinet since my baby spit up a lot.
–Ubbi diaper pail– I did a lot of research on diaper pails and I like this one for a few reasons. 1) It comes in lots of colors, particularly ivory, which matched my decor. 2) It’s made of steel and so doesn’t absorb smells like plastic does. 3) It takes standard kitchen size trash bags so you don’t have to fork over extra money for specialty ones (i like to use Febreeze kitchen bags for extra smell-hiding).
–Babyganics unscented wipes – For the first couple weeks of life I used the recommended paper pads they give you at the hospital and warm water (it’s best for newborns sensitive skin). I knew that wasn’t realistic to carry on forever but know that since I have sensitive skin, there was a very good chance my baby would too. I didn’t want anything super scented or harsh. I think I started using these after the 2nd or 3rd week- My baby nurse recommended them and I love them. I do wish they came in a refillable container, but it’s not so bad. I order the giant 400 ct boxes that come with four 100-ct packs. They’re often buy one get one 50% off at babiesrus so I stock up when I can. You go through lots of these!
–Baby aquaphor– My baby nurse recommended this to prevent diaper rashes, and Berkeley hasn’t gotten one yet (knock on wood). I used to use it after every diaper change. Now I only do it during the first and last change of the day. Get the tub…trust me you’ll go through it quickly!
–Pampers swaddlers– I started using these because they’re what the hospital uses, but I found I really like them. They fit well and have a little stripe in front that changes color when the diaper is wet. They wick moisture very well so you don’t have to change them after every little pee pee.
-Naturepedic Organic Contoured Changing Pad plus cover (note that this link includes the cover but other links usually don’t include it)- I got this changing pad because I was planning to use a dresser as my changing table and this comes with straps to attach it to the back of any furniture so it doesn’t fall off. If there’s a giant blowout that dirties the boppy liner (above) plus the changing pad cover, the pad itself is totally wipeable, which I loved.
–Bassinet (preferably one that rocks)- I was lucky enough to borrow this from my cousin, but there are lots out there. I found out later that they make something called a cosleeper which is essentially a bassinet with three sides that attaches to the side of your bed- that’s probably good if you’re tight on space. I do wish this bassinet had been a bit easier to wash. If you have a baby that spits up a lot, it’s pretty important that you can wash it without taking the whole thing apart.
–Playard with storage- I used this as a bassinet when Berkeley got too big for the one we had, since I kept him in our room for almost 4 months. I chose this because it has a lot of storage for baby things- most others don’t. I will say that the dream snuggler part was a pain to install and I never used it since I had a bassinet, but otherwise I probably would have. L.C. (our cat) ended up using it as her personal bed. Also get some playard sheets!
–Aden + Anais Muslin swaddle blankets– I bought a lot of these and my baby nurse was awesome at using them to swaddle. I got the hang of it, but Berkeley was such a Houdini that if you didn’t get it on JUST right, he escaped and in my sleep deprived state, getting it on tightly sometimes took more patience than I had. That being said, they’re great to use as shawls when holding or burping him if you want to protect yourself and visitors from drool and spitup (and protect baby from the germs on visitor’s clothes- yes, I’m a germaphobe!).
–Swaddleme swaddles– i hated these when Berkeley was a newborn because I couldn’t get them tight enough…but as he got a little bigger, they were life savers. Buy at least 3 since they’ll get peed through and spit up on, and have the larger size ones for when they outgrow the small size. I ended up often using them with one or both legs out (although with both legs out they sometimes rode up while he slept).
–Zipadeezip– Once your baby starts rolling over, you can’t swaddle anymore so this is a way to start transitioning to no swaddle (if your baby isn’t colicky, I recommend avoiding the swaddle to start so you don’t have to deal with getting them used to NOT wearing one). I wanted this to instantly make Berkeley sleep through the night, like the rave reviews all claim, but it didn’t do that exactly. However, when Berkeley started rolling over in his swaddle I had no choice but to find some sort of transition since he was a wild man when he was “free.” This suit definitely kept his arm flailing to a minimum and kept him from scratching his face too. It allowed him to comfortably sleep on his stomach (since he’d flip over) without me worrying that he’d get stuck in a position where he couldn’t breathe and couldn’t move himself.
–Crib sheets– Got these and can’t complain. They’re very soft and stretchy. They seem a little small for the mattress but are fine if you stretch them. I got a three pack but couldn’t find the link. You’ll definitely want at least 3 sheets though.
–Waterproof Crib Mattress Pad*- Important if you have a heavy wetter or a spitter upper! I have these ones and even when there’s a big spitup that soaks through the sheets, the pad is never wet!
–Crib mattress– Choosing a mattreess took F.O.R.E.V.E.R for me to do. There are so many types and choices. Did i want organic or not organic? Hard or super hard? I finally settled on this one and it’s been great. Berkeley seems to like it.
–Crib– I got this crib on major sale because the color I wanted was being discontinued. I love the look. It’s super sturdy and easy to put together. It can be converted into a toddler bed too. It doesn’t really matter what brand crib you get, as I’m sure they’re all safe. Also, depending on what you plan on doing you may not need this immediately. As I mentioned before, Berkeley slept in a bassinet next to our bed for his first 4 months.
–Sheet Saver*- These are really only necessary if you have a spitter upper and don’t feel like changing the sheets multiple times per day. If you put your baby down with his head on these, the spitup will be containted to the fabric and you can just swap it out if it gets really wet. These are only useful in a crib, so when Berkeley was in his bassinet/playard and was swaddled and didn’t move at all, I used to just put a padded cloth diaper/burp cloth under his head. Also, now that Berkeley is older he loves touching things and I often see him rubbing his hand or face on this while falling asleep because it’s super soft.
–Breathable mesh bumper– I bought this when I was tired of Berkeley’s pacifier falling out of his mouth and inevitable bouncing thru the crib slats and onto the floor. You’re not supposed to have padded bumpers in cribs anymore since it’s a suffocation risk, but these claim they’re breathable. By the time we put him in the actual crib, he could turn his head anyway. Berkeley moves a lot in his sleep and one night his face was smushed up against these and I found out because I heard him gasping in the monitor- although i really don’t think he was bothered by it. Needless to say I freaked out and moved him, but he probably would have been fine until he moved on his own. I think most babies aren’t as active at night though.
–Levana Lila baby monitor – Some people like having a baby monitor on wifi but I figured I’d never really have a need to watch my baby sleep when I wasn’t home. This monitor has night vision and two-way sound. I ended up buying an extra camera because he didn’t always sleep in the same room, but it has the ability to add even more cameras which would be useful with multiple children. My only complaint is that the clip on the back breaks easily if you drop it (which you’re bound to do at least once). I rigged up a solution since the company was kind of annoying when I called to get a new clip. It doesn’t affect the monitor other than it can’t stand up on its own without it.
-You might also want blackout curtains for the windows. If you have a bad sleeper like we do, these are a godsend. We didn’t start using them til he was in his own room at about 4 months, though.
Carter’s “bodysuits” plus pants– You really don’t need much in the way of clothing for a newborn- all they do is sleep! Berkeley is almost 8 months old and he still pretty much lives in onesies (long sleeve for winter) and soft pants. I know it’s boring and not as cute as all those adorable outfits you see, but he mainly spends his time in the house (and napping) and I want him to be comfortable. Also, when swaddling, it’s best not to have bulky clothes, even if baby jeans are the cutest things E.V.E.R. I like Carters brand because they always have sales and I know exactly what size he fits in at any time (all brands vary a ton). The pants often come in 2-packs which is a bonus.
–Carter’s baby socks– Berkeley got SO many baby socks as gifts, but the newborn ones never stay on and they outgrow them very quickly. I found that these Carters ones come in tons of adorable colors, are always on sale, and most importantly they stay on. They say they’re for 3-12 months, but Berkeley fit in them not too soon after he was a newborn.
–Zip up footie pjs and sleeping gowns- I LOVE the pjs that zip up because they’re SO MUCH EASIER during middle of the night diaper changes than fumbling with 10,000 teeny snaps. The Carter’s ones are good, but if you can find them, some brands (Target Circo Sleeper) make the zip start at the bottom which is SO much smarter (i was going to invent that but then found it already existed!) so you dont have to unzip completely to change a diaper. For a while I also loved the sleep gowns but then got annoyed when they’d ride up while I burped him. Also get some footie pjs that snap , because they’re cute too! And they seem to fit for longer and are better for holding gigantic overnight wet diapers.
–Undershirts (if winter baby)- My baby nurse recommended these side snap shirts and I’ve been using them under pajamas and clothes during the day since the weather got cold. I wish they came in sizes larger than 6 month!
-A baby hat or two- It’s very hard to find ones that stay on, but we liked the ones that came with our Circo brand pjs.
-A good zip-up jacket or sweatshirt (with hood for cold weather)- Babies need layers and we pretty much just used a really heavy fleece-lined sweater all winter long. We would put the hood up in addition to putting a light hat on him since one of them was bound to move around.
–Dreft detergent– This is sensitive enough for a baby’s skin but we use it for all our laundry too. Our machine has a detergent reservoir so you can’t use a different kind for each load, and it’s been totally fine for our laundry. Make sure to get HE if you have a high efficiency washer!
–Dreft stain remover*- SUPER important if you don’t want newborn poop staining all of his and your cute clothes (along with anything else it comes in contact with). Did you know that newborn poop is bright yellow?! (at least breastfed poop). I rinse the clothes in the sink quickly, spray on the stain remover and scrub the fabric together a bit, let it sit, rinse it off, and repeat if necessary. Then I just leave it til I do laundry. It’s also been great at removing stains from his vitamin now that he’s old enough to take one- also very yellow!
–Dr browns bottles*- Although my breastfeeding instructor recommended Breastflow brand bottles, they seemed like they made Berkeley suck in too much air. Since he was already a gassy, colicky baby, we switched to these Dr. Browns bottles that are designed to eliminate excess air from being taken in. My only complaint with these is that the markings on the side of the bottle aren’t uniform and so aren’t very accurate. I got two boxes of bottles and the markings on one set were not the same on the other set- like i put 4 oz in one according to the markings and when i poured in the other set it showed more than 4 oz. Prob not a huge deal but it bothered me. You’ll need to get the larger size nipples as your baby gets older. If you don’t start bottle feeding til your baby is older, you dont’ really need the “newborn set” and can just get the 8oz bottle set. *If you get these bottles make sure you get a pack of the travel lids too.
–Dr browns Bottle Warmer– This really isn’t necessary but it’s helpful. For a while I just heated a cup of water in the microwave and then stuck the bottle in it until it was warm. This is more convenient and warms well and quickly but it’s really hard to clean and gets moldy easily. That being said, I don’t think other bottle warmers warm as quickly as this one. Also, when it did get moldy I called customer service and they sent me a new one. After getting the new one I made sure to descale it with a vinegar/water solution every couple of weeks.
–Bottle brushes– They usually come with the bottle set. I actually only like the nipple brush that came with another bottle set we bought but you can’t buy it separately. For the actual bottles, though, I like the Dr. Brown’s brush.
–1/10th of a gram scale – Berkeley’s specialty formula (Elecare) is best when measured by weight, which is also a lot easier than counting out scoops. It has to be measured to a tenth of a gram which is more precise than a kitchen scale. I found this reasonable and small scale and it’s been great.
–Gerber cloth diapers/burp clothes* – These come in a 10-pack and are GREAT for babies who spit up a lot since you go thru so many burp cloths. Currently I have a rotation of 20. Make sure you get the 6-ply ones because otherwise they soak straight thru. I also used these to put under Berkeley if he had a blowout while I was feeding him and I didn’t want to interrupt the feeding. I also used these under my baby’s head when he was sleeping (when he was still swaddled and not moving a lot) because he used to spit up SO much while sleeping and it was easy to just swap out the cloth instead of changing the whole sheet.
–Aden and Anais Burpy Bib*- If you have a messy baby (i.e. a reflux baby), you MUST get these bibs. They cover more surface area than any other bib.
–Baby bottle and dish soap– the brand doesn’t really matter but this one is nice.
–Dr. Brown’s microwave sanitizer– I read that baby bottles really only need to be sanitized before the first time you use them, but I still santize them nightly. Some people just put them in the top rack of the dishwasher, but I don’t run the dishwasher nightly, so this is just easeir for us. This is a great saniziter because it’s BIG.The only other way to sanitize a large amount of items is the old fashioned way- in a boiling pot of water.
–Medela sanitizing bags– I used these for sanitizing the pumping supplies before I bought the Dr. Brown’s microwave sanitizer. They’re good to travel with (assuming you’ll have microwave access) and are good for just sanitizing a few items.
–Formula mixing pitcher– When I first started giving Berkeley bottles, I mixed them one-by-one…rookie mistake. My nanny told me I should just mix everything at once, which I totally didn’t think of. You could totally just use a giant jug with a lid and shake it, but I like that this has an agitator that mixes the powder very well so there are no clumps.
-Oh, and a big comfy chair! You probably already have one but we bought a glider for the nursery. This is a great item to have people go in on together since it’s $$$.
Medela Pump-in-Style Pump- I got this pump for free through my insurance but I’ve heard it’s one of the best. When getting extra parts for it (it comes with one set), make sure to get the connector pieces that are separate from the breast shields. They sometimes come as one piece and are SO ANNOYING that way.
–Nuk Breastmilk Storage Bags– There are lots of brands of breastmilk storage bags but I liked these and they never leaked.
–Nuk Milk Bag Rack– This is great for storing your milk in the freezer compactly. After they freeze you can stack them vertically on their own.
–Pumping bra– I got this Simple Wishes brand bra and I like that it’s highly adjustable so you don’t have to guess which size fits you. A pumping bra is a necessity if you pump! It leaves your hands free to post adorable pics of your baby to facebook from your phone 😉
-Pump bag if going back to work- I got the Medela Messenger bag which is a perfect size, but I dont’ receommend it because it doesn’t have anything to keep it closed. I would have gotten the Medela backpack but you can only buy it WITH the pump, which is super annoying since I got the pump from my insurance company. They really need to sell it separately like they do with the other bags!
–Washcloths– doesn’t really matter what brand but I like the Aden + Anais ones because they’re soft. Get a lot of them. I usually use 2 per bath (one for butt and one for everything else) starting from when Berkeley just got sponge baths.
–Hooded Towels – Get a bunch of hooded towels since babies lose a lot of heat thru their heads! Some of them come with washcloths.
– Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Sling ‘n Seat Tub -The bathtub was another item that I couldn’t decide on. This one has been great- it comes with an infant sling and a seat. To start we used the sling and kept the seat in- it kept him from sliding down too far. Now we’re using just the sling, and I imagine at some point soon we’ll be using the seat. We put it on our bathroom counter and fill it with bowlfuls of water from the sink. It has a drain in the bottom so you can empty it over the sink. As an added bonus it has a little toy that Berkeley has LOVED since about 6 months old.
–Baby shampoo– It really doesn’t matter what you get, but we like Aveeno baby shampoo.
–Water thermometer – I don’t know about you but I have NO idea what temperature water should be. What’s comfortable to me is probably too hot for a baby. Before I got this I would annoy Nate at EVERY bath by asking him 1000 times if the water temperature seemed ok to him…so I think he would probably recommend this more than me 😉 It’s idiot proof- You drop it in the water and it turns green if the water is in the safe temperature range and red if it’s too hot. Perfect! I actually really wanted this one but it won’t be useful til we bathe in the tub
–Soft Shampoo Rinser Cup- I didn’t use this til Berkeley got a little bigger but now it’s great for rinsing him off instead of just using a washcloth. It’s soft so clutzes like me won’t injure their babies’ heads by bonking them by mistake.
–Baby Qtips– I don’t know if all babies are like this, but Berkeley has really waxy ears (it’s gross). I actually think he just takes after Nate’s side of the family because apparently they have ear wax problems. Anyway, you can’t use a regular qtip in a babies ear because you don’t want to go in too far. Baby qtips are huge so you can’t actually get them into the ear canal- they’re just for cleaning outside of that when the wax makes its way out…and trust me, it will.
–Activity Gym– Since babies are supposed to sleep on their backs now to prevent SIDS, tummy time is very important during their awake time to promote neck strength and coordination. Any activity mat will do but this went with our Woodland themed nursery (which I STILL haven’t shown you guys yet…oops!).
–Boppy Newborn Lounger*- This is a great spot to put your baby down when your arms need a rest. It keeps baby propped up (good for reflux!) so we often put it underneath the activity gym for him to lay on. We also used to put it on our laps when we played with him to boost him up a little so he could look at us.. When Berkeley was going through his colicky stage, I used to rock him to sleep in my arms and then ever-so-gently place him on this in the same position he was in my arms- if I were to put him flat in the crib he’d start crying. Then I would aim the camera at it so I could watch him since it’s not meant for sleeping!
–Sophie!– Yes, this is the quintessential registry item, but for good reason. I don’t know what is so delicious about that darn giraffe, but Berkeley LOVES chewing on her.
–A rattle or two– Really any rattle is fine, but as Berkeley got older, he decided he loved to chew on this fox’s snout
–Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes– This was given to Berkeley in an awesome package of hand selected gifts by my friend, Shannon (she’s so thoughtful!). Berkeley LOVES this thing. Like major love. It really holds his attention, especially when he used to get super fussy. We’ve played it so much that the battery is dying, so we’ll have to replace it soon!
–Baby bouncer/rocker– People swear by the Rock n’ Play, especially reflux babies that need to be propped up. We got the Mamaroo but unfortunatley Berkeley didn’t like being in it til he was about 3.5-4 months old. At that point we used it as a seat for him to just chill out in. Actually we called it his poop seat because he seemed to relax in it so much that we always put him there when he seemed to be trying to poop, haha. The Mamaroo plays nature sounds but also has a spot to plug in an ipod, so now we basicaly use it as a speaker system for his room. He never was really a fan of the motions it does. There’s also a Rockaroo that I think he would have liked more because it mimics being rocked in your arms. Honestly, I wish we had just bought one of the Bjorn basic lightweight bouncer seats so I could have easily moved it from room to room when I wanted to get dressed or brush my teeth or whatever. Anyway, it’s great to have a bouncer or rocker of some kind so give your arms a rest. Some people let their babies sleep in them since they’re super comfortable but we never got into that habit.
Miscellaneous Baby Needs:
–Nuk Orthodontic Pacifier– I said I wouldn’t use pacifiers til at least one month (and told my baby nurse) but found out she used them a little sooner. After she left I totally get why- they’re magic! Nuk ones are best for baby’s developing teeth and babies seem to like the fit too. They have different sizes so make sure you get the newborn size.
–Pacifier Clip– These are crucial to use in the car seat, stroller or baby carrier so that the pacifier doesn’t fall out and get lost!
–Baby Carrier– I started using these to calm my colicky baby when I wanted to free my hands up. As a bonus, they’re great when your baby is older too. It’s best to find one that has the option of facing out for when baby gets older. I have the original Ergo but it doesn’t offer the option to have the baby face out (once their neck can support it). If i had to do it again I would get the Ergo 360 because it has the option to face out. I borrowed my friend’s Baby Bjorn which I love because it’s lightweight and easy to take with you, but it does hurt your shoulders after a while. The ergo has a waist strap to ease shoulder strain.
-Stroller: Baby Jogger City Select– When researching strollers, there was SO much to choose from. I asked other moms and ended up going with the BabyJogger City Select because you can make the seat face front or back and you can add another seat down the line since I have a feeling we’ll have two kids in strollers at some point. My only complaint with this is that they say the seat it comes with isn’t appropriate for babies under 6 months. I’m pretty sure they say this so that you’ll buy the bassinet attachment. While the bassinet would have been nice (since it reclines completely flat and can be removed when you get inside and brought to another room), we made do just fine with the regular seat. It practically reclines flat and I just used a rolled up towel under Berkeley’s tush to get the fit right as he grew. You can also buy an attachment so that a car seat fits on this stroller but I opted not to use it. This stroller isn’t good for travelling because it’s large but it’s great for anyplace else because of the all-terrain wheels! We ended up also getting the City Mini for airplane travel.
–Snap N Go stroller– My friend recommended this to me because it’s lightweight and you can lift and open it with one hand. Pretty much any car seat fits in it and those car seats are so freaking heavy that you wont want to have to carry them far if you don’t have to. It’s been a godsend and is perfect for going anwhere that doesn’t have rugged terrain (mall, supermarket, good sidewalks). We keep it in the trunk of our car. I’m a little worried the wheels will wear down if i use it outside too much, but so far so good.
–Medical items to have on hand: We got a kit like this one that comes with digital thermometer, baby nail clipper, snot sucker (people swear by this odd contraption which I bought but can’t figure out how to use it well), plus a baby brush, and some other stuff. Also make sure you have Infant tylenol, Little Tummy’s Gas Drops (especially for colicky babies), saline drops for stuffy noses.
–Infant car seat– After more googling, asking friends and spending WAY too much time making going back and forth between the different ones, I settled on the Keyfit Chicco 30 which seems to be a very popular selection. I’ve been very happy with it. Berkeley had a blowout it in and I’m happy to report that the infant insert is completely machine washable (and we even put it on low in the dryer even though it wasn’t recommended).
–Car mirror– To see your baby in the back when you’re driving. P.S. The safest place for a baby seat is in the rear middle seat, even if it doesn’t have LATCH connectors.
–J.J.Cole Car Seat Cover– I was totally clueless about how I’d keep my baby warm in the winter. Bulky coats aren’t recommended for use in car seats because they make the seats less safe (the straps aren’t tight against the baby because there’s puffy fabric in between them and the baby). Instead, I got this car seat cover and it’s been great for the cold weather.
J.J. Cole Infant Urban Bundle Me– I also got the same thing for the stroller. I did a lot of research and this is compatible with the CityJogger City Select stroller. You have to unzip the sun shade piece to get it on but it fits perfectly!
–Car Seat Canopy– This is a great way to keep people from touching your baby, and also to give him/her a dark place to nap while you’re out and about! You’ll probably get a mailer with a coupon for a free one of these where you just have to pay shipping, so make sure to be on the lookout!
Items for Mommy:
–Comfy granny panties– These are exactly what you want when you leave the hospital and run out of those weird mesh panties they give you. I have a big booty (that only got bigger with pregnancy) and these fit me perfectly. The waistband is loose and high.
–Nursing Tanktop – I wore these all day and night during my breastfeeding days. They’re super convenient, comfortable, and appropriate for being seen in public with. Get a ton of them. I would wear them for 3 or more days straight, alternating between a daytime one and a nightime one.
-Cardigans and/or comfy button down shirts- Great for staying warm in but still keeping your boobs accessible. I’m sure you already own a bunch of these but my mom went out and got me a bunch of cheap stuff at Target that was perfect.
–Lanolin– I put this on after every nursing and pumping session to keep my nipples from getting dried out and raw.
-Heating pad- You probably have one of these lying around in your house, but if you’re prone to getting clogged milk ducts like I was, this is a necessity! You need to heat and massage before feedings if you have any hope of getting rid of them.
–Nursing Pads – I like this brand, although I’m sure others are fine.
-Nursing Pillows- A lot of people swear by the Boppy breastfeeding pillow but I just could not figure out how to use it comfortably when nursing. Instead i just used a plain old pillow that I shoved between myself and the arm of my glider chair. Make sure you have a pillow protector and pillow case on the pillow for when baby inevitably has a leaky blowout while eating. Once I figured out a more comfortable position, I was able to nurse without a pillow at all.
-Food/water cup/phone charger with extra long cord to keep by your nursing chair- This is extra important if you’re nursing. You get starving in the middle of the night nursing sessions and need these all within arm’s reach. These also come in handy later when you have a baby that will only nap 30 minutes in the crib and then requires you to hold him the rest of the time (ahem, Berkeley!).
– OH, and don’t forget a diaper bag!