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I recently watched my brother and sister-in-law make the transition into parenthood, and while they’re kicking ass, I am seeing for the first time how cool and also challenging it is to have a baby.
We asked parents and staffers at BuzzFeed News what products they would recommend for people with babies or toddlers. And while I’m sure there’s not any miracle product that will solve all of your problems, trust our team to give you only the best intel.
If you gave birth and/or are nursing and your body needs some TLC, we’ve got products for that. If you have a baby that won’t sleep, we’ve got something that might help.
This list exists to offer some insight from real parents on what they actually love, so please take advantage and snatch this stuff up for yourself or for the new parent in your life.
Elvie Breast Pump
Eight months into breastfeeding my first, my husband and I traveled alone to Europe for a week. I didn’t want to lose my milk, so I pumped throughout the trip. I had to carry my “light” pump everywhere and found places to pump in the Roman Forum, in the Vatican Museums, at bars — whatever it took to preserve my milk supply. How I wish I’d had the Elvie pump back then. I finally splurged and got it this time around, and it has been so comfortable and easy to use. It gets out almost as much milk as my hospital-grade pump, so even though I bought it for travel and for when I eventually return to work, my four other traditional pumps have been untouched this time around. And the company also has incredible customer service. —Yemille Bucay, Risk and Security Manager
You can buy the Elvie Breast Pump from Elvie for around $550.
A friend was having their first child and debating about shelling out for the Snoo, an extremely expensive robotic bassinet (nearly $1,700!) that claims to help newborns sleep longer with its swaying motion and sound. He was put off by the idea of paying for some newfangled device, but I explained that when you’re in that haze of those first few newborn weeks, you would literally saw off your arm for another hour of sleep.
The best part of having two kids is getting to A/B test baby gear. Did my second kid sleep longer and better in the Snoo than my first? Eh, slightly. Both were pretty average sleepers; the Snoo didn’t magically make my newborn sleep through the night at 4 weeks old or anything. However, my first kid slept in a Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play — an inclined rocker that was popular at the time but has now been recalled due to several instances of infant death. So comparing the Snoo with a traditional safe sleep surface (a plain flat crib)? The Snoo would probably win out.
There are a few cheaper ways to get a Snoo. I got a free Snoo for my second kid, a hand-me-down from a friend who got it as a hand-me-down herself. They have a rental program for $150/month — you probably only need it about four months anyway. Kids outgrow it by around 5 months old, and in my own experience and from what I’ve heard from other parents, it’s not that useful in the very first two weeks, either. (I actually had motion turned off until about 3-4 weeks.) There’s also a huge resale market for Snoos on Facebook Marketplace. If you shell out $700 for a used one, you can probably recoup most of that by reselling it when you’re done. —Katie Notopoulos, Tech News Reporter
You can buy a new Snoo from Amazon for around $1,695.
As a first-time parent, the nightly checks of “Is my baby breathing?” are constant and worrisome, which cause more sleep deprivation for your already sleep deprived self. I received the Owlet Dream Sock and Baby Monitor and it has been such a duo lifesaver. The sock reads the baby’s oxygen level and heartbeat at any given time. The charging system reads a green light to let you know the baby is at a safe level, yellow if it’s a bit higher than normal, and red with an auditory alarm if levels are too high/low. Even if you get a false reading because, let’s say the baby pulled the sock off or moved around, the alerts on your phone and from the charging dock are so immediate that you feel at ease knowing even when your eyes are closed something is monitoring your baby. Then there are also nights where instead of checking on your baby and making sure they are breathing (while hopefully not waking them up), you can open one eye, see a flashing green light on the dock, and go back to sleep. The monitor is easy to set up, very clear, and has night vision. I couldn’t recommend this electronic device to parents more than enough! —Kristhy Cavero, Senior Accountant
You can buy the Owlet Sock Monitor from Amazon for around $399.
Behold, THE GONGE! Technically, the Gonge Mini Top. Do I know how to pronounce the name of this toy? No. Do I know the RPMs at which my toddler is spun in it? No. Have I found the upper limit for how fast I can spin her? No. She loves nothing more than to lie down in it and experience the toddler version of an astronaut G-force test. She’s loved it since she was 1, and at 20 months, she’s still having a blast. Pro tip: record a slow-motion video of your kid in it for maximum fun. —Brandon Hardin, Audience Engagement Lead Editor
You can buy the Gonge Mini Top from Fat Brain Toys for around $49.
Getting some sleep when you have a newborn is hard as it is, but if you have a good monitor, you can at least confidently attempt to bank some. The only thing that helped me sleep soundly with both my first baby and my second was knowing that they were being monitored by Miku. The video monitor not only alerts you when there’s sound or unusual activity, but it also tracks breathing. I love that I can check in on the crib from wherever I am, whether in the house or out of it. And I love that it’s so portable around the house, as long as you have the travel stand and an outlet. I’m going on year three with our Miku, and it still holds up like it’s new. —Marissa Muller, Senior Night Editor
You can buy the Miku Pro Smart Baby Monitor from Target for around $299.
Here’s the premise: It’s an audio player with little plastic cards a kid can insert, and each card plays an audiobook, podcast, or other content. Yoto has its own library of books that can be downloaded onto the cards (or you can get cards mailed to you). The device is simple enough to operate that a 3-year-old can figure it out.
I tested this out last year for a review with my kids, and it was a mixed bag. My 5-year-old was excited by it at first, but got bored, and my 1.5-year-old just likes jamming in the cards. However, over the last year I’ve seen kids come to visit and check it out and totally love it — it seems like 3-year-olds are sort of the perfect age for it. My recommendation is to get the “Mini” instead of the full-size one. The price is better, and you still get all the main features (minus the light-up screen, which is slightly distracting anyway) and book selection. —K.N.
You can buy the Yoto Player Mini from Amazon for around $70.
Before my first C-section years ago, my mom got me a little tube of Stratacel wound dressing and one of Strataderm, all from Stratapharma. I used them both and my incision healed incredibly. This time around, I’ve done the same, and eight weeks out, the wound is barely visible. Several doctors have remarked on how well it’s healed. If you have a lesion you’re worried about scarring, I can’t recommend these two products enough. —Y.B.
You can buy Stratacel and Strataderm from Amazon for around $72 and $28, respectively.
Since I’m on maternity leave, perhaps it’s no surprise that I’m thinking about some parenting products. This is my third child and the third time I’m breastfeeding, which takes up so much of my day, so anything that helps on that front is a lifesaver for me. When I had my second child, a friend gave me these seashell nipple soothers — they kept me from chafing, blistering, or bleeding without me having to use any ointments. It made the experience so much easier, especially in the first weeks, than it had been with my first, and now I send a pair to every friend who will be breastfeeding. The shells are also easy to clean, help me avoid creating even more waste, which is ubiquitous with babies, and the company is owned and run by a mom. —Y.B.
You can buy these breastfeeding seashells from Shellies for around $39.
I’m sorry, but playing with toddlers is often incredibly boring. No one tells you this! Everyone says “sleep when the baby sleeps,” but no one says, “get toys that are fun for both you and your kid.” Enter the BlipBlox synth. Designed for kids 3 and up, it has hundreds of built-in melodies you change with its chunky levers and clicky buttons, all accompanied by a flashing light show. You don’t need to know anything about synths to enjoy it — the buttons aren’t even labeled. Instead, they’re connected by lines to show how the music you hear is made (though if you’d rather the buttons have labels, Playtime Engineering sells a sticker you can place over it for $10). And with a MIDI and audio output, it’s easy to work it into a professional music setup after your kid is asleep. At 20 months, my daughter’s a bit younger than the recommended age, but she loves it anyway and turns it on whenever she wants to start an impromptu rave. She’s also dropped it repeatedly on a hard floor, and it’s still rock solid. For older kids, the company also sells the BlipBlox After Dark, which has a less bloopy sound and labeled buttons — my daughter seems to love both versions equally. —B.H.
You can buy the BlipBlox Synth for Kids from Amazon for around $189.