Having a new baby is exciting and fun and…crazy expensive. We’ve all been there, it can be hard figuring out whether you splurge on the crib, or get a cheaper crib and spend more on all those cute clothes and room decor accessories and infant toys. It’s even harder before you even know what you or your baby will like. And it’s especially hard when you kind of want to buy everything that’s the very best you can afford because, after all, this is your baby.

But as always, we’ve got your back!

Our biggest tip is that if you are on a budget, go ahead and splurge on those nicely designed items that you know you can use long after your baby is a baby. In other words, not the crib. (Sorry, $5000 luxury crib makers.) But hey, maybe a car seat that becomes a stroller? Or an infant play station that becomes a preschool art table?

So we’ve tracked down six very cool, very innovative products for babies that will actually grow with your family into the preschool years, making that initial investment totally worth it.

Find all of these items at our affiliates like Amazon listed below, directly through the comapny, or at plenty of local independent baby boutiques.

Related: 9 travel essentials for babies that are worth the money

 

1. The Peg Perego Tatamia High Chair

Innovative products for babies: Pego Perego Convertible Tatamia high chair becomes a swing, an infant chair, and eventually a big kid chair

 

Sometimes a baby swing is the only way to get a fussy baby to calm down — Liz used to claim her babies were motion junkies — but they take up so much room. Same problem with my high chair: I need it, but it’s bulky to have sitting around the kitchen when its not in use. Well believe it or not, we’ve found one product that serves both functions. The Peg Perego Tatamia high chair can work as an  infant swing and reclining seat for nap time, but it also adjusts to be a high chair at the dinner table, later evolving to be a big kid chair for kids well out of infancy. And it folds down small enough to tuck in a corner or closet when you’re not using it as either. This is so smart!

2. The Stokke Home Cradle

Innovative products for babies: Stokke home cradle: Smart investment that converts to a desk/drawing table for older kids

 

Spoiler alert: babies keep you up at night, a lot. I’m a believer in keeping them in my bedroom for those first few weeks or months, because walking down up and down the stairs at 2:00 a.m. to feed the baby is a pain. But who wants to drop a few hundred dollars on something they’ll only use a few months at best? That’s why we’re huge fans of the Stokke Home cradle. This beautiful bassinet converts to a baby changing table and then a child’s desk as your child grows up. Leave it to the Scandinavians to marry brilliant functionality with gorgeous, minimalist design.

 

3. Bubula Diaper Pail

Innovative products for babies: The Bubula diaper pail converts to a traditional trash can when your baby grows out of diapers.
By my third baby, I’d ditched a diaper pail all together. I just didn’t have space for an extra trash can specifically dedicated to diapers when my kitchen trash worked just fine. Plus, it got my older kids in the habit of taking the trash out for me very regularly. That said, the Bubula Diaper Pail is changing my mind for the next baby. This stainless steel trash can is airtight, so you can’t smell the dirty diapers inside. And once your baby starts potty training, you just ditch the diaper insert and it converts to a regular trash can. Which makes perfect sense, considering it’s beautiful, comes in 7 different colors to suit decor in any room, and doesn’t have little dancing teddy bears or ducks on it.

Related: 10 of the best diaper bags under $150

4. Doona Convertible Infant Car Seat and Stroller

Innovative products for babies: The Doona infant car seat converts to a stroller!

I’m a suburban live-in-my car mom, and the Doona infant car seat would make running errands with a baby so much easier — just pop the bassinet out of its base and release the wheels. Voila! You’ve got a stroller. But I’m pretty sure big city moms will love this too, because taking the time on a busy street to stash your stroller in the trunk of a taxi is a pain. Now you can just fold up and buckle in. This is so brilliant.

 

5. Oribel PortaPlay Activity Center

Innovative products for babies: Oribel play activity center converts to an art table as your child grows

I’m pretty sure the only reason I was able to get anything done around the house when my kids were babies is because of their activity center. But again, the pain of spending money on something they’ll only use for a few months. Once they’re ready to start walking around, they’re done with it. The Oribel PortaPlay activity center is perfect as far as innovative baby products go. When your child is done with the doodads and infant toys, you pop them off and convert the entire thing into a play table — perfect for sitting and coloring or having a snack. Big kid stuff.

 

6. Orbit Baby Helix Plus Double Stroller with Upgrade Kit

The Helix conversion kit turns your Orbit stroller into a double stroller.

Convert the Orbit stroller you've already invested in to a double stroller with the Helix converter kit.
My BTDT recommendation when it comes to strollers is to get the best single stroller you can afford, but really consider whether you’re planning to have more kids before you make your purchase. My favorite stroller (and I’ve had lots) is definitely the Orbit system. It’s great on its own, but later, you can get the Helix Plus Double Stroller Upgrade Kit which attaches to the back, converting it to a double stroller really easily. This innovatives baby gear system allows you to skip the expense of a double, and save yourself the hassle of having to use a double stroller even when you only have one kid with you.

It isn’t cheap, but a really solid stroller like this will last you as long as you need it. And while we don’t tend to look at baby gear as items you can eventually resell to recoup your investment, this is one you can probably resell, or at least pass down to a new mom friend and pay the karma forward.