The 6 best sleep sacks for babies in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Sleep sacks can be useful tools for safe infant sleep
  • The AAP recommends no loose bedding for baby, so sleep sacks can keep your baby cozy without the risk of blankets.
  • We did the research and testing to find sleep sacks for every climate and every size baby.
  • This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, MD, CPST-I, FAAP, professor of pediatrics, Oregon Health and Science University.

Baby sleep may seem like the most natural thing in the world. But that doesn’t mean it always comes easily – to the baby or the caregivers.

You may find yourself wondering: Is my baby too cold at night or too warm? Will they get tangled up in any extra material at night? How can I keep them safe and comfortable? It is important for an infant to have their arms free once they are close to rolling over or to their side (usually around 3 to 4 months), and a “sleep sack,” also called a “wearable blanket,” just might be your golden ticket to long nights of safe, cozy sleep for your little one.

For this guide, I spoke to a pediatrician, a dermatologist, and a baby sleep consultant about what makes a great sleep sack and tested a variety of options with my 1-year-old daughter. I considered several fabric weights or “TOGs,” short for “Thermal Overall Grade,” to fit different climates and seasons, so baby can stay warm enough on cold nights and avoid heat rash on hot ones. Whether you’re looking for a newborn sleep sack, one for an older baby or toddler, or options for winter and summer, read on for our top picks.

Here are the best sleep sacks in 2021

The best sleep sack overall

Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Lite is best baby sleep sack overall

The Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Lite is made of gentle cotton fabric and has an easy on-off design that helped push the soft but durable sleep sack to the top of the heap.

Pros: 100% jersey cotton, roomy, easy to use snaps at the shoulders, zipper doesn’t touch baby’s skin

Cons: Lower pouch design means you have to pull baby’s legs out of the sack to change a diaper

Our experts say jersey cotton is a good material for sensitive skin and unlikely to cause irritation. The Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Lite is a jersey cotton sleep sack that is so soft you’ll feel confident placing it on your baby’s bare skin, though the double layer sack is meant to be worn over your baby’s sleepwear. 

Two large metal snaps at the shoulders make it easy to get a sleeping baby strapped in without having to wiggle their arms through holes or sleeves. Even better, the snaps don’t touch the baby’s skin. A large reverse center zipper means you can easily access the bottom for midnight diaper changes. A perimeter zipper design would be slightly easier, since you wouldn’t have to scoop baby’s bottom all the way out of the sack to change the diaper. But unless your baby is a Houdini and a half, they won’t be able to work this zipper on their own.

When I get home late from work and my baby is already falling asleep, it’s easy to gently wrap this sack around her, snap the shoulders, and zip it down the middle. The sack can be worn over a onesie or a similar pajama layer for ultimate climate comfort throughout the year. On cold nights, I paired the Sleep Nest Lite with a long cotton PJ set, and on hot nights, with just a short-sleeve onesie.

The sleep sack stood up to our washing and drying tests with no visible signs of wear and tear.

The best sleep sack for sensitive skin

Burt's Bees Beekeeper Organic Wearable Blanket is best sleep sack for sensitive skin

The extra gentle fabric and fastener materials used in this sleep sack from Burt’s Bees prevent irritation in babies with extra sensitive skin.

Pros: 100% organic cotton, zipper guard, breathable

Cons: Lighter weight, center zipper design offers slightly awkward diaper access

The Burt’s Bees Beekeeper Organic Wearable Blanket is made of organic cotton and comes in two weights. For sensitive skin, the lighter-weight .5 TOG sack is best since it’s breathable and does not have the polyester fill and extra layers of the 1.5 TOG version.

My baby’s skin is so sensitive that she gets red welts from almost any irritant, but she never had a reaction to this soft, breathable sack. It has a large, easy-to-use reverse metal zipper. While metal shouldn’t touch a baby’s sensitive skin, the sack has an interior zipper guard and snap tab zipper pull cover, which ensure baby’s skin never comes into contact with the fasteners.

The sack’s center zipper design is safer for skin that might react to metal, unlike a perimeter zipper. The inverted zipper makes for easy diaper access, though I felt like I was pulling my baby’s whole bottom out of the sack for diaper changes.

I put it through a few wash and dry cycles and found only a little pilling. It should be dried on the gentle setting.

The best sleep sack for younger babies

Love to Dream Swaddle Up Transition Bag for younger babies

The Love to Dream Swaddle Up Transition Bag helps move your baby from a tightly wrapped burrito to a snuggly but safe roller by allowing them access to different arm positions.

Pros: Roomy healthy hip design, multiple arm positions, babies can self-soothe with their hands up

Cons: Neck hole is a bit narrow for some babies, material around hands stays wet if baby sucks hands through cloth

Many newborns love being tightly swaddled at night because it mimics the feeling of being in the womb, so it’s sometimes difficult to put them in a roomier sleep sack. The cotton muslin Love to Dream Swaddle Up Transition Bag helps with the switch because lots of babies discover their hands right around this time and the different arm positions of the sack help them find their self-soothing sweet spot.

My children are a bit too old to test swaddle transition gear, so I consulted our experts for this category, tested samples for materials quality, and took a not-too-distant walk down memory lane to when I was buying and trying this stuff with my babies.

In a traditional swaddle position, hands and arms swaddled down by the waist. The zip-off “wings” on this sleep sack allow a baby to keep their arms up by their face where many babies like to have access at this stage. With the adjustable wings, you can choose to have both arms up, both arms down, or one arm up and the other down. This is also crucial for use when babies get close to rolling to their sides, and having their hands and arms free is a must to prevent suffocation. 

If your baby likes to suck or gnaw on their hands through the cloth, it will stay damp for a bit but is fairly quick-drying. And the zipper position combined with the stretchy material allow for easy midnight diaper changes, which is a must for younger babies. The stitching began to come loose in a few places after a couple of machine wash and drying cycles.

The best sleep sack for toddlers and older babies

Best sleep sacks is Kyte Sleep Bag Walker

The Kyte Baby Sleep Bag Walker had the softest material my baby and I tested, plus the unique walker design let her move and stretch in all directions.

Pros: Super soft, stretchy fabric; heavier weight but not suffocating; babies on the move will have the freedom to stretch out

Cons: Polyester fill, no footies, hang-dry only

My baby loved petting the extra soft bamboo rayon fabric of the Kyte Sleep Bag Walker and both doctors I spoke with said bamboo is a good material choice. The other 3% of the exterior material is spandex for a bit of stretch.

The Kyte is a moderately thick 1.0 TOG sleep sack with a polyester fill. Although polyester is a synthetic material that is not recommended for sensitive skin, it shouldn’t be a problem in this case since the material does not make contact with a baby’s skin.

My daughter wasn’t walking when we tested this sack, but I loved how she could crawl without getting tripped up since the Sleep Bag Walker has a functional footless design. I put socks on her feet, but they always came off by morning, so that might be a drawback if you’re in a cold climate.

The care instructions say hang-dry only, which is a big inconvenience if you only have one sack

Best sleep sack for warmer weather

best baby sleep sack is Love to Dream Light Sleeveless Sleep Bag

At .2 TOG, the Love to Dream Light Sleeveless Sleep Bag makes parents secure in the knowledge that baby is covered and secure, but not smothered in too much material, even on the hottest nights.

Pros: Super lightweight, breathable, 100% cotton, two-way zipper

Cons: Baby couldn’t crawl without tripping, neck tag is itchy and may need to be removed

I couldn’t have been happier with the delicately crafted long and thin but roomy-in-the-leg design of the Love to Dream Light Sleeveless Sleep Bag. The .2 TOG cotton sack is designed for warmer temperatures and can be worn over just a diaper or a simple cotton onesie. It’s super important that my baby has some coverage overnight, but nothing that will make her sweat and develop heat rash. This sleeveless bag did the trick.

A lightweight two-way zipper with plastic teeth and two coated zipper pulls ensure that no metal ever touches the baby’s skin. I also loved that the zipper pulls are a bright color — different from the cloth or the zipper itself, which made for easier low-light bottom-access diaper changes in the middle of the night.

There were a couple downsides: The long, narrow fit tripped my daughter up a bit while crawling. There’s also an itchy paper tag inside the neck, but it can be removed.

Since this sack is extra thin, I thought it might not be durable, but I was wrong. I followed instructions to wash and dry on the gentle, cold, low settings and saw no major signs of wear and tear.

Best sleep sack for colder weather

Gunamuna Sleep Bag Premium best sleep sack

The Gunamuna Sleep Bag Premium is extra thick and cozy at 2.6 TOG and feels almost as soft — and just as comforting — as velvet.

Pros: Super soft and cozy, 360-degree access with four zipper pulls and a shoulder snap

Cons: Polyester fill, zippers and pulls that match the fabric color make it hard to see them in low light

The extra-soft bamboo rayon shell of the Gunamuna Sleep Bag Premium feels cozy and comfortable enough for an extra-long winter’s nap. The thick interior fill is polyester, which, as a synthetic, may not seem ideal, but received the go-ahead from our experts since the filling never touches the baby’s skin.

The near-360-degree perimeter design zippers with four reversible zipper pulls offered the best bottom access for diaper changes out of all the sleep sacks we tried.

There’s also an asymmetrical zipper access point on the left tank top side, and a two-snap entry point on the other side. I loved just lying my sleepy baby down and wrapping it around her. She could crawl a little bit wearing it, but thickness of the sack made her fall over.

And after a couple of washer and dryer cycles, there were no major signs of wear and tear. Although it’s machine washable, you do need to use the low/gentle cycles. Major plus, though, you can use a machine dryer.

What else we considered

Best sleep sacks for babies What Else Slide

Baby Deedee Sleep Nest Travel: This little number didn’t make the cut primarily because its outer shell is 100% polyester, and our experts advised against synthetic materials.

Halo Sleepsack Cotton Muslin Wearable Blanket: The original “sleepsack,” this is a good, classic option, but the stitching started to fray more quickly than some of the others, so it didn’t

Halo Sleepsack Swaddle Cotton Muslin: Again, the concept is great, but the fabric is prone to bunching up, and the stitching showed signs of breakage first thing out of the packaging.

Nested Bean Zen Sack Classic: I bought several of these myself and liked them with my second daughter, but I found out from the experts that it’s best to stay away from sacks with weighted elements that can interfere with a baby’s ability to breathe and move.

 

How we tested

Each sleep sack had to stand up to four testing. We tested each sack for a week or more with my 1-year-old baby.

Material: Following advice from our experts, we looked for natural materials like cotton and bamboo over synthetics that could irritate sensitive skin. Dr. Susan Bard, a board-certified dermatologist at Vive Dermatology in Brooklyn, New York, recommends staying away from wool. Even though it’s a natural material and there are many popular merino wool options, the fibers can be irritating to sensitive skin or eczema. We also looked for designs where fasteners like metal snaps or zippers won’t touch the baby’s skin.

Fit: We looked for a safe fit that allowed a healthy range of motion. Making sure we had our test baby wearing her correct size, we checked to see if she could roll over and even crawl a little bit without getting tangled in any extra cloth. We wanted to make sure each design allowed for enough hip freedom. According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, baby sleep products can be considered “hip-healthy” when they “allow the infant to actively flex the hips without excessive restraint while also allowing moderate to full hip abduction and external rotation.” 

We checked to see if the baby could undo any of the fasteners herself. For this test, we gave the baby floor time in each sack and watched her behavior. We also checked to see if each sack had any weighted components. Dr. Rashmi Jain, a pediatrician with BabiesMD in Irvine, California, said that weighted sleep sacks are problematic if they inhibit the baby’s ability to breathe easily. Also, while a baby is rolling, she said weighted components might make it difficult for them to adjust their position. Babies over 2 months old and close to rolling over, or already rolling over, must have use of their arms for safe sleep.

Everyday use test: We looked for ease of use in real-life conditions. We tested how easy or difficult it was to put the sleep sack on the baby in low light while she was wriggling or even crying and fussing, like whether I needed to fit her arms through holes, or if there were snaps that went around the shoulders. It mattered if the zipper was large and easy to use or tiny and the same color as the cloth. And it definitely made a difference if there was a reverse zipper design that allowed for an easy diaper change in the middle of the night without taking the entire sack off.

Durability and lasting softness: For this test, I checked for softness and how the material and stitching held up after a few uses. I also put each sleep sack through two machine washes and machine dryer cycles, except when the care instructions indicated hang-dry only.

Safe sleep practices

The Academy of American Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a few essential conditions for giving your baby a safe sleep environment and reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

  • Keep loose bedding like quilts and blankets and soft objects like pillows away from the baby’s sleep area. This is where sleep sacks come in. Wearable sleep clothing is preferable over blankets that could cover the baby’s face or tangle around their neck.
  • The baby should go to sleep on a firm sleep surface like a mattress in a crib, with no extra bedding besides a fitted sheet.
  • The baby should be put down on their back to sleep until they’re at least 1 year old.
  • Avoid overheating and head covering. The baby should be dressed for sleep appropriately for the room temperature. This is where different fabric TOGs are relevant.

Jain recommends making sure your baby is wearing the correct size sleep sack, since one that’s too large or too small can “create unintentional entrapment of [the baby’s] arms or neck.”

There are more recommendations from the AAP about safe baby sleep, some concerning issues where personal choice comes in, like breastfeeding and bedsharing. You can check the AAP’s safe sleep online resources and talk to your pediatrician to learn more.

FAQs

What is the purpose of a sleep sack?

Sleep sacks, also called wearable blankets, help your baby or toddler stay warm during sleep without exposing them to loose bedding that’s known to increase the risk of SIDS. Plus, sleep sacks stay put, and keep baby covered all night.

What ages should a baby wear a sleep sack?

There are no strict medical recommendations about when to use sleep sacks. Jain recommends swaddling until a baby shows readiness to roll and then transitioning to a sleep sack. For some babies, this can begin as early as 2 months of age. Riley Children’s Health recommends sleep sacks for children under 1 year of age, but there’s no harm in going longer. According to Jain, “If a baby is comfortable in a sleep sack and likes that snug feeling, they can stay until 2 years of age, or until they can’t fit in the largest size available.”

Some brands have sizing up to 36 months. A good rule of thumb would be to stop using a sleep sack by the time a toddler is in a big kid bed or is potty training and needs physical independence at night.

Are sleep sacks safe for babies who can roll?

Yes! While a swaddle should never be used with an infant who is close to or already rolling over, a sleep sack is a safe options that allows a baby to use their hands and arms to reposition themselves when they roll over.

How do I choose a sleep sack for hot or cold weather?

Picking the right sleep sack for the temperature is part of the AAP’s safe sleep recommendations. Bard told me that choosing a natural, breathable material like cotton or bamboo “prevents overheating and absorbs any sweat which can lead to heat rash (miliaria).”

You can figure out the right one for your baby using our reviews and the TOG system. The Thermal Overall Grade or “TOG” is a unit of measurement that calculates how much heat a material holds.  Most sleep sack brands (all the ones we’ve recommended) come in varying levels of TOG for you to choose from according to the season, your home’s temperature, and your baby’s preferences. The higher the TOG, the warmer the sleep sack and vice versa. The lightest sleep sack we considered was 0.2 TOG and the heaviest was 2.6 TOG, though the scale technically goes up to 13.5 in the fabric manufacturing industry.

Our sources

Dr. Susan Bard, a dermatologist with a fellowship in pediatric dermatology. Email interview March 9, 2021.

Dr. Rashmi Jain, a pediatrician in Irvine, California. Email interview March 12, 2017.

Natalie Willes, a certified baby sleep consultant and author. Phone interview February 23, 2021.

Safe Sleep Recommendations, American Academy of Pediatrics. Accessed March 2, 2021.

Baby Weighted Blankets: Are they safe? What You Need to Know, Healthline. Accessed March 5, 2021.

Sleep Safety, Riley Children’s Health of Indiana University. Accessed March 11, 2021.

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We tested 9 popular bread machines – these are the 3 best ones you can buy in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A bread machine is a valuable kitchen tool if you enjoy making bread at home.
  • Most bread makers require quick prep work and take about three to four hours to make the bread.
  • We tested nine machines, and the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is our top pick.

While I like the concept of making bread entirely from scratch, the lag time is significant between realizing that warm carbs are what’s missing in my life and actually holding a freshly-baked brioche. Many recipes involving yeast require kneading, refrigerating, or babysitting, making spur-of-the-moment bread out of the question. That is, unless, you have a bread machine.

Most bread machines require about 10 minutes of prep time, which is mostly spent measuring ingredients and putting them into a pan. After that’s done, you pick a setting, turn on the machine, and three or four hours later you (ideally) have a warm, golden-brown loaf. But with so many bread machines on the market, how do you choose the right one?

“At a minimum, I’d want a machine with a standard cycle, a whole grain or whole wheat cycle (if you enjoy whole-grain bread) and a dough cycle, which simply mixes and kneads the dough, then keeps it warm as it rises,” said P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook “The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.” “After that, you can make pizza crust, cinnamon buns, or any number of yummy treats.”

That’s why I put each bread machine in this guide through a series of tests to see how they handled basic white bread, wheat bread with mix-ins (in this case, sunflower seeds and flax seeds), and gluten-free bread. I also assessed the ease of use, setting options, baking times, noise levels, and special features like pre-programming. You can read a more in-depth explanation of my testing methods here, and a few tips for getting the most out of your bread machine here.

The 3 best bread machines of 2021

Our testing methodology

The inside of a bread machine, showing the basket for dough.

Before I began testing, I spoke to Marsha Perry, the writer behind the popular Bread Machine Diva blog, and P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour and author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook “The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion.” Both have decades of experience testing and adapting bread machine recipes and providing their respective readers with bread machine tips. 

On their recommendation, I followed the recipes featured in each bread machine’s guidebook, since they’re calibrated to accommodate unique temperatures, mixing speeds, proofing techniques, and baking times. In future testing rounds, I plan to see how each machine fares using a universal bread machine recipe. I baked, at most, two loaves of bread per day in each machine, waiting several hours between baking sessions to allow the breadmakers to cool completely.

Here are the criteria I looked for during each test:

Bread quality: A bread machine has one job — to make good bread. I tested how each one handled basic white bread, wheat bread with mix-ins (in this case, a combination of sunflower seeds and flax seeds, to see how the machines dispersed mix-ins of different sizes), and, for the machines with a gluten-free setting, gluten-free bread. I used the same ingredients throughout testing, all of which are basic items you’d find at any grocery store.

I dialed the crust setting to “Medium” on each breadmaker. White bread was baked on the “White” setting (sometimes labeled as “Basic,” depending on the machine), wheat bread was baked on the “Whole Wheat” setting, and gluten-free bread was baked on the “Gluten-Free” setting.

Each loaf of bread was then examined for consistency of texture, a golden color throughout, and an even rise; points were docked if the domed top fell. I cut several slices of bread from each loaf to look for air pockets and under or over-baked spots. 

Size: Most bread machines take up a lot of counter space, so while it wasn’t a deciding factor, extra consideration was given to more compact options.

Capacity: While every bread machine I tested — aside from the Zojirushi Maestro — was built with a two-pound loaf in mind (aka the size you’d find in a grocery store), I made note of the models that had the ability to bake loaves in three or four different sizes; one pound was the smallest I saw, and 2.5 pounds was the largest. 

Noise: Extra noisy machines were dinged, as were ones that “hopped” across the counter during the kneading cycle. The top three picks above all operated at a low hum, and were, as far as I could tell, motionless.

Unique features: I noted setting options (some machines had special cycles for things like jam, yogurt, and pasta dough), especially fast baking times, and special features like pre-programming or auto-dispensers for mix-ins. 

The best bread machine overall

Zojirushi bread maker, with a black top and stainless steel body.

This bread machine kneads thoroughly, bakes evenly, and, unlike many of its competitors, turns out standard-sized loaves. 

Pros: Produces standard-sized loaves that rise evenly and are a consistent color, a wide variety of settings, ability to customize your own settings, pre-programmable, 1-year warranty

Cons: Expensive, takes up a lot of counter space

The Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus is my top pick for home bakers, thanks to its stellar reliability and variety of settings. After putting nine different machines through three rounds of tests (or two, for machines without gluten-free settings), I found that this was the only one to turn out perfectly domed, uniformly browned, and consistently fluffy bread with evenly distributed mix-ins every time. To check for consistency, I made two more loaves of white bread after those initial tests, and both were slam dunks. 

It was also one of the few bread machines to pass the gluten-free test with flying colors, producing bread that was similar in color, size, and texture to your standard white loaf. For her own experiment, the Bread Machine Diva blog’s Marsha Perry — who name-checked the Virtuoso Plus when I asked her for a bread machine recommendation — made one gluten-free loaf using the “Gluten-Free” setting and another using its regular “White” setting, and said the first loaf was markedly better. 

The Virtuoso Plus’ custom bread cycles feature is especially helpful for those who have moved beyond the machine’s guidebook recipes. Interestingly, Hamel of King Arthur Flour uses her Zojirushi’s “Jam” cycle to make risotto — a technique that I’m curious to try.

The Virtuoso Plus can be pre-programmed (a feature that worked perfectly and allowed me to wake up to the smell of fresh bread during testing), and the machine’s 5-minute power backup means you won’t automatically lose your bread-in-progress if the power flickers, as Hamel noted.

The Virtuoso Plus also stops kneading when you open the lid, which is useful if you want to add mix-ins to your bread. And if you need to measure those mix-ins, the machine comes with four nested measuring cups, one liquid measuring cup, and a double-ended measuring spoon — add-ons that are unnecessary, but appreciated. 

This machine makes two-pound 9-by-5 loaves that are, as I mentioned, about the size and shape of sandwich bread you’d find at the grocery store. Timing-wise, the white and wheat loaves of bread took about 3.5 hours to bake, while the gluten-free loaf was done in 2.5 hours. The clock displays the time your bread will be done, rather than the hours left, which I found helpful when planning my day. 

I’ve been using this model at least twice a month in the four months since my initial testing, and find that it still runs smoothly, with no discernable changes in quality of bread, reliability of programming, or noise levels. 

All of this being said, the Zojirushi is on the expensive side, so if you’re just trying out bread-making before you fully commit to the hobby, I’d recommend our budget pick. It’s also probably not the best choice if you have limited counter space, as the other machines in this guide are more compact.

The best bread machine on a budget

Oster bread machine, an all white body with curved edges.

The Oster Expressbake is a solid starter machine that mixes, kneads, and bakes evenly, and with 13 settings, it’s notably more versatile than competitors within its price range. 

Pros: produces bread with an even rise, makes three loaf sizes, affordable, compact, fast baking time, variety of settings, window, pre-programmable, 1-year warranty

Cons: Somewhat noisy, loaf size isn’t quite standard, slightly thicker crusts than our top pick

The Oster Express Bake‘s name refers to the fact that it can turn out a two-pound loaf of bread in less than an hour on its Express Bake setting (our top pick‘s “Rapid” cycle takes about 2.5 hours). While the results are certainly better than your standard grocery store loaf, I found that bread baked on this machine’s namesake setting turned out denser and shorter than loaves made on its Basic cycle (a near-universal bread machine problem, according to experts we spoke to). 

But most people don’t choose a bread machine based on its ability to bake two loaves of bread in the time it takes to watch an episode of “The Bachelorette,” and Express Bake results aside, the Oster’s white, wheat, and gluten-free loaves of bread were the best — golden brown and evenly risen with a fine crumb, a smooth, domed top, and evenly distributed mix-ins — out of the five machines in its price bracket that we tested. The only flaws that placed its loaves under the Zojirushi’s in testing were their unconventional shape (shorter in length and taller in height, with bread slices whose tops stick out slightly from your average toaster) and thicker crusts.

The Oster was also a bit more finicky in terms of exact measurements; when I relied on measuring cups instead of a kitchen scale, my loaves turned out flatter on top — a problem I didn’t have with our top pick. And while this machine’s gluten-free bread was solid, it was a bit less soft than the Zojirushi’s. 

I also tested the Express Bake’s predecessor and found that loaves baked in the original turned out slightly darker on the sides and paler on top. The brand swapped the Express Bake’s Bagel Dough setting for Pasta, which isn’t necessarily an improvement but does seem more practical, given the complicated process of making bagels from scratch.

Like the Zojirushi Virtuoso Plus, the Oster Express Bake comes with a liquid measuring cup and a double-sided measuring spoon (but no set of nested dry measuring cups). It’s less bulky than our top pick, although perhaps not ideal if kitchen space is tight (if compactness is a priority, check out the Zojirushi Maestro, below). It can be pre-programmed and will beep instantly after finishing its bread cycle before switching to the warm mode for 60 minutes, then beeping again and automatically shutting off.

The best compact bread machine

Zojirushi Maestro, a tall and narrow white body with a loaf next to it.

The Zojirushi Maestro is specifically calibrated to bake excellent one-pound loaves of bread, making it a solid choice for one or two-person households. 

Pros: Produces an even bake, perfect for small households, variety of settings, ability to customize cycles, pre-programmable, compact, 1-year warranty

Cons: Loaves are oddly-shaped, bread can be difficult to remove from pan

Since I’m typically baking for one or two people, most standard two-pound loaves of bread go stale before I can finish them. (In other words, I’ve made a lot of croutons lately.) Typically, bread machines offer 1.5-pound loaves as their smallest option, and those that do begin at one pound aren’t necessarily calibrated to excel at loaves that small. When I tried making a one-pound loaf in Cuisinart’s Compact Automatic Breadmaker, for example, the results were dense, with a thicker crust than I would have liked. 

Zojirushi’s Maestro, however, is designed with small households in mind, and during my tests, it consistently turned out solid one-pound loaves that ticked every box on my bread checklist: golden-brown color, domed top, fine crumb, evenly risen, and evenly-distributed mix-ins. That being said, the Maestro’s pan is aligned vertically, meaning its loaves are oddly-shaped — even cube-like – and the bread is a bit more difficult to pry from inside. 

I appreciate the fact that Zojirushi didn’t scale down its flagship breadmaker’s features just to make smaller loaves; the Maestro can be pre-programmed in advance and includes a 5-minute power backup (as mentioned in our Virtuoso review, this can really save your loaf in the event your power flickers). 

The Maestro’s narrow dimensions make it easy to store in my tiny Brooklyn kitchen. It’s also the only bread machine I tested that features a convenient top handle, making it easy to transport. Its interior top handle, however, isn’t as solidly constructed; I yanked it off the first time I pulled the pan from the machine (although it popped back in easily).

What else we tested

Three bread machines with stainless steel bodies that we tested next to each other on the counter.

What else we recommend and why

Breville Custom Loaf ($299.95): This was a close second to the Zojirushi, but my first attempt at white bread came out slightly darker at the sides than on top, and the gluten-free bread wasn’t quite as fluffy as our top pick’s. The Breville Custom Loaf has 13 automatic settings, nine customizable settings, and two features we didn’t find in any other machine: a paddle that collapses after kneading, so there’s no paddle-sized hole when you pull the baked bread from the pan; and a fruit and nut dispenser that will automatically add any mix-ins at the appropriate time in the bread cycle. I’d recommend this machine for confident bakers who are interested in programming their own bread cycles to match go-to recipes.

Cru X GG Bred ($169.95): A collaboration between Cru and Ghetto Gastro, a collective of chefs who use food to empower communities and advance social justice, the Bred was definitely the boldest, sleekest, and most compact out of all the machines we tested. And, with 15 settings, it was also one of the most versatile. Since the bread it produced was on par with the significantly cheaper Oster Express Bake, it didn’t make the cut, but perhaps you’re willing to pay a little extra for an appliance that’s attractive enough to leave out on the counter.

What we don’t recommend and why

Oster Express Bake (older model, $68): While the previous iteration of the Oster Express Bake is still available online, we found that the newer version performs better in terms of producing evenly-baked bread. And, importantly, the latest Express Bake includes a gluten-free setting – a feature commenters on retail sites had been asking for. 

Cuisinart Convection Breadmaker ($154.95): With 16 settings, this is one of the most versatile machines I tested. However, while my white and wheat loaves were top-notch, both of my attempts at gluten-free bread resulted in collapsed domes. 

Cuisinart Compact Automatic Breadmaker ($129.95): Again, my gluten-free bread didn’t rise as I had hoped, and the machine’s white and wheat loaves of bread weren’t quite as professional-looking as those from the latest version of the Oster Express Bake. 

Hamilton Beach Artisan Dough and Bread Maker ($75.32): The white and wheat loafs came out slightly underbaked in the middle, while the gluten-free bread was denser compared to the ones our top three picks made.

Getting the most out of your bread machine

best bread machine

Don’t throw out the manual

Most breadmakers come with a few recipes, and they’re often tucked away in the back of a guidebook. These are crucial since they’re calibrated to work well with that particular machine’s features and specifications. “Once you’ve made some of those and understand how the machine works — how much flour it can handle, how long each rise cycle and bake cycle are — you can start to adapt any of your own favorite yeast bread recipes to bake in the machine,” P.J. Hamel, senior digital content editor for King Arthur Flour, said. 

Have fun with the dough cycle

By taking care of the mixing and kneading, it allows you to start a little closer to the finish line if you’re making other yeast-based baked goods. The Bread Machine Diva’s Marsha Perry recommends it for pizzas and dinner rolls.

Experiment with settings

But master the basics first. “If your machine is programmable — that is, you can program in your own mixing kneading, rising, and baking times — you’re golden,” Hamel said. “Your machine is then simply a mini oven, ready to bake macaroni and cheese, apple crisp, bread pudding, cheesecake — even soup, stew, or lasagna! Once you get to know your machine, and if it has that ‘homemade menu’ capability — it becomes so much more than a machine that bakes bread.”

Use good ingredients

“Cheap ingredients yield a crummy (rather than crumb-y) final product. Flour and yeast quality are super-important,” said Hamel. “You don’t have to use bread flour in your bread machine, so long as you use flour with a protein content higher than 11.5% or so.” All of my bread were made with King Arthur bread flour and gluten-free flour (both of which I purchased before reaching out to PJ) and Whole Foods 365 whole wheat flour.

Invest in a kitchen scale

Bread machine baking is all about precision, and measuring your ingredients by weight will clear up any confusion as to whether or not that tightly-packed cup of flour is more like a cup and a half.

FAQs

Is bread from a bread machine different from oven-baked bread?

Yes. In terms of appearance, most loaves made in a bread machine will have a hole in the bottom where the mixing paddle was. Taste-wise, bread machine bread is pretty universally light and fluffy. 

“You won’t be making crusty artisan bread in your bread machine (though you can certainly make the dough for them on the machine’s dough cycle),” Hamel said. “Bread machine bread may taste a bit yeasty, but beyond that, it’s up to you to add flavor with spices, herbs, dried fruit, and nuts. Most bread machines won’t deliver loaves with the rich, nuanced flavor of an artisan loaf, since that flavor comes from a series of long rises, some of which may be in the refrigerator. Bread machines simply don’t have that capability.”

How long does homemade bread last? 

If kept at room temperature, homemade bread will be noticeably stale by day three. If you’re pretty sure you’re not going to finish an entire loaf in that amount of time, you can always wrap a portion tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer. 

How do I store homemade bread? 

If you’re storing homemade bread for a day or two, plastic or foil will help lock in moisture. Since direct sunlight can cause bread to overheat, it’s best stored in a cool, dry place like a bread box or cupboard. 

Any tips for keeping homemade bread fresh?

There is one slicing technique that can help extend the life of your bread. As Hamel wrote on the King Arthur blog, “If you start slicing at one end, you’ll always be dealing with an open-end ‘leaking’ moisture. But if you slice the loaf in half down the middle, cut a slice from one of the halves, then press the two halves back together before wrapping, no open surface will be exposed — which means less chance of moisture evaporating.”

Check out our other great guides for home cooks

The Best KitchenAid Stand Mixers
Read the original article on Business Insider

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

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the best diaper bags

The best diaper bag overall

Skip Hop Forma
Features two packings cubes for maximum storage.

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

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

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

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

The best diaper bag on a budget

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

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

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

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

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

The best travel diaper bag

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

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

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

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

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

The best oversized diaper bag

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

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

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

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

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

The best diaper bag for easy organization

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

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

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

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

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

The best diaper bag with a changing station

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

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

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

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

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

Read the original article on Business Insider

47 meaningful gifts to give teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week

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

The Sill

  • Celebrate the teachers who lead children through their education with one of these 47 gifts.
  • We rounded up gifts teachers will actually use and enjoy, from funny books to scented candles.
  • You can find more gifts under $25 and under $50 here.

Teachers are the backbone of our educational system. The best ones teach students everything they need to know in and beyond the classroom, with endless enthusiasm, patience, and compassion along the way.

It’s a difficult job – especially this year, when so many teachers had to adjust to remote learning and instructing via Zoom. So make sure to give the teachers in your life the thanks they deserve with a gift they’ll actually use and enjoy.

Three months free of learning a new language

Online learning by Westend61/Getty Images

3 Months of Rosetta Stone, from Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone is giving three months of free access to its language learning programs to eligible teachers and healthcare workers. They can start anytime between May 1 and May 31, and if they have an existing subscription, Rosetta Stone will extend it by three months (unless it’s already a lifetime plan). If you’d like to gift them a program they can use for longer, you can browse Rosetta Stone’s options here.

A tablet and pen that lets them convey handwritten material remotely

graphic tablet

XP-Pen Graphic Tablet, available on Amazon, $29.99

One of the difficult aspects of remote learning is finding resourceful and convenient ways to mirror in-person tactics teachers use. This Graphic Tablet lets teachers draw using the stylus to convey information they may have handwritten before, such as math formulas or diagrams.

A funny book of the best wrong test answers

F in Exams by Richard Benson

“F in Exams” by Richard Benson, from Uncommon Goods, $8.50

After a stressful year for teachers, you may want to celebrate the funny and lighthearted side of the job. This book compiles some of the most amusing and inventive real-life wrong answers to grade school and high school tests.

A personalized embosser for their personal library

Custom Stamp

Custom Stamp, from $15, available at Etsy

This unique, thoughtful gift embosses books with “from the library of [their name]” by pressing down like a hole-puncher. It’s the kind of thing most people would never buy themselves but would genuinely cherish and get a kick out of if they received it as a present.

The best water bottle they’ll ever use

Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydro Flask Water Bottle, available on Amazon, $44.95

A stellar water bottle is a timeless life upgrade, but it’ll be especially useful this summer. This version from HydroFlask is the best water bottle you can buy, thanks to insulated stainless steel that keeps cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks hot for up to six. 

Delicious food from some of the most loved restaurants in the country

goldbelly

Goldbelly Restaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $25

Bring a bit of their favorite restaurant right to their door. From bagels to barbeque, Goldbelly ships food gifts nationwide from iconic eateries in major cities.

An insulated mug

teacher gifts 3

Gift the Hydro Flask 12 oz Coffee Mug, available on Amazon, $49.49

Whatever it is they drink in the morning to prepare them for the school day ahead, this mug keeps the beverage at the appropriate temperature for an astonishingly long amount of time. It has a comfortable handle and comes in many bright colors. 

A small, water-resistant speaker to enjoy outside this summer

Soundcore Mini Bluetooth Speaker

Soundcore Flare Mini Bluetooth Speaker, available on Amazon, $36.54

Ensure they enjoy the summer with a portable, water-resistant speaker like this version from Anker. It’s got a 12-hour battery life as well as LED lights on the bottom that they can adjust for five different lighting moods. We think it’s the best relatively cheap Bluetooth speaker you can buy.

A convenient wireless phone charger

Moshi Otto Q Wireless Charger

Moshi Otto Q Wireless Charger, available on Amazon, $39.95

Make their life that much easier with a wireless fast-charging pad that they can simply set their phone on top of in order to charge. After years of using the Moshi Otto Q, we ranked this version the best wireless charger you can buy. It’s compatible with iPhones, AirPods, Samsung Galaxy/Note, Google Pixel, and other Qi-enabled devices.

A coloring book full of phrases your teacher can relate all too well to

teacher coloring book

Gift the Teacher Life: A Snarky Chalkboard Coloring Book, available on Amazon, $7.99

There are some situations that only teachers can understand, and this adult coloring book perfectly captures them with humor and cheekiness. The illustrations are single-sided, so they can take the page out and frame it if they so wish. 

A comfy sleep mask

luxury sleep mask

Luxury Sleep Mask, available at Amazon, $13.95

Gift a comfortable sleep mask and help them get the kind of restorative, deep sleep they must need this year.

Substantial, comfortable socks

Bombas Socks

Men’s or Women’s socks, from Bombas, $12

Adulthood transforms socks from a banal, unexciting gift to a precious life upgrade. Bombas makes some of our favorite and most comfortable pairs, and we love to gift them to friends and family.

A gift card for virtual travel experiences

Airbnb Experiences review 4x3

Gift an Airbnb gift card for online experiences

Summer vacation is almost here, and though they may not be able to travel right now, they can still book online experiences that bring destinations and activities to life. There’s something for every inclination, including wine tastings, a virtual tour of Paris, Argentine Tango lessons, cooking Mexican cuisine, and more.

A tote bag

baggu tote

Gift the BAGGU Giant Pocket Tote, available at BAGGU, $34

BAGGU makes great bags and its machine-washable cotton totes are no exception. Help your teacher carry all those lesson plans, tests, and homework papers with this cute yet sturdy tote. 

An REI membership that helps them get outdoors while saving money

REI members- REI lifetime membership

REI Membership, available at REI, $20

A one-time, $20 payment will get them lifetime access to REI’s membership program for your outdoorsy teachers. They’ll enjoy special offers, 10% back on purchases, member-pricing on REI classes and events, and the host of other membership perks. Learn more about the REI membership program here.

Takeout any time they want it

DoorDash App
DoorDash App

Doordash Gift Card

Teachers log long days to support and enrich the lives of their students. Make sure their next easy, delicious dinner and relaxing night in is comped with a Doordash gift card.

A comfortable seat cushion

purple seat cusion

Gift the Purple Seat Cushion, available at Purple, from $39

These cushions can help soothe sore muscles and alleviate back strain. They’re available in a variety of designs and thicknesses. Read our full review here

A scented candle that reminds them of a happy place

homesick candle

Homesick Scented Candle, available at Amazon, from $31.26

This is a great gift that’s sure to make them feel sentimental. Whether it’s their hometown, college town, or favorite spot to vacation, a Homesick candle — with scents inspired by all sorts of locations — will bring them back to that favorite place.

You can also gift funny, enjoyable versions of this candle — from an old book scent to something simply named “Thanks For Putting Up With My Kid.” 

Six glasses of refreshing sparkling wine

Brut Wine from Usual

6 glasses of Brut, from Usual Wines, $48

If they drink alcohol, you can send them a box of six glasses of a refreshing, light sparkling wine as a thank you.

Hand sanitizer that goes on easy

hand sanitizer touchland orange

Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $12

Teachers can never have too much hand sanitizer. This spray formula moisturizes, doesn’t smell like alcohol or leave hands sticky, and comes in attractive packaging that’s great for gifting. Read our full review of Touchland’s hand sanitizers here.

A way to squeeze in leisure reading

teacher gifts 4

Gift an Audible 3-Month Membership, available on Amazon, $45

In between grading papers and designing lesson plans, it might be hard for your teacher to carve out time to read a book (for fun). Audible is a great way to catch up on the bestsellers everyone’s reading, appreciate the classics from a new angle, or finally dive into that book they keep falling asleep to in bed. 

Decadent cupcakes they can enjoy

Valentine's Day Gift Guides_baked by melissa review

Cupcake Gift Boxes, available at Baked by Melissa, from $32

Who doesn’t love getting a sweet surprise? With delicious flavors ranging from Cookie Dough to Pink Frosted Donut, these bite-size treats are sure to please. You can also add a special gift box to complete the gift.

Practical, reusable silicone straws

Five Two Silicone Straws

Five Two Silicone Straws Single Pack, available at Food52, $25

Bendable, sustainable, and portable (thanks to the set of carrying cases), these fun straws are the accessory they can use in their classroom, at home, and on the go.

A coffee subscription

driftaway coffee gifts mother's day

Gift a Coffee subscription, from Driftaway, $44.00

Chances are the coffee in the teacher’s lounge isn’t exactly top-notch. Thankfully, Driftaway Coffee’s is, and keeps things interesting by sending new whole bean varieties every month (and improving upon the next selection based on their feedback). By the end of the school year, your teacher will have a good idea of the type of coffee they really like. 

A detailed poster of the opening lines from famous novels

pop chart lab opening sentences

Gift the Lab ‘Diagrammatical Dissertation on Opening Lines of Notable Novels’, available at Pop Chart, $30

English and grammar teachers will appreciate this chart diagramming the opening lines from 25 famous works of fiction. After admiring the partitioned, color-coded picto-grammatical representations, they’ll want to read the books all over again. 

A fragrant candle

otherland candle

Gift an Otherland Candle, available at Otherland, $36

These sophisticated coconut and soy wax candles come in scents ranging from refreshing Canopy (fig, ivy greens, mint) to rich Chandelier (champagne, saffron, leather). The beautiful look, delightful scents, and personalized matchbox make this candle gifting experience special

A set of ring holders

umbra_origami_ring_holder

Origami Ring Holder 3-Pack, available at Umbra, $20

The origami animals can be used as desk decorations or jewelry holders, but either way, they’re unique and adorable. The chrome finish is easy to wipe clean, and each figurine can hold multiple rings.

A small potted plant for their desk

the sill plant

Gift the Snake Plant Zeylanica, available at The Sill, $43

Instead of gifting a flower bouquet, try an indoor plant. It lasts longer and requires less maintenance, but livens up their desk just as well. 

A heartfelt, personalized thank you card

Personalised Teacher Thank you for believing in me Vintage Style Winnie the Pooh Keepsake End of term Greeting Card

Personalized Teacher Thank you for believing in me Vintage Style Winnie the Pooh Keepsake End of term Greeting Card, from Etsy, $5.09

Sometimes it just feels nice to be appreciated. A sweet card can go a long way — and it won’t break the bank. 

A pillow massager for their neck and back

back massager

Gift the Zyllion Shiatsu Pillow Massager, available on Amazon, $49.95

If you’ve ever caught your child’s teacher looking stressed or tense, you can fix that with this heated at-home massager that feels almost like a professional massage. It has four deep-kneading rotating nodes to relieve aches, knots, and muscle tension. 

A fun tape dispenser

otther tape dispenser

Gift the Otto the Otter Tape Dispenser, available on Amazon, $16.24

An adorable twist to the traditional, ugly tape dispenser will instantly liven up their desk. 

A cute, funny mug

Watch Me Click Now Watch Me Grade Grade mug

Watch Me Click Now Watch Me Grade Grade mug, from Etsy, $13.50

A cute mug that reminds them of their grateful students can be a fun, routine moment of motivation in a busy day.

A cellphone stand

phone stand

Gift the Lamicall Cellphone Stand, available on Amazon, $9.99

The simple, sleek, and durable stand is the perfect way to keep their device upright at just the right angle as they work. While it’s a no-frills gift, it’s undoubtedly practical and useful. 

A personalized desk sign

desk sign

Gift the Personalized Desk Wedge Sign, from Etsy, from $23.99

The wedge is a solid natural hardwood while the sign is shatter-resistant fogged acrylic glass, allowing it to last through any teacher’s illustrious career. 

A note to show your gratitude

teacher thank you note

Gift the “It Takes a Village Card,” available at Etsy, $5.50

Educators are an important part of the village it takes to raise kind, thoughtful citizens. Show your appreciation with a letterpress note that shares this sentiment.

A gift card to stock up on versatile work shirts

Bonobos Organic Stretch Cotton Chinos

Gift the Public Rec gift card, from $25

Public Rec makes the most versatile polo shirt we’ve found, and many of the offerings from this athleisure brand are suitable for the classroom and beyond.

A gift card to a popular women’s workwear shop

teacher gifts

Gift an M.M.LaFleur gift card, from $50

Popular women’s workwear brand M.M.LaFleur makes excellent pants and blazers that are definitely an investment, but worth the price. Its Bento Box contains these stylish and comfortable wardrobe staples to take the headache out of getting dressed in the morning.

A custom rubber stamp

custom stamp

Gift a Custom Stamp, from Etsy, from $15

Gift the stamp they’ll always reach for first as they check and grade homework. You can get creative by submitting a picture of your teacher’s face or their favorite catchphrase. There are three different mount choices and many more size options. 

A book-of-the-month subscription for summer reading

book month club

Gift a Book of the Month Membership, from three months for $49.99

A hardcover book delivered monthly is a great way for a teacher to unplug and kick their feet up over summer break. Every month, they can choose from acclaimed fiction and nonfiction titles.

A cozy plush blanket

Nordstrom Bliss Plush Throw

Bliss Plush Throw, available at Nordstrom, $39.50

Add to their home setup with a plush throw to wrap themselves in luxury. Available in a wide array of colors, this blanket adds a cozy and soothing warmth to any room.

A personalized notebook, planner, or address book

teacher planner

Gift the Teach From The Heart Notebook, from Minted, $18

Give this one to the best teacher you know. You’ll be able to customize the cover design, interior cover, and interior format of the notebook. 

A Disney+ subscription

disney plus 4x3

Gift a Disney+ subscription, from $79.99 month

There’s no better way to start summer break than with a binge-worthy streaming subscription. With Disney+, they 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.

A novelty USB flash drive

Pig USB

Gift the Pink Pig USB 2.0 Flash Drive, available on Amazon, $13.99

A cute and funny flash drive can instantly make work more fun. Sometimes, it’s the little things. 

Gift cards

target gift card

Buy a gift card from: Amazon, Target, Staples

At the end of the day, teachers will always appreciate a gift card, especially if it’s to a store where they can stock up on supplies. 

A smart home device

Echo Dot

Gift the Amazon Echo Dot, available on Amazon, $24.99

For work or leisure, the small smart home device is endlessly useful. They can play Jeopardy, ask for recipes, listen to the news, turn lights on, play music, reorder products, and more. 

A personalized key ring

leatherology hotel key

Gift the Leatherology Hotel Keychain, available at Leatherology, $15

The full-grain leather keychain is a perfectly composed accessory that they’ll love to carry, especially if you personalize it (for only $5) with a monogram. 

Beautiful note cubes inspired by an American artist

the met desk cube

Gift the Louis C. Tiffany Favrile Note Cube Set, available at The Met, $36

Known for his stained glass work, Louis C. Tiffany lends his colorful and delicate designs to these trays, which hold 500 loose paper sheets and 50 color paper clips. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

3 safer ways to remove ear wax than using cotton swabs or Q-tips – according to doctors

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Many doctors recommend not sticking anything in your ears, especially Q-tips or metal tools.
  • Some recommend drops or irrigation systems for loosening hard wax.
  • Keep in mind that wax is a normal substance made for a reason by your body.

Ear wax is the natural safeguard for your ear canal, acting as protection against sand, bugs, and dirt getting in and damaging your canal or eardrum. But if ear wax builds up too much, it can impair your hearing – everything sounds muffled, and it can give you that feeling like you are underwater. Instead of reaching for a cotton swab or Q-tip, which experts say aren’t safe because they can puncture your eardrum and do other damage, try one of these products instead.

According to Omid Mehdizadeh, MD, otolaryngologist (ENT) and laryngologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, irrigation systems are “perfectly fine as long as there’s not too much pressure and as long as it’s comfortable.” He says to avoid using cold water in the ear, which can cause vertigo or dizziness. Irrigation systems are one of the tools ENTs would use in the office if a patient came in with excessive ear wax, and is a home remedy you can try without doing harm.

In addition, if people have an uncomfortable amount of ear wax clogging the ear, it can help to liquefy the wax with drops, which Dr. Mehdizadeh says are usually composed of peroxide, which fizzes in the ear. “It’s okay for one to two weeks max, but not on a regular basis because it can cause irritation.”

Here are the best ear wax removal tools

The best water irrigator

 Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System by Doctor Easy
This system comes with three disposable tips.

The Elephant Ear Washer Bottle System by Doctor Easy is a simple and straightforward solution that won’t damage ears. 

What we like: No ball syringe, simple mechanism, gentle

This irrigation system is ideal because it offers a simplistic mechanism involving a spray bottle with three disposable tips. It doesn’t have a lot of extra bells, whistles, and complicated parts that make ear wax removal intimidating. Some systems have the ball syringe to suck out the remaining fluid and wax, but this one doesn’t, which means it can be considered safer than other products that are supposed to be inserted into the ear. In fact, ball syringe options fall in the category of things Dr. Mehdizadeh thinks may be dangerous to insert in your ear.

The price is reasonable, and you can buy replacement tips if you plan on using it more than three times. One downside of this design is that it doesn’t come with instructions, but there are instructional videos on the purchase site that can help.

The best ear drops

Debrox Detox Earwax Removal Aid
These drops use a doctor-recommended active ingredient.

Detox Earwax Removal Aid is a non-irritating formula that can loosen tough wax.

What we like: Non-irritating formula, super easy to use, loosens wax

This popular and affordable alternative to a pricey doctor’s visit can help loosen the toughest ear wax. The active ingredient is the doctor-recommended carbamide peroxide, and users can expect a foaming, cracking, fizzing sound and feeling when they try it. This simply means it’s working well and should not be alarming. The formula claims to be non-irritating, and it’s one of the easiest-use processes for ear wax removal.

The best water irrigator for kids

Earwax MD for Kids, Ear Wax Removal Kit and Ear Cleaning Tool
This option made just for young kids has miniature tips that won’t damage small ears.

Earwax MD for Kids, Ear Wax Removal Kit and Ear Cleaning Tool is specifically designed for kids with a smaller bottle and tip.

What we like: Gentle, small parts for kids

Dr. Mehdizadeh says the only way parents should be trying to clean ear wax out of their kids’ ears without a medical professional is with an irrigation system such as this one. The small bottle and miniature tip make this a more manageable option for a young child, as opposed to the adult irrigators.

Parents can simply have a child lay down, with a towel handy, and slowly fill the ear canal one drop at a time, then set a 15-minute timer and wait. Afterward, you can use the bulb to rinse the ear or allow it to drain naturally. 

Should you remove ear wax?

Ear wax is an oil secreted by the ear canal, which Dr. Mehdizadeh explains as a collection of oil, skin, debris, and dirt. While it seems gross with its light yellow to dark brown color, he says it has a protective effect: it’s moisturizing and antibacterial and is protecting your eardrum and ear canal.

So, there’s no real reason to try to remove ear wax unless it’s impairing your hearing or causing discomfort. Still addicted to those cotton swabs? Be aware that they are “pushing the wax in deeper,” and that nothing should go into the ear to the point that you can’t see it or you risk painful injuries such as eardrum perforation. If the above products don’t work, or you are unsure how to use them correctly, consult your primary care physician or an ENT.

 

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The 5 best skewers of 2021 for grilling, roasting, or garnishing cocktails

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Whether at the grill or around a firepit, a quality skewer makes cooking easier.
  • Bamboo is a good option for one-time use, while stainless steel is a reusable alternative.
  • We rounded up the best skewers for grilling, roasting marshmallows, making cocktails, and more.

A set of skewers is a valuable addition to any kitchen or grill set-up. Before purchasing, consider how you intend to use the skewers to help decide between materials and lengths. Most skewers are made of bamboo or stainless steel, but lengths can vary from four to more than fourteen inches. A longer skewer is better for an open fire, and shorter ones are great for use as cocktail garnishes, sandwich picks, and grilling small items. Whatever your needs may be, here are the best skewers for grilling, making s’mores, and more.

Here are the best skewers

Best multi-use

Norpro Stainless Steel 14-inch Skewers
The wide body of the skewer helps to keep food stationary while grilling.

The Norpro Stainless Steel Skewers are versatile tools, with the length to reach a campfire and the shape to lay flat on a grill.

What we like: Good for open fires and grilling, looped handle

The Norpro skewers are the best option for multiple uses because of their length and shape. The 14-inch skewers are longer than average for kabobs, but this makes them more comfortable for roasting marshmallows. Additionally, they are flat and made of stainless steel, which is the ideal combination for grilling. The small, looped handle at the end of the skewer is easy to grasp with tongs and makes hanging storage possible. 

Best for grilling

Blue Donuts Stainless Steel Kabob Skewers
Use the small loop at the end of the skewers to hang and store them.

The Blue Donuts Kabob Skewers are made for grill masters and constructed from dishwasher-safe stainless steel.

What we like: Top rack dishwasher safe, flat length, pointed end

These flat, 12-inch long skewers are great for making kabobs, sausages, and more on the grill. Since the entire skewer is stainless steel, you don’t have to worry about taking special care of the handle. There are 24 in a pack, so you will always have some at hand even when others are in the dishwasher. Though they’re meant for grilling, these skewers can be used for fondue and close-up marshmallow roasting.

Best for s’mores

SUMPRI Marshmallow Skewers
With six different colored handles, these skewers are great for groups.

Roasting the perfect golden marshmallow is easy with the dual-pronged SUMPRI Skewers that extend up to 34 inches.

What we like: Comfortable handles, adjustable length

You can get close to a small camping fire or stay comfortably distant from a bonfire with this set of six marshmallow roasting skewers. These skewers extend from 10 to 34 inches, including the handle, and allow users to adjust the reach whenever they want. The stainless steel dual prongs do need to be hand-washed, but the convenience of having reusable roasting sticks that won’t burn your hand is worth it. The included travel pouch makes this set great for vacations. 

Best for cocktails

Top Shelf Bar Supply Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks
These cocktail sticks are also great for hors d’oeuvres and as sandwich picks.

The Top Shelf Bar Supply Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks are classic and practical cocktail skewers that easily add flair to drinks while holding garnishes in place.

What we like: Dishwasher safe, classic design

Simple and elegant, these cocktail sticks are balanced with a sharp point to pierce garnishes and a rounded top to handle. The stainless steel sticks come in sets of 12 and are available in lengths of four and eight inches. They’re dishwasher safe, so you can spruce up at-home drinks with minimal extra work.

Best bamboo

Fu Store Bamboo Skewers 8-inch
Bamboo skewers are eco-friendly and disposable.

For a cheap and disposable option, Fu Store has bulk packages of bamboo skewers in a range of sizes.

What we like: Bulk purchasing, multiple size options

If you don’t plan to use your skewers frequently, disposable bamboo skewers are an easy and cheap option. The Fu Store Bamboo Skewers are made with multiple uses in mind, offering sticks in four lengths and packs of 100 or 200. The six and eight-inch skewers can be used as long cocktail sticks, and the 10 and 12-inch skewers are ideal for grilling.

When grilling, keep in mind that these skewers are round and don’t have handles. Kabobs will need to be positioned so there is part of the skewer to grab onto. As with all bamboo skewers, soak these in water for 30 minutes before using near heat.

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The 6 best Pilates bars of 2021

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  • A Pilates bar challenges and tones the body in dynamic ways, and especially helps strengthen the core. 
  • Our top choice is the Gaiam Restore Pilates Bar for its quality and functionality.
  • We’ve also included options for beginners, those on the go, and more.
  • Read more: The best yoga mats

Pilates was first developed in the 1920s as a low-impact form of exercise specifically designed to strengthen the core, as well as other muscles in the body, and promote postural alignment. As a Pilates instructor, it’s my job to challenge clients in each and every session. Adding equipment to the workout is one way to ramp up the intensity and add new and creative movements. Pilates bars are great tools that can further target the core and work the body in dynamic ways. Lightweight, portable, and with bands for added resistance, the bars will add a strengthening element to your Pilates workout that can help better define your muscles.

Here are the best Pilates bars

Best overall

gaiam pilates bar
Disassembles for easy storage.

The Gaiam Restore Pilates Bar is a high-quality piece of equipment to practice reformer-style movements. 

What we like: Quality, ease of set up, digital workouts included 

This polished and robust Pilates bar has been thoughtfully designed to help you build a strong core, while also increasing flexibility and improving balance. It features two, 30-inch Power Cords and attached foot straps, plus downloadable exercise workouts that guide you through essential Pilates bar movements with proper technique and form. The intensity can be increased simply by rolling the bands around the bar to generate greater resistance. Weighing just two pounds, this lightweight bar is designed for you to flow between reformer-style exercises with grace and ease.

Best on a budget

BQYPOWER pilates bar kit
The eight-character tensioner helps tone the body from all angles.

The BQYPOWER Pilates Bar Kit is an affordable option that doesn’t sacrifice quality.

What we like: Price, multi-use, straps hold their stretch 

For those on a budget, the BQYPOWER Pilates Bar Kit delivers on all fronts without neglecting quality. The strong steel bar is protected with sweat-absorbing foam pads for comfort as you maintain optimum postural alignment, and the straps are made with TPR (thermoplastic rubber) elastic tubes which help them keep their stretch, even after continued use. As a bonus, the kit includes an eight-character tensioner, useful for both strengthening and stretching purposes.

Best for beginners

Viajero Pilates Bar Kit
Easy to increase or decrease resistance.

The Viajero bar is flexible in resistance and comes with a guided e-book for beginners to learn proper technique. 

What we like: Durable, portable, exercise guide included

For beginners, the Viajero bar is an effective addition for your workouts. You can adjust the resistance by simply rolling the tubes around the bar, which is useful for alternating between strength exercises. The bar splits into three sections for easy transport and has two attachable natural latex resistance bands (up to 50 lbs) that can stretch six to 10 times in length without losing resilience. The bar also comes with a handy workout e-book and video to teach you proper form and movement patterns.

Best for strength training

cretee pilates bar
Build muscle with just one piece of equipment.

Adjustable between 60-180 pounds, the Cretee Pilates Bar is best for those who want to build strength.

What we like: Multi-functional, height adaptable, up to 180 pounds of resistance

The Cretee Pilates Bar comes with six bands, varying in resistance from 60 to 180 pounds, with the strap length adjustable depending on your height and the exercise. The bands are made from durable natural latex and can withstand daily exercise sessions without losing elasticity. As a multi-functional bar, the resistance can be reduced for Pilates and more stabilizing-focussed workouts, or increased to challenge the muscles in a strength-training session. 

Best portable

NoviFit Pilates Bar
This band comes with a cooling towel and a storage bag.

The NoviFit Pilates Bar is the best portable option for those working out on the go.

What we like: Adjustable, comes with a carry bag and training guide

The anti-slip NoviFit Pilates Bar has adjustable bands to change both height and resistance, making it suitable for all heights and fitness levels. It also features widening, non-slip foot belts and thick resistance bands for lasting durability. The bar folds up to a compact 19 inches and comes with a cooling towel and waterproof storage bag for workouts on the go. As a bonus, the included workout guide offers a selection of exercises for the entire body. 

Best for added value

CHAMPYA pilates bar
A guided app is included.

With additional straps and a follow-along workout app, the CHAMPYA Pilates Bar offers nice extras.

What we like: Adjustable, sturdy nylon handles, fitness app included

The bar is made from durable materials, including a three-part stick made from sturdy steel, a thick foam exterior, and tough nylon handles to withstand up to 40 pounds of resistance. The adjustable knobs allow you to change the height as desired, and there are two additional foot straps that can be connected for workout variation. Included is access to the Champya App, with a follow-along guide teaching you how to properly stretch, strengthen, and sculpt. 

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The best sleep sacks and wearable blankets for babies in 2020

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  • 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

parenting guides

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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