As a dad I’ve learned there is a psychotically staggering number of things you can buy for infants. Here are 10 of my favourite baby products… so far.
I’ve really enjoyed being a dad. I was going to title this a list of my favourite baby products as a new dad, but the reality is it’s not so new anymore. The number of nappies changed is in the hundreds and well on its way into the thousands, the number of family outings has grown quite a lot, we’ve had a lot (a *lot*) of visitors and great generosity from the ones around us, and Kiddo herself is growing big and strong.
We laugh, we play, we cry, we get clean, we go to bed, and we do it all again. And all the while she keeps learning and growing. I’ve always loved the Brooke Fraser song Seeds and even moreso now as a parent.
I remember the first few weeks we started shopping in preparation of the upcoming baby. Even though it was several months ahead of the due date, we wanted to be ready. And omigosh, the baby industry is HUGE! You could spend $33000 in a day every day for 13 years and still have other products that could be marketed at you. Some of them you wouldn’t even be able to afford for that amount of money either!
And so I thought, even though our Kiddo is still relatively young, it’s been long enough that it’s worth sharing for my fellow new parent friends out there the things I’ve found the most helpful. This is especially for those dads out there as we don’t have the same amazing intuition or psychic link or motherhood instinct or whatever it is that women have, but for any parent really!
Here are 10 of my favourite baby products so far. Or thereabouts – there are lots of great products we’ve bought or been given, and I thought at least 10 gets us somewhere.
And yes, this is only a list of the ones so far, because I’m sure there are many many more purchases ahead.
Disclaimer: I’m not a pediatrician and not sponsored by any of the companies or products listed – I’m just a fellow parent who’s had some good experiences amongst a lot of bad ones so thought I would recommend things that have really helped me out.
#1: YouTube/What To Expect Blog/Facebook Marketplace
I gotta say, it’s a great time to be a parent. Not just cause we’ve got so many fellow parents cause we did our bit for the COVID Baby generation, but because of how many amazing resources are available, and instantly available. It’s almost like raising a child in a laboratory now with the amount of proven metrics and formulas and techniques that exist.
So I had to shout out first of all to all the parents and pediatricians who have shared with the world on YouTube their great techniques for just about everything – burping, sleeping, swaddling, putting those crazy harnesses on properly, fitting the car seats, and especially for calming babies down. Here’s to you, Dr Hamilton, for your foolproof butt wiggle technique. I can’t get the hands in the right position, but the rest of it works (almost) every time!
Like a lot of parents, we had bought the famous What To Expect When You’re Expecting book. What we didn’t realise is that their blog is even better and more straightforward than the book, with amazing content from conception even well into the early months of life. If you’re pregnant or towards the start of the journey, get amongst it, although they have great information along most stages of early parenthood as well.
Lastly in the website category is Facebook Marketplace. We probably saved thousands on outfits and baby furniture, especially a ridiculously expensive model of cot and bassinet that we found for amazing prices.
#2: Agile Signature Pram
Anyone who has gone to buy a pram will tell you that the amount you can spend is absolutely ridiculous. You could buy a car or approach putting a deposit on a house for the prams you can get. All I could think of was Dwight Schrute testing out Jan’s super expensive stroller from The Office the whole time.
But we found a really great one in the low-to-mid price range – the Agile Signature from Steelcraft. We were choosing between a few options but this one won out when we tried it in store, and I must say after months in it’s even better than expected. It turns and handles extremely well, fits Kiddo well, has a little storage compartment, and with a few hooks on the handle it turns into a really great little unit. Good sun cover, folds in two moves, fits well in both our cars…
Really have a lot of good things to say about it, and even moreso because we got it 30% off over Boxing Day sales. Keep an eye out for the bargains!
#3: Stretchy wraps + Swaddle Bags
I think I had about 9 or 10 people show me how to do a swaddle, and all of them have been different. I gotta say if you get the swaddle right, it’s the difference between a screaming child and one that will stay asleep. Swaddling especially for our daughter stops her waking herself up with her startle reflex when her arms go up and then down. If you can stop the startle reflex, you’re on your way to a good night’s sleep yourself!
Two things that made this a million times easier – stretchy wraps, and swaddle bags. If you can find wraps with a stretch in them, they’ll cling better to kiddo so you won’t have to keep re-attaching them when the inevitably get their hands out of them. Plus as a man the simpler it is, the better.
And you can also get swaddle bags. I’m finding at the moment a stretchy wrap and then a swaddle bag over the top keeps her hands nice and tucked in, and zero risk of her being able to pull the wrap or blanket or sheet over the top of her head. It zips up for convenience and means Kiddo can’t put her hands or arms any higher than her shoulders during the night. Anything to reduce that SIDS/SUDI risk is an amazing relief. Obviously be keeping in mind your baby’s temperature and comfort while picking these as well!
#4: Puppy training pads
Put this one in the Life Hacks category – baby changing mats and pads are very expensive. But things that don’t have the word “baby” in front of them are usually cheaper. As such, we’ve found buying puppy training pads instead of baby pads is more economical. Nothing much more to say than that, but given baby ability to wee and poo around and above and below the nappy no matter how strategic you are, the more savings you can make in this area, the better.
#5: Fisher Price Floor Seat
A key book we read (more on that later) made a huge case for getting a floor seat for bub. Rightly so, the bub will pretty much spend most of their early life (especially during the day) in a chair that you will bring around with you into whatever room you’re in so you can keep an eye on them.
Fisher Price has a huuuuuuuge range of chairs as it turns out, as do their competitors, and we found an absolutely great one that has straps, can swing, can vibrate, and is relatively lightweight. Plus we got it for a bargain price on Facebook Marketplace ($15 AUD). Have you picked up on how good Marketplace is yet?
#6: The First Years Secure Sleeper
This thing is amazing. I think most parents are aware of the SIDS/SUDI risks of co-sleeping or leaving your kids on a couch or bed and having them roll over (or you roll over) and stick their face under a cushion or blanket or something. We got given one of these very generously at our baby shower and we have used it extensively, especially when we’re in the living room.
It’s pretty much a mini-bed that allows bub to be close with a huge peace of mind about safety. The bed has breathable sides so your bub can’t get their face stuck on something, they can’t roll out, and no one can roll on to it or pull anything over it very easily. So good.
#7: Mamia and Little Ones nappies
I don’t think I could talk about my favourite baby products without mentioning nappy brands. I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is working out how to get the nappies right. There are so many different brands and types and price ranges out there!
Fortunately for us, we were gifted a huge number of nappies at the start of a whole variety of brands, which made it easier for us to sample which brands worked best. They all performed reasonably well, some had better wetness indicators or things like that, but when the realm of Poonamis and really really really really really wet days came in, two brands outshined the competition in my view, and ironically they are the cheapest.
The first was Mamia which is the Aldi brand. At the time of writing these are the cheapest nappy out there and actually really great – sit tight but comfortable, wetness indicator, really cute, and hold all but the most extreme of Poonamis. Some of our parent friends recommended these as the best and they were definitely on the money about how great they are.
The second and I think the one I’m slowly starting to prefer is Little Ones from Woolworths. They’re a few cents more expensive than the Aldi counterpart and still way cheaper than most of the competition, and they have a lot of the same benefits. Plus they have held some truly amazing volumes of waste and stayed strong. Plus I think the Little Ones baby wipes would be the best on the market after trying a *lot* of different ones.
In a similar vein to the nappies, we got gifted a large range of different baby oils and balms. They’re all actually quite good, especially for maintenance. But when there’s an actual rash or irritation present, nothing outperforms Sudocrem. I’ve seen rashes turn around within an hour or two. Really, really good. And another recommendation from the same parent friends who had the Mamia recommendation. Two for two.
#9: Philips Baby+
This is a phone app from Philips Avent that is absolutely stellar. As we share feeding and changing duties where possible, it can be really hard to track who’s done what and when, especially in the early weeks when kiddo is waking 3-4 times a night and pooing like a soft serve machine at a 6 year old’s birthday.
This app lets you track those things, but also has so many other great features. You can synchronise between multiple devices, which is sometimes a bit fidgety but most of the time excellent, it has featured blogs every day that are relevant to your child’s stage of development, lots of tips for parents on mental health and looking after yourself, plus milestone tracking, growth tracking and charts, and lots of research based stats and recommendations. Absolutely invaluable tool for any parent.
#10: On Becoming Babywise (The Absolute King of My Favourite Baby Products)
My wife found this book at a Christian bookstore and it has been probably been our go to book on all things baby related. Plus, it puts forward strong views on feeding and scheduling that are backed by research, and while the first month or so were an absolute killer in trying to follow it, it has paid off in spades.
Our Kiddo sleeps 6-7 hours most nights nowadays and was from about the end of week 6 (sometimes 4 hours on off nights, but that’s still only one wake up for one parent), and outside of growth spurts and clusterfeeding (*shudder*), she almost always gets hungry like clockwork bang on schedule. And most importantly, she’s healthy and growing well. It seems each time the book says “Kiddo should be able to do this by this week”, she is, or is getting close to it.
Written by Gary Ezzo who has put together later versions of this course and material, the book touted an 86% success rate based on research with thousands of babies at the time, and the more parents I talk to who have followed Gary’s work, I think this success rate might actually be higher – many families touting a 100% success rate. Great advice on settling and helping baby learn routine and self soothing and encouraging them to eat and play healthily and maintain their energy, as well as other environmental factors in your home and relationship that can really help your children grow. Plus lots of tips for things like reflux, colic, supplementary feeding, tummy time, hygiene – just everything.
While it does have Christian authors, it isn’t overtly religious in its contents and is very much focused on techniques proven by research. If you’re a parent, this will save your life before you realise it needs saving.
Not gonna lie – being a parent is hard. It is easily the best and worst thing in your life when it happens, but fortunately we do live in a time surrounded by a lot of great product and material. I could list a whole bunch of other products that have helped like pacifiers and bottles and warmers from Tommee Tippee, or different toys and playmats we’ve been given or bought, or really great soaps and washers and temperature checkers, or gripe water (this is amazing), or a whole range of other things. But I thought in the interest of helping out my fellow parent, I thought I’d list my favourite baby products so far.
How about you? What are your favourite baby products?