The best baby-safe laundry detergent you can buy

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  • 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.

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

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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

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  • 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

36 thoughtful gifts for new moms – from cozy robes to meal delivery services

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

The First Five Years Baby Journal

  • You can make any special occasion for a new mom one to remember with a thoughtful, useful gift.
  • These 36 gifts are geared toward the needs and wants of a new mother, from baby clothes and sheets to humorous parenting books and convenient tech gadgets.
  • For gift ideas for everyone on your list, check out all of Insider Reviews gift guides.

Becoming a mother is, indeed, a life-changing experience, and with it, comes a new set of responsibilities and new items needed to make life easier. In a very uncertain time, new moms will appreciate gifts that are both practical and luxurious – things that can save them money, time, and provide extra snuggles with their newborn or bestow a few precious moments for self-care.

New motherhood is exciting, but it’s also a time of intense exhaustion and stress. These gifts will provide an opportunity to help them relax, indulge, and make their job a little easier. Some of these gifts are specifically related to the baby, while others are simply geared toward a mother who has earned some “me time.” New moms are among the busiest people in our lives, and they undoubtedly deserve these meaningful gifts. 

Here are 36 of the best gifts for new moms:

A floral arrangement to brighten their day

The Bouqs Co. flower arrangement

Gift a The Bouqs Co. floral arrangement, starting at $39

These fresh flower arrangements come from farms that minimize waste and recycle water. Choose from classic bouquets like roses or sunflowers or opt for a more unique option that she can plant. The floral arrangement will be a bright spot in her day.

A treat to satisfy their sweet tooth while supporting milk production

Munchkin Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites

Gift the Munchkin Milkmakers Lactation Cookie Bites, $19.96

These delicious cookies come in prepackaged bags so they can easily grab a snack while nursing. Although more studies examining the benefits of lactation cookies need to be conducted, this convenient treat certainly won’t hurt.

A memorable piece of jewelry

Marky Baby Breast Milk Jewelry DIY Kit

Gift the Marky Baby Milk Jewelry DIY Kit, starting at $42.46

Moms who choose to breastfeed often face an emotional journey. The piece of jewelry from this DIY kit is made with their own breast milk so they can remember this special time long after their baby has grown up.

A personalized beauty subscription

Birchbox subscription

Gift a Birchbox subscription, from $45 for three months

New moms will inevitably be dealing with spilled milk, spit-up, and lots of dirty diapers. Make them feel pampered with a personalized beauty subscription. They’ll be able to create her own Beauty Profile, making each box just right for them.

The best socks they’ve never tried

Under $25 Bombas socks

Gift a Bombas Gift Box, from $65

You might be thinking: Really, socks? But having a nice pair can make a world of difference. Bombas spent two years perfecting its gym socks. With thoughtful innovations, like a blister tab and performance cushioned footbeds, their feet will notice the difference. Bombas also donates a pair to a homeless shelter for every pair purchased. 

A personalized T-shirt

known supply shirt

Gift a personalized Fitted Crew at Known Supply, $32 + $10 monogram

Let’s be honest — they’re probably going to be spending a lot of time at home in the first year. What could be better than a cozy, comfortable tee made of Pima cotton? Bonus points if you choose a color that will hide a spit-up stain.

Merino-wool sneakers

allbirds

Gift Allbirds Wool Runners, $95

When you’re on your feet all day, a pair of good shoes makes all the difference. Allbirds wool runners won’t fail them — they’re soft, comfortable, and machine washable. You can’t go wrong with the originals, but the new Tree line is similarly light and comfortable. 

A variety of Korean sheet masks for an at-home spa day

Under $25 Facetory 7 Lux 1 Month Gift Subscription

Gift the Facetory 7 Lux 1-Month Gift Subscription, $19.90

They could try a different Korean sheet mask every day of the week if they wanted to. The unique sheets made with innovative ingredients are hard to find anywhere else — Facetory curates only the most interesting and effective in the K-beauty world. 

Adorable leather baby moccasins

freshly picked thumb

Gift Freshly Picked baby moccasins, from $59

These 100% genuine cowhide leather moccasins have a soft sole to help children who are starting to walk. They’re easy to put on, will actually stay on your kid’s feet, and come in many stylish prints and colors

An Audible gift subscription

under $25 audible

Gift an Audible subscription, from $15

Do you know what’s really hard to do when you’re holding a baby, a bottle, and trying to cook all at once? Read a book. What’s easier? Listening to one on Audible. They can listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and more while multitasking at home or strolling through the neighborhood.

A luxurious bathrobe

Bathrobe White E_2048x2048

Gift the Snowe Bathrobe, $100

Deemed the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, Snowe’s bathrobe is super comfortable and fluffy. It’s perfect for a mom looking for moments of relaxation during an otherwise hectic day. 

A necklace that symbolizes unbreakable bond between mother and child

aurate

Gift the AUrate 14-Karat Connection Necklace, $380

This beautiful necklace, available in yellow, white, or rose gold, manages to be simultaneously elegant and bold. The company has ideals they’ll support, too: Its ethical solid gold is sourced from conflict-free suppliers and it donates a book to a child in need with each purchase. 

A 5-year journal

The First Five Years Baby Journal

Gift The First Five Years Baby Journal, $27.97

This linen-bound guided journal prompts parents to record milestones and memories to cherish for a lifetime. They’ll be able to look back at all the firsts — first birthday, first haircut, first steps — and beam with pride.

A funny book about the realities of motherhood

The Sh!t No One Tells You  A Guide to Surviving Your Baby's First Year

Gift “The Sh!t No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby’s First Year,” $9.05

Any mom knows that motherhood is not all rainbows and sunshine. This book dispenses practical and useful information in a humorous format that will have new parents laughing through the particularly hard days.  

A selection of soft, high-quality baby clothing basics

primary

Gift a Primary gift card, $25-$250

Shopping for baby clothing is easy at Primary, which was founded by two moms. The adorable, colorful, and gender-neutral styles are classic and made from safe Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified, soft fabrics. Primary offers sizes from newborn through age 12.

A fitness app so they can work out with a trainer at home

Kira fitness app

Gift a subscription to Kira Stokes Fit, from $14.99/month

Flexibility is paramount for busy moms, and a good fitness app offers just that. The Kira Stokes Fit app has abs, legs, core, and full-body workouts available to stream anytime, on any device, so moms can sweat on their own time. 

Crib sheets from an Internet-famous bedding startup

Brooklinen_crib_sheets

Gift the Brooklinen Mini Crib Sheet Set, from $32

Adults love Brooklinen sheets, and now babies can enjoy the soft and comfortable experience, too. If they don’t yet have a set for themselves, include a gift that will help them sleep as well

A versatile diaper bag

Skip Hop Forma Backpack Diaper Bag

Gift the Skip Hop Forma Backpack Diaper Bag, $74.99

The lightweight, minimalist design of this diaper bag makes it a versatile option for new moms. The included cubes make it easy to organize diapers, wipes, bottles, and snacks. There’s also a convenient changing pad within one of its pockets.

Dinner on the table in under an hour

hellofresh new mom gifts

Gift a HelloFresh Gift Card, from $65

Meal kits take the guesswork out of cooking. Food is delivered weekly, meaning fewer trips to the grocery store, and the kit includes easy step-by-step recipes to prepare dinner — a snap when they’re basically too tired to function.

A long-distance touch lamp

filimin long distance touch lamps 3

Buy a set of two Filimin Long-Distance Touch Lamps, $85-$170

A new mom’s life is busy and tiring, so they might not always be available to talk and catch up. When you want to let them know you’re thinking of them and vice versa without actually saying anything, just tap the lamp to make the other one light up

Stress relief in a tiny jade package

Cool & Depuff Jade Stone Facial Roller

Gift Revlon Cool & Depuff Jade Stone Facial Roller, $9.85

This facial roller can be used on all skin types to help improve circulation and reduce the puffiness that comes with sleep deprivation. It may temporarily firm skin, too. Most of all, it just feels good, especially when kept cool in the fridge.

A modern baby book

artifact uprising baby book

Gift the Artifact Uprising Baby Book “The Story of You,” from $99

With a sturdy fabric-bound cover (available in seven color/foil pairings), this interactive photo journal is a beautiful way to focus on the everyday moments rather than major milestones. The book is 100 pages and holds 47 photos. Register it online and get a complimentary set of Everyday Prints. 

Leggings that feel and look great

48408336_2129196127168692_3553362787717611520_o

Gift the 90 Degree By Reflex High-Waist Power Flex Tummy Control Leggings, $24.99

We love these leggings because they are versatile, supportive, and silhouette smoothing. They also have a little pocket to hold keys or a credit card if she needs to run out. Available in 13 colors, these leggings are available up to size XXL and run true to size.

A moment of zen

Home of Chiji Energy Candle

Gift a Home of Chiji Energy Candle, from $39.99

This brand’s motto is “illuminate positivity” and when baby has been crying for hours, a positive vibe is desperately needed. These candles are infused with crystals like amethyst and rose quartz to bring some calm to a chaotic house.

A comfortable nursing bra

Motherhood Maternity Women's Wrap Front Nursing bra under $25

Gift the Motherhood Maternity Women’s Wrap Front Nursing Sleep Bra, from $11.99

All a new mom wants is to be comfortable, since chances are they aren’t for most of the day. This wrap-front bra is soft, wireless yet supportive, and perfect for wearing all day and all night.

A smart home device

Amazon Echo Dot 2020

Gift the Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen), $49.99

Hands-free music streaming, news and weather reports, thermostat controls, and alarms for naps or feeding, the Echo Dot does it all. They’ll become a multitasking mom in no time with this smart home device.

A soothing under eye treatment

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks

Gift Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks, $25

These gold foil eye masks provide a soothing treatment for tired eyes. They help with puffiness and dark circles. Best of all, they won’t fall off like some sheet masks, so they can hold baby upright while pampering themselves.

Bubble bath made from plant-based ingredients

Hello Bello Bubble Bath under $10

Gift the Hello Bello Bubble Bath, $5.98

Hello Bello, the baby line from Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard, prides itself on making premium, plant-based products like body wash, baby lotion, wipes, and this bubble bath. The gentle, hypoallergenic formula is dermatologist-tested and safe on sensitive skin, so both mom and baby can enjoy a nourishing playful bath.

A soothie to keep pacifier off the floor

avent giraffe soothie

Philips Avent Soothie Snuggle Pacifier Holder with Detachable Pacifier, available at Amazon, $14.88

This adorable pacifier and holder be used beginning at birth. The pacifier and animal detach from each other, so it’s easy and fast to clean both pieces. It comes in a variety of cute critters like an elephant, giraffe, monkey, and seal. 

A women’s multivitamin subscription

ritual vitamins

Gift a one-month supply of Ritual vitamins, $30

New moms have a lot to juggle, and eating healthy, balanced meals may fall by the wayside some days. Help them get the nutrients to keep their energy up with these vegan multivitamins, which contain folate, vitamin D3, B12, iron, and magnesium, and are free of artificial colorants, synthetic fillers, and gluten.

A reusable smart notebook

Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Smart Notebook, $29.97

Gift the Rocketbook Everlast Reusable Smart Notebook, $30.49

New parents live and die by a schedule. This notebook is surprisingly handy — it will send their handwritten notes to the cloud and wipes clean with a damp cloth. It makes sharing with the entire family a breeze, and no more wasting paper.

The gift of hydration

SodaStream Fountain Kit

Gift the SodaStream Fountain Kit, $49.88

Staying hydrated is key, especially for nursing moms. Indulge their sparkling water obsession with this sleek gadget that turns regular water into bubbly bliss in seconds. You’ll also be helping to save the planet by eliminating hundreds of single-use plastic bottles.  

Stress relief in portable balm form

scentered

Gift the Scentered Aromatherapy Balm Sticks Gift Set, $33

Scentered’s balm sticks come in five functions — Focus, Sleep Well, Love, Escape, and De-Stress — and help them relax wherever they are. Each non-greasy balm contains up to 25 essential oils and is formulated with a blend of moringa and moisturizing shea butter. 

A book that helps new moms who have endless questions

Cribsheet  A Data Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool

Gift “Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, from Birth to Preschool,” $14.39

If they loved Emily Oster’s pregnancy book “Expecting Better,” they’ll dive right into “Cribsheet.” The “data-driven guide” helps new parents with sleep, potty training, and much more. 

A pair of embroidered makeup towels

weezie

Gift the Weezie Makeup Towels, $40

We’ve personally discovered Weezie’s makeup towels are unexpectedly useful, and so will they. Even if they aren’t washing off makeup, the fluffy fabric will feel great at the end of a long day. You can even have them embroidered to say “Mama” or a phrase of your choosing.

A nightlight that will help their baby – and in turn, them – sleep well

hatch night light

Gift the Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise, $59.99

Rest is a nightlight, sound machine, and wake-up alert that grows with children — from soft light and white noise for midnight newborn feeding sessions to a preschooler’s nightlight. Parents can customize everything — color, brightness, sound, and volume level — or they can choose from presets recommended by sleep experts. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best pacifiers for your baby in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Nothing soothes a fussy baby quite like a pacifier, and some can even soothe a baby’s teething stages.
  • We’ve tested dozens of pacifiers to find the best ones you can buy for every scenario, price, and age range.
  • The MAM Perfect Pacifier is our top pick because it’s an inexpensive and cute soother that won’t disrupt tooth alignment.

A pacifier will get you out of a lot of jams as a parent, especially when the breast or the bottle is not on the menu. As the mother of a former pacifier-obsessed baby, I know my way around the market.

There are a host of positive findings of pacifier use, including their strong analgesic effects and correlation with a lower instance of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There are also many types of pacifiers available,  so you can choose the right size and shape for each stage of infant growth, greatly lessening any cause for orthodontic concerns

Since there are so many kinds of pacifiers available now, choosing the right one for each stage and circumstance of babyhood can be confusing, but we did the research, consulted the trusted sources, and tested over a dozen kinds on my daughter.

Here are the best pacifiers of 2021

The best pacifier overall

Best pacifiers for your baby in 2021

The MAM Perfect Pacifier helps to reduce the risk of tooth misalignment with its soothing shape designed from extra thin BPA/BPS-free silicone.

Pros: Orthodontist-recommended design, 60% smaller nipple size than the average, BPA/BPS-free silicone nipple, helps to prevent tooth misalignment with a symmetrical shape, air holes in shield allow baby’s skin to breathe, self-sterilizing case, 

Cons: The airflow design may leave a mark on extra chubby cheeks 

The MAM Perfect Pacifier comes in different sizes for babies: ages 0 to 6 months, 6 months and up, and 16-months plus. From the moment my daughter was 3 months old to the day she put her pacifier down for good, MAM pacifiers were her favorite.

I bought pacifiers in bulk as their small size were easily misplaced at home, daycare, or on the go., After trying well over a dozen brands throughout my daughter’s infancy and early toddlerhood, we returned to MAM.

The round, soft shape and subtly bumpy silicone texture closely mimics a breast and felt most familiar to my daughter. The texture also helped keep the point from falling out of her mouth while she wasn’t actively sucking. The pacifiers come inside a self-sterilizing storage case, too. My daughter used the MAM “original” pacifier. Recently, the company has come out with a brand-new “perfect” pacifier made from the same ultra-soft patented silicone (BPA- and BPS-free), which is now even thinner and softer. Though the new design’s air holes may leave a mark on chubbier cheeks, the breathable, realistically-detailed design is well apt for effective use.

The pacifier is also thinner and softer than regular silicone pacifiers meaning it stays comfortably nestled in your baby’s mouth without causing extra pressure. I picked one up to check out the new design for this article and will definitely be keeping it on hand for my next baby.

The best pacifier for newborns

pacifier for newborns

The Mary Meyer WubbaNub Pacifier is a two-in-one lifesaver: practical with its hospital-recommended design and playful with an affixed weighted plush animal, which keeps it from falling out.

Pros: Hospital-recommended design, added plush toy that prevents it from falling out, BPA- and PVC-free

Cons: Hard to disinfect, but machine washable

The Mary Meyer WubbaNub Pacifier pacifier is actually a two-for-one product. The inventor, momtrepreneur Carla Schneider, started with the hospital-recommended all-star newborn pacifier, the Philips Avent Soothie for newborns, and connected it with a wide variety of small bean-filled and adorable plush animals designed to rest on baby’s chest and keep the pacifier from falling out when babies fuss.

The struggle keeping a pacifier in my daughter’s mouth was real. Before my husband and I found the Wubbanub, we took turns popping the pacifier back in our sometimes-colicky tiny daughter’s mouth all night long. The Wubbanub isn’t a perfect solution for falling pacifiers, but the BPA- and PVC-free product is much better than the unweighted alternatives when you’re a desperate, sleep-deprived parent of a newborn.

One of the only drawbacks many parents discover is that the combination of a fabric plush with a silicone pacifier tip is rather hard to disinfect. Like WubbaNub recommends, I occasionally threw the whole thing in the washing machine and held just the silicone tip in boiling water as needed.

The best pacifier for toddlers

pacifier two pack

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Pacifier has an orthodontic design that’s safe for toddlers who don’t want to give up their soother.

Pros: BPA-free symmetrical silicone shape

Cons: The design sometimes allows water to get trapped inside, may not stay put for babies younger than toddler age

The Tommee Tippee brand is a well-known maker of baby bottles that are built to resemble a breast, and their pacifiers follow the same design.

Instead of the round bulbous tip on the end like many pacifiers have, the Tommee Tippee “closer to nature” design is relatively larger at the tip, yet is symmetrical and narrows into the base This means that the shape and feel of the silicone are more like a real nipple. It won’t stay put in the baby’s mouth as well as brands that have a bulbous tip, but by the time your little one is a toddler, they can handle that part all on their own.

The best pacifier for teethers

pacifer for teething

The RaZbaby RaZ-Berry Silicone Teether is a hands-free, dual pacifier and a teething toy, thanks to its great texture.

Pros: Hands-free, safe design for sucking or teething, texture stimulates active sucking to help relieve teething pain

Cons: None to speak of

The RaZbaby RaZ-Berry Silicone Teether has a nipple shape similar to that of your average pacifier, but with a nubbier, bumpier texture that feels like a large silicone raspberry. Teething infants love the varied texture, which also stimulates their gums and helps them massage the areas where their teeth are beginning to poke through. None of the other options I tried, like the Molar Muncher Hands-Free Teether, were hands-free or interesting enough texturally to encourage active sucking to ease her teething woes.  

Naturally, the design of the Razbaby really shines. Because the shape and sucking function are very similar to a normal pacifier, my daughter could keep this in her mouth on her own and had plenty of opportunities to stimulate and soothe her gums. You can also stick it in the freezer for some cooling action on inflamed spots.

The double-duty capacity is great if you’re frequently on the go with the kids in tow, or if your child goes to daycare. Instead of packing or attaching both a pacifier and a teething toy to your teething baby’s shirt, you can make it all day with just one soothing object.

The best pacifier for late-night criers

pacifier glows in the dark

The MAM Glow-in-the-Dark Night Orthodontic Pacifier has an illuminated handle to help sleep-deprived parents (and babies) find the sucking piece without turning on the lights.

Pros: High-quality form and functionality that glows-in-the-dark for nighttime wakeups

Cons: Needs a very bright charge in order to glow all night

The Glow-in-the-Dark Night Orthodontic Pacifier is MAM’s popular orthodontic pacifier shape and design with a twist — all by adding a practical, glow-in-the-dark handle to help with those midnight wakeups. 

At first, I was worried that the glow so close to the baby’s face would keep her awake, but I never noticed any problems of that nature in actual usage. Other pacifier brands offer a glow-in-the-dark option, too. There’s the Philips Avent BPA Free Night Time Pacifier, which is affordable, but parents say that the glow-in-the-dark functionality barely works and runs out of charge very quickly. So, because of the good quality of the materials, the popular nature of the design, the widespread availability, and the good price, MAM is still the all-around best.

Though some have found it takes a very bright light to charge the MAM enough for it to really glow well all night, we still found that this brand glows better than other options. It comes in blue, pink, or green styles, and two different sizes for older or younger babies.

Check out our other baby gear guides

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24 best Valentine’s Day gift ideas for kids of all ages in 2021

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

primary
Primary’s rainbow heart pajama set is a comfy and cute Valentine’s gift for kids.

  • This Valentine’s Day, don’t forget the little ones in your life. 
  • You can’t go wrong with teddy bears or sweets, but if you’re looking to get a little more creative, we rounded up great Valentine’s Day gifts kids will love. 
  • Looking for more gift ideas for everyone in your life? Check out all of Insider Reviews’ Valentine’s Day gift ideas, including our favorite gifts for him and her.

You found the perfect gift for your partner – now it’s time to find something special for the little ones you love. As adults, we show the kids in our lives we love them every day with our kindness, support, and all that good stuff, but Valentine’s Day is a unique time to show your little ones you love them with some good old-fashioned gifting. 

Whether you’re looking for a gift for a newborn, a rambunctious toddler, or a clever elementary-schooler, we’ve got you covered. We rounded up 24 Valentine’s gifts ideas that are great for all kinds of kids – think books, crafts, and lots of sugary treats. 

Keep reading for 24 Valentine’s Day gifts that any kid will love:

An adorable new stuffed animal

llama

Lulu the Llama, available at Brooklinen, $38

Brooklinen’s aptly and adorably named baby line, Brooklittles, has everything you need to make the cutest nursery ever, including this soft and cuddly stuffed animal that your little one will love snuggling with. 

The cutest little mittens

mittens

Valentine Mittens with Heart, available at Etsy, from $31.50

These adorable mittens will keep their little hands toasty on cold days, plus the red heart adds a festive touch. There are sizes to fit babies, children, and even adults, so everyone can have a pair. 

A cute pair of knit loafers

rothys

Kids Loafer, available at Rothy’s, $65

Little kids will love getting to wear the same shoes as the big kids. Rothy’s are made out of recycled water bottles and are comfortable enough (and machine-washable) for all of their adventures. There are sneakers too if that’s more their style.

A super sugary treat

truffles

B’Day Truffle Dozen Box, available at Milk Bar Store, $24

Is there anything kids love more than sugar? These dense, chewy, rainbow cake truffles are sure to satisfy their sweet tooth. 

A kinetic sand bakeshop

kinetic sand bake shoppe

Kinetic Sand Bake Shoppe Playset, available at Target, $9.59

This kinetic sand can be easily molded into all sorts of fun shapes. This set comes with some “baking tools” so they can make cookies and cupcakes to start. Sensory toys like kinetic sand are also great for soothing overstimulated kids.

A Disney+ subscription to watch their favorite movies

disney plus 4x3

Subscribe for $6.99/month or $69.99/year

Get unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here. And if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream.

A city they can build themselves

little architect stem toy

Arckit Play Little Architect, available at Maisonette, $69

With 130 pieces of all different shapes, kids can create the pastel-colored city of their dreams with this STEAM toy.

A festive pair of pajamas

primary
Primary’s rainbow heart pajama set is a comfy and cute Valentine’s gift for kids.

Rainbow Heart PJ Top, available at Primary, $16

Rainbow Heart PJ Pant, available at Primary, $16

Any kid will love getting these cozy pajamas with a festive twist in the form of lots and lots of colorful hearts. 

A heartfelt book you’ve filled out

love book, $10

“What I Love About You by Me” Book, available at Barnes & Noble, $9.95

Give your kid a book filled with all of the reasons you love and appreciate them. They can look back on it whenever they need a little reminder that they’re awesome. 

A fuzzy, decorative pillow

heart pillow

Heart Faux Fur & Velvet Throw Pillow, available at Target, $16.99

Show your kids you “heart” them with this heart-shaped decorative pillow that adds a warm and fuzzy touch to their bed. 

A rainbow silk streamer

sarahs silks waldorf streamer

Sarah’s Silks Rainbow Silk Streamer, available at Amazon, $12.95

Kids love using their imaginations, which makes something as simple as a rainbow silk a great gift. Whether they use it for twirling, dancing, or playing dress-up, they’ll have fun getting creative with it.

A festive and funny book

junie b jones

“Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime” by Barbara Park, available at Amazon, $4.24

Junie B. Jones is an iconic and hilarious Kindergartner that kids love. Little ones have been reading her series for over 25 years! Any tiny bookworm will love working on their reading skills with this funny story about Junie B. Jones navigating “Valentime’s Day”.

A rainbow scratch-off note pad

melissa and doug scratch pad

Melissa & Doug Scratch Art Box of Rainbow Mini Notes, available at Amazon, $8.99

A note pad doesn’t seem all that exciting, unless you give them this one. Once they scratch off the black coating, a bright rainbow pattern will be revealed. They can use it to write notes or just create fun drawings. 

Crayons that are customized with their name

crayons

Personalized Rainbow Name Crayons, available at Etsy, from $19.95

Show your love for a young artist in your life with a personalized gift. Coloring gets a lot more fun with these giant rainbow crayons that spell out their name. 

A challenging LEGO set

Legos ideas ship $61.75

LEGO Ideas Ship in a Bottle, available at Amazon, $85.43

This LEGO set is a challenging and fun way for kids to work on their building and problem-solving skills. 

An inspiring poster

heros

Heroic Girls in Books Poster, available at Uncommon Goods, $29

Inspire your kids, no matter their gender, with this cute poster, featuring 100 inspiring women characters from great books. 

A heart-shaped teether

chewbeads heart shaped teether

Chewbeads Brooklyn Teether, available at Amazon, $14.50

On theme for Valentine’s Day, this teether — which features silicone and wood parts — can be attached to strollers and car seats so babies are distracted from the discomfort of teething.

A snuggly teddy that turns into a hoodie

cubcoats

Cubcoats hoodies, available at Cubcoats, from $35

What looks like an adorable stuffed animal at first glance can be rolled out into a full-sized, fuzzy hoodie. Kids will be so excited when they realize they can take their favorite snuggly toy with them everywhere they go. 

Read our full review here.

A singing pillow inspired by a viral song

baby shark

WowWee Baby Shark Official Song Cube, available at Amazon, $12.99

Kids are constantly singing a song about baby sharks — we don’t know why, but it seems like they’re really into it. Give them this plush cube that sings four different versions of “Baby Shark” so they can listen to the viral song all the time.

A playset for an aspiring baker

melissa doug slice bake cookie set

Melissa and Doug Slice and Bake Cookie Set, available at Target and Walmart, from $15.79

Start little bakers off with a wooden slice and bake cookie set. They can use the knife to slice through the cookie “tube” and mix and match the icing toppings. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A craft kit for making sweet cards

Valentines Day Craft Kit Amazon

Kid Made Modern Valentines Craft Kit, available at Amazon and Maisonette, from $16.99

Make home decorations or little love notes with these art supplies, from gel pens to metallic paper and more. The popsicle sticks and felt hearts are perfect for handmade valentines, but the crafting can continue long after February 14.

Recommended ages: 6 years and up

A tee to spell out how you feel

alphabet_heart herwholeheart etsy

ABC I Love You Shirt, available at Etsy, $21.94

This love-themed baseball tee is sweet and neutral enough to wear year round. Stick with red and white, or choose from a variety of color combinations.

Available sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL

A colorful slime pack

Elmer_s_Glue_20_Count_Slime Amazon

Elmer’s 20 Count Mini Premade Slime Party Pack, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, from $14.99

For a slime super-fan, nothing says love like 20 jars of premade slime. Each slime comes with a set of mix-ins for even more gooey fun. 

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

A toy full of surprises

Two Pack_Mini Brands_Surprise_Balls Amazon

Zuru Mini Brands Double Pack, available at Amazon, $13.99

Surprise them with Mini Brands and let the unboxing joy begin. Plus, in this two-pack, collectors have double the chances to find a rare gold or glow-in-the-dark Mini Brand.

Recommended ages: 3 years and up

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My husband and I loved using this bassinet for our newborn – I was genuinely sad when she outgrew it

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

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

HALO bassinet
A swivel bassinet can make the first few months with an infant easier on sleep-deprived parents.

  • As the parent of a newborn, I was naturally terrified of the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • According to the American SIDS Institute, babies should sleep on their backs in their own crib, never in your bed.
  • With our newborn, my husband and I used the Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, Essentia Series, which was easy to set up and use and made being woken up throughout the night less stressful. 
  • While using this bassinet for our newborn baby, I also slept well knowing I was right next to her while she was on her own safe sleep surface. 
  • You should always talk to your pediatrician if you have questions about safe sleep for your infant.

Before I gave birth to my daughter, I knew that I was going to do everything I could to give her a safe sleeping environment – I was terrified about the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The safe sleep guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicate that infants should sleep on their backs on a firm, flat sleeping surface. While indeed safe, this doesn’t sound very comfortable, especially for a baby who’s used to being warm and cozy in the womb. Many babies sleep better when they can snuggle up next to their mom, and my daughter, Ellie, was no exception. 

Like many moms, my labor and delivery didn’t go as planned, and I ended up with an unplanned C-section and lots of complications. It was extremely hard and painful for me to get up from a lying or sitting position for the first couple of weeks.

Enter the Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, which made all the times Ellie woke us in the middle of the night slightly less stressful. For us, it’s not a far stretch to say the bassinet was the next best thing to co-sleeping.

That being said, if you have any questions about safe sleep and care for your baby, talk to your pediatrician. These are but one set of parents’ experiences with this bassinet. 

Design and specs 

HALO Bassinet 3
The height of the Bassinest’s side walls makes transferring baby quite easy.

We have the Halo Essentia Series Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, but there’s also the Premiere, Luxe, and Luxe Plus, all of which have upgraded features like audio and vibrations, reminders, and even sheet sets, but the basic structure and safety functions are the same across the board.

The Essentia has a sturdy four-point base that slides easily under the bed so you can pull the bassinet portion right next to you. Ellie was so close that I didn’t have to get out of bed at all to take care of her, and I felt such a sense of peace having her right next to me. With just a mesh wall between us and Ellie, my husband and I got the benefits of co-sleeping without the risks. Even before she could roll, Ellie would often scoot her way to the side to get as close to me as possible.

Another thing I loved was that we didn’t have to bend all the way down to set her in the bassinet. If you’ve ever transferred a sleeping baby from your arms to their bed, you’ll know that one wrong move can blow the whole operation.

The handy 360-degree swivel makes it easy to shift the bassinet without waking up the baby if you need to get out of bed. The legs don’t have wheels on them so you can’t roll the unit away, but you can swivel it and create space to move around. 

The sidewall that faces the bed also lowers with the pressure of your arms and then pops back up on its own. This feature makes it easy to reach in and pick up your baby right from your bed. I loved this because it never took me more than a few seconds to get to Ellie when she was crying, and I didn’t have to bend down a lot to pick her up either. 

The mattress itself is comfortable yet firm, helping your baby sleep safely – Ellie even managed to sleep 10 hours straight one time. The Essentia Bassinest Swivel Sleeper also has a side pocket to store diapers, wipes, and other nighttime essentials so everything is within reach and parents don’t need to go to their baby changing station for supplies.

The Luxe and Premiere series bassinets also come with features like a night-light, soothing audio, and vibrations to lull your baby to sleep, and a “back to bed” reminder that reminds parents to put your baby back into the bassinet. We actually didn’t have these features on our Essentia model, but they would have given me even more peace of mind in those early weeks with Ellie.

When you’re not sleeping well and (in my case) also recovering from surgery, your mind just isn’t clear. I once woke to my husband burping a pillow in the middle of the night, and I often woke up in a panic searching for Ellie in our bed, only to find her perfectly safe in her bassinet. Any extra safety measure is huge when your mind isn’t functioning properly.

Setup

HALO Bassinet 2
Halo also makes a Premiere version of the Bassinest, which includes a night-light, soothing sounds, and vibration.

We set up the bassinet before Ellie was born so our dog could get used to it and it would be ready to go as soon as we got home from the hospital.

It was easy to set up, though it is relatively heavy at almost 30 pounds – something I was actually happy about because it reassured me of its durability. We have a 90-pound German shepherd, and he never even came close to knocking it over. 

The process to set up the bassinet was pretty straightforward as the instructions are clear and the pieces of the bassinet are clearly labeled. The only items not provided are the Phillips screwdriver to secure the legs and batteries if you get one of the upgraded models. 

Whether you’re pregnant or recovering from childbirth when you set it up, you’ll likely need some help because of the weight. Unless you’re setting this up on a large table, you might also need to bend over to secure the bassinet to the base.

Note that the base needs a minimum of 45 inches between the bed and the wall, which makes this bassinet a good option for small rooms. I didn’t find it to be bulky at all; some others on the market take up much more space.

What makes it stand out

For me, the absolute standout feature of this bassinet is the swivel function. True co-sleeper bassinets have not been proven safe by the AAP, and there are some concerns that babies can get stuck between the bassinet and the bed as well as make their way completely into the bed itself. Completely separate bassinets are safer, but I don’t think that they’re as convenient for parents and don’t provide the same feeling of warmth and closeness that babies can get with the Halo Swivel Sleeper

Speaking of closeness, I also loved that the bassinet had mesh siding. Ellie really loved to press her head and face against the side of the bassinet, and with the breathable mesh siding, I never worried that she would suffocate. After you’ve been cramped up in the womb for nine months, it must feel so strange and scary to suddenly sleep all by yourself in an open space. Pushing her head against the side was familiar and comforting to her.

The cons

Honestly, the biggest downside is that Ellie eventually grew out of the bassinet.

The weight limit is 20 pounds, which could easily accommodate a baby until they’re able to start pulling up onto the sides which, if you’ll remember, lower and raise whenever there’s weight on them. We had to transition Ellie out of the bassinet because she was getting too long when she was around 2 or 3 months old.

As much as I stressed about always maintaining a safe sleep environment, I definitely pushed the limits of using the Halo for as long as possible. If it were up to me, I would have kept using it long beyond the manufacturer’s recommendation, but my husband put his foot down when it became clear that Ellie was just too big; it really isn’t a safe or wise thing to do as a parent. I definitely shed a few tears because the bassinet made night wakings easier and more convenient – though how convenient can being woken up four times a night really be? 

The bottom line

HALO Bassinet 4
Around 2 to 3 months old, my daughter outgrew this bassinet, but it was worth the investment.

If you’re looking for a thoughtful sleep product that will help your bundle of joy stay safe and sleep well, consider the Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, Essentia Series. At $240, it’s a reasonable investment into your child’s safety. 

There is a lot of gear that goes with having a newborn, so if you’re strapped for cash, the Essentia is ideal and doesn’t skimp out on any safety features. If you want to splurge for the extra features like vibration and “back to sleep” reminder, you’ll want to look at the Premiere ($290) or Luxe ($350).

There are plenty of other safe sleep options on the market with even more upgraded and innovative features, though I haven’t tried them. One that many parents swear by is the Snoo ($1,400), which comes with innovative features like an app and an algorithm that can distinguish between different baby cries. It also comes with a hefty price tag.  

But if you choose to go with the Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper, Essentia Series, in my experience, you won’t be disappointed – you might actually get some more sleep.  

Pros: Flat and firm sleep surface, 360-degree swivel makes it easy to get out of bed, mesh sides lower with weight, slides over beds easily, takes up little space

Cons: Babies can outgrow it quickly

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best baby bottles in 2020

When it comes to choosing the right bottle for feeding your baby, it can be overwhelming. There are many different types of bottles, and the truth is, sometimes you may have to try more than one before you find the best baby bottle for your infant.

Different babies have different needs. For example, a strictly bottle-fed baby may prefer a specific nipple design, while a primarily breastfed baby may need a longer nipple or wider mouth. Or you may have a preemie baby, a baby with colic, or another situation that could warrant special features.

Even two babies with seemingly similar needs might have different preferences for a bottle. So if your breastfed baby doesn’t take to the bottle we’ve recommended here, consider our other picks. It can take some trial and error, and that’s completely normal.

As a parent, you may not have a problem with plastic bottles, or you may only want a glass or silicone nonplastic bottle. Some bottles are easier to wash and/or sanitize than others. Extra sanitizing precautions are recommended for babies younger than 3 months, those borne prematurely, or with a weakened immune system. The CDC provides guidance for washing bottles in the dishwasher or by hand, as well as instructions for sanitizing.

Ultimately, you have to find the baby bottle that works best for you and your family’s needs, so I have tested all different kinds of baby bottles to help you narrow down your search. 

What makes me an expert to choose the best baby bottles for caregivers to use for their own babies? Well, for one, I’ve used bottles in almost all different types of feeding scenarios with my own five children, including strictly breastfed babies who needed a bottle when I wasn’t present, a full-time bottle-fed baby, a baby who had a mixture of formula and breast milk through a bottle, and a premature baby who had very different needs for a bottle. I’m also a registered nurse who worked in obstetrics for several years, where I had the opportunity to bottle-feed many babies. 

To help you find the best baby bottle, I put together this guide by testing all of the bottles with my own baby, from the age of newborn through 8 months old. During that time, she was primarily bottle-fed, although we did attempt nursing at the breast as well. I tested everything from the leading and lesser-known brands of bottles and bottles for specific purposes, like for breastfed babies and formula-feeding. For more feeding-related guides, see the best bottle warmers and breast pumps.

Here are the best baby bottles you can buy:

Prices and links are current as of 12/21/20. 

The best bottle overall

dr browns options baby bottle

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Options+ Anti-Colic Glass Baby Bottle is affordable, durable, and versatile with interchangeable nipples and accessories.

Pros: Affordable, glass, versatile, removable vent system, anti-colic, durable, nipples interchangeable, easy to clean, easy to use, 4- and 8-ounce options, fits in standard diaper bag pouches, dishwasher safe

Cons: Vent system can leak if not used correctly, warming time is longer than plastic bottles 

I use the Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Options+ Glass Bottle for everyday use because it can withstand full sanitizing without breaking down the way that polycarbonate bottles do. One of the great things about Dr. Brown’s bottles is that the pieces are all interchangeable. They have both a narrow and a wide neck bottle type, but the tops are the same no matter which size you pick, unlike most other bottles.

Along with being premature, my daughter also suffered from severe colic attributed to acid reflux for the first few months of her life, to the point where her pediatrician wanted to temporarily put her on reflux medication. However, after her medication was taken off the market, this bottle helped reduce her symptoms. Depending on the cause of your child’s colic symptoms, this bottle may offer some relief, but of course, there is no guarantee.

I even removed the colic vent a few times to test if it was actually making a difference — and it sure was. Without the vent, my baby basically gulped air, the milk filled with bubbles, and she spit up and had more discomfort. These bottles with the vent were like magic for her. They significantly reduced the amount she spit up and she was much less fussy after eating.

There were a few times when I didn’t make sure the vent was completely flat before I fastened the nipple on the bottle. If you do this, the bottle will leak, so be sure the vent is inserted correctly before you feed your baby. 

Dr. Brown’s bottles are quite affordable and sturdy. I have not had a single one of these bottles break, wear down, or show any signs of damage through multiple dishwashing cycles and microwave sanitizing. 

The bottles also have add-on accessories, like silicone sleeves and handles that make holding the bottles easier for you or your baby. Like the nipples, the accessories are also interchangeable, so it doesn’t matter what size you’re using. I also really appreciate that the wider-neck glass bottles easily fit in a diaper bag bottle pouch. 

The best silicone bottle

comotomo baby bottle

The Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle is a well-priced, easy-to-clean silicone option for breast- and bottle-fed babies. 

Pros: 100% silicone, easy to use and clean, various nipple flow options, affordable, warms quickly, natural feel for breastfed babies, dishwasher safe

Cons: May not fit easily in standard diaper bag bottle pouches

Comotomo baby bottles are made of 100% silicone, so they’re a great option if you’re looking for something other than plastic for your baby. The bottles are offered in both 5- and 8-ounce sizes and the shape is wider at the top than the bottom, with squeezable silicone to mimic the feel of a breast.

The Comotomo Natural Feel Baby Bottle is designed with a wide neck, which makes cleaning very easy. With some other types of bottles, it can be easy for debris from the dishwasher to get trapped in the crevices of bottle tops, but the Comotomo’s wide mouth prevents that. The top of the bottle also has a really convenient “tab” that makes putting the bottle together or dissembling it for cleaning super easy.

The nipples have two anti-colic vents, and I did notice significantly less air being “gulped” by my baby when using this bottle. You can also change the nipple type and flow as your baby grows, from one hole for slow flow for newborns, up to variable flow for infants over 6 months old — all without buying a new bottle.

For a silicone bottle, these bottles are reasonably priced. They can withstand wear and tear and are incredibly durable, so you don’t have to worry about them breaking. They don’t crack, and you can toss them in the dishwasher or sterilizer without worry.

Lastly, while the shape is designed to be helpful for breastfed babies, this bottle worked well for my baby who has been bottle-fed from the start.

The best for formula mixing

pop yum baby bottle

The PopYum 9-Ounce Anti-Colic Formula Bottle is great for feedings on the go with separate compartments to hold formula and water until use.

Pros: High quality, affordable, fits in diaper bag bottle pouches, anti-colic, convenient for formula feeding, dishwasher safe

Cons: Many parts to clean, not user-friendly out of the box, all parts must be completely dry to use, slower to warm than standard plastic bottle

The PopYum 9-ounce Anti-Colic Formula Bottle is made of polypropylene while the nipple itself is composed of medical-grade silicone. It comes in 5- and 9-ounce sizes, but the for purpose of this review, I tested the larger bottle.

The bottle is designed so you can carry everything you need — both the water and the exact amount of formula — in just one bottle while on the go. You premeasure the formula in the top and fill the water in the bottom. A seal separates the two until you hit the button to allow the formula down into the water. It’s not your standard bottle, however, and I admit that it took me several “trial runs” before I felt confident in setting up the bottle properly. 

Made for on-the-go convenience, the bottle has thoughtful design elements, including a wider-neck mouth and a nipple shape that mimics the breast. The wide neck makes it easy to clean. This is especially important for a bottle that uses formula, which can clump and get stuck inside bottles.

PopYum offers three different nipple types: slow, medium, and fast flow. The Stage 1 bottle (5 ounces) comes with three slow flow nipples, and Stage 2 (9 ounces) comes with three medium flow nipples. You can also purchase a two-pack of the slow, medium, or fast flow nipples. Although every baby has different needs, mine was not ready for the medium flow nipple until she was over 6 months old. 

The price of approximately $12 per bottle is very reasonable, but the main draw of this bottle is that it’s convenient for use away from home. Because there are five components, it takes some time to clean. It also needs to be completely dry to avoid formula clumping, so it’s not ideal for use as an everyday bottle.

The best for breastfed babies

perry mackin baby bottle

Of all the baby bottles I tested, the Perry Mackin Natural Feel, Anti-Colic Silicone Baby Bottle has the nipple shape that most mimics the shape and feel of breastfeeding.

Pros: 100% silicone, easy to use and clean, natural feel for breastfed babies, anti-colic, fits in most diaper bag bottle pouches, warms quickly, dishwasher safe

 Cons: Pricey

The Perry Mackin Natural Feel, Anti-Colic Silicone Baby Bottle is made of 100% food-grade silicone, has a wide-mouth design with a slimmer silhouette, and comes in both 6- and 9-ounce versions. It provides a realistic “latch” for breastfed babies and is soft for them to grab onto.

The bottle is easy to clean and you can sterilize it with a dishwasher, microwave, boiling water, or any baby bottle sterilizer. Both the mouth and the bottle itself are slimmer than the Comotomo silicone bottle, so it has a smaller profile.

I attribute Perry Mackin’s wider top and longer nipple design to really mimicking what a breastfed experience is like for a baby. The nipple shape on this bottle is longer than some of the others I tested for breastfed babies. Because it mimics an actual nipple, I found that my bottle-fed baby had a harder time using it since she has never nursed at the breast. 

Perry Mackin offers four different nipple steps, starting with a one-hole nipple for newborns that has a slower flow and going up to a full-flow nipple at around 9 months. All the nipples feature a one-way colic vent to reduce air bubbles and fight colic.

I like the design of this bottle, especially because it has a special joint-locking system that makes it easier to secure the top and prevent leaks. Plus, it has several add-ons, including straws and handles for older babies.

But it’s also pricey, and for me, the biggest drawback was that my strictly bottle-fed baby had a hard time using it since it so closely mimics the breast. All things considered, it’s good for breastfed babies and may be a consideration for those who are strictly bottle-fed.

The best budget bottle

Best baby bottles in 2020

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Original Baby Bottle is a standard, affordable baby bottle that’s vented, durable, and works for babies of all ages.

Pros: Affordable, easy to use and assemble, dishwasher safe, removable vent system, three sizes, fits in diaper bag bottle pouch, warms quickly, interchangeable nipple flow sizes

Cons: Can discolor in dishwasher

Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Original Baby Bottle is made of BPA-free plastic and comes in 2-, 4-, and 8-ounce sizes. It is a traditional design with a narrow neck and slim profile.

Depending on which size bottle you purchase, the three-pack comes with one of its many nipple flow options, from the specially designed preemie nipple for the 2-ounce bottle to the standard slow flow for the 4-ounce bottle. But as with all Dr. Brown bottles, all the nipple tops are interchangeable, so it’s easy to switch to the one your baby needs. All of the bottles come with a removable anti-colic vent (the insert part).

You definitely can’t beat the price of this bottle, and it is extremely durable, as well as dishwasher safe on the top rack. The only drawback I’ve found with these plastic bottles is if you wash them with them any tomato-based residue — such as pasta sauce — the bottles tend to take on an orangish hue that doesn’t fade after subsequent washings. 

I first used this bottle on the recommendation of the NICU when my daughter was born five weeks early for its preemie flow nipple. Now that my daughter is 8 months old, we are still using the bottle — it has stood the test of time and met all of our different bottle-feeding needs. Although I prefer the glass option for everyday use, I stick to the standard plastic Dr. Brown’s Original Bottle for stashing in the diaper bag because of its slim profile.

What else we considered

nanobebe

In our testing, we also considered a few other baby bottles that didn’t quite meet our standards for the best of the best. 

  • Nanobebe: This bottle designed to mimic the breast does have some admirable features like fast warming and breast pump adaptability, but I found it wasn’t as practical as the other bottles I tested. It doesn’t fit in diaper bag bottle pouches, transporting it in a cooler was cumbersome, and even holding it to feed my baby felt awkward.
  • Evenflo Feeding Premium Proflo Venting Balance Plus Wide Neck Baby, Newborn and Infant Bottles, 6-pack: I tested these as a budget option with a lot of the premium feature found in more expensive bottles, like venting technology and a wider latch. But I could not get over how cheap the plastic felt. It seemed like they could disintegrate in the dishwasher.
  • Lifefactory 4-ounce BPA-Free Glass Baby Bottle With Protective Silicone Sleeve: This bottle gets an honorable mention as a glass option, and I really liked the sleeve, which makes it easy to hold. It was sturdy to transport without the risk of it breaking. However, the nipple on this bottle was the deal-breaker for me — my daughter could not get the hang of it. It seemed to have a longer shape than she was used to in most other bottles, so it didn’t work for us.

Check out our other baby gear guides

second baby

The best bottle warmers

Even though baby bottle warmers come in lots of designs, choosing the perfect one for your specific needs can be challenging. When researching and choosing the best baby bottle warmers, we took into consideration five essential criteria: safety features, warming efficiency, cleaning ease, bottle type, and cost.


The best breast pumps

Whether you’re running an errand, taking a short trip, or heading back to work full-time, you’ll need a good breast pump to get you through those times when you can’t breastfeed your baby directly. These are the best breast pumps you can buy.


The best nursing bras

When newborns are hungry, they let you know, and they’re not very patient. Thankfully, nursing bras make it quick and easy to feed your baby. There are a wide range of nursing bras to choose from, making it hard to know which type best meets your needs and which brand and style you should go with.


The best car seats

Car seats are one of the most critical pieces of gear parents with young kids need, but they’re also one of the most overwhelming items to buy. We’ve cut through the myriad options to find the best car seats and boosters for kids of all ages.


The best travel car seats

A travel car seat can help your kid stay safe and comfortable on any trip, and finding one that’s light and compact makes life so much easier. To save weight and space, travel car seats don’t have all the bells and whistles of other seats, making it hard to choose which features are most important to you and which you can do without. 


The best strollers

With the right stroller, you and your young one are ready for anything, from a quick trip to the store to a long trip. Whatever your needs or use-cases may be, here are the best strollers to consider.


The best umbrella strollers

An umbrella stroller is a smart investment to make when it comes to buying baby products. Once your child needs a sippy-cup holder and footrest, it’s time to purchase an umbrella stroller.


The best jogging strollers

There’s a huge difference in quality between the best and worst jogging strollers. But once you near the top, there are several amazing options. Which one you should get depends on preference and priorities. So here are the best of the best in a variety of categories.


The best video baby monitors

Video monitors allow caregivers to keep both eyes and ears on the baby, answering questions that a simple audio monitor cannot. We tested nine of the top-ranked video baby monitors with my now 10-month-old across several categories.


The best baby thermometers

We consulted a pediatrician, looked at current research, and talked to parents to select 11 of the most popular digital baby thermometers to test. Depending on your child’s age, you will want to use a rectal, temporal artery, tympanic, or oral thermometer.


The best diaper delivery

Once you become a parent, diapers are a fact of life. Save yourself a bit of time and hassle by having diapers delivered to your door by a great diaper delivery company.


The best cloth diapers

Cloth diapers are easy to use, economical, and better for the environment. To narrow down the options to the five best cloth diapers, we consulted other parents, researched user reviews and product specs, and relied on personal experience to find the best cloth diapers.


The best diaper bags

Whether you’re looking for a well-organized bag that can store all the things or you want something that looks cute while you carry it around, there’s a diaper bag to meet your needs. We tested a variety of styles to find the best diaper bags you can buy.


The best baby wipes

Baby wipes are an essential supply for diapering. They’re also ideal for all sorts of other uses, including wiping bigger kids’ hands, cleaning messes off tables before and after meals, and attacking spills before they set in and leave a stain.


The best baby swaddles

While swaddling does come with some controversy, it’s hands-down one of the best ways to get a fussy baby to sleep. But like all baby products, swaddles come in all shapes and sizes. Here are the best baby swaddles you can buy.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best sleep sacks and wearable blankets for babies in 2020

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • To ensure babies stay safe and warm without a blanket or swaddle, many parents buy sleep sacks, which are essentially wearable blankets.
  • After much research and testing, we found the Halo Sleep Sack Wearable Blanket to be the best sleep sack for most babies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents keep blankets, toys, and other objects out of the crib for the first 12 months to limit the risk of suffocation and of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Many parents decide to buy sleep sacks in lieu of blankets to keep their newborns warm.

Sleep sacks are basically zippered cloth sacks with armholes. You don’t have to worry about extra material interfering with a baby’s breathing or a baby becoming uncovered at night. 

Sleep sacks come in a variety of materials and sizes. When I first started using them, I felt overwhelmed by the choices. Plus, depending on the season and where you live, you have to choose from different weights or thermal overall grades (TOG), which tells you how much insulation is in the material. 

When I looked at the best sleep sacks for babies, I evaluated each one based on material, design, and cost. I also relied on my own personal experience to select the best sleep sacks.

Here are the best sleep sacks you can buy:

Prices and links are current as of 12/18/2020. We are currently testing sleep sacks for an update to this guide.

The best overall

halo sleepsack wearable blanket

The Halo Sleep Sack Wearable Blanket is super soft, high quality, and well designed. 

Pros: Super soft, roomy and hip-friendly design, high-quality

Cons: Need different ones for each season

Halo Sleep Sack Wearable Blanket is super soft and available in a range of sizes and weights for any season. The bag has two-way zippers to make nighttime diaper changes easier. 

The roomy design allows babies plenty of room to move around and doesn’t constrict the hips. The sack comes with a seal of approval from the Hip Dysplasia Institute. I started using these sleep sacks with my baby around the 2-month mark after using swaddles. 

My absolute favorite was the Halo Sleep Sack Plush Dot Velboa Wearable Blanket. The sleep sack comes at a TOG 1.0, which is suitable for fall or early winter. If you want a warmer winter sleep sack, I also used the winter-weight Halo at a TOG 2.5 for cold winter nights. 

The Halo sleep sack is by far the best choice you can make when it comes to wearable blankets. My only criticism is that you need multiple sacks to cover different temperatures and seasons. You also need to have two sacks of the same weight in case of accidents. 

The best wool sleep sack

Merino Kids Sleep Bag

The Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag for Babies offers excellent temperature regulation for any season.

Pros: Regulates temperature, grows with baby, good for all seasons, super soft and cozy

Cons: Expensive, handwash only

While I adore Halo sleep sacks, the Merino Kids Baby Sleep Bag is another great option, although it is pricey. However, the quality and longevity of the sleep sack really do justify the cost. With other sleep sacks, you’ll need to buy at least two for every season, but with Merino Kids, you only need one sack for the first two years. 

Wool regulates body temperature better than cotton or polyester. I never worried about either of my children being too hot or too cold when they wore the Merino.  Not only does the Merino regulate body temperature, but it’s also exceptionally well-made.

After almost three years of using the same sleep sack between two children, it’s held up well. Just be to use specially formulated wool shampoo when you wash the sleep sack. I used NikWax Wool Wash. You also have to line dry to avoid shrinkage or the moisture-wicking ability of the sleep sack. But the odor-resistant qualities of wool, require you to wash it less frequent washing.

The best for winter

baby deedee

The Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Sleeping Sack keeps hands, feet, and toes warm through cold winter months.

Pros: Breathable, soft material, ideal for winter

Cons: Pricier than other sacks, not for all seasons, large head opening

The winter weight 2.5 TOG Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Sleeping Sack keeps your baby warm at night. The quilted duvet material adds an extra layer of warmth to the 100% cotton exterior. It will be hard to find a winter-weight sleep sack better than the Baby Deedee.

Not only is the sleep sack super warm, but the fabric is also breathable, so you don’t have to worry about them sweating. Putting a baby in the cocoon-like design is more comfortable with its equally smart shoulder straps. The straps lay flat, making it easier for you to place your baby in the sack and then snap the shoulder straps together. You don’t have to lift up the arms and move them through the holes, possibly waking up your baby.

From the high-quality materials to the smart and warm design, you can’t go wrong with the Baby Deedee from the first winter storm to the smell of spring. The company also has a Sleep Nest Travel sack for camping or outside use. 

The best for summer

Nested Bean

The Nested Bean Zen Sack Classic mimics a parent’s touch with its lightly weighted center that can soothe fussy babies.

Pros: Light and soft material, mimics a loving touch, adjustable straps, reversible, two-way zippers

Cons: Expensive, need more than one as your baby grows

The Nested Bean Zen Sack Classic comes in soft, breathable cotton, making it perfect for hot summer nights. At a .05 TOG, you won’t find a sleep sack lighter than this weight. The bag can also be used year-round depending on clothing and temperature. 

The most unique design feature is a gently weighted pressure pad on the center of the chest to give the sensation of a parent’s touch. Before greeting the world, babies spend nine months snug in the womb, and once outside, they need constant contact. The Nested Bean mimics the soothing touch of a caregiver.

The smart design also has two-way zippers to facilitate quick middle of the night diaper changes, adjustable straps, and is reversible for stomach sleepers. While back is best until your baby rolls over, once they do, your baby might prefer the tummy frog position. For those with swaddling needs, Nested Bean also offers the Zen Swaddle Classic in a similar design and material.

Read our full review of the Nested Bead Zen Sack here.

The best organic sleep sack

Burt's Bees baby

The Burt’s Bees Baby Beekeeper Wearable Blanket is an organic cotton sleep sack that will keep your baby warm at night.

Pros: 100% organic, gentle on sensitive skin, zipper guard, cute designs

Cons: Not for all seasons

Burt’s Bees Baby Beekeeper Wearable Blanket is made with 100% certified organic cotton. It’s certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). You can really feel the softness of this sleep sack’s material to give babies extra comfort.

The design features a bottom zipper to allow for quick diaper changes and an interior zipper guard and snap tab zipper pull for safety. You won’t have to worry about accidentally zipping up your baby’s skin.

At a TOG of .05, the Beekeeper is perfect for the warmer months; pair it underneath a jacket or blanket to add an extra layer of warmth for the cooler seasons.

Check out our other baby gear guides

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The best baby swaddles

While swaddling does come with some controversy, it’s hands-down one of the best ways to get a fussy baby to sleep. But like all baby products, swaddles come in all shapes and sizes. Here are the best baby swaddles you can buy.


The best video baby monitors

Video monitors allow caregivers to keep both eyes and ears on the baby, answering questions that a simple audio monitor cannot. We tested nine of the top-ranked video baby monitors with my now 10-month-old across several categories.


The best baby bouncers

Babies find bouncing incredibly soothing, and a baby bouncer can be a real lifesaver when you need a break. To make our picks, we researched available options and tested some models to find the best baby bouncers


The best baby carriers

A baby carrier lets you and your little one explore the world together. You’ll be glad to have your hands free and your child nestled close, while babies love feeling warm and secure. These are the best baby carriers you can buy.


The best car seats

Car seats are one of the most critical pieces of gear parents with young kids need, but they’re also one of the most overwhelming items to buy. We’ve cut through the myriad options to find the best car seats and boosters for kids of all ages.


The best travel car seats

A travel car seat can help your kid stay safe and comfortable on any trip, and finding one that’s light and compact makes life so much easier. To save weight and space, travel car seats don’t have all the bells and whistles of other seats, making it hard to choose which features are most important to you and which you can do without. 


The best strollers

With the right stroller, you and your young one are ready for anything, from a quick trip to the store to a long trip. Whatever your needs or use-cases may be, here are the best strollers to consider.


The best umbrella strollers

An umbrella stroller is a smart investment to make when it comes to buying baby products. Once your child needs a sippy-cup holder and footrest, it’s time to purchase an umbrella stroller.


The best jogging strollers

There’s a huge difference in quality between the best and worst jogging strollers. But once you near the top, there are several amazing options. Which one you should get depends on preference and priorities. So here are the best of the best in a variety of categories.


The best baby bottles

When it comes to choosing the right bottle for feeding your baby, it can be overwhelming. To help you find the best baby bottle, we put together this guide by testing all of the bottles with a baby, from the age of newborn through 8 months old.


The best bottle warmers

Even though baby bottle warmers come in lots of designs, choosing the perfect one for your specific needs can be challenging. When researching and choosing the best baby bottle warmers, we took into consideration five essential criteria: safety features, warming efficiency, cleaning ease, bottle type, and cost.


The best breast pumps

Whether you’re running an errand, taking a short trip, or heading back to work full-time, you’ll need a good breast pump to get you through those times when you can’t breastfeed your baby directly. These are the best breast pumps you can buy.


The best nursing bras

When newborns are hungry, they let you know, and they’re not very patient. Thankfully, nursing bras make it quick and easy to feed your baby. There are a wide range of nursing bras to choose from, making it hard to know which type best meets your needs and which brand and style you should go with.


The best baby thermometers

We consulted a pediatrician, looked at current research, and talked to parents to select 11 of the most popular digital baby thermometers to test. Depending on your child’s age, you will want to use a rectal, temporal artery, tympanic, or oral thermometer.


The best diaper delivery

Once you become a parent, diapers are a fact of life. Save yourself a bit of time and hassle by having diapers delivered to your door by a great diaper delivery company.


The best cloth diapers

Cloth diapers are easy to use, economical, and better for the environment. To narrow down the options to the five best cloth diapers, we consulted other parents, researched user reviews and product specs, and relied on personal experience to find the best cloth diapers.


The best diaper bags

Whether you’re looking for a well-organized bag that can store all the things or you want something that looks cute while you carry it around, there’s a diaper bag to meet your needs. We tested a variety of styles to find the best diaper bags you can buy.


The best baby wipes

Baby wipes are an essential supply for diapering. They’re also ideal for all sorts of other uses, including wiping bigger kids’ hands, cleaning messes off tables before and after meals, and attacking spills before they set in and leave a stain.

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