NEW YORK — How new or expectant parents navigate the megaworld of baby gear and its precursor, the megaworld of pregnancy gear, is an individual quest.
Only you know how much room you have, how much money you have and how much desire you have to keep up with your friends or geek out on technology.
Enter the annual New York Baby Show, a two-day extravaganza of experts, gadgets and services held May 16-17. Enjoy this sampling of advice on essentials and peek at products from show vendors and panelists:
Outfitting a nursery for the first time can be overwhelming, but separating need and want is simple, said Vanessa Antonelli, a nursery designer and baby gear expert.
“You need somewhere for the baby to sleep. That’s it, whether it’s a crib or a play yard,” she said.
For small spaces, play yards have come a long way. They’re available with bassinets, changing tables, storage cubbies and consoles that play music.
“You can fold it away, take it on the go with you when you travel and move it from room to room,” said Antonelli, who is pregnant with her second child and sells gear at NessaLee Baby stores in Livingston and Manalapan in New Jersey.
The Graco Pack ‘N Play Playard was named a best pick for 2015 by moms at BabyCenter.com. It was lauded for the combination napper-changer for very young infants that flips easily, though some parents said set up was difficult to figure out at first.
A variety of styles and sizes is available from major retailers, ranging in price from $79 to $152.
Minicribs for the space-squeezed are also abundant, Antonelli said.
Antonelli has a 3-year-old son and she’s about to have a girl. One of her favorite things is the Swoon Motion Baby Swing from Babymoov.
“Unlike most swings you can turn the seat in both directions, meaning your baby can swing side to side or front to back,” she said.
Hollie Schultz, founder of the parenting resource site BabyGizmo.com, has three kids. Her second had colic and traditional swings wouldn’t work, but a cradle swing going side to side did the trick.
“You just never know what will work so it’s nice to have both options,” she said.
The Swoon retails for $199.99. It rotates 360 degrees, has three reclining positions, five swinging speeds and two rocking modes. There’s also a removable newborn cushion.
It has a contemporary look that may not fit into more traditional home decor.
We all know how this goes. Hand-me-downs are everything, but safety standards change and some gear may need replacing. Cribs and crib mattresses, for instance.
But in addition to a few new essentials, consider having some fun with a fresh piece of gear you passed on the first time around.
“This is a great opportunity to get that thing you kind of thought, ‘Well I don’t want to spend the extra money,”’ Schultz said.
Definitely research new car seats since innovations move quickly.
Cybex has come up with the space age-looking Cloud Q, a car seat for babies 4 to 35 pounds and up to 30 inches in length. It offers a near-flat position when installed to take into account not-yet fully developed neck muscles and reflexes. The Cloud Q retails for $399.
One company, Putti Atti, has come up with a bottle system that allows for interchangeable silicone nipples and straw spouts. Another makes The Beebo, an over-the-shoulder, hands-free gizmo that holds a bottle for you and rotates to any angle desired. It was invented by dad Martin Hill of West Palm Beach, Florida.
“I’ve got two kids. I wanted to make bottle feeding the second easier while reading to my little boy,” he said.
The Beebo sells for $39.95 at TheBeebo.com and Amazon.
Teethers are abundant. Chewbeads, those colorful silicone necklaces for mom to wear, have been around for more than five years and include myriad colors and combinations of beads by size and texture. They’re gifty and available at a variety of retailers for $29.50 to $38.50.
The New York City-based company is now licensed by Major League Baseball for a select roster of insignia team teething necklaces.
If wearing your baby’s teether isn’t calming enough, try Zen-Rocks. They come in designs symbolizing the four elements of Earth, fire, water and wind — at $25 a pop. They’re available on Amazon and at boutique sellers around the country.
There’s a something-a-month club for just about everything these days. Why not for pregnant women and new parents?
Bumpboxes.com offers a monthly box delivery for $39.99 per box. They’re focused on themes like teething products, or by due dates. There’s a box centered on morning sickness, for instance. Three-, six- and 12-month subscriptions are available for a cost savings, said co-founder Christine Deehring of Peoria, Illinois.
“I came up with the idea when I was pregnant. I was trying to figure out what chemicals and things I needed to stay away from,” she said. “My husband joked, ‘With all the time and research you should just start a company.”’
A Bump Box might make a unique shower or post-baby gift. You can build your own among items available on the site.
A German company, Thule, thinks some active parents are way beyond your basic jogging stroller. Hence the Thule Chariot CX, a stroller, jogger, rugged hiker, bike trailer or — wait for it — snow sleigh all in one. Yes, it has skis.
“A lot of parents were very active before having kids and want to continue that after,” said Tom Andersen, a sales director.
The latest version, fully equipped, costs $1,500 and has better suspension and rear disc brakes, he said. Infant slings are available, and so is a version for two children. Less tricked-out models go for $475 and up.
The Chariot is sold at Rei, Backcountry.com and other retailers.