The best 5 gliders and rocking chairs

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Rocking chairs may seem old-fashioned, but they are extremely comfortable.
  • If you’re looking for a great rocking chair, we like the Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner.
  • Thanks to its reclining capabilities and 360-degree swivel action, we think it suits most people.

Often used by new parents, gliders and rocking chairs are useful additions to a nursery. But almost anyone can enjoy a rocking chair, and there are many modern styles to choose from these days.

Rocking chairs are even having a resurgence these days. You don’t have to be a baby to enjoy the gentle and calming rocking sensation. You can enjoy your new rocker in cushioned comfort, whether you’re in the baby’s nursery, on the porch, or in a living room watching TV.

We’ve checked all the reviews and looked over the feature sets of every rocking chair in our guide to find only the best ones. Whether you’re a new parent, a grandparent, or just someone who loves rocking chairs, we have a pick for you here.

Here are the best gliders and rocking chairs in 2021

The best gliding chair overall

best_rocking_chair_ _Baby_Relax_Mikayla_Swivel_Gliding_ _from_Amazon

No matter what style of rocking chair you prefer, the versatile Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner fulfills your needs, with a glider, recliner, and swivel chair all wrapped into one.

Pros: Versatile rocking chair offering glider and swivel features inside a recliner, soft and comfortable cushioning, high back is good for tall people, nice looking design, easy to clean microfiber fabric

Cons: May squeak a little

The Baby Relax Mikayla Swivel Gliding Recliner combines many of the best features in modern rocking chairs, all in one comfortable package.

It’s able to serve as a glider, a recliner, and a swivel chair. Because of its high-quality construction, all of the chair’s movements are extremely smooth and controlled, which is especially important for nursing mothers.

A padded leg rest invites you to put your feet up while you’re using the Mikayla as a recliner, and the button tufting on the backrest acts as both a generous cushion and a fun design detail. 

Speaking of design, it’s also nice that the chair comes in several different colors and fabrics. You can choose between beige linen, gray linen, gray microfiber, and mocha microfiber. Note that the microfiber fabrics will be the easiest to clean.

The best glider for nursing babies

best glider chair for nursing babies Dutailier

If you’re looking for a rocking chair specifically for nursing a baby — and you don’t mind spending a little extra — the Dutailier Nursing Grand Modern Glider Chair offers several desirable features.

Pros: High construction quality, easy to assemble, built-in nursing pillows set this rocking chair apart, very comfortable cushions, position of glider can be locked in place during feeding, also available with an ottoman

Cons: Narrow (18.75″ wide)

The Dutailier Nursing Grand Modern Glider provides high-quality fabric, a sturdy build, and generous cushioning.

It also includes built-in feeding pillows that make this rocking chair even more appealing to nursing parents. The pillows tuck into the back cushion when not in use. You’ll just pull the pillows out of place when you need to position them.

It also includes a fully adjustable backrest with extra seating space that’s perfect for sitting comfortably with your baby. You can lock the glider into place, ensuring you remain in just the right position without movement while feeding your baby. It’s also available with an ottoman

The best traditional rocking chair

best_rocking_chair_ _Coaster_Rocking_Chair_With_Carved_Detail_ _from_Amazon

If stylish and traditional is your taste in furniture, it doesn’t get much more traditional than the all-wood Coaster Milton Indoor Rocking Chair.

Pros: Beautiful looking traditional rocking chair, all wood construction, assembly takes a short amount of time, lightweight chair is easy to move around, easy to clean the chair

Cons: Customers report some problems with customer service, no included cushions

Some items are just better when you stick to the original design. If that’s your feeling regarding rocking chairs, the Coaster Milton Indoor Rocking Chair is the way to go.

The Coaster rocking chair has the two arc rockers, the four spindle legs attaching the chair to the rockers, the curved arms, and the all-wood design that represents the traditional look of a rocking chair. This model has no cushions on it, but you can easily add tie-on cushions to the seat and back for a bit of comfort.

This chair also weighs less than 20 pounds, making it easy to move around. 

The best outdoor rocking chair

best_rocking_chair_ _Outdoor_Interiors_Resin_Wicker_Rocking_Chair_ _from_Amazon

The Outdoor Interiors Resin Wicker and Eucalyptus Rocking Chair stands up to almost any kind of weather, but it will continue to look great with just a little bit of maintenance.

Pros: Very durable outdoor rocking chair, materials look nice, chair is comfortable for sitting for long periods, good build quality, wood only requires occasional maintenance care

Cons: Assembly can be tricky

The Outdoor Interiors Resin Wicker and Eucalyptus Rocking Chair provides the right mix of stylish construction and weatherproof materials, making it a great option for using on an outdoor patio.

It has a wooden frame and a wicker seat for a classic look. The materials are fairly durable and meant to tough out the weather on your patio. You may want to occasionally apply linseed oil to keep the wood in top condition.

You will have to pay a bit more than average for this outdoor rocking chair, but it has plenty of durability to make it worth the extra cost, thanks to its combination of wicker and eucalyptus.

A common complaint in online reviews is the chair’s tricky assembly process, as lining up the parts while tightening them is difficult for one person alone. However, once it’s made, it’s a great chair.

What to consider when buying a rocking chair

Rocking chairs and gliders are available in many shapes, designs, styles, and sizes. All of them allow you to create a gentle rocking motion, but they go about the process in slightly different ways. 

  • Fabric: If you’re often rocking your baby in the chair, the chair is going to become soiled at some point. It’s inevitable. So pick a type of chair and fabric that’s easy to clean.
  • Glider or platform: A glider rocking chair moves forward and backward, leaving the base in a stable position, rather than having the entire chair move in an arc like a traditional rocking chair. The movement of a glider is often smoother than a rocking chair, which is good for moms and babies. Gliders and platform rockers operate in a similar manner.
  • Locking mechanism: Some rocking chairs can be locked in place, which makes it easier for you to stand up while holding a baby.
  • Ottoman: Many rocking chairs come with an ottoman, which allows you to put your feet up when you don’t want to rock. Some ottomans that ship with glider rocking chairs also move in the same manner as the glider, allowing for a smooth motion.
  • Outdoor: Some rocking chairs are made for indoor use, while others are made for outdoor use. If you plan to leave your rocking chair exposed to the weather, be sure to pick a chair rated for outdoor use.
  • Padding: A rocking chair may provide padding to support your back, neck, and arms. You may be spending a few hours in the chair to comfort a sick baby, so padding is important. Even an all-wood rocking chair can be made more comfortable with removable padding that ties onto the chair.
  • Recliner: Some rockers have a reclining feature, which allows you to lock the rocking chair in place and put your feet up on a footrest.
  • Swivel: Some rocking chairs have a circular base, which allows you to spin the chair 360 degrees in addition to rocking in it. This is a great feature for being able to swing around and see other children playing in the room while sitting with a baby.

 

Check out our other guides to baby essentials

Baby crib

The best umbrella strollers


The best organic and eco-friendly disposable diapers


The best changing pads

Read the original article on Business Insider

43 thoughtful and useful baby shower gifts under $50

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

aiden anais swaddle
  • Baby showers celebrate new life and prepare parents for what’s to come with useful gifts.
  • We rounded up gifts that will be a big help when the baby arrives as well as fun keepsakes.
  • Below are 43 baby shower gifts under $50 that new parents will love.
  • Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Reviews’ gift guides here.

The world of baby products – especially for non-parents – can be daunting and confusing. What’s needed? What works? What do new parents want or love?

If you’re attending a baby shower, this makes choosing the perfect gift a bit difficult. You want to make the lives of soon-to-be exhausted parents easier and brighter. Some people also seek the perfect gift that will be the talk of the shower.

Plenty of new parents put together a baby registry, but if most of the gifts are already gone or you want to add something extra, you’ll find 43 options below – none of which cost more than $50.

Below are 43 thoughtful baby shower gifts under $50:

Baby moccasins

black and gold polka dot baby moccasins

Bird Rock Baby Moccasins, available at Amazon, $25

Okay, so babies don’t need shoes, but how can you resist such tiny moccasins? Available in over 30 colors and patterns, these moccasins are seriously stylish and easy to slip on.

A powerful stain remover

person spraying puracy natural stain remover on soiled t-shirt

Puracy Natural Stain Remover, available at Amazon, $11.99

Babies make messes, and as they grow, they make bigger messes. Parents love this plant-powered stain remover because it doesn’t have an overpowering smell — and it actually works.

Coffee. Enough said

driftaway

Driftaway Coffee Explorer Kit, available at Driftaway, $32

Exhaustion comes with the territory of new parenthood. With this coffee sampler, tired new parents can indulge in new coffee flavors as they navigate those sleepless nights.

Baby wipes for sensitive skin

person wiping baby's face with water wipes baby wipe

Water Wipes, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, from $12.32

These beloved wipes are a favorite of many parents because they’re so pure. They’re made of 99% water with just a drop of fruit extract.

A portable changing station for on-the-go parents

Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station

Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station, available at Bed Bath & Beyond and BuyBuyBaby, from $27.99

This padded changing station includes multiple pockets for diapers and wipes, and it can be folded up into a clutch after baby has been changed. Parents can toss it in the diaper bag, clip it to the stroller, or leave it in the car for convenient changes.

A white noise machine so parents can get some sleep

Hatch Rest Mini Machine

Hatch Rest Mini Machine, available at Hatch, $39.99

A white noise machine will relax and calm both parent and baby, letting each of them get some much-needed rest. The machine goes all night long — blocking out the random noises of the neighborhood. They can control the Rest Mini from their phone, so they don’t even need to get out of bed.

A gift card for organic baby clothes that gives back

Hanna Andersson Baby Clothes

Hanna Andersson Gift Card, available at Hanna Andersson, $50

Perhaps known best for its matching family pajamas, Hanna Andersson also makes virtually every piece of baby clothing imaginable. Some of their prints feature rainbows, dachshunds, and Winnie the Pooh. Plus, the brand partners with Baby2Baby, providing children living in poverty with diapers, clothing, and basic necessities.

A diaper cake

Hello Bello Diaper Cake

Hello Bello Diaper Cake, available at Walmart, $34.97

Diaper cakes are a classic baby shower gift, but not everybody has the DIY skills to create one. This diaper cake includes wipes, shampoo, and bubble bath in addition to 35 newborn diapers.

A diaper bag backpack that holds everything they need

HaloVa Diaper Bag

HaloVa Diaper Bag, available at Amazon, $32.99

This functional diaper bag has a spot for everything. Parents can stash all their essentials with two bottle pockets, a wet clothes pocket, a wipe pouch, and multiple main-compartment pockets. Best of all: It’s machine washable.

A top knot hat to keep baby’s head warm

Copper Pearl Top Knot Hat

Copper Pearl Top Knot Hat, available at Amazon, $12.50

This tiny top knot hat keeps baby’s head warm and cozy. Pair it with a matching knotted gown for the most adorable newborn photoshoot.

A new nursing bra

Third Love nursing bra

ThirdLove gift card, available at ThirdLove, starting at $15

Bra size can change rapidly and drastically throughout pregnancy and postpartum. Give a Third Love gift card so they can take the brand’s quiz and find the right size. Third Love’s 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra is available in sizes A-I.

An activity gym that stimulates the senses

Baby Einstein 4 in 1 Kickin' Tunes

Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Music & Language Discovery Gym, available at Target and BuyBuyBaby, $49.99

This music-themed activity gym encourages babies to kick, which is an important gross-motor skill. The set includes a piano, sensory toys, a mirror, and a prop pillow.

Baby bottles that reduce colic

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Options Anti Colic Glass Baby Bottles

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Options Anti-Colic Glass Baby Bottles, 2 pack, available at Amazon, $14.99

These affordable glass baby bottles have a removable vent that is designed to reduce colic. You can also purchase additional accessories like different nipples or silicone sleeves.

A simple sensory board book

That’s Not My Monkey Book

That’s Not My Monkey by Fiona Watt, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, $9.99

Babies will be fascinated by this book that only has a few pages. Each page is illustrated in bright colors and features a different texture for baby to feel.

A set of the essentials

babyganics gift set including lotion, bubble bath, shampoo, dish soap, toy wipes, hand sanitizer

Babyganics Essentials Gift Set, available at Target, $27.99

These essentials will set new parents up for newborn care success with lotion, bubble bath, shampoo/body wash, dish/bottle soap, table and high chair wipes, and hand sanitizer. Parents will feel good about using this brand that is free from sulfates, phthalates, parabens, and artificial ingredients.

A healthcare kit with all the essentials

Safety 1st Baby Healthcare and Grooming Kit

Safety 1st Deluxe 25-Piece Baby Healthcare and Grooming Kit, available at Amazon, 30.99

Make the postpartum period a little less stressful by gifting some healthcare essentials. This kit includes nail clippers, a thermometer, combs, and a nasal aspirator. It even comes with a carrying case that has convenient see-through compartments.

Clever, unique bibs that actually make baby messes cute

Hudson Baby Drooler Bibs

Hudson Baby Food-Themed Drooler Bibs, available at Amazon and BuyBuyBaby, from $17.80

The only thing that makes spit up and pureed avocado stains funny is one of these food-themed pun bibs.

A stuffed animal that plays peek-a-boo

Flappy the Elephant

Flappy the Elephant, available at Amazon, from $31.57

This plush elephant plays peek-a-boo and sings “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” For added effect, the elephant’s ears flop back and forth, actually covering its eyes during the game.

Fun animal-inspired plates and bowls

$4

Silicone Elephant Shaped Plate & Bowl, available at Pottery Barn Kids, from $5.99

If you’re looking for an inexpensive add-on gift, these adorable animal-inspired bowls and plates are a sweet option. 

Five natural, gentle essentials

rhfghfhh

Mustela Newborn Arrival Gift Set, available at Nordstrom, $34.99

Mustela is another well-loved brand for babies, and this set of newborn arrival essentials has five products designed for delicate newborn skin. Parents can trust all the products to work together gently and effectively. 

Wrist rattles

$7 target

Infantino Gaga Wrist Rattle, available at Target, $6.99

Wrist rattles are the distraction that baby won’t accidentally shake off as easily as other toys. They also have teethable, textured silicone borders that are BPA-free. 

A book that fosters cultural learning

Fry Bread  A Native American Family Story

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $14.51

“Fry Bread” is a story centered around food and culture. The book is chock-full of metaphors and even includes an educational note from the author and a delicious fry bread recipe.

Nursery skin care essentials

gffjjjj

Honest Baby Arrival Gift Set, available on The Honest Company, $49.95

Honest is well-loved by parents because all of its products are meant to be safe, gentle, and as minimally processed as possible. This set includes face and body lotion, shampoo and body wash, healing balm, and other essentials that are hypoallergenic and free of parabens, sulfates, dyes, and other risky additives. 

Cult-favorite cream moms swear by after breastfeeding

hghgfgfh

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Minis, 3-Count, available at Target, $8.49

Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream, available on Amazon, $8.49

You don’t have to hunt far online for the most beloved new mom products for mention of Lansinoh’s Lanolin nipple cream. It soothes, protects, and is really effective. It’s also 100% natural and preservative-free. 

Tethers that keep things like spoons and sippy cups from falling

5ae1fb6519ee861b008b45d8 750 563

Lil’ Sidekick Multi-Functional Tether, available at Lil’ Sidekick, $9.99

These multifunctional tethers may not be on the registry, but they should be. They’ll keep things like spoons and forks from falling to the floor while baby eats. 

Amazon Prime for easy, cheap, and fast refills of essentials

amazon boxes packages mail

Amazon Prime Three Month Subscription, available at Amazon, $39

The best thing you can give — if they don’t already have it — is probably an Amazon Prime membership. Parents can order essentials without leaving the house, pay less, and get it within two days with free shipping. It’ll also give them access to tons of other benefits. Plus, if they do have Prime already, your gift will convert into a gift card for them to use on any supplies they need.

A clever baby briefcase to store all of baby’s important documents

A baby briefcase to keep all their important documents in one place

Document Organizer, available at Nordstrom, $29.95

This clever baby briefcase is a cute (and helpful) way to organize all the important papers parents will need to keep track of — from birth certificates to passport photos. 

A fun, nourishing mask for her belly

HATCH 10 30 1720958 SINGLE copy 2_1024x

Hatch Belly Mask, available at Hatch, $12

Hatch’s Belly Mask is a fun way for them to relax and spend time caring for themselves. The mask is full of nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and propolis to minimize stretch marks during pregnancy and soften skin postpartum. 

Tiny booties that look like fortune cookies

gfjgfj

Baby Fortune Cookie Booties, available at Uncommon Goods, $29

Cute, unique, and sure to give baby’s parents a laugh. Don’t gift these if you aren’t ready for all the pictures grateful parents will send you. 

A soothing anti-swelling cream for legs and feet

HATCH_10 30 1720769_FINAL_1024x

Hatch Down, Girl Soothing Leg + Foot Relief, available at Hatch, $42

Hatch is a popular brand for maternity wear — so popular, in fact, that a good portion of the startup’s customers wear the clothes long after pregnancy because they love the aesthetic. 

Down, Girl is a cooling, anti-inflammatory gel-based cream that Hatch designed to soothe  and reduce swelling in legs and feet during pregnancy. 

A beloved teething toy

71vLVbAlWXL._SL1500_ 1

Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether, available at Amazon, $6.79

This infant training toothbrush and teether looks like a banana and helps kids get through the terrible teething phase with minimal tears. 

A contoured bath sponge that makes it easier to bathe newborns

tk

Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge, available at Target, $7.99

This infant bath sponge is a slip-resistant cushion with a contoured shape that makes it easier to bathe newborns. There’s a slight incline to support baby’s head, neck, and back, and the foam is quick-drying for fast cleanup.

Lots and lots of diapers

tk

Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers, available at Target, $8.29

It’s not as fun as buying baby moccasins in a gemstone color, but diapers are one of the most practical and thoughtful gifts you can give a new parent. They’ll need as many as they can stockpile, and it’s a relief to already have them at home. Consider purchasing larger sizes — many babies grow out of newborn diapers long before their stash runs out. 

A hooded baby towel for cozy bath time

parachute baby towel

Parachute Hooded Baby Towel, available at Parachute, $29

Parachute’s line of baby sheets and towels is extremely cute, and the brand has earned its reputation for quality linens. This hooded towel is perfect for a cozy bath time and a quick dry. 

Crib sheets in cute prints from a beloved startup

tk

Brooklittles Crib Sheets, available at Brooklinen, from $28.80

The internet’s favorite adult bedding startup also offers a line of sheets for little ones. Brooklinen’s Brooklittles line comes in tons of fun, vibrant patterns and prints.

A cult-favorite, comfortable baby wrap

A cult-favorite, comfortable baby wrap

Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier, available at Amazon, $49.95

This sling is comfortable, doesn’t have any complicated straps and buckles, and can be used with kids from babies to toddlers to help parents get more time with two free hands.  When we polled Business Insider parents for their favorite registry items, one told us this is the only thing she gives as a baby gift because of how good it is. 

Classic swaddling cloths

aiden anais swaddle

Aden + Anais Set of 4 Classic Swaddling Cloths, available at Nordstrom, $49.95

Aden + Anais are known for making quality baby products, and this set of classic swaddling cloths is no different. They come in cheerful patterns and are made from breathable, lightweight muslin that can be used for virtually anything. 

A portable gadget for fussy sleepers

35 baby

Baby Shusher Sleep Miracle Soother, available at Target, $34.99

No matter where baby is — in the car, at home, or in public — this little white noise machine helps fussy babies fall asleep. 

A pacifier that won’t keep falling to the ground in a never-ending loop

$15 ish

WubbaNub Monkey Pacifier, available at Nordstrom, $14.95

This WubbaNub pacifier is beloved among parents for good reason — a pacifier attached to a stuffed animal is less likely to fall to the ground a thousand times a day. They will thank you for this cute and clever gift. 

All the baby basics in one convenient kit

All the baby basics in one convenient kit

Fridababy Baby Basics Kit, available at Amazon, $34.98

If you’re a parent, don’t you kind of wish the mythical stork dropped off an entire bag of essentials at the same time? This Baby Basics Kit attempts to do something similar: grouping favorite products from trusted brand Fridababy for everything from “claws” (nails) to “flakes” (dry skin). 

A silicone roll-up bib that will save them time and time again

$12

OXO Tot Waterproof Silicone Roll Up Bib (2-pack), available at Amazon, $19.67

What’s conveniently mobile, well-designed, extremely useful, and far better than the status quo it replaces? A roll-up, silicone bib with a shelf to catch the rainstorm of food that babies drop while eating. Plus, the Velcro means it’s easily removed. Even if it’s not on the registry already, parents will thank you for it. 

Funny pacifiers that parents will get a kick out of

61PL50E4rxL._SL1000_

Mustachifier, available at Bed Bath & Beyond, $9.99

Few things diffuse tears and panic for babies like pacifiers. For adults, the same thing can be achieved with a little much-needed chuckle at their child.

A personalized bedtime book

A personalized bedtime book

Personalized Goodnight Little Me Book, available at Uncommon Goods, $40

Create a personalized goodnight book for a gift they’ll always remember. To make it even more sentimental, write a heartfelt inscription inside for when baby grows up. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best playpens and play yards in 2021 for indoors, outdoors, and travel

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Playpens can be a safe play or sleep space at home or while traveling, as long as parents are nearby.
  • The best playpen, the 4Moms Breeze Go Play Yard, is durable, easy to set up, and offers ample space.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, MD, CPST-I, FAAP, professor of pediatrics, Oregon Health and Science University.

Playpens serve as the ultimate babyproofing solution, keeping babies and toddlers away from household hazards as well as messy mischief. But besides keeping toddlers from splashing in toilets or drumming on all the pots and pans, the playpen can serve as a safe place for sleep anywhere, from grandparents’ house to family vacations. Despite their versatility, playpens can easily spark parent frustration over difficult folds, bulky bags, and hard-to-clean surfaces.

For this guide, I tried out 11 playpens and travel cribs with my now 1-year-old son to see which options were simple to use, portable, and safe for sleep. Because playpens come in a few different variations, I looked at traditional options, playpens with bassinets, and outdoor play spaces. I tested each editorial review sample for at least two weeks, setting it up and tearing it down multiple times. Along with letting my 1-year-old play and occasionally sleep in the playpens, I torture-tested the top picks – a process you can read more about at the end of this guide.

Safety, however, is the primary consideration when considering any sleep surface for infants. I spoke with Justin Smith, MD, a pediatrician at Cook Children’s in Trophy Club, Texas, to understand what makes a sleep surface safe and what to look for when choosing a playpen. No matter which playpen you choose, be sure to follow the pediatrician-recommended safe sleep practices at the end of this guide and never leave your child unsupervised in a playpen.

Here are the best playpens and play yards in 2021

The best playpen overall

4moms breeze go play yard in corner of room

The 4Moms Breeze Go Play Yard is sturdy and durable with plenty of space for play and sleep, and it sets up and tears down in seconds.

Pros: Easy setup and teardown, versatile design, sturdy, good play space size, one-year warranty on manufacturing defects

Cons: Heavy, bulky

When I put my son in smaller playpens, he wants out right away, but this is not so with the 4Moms Breeze Go, which gives him plenty of room to play. It is also compact enough that I can fit it in my master bathroom.

The play yard has an incredibly sturdy steel frame that holds the mattress a few inches off the ground. The mattress is firm and stable, while offering a little more padding than budget options. Baby food splatter wiped up easily from the nylon sides and mattress and left no stains. 

The 4Moms Breeze Go looks and feels like a traditional playpen, but the only motion required for setup and teardown is pulling up or pressing down on the center, no locking and unlocking top railings. I could easily set it up with one hand and tear it down in less than 5 minutes. Two hands are needed for teardown and packing it into the included travel bag. Even the bag is well-thought-out — the zipper runs diagonally down one side, which makes it easier to fit the play yard inside.

At nearly 3-feet long when stored in the travel bag, the Breeze Go isn’t exactly a breeze to carry around, but it’s a trade-off for its excellent build. For parents who prefer a durably constructed playpen over a light and small one more suitable for frequent travel, the Breeze Go is an excellent choice.

The best playpen with bassinet

Tiny Love 6-in-1 Here I Grow Play Yard in corner of room

The Tiny Love 6-in-1 Here I Grow Play Yard packs nearly everything you need to travel with a baby into one bag, while offering more than one way to play at home too.

Pros: Bassinet, changing table, and activity gym all in one; well-built; large play space; one-year warranty on manufacturing defects

Cons: Changing table difficult to disassemble, heavy

Out of all the play pens I tested, the Tiny Love 6-in-1 Here I Grow Play Yard offered the best all-in-one solution for sleep, play, and diapering. It has a bassinet, changing area, diaper caddy, and infant activity gym. The changing station was larger and more durable than others I evaluated and they play yard gives infants plenty of space. 

While a playpen with a diaper changing station isn’t hard to find, Tiny Love adds one more perk: an activity gym to use entirely separate from the play yard. The gym consists of a mat and a detachable toy arch that is nearly identical to Tiny Love’s Gymini activity gym, one of the top picks in our guide to the best infant activity gyms. Even more, the gym comes with a developmental guide offering ideas on how to play with your baby. The arch can also clip into the top of the play yard’s frame to double as a mobile.

Made with a metal and plastic frame and polyester fabric, the materials feel sturdier and more comfortable than those found in less expensive options. While the mattress is white, it cleaned up well for being spot-clean only, even when I left a splatter of squash puree to sit for a few days.

The Tiny Love Here I Grow assembles like a traditional play yard, with a center pull under the mattress and locking side rails, but it’s not overly stiff or difficult to set up or take down. The changing table attachment is tough to take apart, which you’ll need to do to pack it into the bag. Fitting so many pieces into the bag is also a bit tricky.

With all the added features, the play yard is on the heavy side. However, having sleep, play, and diapering from one play yard — including more ways to play than most — may be worth the added bulk for many parents.

Best playpen for travel

Guava Lotus Travel Crib in corner of room

The Guava Lotus Travel Crib fits in a backpack to easily take it on the go, yet still offers enough room to play, a comfortable mattress, and easy setup.

Pros: Backpack-style carrying bag, lightweight, comfortable mattress, easy setup, machine-washable mattress cover and sides, two-year warranty on manufacturing defects

Cons: Folding isn’t as intuitive as other models

The best playpen for travel isn’t a playpen at all, but a similar option called a travel crib. Travel cribs have a thicker sleeping mattress that rests on the floor instead of a frame for a more portable design. The Guava Lotus travel crib’s portability, simple setup, washable sides, and comfortable mattress quickly earned it a spot as my favorite out of several travel cribs I tested.

The Lotus offers a generous space for sleep and play. The legs stick out a few inches so the crib takes up roughly 10 square feet of floor space. Because the mattress sits on the floor, there’s no weight limit and the Lotus can be used until baby is attempting to climb out. The mattress itself feels more comfortable than the other playpen mattresses I tested, but still firm enough to use with a newborn.

The sides also have a zippered opening as an alternative way to get baby in and out. Made with an aluminum frame, polyester mesh sides, and a foam mattress with a base plate, the Lotus is Greenguard certified to be free from heavy metals, formaldehyde, and PVC. Both the mattress cover and the mesh sides are machine-washable (air-dry only), a major plus for diaper blowouts. Baby food easily wiped off the mattress, and the mesh sides came out of the wash unstained. 

The Lotus’s frame unfurls in a unique design: Unfold each leg, expand the top frame by pulling in one quick motion, then place the mattress inside. Folding is slightly more complex. The first few times I needed to use the instructions, but the process was still quick.

The backpack is a rather compact 24 inches on the longest side. I could carry the Lotus, the baby, and one other item simultaneously, something I couldn’t do with the other playpens.

Best outdoor playpen

Regalo My Play Deluxe play yard set up outdoors

As easy to set up as a folding camp chair, the Regalo My Play Deluxe creates a safe, large play space for baby.

Pros: Easy setup, generous play space, portable, sunshade, lightweight

Cons: Not for sleep, empty playpen will tip in heavy winds, only a 90-day warranty on manufacturer defects

*This play yard is temporarily out of stock. You can purchase the extra-large version at Amazon for $113.19.

The Regalo My Play Deluxe play yard provides a safe place to play in the backyard, at parks, while camping, and at outdoor events. Any playpen will help keep baby from getting into trouble outside — and a crib sheet can double as a sunshade in a pinch — but the Regalo My Play Deluxe is as easy to bring along and set up as a folding camp chair. 

The hexagon-shaped play yard measures a roomy 4-feet across, making it the largest playpen we recommend in this guide. The larger size helps my son to play a little longer before wanting out and can accommodate bigger toys. The canopy provides shade and keeps out most flying insects, though there is a small gap between the top of the play yard and the topper where bugs could potentially crawl through.

Setup is simple. I could stretch out the metal frame, then lock each of the two levers with my foot while holding the baby. The optional umbrella-style topper pops open with a quick pull on a string. The longest part of the process is latching the topper to the play yard using several bungee cords, which takes just a few minutes. When collapsed in the carry bag, it is about 40 inches long.

The My Play Deluxe doesn’t include a mattress and is made for play, not sleep. It is less versatile and shorter-lived than playpens for sleep and play that go up to age 3. It’s also not one you’ll want to leave set up in the yard indefinitely. Big wind gusts weren’t an issue while my son was playing in it, but a good wind can catch the topper and tip the play yard if nothing is inside. Mud also has a tendency to stain the bottom.

Best playpen for toddlers

Evenflo Versatile Play Space set up outdoors

The Evenflo Versatile Play Space is an affordable gate system that gives toddlers plenty of room to play.

Pros: Roomy, affordable, sturdy, indoor and outdoor use

Cons: No floor or mattress, difficult for travel, only a 90-day warranty on manufacturer defects

The amount of time my 1-year-old spends happily playing in a playpen seems to correlate with how large the play space is, and flexible gate systems offer the most space for active toddlers. The Evenflo Versatile Play Space is a six-piece gate system that offers more than 18 square feet of space and additional panels are available in sets of two.

While I preferred the Regalo’s built-in floor for keeping outdoor choking hazards away, the Evenflo offers a more affordable price and plenty of space. There’s no door, but at 5-foot-2, I can easily reach over the 28-inch side. If my son is playing in the center, however, I have to climb over the side to get to him.

Indoors, the gate system uses flat “feet.” Outdoors, those feet can be reversed to stakes, similar to tent stakes, to keep the gate in place. To switch to the stakes, you need to push a button on the bottom, pull out the flat foot, and reinsert it with the stake side out. Switching the feet was a little tricky at first, but once I found how to get a good grip on the foot to pull it out, it was much easier. The stakes aren’t necessary for outdoor use, but could be handy for older toddlers who tend to pull and wiggle the sides.

The Evenflo Versatile Play Space has a carrying handle for use when folded up, though it is a bit tougher to carry and travel with than traditional playpens that collapse.  The plastic panels are durable enough to take outdoors and easily wipe clean with a damp cloth. I used the play space while camping and even forgot it outside in the rain with no issues. 

Best budget playpen

Evenflo Baby Suite Playard in corner of room

The Evenflo Baby Suite Playard is large enough for both sleep and play, and the sturdy construction feels like it should cost more.

Pros: Lightweight, good size play space, easy setup

Cons: Mattress can be noisy and may slide, only a 90-day warranty on manufacturer defects

The Evenflo Baby Suite Playard is a simple budget option that offers a large space for sleep and play, fabrics that easily wipe clean, and uncomplicated setup.

The mattress is covered with a vinyl material, a design choice that is both good and bad. The good: The mattress and the sides of the Baby Suite wipe down easily. Even dried-up baby food didn’t leave a stain or require much scrubbing. However, that material makes the mattress a little noisy as the baby moves around. My son didn’t seem to mind the noise, but some babies and caregivers might. The mattress also needs to be strapped down because the vinyl is slippery and it could slide out of place. 

With its traditional playpen design, setup involves locking the four top rails, pressing down the center, and securing the mattress. A button in the center of the rail depresses for teardown. The button is large enough to easily locate, and it didn’t stick like other budget models I’ve used in the past. 

The play yard weighs less than 17 pounds and comes with a carrying bag, making it lighter and more portable than options like the 4Moms Breeze Go. While not as easy to set up or as high quality as our other top picks, the Baby Suite is lightweight, roomy, and easy to clean at an excellent price point.

What else we considered

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light set up in corner of room

I tested 11 playpens and travel cribs over six months to find the best options. Along with our top picks, I also tried the following:

  • Graco Pack ‘n Play Travel Dome LX Playard: I loved the Travel Dome that is included with this Pack ‘n Play, which would be ideal for newborn naps without packing the entire thing. The Pack ‘n Play wasn’t as easy to set up — I couldn’t get the changing station fully assembled — or as large as our pick for the best playpen with a bassinet, the Tiny Love Here I Grow Play Yard.
  • Skip Hop Play to Night Expanding Travel Crib: This Skip Hop travel crib has a unique design that converts from a sleep space to a larger play area, but it can be a bit tricky to convert. The mattress isn’t quite as soft as our top pick, the Guava Lotus, and it’s not quite as stable, but it’s a good alternative if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option.
  • Baby Jogger City Suite: If you want a bassinet for travel, this is a good option. The play and sleep space is smaller than others I tried, however.
  • Joovy Gloo: The Joovy Gloo is more akin to a portable toddler bed than a playpen. The tent-like bed is excellent for infants older than 6 months, toddlers, and preschoolers — even for outdoor naps. I love using the Gloo for naps on the go, but it isn’t tall enough for play.
  • Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light: An excellent travel crib, the Baby Bjorn is easy to set up and clean. It was one of my favorites, but the Guava Lotus offered the same perks in a backpack for less money.

Our testing methodology

Best playpens and play yards in 2021

I used each of the top picks in this guide for at least two weeks with my son, age 8 months to 1 year old during testing. Because playpens tend to take more abuse during play than sleep, we spent most of that time using each one for play. I evaluated them for durability, portability, ease of use, and safe sleep.

Durability: To test durability, I shook the frame, then folded up the playpen and dropped it from arm’s length a few times, not unlike what a playpen could experience while getting manhandled as checked airline baggage. Because my son was too old for a bassinet, I tossed some books into the toppers and checked for a sturdy, level sleep surface. For outdoor playpens, I left each one outside overnight, including in the rain and on camping trips.

Ease of cleaning: To see how well each option would handle diaper blowouts and spit-up, I splattered baby food on the mattress and sides.

Portability: I evaluated each playpen while in the bag, if one was included. I carried the playpens from room to room to see how easy they were to lug around. This test was prioritized for the travel category.

Ease of use: I set up and tore down each option several times, considering both simplicity and the length of time needed.

Safe sleep: I also evaluated mattresses. I pressed on each one to check for firmness and ensure there was no gap between the mattress and playpen sides.

Safe sleep

No matter which type of playpen you choose, considering safe sleep is a must. Last year, inclined sleepers like the Rock ‘n Play Sleeper were recalled after infant deaths, a reminder that some products on store shelves do not follow the safe sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to those guidelines, infants should sleep on their backs on a flat, firm surface without any loose bedding or other objects. The playpen you choose should also meet the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

When it comes to playpens, Justin Smith, MD, a pediatrician at Cook Children’s in Trophy Club, Texas, said parents should look for firm sleep surfaces.

“All sleep options should be a flat surface with a firm mattress in order to be safe,” he said. “Parents should also be careful to make sure that the surface doesn’t have built-in bumpers or soft surfaces which could cause suffocation.”

If you plan to cover the mattress with a sheet, make sure that it fits tightly. Loose-fitting sheets and soft items like blankets and stuffed toys should never be placed in a portable crib with a child under 1 year old.

With any playpen or travel crib, it’s important read the entire user’s manual, which will also include weight, height, and age restrictions. For example, most bassinet add-ons are only rated to 15 pounds, with changing tables often having similar restrictions.

To protect children against injuries, caregivers should also provide constant supervision while they are in the play yard, whether they are awake or asleep. It’s also important to note that, like with cribs, once a child can climb out of a play yard, it is no longer a safe space for them to spend time.

Whenever traveling, Smith recommends making sure that the baby’s caregivers are also aware of safe sleep guidelines.

“Parents should keep in mind that travel is a particularly risky time for babies regarding safe sleep environments,” Smith said. “Make sure each caregiver, including grandparents, is aware that children should be placed on their back on a flat surface for every sleep.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best baby bibs in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Baby bibs often aren’t given much thought, but a quality one will make feeding your baby easier.
  • We surveyed parents and spoke to a pediatrician and a feeding expert to narrow down baby bibs to test.
  • These are the best baby bibs we tried with a 1-year-old, including silicone, cotton, and bandana bibs.

Let’s state the obvious – feeding babies can get real messy. If ensuring they eat a well-balanced meal isn’t enough, you also have to make sure fruit and yogurt don’t spill all over your kitchen floor. Luckily, a quality baby bib will make life much easier.

For this guide, I put 11 baby bibs to the test with my 1-year-old niece, Julianna Grace. Between breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I tried a variety of bib styles with her, from bandana and cotton designs to silicone and apron-style bibs.

I also surveyed 20 parents and caregivers, all of whom said they look for a bib that’s easy to clean. More than 40% said the biggest issues they run into are bibs not staying in place, irritating the baby’s neck, and not catching foods and liquids well. I kept this in mind while testing and choosing the top picks for this guide.

While testing, I took notes on how comfortable each bib was, how effective the design was at picking up food, and how it held up in the wash. You’d be surprised at how many bibs didn’t make the cut – and how impressive the top five were during feeding time in the high chair.

I also also spoke with Judy Delaware – an occupational therapist, feeding specialist, and certified lactation counselor – for more information on bibs and best feeding practices. Dr. Sarah Fleet, attending physician at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, also provided her expertise in our FAQs section.

Here are the best baby bibs in 2021

The best baby bib overall

Toddler wearing pink babybjorn bib

The Babybjorn Baby Bib has a convenient bottom pouch to catch food and spills and only requires a wipe to clean.

Pros: Keeps food from falling to the floor, adjustable neckband, easy to clean, BPA-free, made of food-safe plastic, quick to dry

Cons: Hand-wash only

Before I tested these bibs on my niece, my sister mentioned she swears by bibs with a catch pocket at the bottom to prevent messes. Though convenient, I didn’t think it was a necessity — until I tried out the Babybjorn Baby Bib.

It really does catch everything and also makes it easy to assess how much the baby is eating per meal. It was also one of the most comfortable bibs, thanks to the lightweight, thin beaded neckline that’s adjustable and prevents irritation to the baby’s neck.

The Babybjorn bib is made of durable, nonflexible silicone that doesn’t stick to the baby’s clothes like less-structured bibs. Julianna ate a chicken meatball, grilled zucchini, and roasted sweet potatoes for dinner while wearing the Babybjorn, and after removing some leftover food in the pouch, all it took was a wipe to clean. 

The best cotton bib

Toddler wearing nuby teething bib

The Nuby Reversible 100% Natural Cotton Teething Bib is perfect for all stages, particularly for its comfort, ease of cleaning, and unique teething tip for the baby to chew on before or after feeding.

Pros: Textured tip is great for teething, super soft, BPA-free, reversible, made of natural fibers

Cons: Doesn’t capture all food and spills

Julianna is in the notoriously brutal teething stage, which means she chews on just about anything to soothe her gums as baby teeth are erupting. When I discovered that Nuby makes a teething bib, I was intrigued.

The textured tip at the bib’s end is what sets it apart from other bibs, but it’s not the only feature that makes Nuby a standout. The material is extremely comfortable and the bib is the ideal size for feeding time. The reversible designs are also a nice touch.

Julianna ate her favorite chicken meatball again, with sauteed mushrooms, and though the bib didn’t catch every bit of leftover food, there wasn’t an unbearable mess. The best part: After feeding, I could toss it in the washing machine and dryer for a quick tumble.

The best bandana bib

Toddler wearing Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib

The Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib is the most effective bandana style we tested, thanks to its wide, catch-all design.

Pros: Didn’t bunch up around the neck, comes in many unique patterns, wide design protects from spills, soft and comfortable, adjustable snaps at the neckline, easy to clean

Cons: None

After testing a few bandana bibs, the Copper Pearl Baby Bandana Bib proved the most practical because it laid flat on the baby to prevent spills, instead of bunching up around the neckline.

The designs are beyond cute (and though style is subjective, there’s a pattern for every taste). Copper Pearl is made of 100% absorbent cotton on the front and 100% polyester fleece on the back, so it’s plush and comfortable to wear. 

Julianna ate French toast, bananas, and strawberries for breakfast, and the bib was impressive at absorbing drool and preventing spills. After feeding, a quick tumble in the washing machine and dryer made it ready for the baby’s next meal.

The best apron-style bib

Toddler wearing panda ear short sleeve bib

The Panda Ear Short Sleeve Bib has an adjustable tie back, covers the baby’s shoulders to prevent spills, and the repel-tex material absorbs any small residue.

Pros: Short-sleeve design provides more coverage, great at absorbing drool, BPA-free, easy to clean, comfortable

Cons: May be too large for babies younger than 12 months, though the tie-back is adjustable; didn’t capture all food and spills

Apron-style bibs are great because they’re more like a smock rather than a chest covering. The Panda Ear Bib made the cut because of its short-sleeve design, which effectively covered the baby’s shoulders during mealtime.

Though the repel-tex material is super absorbent and easy to clean in the washing machine after meals, some of Julianna’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich slid off into the high chair seat. This wasn’t a dealbreaker, however, given the bib provides more coverage than others we tested. 

Panda Ear makes fun patterns, too, and the tie-back feature was comfortable, caused no irritation, and enabled Julianna to enjoy her meal with a more precise fit. The bib runs a bit large, so I wouldn’t recommend ordering if your baby is less than 12 months old.

The best value bib

Toddler wearing green sprouts bib

For less than $20, you can purchase 10 comfy Green Sprouts Stay-Dry Infant Bibs with an oval design, perfect for preventing food from sliding off. 

Pros: Food and spills remained on the bib, oval design covers some of the baby’s shoulders, easy to clean, 10-pack is great for multiple uses per day

Cons: Material isn’t as soft as others, but is still effective for feeding

The Green Sprouts Stay-Dry Infant Bibs are smaller than most, but have a unique oval design that acts as a shield on the baby’s shoulders to prevent spills. After Julianna ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, strawberries, and formula, most of the food bits remained on the bib’s surface, so the post-feeding cleanup was a breeze.

In our survey of parents and caregivers, nearly 40% of respondents said they use three bibs per day, with just over 10% using double that amount. That said, this 10-pack of quality bibs is an excellent value for those who just want something that will easily slip on.

Though I found the material not as soft as others, the bibs got the feeding job done without irritating my niece’s neck. When finished, the Green Sprouts bibs can be tossed in the washing machine and dryer.

Our methodology

Collection of baby bibs

In order to narrow down what types of bibs to test for this guide, we surveyed 20 parents and caregivers to better understand their baby bib preferences. Here’s an overview of the results:

  • 85% of respondents care for babies between 4 and 11 months of age.
  • 100% of respondents look for a baby bib that’s easy to clean, with durability being a close second.
  • Most parents and caregivers use three baby bibs per day and wash them daily.

What’s more, silicone baby bibs are the most popular type. Multipacks were overwhelmingly preferred, with 90% of respondents purchasing baby bibs in a two-pack or more, rather than a single bib.

When asked what issues parents and caregivers run into with baby bibs, the three most common problems include the bib not staying in place, irritation to the baby’s neck, and the bib not catching foods and liquids well.

With our survey results in mind, we tested each bib according to the following criteria:

  • How it held up while feeding: This includes how much of a mess was left over after feeding, how effective the bib was at absorbing drool and catching food, and the overall design of the bib.
  • How comfortable it was: This includes if the bib caused any irritation and the softness and durability of the material.
  • How simple it was to clean: While most bibs were washing-machine safe, we paid special attention to those that weren’t and how simple they were to clean when using a different method.

What else we considered

Toddler wearing loulou lollipop bib

Below are the bibs we tested that didn’t quite make the cut:

FAQs about baby bibs and best feeding practices

We spoke to Feeding Littles cofounder Judy Delaware, OTR/L, CLC — an occupational therapist, feeding specialist, and certified lactation counselor — and Dr. Sarah Fleet, attending physician at Boston’s Children’s Hospital and instructor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Both provided their expertise to answer commonly asked questions about what to look for in a baby bib and what to know while feeding.

What should a caregiver look for in a baby bib?

“I would recommend something easy to clean, comfortable to wear, and long enough to protect the clothes underneath,” said Fleet.”Being dishwasher or machine washable would also be useful.”

It’s great for a baby bib to tie around the baby’s body and not the neck for both safety and comfort, added Delaware. She also appreciates quick-dry fabrics and waterproof designs. Keep in mind that choosing a baby bib remains entirely up to preference, however.


What should I know about cotton and bandana bibs?

“The bandana-style bib is typically made from cotton and, in my experience, these bibs are used for both feeding and drooling but don’t hold up to the wetness that can occur during these activities,” Delaware said. “This bib can feel soft to the touch, but many caregivers quickly find the bib and clothing may have to be changed.”


What should I know about silicone bibs?

 “The silicone bib is a caregiver favorite, but the front pocket may act as a place to pour or store things,” said Delaware. “The adjustable snaps may be irritating to tiny necks and many kids find silicone irritating to their skin.”


What should I know about repel-tex bibs?

“Repeltex is water-repellent and prevents the baby’s skin from feeling clammy or irritated,” said Delaware. “Look for a bib that secures around the body and not the neck.”


How often should I wash a baby bib?

Delaware recommends rinsing a bib after each use and running it through the washing machine one to three times a week. Fleet agrees, adding that food and saliva can become embedded on the bib’s surface and attract bacteria and pests.


What are safe feeding practices for babies?

“Each baby is unique in their skill development, and needs to be introduced to foods when they are developmentally ready,” said Fleet. “Solid foods should be introduced to an infant when they can sit unsupported in a high chair, with good head control, and are showing interest in solid foods.”


 How can I encourage mealtime if a baby is fussy?

 “Mealtime should ideally be free of distraction or screens and children should sit in a high chair or at the table,” said Fleet. “They should be allowed to feed themselves, and should not be fed against their will, as babies and toddlers generally eat when they are hungry and stop when they’re full.” Force-feeding may make them resistant to eat in the future, she added.

Fleet also recommends adding spices and flavors to infant and toddler foods. Toward the end of infancy, they may start refusing bland purees and prefer blended family meals, as they are more flavorful.


What should a baby’s diet contain for each life stage?

Below, Fleet provided a sample diet, unique to each month grouping. Be sure to speak to your pediatrician about any specific concerns.

  • 0 to 4 months: Only breastmilk or formula should be given.
  • 4 to 6 months: Single food purees can be given once daily along with breastmilk or formula.
  • 9 to 12 months: Beyond 6 months of age, breastmilk and formula don’t contain enough iron, so solid foods are recommended more than once daily. The baby can try dissolvable solids, like puffs and veggie straws.
  • 12 months and up: Three meals of solid foods and two snacks are encouraged, including puree, soft foods, or dissolvable solids. Bottles can be offered as snacks between meals.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 6 best diaper bags in 2021, including stylish totes, backpack styles, and travel options

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Parents use diaper bags to organize and carry every essential their child needs.
  • These diaper bags in a variety of styles have plenty of insulated pockets, changing mats, and more.
  • Our top pick is the Skip Hop Forma because it’s comfortable and easy to organize.

For new parents and parents with toddlers, a great diaper bag is a must-have item. Plus, the best diaper bags can last well beyond the diaper years and continue to be a handy overnight or travel bag to hold all those extra kid essentials.

The ideal diaper bag holds all the general staples: diapers, wipes, toys, bottles, snacks, a change of clothes, a changing pad – plus, parents’ keys, cellphone, and wallet – with room to spare. It also needs to be easy to organize so parents don’t have to dig around to find something and it should be comfortable to wear while on the go.

We’ve included a variety of styles, from backpack options to standard totes to bags made just for traveling.

Keep in mind that though many diaper bags come with clips or straps to attach to the handle of your stroller, this feature isn’t safe and should never be used, as it can make your stroller tip over.

Here are the best diaper bags

The best diaper bag overall

Skip Hop Forma
Features two packings cubes for maximum storage.

The Skip Hop Diaper Bag Backpack is surprisingly lightweight, comfortable to carry, and has plenty of room to easily organize all the essentials.

What we like: Packing cubes, cushioned changing pad, lightweight, easy-to-clean, double zippers

Even when this multi-functional backpack is packed to the gills, the Skip Hop Forma won’t weigh you down. It features two handy storage cubes for bottles and snacks, which leaves the main compartment completely free for diapers, wipes, and more. With nine pockets of varying sizes, you won’t have to worry about losing any items into a bottomless abyss.

This bag also features a changing pad and is easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth. The padded straps add comfort and the thick material and double zippers ensure it’s durable. As an added bonus, this bag is chic enough to easily transition into a normal backpack for years of extra use.

The best diaper bag on a budget

 HaloVa Diaper Bag Multi Function Waterproof Travel Backpack
Holds up to 40 pounds.

You can’t beat the price of the HaloVa backpack diaper bag — plus it has insulated bottle pockets and two different ways to access the main compartment.

What we like: Water-resistant material, multiple pockets, durable, double zippers

Don’t let the low price tag fool you — this diaper bag is the real deal. The HaloVa has 14 total pockets including three insulated bottle pockets; a discreet back pocket for phones, credit cards, or other valuables; and a small pocket specifically designed for wet clothes. You can also get to the main compartment via a second back zipper for extra easy access.

Its water-resistant material makes it extra durable and that coupled with a special interior liner make this bag easy to wipe down, though you can also throw it in the washing machine for bigger messes.  

The best travel diaper bag

Skip Hop Weekender Travel Diaper Bag Tote
Features a drawbridge compartment for quick, easy access.

The Skip Hop Weekender Travel Diaper Bag Tote makes traveling with the family a breeze thanks to its sleeve that easily slips over suitcase handles.

What we like: Roomy main compartment, wide drawbridge opening, packing cubes, handy luggage sleeve, changing pad, double zippers

Sized just right for family getaways, the Skip Hop Weekender Bag easily holds all of baby’s essentials, with room to spare for parents’ travel accessories too. The extra-large tote bag features a spacious main compartment framed by a wide “drawbridge” pocket that unzips two ways for easy access.

Like the Skip Hop Forma, the Weekender adds on two packing containers to help optimize space. The handy back sleeve easily slides over luggage handles making it easy to maneuver through airports. Plus, it has an adjustable, removable shoulder strap that can be worn as a crossbody.

The best oversized diaper bag

Bag Nation Diaper Bag Backpack
Vented padding on the back and shoulder straps add comfort.

The Bag Nation Diaper Bag offers hands-free comfort, fits all the essentials and then some, and comes with a removable changing pad, Sundry bag, and more.

What we like: Vented padding, changing pad, water-resistant material, storage capacity

If you’re looking for a bag that fits everything you need without taking a toll on your back, the Bag Nation Backpack is a great option. It features padded, ergonomically curved straps and a breathable mesh-padded back panel for extra comfort even on hot, sticky days.

Organization is a breeze with this bag too thanks to its 14 pockets, including insulated pockets for bottles. The special wipe pouch makes wet wipes easily accessible and it also includes a changing pad and a Sundry bag. Water-resistant material, reinforced stitching, and sturdy zippers ensure this bag will last, and Bag Nation backs this up with a lifetime warranty.

The best diaper bag for easy organization

 Diaper Bag Backpack, RUVALINO Multifunction Travel
Features an easy access “parent” pocket for keys, phones, and wallets.

The RUVALINO diaper bag backpack features two big compartments and a whopping 16 pockets so every item can have its own specific space. 

What we like: Large storage capacity, tons of pockets, changing pad, dual zippers, water-resistant material

For the parents who like everything neat and tidy and in its place, the RUVALINO diaper bag is for you. Its two big zipper-closure compartments and 16 pockets ensure easy organizing without the bag ever feeling overly stuffed. Even so, its strong twill polyester and non-fray stitching ensure that no amount of bulk will break this sturdy bag.

Its thick, padded shoulder straps give comfortable all-day wear and the easy-access “parent” pocket keeps items like keys and phones safe and easily accessible. Insulated bottle pockets hold a variety of bottle sizes, while a separate mesh diaper organizer allows means you have more room in the main compartment. This bag also comes with a waterproof changing pad that’s easy to wipe down.

The best diaper bag with a changing station

Happy Luoka 3 in 1 Diaper Bag Backpack
Charge your phone anytime with the backpack’s convenient charging port.

Change diapers on the go is a breeze with the Happy Luoka 3-in-1 Diaper Bag‘s expandable changing station that fits babies and toddlers. 

What we like: Expandable diaper changing station, charging port, multiple pockets, mesh backpack straps, double zippers

Based on how lightweight this bag is, you’d never know the back expands into a huge, portable changing station. The privacy cover on top is held up by magnetic bars, which quickly fold up. When closed up, the back privacy pocket stores personal items from keys to credit cards.

The bag’s back ventilation design and the wide shoulder straps make it extra comfortable. As an extra perk, it also features a strategically placed USB charging port to keep your electronics fully charged even when out and about. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

36 fun and practical gifts that new parents will love

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

fast_table_chair Inglesina

The best gifts for new parents are practical and fun – stuff they can use to make their lives a little easier during a difficult but rewarding time. They’re bound to love any of these 36 gift ideas, while putting them to good use too.

We’ve got gifts that will help them wake up or get some sleep when they have the chance. There are handy items here that they can use in the nursery or on the road, along with some fun stuff, like mustache pacifiers, that are great for a laugh.

Read on for 36 of the best gifts for new parents:

A safe, easy-to-use nail trimmer

gift for new parents: bbluv trimo baby nail trimmer

Bblüv Trimö Baby Electric Nail Trimmer, available at Buy Buy Baby, $29.99

Baby nails can get really sharp. And because they’re so small and delicate, they can be intimidating to take care of. This electric trimmer makes it easy to gently cut fingernails and toenails without having to worry about getting them too short. The electric file gently rounds off the rough edges.

Delicious homemade baby food

baby brezza glass one step baby food maker gift for new parents

Baby Brezza Glass One Step Baby Food Maker, available at Buy Buy Baby and Target, from $99.99

Buying baby food by the jar gets expensive, and it leaves you with an ever-expanding pile of empty containers that may or may not be getting recycled. The Baby Brezza solves that by letting you steam and puree your own baby food. It comes with a handy recipe book to get started.

A comfortable seat for baby

Gifts for new parents: 36 gift ideas that they'll use

Bumboo Infant Floor Seat, available at Buy Buy Baby and Target, $39.99

Made from soft, durable foam, the Bumboo seat helps babies learn to sit upright, starting at three months. Parents will appreciate its portability as well as how easy it is to clean.

A fun way to clean up snot-nosed kids

Gifts for new parents: Frida Baby Nose Frida the Snotsucker

Frida Baby Nose Frida the Snotsucker, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, from $15.99

Stuffy noses can make a baby uncomfortable. Since they can’t just go blow it out with a tissue, they need a little help. The Nose Frida Snotsucker looks, well, weird, but it’s safe, clean, easy to wash, and if we’re being honest, it’s kind of fun too. 

Cozy moccasins for baby’s first steps

tpmocs

TPMOCS Custom Moccasins, available at TPMocs from $74

Handcrafted at every step of the way by Native American artisans, these beautiful, durable customized moccasins keep baby’s feet comfortable with every step. A portion of all purchases goes toward addressing poverty for Native American communities in need.   

A pillow spray to help parents get a good night’s sleep

deep sleep spray

This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, available at Dermstore, $29

Sleep is a tenuous proposition, at best, for new parents, so when they finally get the chance to turn in for the night, this spray will help them fall into a deeper and more relaxed sleep. Featuring a pleasing blend of lavender, chamomile, and vetivert, the relaxing scent helps a person doze off. One of our reporters swears by it for a better night’s sleep.

A cleverly designed towel that quickly dries and comforts babies

parachute baby towel

Parachute Hooded Baby Towel, available at Parachute, $29

Getting out of the bath is cold for babies, too, but this this absorbent towel keeps lets you wrap them up to keep them cozy while drying off. The adorable hood adds extra warmth.

A keepsake calendar filled with sweet photos

wooden calendar pdp 01

Artifact Uprising Wood Calendar, available at Artifact Uprising, $25

Parents can’t get enough photos of their newborn. Take some of those photos to create a unique, practical calendar featuring their little one that they can use every day.

An essential supply they can never get enough of

Honest Diapers under $25

Honest Diapers, available at Honest.com, $10.95/pack

Cloth diapers aren’t for everyone, but these absorbent disposable diapers made from Earth-friendly materials are a good alternative for the eco-conscious. They also feature fun prints, even holiday designs. And to up the convenience factor for busy new parents, the company also has a diapers and wipes subscription box to save money and precious time. 

A comfortable and flexible baby sling

baby sling

Baby K’tan Original Carrier, available at Buy Buy Baby, Amazon, and Target, $49.99

Hands-free carrying is a convenient way to keep baby close that parents will appreciate, whether they’re grocery shopping or talking on the phone. This sling is comfortable for the baby as well as parents. It’s a gift one of Business Insider’s own gives to new parents after having used it with her kids from the time they were born until they were toddlers. You can check out our top picks for the best baby carriers here.

Crib sheets in cute prints

Brooklinen_crib_sheets

Brooklittles Crib Sheet Sets, available at Brooklinen, from $28.80

From spit up to diaper blowouts, crib sheets have to endure a lot, so it’s essential that there’s always a clean one handy. Parents will really appreciate such a practical gift when they need one. Brooklinen’s line of sheets for little ones feature fun patterns and prints that look great in any nursery.

A baby book parents will actually want to fill out

babys_first_year Lucy_Darling

Lucy Darling Flower Child Memory Book, available at Maisonette, $34.99

Parents always appreciate looking back on the special memories they otherwise might have lost to sleep deprivation during baby’s first year. Jotting down moments to savor won’t feel like more paperwork with this spiral-bound baby book adorned with fun floral patterns. There’s even a place for the baby’s hand and foot prints.

A warm cup of coffee on a cold day

Contigo Autoseal West Loop Insulated Travel Mug under $25

Contigo Autoseal West Loop Insulated Travel Mug, available at Amazon, $17.24

Life with a baby doesn’t pause so parents can rest, so having a little caffeine on hand can be a lifesaver when a parent’s running morning errands on five hours of sleep. This leak-free travel mug keeps drinks hot or cold for up to seven hours, and it comes in 30 colors and a variety of sizes.

An Amazon Prime membership so new parents can order supplies

Amazon Prime Day 2018
What to buy on Amazon Prime Day 2018

Amazon Prime gift subscription, three months, $39

Nobody wants to make an extra trip to the store, especially busy new parents. A Prime membership lets them avoid the hassle, allowing them to order whatever they need and have it delivered instead, in two days.

A full-year subscription is $119. And if they already have a Prime membership, they’ll be able to convert your gift to credit so they can spend the money on anything they need.

A portable gadget for fussy sleepers

baby shusher

Baby Shusher Sleep Miracle, available at Buy Buy Baby, Walmart, Amazon, and Target, $34.99

White-noise machines are useful gadgets to have around because they’re helpful for getting a fussy baby to fall asleep. The Baby Susher plays a real human voice, and it’s easy to use at home, in the car, etc. 

A pacifier that won’t keep falling to the ground

avent giraffe soothie

Philips Avent Soothie Snuggle Pacifier Holder with Detachable Pacifier, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, from $14.88

This pacifier features a plush animal that can be detached to make cleaning both pieces fast and easy. You can choose from a variety of animals, including elephant, giraffe, monkey, and seal, that make it easy to find and comforting for babies to snuggle. 

A swaddling blanket that transforms their baby into a burrito

burrito blanket

Tortilla Baby, available at Uncommon Goods, $48

What’s better than a delicious burrito? A swaddling blanket that looks like a burrito and helps baby sleep tight after a long day.

A warm, embroidered blanket that will last for years

Metallic_Star_Sherpa_Baby_Blanket_$49.50_PotteryBarnKids2

Metallic Star Sherpa Baby Blanket, available at Pottery Barn Kids, $38.99

This cotton jersey blanket with a soft Sherpa backing is great for trekking outdoors when the temperatures drop. In addition to the stars, it can be personalized with the baby’s name or initials.

Socks for tired feet

Bombas socks

Gift a Bombas Gift Box, from $65

Bombas’ comfortable gym socks feature a blister tab and cushioned footbeds that wrap feet in luxury. Busy, tired parents will appreciate comfortable socks. Also, Bombas also donates a pair to a homeless shelter for every pair purchased. 

A jolt of caffeine after a sleepless night

Swift Cup

Agaro Free-Dried Coffee (6 cup box), available at Swift Cup Coffee, $15

Instant coffee isn’t what it used to be; it’s actually good now, and that’s excellent news. Tested by our experts, these six individual packets of freeze-dried Ethiopian coffee will give sleepy parents the quick jolt they’re looking for, and all they have to do it add 10 ounces of hot or cold water and stir.

A sleek bassinet that rocks crying babies to sleep

snoo

Snoo Rental Gift Card, available at Happiest Baby, from $29.69/week

There’s nothing new parents will appreciate more than a little help with a baby who doesn’t sleep well. Sensing when a baby is tense, the Snoo automatically rocks them to sleep with a gentle motion. There’s also a built-in white noise machine and a swaddle to help calm fussy little ones. Parents can control the bassinet and monitor it via the app. And while the Snoo is expensive, the company has a rental program for a more affordable option.

Bilingual board books for early learning

canticos_firsts_books canticos under $10

Canticos Board Books, available at Amazon, from $5.99

It’s never too soon to start learning a second language. These books help by introducing important early words like numbers, shapes, and more in both English and Spanish.

A mustache pacifier

Gifts for new parents Mustache Pacifier

Mustachifier, available on BuyBuyBaby, $9.99

This pacifier will have everyone doing a double take to see if that baby really does have a hipster mustache. And don’t overlook the value of peace and quiet that comes with it too.

A meal kit delivery service so they can cook for themselves

blue apron

Blue Apron Subscription Gift Card, from $60

Cooking can be an extra hassle for frazzled new parents, but a delivery service like this can make it a little easier to get a healthy, home-cooked meal. Blue Apron boxes come with preportioned ingredients and three easy-to-cook recipes. They’ll get one week of meal kits for $60.

Check out our guide to the best meal kit delivery services, which includes options for special diets.

A gadget to make diaper changes easier

Diapertainment

Diapertainment, available at Amazon, $19.99 

Diaper changing is much easier when a squirming baby is occupied. This smartphone mount does helps hold a little one’s attention with their favorite short videos so parents can get down to business.

An interactive play mat

lovevery_play_gym

The Lovevery Play Gym, available at Lovevery, $140

This activity gym has different learning zones and a range of accessories designed to engage a baby as they grow. Designed by childhood development experts, there are features here for infants as well as toddlers.

A pregnancy journal to track progress and memories

"Expecting You  A Keepsake Pregnancy Journal"

“Expecting You: A Keepsake Pregnancy Journal”, available at Amazon, $13.46

Pregnancy is a journey, and this journal gives new parents the chance to track their memories and experiences. Whether they end up using it as a reference for subsequent children or just as a way to look back on a special time, this keepsake journal makes a timeless treasure for parents.

A portable way to secure babies to their seats

fast_table_chair Inglesina

Inglesina Fast Table Chair in Black, available at Buy Buy Baby and Amazon, $69.99

A popular choice for an easy-to-use high chair because of its convenience, the Inglesia Fast Table Chair can be used with any table up to 3.3 inches thick. And it can be used for children ranging in age from 6 months to 3 years.

A 5-in-1 machine to help baby sleep

baby_dream_machine

Baby Dream Machine, available at Baby Dream Machine, $99

On top of smoothing “pink noise” sound that help infants relax, the Baby Dream Machine is also a cool-mist humidifier as well as an aromatherapy machine. It even provides red light and night light therapy with an adorable bear design that will great in the nursery. 

The gift of getting some shut-eye

sleep_sack_swaddle Halo

Halo Sleepsack Swaddle Wrap, available at Buy Buy Baby and Target, $21.99

Swaddling helps a baby feel more relaxed, and a more relaxed baby is a better sleeper. This transitioning swaddle features a unique design that allows a baby to be wrapped with their arms in or out, which is important for safety once they start rolling.

An adjustable, washable pillow to ensure a good night’s rest

Best pillow Coop

Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow, available at Amazon, $59.99

Few things help exhausted parents fall asleep faster than a comfortable pillow. This customizable pillow is hypoallergenic and works well for all sleeping positions.

Fun PJs’ for any occasion

hanna andersson baby pjs

Earth Day Baby Zip Sleeper, available at Hanna Andersson, $42

Whether they’re cozying up to watch a parents’ favorite show or settling in for a special holiday, matching family pajama sets are a fun way for families to share an experience. Hanna Andersson makes a comfy set of pajamas featuring everything from holiday prints to dinosaurs to popular characters.

A time-saving food hack parents can feel good about

Cerebelly_Pouches_ButternutSquashWhiteBean_Wht

Cerebelly Pouches, available at Cerebelly, $2.17 each

With organic vegetable-based recipes that babies will love, these handy little pouches are perfect in a meal-time pinch. They’re self-stable, so they’ll last long enough to be around when you need them. Created by a neurosurgeon, this go-anywhere babyfood is also loaded with nutrients that help with brain development.  

A smart home device to act as an assistant

Best Echo Amazon Echo 4th gen

Echo Dot 4th generation, available at Target, $29.99

A smart speaker is the perfect nursery assistant. It can play gentle music to help lull babies to sleep or set timers for feeding times. They’re also compatible with a long list of smart home devices, which makes it easy to turn off light or set the thermostat while parents are busy changing diapers.

An Instant Pot for easy meals

Instant Pot Ultra

Instant Pot Duo 60, available at Amazon, $89

Our favorite Instant Pot includes a number features and functions, from pressure cooking to sautéing. Parents can make delicious one-pot meals for themselves and the baby with just a few easy steps and a lot less cleanup.

Something to soothe and protect baby’s delicate skin

baby_dove

Baby Dove Derma Care Body Wash, available at Walmart, $8.86

Baby Dove Eczema Care Cream, available at Rite Aid, $8.69

Newborns have delicate skin that requires gentle, soothing products to keep them clean and their outer layer soft and hydrated. Developed alongside pediatric dermatologists, Dove’s wash and cream are free of dyes, parabens, phthalates, steroids, and fragrances.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best baby-safe laundry detergent you can buy

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • When a new baby arrives it changes everything, even laundry. What detergent should you be using to protect your precious new arrival?
  • Of all the detergents out there, none is better for babies than All’s free clear liquid detergent.
  • It protects your baby’s sensitive skin and delivers the cleaning power needed for the whole family’s laundry at an affordable price.

Bringing a new baby home is both an exciting and sometimes overwhelming time. The little one is relying on you for everything including clean clothes and bedding that will not irritate delicate skin.

According to Cleveland Clinic pediatric dermatologist Joan Tamburro, DO; “A child who has skin problems may be more prone to laundry detergent reactions. A family history of atopic dermatitis (eczema) also may put your infant at higher risk.”

As a laundry and housekeeping professional, I’ve been testing products for companies, agencies, and publications for many years. So with the birth of my first grandchild, I was delighted to be able to lessen one anxiety by recommending the best laundry detergent for both the baby and his parents.

The main culprits in commercial laundry detergent that causes skin irritation and allergic reactions are dye and fragrance. By choosing a product that is dye and scent-free, the detergent can be used for not only baby’s clothes but all household laundry.

Here are the best baby laundry detergents:

The best baby laundry detergent overall

all free clear detergent

If you are looking for a reasonably-priced, effective laundry detergent that is safe for your baby’s delicate skin and can be used for the rest of the family’s laundry, All’s free clear liquid detergent is your best bet.

What we like:  Performs well for both baby and family laundry, mid-priced, readily available in mass-market stores and online, free of dyes and perfumes

As I was testing and selecting a laundry detergent for our precious new one, I took into consideration the product’s ingredients, cleaning ability, cost per load, and ease of use. As a new parent, the last thing you need is a product that makes the laundry routine any more complicated.

The final verdict after testing more than 10 products was that All free clear liquid will give a baby the protection he needs from irritation, remove all but the worst stains, not break the budget, and can be used to wash clothes for the entire family. It is also the most highly recommended detergent brand for sensitive skin by dermatologists, allergists, and pediatricians. 

It seems others agree with me as well. On Walgreens, all free clear has a rating of 4.8 out of five stars. One reader states, “I’m so sensitive, allergic to everything! This is the only detergent that I can use that doesn’t cause a reaction. Even other “Free” products cause me to react.”

All free clear comes in liquid, powder, and single dose packs. I would recommend the liquid formula, costing about 20 cents per load, because it can also be used to pretreat stains. Just work in a tiny amount of the liquid into the stained area with your fingers or a soft-bristled brush and wait about 15 minutes before washing.

The best baby laundry detergent for the environment

Seventh Generation laundry detergent

Environmentally-friendly Seventh Generation Baby Concentrated Laundry Detergent also protects your baby’s sensitive skin from harsh chemicals.

What we like: Plant and mineral-based ingredients are environmentally-friendly, detergent works well on baby stains and can be used for laundry for the entire family

Protecting a new baby is always a top priority, but we should never forget that protecting the Earth is also important. After all, our actions today will affect the world that a child faces in the future.

Seventh Generation products adhere to that philosophy and use only plant or mineral-based ingredients. Seventh Generation Baby Laundry Detergent received a 97% rating as a USDA Certified Biobased Product and is never tested on animals.

One member of the What to Expect community, Lakewood Chick, says “We use Seventh Generation Free & Clear for everyone’s clothes, not just baby. I think it works great and it makes me feel much better knowing harmful chemicals aren’t in it.”

After giving it a try on our baby’s laundry, I was delighted with the results. The plant-based enzymes removed tough formula and diaper stains with ease. Over on Amazon, 61% of buyers rated it as a five-star product. The cost at around  25 cents per load is higher but the results are worth it.

The best baby laundry detergent for tough stains

babyganics detergent

Just as babies grow bigger, so do their stains. Babyganics 3X Baby Laundry Detergent contains the enzymes you need to treat those stains.

What we like: Contains enzymes to tackle tough stains, available in unscented and scented formulas, concentrated formula with an easy-to-handle bottle

Newborns need to be swaddled with soft, irritant-free fabrics from the moment they are born. Fortunately, other than some diaper accidents, they don’t create too many difficult stains. But as they age and are introduced to commercial formulas that contain iron and then those first solid foods, the stains can be a challenge especially if they sit around for several days before being washed.

That’s why I was so pleased to discover that Babyganics contains the enzymes protease to break down protein stains (diaper stains) and amylase to tackle starches and carbohydrates stains. What also makes Babyganics a good choice is that the formula is plant and mineral-based and carries the USDA Certified Biobased label.

Babyganics Baby Laundry Detergent has a five-star rating by 61% of buyers on Amazon. One reviewer is particularly pleased with the 3X concentration since “you don’t have to buy it as often as others compared to its size nor need to hold up a bulky container every time you have to do the laundry (pretty important for tired moms).”

Developed to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers at a cost of around 23 cents per load, I use Babyganics liquid detergent as a stain pre-treater before tossing those dirty bibs into the washer. If you like a bit of scent, it also comes in a lavender scent created with natural essential oils.

The best baby laundry detergent for diapers

Rockin Green detergent

Cloth diapers present a laundry challenge to new parents, but Rockin’ Green Classic Rock Natural Laundry Detergent can make it all easier.

What we like: Mineral-based and contains no petroleum-based products, produced in the United States, removes diaper stains and odor

Every parent must make the decision on whether to use cloth or disposable diapers with each having its own merits. If cloth diapers are the final choice, learning how to clean and disinfect them properly is a must. Even if you use a diaper service, there will be times when you need to wash a load of diapers at home.

Rockin’ Green is a small company based in Texas that tackles the challenge of diaper laundry with a mineral-based powdered detergent that removes tough stains but leaves the fabric feeling soft to the touch. Free of dyes and perfumes, the company also offers a Hard Rock formula if you live in an area with hard water that can leave fabrics stiff and scratchy.

On What to Expect, one community member, Smallsteps, reports that ” I no longer have to add tons of other stuff to get my diapers clean and stink free!”

Some 70% of buyers on Amazon give the product a five-star rating. I found that if you follow the proper routine of rinsing and pre-soaking soiled diapers and wash them regularly, for less than 20 cents per load your little one will have clean, odor-free diapers every day.

Read the original article on Business Insider

My daughter loves playing with these toy kits that encourage brain development in babies and toddlers

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Lovevery play kits review: best subscription for childrens' toys
Starting at $36 a month, Lovevery’s curated play kits for babies and toddlers help foster child development in fun ways.

  • Lovevery offers curated play kits with age-appropriate toys sorted into 2-to-3-month age groups.
  • The toy are designed by early childhood development experts to entertain and support a child’s learning.
  • You can subscribe to a plan or buy kits separately; subscriptions start at $36 a month and solo kits start at $80.

Finding the best toys for babies and toddlers can be a serious challenge. My wife and I wanted to make sure our daughter had great toys that would make playtime both fun and meaningful in terms of cognitive and motor development. In the past year, we found that trusting toy curation to the team of experts Lovevery works out quite well.

The experts at Lovevery come from the fields of psychology, development, occupational therapy, and education. When these folks set out to create a company that produces toy and activity kits that would help foster brain development, they went all in. But calling Lovevery a toy company would be like calling a forest a place with trees. Yes, there are trees, but there’s so much more going on among them.

What are Lovevery play kits?

Scarlett with Lovevery play kits
That’s my daughter Scarlett playing with the Slide and Sleek Ball Run toy from the Babbler Play Kit.

Lovevery play kits are broken out into six kits (or subscriptions, if you choose a plan) intended to be swapped out every two months for babies, and into four kits intended to be swapped every three months for the brand-new toddler kits. Each kit contains carefully selected items that will engage, entertain, and enlighten children.

Each kit contains items that are developmentally appropriate for kids of the respective age. But kids don’t simply move on from the earlier toys when they outgrow the kit’s intended age group. Instead, the way a child engages with the toys evolves as their abilities and interests expand.

There’s the Looker Play Kit intended for newborns and babies through the first eight weeks of life. It contains things like a soft silicone rattle, cards with simple high-contrast images, and mittens with geometric patterns. Most of the objects in the Looker kit use only bold black and white colors because that’s what a newborn’s eyes can see. The toys are also designed for use by a little human who’s not yet using their hands with any sense of control or is just rolling over and still acting largely by instinct.

As for the instincts that make them put toys into their mouths – each item included in these kits is made with nontoxic water-based paints or dyes, organic fabric, sustainably sourced wood, and other safe, eco-friendly materials.

For older children who are between 11 and 12 months, the Thinker Play Kit contains a colorful doll, weighted balls, books with full-color images, and multiple toys that require manipulation and basic dexterity.

What they’re like to use

My daughter Scarlett still loves many of the toys she has played with for a year, and now she carries them around while walking and talking instead of kicking at them as she lies on her back on a play mat. The lasting power of these toys makes the $40 monthly expense seem quite affordable.

As kids enter their first full year, their development continues rapidly, but each child will hit milestones at different times, so the toddler kits are spread over three months instead of six, with four kits making up the whole year.

Scarlett with a Lovevery play
Here’s Scarlett playing with the Circle of Friends Puzzle from the same Babbler Play Kit.

The toddler kits are larger and include more items in each box, allowing caregivers to consider which toys to introduce over each three-month period to meet the abilities of a growing child and coax out their best efforts at problem-solving and critical thinking. This might be hard to believe, but don’t worry, the kids will have fun in the process – they’ll just form some new neural pathways while doing it.

What makes Lovevery stand out

While the kits are great, the play guide that comes with each kit is what truly sets Lovevery apart. The guides, which include full-color images, are broken down into easily digested sections that explain when and how each toy or item should be introduced. They also advise on how an adult can help a child engage with the item.

Going beyond the toys themselves, these guides also explain what’s going on with your child (“Learning to control his arms and legs” or “Recognizes people who take care of him,” for example), what each toy is designed to help with (like sensory exploration or making connections), and even what you as a parent are likely experiencing at each stage. The guides even offer ideas for other activities beyond using the toys themselves.

The bottom line

Now, I’m not a doctor so I definitely suggest talking to yours before incorporating these toys into playtime. In my experience though, Lovevery makes wonderful toys and well-curated kits that my daughter loves playing with. But to my wife and me, they’re more than that. They’re developmental tools that greatly benefit the child and caregiver who’s also engaged in a learning process.

Read the original article on Business Insider

40 thoughtful baby shower gifts that new parents will thank you for – all under $50

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

aiden anais swaddle
  • Baby showers celebrate the arrival of a new life and help parents collect useful, clever gifts that make life easier.
  • Below are 40 gifts under $50 that make for thoughtful baby shower gifts.
  • Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Reviews’ gift guides here.

The world of baby products – especially for non-parents – can be daunting and confusing. What’s needed? What works? What do new parents want or love?

If you’re attending a baby shower, this makes selecting the perfect gift a bit difficult. You want to make the lives of soon-to-be exhausted parents easier and brighter.

Plenty of new parents put together a baby registry, but if most of the gifts are already gone or you want to go rogue and pick up something they’ve never heard of but will absolutely love, you’ll find 40 options below – none of which will cost more than $50.

Below are 40 thoughtful baby shower gifts under $50:

A portable changing station for on-the-go parents

Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station

Skip Hop Pronto Signature Changing Station, available at Amazon, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and BuyBuyBaby, from $27.99

This padded changing station includes multiple pockets for diapers and wipes, and it can be folded up into a clutch after baby has been changed. Parents can toss it in the diaper bag, clip it to the stroller, or leave it in the car for convenient changes.

A white noise machine so parents can get some sleep

Hatch Rest Mini Machine

Hatch Rest Mini Machine, available at Hatch, $39.99

A white noise machine will relax and calm both parent and baby, letting each of them get some much-needed rest. The machine goes all night long — blocking out the random noises of the neighborhood. They can control the Rest Mini from their phone, so they don’t even need to get out of bed.

A gift card for organic baby clothes that gives back

Hanna Andersson Baby Clothes

Hanna Andersson Gift Card, available at Hanna Andersson, $50

Perhaps known best for its matching family pajamas, Hanna Andersson also makes virtually every piece of baby clothing imaginable. Some of their prints feature rainbows, dachshunds, and Winnie the Pooh. Plus, the brand partners with Baby2Baby, providing children living in poverty with diapers, clothing, and basic necessities.

A diaper cake

Hello Bello Diaper Cake

Hello Bello Diaper Cake, available at Walmart, $34.97

Diaper cakes are a classic baby shower gift, but not everybody has the DIY skills to create one. This diaper cake includes wipes, shampoo, and bubble bath in addition to 35 newborn diapers.

A diaper bag backpack that holds everything they need

HaloVa Diaper Bag

HaloVa Diaper Bag, available at Amazon, $32.99

This functional diaper bag has a spot for everything. Parents can stash all their essentials with two bottle pockets, a wet clothes pocket, a wipe pouch, and multiple main-compartment pockets. Best of all: It’s machine washable.

A top knot hat to keep baby’s head warm

Copper Pearl Top Knot Hat

Copper Pearl Top Knot Hat, available at Amazon, $12.50

This tiny top knot hat keeps baby’s head warm and cozy. Pair it with a matching knotted gown for the most adorable newborn photoshoot.

A new nursing bra

Third Love nursing bra

ThirdLove gift card, available at ThirdLove, starting at $15

Bra size can change rapidly and drastically throughout pregnancy and postpartum. Give a Third Love gift card so they can take the brand’s quiz and find the right size. Third Love’s 24/7 Classic Nursing Bra is available in sizes A-I.

An activity gym that stimulates the senses

Baby Einstein 4 in 1 Kickin' Tunes

Baby Einstein 4-in-1 Kickin’ Tunes Music & Language Discovery Gym, available at Target and BuyBuyBaby, $49.99

This music-themed activity gym encourages babies to kick, which is an important gross-motor skill. The set includes a piano, sensory toys, a mirror, and a prop pillow.

Baby bottles that reduce colic

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Options Anti Colic Glass Baby Bottles

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Options Anti-Colic Glass Baby Bottles, 2 pack, available at Amazon, $15.98

These affordable glass baby bottles have a removable vent that is designed to reduce colic. You can also purchase additional accessories like different nipples or silicone sleeves.

A simple sensory board book

That’s Not My Monkey Book

That’s Not My Monkey by Fiona Watt, available at Barnes & Noble, $9.99

Babies will be fascinated by this book that only has a few pages. Each page is illustrated in bright colors and features a different texture for baby to feel.

A healthcare kit with all the essentials

Safety 1st Baby Healthcare and Grooming Kit

Safety 1st Deluxe 25-Piece Baby Healthcare and Grooming Kit, available at Amazon, 19.99

Make the postpartum period a little less stressful by gifting some healthcare essentials. This kit includes nail clippers, a thermometer, combs, and a nasal aspirator. It even comes with a carrying case that has convenient see-through compartments.

Clever, unique bibs that actually make baby messes cute

Hudson Baby Drooler Bibs

Hudson Baby Food-Themed Drooler Bibs, available at Amazon and BuyBuyBaby, from $18.80

The only thing that makes spit up and pureed avocado stains funny is one of these food-themed pun bibs.

A stuffed animal that plays peek-a-boo

Flappy the Elephant

Flappy the Elephant, available at Amazon, from $29.99

This plush elephant plays peek-a-boo and sings “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” For added effect, the elephant’s ears flop back and forth, actually covering its eyes during the game.

Fun animal-inspired plates and bowls

$4

Silicone Elephant Shaped Plate & Bowl, available at Pottery Barn Kids, from $5.99

If you’re looking for an inexpensive add-on gift, these adorable animal-inspired bowls and plates are a sweet option. 

Five natural, gentle essentials

rhfghfhh

Mustela Newborn Arrival Gift Set, available at Nordstrom, $34.99

Mustela is another well-loved brand for babies, and this set of newborn arrival essentials has five products designed for delicate newborn skin. Parents can trust all the products to work together gently and effectively. 

Wrist rattles

$7 target

Infantino Gaga Wrist Rattle, available at Target, $6.99

Wrist rattles are the distraction that baby won’t accidentally shake off as easily as other toys. They also have teethable, textured silicone borders that are BPA-free. 

A book that fosters cultural learning

Fry Bread  A Native American Family Story

Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $15.36

“Fry Bread” is a story centered around food and culture. The book is chock-full of metaphors and even includes an educational note from the author and a delicious fry bread recipe.

Nursery skin care essentials

gffjjjj

Honest Baby Arrival Gift Set, available on The Honest Company, $49.95

Honest is well-loved by parents because all of its products are meant to be safe, gentle, and as minimally processed as possible. This set includes face and body lotion, shampoo and body wash, healing balm, and other essentials that are hypoallergenic and free of parabens, sulfates, dyes, and other risky additives. 

Cult-favorite cream moms swear by after breastfeeding

hghgfgfh

Lansinoh HPA Lanolin Minis, 3-Count, available at Target, $8.25

Lansinoh Lanolin Nipple Cream, available on Amazon, $8.25

You don’t have to hunt far online for the most beloved new mom products for mention of Lansinoh’s Lanolin nipple cream. It soothes, protects, and is really effective. It’s also 100% natural and preservative-free. 

Tethers that keep things like spoons and sippy cups from falling

5ae1fb6519ee861b008b45d8 750 563

Lil’ Sidekick Multi-Functional Tether, available at Lil’ Sidekick, $9.99

These multifunctional tethers may not be on the registry, but they should be. They’ll keep things like spoons and forks from falling to the floor while baby eats. 

Amazon Prime for easy, cheap, and fast refills of essentials

amazon boxes packages mail

Amazon Prime Three Month Subscription, available at Amazon, $39

The best thing you can give — if they don’t already have it — is probably an Amazon Prime membership. Parents can order essentials without leaving the house, pay less, and get it within two days with free shipping. It’ll also give them access to tons of other benefits. Plus, if they do have Prime already, your gift will convert into a gift card for them to use on any supplies they need.

A clever baby briefcase to store all of baby’s important documents

A baby briefcase to keep all their important documents in one place

Document Organizer, available at Nordstrom, $29.95

This clever baby briefcase is a cute (and helpful) way to organize all the important papers parents will need to keep track of — from birth certificates to passport photos. 

A fun, nourishing mask for her belly

HATCH 10 30 1720958 SINGLE copy 2_1024x

Hatch Belly Mask, available at Hatch, $12

Hatch’s Belly Mask is a fun way for them to relax and spend time caring for themselves. The mask is full of nourishing ingredients like aloe vera and propolis to minimize stretch marks during pregnancy and soften skin postpartum. 

Tiny booties that look like fortune cookies

gfjgfj

Baby Fortune Cookie Booties, available at Uncommon Goods, $29

Cute, unique, and sure to give baby’s parents a laugh. Don’t gift these if you aren’t ready for all the pictures grateful parents will send you. 

A soothing anti-swelling cream for legs and feet

HATCH_10 30 1720769_FINAL_1024x

Hatch Down, Girl Soothing Leg + Foot Relief, available at Hatch, $42

Hatch is a popular brand for maternity wear — so popular, in fact, that a good portion of the startup’s customers wear the clothes long after pregnancy because they love the aesthetic. 

Down, Girl is a cooling, anti-inflammatory gel-based cream that Hatch designed to soothe  and reduce swelling in legs and feet during pregnancy. 

A beloved teething toy

71vLVbAlWXL._SL1500_ 1

Baby Banana Infant Training Toothbrush and Teether, available at Amazon, $6.79

This infant training toothbrush and teether looks like a banana and helps kids get through the terrible teething phase with minimal tears. 

A contoured bath sponge that makes it easier to bathe newborns

tk

Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge, available at Target, $7.99

This infant bath sponge is a slip-resistant cushion with a contoured shape that makes it easier to bathe newborns. There’s a slight incline to support baby’s head, neck, and back, and the foam is quick-drying for fast cleanup.

Lots and lots of diapers

tk

Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers, available at Target, $8.29

It’s not as fun as buying baby moccasins in a gemstone color, but diapers are one of the most practical and thoughtful gifts you can give a new parent. They’ll need as many as they can stockpile, and it’s a relief to already have them at home. Consider purchasing larger sizes — many babies grow out of newborn diapers long before their stash runs out. 

A hooded baby towel for cozy bath time

parachute baby towel

Parachute Hooded Baby Towel, available at Parachute, $29

Parachute’s line of baby sheets and towels is extremely cute, and the brand has earned its reputation for quality linens. This hooded towel is perfect for a cozy bath time and a quick dry. 

Crib sheets in cute prints from a beloved startup

tk

Brooklittles Crib Sheets, available at Brooklinen, from $28.80

The internet’s favorite adult bedding startup also offers a line of sheets for little ones. Brooklinen’s Brooklittles line comes in tons of fun, vibrant patterns and prints.

A cult-favorite, comfortable baby wrap

A cult-favorite, comfortable baby wrap

Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier, available at Amazon, $49.95

This sling is comfortable, doesn’t have any complicated straps and buckles, and can be used with kids from babies to toddlers to help parents get more time with two free hands.  When we polled Business Insider parents for their favorite registry items, one told us this is the only thing she gives as a baby gift because of how good it is. 

Classic swaddling cloths

aiden anais swaddle

Aden + Anais Set of 4 Classic Swaddling Cloths, available at Nordstrom, $49.95

Aden + Anais are known for making quality baby products, and this set of classic swaddling cloths is no different. They come in cheerful patterns and are made from breathable, lightweight muslin that can be used for virtually anything. 

A portable gadget for fussy sleepers

35 baby

Baby Shusher Sleep Miracle Soother, available at Target, $34.99

No matter where baby is — in the car, at home, or in public — this little white noise machine helps fussy babies fall asleep. 

A pacifier that won’t keep falling to the ground in a never-ending loop

$15 ish

WubbaNub Monkey Pacifier, available at Nordstrom, $14.95

This WubbaNub pacifier is beloved among parents for good reason — a pacifier attached to a stuffed animal is less likely to fall to the ground a thousand times a day. They will thank you for this cute and clever gift. 

The go-to set for baby’s bath time

hgfjj

Aveeno Baby Daily Bathtime Solutions Gift Set, available at Amazon, $17.92

Make bath time easier with a set of gentle essentials parents can feel good about using — and that they’ll love having on hand for messy days ahead, without a trip to the store. 

All the baby basics in one convenient kit

All the baby basics in one convenient kit

Fridababy Baby Basics Kit, available at Amazon, $34.98

If you’re a parent, don’t you kind of wish the mythical stork dropped off an entire bag of essentials at the same time? This Baby Basics Kit attempts to do something similar: grouping favorite products from trusted brand Fridababy for everything from “claws” (nails) to “flakes” (dry skin). 

A silicone roll-up bib that will save them time and time again

$12

OXO Tot Waterproof Silicone Roll Up Bib (2-pack), available at Amazon, $19.99

What’s conveniently mobile, well-designed, extremely useful, and far better than the status quo it replaces? A roll-up, silicone bib with a shelf to catch the rainstorm of food that babies drop while eating. Plus, the Velcro means it’s easily removed. Even if it’s not on the registry already, parents will thank you for it. 

Adorable, bright baby moccasins

Adorable, bright baby moccasins

Freshly Picked Baby Moccasins, available at Freshly Picked, from $45

It’s not anywhere near as practical as gifting diapers, but these tiny moccasins are adorable — and they come in a huge selection of fun prints and vibrant colors. 

Funny pacifiers that parents will get a kick out of

61PL50E4rxL._SL1000_

Mustachifier, available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon, $9.99

Few things diffuse tears and panic for babies like pacifiers. For adults, the same thing can be achieved with a little much-needed chuckle at their child.

A personalized bedtime book

A personalized bedtime book

Personalized Goodnight Little Me Book, available at Uncommon Goods, $40

Create a personalized goodnight book for a gift they’ll always remember. To make it even more sentimental, write a heartfelt inscription inside for when baby grows up. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

How giving birth changes your brain

  • A new mother experiences many changes after giving birth. Some of the biggest happen in her brain.
  • When she first sees her newborn, core regions of her brain’s reward network kick in, giving her an instant connection to her baby.
  • Fathers also experience changes their brains when they spend quality time with their babies.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Following is a transcript of the video.

A woman’s uterus grows to over 500 times its normal size during pregnancy. But not all changes are visible. In fact, some of the biggest changes happen in her brain.

When a mother sees her newborn for the first time, it’s love at first sight, literally. That’s because once she gives birth, core regions of her brain’s reward network kick in. They signal the release of feel-good hormones like dopamine and oxytocin into her blood, which immediately triggers a strong connection of love and devotion to her newborn. In fact, studies show that recent mothers have similar levels of oxytocin as romantic couples who are newly in love.

And human moms aren’t alone here. Scientists discovered that rodents got a bigger kick of dopamine from feeding their pups than from receiving injections of cocaine. What’s more, brain scans reveal that a human mom has a similar experience when she sees her infant smiling.

But it’s a different story when her baby is crying. Those cries activate a network in the mom’s brain known as the emotion regulation network. It includes the prefrontal and cingulate control systems, which help control her emotions. And that’s important since it can be easy to lose your temper when you’re running on very little sleep and are distressed by the baby’s cries.

And while motherhood can be exhausting, new moms are actually more alert than normal thanks to their brain’s salience network. Scientists think giving birth activates this network to help a mother detect threats and protect her infant from harm, especially in dangerous situations when that network can help ramp up adrenaline.

But on a daily basis, Mom needs to understand her newborn’s needs. To accomplish that, she uses empathy, which comes from her brain’s social network. It involves the insular and amygdala, which researchers found became more active when moms looked at photos of their babies in distress compared to neutral photos.

But it’s not just the mom’s brain that changes. Research shows that a dad’s brain releases oxytocin when he interacts with his baby too. This is often accompanied by a surge of another hormone: prolactin. It’s often called the milk hormone because it triggers the production of breast milk, but men can produce it too, and researchers have found that dads who frequently played with their babies had higher prolactin levels in their blood than fathers who didn’t. They were also more responsive to their baby’s cries.

So in the end, having a child is a big change. Not just for your lifestyle, for your brain too.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.

Read the original article on Business Insider