(Updated December 2021)
I’ve been asked a lot about specific baby products. And, while I think many are unnecessary, I’ll list a few today that I think many babies could use. For example, babies need a way to have trimmed fingernails, so I’ll share my favorite method. This will be more of a “mom” post, but everything is through the lens of a pediatrician. There’s a few things for infants and toddlers as well as a food item for almost all ages, and my favorite product to have as a mother.
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Click on the picture to take you to the linked product.
A Few Favorite Infant Products
I’ll list two today things today that I think nearly all babies could use, and a third for babies who spend time outside.
These scissors have blunted ends for safety and a slight curve to get the angle just right. Quite simply, they work. I tried a few other ways of keeping nails trimmed, and these were my favorite.
Piyo Piyo nail scissors (affiliate link)
100% white petroleum jelly
I have yet to meet a baby who needed no moisturizing or diaper-area creams at all. If your baby uses a cream that works, there’s no need to change. However, if a family is shopping for a new baby, my easy recommendation is 100% white petroleum jelly (a common brand name is Vaseline). It works as both a moisturizer and a diaper cream. I talk more about why I think Vaseline is great (along with some skin care tips) in this post.
100% white petroleum jelly (affiliate link)
Baby Sun Protection
Depending on your family, sun protection may also be on your mind. This product was a happy discovery. Honestly, I didn’t know full length swimming suits were so readily available for kids. There are many similar suits like this, but this is the one I have for my child. My favorite thing about it is that it limits time/energy/battles over sunscreen. (We can just focus on applying sunscreen to the face, hands, and feet). I love that it is easy to get on and off with a full leg zipper. It’s loose enough to wear easily over a swim diaper. And, I chose the bright orange/red color intentionally. I wanted something easy to spot in a pool.
As a bonus, we use the hat year-round, swimming or not.
Full-length baby sun/swimsuit (affiliate link)
A Favorite for Children on Solid Foods: An Easy Way to Add Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids have many benefits! We often think of seafood as the best source, but flaxseed also has one type of omega-3s. I find that ground flaxseed is easy to add to a variety of food for my kids, including smoothies, chaffles, and oatmeal. Below is what I’ve enjoyed. I like that it’s organic. The fact that it’s ground already makes it more convenient (though many prefer grinding the seeds themselves).
Organic ground flaxseed (affiliate link)
A Few Favorites for Toddlers
Please note that none of the following are absolutely necessary. However, I’ve found each helpful in my own family.
Sun protection is essential for children who spend time outside. As I’ve mentioned before, hats and sleeves are important parts of keeping our little ones shaded. We’ve gone through a lot of hats in my family. This is one of my favorites. It has an adjustable toggle around the circumference, so my kids have worn it from under age 1 until 4.5 with no fitting issues. The chinstrap is Velcro, so it is strong enough to stay put, but not so strong that it could get caught or tangled at the playground. The brim is wide enough to provide real sun protection (and it has UPF of 50). It’s also pretty hardy in the water and folds down easily. Our hat has gotten a lot of use, and aside from the color fading slightly, it’s still in great condition.
Sunhat (affiliate link)
Safer Nightlight with Option for Red Light
When my child transitioned from a crib to a toddler bed, I wanted to make sure their bedroom was totally child-proofed and safe. So, I took out the previous nightlight which had been plugged into the wall. I wanted something that did not need any cords or wires. Also, we seemed to do well using a red-colored light (less eye stimulation), so I looked for that option as well. What we’ve used for a few years now is similar to the link below. (Our exact model is no longer available on Amazon, but this seems to be nearly identical). It charges pretty quickly with a USB. The charge lasts all night. We almost always use the red color for nightlight purposes, but the white color works well enough for reading in bed.
As for safety, I did not trust a 2-year-old when we first got the light. We kept it out of reach (but didn’t have to worry about cords dangling). Now that my child is a bit older, it stays within reach, so it can be used as needed (aforementioned reading light). To be fair, I think a child would have to try pretty hard to experience any safety issues. However, many kids are persistent enough I wouldn’t let a child snuggle with it unsupervised (despite the product images).
Rechargeable nightlight (affiliate link)
A simple plastic tray has endless uses. We got one that I’m pretty sure is exactly like those used in elementary schools 30 years ago. It can be used for food, of course, perfect for transporting a backyard picnic. We also use it to provide boundaries with Play-Doh. It corrals art supplies, especially helpful if a young child is gluing or painting. When my child enjoyed threading beads, this was a perfect workspace. A dropped bead could be easily caught. My youngest enjoys pouring water from one cup into another, so the tray is helpful then too. Any spilled water is easily poured into the sink afterwards. I’ll share the link of one tray, but I’ve noticed that the price varies widely depending on company and color. So, search until you find what’s reasonable for you.
cafeteria-style tray with endless uses (affiliate link)
A Favorite for Parents
This product recommendation is a bit tongue-in-cheek. I won’t pretend we all have the same preferences or needs here. The best parenting happens when we parents take care of ourselves. My favorite form of achievable self-care is hydration. I got this water bottle below when I was pregnant and have loved it ever since. It’s stainless steel, so the water stays cold, even in hot cars. (It fits in car cupholders). And, somehow it’s easy to carry around even though it holds a reasonable 28 ounces. The plastic straw is a downside, but I replaced it with a stainless steel straw easily enough. It has the option of holding hot drinks and came with an additional top (I’ve never used this feature). And, it’s pretty. Sometimes, its appearance alone is the motivation needed for a calming breath or a sip of water.
My favorite water tumbler (affiliate link)
Reminder: Children Don’t Need Much
I say it often. There’s not much children truly need in the way of physical objects: A safe place to sleep. A safe way to travel outside the home (a car seat if applicable). A few things to keep clean (diapers) and comfortable (clothing). Beyond that, they need a loving person who holds them, sings or talks to them, and reads to them. That loving person needs to be able to take care of themselves as well. I hope the above product suggestions are helpful if you’re in the market for such things. Please feel no pressure to order exactly what I’ve listed here today.