7 extremely useful baby, kids items to swear by

Shopping for a new mom and dad? Or are you a new parent? We’ve got you covered

A very cute tiny man. (Michelle Ganley/GMG photo)

Having a baby, and bringing that baby home from the hospital for the first time as a new parent, is a whirlwind. You’re not sure what time it is, you’re tired, you’re trying to figure out a routine and hopefully snag a shower and a hot meal every so often. It can be overwhelming. But luckily, there are some products out there that can help ease the transition, and make things a little smoother.

Here are some things that helped me, a mother of two (and I’ll include a few items for older children as well, toward the end):

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1. A DockATot

This thing is so cool. Do you need to do the dishes? Just pop the baby in the Dock and do your thing. Need to fold some clothes in the laundry room? Bring your son or daughter, in the Dock, of course. It’s just a cozy little nesting area that infants seem to love. I was even on a (very narrow) sailboat when my son was about 6 months old, and my parents were nervous about where he’d hang out and possibly nap. The Dock, of course! The price tag might seem a little steep at first, but it’s not, when you consider the convenience. It’s also super easy to throw in the car, no assembly or breakdown needed -- and the cover zips off, like if you have a spit-uppy baby (and I sure did).

2. Joovy double stroller

This is the stroller you want if you have an older child in addition to a baby, or you’re planning on expanding your family someday. The neat part is, your older kid can either sit on the seat in the back, or choose to stand on the platform. That way, if you’re somewhere like the zoo, she can hop on and off, on and off, with no issue. Very smart! You’ll get a ton of use out of it.

3. Bumkins

Everyone knows when you have a baby, you need some bibs -- especially when you transition your baby to eating solid foods. Toss those cloth kind to the side, because those should be retired when your little one turns 6 months or so. And then you can introduce Bumkins, which just make so much sense. If your kid makes a mess, you can just wipe these clean -- or toss them in the washing machine. They’re a total game-changer.

4. Aden + Anais muslin blankets

So soft. So nice. Such quality. Honestly, you need two packs of these, at least, because you’ll constantly be tossing these little blankets in your diaper bag, over your stroller on walks, and handing them over to your child. They do shrink a bit in the wash, but I loved them so much, for both of my kids. These make for a wonderful present, too.

5. An electric kettle

This was the one I bought. If you’re a parent who uses formula or supplements with formula, which many of us do eventually, you’ll want to boil that water first. (Speaking about the powdered kind of formula, of course). An electric kettle is super convenient and helpful. Ours got a lot of use!

6. Magnetic onesies

Did you see what that said? 👀 Magnetic. Onesies. No more fumbling with buttons or messing with zippers for 2 a.m. diaper changes. These onesies fasten magnetically, and they’re stronger magnets than you might assume (meaning, no, your infant isn’t going to be able to escape her outfit). Magic, I tell you.

7. Water Wow!

These life-saving items, made by Melissa and Doug, are perfect for surviving road-trips, waiting to get your food at a restaurant with an antsy toddler underfoot, you name it. Plus, no mess! You just add some water to the “pen” and let your kid go nuts. The picture magically appears once he runs some water over it. Toddlers can be a little rough with the pad -- err, mine can! -- which isn’t great, but once your child is 2 or older -- you’re welcome.

Bonus: A splash pad

All right, one final item for your older kids, or for your baby to grow into! Getting a kiddie pool seems obvious for the hot summer months, but have you seen one of these setups? My parents have one, and my kids adore it. A pool is kind of standard, but a splash pad situation? There’s just something intriguing about it. This holds my children’s interest way longer than a small pool.

What did you swear by as a new mom, or a mom of older kids? Let us know in the comments.

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