Loot You’ll Love

With hundreds of new products on the baby market every year, it’s hard for expectant parents to know what’s worth the money and what isn’t. To make it easier on you, we got the lowdown on some of the year’s best stuff for new moms and babies. Here’s what we think you’ll really love:

For Moms

The Best Books: Johnson’s Everyday Babycare Series

When you need advice or reassurance, this new, four-book series from DK Publishing will deliver. Titles include Feeding Your Baby, Breastfeeding, Sleep and Crying & Comforting. Full of gorgeous photographs and reader-friendly tips, these manageable (in other words, short) books walk new parents through the basics of everyday life with baby, answering questions and reducing anxiety along the way. You’ll turn to these practical guidebooks over and over again during the first months of your baby’s life. Each book in the series retails for $8.

Nice for Knees: Softex Tub Kneeler

No aching elbows and knees for you! The day your baby progresses from container baths to the bathtub, you’ll understand why parents rave about the cushioned comfort offered by the Tub Kneeler. Perfectly proportioned to protect vulnerable elbow and knee joints, the machine-washable Tub Kneeler stays put with help from stabilizing suction cups. (According to the package, it’s also useful when it’s time for Dad to clean the tub.) The Tub Kneeler is available at Wal-Mart MSRP at a suggested retail price of $16.97.

A Special Scrapbook: My Little One

New moms need a place to store their memories of baby’s first days. My Little One Photo Album from Andrews McMeel Publishing displays precious photographs and mementos in simple, unadorned style. Gentle watercolor illustrations by Becky Kelly grace the covers of the book, but the interior pages are all blank — waiting to showcase your new baby for the world to see. The album retails for $12.95.

Luscious Lip Service: Blistex Daily Conditioning Treatment for Lips

Who knew hormonal changes and dehydrating hospital delivery rooms could turn your once soft and kissable lips into the dry and chapped things you now see in the mirror? Smooth them and soothe them with one of life’s most inexpensive luxuries: Daily Conditioning Treatment for Lips. Inside the little pink pot, you’ll find gentle moisturizers, a subtle shine and SPF 20. It’s the only lip gloss a new mom needs.

Sleep Secrets: Comfort U Total Body Pillow

This U-shaped pillow is fantastic for expectant moms who need extra support while they’re sleeping, but new moms will also appreciate its unique comfort. Designed by a registered nurse to support the spine, joints and muscles, the Comfort U Total Body Pillow is ideal for new moms whose backs ache from carrying baby — both inside and outside the womb! Comfort U Total Body Pillow is available from Relax the Back at www.relaxtheback.com and (800) 222-5728. Suggested retail is $149.

For Baby

A Better Bouncy Seat: Fisher-Price Baby Papasan

What do you get when you combine a cozy, cushioned papasan with calming tunes and relaxing vibrations? A very happy baby, that’s what you get. Fisher-Price has done it again with this hip version of the popular bouncy seat. The Baby Papasan gives babies the head and back support they need, while mom and dad enjoy some precious hands-free time with the peace-of-mind that comes from Fisher-Price’s reputation for delivering safe and high-quality products. Suggested retail: $49.99.

Cute Clothes: Talbots Kids Boys’ and Girl’s Coveralls

Super soft cotton knit coveralls are trimmed with blue satin for baby boys and lace with satin rosettes for baby girls. Don’t you wish they made these for grown-ups, too? Available in sizes newborn (0) to 9 mos. Available at Talbots Kids stores and at www.talbots.com for $58.

A Melodious Mobile: Tiny Love Symphony in Motion Deluxe Mobile

Wacky animals, colorful shapes and soothing classical music combine in this new mobile that captivates and entertains. As it moves, the Deluxe Mobile plays classical music by Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Our favorite feature is the remote control, which offers parents the option of activating or reactivating the mobile without entering the room and disturbing baby. Available in stores and online at www.tinylove.com. Suggested retail: $49.95.

Terrific for Travel: Graco Travel Lite Crib

For parents on the go, the Graco Travel Lite Crib is a must. Weighing in at under 20 pounds, it’s one of the only truly portable portable cribs on the market today. Easy set-up and machine-washable cloth accessories make this crib even more appealing. A removable, full-size bassinet provides a safe and comfortable sleep space for infants under 15 pounds; the lower play area can accommodate babies up to 30 pounds. Available at Target; suggested retail price is $59.99 to $69.99.

A More Comfortable Carrier: Maclaren Baby Carrier

Leave it to Maclaren to design a stylish and easy-to-use baby carrier that parents can use from birth (infants face inward) until baby weighs 25 pounds (older babies can face outward). The Maclaren Baby Carrier is designed with safety and comfort in mind, with a foam centered shoulder and back harness that distributes weight evenly and reduces back strain for mom and dad. Suggested retail: $69.

Toile for Tots: Garden Toile Crib Collection from BabyStyle

Available in pink and green, this luxurious linen collection for baby’s crib is an interior designer’s dream-come-true. Crafted from unbelievably soft cotton, the collection pairs a fashionable toile with a crisp stripe for an up-to-date look that turns ho-hum nurseries into extraordinary sanctuaries for moms and babies. Pieces range in price from $99 for the bumper to $22 for the pillows. Available at www.babystyle.com and at (877) 378-9537.