What You’ll Really Use with the Second Baby

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Congrats, you have baby number two on the way! That means more love in your heart, but also more stuff in your home. So this begs the question: What do you really need? We asked parents with multiple children to weigh in on what items to keep, what to donate, and what to toss. As you’ll see, not everyone was in agreement, but that’s where your opinion comes in because you’re an experienced parent now too.

Pro tip: Give all items a thorough check and discard any that are past their expiration date, recalled, or have wear and tear that might pose a safety hazard.

Feeding
“Make sure to keep fresh bottles and formula on hand for the second baby, even if you didn't use them with the first. You always want to be prepared in case you need them for a middle-of-the-night feeding.”Julianne

“Don’t keep the baby food maker. I made all my first child’s baby purees. However, I found I couldn’t keep up with the peeling, dicing, steaming and mashing with my second and working full-time. Buying storebought ended up being so much easier and less stressful. If you’re concerned about the regulations in storebought brands, my pediatrician recommended checking the Clean Label Project website. Or, there are fresh baby food subscriptions you can join, such as Yumi.”Ashley

“I liked having my same familiar nursing pillow for baby two. You can always get a new cover to freshen it up or make it match any new decorating you do.”Kate

“We had extra breastfeeding pillows from keeping one at a parent’s house, so we donated one of those. We learned from baby one which bottles we didn’t like, so we gave away those extras.”Kelly

Diapering
“One product I found that was not necessary was the changing table. The floor was so much easier as I was usually sitting on it anyway, and the older sibling was right there to help as well. Pulling out extra wipes was a helpful job and having the older sibling be a part of it made it special for her and easy to keep eyes on both kiddos, which was a mom win!”Meghan

“Don’t keep a purse-style diaper bag. Get a diaper bag backpack instead! I had a crossbody style for my first, but being hands-free was so much easier with two.”Ashley

“Between babies one and two, we switched to cloth diapers and so donated that horrible diaper genie!”Andi

“After the first one, I realized the waste of the diaper genie and wipes warmer. A plastic shopping bag works just the same and is much cheaper than the refills, while the wipes warmer dries out the wipes too quickly.”Shelly

“Keep the wipe warmer. I was a skeptic. I left it in the box. I mean, really—one more thing to plug in and maintain—so unnecessary, right? Well, three kids later, the youngest (now 4) still insists on a warm wipe when the pull-up comes off in the morning. And in retrospect, who can blame her—have you ever tried to use a cold wipe on a chilly morning? Case closed!”Kelly

Sleeping
“I was so grateful to have kept our bassinet for the second baby.”Kerry

“Keep the crib. I reused my crib and put my son straight into a big boy bed. But don’t keep the crib mattress. You want a firm, clean mattress for the new baby!” Ashley

“Cribs are expensive, and getting a new one for every child would be incredibly wasteful. So long as it meets safety standards, it makes sense to tighten up all the pieces, give it a good cleaning, and buy new sheets for the next baby.”Adam

Clothing
“We have three boys, so we saved a lot of baby clothes, only getting rid of those that were stained or damaged. We kept it all organized by size in canvas storage containers and pulled them out as needed.”Kate

“Don’t keep all the old clothes. I had a girl after having my son, and as much clothing as I saved to be practical, I found I couldn’t resist buying some new clothes. People also gifted or handed down plenty to me. Jammies, however, keep! You can never have too many and they’re all adorable. I loved seeing my daughter in her big brother’s shark and construction jammies for some reason.”Ashley

Car Seat
“As a mom that had her second child five years later, so much had changed. My newest family member was over ten pounds, so the infant car seat was extra heavy. So we used a convertible one and wore him as much as we could.”Meghan

“The JJ Cole Bundleme is an absolute lifesaver. The ease of zipping it right into the car seat and not having to worry about putting coats on and off is well worth it! With multiple winter babies, I couldn’t imagine not having it!”Rebeka

Stroller
“Time to upgrade the stroller. I like the sit-stand type so my older kid can jump on and off.”Christopher

“If you have kids close together, a sit-and-stand stroller is great. The older one wants to be independent but still gets tired easily so it's great when they want to hop off to walk with you.”Shelly

“We never bothered with a double stroller since the boys are four years apart.”Kerry

“I definitely kept the strollers. I held on to almost everything if I’m being honest!”Lindsay

 

Play Time
“I donated anything we never used with baby one, anything broken, chewing toys with plastic, gifts we didn’t use. Babies need very little. A soft place to play on the floor, a place to sleep, an eating chair, clothes, diapers, a car seat, stroller, and a few things to play with and teeth on.”Kelly

“One baby item I made sure to keep was the swing. It was great for the baby to take an afternoon nap in. Or a safe spot to keep the baby entertained while I made dinner. There were even a handful of nights it helped during the witching hour when everyone was at wits' end! Definitely one of the most useful baby items in our house.”—Nicole

“The playmat is a must keep. It makes the dreaded tummy time a little more manageable. And older siblings love having a turn demonstrating all the toys to the new baby.”Kate

“Keep any safe place to put the baby when things get hectic. This includes pack and plays, swings, seats and loungers. Also, just because your first didn’t like something doesn’t mean your second will be the same. I was gifted a baby swing that my son never enjoyed using, but my daughter loved.”Ashley

“We kept my BabyBjörn bouncer, the jumper toys, my lightweight baby carrier, our swings, all of our ‘teach the ABCs’ toys, and our ride-on lion!”Kerry

It’s Not All About the Stuff
“I’d say that after having one child, when you’re preparing to have a second, you realize how few of the things you registered for or got with your first that you actually used. All you really need are a crib (or similar), car seat, some clothes and diapers, and a stroller and/or carrier depending on your parenting style.”Phoebe

“The best advice I can give to parents from going from one to two kids is to give yourselves time and some grace as you adjust. Say yes to help from grandparents or friends when they offer. Try to dedicate some special time every day to your first child when the baby sleeps or other parent is home and engage in a craft, walk, reading a book or just playing with toys.”Lindsay

Katie L. Carroll

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23 Swaddles & Baby Sleep Sacks We Love

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From cozy swaddles you can use from day one to baby sleep sacks and wearable blankets kids can snooze in even as a toddler, here is the best baby sleepwear from brands including Dreamland Baby, MORI, Little Sleepies, Nested Bean, HALO, Snuggy Buddy, Woolino and more.

Little Sleepies Sleepy Bags

Made from eco-friendly, biodegradable bamboo viscose fabric, these wearable blankets are available in two styles: winter weight (for sleep temperatures of 61-67 degrees Fahrenheit) and seasonless (for sleep temperatures of 68-74 degrees). A longer length and adjustable shoulder snaps mean this sleep sack will grow with your child, and double zippers make diaper changes easier. We love the sweet prints and soft colors, and that Little Sleepies sends a portion of every sale to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, which funds research to help cure childhood cancer.

Available at littlesleepies.com, $49-$54.

photo: Erin Lem

Dreamland Baby Dream Weighted Sack

This weighted wearable blanket is designed to help babies relax and sleep faster and longer. Designed in partnership with NICU nurses, pediatricians and sleep consultants, it's weighted on the front to promote back and side sleeping but doesn't restrict movement; your baby can still roll, sit and stand while wearing it. Comes in three sizes: 0-6 months, with swaddle wing (for babies 8 lbs. and up), 6-12 months (for babies 15 lbs. and up), and 12-22 months (for babies 20 lbs. and up).

Available at dreamlandbabyco.com, $79.

aden + anais Easy Swaddle Wrap

Known for their dreamy muslin swaddles, aden + anais added two more must-haves to their collection to help baby sleep in style and comfort: the easy swaddle wrap and easy swaddle snug.

The swaddle wrap comes in three coveted prints: dino-rama, fairytale flowers and toile and is designed to feel like a cozy womb and prevent baby's natural startle reflux. With a two-way zipper bottom for easy diaper changes, the easy swaddle wrap comes in two sizes: 0-3 months (7-14 pounds) and 4-6 months (14-18 pounds). Simply wrap baby up in mere seconds and let her drift off to dreamland.

Their snug swaddle, the second product offered in their new easy swaddle collection, is designed for arms in or arms out, which helps baby find her natural arms-up sleep position. This swaddle is recommended for babies 0-3 months (5-12 pounds) and comes in three prints: twinkling stars in pink and blue and savanna spots. 

Both are available at adenandanais.com,starting at $20.99

Love to Dream SWADDLE UP

The Love to Dream SWADDLE UP is for babies who bust out of their swaddle to get at their hands. The innovative arms-up design allows newborns to use their hands to self-soothe while also keeping them snug in a no-wrap swaddle. It comes in soft pastel colors and sweet prints. You can also honor rainbow babies with the Rainbow SWADDLE UP (pictured above). Love to Dream donates $5 from each purchase of this swaddle to the charity First Candle, which works to end SIDS and other sleep-related infant deaths, as well as provides support to families experiencing miscarriage and infant loss. 

Available at lovetodream.com, $29.95 to $34.95.

Snuggy Buddy Wearable Lovey Blanket

If your child has trouble self-soothing without holding a lovey or stuffed animal, try this sleep sack equipped with an attached lovey. A weighted butterfly at chest level simulates the feeling of a soothing touch with the soft cuddliness of a lovey. The butterfly's wings are loose so your child can hold on to the flaps while dozing off. This sleep sack is made of triple-layer muslin fabric and designed for year-round use.

Available at snuggybuddy.com, $49.99.

Little Sleepies Swaddle & Headband Set

Made with eco-friendly bamboo viscose, which offers UV protection and temperature regulation, these swaddles stretch to make them easier to wrap and are snug and super-soft against baby's skin. This print comes with a matching headband; other prints come with hats. Prints range from classic flowers to cute bananas, sharks, lemons, rainbows and more. The company donates a portion of every sale goes to pediatric cancer foundation Alex's Lemonade Stand.

Available at littlesleepies.com, $32.

bblüv Sleëp–Evolutive 3-in-1 Swaddle Suit

With its removable sleeves, the Sleëp sack adapts to your baby's sleeping preferences. With the sleeves attached, your newborn can self-soothe with their hands without scratching themselves. Remove them and zip up the hole for a true swaddle, or leave them unzipped for arms-out sleeping. There's ample room for hips and kicky feet in the sleeping-bag portion, and a three-way zipper for diaper changes and passing through straps to your car seat or other gear.

Available at bbluvgroup.com, $24.99.

LouLou LOLLIPOP Sleeping Bags

This muslin sleep sack keeps baby cozy all night long. There's a two-way zipper for easy off/on and diaper changes, and the fabric is machine-washable. The sleeveless design and breathable fabric make this a great option for warmer days, but a long-sleeve onesie or PJs underneath keep baby warm as the weather cools off. It comes in seven colorful, whimsical prints, from beautiful florals to animals. Comes in two sizes: 3-12 months & 12-24 months.

Available at louloulollipop.com, $42. 

Sleeping Baby Zippy Swaddle

Keep newborns snug and ready for sleep in the Zippy Swaddle from Sleeping Baby. The triple-reinforced swaddle wraps around baby's belly, and there's a zippered opening at the bottom for easier diaper changes. This swaddle comes in two sizes and is designed for babies 7-18 pounds who can't yet roll over. Once your child outgrows the swaddle, check out this brand's Zipadee-Zip, which helps babies transition out of the swaddle into other sleepwear.

Available at sleepingbaby.com, $24.95.

Baby Deedee Sleep Nest

The Sleep Nest Lite (pictured) is a lightweight cotton jersey sleep sack for infants and toddlers. It's as soft as a t-shirt and comes in three sizes and a number of colors and patterns. It can be used year-round in air-conditioning and warm nurseries. Outdoorsy families should also check out the Sleep Nest Travel, which keeps baby cozy in tents and on snoozes around town on chilly days. You'll find the full range of cotton, fleece and quilted options on the Baby Deedee website.

Available at babydeedee.com; Sleep Nest Lite starts at $34, and Sleep Nest Travel starts at $42.50.

HALO SleepSack Swaddle

There’s a reason why the HALO brand of baby sleepwear has been around for over 20 years. They pretty much invented the modern sleep sack and continue to innovate. The HALO SleepSack Swaddle adjusts so newborns can have both arms, one arm, or no arms tucked in. It comes in a choice of cotton for warmer weather or micro-fleece for when it gets cold. A bottom zipper allows baby to stay swaddled throughout all those middle of the night diaper changes.

Available at halosleep.com, $22.99 to $29.99.

photo: Tommee Tippee

Tommee Tippee Grosnug Swaddle

Snug around the top but wide enough at the bottom to allow for hip-healthy leg positioning (and lots of cute kicks). The Grosnug swaddle zips open from the bottom, for easier diaper changes. Baby can wear the cozy swaddle with arms tucked in or out, so this swaddle suits a larger number of babies and grows with them.

Available at buybuybaby.com, $24.99.

Kepi Support Swaddle

If you’re worried about visitors—big and small—holding your child, consider the Kepi Support Swaddle. In addition to being easy to wrap, it includes the Kepi Support Spoon, a plastic backboard that can be inserted into the swaddle’s back pocket for proper head, neck and spine support. So when big sister asks to hold baby, you can say yes!

Available at shopkepi.com, $99.

The Ollie Swaddle

Developed with optimal neuro-development in mind, The Ollie Swaddle reduces the Moro reflex—which can jerk baby awake—and keeps baby comfortable with patented moisture-wicking fabric. It comes in one size that uses Velcro and an easy open bottom to grow with baby so you don’t have to buy a new one every growth spurt.

Available at theollieworld.com, $59.

Sleepea

Dubbed the 5-second swaddle, this 2018 new release from Dr. Harvey Karp (he's the brains behind the SNOO, Happiest Baby on the Block and the 5's) will prevent even the wiggliest babies from escaping. Here's the skinny: the organic cotton Sleepea boasts a breathable mesh, two-way zipper and inner bands that will keep your baby's arms in a safe and comfortable sleep position. Read more about the Sleepea in our full review here. Available for $19.56 at happiestbaby.com.

SwaddleDesigns Transitional Swaddle Sack

For babes transitioning out of the swaddle, but looking to self-soothe, the new SwaddleDesigns Transitional Swaddle Sack is a life-saver. The arms-up sack allows your baby to self-soothe with the fold-over mitten cuff design, which you can wear open or closed depending on if you want babe to have access to her hands. The hip-healthy design allows baby to sleep with enough room for her knees and hips to flex. Combine all of these great features with a two-way zipper (hello easy diaper changes!) and oh-so-soft breathable cotton, and this new transitional sleepsack is a winner. Available at swaddledesigns.com for $22.

BundleBee Baby Wrap

Known as the 10-second swaddle, BundleBee says if you can wrap a burrito, you can swaddle a baby with their luxurious wrap. The removable cushion supports baby even when he’s not in a crib or cradle, making it great for visits to friends and relatives. The adorable bow literally wraps your bundle up like a gift.

Available at amazon.com, $42.

Zen Swaddle

Touch is an important sense for a baby’s comfort and security. The Zen Swaddle from Nested Bean mimics your embrace with gentle pressure from lightly weighted pads on the chest and sides. Swaddle with the arms in or out or opt for the sleeveless Zen Sack for older babies. Available at nestedbean.com, $29.99.

MORI Sleeping Bags

Soft doesn't even begin to describe MORI sleeping bags. Each is crafted with MORI's signature organic cotton and bamboo fabric, which is both breathable, thermoregulating and ultra comfortable for baby. Their 2.5 Tog sleepsack (which we're huge fans of) is perfect for year-round use, and each sleeping bag even comes with a handy guide to show how you should dress baby at what temp. You'll also love the double-direction zipper, side shoulder clasps for easy in/out access and what's more: the sleepsack is suitable for newborn (8-9 pounds) all the way up to two years. New parents know that when it comes to sleep, we can use all the help we can get and this ultra comfortable and safe sleepsack will get baby one step closer to snoozing through the night. 

Available at minimori.com, $48.38 to $71.60.

Woolino Baby Sleep Bag

Once baby reaches a more active age, a sleep sack or bag is a great step up from a swaddle. Made from breathable merino wool, the Woolino regulates baby’s temperature in all climates. It's pricy, but the universal size (with underarm snaps) fits babies from 2 months up to 2 years, so no need to transition your toddler to different sleepwear for a good, long while.

Available at woolino.com, $99.99.

Bumbershoots by Nana

If you're looking for a sleep sack as unique as your babe, turn to Bumbershoots by Nana. Each sleep sack is hand-crafted by Nana in her Maryland studio. Nana hand-cuts and sews each Bumber by hand using patterns she has made and refined over time. Get kiddo in and out with easy snaps at the shoulders and a side zipper (good to know: The zipper stops around baby's hip). Beyond the bespoke quality, we love that each sleep sack is reverse-lined and made with heavier fabrics (heavier as in weightier, not hotter), which we think are perfect for colder months. The boutique sleep sacks are all machine-washable and hold up even after dozens of cycles. Prices start at $80.

Available at bumbershootsbynana.com, starting at $80.

BittaSack

Loose blankets and stuffed animals aren’t safe for sleep, but the BittaSack has a solution for babies that crave a sensory experience in the crib. This cotton wearable blanket has two lovies attached to it, right within easy reach for baby’s little arms. The shoulder straps and diagonal zipper make it easy to put on, take off, or change a diaper.

Available at bittakidda.com, $35.95.

Gunapod Bamboo Duvet Sack

Who knew bamboo-fiber material is ideal for baby’s sensitive skin? Well, the brains behind the Gunapod Bamboo Duvet Sack did. It breathes better than cotton and is silky soft, environmentally friendly, and hypoallergenic. Stuffed with a premium fill, it will make baby feels like she’s sleeping under a down comforter. The stitched channels provide light pressure points to hug your little one all night long.

Available at gunamuna.com, $44.99 to $49.99.

Katie L. Carroll

featured image: Dreamland Baby

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Smart parents love smart bassinets. These amazing nappers help babies fall asleep and stay asleep so tired parents can sleep too. Win-win! By using motion, sound and light, these baby nappers mimic a mother’s calming womb or a parent’s comforting arms to create the ideal environment for your newborn’s sleep. Find your fave below.

SNOO Smart Sleeper Bassinet from Happiest Baby

Created by pediatrician and child development expert Dr. Harvey Karp, the SNOO is a responsive bassinet that combines gentle rocking, white noise and safe swaddling for a womb-like environment. Smart technology gives the bassinet the ability to automatically respond to baby’s cries with increased motion and sound. The bassinet comes with a mattress, three organic cotton swaddles that keep newborns in a safe sleeping position, an organic cotton sheet, and a water-resistant cover. The mobile app allows caregivers to view sleep patterns, customize settings, and receive helpful tips. While buying it carries a hefty price tag, you can also rent this sleeper for $129 per month.

Available at happiestbaby.com, $1,495.

mamaRoo Sleep Bassinet

With five unique motions—car ride, wave, kangaroo, tree swing, and rock-a-bye—that mimic the natural movements of parents and other caregivers, this bassinet is designed to help newborns fall asleep fast and stay asleep. There are also five speed options and four white-noise choices that can all be controlled with the Bluetooth-enabled 4moms app. The firm, flat sleep surface comes with a water-resistant mattress and sheet.

Available at 4moms.com, $374.99.

Chicco Close to You 3-in-1 Bedside Bassinet

The 3-in-1 design makes this combination bedside sleeper, portable bassinet and changing pad a real deal. Keep baby close by and adjust to the right height for your bedside, or roll it into any other room and lock the casters into place. Soothing melodies and vibrations lull baby to sleep. When it’s time for a diaper change, flip the quilted mattress over to the waterproof changing-pad side. The fabrics are machine-washable. This sleeper accommodates babies up to 20 pounds, or until they push up on hands and knees, and the changing pad is for little ones up to 35 pounds.

Available at chiccousa.com, $299.99.

HALO Luxe Plus Series Vibrating Bassinet

This bassinet has a 360-degree swivel and lowering bedside wall that make it easier for new moms to tend to their newborns. The soothing center includes four sounds, two levels of vibration, a nightlight and floorlight, and a timer. It comes with a newborn insert that provides a snug sleeping surface that mimics the womb. The fabric is machine-washable and the sleeper includes a waterproof pad and fitted sheet. The bed itself can be removed from the stand, so baby can nap wherever you are.

Available at halosleep.com, $279.99.

Graco Sense2Snooze Bassinet with Cry Detection Technology

The built-in microphone hears baby’s cries and automatically adjusts the bassinet’s setting to lull baby back to sleep. The Sense2Snooze includes a head-to-toe soothing motion with three different speeds, two-speed vibration, and a variety of noise options. You can even save your newborn’s favorite combination of settings for quick calming action. There is a dimmable light and a reversible canopy for optimal light options. A storage space keeps all the essentials close at hand.

Available at gracobaby.com, $316.99.

Fisher-Price Soothing Motions Bassinet

The gentle swaying motion of this sleeper can be activated by parent or baby to send your little one off to dreamland. An overhead mobile rocks along with the bassinet, and light features include a projector that can be removed to use as a tabletop soother. Calming vibrations, songs and sounds all help create the right sleep environment. The removable sheet is machine-washable and the pad can be wiped clean.

Available at fisher-price.com, $164.99.

Cradlewise 3-in-1 Smart Crib

Combining a bassinet, crib and baby monitor all in one, the Cradlewise adjusts as baby grows. The noiseless bouncing mechanism can respond to baby's wake-up cues before they cry and does not disturb sleeping parents. The built-in monitor has video, audio and a night-vision camera that can be monitored from home or remotely. Once your newborn grows out of the higher bassinet level, the mattress can be dropped to crib level for use by a toddler. In addition to a customizable app, the sleeper can be operated with hand gestures.

Available at cradlewise.com, $1,499. 

Katie L. Carroll

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Win Back 30+ Minutes in Your Day, New Moms!

New Health & Safety Innovations for Babies & Toddlers

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Keeping your baby healthy and safe involves more than babyproofing. And new technology is here to help. Check out these recently released products that make your life with baby easier, healthier and safer. From thermometers and baby monitors to sanitizers and air monitors, they’re guaranteed to bring you peace of mind.

Coral UV 2 UV LED Sanitizer & Dryer

Make sure the items your kids put in their mouth are clean with this compact UV-C sanitizer. It's sleek and small enough to live on your kitchen counter for easy cleaning of toys, bottles and pacifierseven stuffies and electronic gadgets. This ultraviolet sanitizer and dryer uses ultraviolet C lights to kill germs and bacteria in minutes, without the use of water or heat. Use the sanitizer or dryer on their own or use both combined. When you're not using the sanitizer for baby gear, pop in your cell phone, makeup brushes, shaver or toothbrushes for a cleaning.

Available at coraluv.com, $149.

NozeBot Electric Baby Nasal Aspirator

Designed by a pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist, the NozeBot takes cleaning boogies to a whole new level. This nasal aspirator uses hospital-grade suction to safely and hygienically clean your child's nose when they're sick. You place two fingers in the ingeniously designed nosepiece, leaving three fingers to help stabilize your child's head. It's portable and rechargeable, and the nosepiece and tubing are dishwasher-safe.

Available at amazon.com, $119.99.

Talli Baby One-Touch Tracker

The easiest way to log feedings, diapers, sleep, nursing, pumping and more! Push a button to sync with the app and add any notes in the app at your convenience, so you can track baby's routine and be better prepared for meetings with the pediatrician, lactation consultant or sleep consultant. There's even a miscellaneous button you can use for medication, baths, tummy time or other baby-related tasks you want to keep track of. Attach this user-friendly device to the wall in baby's nursery or bring it with you around the house to help you remember to use it. When you no longer need it, send it back through the company's buyback program.

Available at talli.me, $99 for a new tracker; $69 for a reconditioned tracker; $169 for a two-pack.

Ally Lockable Storage Containers

Little kids are lightning fast and have a knack for playing with exactly what you don't want them to. Avoid an unfortunate or dangerous situation with the Ally lockable storage container. In it, you can hide away your meds, supplements, passport, valuables, fancy chocolates and anything else you want to keep away from curious kids. The small size (9.25” x 6” x 3.5”) means you can easily tuck it away on a shelf or in a drawer, even the fridge or freezer, but it's sleek enough you won't mind keeping it on display. You choose your three-digit code and can reset it as needed if mombrain makes you forget. Comes in berry, navy and cream and makes an amazing baby shower gift.

Available at theallyco.com, $85.

Watch Your Mouth USB Safety Cover from Geddy's Mom

Playing with the free end of a plugged-in USB charger can be dangerous for kids, causing electrocution burns in more than 200 kids under age 5 each year. As a doctor of dental surgery, Dr. Sarah Shell had seen the traumatic injuries. And she and her neurologist husband had seen their own son put the loose end of a plugged-in charger in his mouth. So they worked with a team of other doctors, designers and engineers to create a product to keep kids safe. Just snap this safety cover over the free metal connector end of any standard USB cord and you keep curious fingers away from it. The plastic cover has a child-resistant lock and no small parts.

Available at geddysmom.com, $12.95 for a 3-pack.

Baby Brezza Formula Pro Advanced WiFi Baby Formula Dispenser

This is a game-changer for formula feedings: Thanks to the Baby Brezza app (iOS and Android), you can mix water and formula to the perfect consistency from your phone! Meaning, you can prep a bottle for your child from bed, from work, from the car, or wherever else you happen to be. Get alerts on your phone that tell you when the bottle is ready, when you're low on formula or water, or when there's no bottle in the machine. Choose from three temperature settings, and whether you want it to dispense 2-10 ounces of liquid. It works with all bottles and virtually all formula. brands.

Available at babybrezza.com, $299.99.

Baby's Brew Bottle Warmer

Give your baby a warm bottle of formula or breastmilk wherever you are, thanks to this portable, battery-operated bottle warmer. Great for road trips, park visits, camping and all of your daily excursions, the Baby's Brew warms your child's bottle in just 5-10 minutes and keeps it warm for 8-12 hours. Liquids can be warmed to four different temperatures, and it's compatible with many bottle types, either with or without an inexpensive adapter (check the website to find out if you'll need one). The warmer is sold on its own ($75) or in a set with a formula dispenser (pictured; $85).

Available at thebabysbrew.com.

VAVA Smart Baby Thermometer

No more waking a sleeping baby to take a temperature reading or getting up every hour to feel their forehead. Apply the small silicone patch (FDA approved and made with medical-grade adhesive) to your baby's armpit and this wireless thermometer will beep and blink red LED lights if their temperature rises above 100°F. Thanks to a 24-hour battery life, temps will be monitored all night long. The device also notifies you about low battery, disconnection and if the device falls off your baby. The large, backlit temperature reading is easy to see in the dark, or you can move the device to whatever room you're in to track the readings.

Available at vava.com, $79.99.

TruSens Air Purifiers

Here's what makes this air purifier a game-changer: It uses a separate sensor you can place across the room that measures air quality so the purifier can adapt to clean the air more effectively. The filtration system captures pollutants, allergens, VOC gases, airborne viruses and microscopic particles from every direction and then uses UV-C light to destroy germs and viruses trapped in the filter. Once the air is cleaned, the purifier pushes it out in two directions, so the filtered air flows throughout the room. TruSens also sells filters for specific concerns: pets, odor and allergy & flu. The unit comes in three sizes, for small, medium and large rooms.

Available at trusens.com, $149-$399.

Carseat CoPilot Automatic Alert System

Reduce the risk of forgetting your baby in the car with this alert system from American Home Safety Products. Clip this sensor to the straps of your car seat and attach the alarm to the keychain with your car keys on them. If you step more than 10 feet away from your car, an alarm will sound to let you know your baby is still strapped in to the carseat. This alert system comes with one sensor and two alarm key fobs.

Available at shop.ahspcompany.com, $39.95.

Nanit Complete Baby Monitoring System

This combination video and breathing wear monitor has everything you need for baby’s optimal sleep. The overhead camera allows you to see all that is going on in and around the sleep space and includes two-way audio. The camera also reads the fabric patterns on the included electronic-free breathing wear and sends real-time alerts right to your smartphone. There is a wall mount and a floor stand that keep cords safely out of reach and allow for easy portability when you're on the go. The app can show you all you need to know about baby’s sleep patterns and offers tips for making sure everyone has a good night. The Nanit Plus camera works with Amazon Echo and Echo Spot, and the complete baby monitoring system is eligible for purchase with FSA/HSA healthcare benefits. Add Nanit Pajamas ($29.99) to monitor baby's breathing motion in real time without wires or sensors. The pajamas work exclusively with Nanit cameras.

Available at nanit.com, $379.

Smart Beat Baby Breathing Monitor

What sets this breathing monitor apart is the fact that there is nothing for baby to wear. To monitor baby's every breath, the camera checks for movements 20 times per second, detecting motions too small to be seen by the human eye. The HD video streams to your smartphone or tablet and sends notifications for sleep apnea, if breathing falls outside the normal range, and for when baby falls asleep and wakes. There is no need for special sleepwear and the monitor is designed to work when baby is swaddled or in a sleep sack and when baby is in different sleeping positions. Other features include two-way audio, night vision and remote viewing.

Available at mysmartbeat.com, $249.50.

Airthings Wave Plus Indoor Air Monitor

Airthings Wave Plus Indoor Air Monitor

Rest assured that the air baby is breathing is safe and healthy with the Airthings Wave Plus indoor air quality monitor. Its sensors check the air for serious air pollutants, like radon, carbon dioxide, and total volatile organic compounds. It also monitors temperature, air pressure and humidity, so you can keep conditions optimal for baby. The app dashboard on your smartphone provides alerts and advanced analytics of air quality and offers tips for improving it. The battery is designed to last for up to two years.

Available at airthings.com, $229.99.

Katie L. Carroll

 

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Play is a baby’s way of learning about the world. It promotes all kinds of development, from motor skills to social ones. Not sure how to get started? You can’t go wrong with simple and silly, and chances are you have all the tools you need right at home. Here’s an age-by-age guide for the best games to play with baby during their first year.

photo: Joe Hunt via Flickr

0-3 months:

1. Imitation Game
Your face is one of baby’s favorite things to look at, and it’s a great teacher. Keeping your face about a foot away from your newborn will guarantee they see you properly. Stick out your tongue or form an O with your mouth. Before you know it, baby will begin to copy you. Bonus points for silly noises to go along with the expressions.

2. Singing
Newborns might not be able to see you from across the room, but chances are they can hear you…and they already recognize your voice. Sing a sweet lullaby, belt out your favorite pop song, or make up a song about your daily activities. It doesn’t matter if you’re pitchy or out of tune, your baby’s going to love hearing your voice anyway!

3. Flashcards
While babies aren’t ready for those math or reading cards yet, simple images from cards or books get their attention. Black and white images, simple patterns and bright colors are easiest for them to see at this age. They also love images of other babies. All you have to do is hold up the card, point at the picture, and talk about the image.

4. Hanging Toys
Your little one might not be reaching out for toys yet, but they love looking at them. Hang a musical or moving mobile above the crib or swing. Find an activity gym with hanging toys and lay baby on their back to enjoy. Baby-safe mirrors are great, too. Babies won’t know it’s their face, but that won’t dampen their enthusiasm for staring at it.

photo: Kristen Burns via Flickr

4-6 months:

5. This Little Piggy
By this age, your little one is a bit more responsive. Change up those simple activities for slightly more interactive ones. Now’s a great time to introduce “This Little Piggy.” It doesn’t require any motion from baby, but it’s more interesting to them than a simple song. You might even get a laugh when you tickle those toes and tummy.

6. Moving Tummy Time
Speaking of tummies, make tummy time more fun by putting it in motion. Once baby has pretty good head control, lay them on their stomach on a small blanket. Then slowly pull them around the room. Make motor or train noises for even more silly fun!

7. Blowing Bubbles
You don’t need to wait until baby’s old enough to chase after them to introduce bubbles. At this age, they’re starting to see better, so they will be fascinated with the moving rainbows of bubbles. Just make sure to keep the soap from getting in their eyes. Revisit the bubble game once they’re old enough to toddle around after them.

8. How Big Is Baby?
It’s amazing how fast those early months fly by. Your six-month-old will seem huge in comparison with how little they were just a few months ago, making the classic “How Big Is Baby?” game all the more poignant. To play, hold baby’s hands and ask in a sweet voice, “How big is baby?” Then put their hands up over their head and say, “So big!” Mix it up by replacing “big” with different adjectivessmart, sweet, etc.

photo: Kourtlyn Lott via Flickr

7-9 months:

9. Patty Cake
You don’t need to retire those less-interactive songs from the newborn stage, but continue to up the game with songs that have motions and finger play to go along with them. Start by showing the motions to songs like “Patty Cake,” “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” and “Wheels on the Bus.” Once baby is familiar with the songs, help them do the motions with their hands.

10. Peekaboo
By now baby is beginning to have an understanding of object permanence, knowing that when things are out of sight, they aren’t gone forever. If your little one hasn’t already discovered the joy that is peekaboo, now’s the time to try it out. Hide your face behind your hands, hide baby’s face behind your hands, or pop out from behind a door or curtain. You can also try hiding or partially hiding objects from baby to see if they’ll look for them. This is a fun one to do with musical toys under a blanket.

11. Flying Baby
At this age, baby should have enough control and strength for some flying time on your knees. Lay on your back or slightly propped up on a pillow. Use your bent legs to support baby’s body, hold their hands, and gently fly them around. You can go up and down, side to side or a combination. Sound effects and silly songs go along great with this physical activity.

12. Roll the Ball
Once you have a little sitter or supported sitter, sit across from them and roll a ball toward them. At first, baby probably won’t roll it back, but they might pick it up and play with it or mouth it. When they loses interest in the ball, roll it back to start the game all over. Eventually, they’ll be rolling it back to you!

photo: Juhan Sonin via Flickr

10-12 months:

13. Sensory Boxes
Nothing is more fun for your older baby than taking things out of a box and putting them back in. Fill a box or bin with a combination of balls, soft blocks, small books, scarves, or baby-safe household items like a wooden spatula. Look for objects that have different textures and are big enough not to be choking hazards. Show baby how to look in the box, take out a few things, and then put them back in. It won’t be long before they’re dumping out and rearranging every box they can get their hands on.

14. Obstacle Course
Chances are your little explorer is on the move, or ready to be soon. Whether scooting, crawling or full-on climbing, a pillow obstacle course will prove to be a good energy burner. Set out couch cushions or pillows all around the floor. Demonstrate how to climb over, around, or peek under them.

15. Dance Time
There are so many ways to enjoy dance time with baby. You don’t have to use baby music; play your favorite tunes if you’d like. Sit on the floor with baby and bop your head and body or pretend to play an instrument. Baby might not be ready for air guitar yet, but it won’t take much prompting to get them bopping along to the beat. You can also hold baby in your arms and spin in slow circles or sway back and forth. Or sit them in your lap and bounce them on your knees.

16. Stack It Up
Stacking cups, stacking rings and blocks are a favorite for your almost one-year-old. But you don’t have to limit it to toys that are designed to stack. Any items that can be put on top of one another and knocked back down without breaking are fair game. Try plastic kitchen containers, empty yogurt containers, or small boxes and bring in your little destructor to knock them down.

What are your favorite simple games to play with baby? Tell us in a comment!

–Katie L. Carroll

 

Read next

Group costumes give Halloween some extra magic. And these clever Halloween costumes are versatile enough to work whether you want twin costumes for Halloween or outfits for triplets, older siblings, kid friends or even family costumes. From the cutest condiments and nursery rhymes to animals, snacks and more, you’ll find your favorites here.

1. Superheroes

Onesies, felt and fabric transform into superhero costumes with a little DIY magic from you. Our friends at Primary have shared the instructions for creating Baby Superman, Baby Batman and Baby Wonder Woman. And you can easily adapt the techniques to add more superfriends to your crew.

DIY instructions available at primary.com.

2. POTUS & VPOTUS

Turn your twins into the President and VP with this ingenious costume idea shared by Ergobaby. The kids stay snug in their baby carrier while you and your partner dress in dark suits and sunglasses as the Secret Service. 

3. Milk & Cookies

2. Milk & Cookies: Your little ones will be the treat this year in adorable milk & cookies t-shirts or onesies. Add a white hat and leggings for the milk carton and brown duds for the cookies. These Spunky Stork twin sets also come in other favorite food combos: PB&J, biscuits & gravy, pancakes & syrup, avocado toast, and fish & chips.

Available at thespunkystork.com, $34 for the pair.

4. Ketchup & Mustard

As if your twin babies didn’t look tasty enough on their own, the classic condiment combo comes together in this adorable ketchup and mustard bodysuit costume set, available in short or long sleeves.

Available at Buzz Bear Studio on etsy.com, $34.

5. Alvin & the Chipmunks:

They're the chipmunksAlvin, Simon, Theodore! This quick DIY, courtesy of our kid-favorite clothing brand Primary, turns your wild bunch into these adorable chipmunks while keeping them warm and cozy on Halloween.

DIY instructions available at primary.com.

6. Salt & Pepper

Show the world how much your kids have spiced up your life by dressing them in matching salt and pepper bodysuits. These come in seven colors and a range of baby and toddler sizes.

Available at apericots.com, $22 for the set.

7. M&M Candies

These long-sleeve pajamas have snaps for easy diaper changes and come in five bright colors. M&Ms may melt in your mouth and not in your hands, but people will definitely melt when they see your crew dressed up as this sweet treat.

Available at amazon.com, $13-$23.

8. Rainbow & Cloud

The forecast is cloudy with a chance of adorable when your twins don these sunny rainbow and rain cloud costumes for Halloween. Handmade from felt and fleece, they are loose enough to layer clothes underneath.

Available at The Costume Cafe on etsy.com, $140+.

9. Elmo & Cookie Monster

Is your child more of a cookie monster or a giggle monster? Party City sells Elmo and Cookie Monster costumes designed as fuzzy jumpsuits and tutu dresses. you can join the fun too with their low-key adult costumes, consisting of a t-shirt and headband in either an Elmo or Cookie Monster theme.

Available at partycity.com, $30 each.

10. This Little Piggy

This little piggy jumpsuit with ears and a snout on the hood will look adorable on your whole crew of multiples or baby friends. The booties have skid-resistant bottoms, and the snap enclosures make for easy diaper changes.

Available at amazon.com, $22+.

11. Toy Story Characters

Toy Story rivals turned best friends Buzz Lightyear and Woody are great for twin costumes. Need a third costume? It’s Jessie to the rescue!

Available at Amazon (see links above); prices vary.

12. Butterfly & Caterpillar

Have your very own butterfly garden this Halloween when you dress your babies up in the Princess Paradise Baby Swaddle Wings. Keep them cocooned in the swaddle for the caterpillar look or open it up and watch those wings spread for the butterfly pose.

Available at amazon.com, $44 for one.

13. Mickey & Minnie

Dress boy-girl twins as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse with these sweet, budget-friendly costumes from Walmart.

Available at walmart.com (see links above); $15-$24.

 

14. Lion & Tiger & Bear

Oh my! Get this Wizard of Oz-inspired look for your little ones with soft and cuddly versions of a liontiger and bear from InCharacter. They come in a variety of sizes for toddler triplets (or friends) and even older siblings. Mom can be Dorothy.

Available at amazon.com (see links above), prices vary by costume and size.

15. Colorful Crayons

Dress your whole family in colorful crayon onesies and t-shirts. These come in baby bodysuits, toddler t-shirts, youth shirts, women’s slim tees, and men’s tees and an array of bright colors.

Available at Etsy shop Ginger Peach Tee; $17+.

16. Peas & Carrots

Your twins go together like—well, you know the rest of the saying—when they wear these too cute to eat peas and carrot costumes. They are handmade from fleece, felt and netting and will fit over heavier clothes in colder climates.

Available at Etsy shop The Costume Cafe, $125 for the set.

17. Thing 1 & Thing 2

Dr. Seuss’s mischievous duo make for great Halloween fun. The Thing 1 and Thing 2 costumes from Etsy shop Little Things by Nicky include two bodysuits that are more practical and comfortable than a traditional costume. An older sibling can get in on the theme with a Cat in the Hat getup.

Available at etsy.com, $14+.

18. Hansel & Gretel

There’s no doubting these two are in it for the treats when they dress as these candy-loving fairy-tale siblings. This Hansel and Gretel costume set comes in sizes for babies, toddlers and older kids.

Available at Etsy shop Ada’s Accessories for Me, $75+ for the set.

19. Pooh & Friends

Bring the Hundred Acre Wood to your neighborhood with Pooh and Tigger.

Available on amazon.com (see links above); prices vary.

20. Alice in Wonderland

No need to venture down the rabbit hole to find the perfect Alice in Wonderland costumes for your littles. HalloweenCostumes.com has AliceLil’ Hatter and Cheshire Cat baby costumes, as well as options for adults if you want in on the theme.

Available at halloweencostumes.com (see links above); prices vary.

Katie L. Carroll & Eva Ingvarson Cerise

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10 Helpful Hacks for Organizing Baby Gear

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Babies require a lot of stuff! It’s a blessing to be flush with adorable outfits, cute baby blankets, and all those diapers and lotions, but it can be difficult to figure out the best way to organize it all. Try these clever ideas and essential products from Etsy, Amazon and more to keep the nursery and all your baby gear neat and functional.

1. Closet Size Dividers
Babies grow fast, so you’ll want a variety of clothing sizes readily available. Closet dividers hang right on the clothing rod to keep all those different sizes in order. These Wooden Nursery Closet Dividers ($19.99+) from Etsy shop The Good Grain Designs are handmade with the size labels in two convenient locations so you always know what you’re grabbing.

2. Drawer Dividers
Another way to organize all the numerous and tiny baby clothes, especially socks, is to use drawer dividers in the dresser. Look for dividers that have small and large options, like these fabric ones ($9.95-$39.99) from mDesign. Since baby clothes can be hard to fold, try a rolling method. Dividers are also a good way to organize small blankets, burp cloths and towels.

3. Under-Crib Storage
Below the crib is prime nursery space for storage of extra blankets, bulk diapers and wipes, seasonal or bigger-size clothing, toys, and stuffed animals. Measure how high the bottom of the crib rail is, and look for slim fabric or plastic bins, drawers or baskets that will fit. For ease of use, try this Under Bed Storage with Wheels ($59.99) from storageLAB that easily slides out from under the crib. When your child moves to a big-kid bed, it will work there too.

4. Storage Cubes
For standalone storage, cubes with or without bins are a versatile organization tool for any room. They can hide or display clothes, blankets, books, toys or even lotions and wipes. This space-themed 12-cube plastic storage unit ($39.99) from SONGMICS has an out-of-this-world design and doors to hide baby gear. For a more versatile option, we like this 6-bin organizer bookcase ($200) from Threshold, where the shelves can be left open or filled with bins. Look for fabric bins to match the nursery decor. We love these Organizix Foldable Animal Storage Bins ($14.99) from Organizix that feature an adorable selection of animals.

5. Changing Station or Dresser Top Organizers
The flat spaces on top of furniture—changing tables, dressers or small bookshelves—have lots of organization potential. Baskets are great for all the diapers, creams and wipes you need at the changing station. They also work for collecting and organizing small supplies, like nail clippers and files, pacifiers and chew toys. These WarmHome Storage Baskets ($32.49) have a convenient handle and are collapsible when not in use. The HOMEVAGE Diaper Caddy ($17.99) has lots of compartments in different sizes. With a flat bottom and large handles, it can sit on a tabletop or double as an oversize diaper bag.

6. Closet Door Hangers
Since hanging baby clothes won’t take up a lot of space, there is room for storage elements in the closet. A door hanger for the inside of the closet works for stuffed animals, small blankets, extra diapers and wipes, and shoes or booties. Look for one with clear or mesh windows, like this Univivi Door Hanging Organizer ($32.99), so it’s easy to see what’s there at a glance.

7. Wall Shelf with Pegs
For frequently used outerwear or baby slings and carriers, a wall shelf with pegs, hooks or a rack is a nice way to store them. The shelf is perfect for photos or mementos to give it a nice design element. The peg colors on this handmade Wooden Peg Rail ($44.95+) from Etsy shop Quailwoods can be customized to fit in with your nursery design needs.

8. Hanging Storage Bags
Storage bags with handles can be hung on the pegs of a wall shelf or rack, hung in a closet, or in some cases affixed to the ceiling. They are great for toys and stuffed animals or any other gear you want close at hand. We love the whimsical look of this Rainbow Hanging Pod set ($26.99+) from Etsy shop Feeding Pickle. These Hanging Mesh Space Saver Bags ($14.97) from Coastal Rose fold up to store almost anywhere when not in use.

9. Bookrack
When storing books, a bookrack is a streamlined alternative to a traditional bookshelf. The Madison 4-Shelf Bookrack ($249) from Pottery Barn Kids saves space, secures to the wall, and allows books to face forward so you and baby can see all those beautiful cover illustrations. A bookrack isn’t limited to books either, so you can use extra shelves for other items, like toys.

10. Quilt Rack or Ladder
There are some things you want to store but not hide away. A quilt rack or ladder is a design element that doubles as storage. Instead of hiding baby’s handmade blankets and quilts, a rack or ladder both displays and stores. To make it safe for mobile little ones, look for a design that mounts to the wall, like the Small Blanket Rack ($46.90) from Etsy shop Wood Mountain Design.

Katie L. Carroll

 

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10 Unique Baby Shower Games Your Friends Will Love

Read next

Baby shower games get your guests laughing and chatting, especially if you step up your party game with these creative activities. Bonus: Add to the fun with these printable party games of bingo, Mad Libs and more!

ABC Baby Book

The prize for this game goes to the mom-to-be, who gets a homemade alphabet book crafted by her guests. Let guests choose what image to draw for each letter or, if you think they'll need inspiration, choose a theme for the book (it can even match the shower theme). Stop by the cuppacocoa blog for a free template and full instructions.

Baby Guess Who?

Maximum fun with minimal prep work: Guests send along baby photos of themselves prior to the shower, and you print them up, number each one, and create a display on a wall or table. Print out numbered sheets where guests can try to match each guest to a cute baby picture. The person who matches the most is the winner! The Working Moms Against Guilt blog has a step-by-step guide for creating this game and a free printable to go along with it.

Year One Bucket List

There are so many wonderful things parents can do with their baby in the first year, but it can be hard to remember to do them. Have guests write down one first-year bucket-list item on a note card and drop it in a basket for the mom-to-be to take home. Bonus points for using a diaper caddy as the basket, like the one above from Keababies! Encourage guests to include both little and big moments, from blowing bubbles with baby to zoo visits.

Clothing Decorating Station

Fill up baby’s wardrobe with customized outfits using blogger Lovely Indeed’s decorating station idea. Provide solid-colored baby clothes in a variety of styles and sizes, fabric markers, iron-on designs, and an iron. Your fashionista friends will have fun designing these tiny outfits, and will love seeing baby wear them.

Wishes for Baby

Ask every guest to share a wish for the new baby in this sweet idea from the Art Bar blog. Use pastel card stock and the blog’s free animal templates, or use scrapbook paper and your own shapes for the wish cards. Hang ribbon and small clothespins on the wall so guests can post their wishes so everyone can read them. 

 

Candy in a Baby Bottle

For a super easy game, fill baby bottles with a set amount of small candies, like sprinkles. Place a bottle at each table with a note that asks guests to guess the number of candies. This game doubles as an icebreaker as tablemates try to figure out the exact number. At each table, the person with the closest guess can win the candy or another prize.

Play-Doh Creations

Give each guest a container of Play-Doh and 15 minutes to sculpt a baby-related masterpiece (like a baby, pacifier or bottle). Let the mother-to-be pick her favorite to win a prize.

Hand-Crafted Baby Blocks

Shower guests can show off their artistic sides by decorating baby blocks! Provide blank wooden blocks, markers, stickers and more (Fireflies and Mudpies has instructions for making these textured blocks) and let your guests get creative. Mom-to-be can pick her favorite for a prize or hold a random draw. After the party, paint the blocks with a natural wood varnish for a one-of-a-kind gift for baby.

 

photo: iStock

Children's Book Quiz

For a book-loving mom-to-be, set up a quiz with trivia from classic children’s books. Or, create a fill-in-the-blank quiz with titles of children’s books. Guests will have fun remembering their favorite books from childhood.

Match the Socks

All you need to play this game are a bunch of new baby socks in different colors, patterns, and sizes and a cute laundry basket. We love the sock bundles from Cheski Sock Company, shown above. Throw the unpaired socks into the basket, set a timer, and have each guest match as many as they can in one minute. Mom-to-be gets a laundry basket and a great sock collection for baby, and your friends get a workout and a lot of laughs. 

Katie L. Carroll

featured image: StockSnap via Pixabay

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Read next

Touching, listening and even chewing! Touch-and-feel books are more fun than ever. Here are 14 interactive storybooks your child will love to read with you and on their own.

Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonald’s Farm

This sturdy board book has buttons you press to count the animals on each page. Count down from 10 cows to 1 rooster as you and your child sing about how Old MacDonald had a farm. Depending on how your child pokes each button, it will make different clicking and popping noises, adding an element of surprise along with the language, counting and fine-motor-skill development.

Available on amazon.com, $12.97.

Where Are You Polar Bear?

Part of DK's Eco Baby series, this book is made from responsibly sourced, completely recyclable cardboard and contains no plastic. The books take place in different landscapes and uses sweet illustrations to ask kids to help locate animals at risk of extinction.

Available at amazon.com, $9.99.

Zoom Space Adventure by Susan Hayes & Susanna Rumiz

Ava and her cat head into outer space to check out the International Space Station, ride in a moon buggy, find a Mars rover and more. A cool pop-up adds excitement and fun to the story as kids learn all about space.

Available at amazon.com, $12.99.

That's Not My Dragon... by Fiona Watt

From ears that are too tufty to a tail that is too prickly, each page offers a new dragon that’s not your baby’suntil the final spread. The dragon book is just one of the many titles in the That’s Not My series. Find a favorite for every personality, whether your little one prefers pandas, pirates or princesses.

Available at amazon.com, $13.72.

Where Is Baby's Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book by Karen Katz

Lift the flap to find where baby’s belly button, hands, eyes, and more are hiding. The illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and the peekaboo-style pages build excitement as readers anticipate what is under the flap. It offers teachable moments for babies to learn about different body parts in a fun way.

Available at amazon.com, $5.

The Cheerios Play Book by Lee Wade

Who said you shouldn’t play with your food? Snack time becomes play time when you mix the iconic O-shaped cereal kids love with this interactive book. Let baby test out their pincer grasp by filling in the circular spaces with Cheerios to complete each picture.

Available at amazon.com, $6.49.

Peek-A Who? by Nina Laden

Peek through the die-cut pages to guess who is peering at you. The simple rhymes are a play on the classic baby game of peekaboo. The book is full of silly wordplay, like when the cow says, “Peek a Moo!” And the last “Peek a YOU!” page lets baby see themselves in a mirror.

Available at amazon.com, $5.

Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy! by Sandra Boynton

Sandra Boynton brings her signature humor and playful animal characters to the touch-and-feel style of books. The cover invites children to “touch, skritch, and tickle,” while the interior has an array of different textures for kids to explore. The eggs at the end hold an amusing surprise!

Available at amazon.com, $14.99.

Tails by Matthew Van Fleet

Touch, pull and sniff your way through this interactive exploration of animals. Tails introduces baby to concepts like counting and opposites in a way that engages many senses. Be sure to check out Matthew Van Fleet’s other reads, such as Alphabet, Heads and Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings, for more sensory fun.

Available at amazon.com, $13.49.

Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell

This classic lift-the-flap book is a longtime favorite that continues to delight young readers. The refrain invites you to reveal what animal the zoo has sent in an attempt to find the perfect pet. Add in your own animal sounds for even more fun!

Available at amazon.com, $5.

Good Morning, Good Night! by Teresa Imperato

Wish your little one a good night on every page of this sweet book. The soothing feel of each animal’s fur is perfect for a low-key sensory experience at bedtime. Practice tucking in the character on the last page before tucking in your own bundle of joy.

Available at amazon.com, $7.96.

Noisy Trucks (My First Touch and Feel Sound Book) by Tiger Tales

Give your mini-explorer a glimpse into the real world with the photographic visuals in the My First Touch and Feel Sound Book series. Truck sounds offer an auditory experience for babies and toddlers that goes beyond the typical touch-and-feel read. Discover trucks, farm animals, dinosaurs, and other noisy options with the different books in this series!

Available at amazon.com, $11.68.

Baby's Big Busy Book by Karen Katz

A day in the life of a baby is busy indeed! There is so much to touch, explore and see as you follow along with babyfrom waking up to eating and playing throughout the day, and finally to bedtime. Build your baby’s vocabulary by reading all the little objects labeled throughout the colorful illustrations.

Available at amazon.com, $14.99.

Busy Baby: Friends by Sarah Gillingham
Turn that frown upside down! Little hands will be kept busy swiveling the face in the center of this book from sad to happy. Build up baby’s social and emotional skills as the characters navigate through the everyday happenings of sharing, making friends, and playing. Retro illustrations add to the distinct look of this book.

Available at amazon.com, $8.14.

 

Katie L. Carroll

featured photo: StockSnap via Pixabay 

 

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The Best Baby Swings for a Smooth Ride

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There is nothing quite like the gentle rocking of a parent’s arms to soothe a baby, but a baby swing comes pretty close. Whether decked out with the latest technology or small enough to travel with, there are more options than ever for this must-have baby gear. We’ve got you covered with this round-up of eight of the best baby swings out there, from brands you love including Graco, Nuna, 4moms, Fisher-Price and more.

Graco Simple Sway Swing

The Simple Sway has all the features of a classic baby swing. The side-to-side sway has six speeds and the vibration features two speeds, so you can customize your baby’s movement experience. Engage your little one’s eyes and ears with a hanging mobile and a choice of 15 sounds and songs. It can run on battery or plug in for your convenience.

Available at gracobaby.com, $99.99.

Munchkin Bluetooth-Enabled Swing

For the latest in high-tech baby gear, the Munchkin swing uses Bluetooth to stream baby’s favorite playlist from your phone to the swing’s speaker system. Or you can play preloaded ambient sounds and classical music to soothe your newborn. The swaying motion mimics the natural motion of parents. It can all be controlled by the sleek digital touch display or by remote. The lightweight design makes it easily to move around, and it breaks down for quick storage.

Available at munchkin.com, $190.

 

Ingenuity Comfort 2 Go Portable Swing

This Ingenuity Comfort swing offers both portability and affordability with all the features you need. It has eight melodies, three nature sounds, and a removable hanging toy. The reclining seat adjusts to two positions. The six-speed swinging action features TrueSpeed Technology that keeps the swinging speed consistent as baby grows. It runs on batteries and folds up compactly so it's great for travel.

Available at amazon.com, $69.99.

Fisher-Price Cradle 'n Swing

With the classic head-to-toe rocking or the soothing side-to-side motion, this swing has an option sure to please baby. The mobile is motorized and includes a dome mirror. The seat pad and plush insert are machine-washable, so you don’t have to worry about messes. It includes foldable legs for storage and traveling and has plug-in or battery power to make it a versatile baby product.

Nuna Leaf Grow

The Nuna is a motor-free swing that grows with your child from newborn to toddler. A gentle nudge will set the swing silently swaying for up to two minutes. The three-point harness can be removed to turn the baby swing into a comfy toddler seat. The fabric insert is certified organic and free of harmful substances. The chair can lock into place for use in feeding or playtime.

Available at nunababy.com, $299.95.

Bright Starts Portable Compact Swing

The WhisperQuiet technology on this swing makes for a quiet ride, unless you want to play one of six tunes. The toys that hang from the removable toy bar are detachable for takeaway play, and the seat includes tags for extra play and soothing. The lightweight design allows for easy folding, storage and transport. The swing adapts to baby’s changing weight, so the six speeds never feel too slow or fast.

Available at amazon.com, $59.99.

4moms mamaRoo4 Infant Seat

The futuristic design of the mamaRoo4 seat will fit in with any modern baby’s lifestyle. The five unique rocking and bouncing motions comfort little ones just like parents do. Listen to the built-in sounds or connect to any MP3 devices for baby’s musical favorites. The three fabric options—a soft plush, smooth polyester, or breathable fabric—are all machine-washable.

Available at 4moms.com, $219.99.

Graco Glider LX Gliding Swing

Similar to sitting in a nursery glider with you, the motion of this swing is a smooth ride for baby. In addition to different gliding speeds, there is a two-speed vibration mode. A timer makes sure the glider is on only when you want it to be, and it can be plugged in or run on batteries. Music and an overhead toy bar all help keep little ones entertained.

Available at gracobaby.com, $139.99.

 

—Katie L. Carroll

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