Wondering what are the best baby products? After two kids, here”s my take on the worst baby products, things I regret buying for baby and what I wish I would’ve done instead, plus essential baby items!
I hope this helps you refine your baby registry with only useful items while avoiding the waste of money baby items currently on the market!
WATCH Must Have Baby Items
Best Baby Products:
These aren’t splurges, but are definitely newborn baby essentials in my book:
- Electric nail filer – No need to stress about clipping newborn baby nails! Makes it a breeze!
- Safety Guard nail clippers – for when your baby outgrows the electric file
- Bottle Sampler – A cost effective sampler of top selling dobottles to figure out the best baby bottle for your family while avoiding the worst baby bottles on the market
- Nose Frida – snot sucker for colds; do NOT get the electric version!
- Nasal spray – baby safe and amazing at clearing the sinuses!
- Windi – clears gas/back logs
- Stethoscope – get used to listening to baby’s lungs so you know what clear sounds like/if there really is a problem
- Ottoscope – To check kids ears
- Baby thermometer – I like the ones that go in the ear for a more accurate read, but also like having the forehead option if baby is sleeping (note: leave it in the same room as your child for at least 30 min before taking a reading!)
- Pulse Ox – again just as part of your first aid kit, but not as necessary as others
Baby Items To Splurge On
A stroller is one of the most used baby items for many families. There are so many options out there and I think two of the best splurge options worth considering/testing out are the Doona and the Uppababy Vista travel system. So both of these are designed for newborn use.
The Doona basically is your infant car seat AND a stroller; making it one of the best travel That’s right, you simply unclip it from the base, flip the wheels out and it automatically converts to a stroller making it one of the most convenient for families in and out of cars a lot. It also comes in a wide variety of colors:
The big draw backs here: the stroller isn’t necessarily as sturdy and smooth as other splurge strollers on the market like the Uppababy vista. Babies will outgrow it once they reach the maximum weight limit or height limit which can happen anywhere from 10-24 months old. It also has no storage, since the stroller base clips directly into your car seat base, and it’s short. This is definitely one of my top picks for families who already have a toddler or older kid and are having a newborn, but probably wouldn’t make this my first baby purchase.
Instead for a first baby, I’d go with the Uppababy Vista V2. Which comes in a ton of colors with every imaginable configuration/ add on as your child grows:
We had the Baby Jogger City Travel system, which is very similar and a slightly more affordable option you could totally consider too.
The reason I didn’t suggest it, even though it comes in a little less, is that the fold clasps rusted on ours. Maybe it’s because we live so close to the beach, but my friends who live just as close to the beach never had that issue with their Uppababy’s.
Both strollers though have options for a bassinet, which is great for baby’s growth and development in the early months, a carseat attachment, and then the regular seat. These also have options to convert for multiple kids with a second seat or the piggyback attachment.
Baby wearing is one of my favorite things. Not only does it promote bonding with baby, it also gives you some hands free time to get things done and move your body.
Plus, there’s a good chance your baby will have a “witching hour” at some point and you will get so much use from a baby carrier during that time – maybe even swearing it’s the best thing ever!
But the long and short of it, is that it really does a great job distributing weight across the shoulders and back for mom, while keeping babies hips in a nicer M curve compared to the Baby Bjorn mini or one in my opinion.
Splurging on a crib mattress is a good idea to screen and avoid toxic chemicals. Your new baby spends HOURS on this, so you ideally want to ditch harmful chemicals as they breathe it all in.
We had the Babyletto hybrid crib mattress with my first, which we did love. One side was firmer for the newborn days, and the other side softer for the toddler years. I personally found that mattress to be nice, thick, and very comfortable.
However, once we hit potty training with my toddler, I discovered the Newton Baby waterproof crib mattress, which is typically loved by parents of newborns because it’s so breathable, and fell in love with it. It’s made from a first-of-its-kind material called Wovenaire. It’s 90% air and 10% food-grade polymer which makes it totally breathable and prevents overheating. It’s GREENGUARD Gold Certified, featuring low chemical emissions. The entire mattress is 100% washable from the cover to the inside core, making it a great option during the potty training years.
So basically my toddler was having a hard time with overnight training. And I got so tired of washing her queen bedding every day, but we already had our second who was on the Babyletto, that I decided to give the Newton a try and became obsessed. In fact, when we sold all of our stuff and moved, we kept the Newton over the Babyletto because I could easily vacuum seal it down to nothing and toss it in the car. It’s not s comfortable for adult use because the material is so empty? I guess you could say, but my son and daughter both love it. It’s also great if you have an allergy kiddo as dust mites and other things can’t really cling to as much as traditional mattresses.
The last crib mattress I want to give an honorable mention and suggest consider is Naturepedic, which is one of the cleanest mattresses out there. They have several organic mattress options that are waterproof, breathable, and feature 2-stage firmness levels to grow with your baby.
Sleep sacks are definitely my favorite sleep accessory. We love the Love To Dream one’s that allow you to swaddle arms up, down, or free by just zipping off so you can use it for a long time.
These are great because you don’t know what your baby will like, and then it easily transitions as your baby grows.
Generally speaking, when it comes to a baby seat, bouncers are more of a sure thing than others in terms of babies actually liking them.
I’ve covered both extensively but choosing between these bouncy seats basically boils down to this:
- Ergobaby if you want an easier buckle in, and easy transition between height settings (you can use your foot), safety lock, plus added traction on the base for slip resistance if you have slippery floors.
- Babybjorn if you want something that feels a touch more lightweight or if you plan to bring to the beach and don’t want sand to cling as much to the base
I personally find that baby bouncers are just a tried and true baby item for soothing and play time and both of these picks feel as luxurious as their price tags.
Both feature covers you can toss in your washing machine too.
A slumberpod was something I thought was so silly with my first. Everytime we traveled or went somewhere I’d rearrange the whole room trying to make it dark and it honestly was a nightmare.
Fast forward to my second kid, still doing the same song and dance of trying to blackout a baby’s room and then we decided to sell our house. So we moved out and into my in-laws while we got the house ready. My son was actually sleeping in their walk in closet, which was big enough for his mattress, but not his crib. So I finally decided to buy a Slumberpod and put his mattress inside it as a way to contain him. And honestly I don’t know how/why I didn’t get one sooner.
Now that we are living out of Airbnb’s figuring out where we want to live, it’s been SO nice and easy to just pop it open and put him in there. In the move, we decided to get him a toddler bed too since they’re so much cheaper than cribs. And the Slumberpod is the perfect little transition from crib to freedom in our experience so far. He can get int an our, but it still provides some containment and darkness. Plus he LOVES it.
So whether you plan to travel a lot, don’t want to stress about blackout curtains, or are looking for a unique transition from crib to toddler bed, I 10/10 recommend it.
Baby Items To Save On [Don’t waste your money!]
I know everyone loves the Hatch sound machine with the toddler wake-to-rise clock, but honestly I’m not that impressed by it.
Instead, save your money and get the Lectrofan Micro. This white noise machine can be plugged into the wall, but also holds a charge. So if your power goes out, the sound machine will stay on (the Hatch turns off and inevitably wakes baby).
Additionally, it’s small and portable so you don’t need a second one while out or traveling.
If you really want the wake-to-rise light when kids get older, we got this clock and it works just as well, at a fraction of the cost – and once again has a battery backup for power outages.
Baby clothes are definitely an item to save your money on. Don’t be afraid of hand me downs. But really that first year, my kids live in the basic organic cotton onesie sets from Gerber baby you can get in store at Target and Walmart or on their website.
We also love these organic cotton gowns and kimonos which are very much a “one size” type of clothing item that grows with your kid the entire first year in our experience.
Kimonos are also fantastic for the early days since you don’t need to slip them over a wobbly newborn head, and it’s easy to leave the front open for extra skin to skin time.
While I do love our Lovevery play gym, I do think it’s worth saving your money on if being frugal. Personally, I like having something to hang toys from for baby, but we moved around so much that an expensive activity mat just became a glorified dog bed often.
Instead use a blanket or you floor, and purchase the Lovevery play kits instead. In fact, to save money and keep toys minimal the first year we only got the Lovevery play kits and it was more than enough.
While it may seem like a lot initially, you end up saving so much money (in my experience) knowing all your toys are being delivered. We were never tempted to look at useless baby toys or rogue purchases while shopping this way and it saved us so much money!
A cheaper high chair with a foot rest is really all you need in lieu of pricey wooden high chairs.
We have the Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair, and while I have no complaints about it, I can’t say it’s worth the $300 price tag when inevitably both of my kids wanted to sit on my lap during meal time during the toddler years. So while the chair grows with your kid forever, if it sits unused it’s kinda pointless – as was the case for us.
I’ve found feeding littles easiest at their own child sized table, while holding them, or on the floor.
If you do want a formal dining chair, the Fisher Price Space Saver chair is a great option that attaches onto most dining chairs and comes in a wide variety of colors.
It’s affordable, and mimics a full-size seat with a three position recline feature and two height adjustments, so you can hopefully adjust for babies feet to rest on the dining chair this one sits atop.
If your child will actually sit in their own chair during the toddler years, it converts to a booster seat too.
Expensive baby monitors
The Owlet, Nanit, Miku – these are all ridiculously expensive and pointless baby monitors in my opinion that prey on new parents anxieties. I’m sorry if that seems harsh, but I just do not think they are worth it in most cases.
The Owlet, which was a wearable monitor that tracked babies oxygen levels and heart rate, was recalled I think. And the Nanit and Miku track baby’s sleep patterns – which I guess is cool if you’re trying to get data to figure out our kids optimum sleep. But honestly, I found as a new mom, I was already stressing and obsessing over baby sleep, that the added layer just made it worse.
So with my first, we had a basic $20 vtech audio monitor, because that’s all I used while babysitting and nannying growing up. Then I someone suggested a Wyze camera as a cheap video baby monitor alternative.
So I got one because I figured when she got out of her crib, I’d want to see what she was doing in the room. Well I ended up just obsessively checking the camera at every little noise and wasted so much time obsessing over baby sleep with it, and then I moved it into my son’s room and the same thing happened. Finally i just went back to the audio monitor.
A solid Diaper bag is definitely an essential in my book – but I don’t think you need to spend get a great bag. While many bloggers and influencers love this Petunia Pickle Bottom bag or the Freshly Picked bags, I think you can save your money and opt for more affordable picks.
Personally we’ve had the Ergobaby (discontinued), Herschel, and Storq fanny pack diaper bags and they have all been fantastic. We love the gender neutrality (so my husband can use it without feeling weird), amazing storage, and durable designs of each of these.
The Herschel is a great durable backpack design. The Nova is a bit smaller than the Settlement. Both come with a changing mat, side pocket, and front pocket. I prefer the Settlement (it’s just a bit roomier).
The Storq is a total favorite for us. As kids get older, you need less and this can be worn as a fanny pack, or cross body bag that works for both men and women. It has enough space for diapers and wipes, as well as your personal belongings. And if you’ve ever chased a toddler around, you’ll appreciate how easy it is to access things without having to take it off and bring it to the front of your body.
WATCH WORST BABY PRODUCTS
Worst Baby Products
Baby bath tub
I know I may sound crazy here, but I’m not a fan of baby bathtubs. I’ve tried the Skip Hop, the First Years, and this draining one over the years and ultimately I think no bath seats are the best option. I find they are one of those unnecessary baby products parents have been scared into purchasing, without ever being told the health hazards they can pose.
Instead, the best way to bathe baby is fill your shower or regular bath with about an inch of water, and let your baby free bathe. Simply put them on their belly for tummy time and fun water play to stimulate baby’s senses. Just like with a baby tub, you’ll still need to supervise your baby closely, but this honestly is so much easier and better for their development.
When babies are really little and you don’t want to worry about baby’s head hitting the floor, simply enjoy bath time with them and let them rest on your chest or legs while you take a (probably much needed) bath.
A bassinet is a small, safe sleep environment that children typically outgrow by 6 months old.
We had the SNOO with both of my kids. With my first, I thought it was the best baby item of all time and she was sleeping through the night by 8 weeks old. However, with my second – he had colic and HATED it. We did get him sleeping through the night by 16 weeks old, but I can’t say that was because of the SNOO.
Over this past year, I’ve learned so much about baby sleep and my entire perspective has shifted, so we sold our SNOO and do not plan to swaddle or use a bassinet with our next baby most likely.
A Dock-A-Tot is easily one of the most controversial baby products.
Some parents swear by it and others claim their baby died in it. I think it was recalled/banned in most places recently as people let their kids sleep in it despite it not meeting the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep standards.
My first was okay in it during wake windows and I did like it as a nice place to put her. Like if I was cooking, I’d put it on the kitchen counter and have her next to me. But my son hated it. Again, I don’t know if it was the colic or what, but he had to be in the action always and it just became a glorified resting place/dog bed again.
Again, not a huge fan of containers. A baby swing tends to be hit or miss as far as kids liking them, whereas bouncy seats are generally loved by all.
Jumpers are one of the worst baby items and most controversial baby products among pediatric physical therapists. They really aren’t great for baby’s hips and physical development either.
A few styles of baby walkers exist, and each poses a different set of concerns. In fact, infant walkers have been so controversial, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has a set of federal requirements on them – and even with that in place since 2008, there have still be loads of recalls.
The first style is similar to the previous mentioned baby container style products and is definitely one of the worst baby items out there. In this case, you have a walker with a built in seat and your baby can cruise around in it. These have been recalled many times and pose similar physical development concerns as jumpers with some added risks in possibly delaying walking, or walking off an edge into an unsafe environment, and even slicing kids fingers.
The other style are activity walkers. These can be tall or low. Tall one’s like this are generally considered less safe as babies can pull them backwards onto of themselves. Additionally, some babies may try to use the handle to pull up to a standing position, and hit themselves in the head or fall forward.
These really shouldn’t be introduced until after baby can walk and has mastered sit to stand for a while. At which point I suggest one’s like this where the weight is pretty low to the ground and pose a smaller risk. Additionally, this style can double as a “shopping cart.”
I’ve always thought these were silly. A breeding ground for mold that dries out wipes faster, and one more thing for tired parents to clean. Instead, if you want warm wipes, just put one on your shoulder or in your bra while you undress baby for the diaper change. It’ll quickly warm up to your body temperature.
While some people love the Diaper Genie, I’ve personally always hated these since I was a teenager babysitting/nannying. Baby poop doesn’t really smell until they start solids and replacement bags for these are an extra cost too. We just use a small garbage that we take out daily where we do diaper changes. The one exception here, is if you have dogs, they do love spoiled diapers, so maybe in that case you’d want one. But again, I just found them annoying to change the bags and everything.
Unless you are doing a crib with changing table attachment, I don’t think it’s worth purchasing a separate changing table.
We used a spare console table with a changing pad we already had, but you can also use the floor, your bed, a table or counter or any surface that fits baby safely paired with a changing caddy you can bring around the house with you.
While it’s easy to get caught up in all the baby gear, most items actually win the title “total waste of money baby items.”
It’s important to remember that each additional item is one more thing to trip over or clean. Baby clutter can add up quickly. It’s most important to have a safe place to bring baby home.
The best advice I can give you before you place something in your shopping cart, is to ask yourself will this help or hurt my baby’s development? Is it something that makes our lives easier and we will use for a long time? Or is it just a popular item having its moment on social media?