Each year, a whole slew of brand new baby and pregnancy products are released—so many that sorting through every product on the market can be overwhelming! Parents have to consider their budgets, child safety, and how much space they can afford to dedicate to baby gear based on the sizes and layouts of their homes. It’s a lot of research for new parents to take on, so we did the work for you. We interviewed baby safety experts, seasoned parents, and well-known baby-product testers. If you’re expecting a new baby this year—or if you’ve just welcomed one into your family—these are the products that just might change your parenting game.
This easy-install car seat will keep your baby safer than ever.
In order for a car seat to be as safe in reality as it is in the manufacturer’s claims, it has to be correctly installed. Unfortunately, a lot of parents are failing to properly hook up their new seats before hitting the road with their most precious cargo.
In fact, nearly half of infant car seats aren’t installed correctly, according to a recent survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s where the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Infant Car Seat, can be a big problem-solver, according to Child Passenger Safety Technician Liz Tan. “The new Graco SnugRide SnugLock Infant Car Seat will surely help reduce this statistic with a hassle-free installation process that uses either a vehicle seat belt or LATCH,” which stands for lower anchors and tethers, Tan explains to HealthyWay. “In three simple steps, parents will hear the ‘click’ and feel confident their car seat has been securely installed.”
The right baby gear can help you survive the witching hour.
Those hours leading up to dinner time just might be the hardest part of the day for moms of new babes. Getting dinner on the table with a baby whose heart is set on cluster feeding and a toddler running underfoot is a hair-raising experience, but in our house we’ve found a few tricks for making it a little easier.
For starters, a good baby carrier is my saving grace as a mom of three with a lot on my plate. Once I get dinner in the oven, I strap my sleeping baby onto my chest (or on my back now that he’s sitting on his own) and dance around the house, playing with my big kids or starting to pick up toys. But not all baby carriers are created equal. New parents should always look for something ergonomic that will allow them to safely carry their baby and avoid back pain that can be caused by poor distribution of weight.
New to the baby carrier market this summer is the Omni 360 by Ergobaby, which is an all-in-one carrier that can be used for babies as small as 7 pounds and as big as 33 pounds. If minimalism is your goal, the Omni 360 is perfect because it is literally the only baby carrier you will need from birth to 36 months.
Finally, a healthy, mess-free baby food has arrived.
Speaking of life as a busy mom of three, feeding a new baby and caring for two preschoolers isn’t easy. We spend a lot of time on the go—at the park or running to gymnastics, and I need baby food options for my youngest that I can feel good about and aren’t super messy. In our house, we love Plum Organics for exactly this reason. Of course, Plum isn’t new in 2017, but the company did release some fresh products I am really excited about. Their Mighty Colors Tot Pouches are packed full of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Each pouch is created by grouping together like-colored foods, which is fun for my baby and easy for me since I can just grab a brightly colored pouch without needing to read the ingredient list each time I shop.
Pick a toy your baby can gum on without worry.
Babies put their mouths on just about everything, so it makes sense that so many parents worry about the toys their new babies are playing with. The new rattle buddies by Finn + Emma are super fun for little ones but also give parents the peace of mind they need. Let’s face it, there is enough to worry about without adding toxin anxiety to playtime. These toys are beyond cute. The rattle buddies are soft animals and characters with a quiet rattle inside. My littlest has been trying out the Zoe the Flamingo rattle buddy and just loves shaking it all over the place.
I like it because Finn + Emma has high standards for their toys. They use organic cotton and are stuffed with 100 percent wool. All their toys are free of lead, phthalates, mercury, formaldehyde, nickel, and PVC, so I know my baby can safely teethe on their toys as much as his heart desires.
Now you can invest in safe co-sleeping and comfier playtime.
Sleep is a sensitive topic among new parents. Whether you are getting any (or not) and how you are (or aren’t) sleep training your baby are among the sleep-related conversations you can expect to have over and over again during your first year as a parent.
Sometimes babies simply don’t sleep, but there are products out there that make this aspect of having a newborn a little easier. The DockATot had a lot of people talking in 2017. It serves as a safe and snug sleeping option for young babies and is especially great for travel. “The DockATot was hands down my favorite baby item. It was great for traveling—taking for naps on the go at the grandparents—and for just keeping our little one cozy, comfy and secure,” Lauren Hartmann, mom of three, tells HealthyWay.
“She loved it so much she squished herself in it until she was 10 months old!” This year, DockATot is back at it with a safe and snug playtime accessory. Their Mobile Toy Arch hooks directly to the original DockATot and was created as a response to parents’ reports that their babies loved spending waking time in the cozy little nest provided by their bed. According to Lisa Furuland, the founder of DockATot, the toy arch encourages newborn to engage in activities that build upper body strength by stimulating use of their necks and engages their fine motor skills, which will lead to important milestones during their first few months of life and beyond.
Reach for the easiest way to ease your stairway fears.
In the United States, preventable injury is the the leading killer of kids, according to Safe Kids Worldwide, and each year some 8,000 families in the States lose a child after a preventable injury. These facts alone should make baby proofing a top priority for expectant and new parents. “We try to encourage people to baby proof before they have their baby,” explained Stuart Babb, a home safety expert at Safety 1st. “Ideally, you don’t want to wait to do it after three to six months. That is when the baby can start … sitting up, maybe starting to move a little on their own, and we find that a lot of people tend to be reactive, and that is where a lot of kids start to get injured.”
Instead of waiting for something to happen and then beginning to baby proof your home, parents should add this to their “to-do” list before their baby arrives. Making baby proofing easier than ever is a new product released this year: the Ready to Install Everywhere Gate by Safety 1st, which can be fully assembled in a third of the time as comparable competitor gates.
The Kid Transport Solution for Adventurous Parents
Being part of a family that does a lot of hiking with friends, I find myself using the phrase “stroller friendly” an awful lot. That’s because as much as we love our stroller for family walks and days at the zoo, I have yet to find an option that works well for our more adventurous outings.
The Veer Cruiser is the new baby product that is changing the kid transport game for adventurous parents. It’s an all-terrain wagon that can be used for children ages 0 to 5. Armed with cupholders and easily folded for storage, this wagon is every parent’s dream. “This thing is built to last,” MariClaire, a 34-year-old mom of three and Veer Cruiser owner tells HealthyWay.
“There’s nothing like three boys to stress-test a new product. It feels indestructible, which translates to some serious safety features, which is priority number one. I’m also a big fan of its adaptability. The option to push, pull, or pull-along combined with the array of attachments and accessories make[s] it suitable for any outing.”
Sleep more soundly with this anxiety-easing mattress.
Bringing a new baby home from the hospital is nerve-wracking for parents. There are so many things to worry about, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) finds itself at the top of the list. Although research is still inconclusive on exactly what causes SIDS, parents today benefit from clearer guidelines for safe sleep than ever before. Still, crib mattresses are a concern for many parents. They are known for not allowing proper air ventilation, and many are covered with potentially toxic flame retardants. This fall, Baby Trend is releasing a mattress called the Respiro, which they hope will allow for safer sleep for infants and increased peace of mind for their parents. Constructed from mesh fabric that is stretched tightly across a frame, it is the only mattress option designed to offer 100 percent ventilation. “It’s kind of a game changer in the mattress category,” Meg Collins of Lucie’s List tells HealthyWay. “Most crib mattresses have be[en] a miniaturized version of an adult mattress but with what we are learning about what causes SIDs, Baby Trend created this mattress that is totally breathable.”
Ultimately, the very best pregnancy and baby products are going to be the ones that work best for your family and support whatever lifestyle you want to create for your children and yourself. Once you have the basics—like car seat safety and baby proofing your home—under control, the remaining choices are fun details you get to explore as part of your new-parent learning process.