3 gifts that make a new mom’s life easier

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Celebrating your first Mother’s Day is a milestone for new parents. Now it’s you who gets the brunch and accolades. New moms and babies need baby gear that’s safe and easy to handle. Consumer Reports looks for those attributes and more in its tests of dozens of strollers, high chairs, and humidifiers. Here are some recommended models from our recent tests for the new mom and baby on your list.
 
Strollers
There are several stroller types for new parents to consider. Some grow with the child and others need to be replaced when your baby gets too big.
 
Travel system. A travel system is a stroller that comes with an infant car seat and base that you leave in the car. Our top-rated travel system, the Graco Stylus, $245, is sturdy and easy to fold, with such useful features as a large basket and adjustable handle. It can also be used as a carriage so a baby can lay flat. It comes with the Graco SnugRide 30 Classic Connect, a CR Best Buy, which was among the best in our tests for crash protection, and scored very good for fit to vehicle using the LATCH system.

Traditional stroller. If you choose one of these basic strollers, consider the top-rated Graco Vie4. At $90, this CR Best Buy was notably sturdy, with an adjustable handle, large basket, and excellent maneuverability. It converts to a carriage so you can use it for babies starting at birth.

Combination stroller. A combination stroller comes with separate components such as a car seat that you typically buy separately. The Peg Perego Book Plus, $500, has a sturdy feel, excellent maneuverability, and a smooth ride. It also has a reversible seat and adjustable handle, and pairs with the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP 30-30 infant car seat, $190, which was among the better car seats in our tests for crash protection.
 
Car seat carrier frame.
Another option is a frame that accepts a variety of car seats. The CR Best Buy Baby Trend Snap N Go, $60, is lightweight and compact, with excellent maneuverability and a large storage basket.
 
High chairs
Babies are typically ready for a high chair at about 4 to 6 months. Meal time can be messy, so a chair that’s easy to clean is a good choice. The top-rated Peg Perego Prima Pappa Best, $250, comes equipped with the safety features we recommend, such as a good harness. Other helpful features include multiple seat heights and back adjustments, an adjustable tray, and wipe-clean fabric. Among lower-priced high chairs, the recommended Fisher-Price EZ Clean, $85, a CR Best Buy, is easy to adjust and clean and is a good choice if you want to keep a second chair at the home of grandparents or a babysitter.
 
Humidifiers
When a baby gets the sniffles, a humidifier can offer relief. In our tests, the Crane Penguin EE-865, $45, a CR Best Buy, earned top marks for tabletop models. With its excellent moisture output, quiet operation, and many whimsical styles, the Crane humidifier is a good choice for a child’s room. For a less-cutesy look, the Air-O-Swiss 7135, $180, was also a top performer for output and quietness.

—Artemis DiBenedetto



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