Even though parents adore their children, they’re also constant work. No matter the age — from the sleeplessness of newborns and the tantrums of toddlers to the restlessness of kids — each stage presents a new challenge. This means your Amazon shopping cart is pretty much always full and constantly changing with each week, month and year.
Moms and dads will do anything and everything to calm a screaming baby and occupy their tots so they can eat a meal in quiet or catch a few hours of zzz’s. That’s why they’re the best wealth of knowledge to turn to when you’re a new parent. Here, I chatted with parents and parenting experts about the best products on Amazon that make life just a little easier.
If you decide to go the co-sleeping route with your baby, you’re always keeping safety top of mind. For holistic health coach, certified natural health practitioner and mom of one Natalie Kehren, these tall bed rails provided a holistic approach to sleep care for her little one. “It also allowed me to fully relax at night, to get as good of a night’s rest as possible during that first year of baby sleep,” she says. “They are safe, effective and strong to withstand the weight. You can also easily wash the mesh net in case of any accidents.”
Kids are cute, but they’re also messy. And parents are constantly seeking storage solutions for all of the gear, toys and junk. If you ask TV host, blogger and mom of three Christina Nicholson, these soft fabric bins can’t be beaten. “Not only does it make organizing and cleaning toys look good, but it makes it easier on my kids by assigning each bin a theme. Lego in one, ‘Paw Patrol’ toys in another one and so on,” she raves. “Plus, a clean house gives me less stress and sanity, which always makes for a better parent.”
Licensed clinical psychologist Dr. Bethany Cook says this chair was one of the best things she and her wife purchased for their two kids. Most high chairs are large and bulky, and they take up space and don’t allow your children to be part of your table. This chair, she says, literally brings the whole fam together. “It’s movable, which means you know they will always have a safe place to sit/eat, and you can take it to restaurants,” she continues. “It’s durable, portable, cleanable, small, compact, functional and safe.”
It’s a story many parents are far too familiar with: Baby wants to be near you but doesn’t like being in a carrier. Baby also has colic and reflux, so they must sit up for extended periods. What do you do? For Cook, this highly rated bouncer was the answer to finally being hands-free. “When my oldest was 3 months, I was able to put him in this on our front porch so he could safely see me while I decorated the house for the holidays. It was seriously one of the most freeing moments in my early parenting days,” she says.
Though we gave it our best try for four weeks, my daughter and I weren’t able to share a breastfeeding journey. When we switched to formula, we had to try three different options before figuring out she was sensitive to lactose (like her mama) and needed a soy recipe. She still tends to be a slightly gassy gal, and these natural gas drops and gripe water provide instant relief for her — and an end to the crying for me.
For Stephanie Cartin, mom of one and the CEO and co-founder of Entreprenista, it was important to shop from sustainable, women-owned brands. So when she discovered Lovevery when her daughter was a few months old, she felt as if she had hit the jackpot. “I immediately signed up for their subscription box and have also purchased their individual items and books as well,” she says. “Their toys are Montessori-style and created by a team of experts specializing in child development. My daughter has thrived by engaging with their toys since she was a baby.”
Though babies look super cute wrapped up like a burrito, they quickly discover they can escape, causing them to wake up from a perfectly good nap because they hit themselves in the face. Oof. Mom of two and founder and CEO of Storq, Courtney Klein gave birth to expert swaddle escape artists. “They’d break free, wake up, need to be re-swaddled,” she shares. “But this sleep sack really keeps everything snug, and it’s impossible to break out of, which means better sleep for all parties.”
Kids always have something on them, whether it’s spit-up, peanut butter, mud, marker or something you can’t name. Lauren Atkinson, mom of one, uses this miracle worker to prevent stains before they seep in too deep. “From the first few weeks and months of ‘accidents’ and spit-up to early toddlerhood purees, this pretreatment spray actually gets stains out of clothes,” she shares. “I was so happy I had another mom gift a three-pack at my baby shower. I had no idea how much of it I would fly through.”
Atkinson honestly doesn’t know why parents bother with a cloth changing pad that requires constant laundry, cleaning and frustration. Why not use a durable solution for one of the dirtiest parts of parenting? “This gets wiped down every day and is much easier — and more sleek-looking — than other changing pad options,” she says. “The sloped edges make it very difficult for my daughter to roll too.”
Realtor and dad of two Bob Bradley says peace of mind is a parent’s best friend. And while you wouldn’t mind watching your baby sleep for hours sometimes, you also have to sleep too — and you want to know they’re safe. This nifty little sock isn’t just cute; it also tracks wakings, oxygen level, sleep quality, heart rate and more. “Having the sock on my newborn daughter brought an added level of comfort and insight knowing she is doing OK, and it’s also neat to see her sleep trends,” he says. “New parents stress a lot about the well-being of a newborn, and this device is worth every penny. I’d say it helps the parents sleep better, if anything.”
Trying to figure out which stroller option is the easiest, fastest and, well, sleekest? Mom of one Alli Kamm could go on and on (and on!) about the Doona stroller. As the name suggests, it’s a car seat and stroller in one that requires minimal effort to use. “With its seamless design of built-in wheels, it makes life so much easier to just pop in and out of the car without having to bring an additional stroller,” she says. “It also makes travel a breeze and is one of the few TSA-approved car seats. We adore this car seat and will be sad once our babe outgrows it!”
A friend gifted my husband and me this funny device at our baby shower. At the time, we thought it was a little silly and gimmicky but kept it in her nursery anyway. When our daughter was 2 weeks old and we had been shushing for hours every day, we finally realized we had a saving grace. It seems like a “too simple” baby product, but trust us, it works. And it gives your vocal cords a break.
Bradley says this baby carrier has it all: It’s perfectly designed and built, and it’s not too expensive. “It’s comfortable like a top-quality backpack and keeps your child nice and safe against your body as you go on walks, shop and go about daily life,” he says. “Both of my children were in Ergobaby carriers, and I never had any issues, and they fell asleep in it more often than not.”
In the first months of parenting, the baby doesn’t do much other than eat, cry, wet their diaper, sleep and lie. Before they can really start playing and interacting with you, it’s tough to know what to do with them all day (and night). For lounging, the DockATot Deluxe will help free up your arms, raves author Vanessa Garcia. She’s a mom of two and says this lounger allows your baby to have happy naps, practice tummy time and more. “I’m also big on co-sleeping in my house, and at the beginning, you’re sort of freaking out that you’re going to squish them,” she continues. “You watch them breathe, and you make sure they don’t fall off the bed, and this is a nice little nest.”
What surprised me about becoming a parent was how much mental energy and time I would spend feeding my baby. Breastfeeding, pumping, bottle feeding or using formula takes up a significant part of your day. And when your babe only takes warm formula, you have to heat it up perfectly, check the temperature and eventually give the bottle to a screaming infant. If you’re using formula regularly, this dispenser and warmer will save your sanity fast.
Paul Sullivan, the founder of The Company of Dads, is a dad of three and a big fan of this noise machine. Not just for babies, but for parents! “Recommended for moms, it allows her to sleep without hearing every grunt, sniffle and cough from the baby,” he says. “We tried almost every sound machine available, and this is the one that works best. We’ve continued using it — 13 years and counting — to even out the noise in our house.”
No matter how well you clean and change, babies will still get diaper rash from time to time. When I first noticed it on my daughter, I applied rash cream with my fingers … and then spent three minutes attempting to wash my hands. Trust me — it’s not easy to get off! Then I remembered a friend gifted me the Baby Bum Brush, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to use. Once you apply rash cream, you can use a baby wipe to remove it from the brush — no mess for anyone!
Author, parenting expert and licensed educational psychologist Reena B. Patel says children like to feel safe and comforted. And with all the everyday stressors and anxiety on the rise for everyone, children can even feel stress from their parents and other adults; this weighted blanket helps calm the nerves and make them feel safe. “Also, the weight gives sensory input that a child needs to help them sleep,” she adds.
Parenting coach, expert and mom Stephanie Rosenfield swears by these inexpensive yet effective games to hold her children’s attention at restaurants. “Kids can get super restless, and it feels easy to break out the iPad, but these games add non-screen entertainment,” she says. “It’s also a way to really connect as a family while out to eat!”
My daughter is a Pisces, so I knew she would be a big fan of water. Even at 3 months old, she loves splish-splashing in her baby tub. As cute as it is, baths can also be scary: Is the water too deep? Too hot? My husband and I removed one stressor with this baby thermometer. You shake it to turn it on, throw it in the water and if it blinks red, it’s too hot. Easy-peasy!
Mom of one and co-founder of Nomad Lane, Vanessa Jeswani is always jet-setting with her husband and child. But unlike adults, babies need a safe place to sleep no matter where they are in the world. This travel crib came highly recommended by fellow parents and travel groups, so Jeswani tried it — and loved it. “It’s lightweight, can be carried as a backpack and is super easy to set up,” she says. “We’ve taken it to several countries now, and it’s always been worth it!”
Ever wonder why you see parents constantly walking from one place to the other? It’s because babies and toddlers have a ridiculously short attention span. However, you don’t have as many options when you’re stuck in a seat. That’s why Jeswani says this baby fidget toy is worth its weight in gold. “It has kept my little 1-year-old entertained on long airplane rides, road trips and at restaurants,” she says. “It’s great for multiple age groups, so I know it’s going to last him a while.”
Before I sit down to feed my daughter her bottle, I always have to grab supplies: a pillow to support my arm, a receiving cloth, my water and one of these bibs. When she has a little spit-up or drool, or when she’s messy with her meal, I can quickly dab away the mess before it leaks to her onesie (or on me!). Though I still use a receiving blanket to burp her on my shoulder, these bibs have been laundry savers.