There are several types of great baby products in the world: You've got your baby registry essentials, of course, and then there are the baby items worth splurging on. Let's also not forget about those weird but genius baby products out there. You know the type: At first, they make you scratch your head and wonder if you'd ever really need something like that — or if you'll even use them — but give these guys a chance, and those great baby products just may become an absolute essential in your daily life.
That's because the best baby products solve a real problem — whether trivial or more complex — and when you've got a problem, who you gonna call? Assuming the problem isn't a ghost, you're probably going to call on Amazon. At least, I do: Based on my purchase history, I think I'm solely responsible for about 87 percent of its profits by this point.
It's no surprise that the online superstore that has everything from A to Z (really — check out the logo. Whoa, right?) carries an eclectic collection of unusual baby products. Take a look at these weird, clever or just plain cool products to see what you've been missing.
1. A Marshmallow-Esque Sleep Aid
Much to the chagrin of well rested parents everywhere, infants can't remain swaddled forever. Until the invention of this puffy, marshmallowy sleep suit, babies (and parents) just had to struggle during the transition. The genius of the Merlin lies in the gentle weighted arms and legs, which prevent babies from flailing their limbs about and waking themselves up. Magic, indeed.
2. A Whale Shaped Practice Urinal
There comes a time in every boy-mom's life where her potty-training son decides he wants to pee "like a big boy" and stand up. That also means there comes a time in every boy-mom's life where she'll be cleaning pee from her bathroom floor, because — speaking from experience — that doesn't always end well. This whale-shaped training urinal teaches boys to pee standing up, featuring a little spinny wheel to "aim" for and stickers as extra incentives for peeing in the potty (and not on the floor).
3. A 'Snotsucker' You'll Actually Want
Yes, this product really is called "The Snotsucker," and yes, it really works. Designed for littles who don't yet know how to blow their noses, this innovative nasal aspirator uses suction created by you, the (very) loving mom, to clear your baby's runny, stuffy nose. I promise, no boogies will get near you: A disposable filter keeps things hygienic, and as an added bonus, it's mostly dishwasher safe, unlike your old-school bulb aspirator.
4. A Baby Swing With Movements That Imitate Mom's Arms
The mamaRoo doesn't look like a conventional baby swing, which is because it's not a conventional baby swing. Instead of just rocking from side to side, this ingenious high-tech baby swing moves in all different directions to better imitate mom's soothing arms. Choose from five unique motions (think car ride and kangaroo) and five speeds to adapt to your baby's preferences.
5. A Strange-Looking (But Seriously Convenient) Bra Made For Pumping
Pumping and I never got along too well: In addition to being time-consuming, it's hard to multi-task while clutching plastic flanges to your boobs, and I am nothing if not a multi-tasking extraordinaire. This hands-free pumping bra, then, is the stuff of a pumping mom's dreams. Simply slip the flanges through the slits in the bra, and let the two-handed productivity begin.
6. The Guinness World Record-Holding Folding Stroller
Who said bigger is better? This lightweight, collapsible stroller literally holds a Guinness World Record for being the "smallest folding stroller," which I didn't even know was a category until now. I do know that the 9.5-pound Pockit can go from fully functioning stroller into a compact little package the size of a handbag in seconds, making it an excellent choice for moms who live in cities, travel frequently (it fits in an airplane's standard overhead bin – !!!), or are just short on space.
7. A Pacifier Thermometer
Taking a baby's temperature is never what I'd call fun, but there are ways to cut down the wrangling for Mom and the wriggling for your baby. Next time your baby feels a little warm, pop this soothing pacifier-thermometer in to check his or her temperature. It's easy and convenient during the daytime, but at night is when it really shines: Parents no longer need to wake up a sleeping baby to check for fever. Trust me, that's not a battle you want to have at 3 A.M.
8. A Futuristic Formula Bottle That Mixes Itself
When babies need a bottle, they tend to need it now. This can usually be satisfied when you're home (although my babies always seemed to want to eat when I was elbow-deep in dinner preparations — thanks, guys), but on-the-go is much harder. This formula-mixing bottle cleverly keeps formula and water separate, so it can be measured in advance and then quickly shaken up at mealtime. Let me do the math for you: Well-fed babies = fewer tears = happy moms.
9. A Clock That Glows Bright When It's Okay To Get Up
Moving to a big-kid bed is an exciting time in a child's life, but not necessarily in a parent's (hello, middle-of-the-night wakeups; I thought we were done with you!). Mamas, meet your new best friend: The kid-friendly OK to Wake! clock glows green to signify when it's okay for kids to get out of bed. It also features a nap timer, a built-in night light kids can click on and off as needed, and two different face plates to change the look of the clock. Oh, and a button that makes silly faces when pressed, because why not?
10. A Contraption That Catches Leaked Breast Milk
Almost all nursing moms have experienced a bit of milk leakage from time to time, resulting in the telltale wet circle smack in the middle of your boobs. For some moms, though, leaky boobs are a way of life rather than an occasional inconvenience. Pads work, but think of all that precious milk they're wasting. With Milkies — an ingenious pad that collects leaking breast milk straight from the source — you can be sure every last drop of that glorious liquid gold will go to your baby, not your bra.
11. A Cushioned Knee Pad For Crawlers
We recently went through the crawling stage over here, and man, I had forgotten how uncomfortable hardwood can be when your knees are your primary source of transportation. These breathable, adjustable knee pads ensure your little crawler won't be completely black-and-blue before learning to walk, when there will be bumps and bonks of a totally different variety.
12. A Spelunker-Ish Accessory For Midnight Nursing Sessions
One of life's greatest mysteries is how to change the diaper of a sleepy baby at 3 A.M. without further waking them up. Here's one surprisingly convenient solution: A hands-free LED headlamp that shines just enough soft, warm light (think candlelight) so Mom can see what she's doing, but not so much it alters a baby's sleep cycle. Diaper changes — not to mention feedings and story time — just got a whole lot easier.
13. Gloves Made Specifically For Your Stroller
Unless you live in a tropical climate, you're going to want these insulated, water-repellent stroller gloves. We lived through the infamous Polar Vortex winter a few years back, and if I hadn't had these babies firmly attached to my stroller at all times, it would have made things that much worse. Simply Velcro them around your stroller's handle, then slip your gloveless hands in when it's time to go outside. Gloveless is key here: It's quicker to pop in a binky or adjust a blanket with bare hands, and then you can immediately return your hands to their cocoon of warmth and coziness.
14. An Alcohol Detector For Breast Milk
Nine months is a long time (for me, at least) to go without a relaxing glass of wine or a cold beer on a hot day, so one thing I wasn't necessarily prepared for postpartum is just how low my alcohol tolerance would be. These alcohol-detecting strips quickly test your breast milk to make sure it's perfectly safe to give to babies. If your strip comes back dark, offer a bottle instead of the boob.
15. A Travel Bag That Doubles As A Bassinet
Traveling – whether to Grandma's house for vacation or to the park for an all-day outing – with littles is hard enough even without lugging half the nursery along with you. This feat-of-engineering of a travel bag combines a diaper bag, a changing table and a bassinet (say whaaat!?) all in one. It even comes with an insulated bottle bag. Time to plan a trip!
16. A Bumper For The Heads Of Clumsy Crawlers
Are you kidding me right now with this lightweight, breathable safety helmet? No, it's not exactly a registry essential, and yes, it'll make you laugh, but if you have a clumsy crawler or a wobbly walker, you know how badly those bumps and bruises can hurt. The Bumper Bonnet uses a high-density, odorless sponge material to protect babies' sweet little noggins from hardwood floors, sharp corners, and similar household dangers.
17. A Bottle Holder For Tiny Fingers That Looks Like a Gerbil Ball
Isn't it time these little babies start learning to pull their own weight around here? Kidding, but moms who could use an extra hand (even if it's a tiny one) can check out this grip-able, grab-able bottle holder. Just pop in a bottle (it fits most standard ones), and little fingers can easily grasp one of the openings to help them hold on tight and start feeding themselves. Make sure you're nearby to supervise, and your baby will be on the road to independence. Well, the start of it, at least.
18. A Light At The End Of The Potty
I knew it was time to start potty-training when I couldn't bear to change another one of my son's man-sized dirty diapers anymore. I wasn't, however, ready for the disruption that it would cause to his, um, regularity. The 3 A.M. wakeups ("Guys! I have to poooooop!") were unpleaseant enough; I didn't need the bathroom lights to wake my toddler up anymore than he had to be. This toilet night light helps middle-of-the-night bathroom breaks run (no pun intended) as smoothly as possible.
19. Bunny Ear Shaped Weaning Tool
I was the sort of mom who was intrigued by baby-led weaning while simultaneously not totally comfortable giving my baby, say, a chicken wing to gnaw on. This silicone self-feeding product lets babies explore new flavors without putting them at risk for choking, and it's much easier to clean than its mesh-bag competitors. Bonus tip: Try putting frozen foods in it to help with teething pain.
20. A Uterus-Imitating Baby Tub
Stop everything — it's a baby in a bucket! Beyond looking like a prop in an Anne Geddes photo shoot, this is actually a baby bathtub designed to replicate the warm comfort of, well, your uterus. Even babies who previously fought bath time seem to love this eco-friendly tub, which uses minimal water and is fully recyclable. Since babies naturally adopt fetal position once placed in the tub, the TummyTub can further soothe them by easing gas and indigestion. (Watch out for bubbles!)
21. A Baby Carrier That Folds Up To The Size Of A Water Bottle
Typically, baby carriers — even the popular soft-structured ones — take up quite a bit of space in a bag and rather unwieldy to fold. This ultra-compact baby carrier doesn't offer much in the way of features, but it literally wraps up into a pouch the size of a water bottle. A water bottle, people! This just made it a whole lot easier to have an adventure.
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