As part of the Essential Baby Awards voting process we asked parents what was the one baby product they couldn’t live without. More than 5,000 responses later, we’ve sifted through the incredible suggestions to discover the ten essential items that should be at the top of any new parent’s shopping list.
1. Baby carrier
The number one item parents can’t live without is a baby carrier! There’s a huge variety of carriers, slings and wraps out there, but the most popular with our voters was the Ergo Baby carriers and wraps, Baby Bjorn carrier, Manduca carrier, Tula baby carrier and the Hug-a-Bub wrap. As parent raved about the Ergo carrier: “It’s quick to wear, great for getting baby to sleep, going for walks and just generally getting things done! I definitely couldn’t live without it.”
* We realised this was such a big must have for new parents, that we added Baby Carriers as a category in the 2015 Essential Baby Awards – See the brands that got the most votes here for the Best baby carrier
2. Baby wipes
One thing’s for sure. Baby wipes are not just for wiping bottoms. After you have kids you’ll wonder how you ever lived without baby wipes to take care of spills and stains all around the house. As one parent said, “Baby wipes are a vital part of being a mother- I truly think that I will have them in my bag until I am an old lady – they get you out of a multitude of situations!” See the finalists for our baby wipes category here, as well as the winner.
3. Bouncer, rocker or swing
One thing you soon discover as a new parent is that it can be very difficult to get things done with a baby on your hip. Baby swings, rockers and bouncers keep bub occupied (and maybe even put them to sleep!) while you have a shower or prepare a meal. Some of the most popular brands with our audience were the Baby Bjorn bouncer and the Fisher Price Cradle Swing. As your baby grows, she may find a jumper or exersaucer more stimulating.
Evidence suggests that swaddling helps induce sleep and soothes excessive crying and colic. However, wrapping too tightly can contribute to hip problems, which is why experts recommend swaddling products which allow for free movement of the arms, knees and hips. Our voters loved the Love to Dream swaddle which allows babies to sleep with their arms up and their legs in a natural, frog-like position. “It was a complete saviour that helped everyone to get some more sleep,” wrote one mum.
* Another product area that we felt we could bring into its own category in the 2015 Essential Baby Awards, so we could get your votes on is the baby swaddle, wrap or zippered sleeping bag. See who won and the other brands that got highly recommended in the Best Baby Swaddle / Sleeping Bag for 2015
5. Baby monitor
A baby monitor helps you stay connected and have peace of mind when you can’t be in the same room as your baby. There are several different types of monitors on the market, inlcuding audio and video monitors as well as movement monitors which monitor baby’s breathing and body movement. Our voters recommended the Angelcare video/movement monitor as well as the Roger Armstrong Sleep Easy. One the Angelcare monitor, one parent wrote, “Best money we ever spent for piece of mind ! It has lasted us two kids without any issues.”
6. Breast pump
Many breastfeeding mothers will need to express their breast milk at some time, and a good breast bump makes it much easier to be away from your breastfed baby while ensuring he receives the goodness of your milk. Our voters sung the praises of the Medela Swing Breast Pump in particular. “It has been a lifesaver,” wrote one mum. “Without it, I would have struggled to breastfeed my son for as long as I have been.”
7. Nappy rash cream
It’s not the most expensive baby item you will purchase but a good nappy rash cream will cure your baby’s irritated skin and put a smile back on her face. Our readers mentioned Sudocrem, Bepanthen and Weleda nappy cream as their favourites. “Our son had the worst nappy rash and Sudocrem was the only thing that helped. It was our saviour”, wrote one fan.
A pram is a baby item that you’ll use every day. You’ll need to be able to fold and unfold it with a baby in your arms and fit it in to your car boot. As a major investment, it’s a decision you’ll want to get right. Our voters named the Baby Jogger City Select as their favourite pram, see the other finalists here. One mum wrote,m “My Baby Jogger pram got me out of the house every day in the sunshine. Now I use it to get some some grocery shopping done while keeping a very active toddler happy on the go!”
9. Muslin wraps
You may not have heard of muslin wraps before having a baby, but you’ll find you’ll be using a lot of them after giving birth. Whether used as a summer swaddle, an impromptu pram cover, a breastfeeding cover or a burping cloth, this is one item you should always have in your nappy bag! As one parent said, ” I have used them for my baby to wrap, shelter, comfort and play. They are so versatile and I always have one on hand.” Plain wraps are available everywhere, but for lovely designs it’s hard to go past Aiden + Anais.
The average baby goes through over 3,000 nappies in the first year alone. You’re going to need to stock up. Our mums voted Huggies the best disposable nappy, with stating, “they have been a trusted friend for both our children, no leaks, no mess…” Our awards also recognised modern cloth nappies, with Pea Pods voted the overall winner.
See the winners & highly recommended pregnancy and baby products in the Essential Baby Awards 2015
What are the must have essential baby items