This post is all about taking your baby out on the town (not traveling with a baby, although some of the photos were taken in Lyon, and I do mention what we did in France a few times). Adventures to the park, grocery store, and other thrilling destinations require some baby equipment, so you definitely want to be prepared.
You can choose from dozens of carriers, strollers, car accessories, and more, but here are a few things that I think are necessary, or just really nice to have.
Carseat: After talking with lots of people about this, my vote is get a new one. Carseats are extremely important for keeping your baby safe around town. It doesn't have to be a super expensive carseat, but you should be picky when you choose one, and look at user and safety ratings and reviews to determine which would be best for your situation.
Stroller: We have a jogging stroller and an umbrella stroller, and I like having both for different reasons (we have different colors of each of those strollers, but the styles are the same).
I go walking a few times a week and the jogger is extremely light and easy to push. Our jogger has a spot where you can attach the carseat for a tiny baby, but then there is a nice seat for when your baby gets bigger and wants to be able to sit upright. Also, Fox can push it when we hold him up to the handles and this brings endless delight.
Our umbrella stroller is a little heavier than your barebones umbrella stroller, because it is technically a 'lightweight' stroller, but it gets pretty small, it has a sun visor, a carrying strap, a basket underneath, as well as a rain cover.
The one bad thing about an umbrella stroller is that your baby really needs to be close to sitting up on their own before they can ride in one of these. Otherwise they get all shlumpy in them and look super uncomfortable. Definitely not good for a newborn, but great for 4-6 months and up.
We could probably do with one stroller, but because of our trip to France last year, we decided to get a smaller one so we could take it with us. For our situation, it was perfect! Now, I can't decide if I want to get rid of one of them. My minimalist self says yes, but my practical side sees the benefit in both!
Diaper bag/large handbag: I used a smallish bag that doubled as a camera bag while we were in France, and that worked pretty well. At home, I use a giant handbag that I made, and keep a reusable bag with a few toys, sometimes a snack, and a diaper pouch with 2 or 3 diapers and a small case of wipes (plus all the other junk that I need to carry around). I have never had an actual diaper bag, and although I hear they are great, they haven't been necessary for us. On the other hand, I do end up doing a fair amount of rummaging around in my huge black-hole style purse, so take your pick. A diaper bag might be a good replacement for your purse.
(he doesn't look much like a minimalist baby here, does he? Still, it is one of my favorite photos of him in our stroller)Suggested:
Carseat Cover: You will only need this for the first few months that you have your baby, but I found it to be very helpful, especially if you have a winter baby. The day we brought Fox home from the hospital was a very cold, very windy day. We had brought along our carseat cover, and I was so grateful! It kept tiny Fox very warm. We bought ours from Carseat Canopy (you can almost always find a deal that gives you the cover free and you pay shipping), but I am also loving these multi-use nursing covers. One of my friends has one, and you can use it as a carseat cover, or use it as a scarf, and pull it over you when you nurse. It is pretty nifty. I love that it can be a scarf so it can live on long after your baby stops nursing, or your have a carseat to put them in!
Baby Carrier: I use a Lillebaby* carrier (see full review of it here), and I love mine, and find it to be an essential piece in my collection of baby stuff. They make grocery shopping, quick runs to the mail box, and places where a stroller is not ideal, so much easier. We used ours a ton in France at ruins, places with terrible sidewalks or lots of cobblestones, and have used ours almost daily since we got back from France.
Baby carriers are smaller than a stroller, and much lighter, and they give you the benefit of being able to carry your baby without using your hands. I also love how snuggly your baby feels right next to you! *affiliate link!(the only one in here)
Pacifier Clip: Worth it! Our baby usually only has a paci while traveling, sleeping or during church, but the pacifier clips are worth their weight in gold. It makes the paci super easy to find, and it never falls on the floor of the grocery store or in the parking lot! Win!
We don't use ours much anymore, because Fox can pull them off now, and is totally fascinated by them, but they were terrific for about 5 months. I made two of them for Fox before we left for France, and they were super easy and cost about $1.50. We sometimes attached a small toy to them so that he had something to play with that he couldn't chuck out of the stroller.
Car Mirror: This is one that I wish I had occasionally when my baby is super quiet and I don't know whether he is asleep or not. We have been just fine without it though, and I finally came to the conclusion that while nice, it is definitely not an essential.
Cart Cover: Good for keeping the baby clean, but not essential. Fox loves sitting in the cart, so I just give it a quick wipe down before putting him in there and give him a quick wipe down after we get out. My normal alternative for using a cart cover is to just use a baby carrier when I am running errands. Then I can use it at stores that don't have carts, as well as the ones that do.