Necessity is the mother of invention, they say, which may explain why there are so many incredible baby and toddler products invented by moms out there – because after all, who knows kids better than moms? From the baby stage to big-kid territory, moms know what their kids need, and when they can't find the genius inventions for kids they dream up on the shelves, they go ahead and invent them themselves.
Moms are awesome.
(Just to clarify, only some moms do this. I personally just complain when I can't find what I'm looking for, but I like to think I'm awesome, too.)
See, mom inventors know that the best products for kids aren't just clever or cute, and they certainly don't have to be expensive. They do, however, need to make you wonder how you possibly lived your entire life (or life as a mom, at least) without them.
On this list, you'll find inventions by moms that begin to teach kids independence, gear that saves time and money, and products that help streamline a mom's busy day — no small feat, but these inventors are moms who just get it: they get what moms and kids need, because they live that Mom Life every day themselves.
1. An Award-Winning Swaddling Blanket That’ll Never Unravel
Moms love this swaddling blanket because it’s so easy to use (unlike many other versions, it zips up, instead of using velcro or having to manually wrap it). It was invented by Karen Barski, a mother of five, and according to the official site, it's won more than 15 design awards. One happy customer even left this glowing review: “We tried EVERY kind, and this was the *only* swaddle our son tolerated & couldn't ninja his way out of.”
2. An Ouch-Free Hairbrush
Baby hair may be fine, but it can still wind up in knots. When the daily battle of "Mom versus Tangled Hair" became too much for mom Rikki Mor, she knew there had to be an easier way to detangle the mop on her child's head. The Knot Genie brush has specially designed bristles to gently comb through curls, knots and tangles, leading to fewer "ouches" from even the most sensitive of scalps.
3. A Source Of Entertainment During Diaper Changes
This interactive pillow invented by mom Lisa Cash Harrow sits right above your baby during diaper changing sessions, keeping your little one distracted and entertained with a crinkly pocket, their favorite toys (attached to the pillow's loops), or even your smartphone (securely stowed in a plush pocket).
4. A Better Way To Beat Boogies
Boogers are a delightful fact of life for moms. I've actually been handed a booger by my toddler at a store with just a simple "Here, Mom" – and what can I say? I took it. Boy's gotta breathe! The trouble is when kids can't breathe thanks to their tiny little snot rockets, and their nostrils are just too tiny for grown-up fingers to fit in. (Not that I've tried – I would never – but, um, a friend told me.) The gentle, mucus-clearing oogiebear (created by Nina Farzin) gets the job done, so little ones can get back to breathing freely. Boogies be gone!
5. Make Carrying Carseats Way Less Painful
You know what's not easy? Lugging a heavy carseat back and forth 20 times from the house to the car and back again. Keep that harsh plastic handle from digging into the crook of your elbow and cutting off all circulation with this velcro wrap cushion, thought up by Lily Winnail. It has two toy loops to store your baby's favorite sources of entertainment, and when the grip gets a little dirty, you can use the reversible side, too, before throwing in the wash.
6. Handwashing Help
Newsflash: Toddlers don't always have the most impeccable personal hygiene skills. In my three-year-old's eyes, handwashing is optional, even after a bathroom visit or a splash-fest in a muddy puddle – partly because he's 3, but also because he can't reach the faucet very easily. The Aqueduck (thought up by Susanna Lee) clips onto any standard faucet to channel the water towards your little hand-washer, making it easier for them to scrub away germs.
7. A Storage Solution That Won't Topple Strollers
Most multitasking moms know how frustrating it is to try to balance diaper bags, shopping totes, and other necessary items on your stroller. One misjudged placement, and the stroller becomes a precarious Jenga tower. Sonjie Solomon recognized this problem, and came up with the brilliantly simple solution of bags that secure to the top and sides of your stroller, in order to redistribute the center of gravity.
8. A Drier Bathroom
To all my fellow boy moms out there: I don't think I need to say anything more than just...the pee. So much pee, everywhere, all the time. They're so proud when they can finally stand up to pee like big boys, but they don't always get the job done without redecorating the bathroom in urine. Enter Tinkle Targets – flushable, patterned potty-training aids from mom Ann Neale – which give boys something to aim for, helping keep pee in the potty and, more importantly, off the floor.
9. A Toilet-Paper Saver
Little-known fact: Toilet paper has two uses. Yes, there's the obvious one, but the real reason TP exists is so it can be quickly unraveled by sneaky, fast-acting babies and toddlers and left for moms to discover in a heaping pile on the bathroom floor. The TP Saver, thought up by mom Tamara Monosoff, clips over a roll to thwart would-be toilet-paper bandits, saving both money and a mess.
10. Easier Doctor Visits
Whether it's your child or someone else's, every mom has heard it from behind closed doors at the pediatrician's office: The unmistakable wail of a little one (probably being held down by two nurses) who knows a shot is coming. This bright, cheery pain-reliever from Dr. Amy Baxter uses vibration, cold, and distraction techniques to help ease the sting of a shot or countless other sources of pain.
11. No More Surprise Diaper Explosions
Changing diapers isn't fun, but the task becomes particularly unpleasant if you find the mess only after it's creeped up your baby's back and onto all surrounding surfaces. This genius creation came from Melanie Miller, who was tired of leaky explosions — just secure it around the top of the diaper, and keeps the contents from traveling
12. Allergy Awareness
Having a child with an allergy can be scary, especially when that child is too little to tell others about it. That's why mom Iris Shamus created AllerMates, an allergy- and health-alert wristband that can be customized with playful charms to let caregivers know the child has a medical condition. AllerMates also makes extras like an EpiPen case, a lunchbox and additional charms. Kids like the silly characters, and moms like the peace of mind.
13. A Leak-Proof Cloth Diaper That Grows With Your Baby
According to the official site, parents Jimmy and Jenn Labit where living on a tight budget when they first turned to cloth diapers as a money saving alternative to disposables. A few years later they invented the bumGenius one-size-fits-all cloth diaper inserts followed by a one-step, waterproof cloth diaper. The bumGenius cloth diaper is super stretchy, has a leak-proof outer material, and it fits most babies between 8 and 35 pounds. Great for overnight, traveling, bed-wetters, and babies who are in daycare, you can wash these over and over without them losing their soft feel. They close with snaps and are adjustable, so they’ll last through multiple growth spurts, and you can pick from 21 different colors and patterns.
14. A Sippy Cup For "Big Kids"
A fun stage all kids seem to go through is when they reject the sippy cup because they're "big" now. (Come on, a 2-year-old is practically an adult! Get with it, Mom.) Previously, this meant forcing kids to use a "baby" cup or endure spill after spill after spill from an open container. Behold: This stretchy silicone top from a mom-founded brand ingeniously fits over any cup to make it toddler-friendly, and the tops can easily be stashed in a diaper bag for on-the-go use. Pro tip: There's also a straw option that older kids may prefer.
15. A Snug Spot For Sleeping Babies When Traveling
While you'll want to keep this snuggly airplane seat packed away during taxiing, takeoff, and landing, the makeshift seat makes the flight itself so much easier for both moms and babies. The travel necessity, though up by traveling mom Kadie Flye, attaches to the seat in front and around the waist, and it's totally compliant with FAA regulations.
16. An Easy-To-Spot Pacifier Holder That Doubles As A Toy
Invented by a mother of four who was tired of searching for misplaced pacifiers, Stacy Dallman created a universal, stuffed animal pacifier holder. Not only does it double as a toy, but it also helps develop fine motor skills, and of course, it’s adorable. It easily detaches, so you can switch between different pacifiers, and it’s machine washable, so keeping it sanitary is a non-issue. As an added bonus, this order also includes a teether add-on for when your baby starts growing, which can also be attached to the plush toy.
17. A 3-Pack Of Soothing, Unscented Face Wipes
Keep a pack of these super-soft boogie wipes in your diaper bag, car, and home (after all, this order comes with three) for easy cleanups. Created by mom-inventor Mindee Hardin Harp, these wipes are hypoallergenic and free of alcohol, parabens, and phthalates, and are a great alternative to drying tissues and uncomfortable saline drops. You can use them on kids of all ages, as they’re made with naturally-occurring saline, as well as soothing aloe, calming chamomile, and moisturizing vitamin E, which’ll feel great on irritated runny noses.
18. A Pacifier Holder To Prevent Frequent Dropping And Tantrums
This entertaining pacifier holder — which was featured on Shark Tank — can be attached to bouncers, baby carriers, car seats, and strollers, and also makes for a great toy. It uses a pulley to always keep the pacifier in view, so both you and your baby will never have to deal with the stress of losing one again. Plus, it helps develop fine motor skills, and can be used with most suckers and pacifiers.
19. A Gentle Little Emory Board To File A Baby's Nails
Winner of the Mom-Invented Product Award in 2010, this soft emory board is designed to be a gentle way to file down a baby's nails. Plus, the large curved design makes it easy to hold.
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