Being a new parent can be scary. Not only are you getting ready to raise a tiny human, but you’re also suddenly learning about feeding schedules, car seat models and stroller designs. Add in the fact that there are about a zillion opinions and products out there designed to do … well, everything, and it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed by it all.
That’s why we’re here to help, with a curated list of all the best baby products out there that you’ve probably never heard of (unless you’re already in some parenting circles). We’re not talking about the best baby monitors or the most essential bottles, because everyone knows that you need those. Instead, we’re honing in on the lesser-known products that new parents might not know about, but that many moms and dads swear by.
When something works, it works, and overwhelmed parents are quick to spread the word. After all, this whole journey really is something that you learn as you go, and we’re all here to help each other out. In that spirit, here are the kind of random but totally helpful products that have swelled so much in popularity since their respective releases that they’re practically staples. Add them to your nursery, and hopefully get into the swing of this fatherhood thing even faster.
1. NoseFrida The SnotSucker
BEST FOR SUCKING SNOT
Is sucking your kid’s snot out of his or her tiny nostrils something you ever envisioned yourself doing as a parent? Probably not. But the second your babe gets that first cold you will be thankful for this nifty tool, which is gross in theory but all kinds of practical in practice as it’s really good at clearing nasal cavities. It comes with filters and the snot never actually comes close to your mouth, so it’s not as bad as you think. Plus this thing is way more powerful than any of those bulb-shaped snot suckers we’ve encountered over the years.
NoseFrida The SnotSucker
2. Withings Thermo – Smart Temporal Thermometer
BEST FOR TAKING TEMPERATURE
Trying to stick a thermometer into a baby’s mouth (or armpit or ear) isn’t exactly the most pleasant experience, since they tend to squirm around and refuse to stay still. That’s why parents everywhere are loving this smart thermometer, which only requires a quick wave to tell you your babe’s temp. It’s really an investment for the whole family though since it can record up to eight people’s personal temperature histories on the accompanying app. Plus, unlike other temperature-taking devices, you don’t have to invest in sanitary covers or refills.
Withings Thermo – Smart Temporal Thermometer
3. Baby Shusher the Sleep Miracle – Sound Machine
TO HELP BABIES GO BACK TO SLEEP
Unless your new baby is a miracle baby who loves to sleep for long stretches in the night (pesky sleep regressions be darned), you’ll quickly realize as a new parent just what a hot commodity sleep can be. That’s why having tools to help soothe and put that baby back to sleep can be a lifesaver. Enter the Baby Shusher, which uses a real human voice to lull babies back to sleep. The portable device comes with an adjustable volume, a timer and a removable wrist strap, so you can use it even when you’re rocking your child at 2 a.m.
Baby Shusher the Sleep Miracle – Sound Machine
4. Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit
BEST NIGHT SUIT
There are sleep sacks and there are swaddles. And then there’s this genius sleepsuit that somehow combines the magic of both. It was invented by a pediatric physical therapist and mother of four and is specifically designed to comfort babies while giving their tiny bodies all of the room for proper growth and development. Plenty of sleep-deprived parents have commented about what a lifesaver this suit is, especially for babies that still need comfort but are transitioning from a swaddle.
Baby Merlin's Magic Sleep Suit
5. RONBEI Bedside Sleeper
BEST CO-SLEEPING TOOL
Many parents out there swear that co-sleeping is the only way they can actually get any sleep themselves, but the idea of it freaks them out. Enter this bassinet, which converts to a bedside sleeper that keeps your baby close but separate. It’s a handy tool to have because you can also travel with it, and it’s perfect for either side of the bed so both parents can take turns getting more sleep.
RONBEI Bedside Sleeper
6. Diaper Genie
BEST FOR STANK
Here’s the thing: you may not think that you need a special garbage receptacle to hold stinky diapers, but unless you’ve got a garbage chute in a condo or an apartment that you plan on accessing multiple times per day, we promise that you do. Sure, there are stank-free alternatives out there, but this fan-favorite pail creates poopy snakes out of discarded diapers and comes with odor-lock technology that keeps nurseries (and garages!) everywhere from smelling like absolute… well, hot garbage.
7. MamaRoo 4 Baby Swing
BEST FOR CALMING BABES
If you’re looking for a baby swing that doesn’t take up too much extra space, this is a gadget that many parents — especially parents of fussy babies — swear by. Probably because they can put their baby down long enough for a shower or a quick bite to eat, all while adjusting the five built-in sounds and motions with the Bluetooth-enabled controls. The fabric seat is also washable (always a plus when it comes to baby spit-up and blow-outs), and it reclines to make your baby as comfy as possible.
MamaRoo 4 Baby Swing
8. Owlet – Smart Sock 3 Monitor
TO GIVE YOU PEACE OF MIND
When you become a new parent, it’s amazing how much everything can scare you. Like whether or not your baby is breathing in their sleep. Because that fear is real, there are devices out there to help … like this smart sock. Put it on your baby at night in order to monitor their oxygen levels, heart rate and even total hours slept. It helps you get some shuteye since you’ll get an immediate notification if your baby needs you, but it’s also handy when it comes to monitoring overall sleep trends and quality — important things to know if you’re trying to plan any sleep yourself in those early days.
Owlet - Smart Sock 3 Monitor
9. Ergobaby Omni 360 All-Position Baby Carrier
TO TRAVEL EVEN EASIER
Whether you have a small baby or a tot, odds are that carrying him or her around is going to leave you with an achy back. Enter Ergobaby, a line of carriers that are specifically designed to keep both you and your child ergonomically safe and happy. Not only is this particular model designed for both newborns and toddlers, but you can carry your kid in four different positions. It’s a downright lifesaver when you’re hiking, at the mall or in tight spaces that can be tough to maneuver with a stroller, plus most kids just love the idea of being that close to mom or dad.
Ergobaby Omni 360 All-Position Baby Carrier
10. Duo Meal 6-in-1 Food Prep System XL by babymoov
BEST FOR WHIPPING UP MEALS
Whether you plan on serving up purees or trying your hand at Baby Led Weaning, this food prep system is an essential that many new parents swear by. It steams and purees foods simultaneously, helping you to whip up those tasty first meals in a matter of minutes. You can also use it to warm and defrost food that you’ve previously made up or to warm those coveted bottles. The best part is it comes with a programable timer so that you can set it and walk away, focusing on all of those other tasks that come with being a new parent.
Duo Meal 6-in-1 Food Prep System XL by babymoov
11. Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup
BEST SIPPY CUP
Bottles are fine and all, but after about six months most babies start drinking water. Yes, you could go through the hassle of giving them open cups and teaching them how to drink properly right away. And maybe you do want to do that at the dinner table or when it makes sense. For all the other occasions though, there’s this trainer cup, which isn’t just easy for babies to use no matter which angle they attack it from, it also doesn’t spill. As far as we’re concerned that’s a win-win.
Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup
12. Munchkin UV Sterilizer and Sanitizer Bag
If you’re worried about that new baby being exposed to all kinds of weird germs and toxins, we don’t really blame you. Neither does Munchkin, which is why the baby-friendly company came up with this UV sterilizer for the nursery. It promises to disinfect up to 99% of germs on everything from stuffed animals to toys, and you can even throw your cell phone in there for good measure.
Munchkin UV Sterilizer and Sanitizer Bag
13. Lalo High Chair
BEST CONVERTIBLE ESSENTIAL
When you have a baby you suddenly seem to accumulate a lot of stuff. Some of it is super necessary (like a high chair), but some of it your kid will also quickly outgrow (also like a high chair). That’s why we love the Lalo. Not only is it stylish, comfortable for babies and super easy to clean, but it converts into a play chair once your child is too old to use it at the dinner table.
The Lalo High Chair
14. Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
BEST FOR CHAFFED BUMS
Babies get butt rashes, it’s a fact of life. How you deal with those rashes is up to you, but if you want to comfort and heal your baby as soon as possible, this is the cream that many parents live by. It has zinc oxide, which is FDA-recognized as an effective way to treat and prevent diaper rash, but it’s also free of other itchy or potentially harmful ingredients like dyes, parabens and talc.