As far as I can tell, moms usually find out about game-changing baby stuff from other moms. "Oh, your baby won't sleep? Let me tell you about this amazing product!" But dads? I don't mean to make sweeping generalizations here, but they're sort of notorious for not always talking to one another. This is such a shame, because y'all have learned a lot as parents and I feel like you brosephs could help each other out! And I know there are a ton of baby products real-life dads can't live without that other dude parents could use. If you're not learning from other people's experiences, you're doing this parenting thing the hard way, fellas.
Any time someone I know is having a baby, I try to provide them with a list of my top products that absolutely changed my parenting game. When it comes to babies, sure, on the one hand, all you need is love... but on the other hand, a Moby wrap is going to be super helpful, you know? And one of the most fulfilling aspects of parenthood is learning on the job and then using that earned knowledge to help other parents figure things out, too.
Some of the dads I asked had specific recommendations, while others offered what I would consider to be more general advice, but in all cases this is some essential stuff. Get your online carts ready, folks: there are some winners in here.
"Does a tablet count? Honestly, my kids’ vocabulary and understanding of math and science and a ton of other concepts is alarmingly sophisticated totally because of the tablet. They’ll say things and I’m like, 'Dude. Where did you learn about the heliocentric solar system? You’re 5.' I know they watch a lot of garbage, but they also get some great stuff having the internet and games at their fingertips."
Suggestion: Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet, 8" HD Display, 32 GB, Kid-Proof Case (Amazon, $129.99)
"Colic Calm (Amazon, $17.99). [My child] had terrible gas when she was very little and couldn't get rid of it herself (since she was born so early she just didn't have the muscle strength) and we tried lots of different infant gas relief things but colic calm was the only one that worked."
"I have a camo Baby Sherpa backpack (Barnes & Noble, $88.96). I’m not a tote guy so having a backpack that has insulated pockets, a changing pad, and 'cargo netting' for carrying blankets or stuffed animals is a life saver. It’s one of the few things I’ve used for both kids."
"White noise machine. YouTube kids (in case of emergency)."
Suggestion: Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine, Night Light and Time-to-Rise (Amazon, $59.99)
"I loved my Baby K'tan carrier (Amazon, $47.81). It was a great way to give my wife a break and then I could take the baby while I was cooking dinner or wore him while we were out at the zoo or anywhere else. I [also] used the LILLEbaby carrier (LILLEbaby, $89.99 - $190.00). That was one of the easiest and most comfortable carriers I used. The bottom line is go out and try a bunch of carriers until you find one that works for you and your kid. I also loved what would eventually become the Nest camera (Best Buy, $169.99). I would be able to be at work and spy on nap time or tell my daughter to lay down from far away... it was always funny when I would tell my daughter to lay down and she'd go from bouncing on the bed to laying flat on the bed in a matter of seconds."
Laurel, On Behalf Of Her Husband
"The Baby Bjorn (Baby Bjorn, $79.99 - $219.99) was the best thing ever. Whenever he ran errands alone with [our son], he took him in that, leaving his hands free. When they came with me on a business trip to Philly, he took [our son] all over the place in that thing."
A Second Patrick
"My friends got us this kid's atlas (National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas: Maps, Games, Activities, and More for Hours of Backseat Fun, Amazon, $5.39 - $14.90) and my 4-year-old has enjoyed it way more than I expected. Each night we read a different state at bedtime. He loves finding the capital of each state and we look at where that state is on the big map. We were in Delaware for a little vacation two weekends ago so we read about Delaware, we were in Connecticut last weekend so we read about Connecticut.
My almost 3 year old is in full on potty training mode so he’s been rocking the skunk potty."
"Some of my favorite memories are from cycling with my son in a seat on the handlebars of the bike. It got us out of the house and we had a great time together!"
Suggestion: Thule RideAlong Mini Bike Seat (Amazon, $135.00)
Kathy, On Behalf Of Her Husband
"The Swaddle Me swaddles (Target, $24.99) have saved his sanity."
"Ikea ANTILOP highchair (Ikea, $22.99) — simple two-piece formed plastic with four individually-detachable legs. Stable, safe, and easy to clean (no folding parts or fabric). Also great for dismantling and taking along when staying away. The highchair also works as a very stable walking frame for babies to hold on to when taking first steps."
"The NoseFrida (fridababy, $15.99) allows you to control the suction level with your own breath. It also isn't the mold farm that those weird bulbs are."
"There's a high chair from IKEA that I think was maybe $15 and it is the greatest thing I've ever bought for under $20."
Suggestion: ANTILOP high chair with safety belt, white, silver color (Ikea, $17.99)
"Boppy Nursing pillow (Amazon, $39.97). My wife says it was great for breastfeeding, but it was also great for holding the baby for long periods, which both my kids required. It was also the best napping pillow ever and my wife is cruel and won't allow it as a throw pillow now that the kids are bigger."
"A kangaroo carrier thing. You can carry the baby anywhere and they usually fall asleep and you can do anything — like play video games — because your hands are free. Number one piece of advice to new dad's: put the baby in carrier, send wife to sleep or whatever, play FIFA while bouncing baby."
Suggestion: Aura Baby Wrap (ergobaby, $50.00)
"Calendula Comfrey Super Salve (Creation Farm, $18.95) is magic. It cleared diaper rash within a day every time we used it."