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    21 "Non-Essential" Baby And Toddler Products That Parents Say Became Essential

    Because a perfectly warmed wet wipe or baby bottle can make just as big a difference for you as it does your little one.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. An extra-large, foldable, and reversible Regalo "Sensory & Learning" play mat that's also waterproof, making it super easy to clean after messy indoor or messier outdoor play.

    Amazon

    If you've got hardwood floors and neighbors below, you're really gonna get a lot of use out of this mat. It's so much better than a rug when it comes to cushioning all the trips and falls of a toddler. Big bonus, two different designs. One side features colorful animals matched with letters of the alphabet for so fun learning. The other side is a simple white pattern, which kind of reminds me of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures (you've probably seen the t-shirt). This mat gets a daily workout and I'm not really sure what we did without it.

    Get it from Amazon for $44.67.

    2. An eight-pack of stretchable silicone straps for keeping pacifiers, toys, and bottles from falling on the ground, getting lost, or getting dirty. Plus it totally cuts down on a lot of bending down and crawling around.

    Multi-colored straps holding various baby toys and bottles
    Amazon

    Promising review: "My son is like any kid out there. Loves throwing toys and bottles and water. You name it. He loves to throw it all. He especially finds it hilarious when mommy and daddy have to get the toys and stuff over and over. This is awesome! Easy to clean easy to use and if he bites it, it won’t rip or anything. Perfectly safe. Definitely wash before use! Keeps bottles and water from falling. I’ve used it on his tablet too! It’s awesome! I have nothing bad to say except this is A MUST BUY! It will save you the headaches and the wondering where everything went." —Glamorous Mama

    Get it from Amazon for $9.99+ (available in five or eight packs).

    3. A PackIt Freezable lunch box so you can keep your kid's lunches and snacks extra chill and not have to weigh it down with unwieldy ice packs.

    A model's hand placing a bright pink trimmed lunch bag with rainbow designs into a fridge
    Amazon

    Promising review: "Pure genius invention to put the gel into the lunchbox! The entire lunchbox stays cold. It collapses so it doesn’t take up much room in the freezer. The gel doesn’t get too stiff so it easily opens to fit all of your items. So far it seems very durable. It is a bit heavier than anticipated due to the gel. I will be purchasing more for my other children, this is a great product." —Katie Robinson

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in 16 colors and patterns).

    4. A foldable Munchkin nursery and toy UV sterilizer to kill up to 99% of germs and sanitize your little one's favorite toys and stuffed animals as well as your phone in all of five minutes.

    Munchkin

    So I recently got a chance to test out this UV sterilizer, which is about the size of a breadbox. I wasn't sure what to think at first because, well, everything a toddler touches gets dirty and needs a thorough cleaning. But here's where it comes in handy. There are some toys that you can throw in the wash (but if its a favorite that's being taken away, that might cause a meltdown). There are also some toys that get waterlogged and need to be carefully cleaned. And then there are times when you just sick of using another disinfecting wipe. So now you've got another option that doesn't take long at all and will leave your child's toys germ-free and ready to pick up brand-new germs.

    Get it from Amazon for $129.99.

    5. A Baby Nasal Aspirator NoseFrida (aka The Snotsucker), which many parents will tell you is an unquestionably essential element of any new parent's arsenal of baby gear.

    A clear blue snot sucker tube with blue filters and a clear tube next to the product packaging
    Amazon

    Promising review: "This is an essential tool for parents! I'd buy it again and I'd buy it for all of my pregnant friends. The best, a lifesaver, definitely want to have on hand for those unexpected boogery moments. The baby won't be quite as thrilled, but it's WAY safer than an aspirator and way less gross than some other ways. Just make sure all pieces are tightly connected for the best suction." —Max H.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.39.

    6. A Graco "DuetSoothe" baby swing and rocker that sways side-to-side and glides front to back to put babies to sleep (hopefully) and gives parents a chance to catch a few minutes of hands-free break time.

    A baby model in a gray and white bassinet swing with a mobile of stuffed white bears
    Amazon

    Promising review: "We love this thing. It has a permanent spot in our living room. Before this, someone always had to be holding our daughter. Now we can both eat dinner at the same time! And since we’ve been home with her all day while trying to work, when she starts getting sleepy we put her in here to nap and she’s out. She naps for longer in here compared to on the floor or in the pack and play. We love this thing, it has really helped us." —CMI

    Get it from Amazon for $122.39.

    7. A nonslip, super-cushiony Skip Hop baby bath kneeler pad, because unless you're getting in the tub you're going to be praying (you're basically already in that position) for some much-needed support for your patellas from the unforgiving bathroom floor.

    A dual image of a light gray whale on a bathroom floor next to a model kneeling on the whale while tending to a child in the tub
    Amazon

    Soooo, this is Mr. Whale, at least that's what he's called in our house. My knees and I love him so much that I've even started to sing a song about him every night at bath time (come to think of it, it's more of a sea shanty). And it goes a little something like this: "He's Mr. Whale, he's Mr. Whale. He's got a tail(tale)...to telllllllll / When you set sail, please do not fail, to say hellllllllooooo!" It's just my little way of thanking him for his consistent quiet service in offering just the right amount of cushiness so I don't have to make that "old-man-getting-up" noise every time I've finished bathing my child.

    Get it from Amazon for $15+ (available in two colors).

    8. A 10-pack of Gerber three-ply cloth diapers that aren't so much meant to be used as diapers but as super absorbent workhorses to deal with puke, leaky breast milk, sweat, or any other massive spilled that a baby can bring.

    A stack of white folder cloth diapers
    Amazon

    Promising review: "These are essential for every newborn household. They can be used as burp cloths, changing pads, towels to wipe up spills, or cloth diapers. I use them every feed, every day. When I change my son, I use them to cover his 'business' to prevent unwanted spray. I use them underneath my kids when changing them to protect whatever surface I’m working on. When my kids get a nasty rash, I use them as cloth diapers to air them out to heal. They are the first thing I reach for when my kids' spit-up. Plus since they are white, you can bleach them out to give them a superior clean." —Rebecca

    Get it from Amazon for $13.99.

    9. An 80-piece Crayola Color Wonder mess-free coloring kit with markers that only work on the special coloring paper included. No more worrying about any "Red rum" happening to the walls.

    Amazon

    Promising review: "This is the greatest gift to moms everywhere! My daughter (18 months when she received this) loves coloring with these markers, and they do not make a mess anywhere since they will not write on anything but the Color Wonder paper. Not our white couch (yes, we're crazy enough to have a white couch with a toddler), not the walls, not the carpet, hands, anywhere. Because the markers are labeled with the correct colors, she is having no problems associating the colors with the appropriate marker. One added bonus is that these seem to never dry out! My girl has left them un-topped for days and they still write just as well as they ever did." —Jayme

    Get it from Amazon for $24.90.

    10. A Boppy nursing pillow to help not only with feeding but for propping babies up, moving them into tummy time, and helping them sit upright. That's one hard-working pillow.

    A model using a white nursing pillow with animal character to feed a child
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I wasn't sure when I purchased this as a first-time mom if I'd get a lot of use out of it. I would easily say it's an essential baby product now. It helped so much in the beginning with breastfeeding and cuddling with my newborn. I did find in the very initial newborn stages it was almost too fluffy but I quickly learned how to use it properly as she grew and never went back. Dad loved it too for cuddling with baby. It helped so much with tired arms and sore backs, fit nicely while sitting in a glider to rock baby to sleep. We even used it for propping her up for cuter pictures!" —Jessica

    Get it from Amazon for $39.79.

    11. A Teton hydration pack, because you or your young one is always going to need something to drink whenever you're out and about, and you might as well pack enough for everyone.

    amazon.com, Amazon

    Promising review: "I prefer a hiking backpack to a traditional diaper bag for a baby and am so glad I found this one! This one is lightweight but sturdy and has plenty of storage compartments and pockets. It has enough space for diapers and wipes, snacks, a change of baby clothes, and other small essentials. Highly recommend!" —Emily S.

    Get it from Amazon for $35.99+ (available in five colors).

    12. A 32-piece set of Magna-Tiles that's built to last, especially when it comes to building all manner of shapes, animals, and vehicles. Legit fun for the whole fam.

    A triptych image of colorful Magna-tiles forming various objects like a ball, a bird, and a rocket
    Amazon

    Promising review: "We originally saw these at a local children's museum and our kids (ages four and two) were instantly drawn to them. We had to literally pull them away to get them to leave! I have to admit that I actually love playing with them as well. They are a little pricey, but the construction is very solid. We have had them for nearly two years and have had no issues with breaks in any of them. The magnets work well. There are some 'instructions' with some suggestions to make things but overall, they're kind of like Legos in that you just build whatever you want. A good teaching tool also for pattern recognition and shapes." —Tom

    Get it from Amazon for $49.99.

    13. A rechargeable, three-speed flexible stroller fan with three LED setting (for a night light) so the kids (and you) can keep cool while you're out strolling under the hot sun.

    A reviewer's image of a light blue fan attached the handle of a stroller
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "This fan is great for a hot day. It has multiple speeds, can charge so it's not dependent on disposable batteries, and will hang on to practically anything. Originally bought to use on my daughter's stroller, but I'm pretty sure my husband is claiming it for his office space now and we'll need to get another. Overall, you won't be disappointed with this fan." —Carla Bingaman

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in three colors).

    14. An Angelcare baby bath support, because it's hella hard to clean squirmy little babies. Also, it's mildew-resistant and you can even hang it up in the shower to dry.

    Side-by-side image of an empty white and gray bath support next to one with a baby inside being bathed
    Amazon

    Promising review: "I originally purchased the Blooming Bath but it was difficult to use with a tiny newborn in our sink since it’s so deep. It took two of us to bathe him. I received this Angelcare bath today and we loved it. I was able to bathe my son by myself. It’s soft but structured so it kept him in place. I was worried he would slide out but it held him in a comfortable position very well. I liked that it’s perforated so I could fill the tub a few inches and it keeps him warm while also allowing the water to go through as I rinse him. Plus there’s no worry about mold or mildew with this product. Definitely recommend." —darksideoftheluna

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in two colors).

    15. A pure-linen, ring-sling baby carrier that's breathable, durable, supportive, and machine washable while carrying newborns and toddlers up to 35 pounds (oof).

    A parent carrying their child in a cool mint colored baby carrier
    Bibetts / Etsy

    Bibetts is an Etsy shop established in 2013 and based in Round Rock, TX that specializes in making baby carriers.

    Promising review: "I absolutely love this sling! It’s so easy to use and it doesn’t make me sweat at all. It keeps me and my little one comfortable while using it! Highly recommend!" —Christina Morrow

    Get it from Bibetts on Etsy for $42.99 (available in three sizes and three options).

    16. A time- and life-saving formula dispensing machine for mixing and warming consistently perfect formula-based ba-bas in a matter of mere seconds.

    Model putting bottle up to white and black formula machine
    Baby Brezza

    Listen, listen, listen. Without hyperbole, the Baby Brezza has been one of my best investments for year one in babyland. Late-night feeds no longer become about fumbling, spilling, mixing, warming, and minutes later delivering a so-so bottle to a crying child. No, in seconds a measured and warm concoction is in hand and then in baby's mouth. Just add water to the tank and formula to the dispenser and serve bottles ranging between 2-10 ounces warmed to three different temperatures. The time, effort, and stress this wonderful machine has saved me from is emotionally immeasurable and worth the price tag. It even forces you to clean it after every four uses because that formula gets gunky and you get lazy.

    Get it from Amazon for $199.99.

    17. A BabyX Fast bottle warmer that's ideal for breast milk but also heats up baby food and sterilizes pacifiers all in a matter of minutes (and we know that every second counts when you've got a hungry child).

    A reviewer's image of a white bottle warmer with a milk bottle being warmed
    amazon.com

    Promising review: "The BabyX bottle warmer has been a lifesaver since we got it. It's quick and easy to use with very little mess or clean up. Our daughter has been sick so keeping bottles and pacifiers clean has been essential. And with the the babyX's ability to also sterilize parts, it's been a HUGE help. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a compact and sleek designed bottle warmer. The dialed thermostat is also easy to use and has a great variation from cold to hot which is fantastic for getting bottles and food just right for your child." —Trevor

    Get it from Amazon for $22.95.

    18. A reusable, waterproof, anti-slip splat mat, because wherever there's a small child some sort of mess is bound to materialize, especially under a high chair. Remember: Contain the mess and clean less.

    amazon.com, Amazon

    Promising review: "We debated on buying this for months, and when we finally did, I should have bought it earlier. It's amazing quality, easy to clean, and makes our lives SO MUCH EASIER. We used to scrub our floor every night multiple times due to our wonderful baby throwing food everywhere... now we just pick up the mat, put the food crumbs in the trash, and drop the mat in the laundry every other day." —Amazon Customer

    Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in four patterns).

    19. A lightweight (but powerful), wood-grained finish Douni sleep sound machine with 24 southing sounds for keeping kids fast asleep at home and while traveling.

    A circular white noise machine with a wooden finish and a gray speaker on top
    Amazon

    This was the third (maybe fourth) white noise machine I purchased for my baby/toddler's room and it's still getting the job after nearly a year. There's a lot of city traffic and a very busy intersection outside our apartment windows and the Douni masks all of it (except for the occasional blaring ambulance siren). The wood grain is a nice change of pace from all the other white, black, metallic gadgets populating our home. Super powerful sound too!

    Get it from Amazon for $31.95.

    20. A folding, indoor/outdoor Little Tikes play slide, because on those days when you can't go to the park, you'll be so relieved that you can at least bring part of the park to your child.

    A parent watching a child play on a blue and green plastic slide
    Amazon

    Promising review: "These slides have been one of our go-to gifts for new parents. They are sturdy, easy to set up, and will be used/played with than most toys ever will. It's high quality enough to pass it down to other families when your kids outgrow it. Fantastic buy!" —Thomas & Jessii

    Get it from Amazon for $56.99.

    21. A Munchkin "Warm Glow" wipe warmer so that baby butts (and parents' hands come to think of it) never suffer the touch of a damp, chilly wipe ever again. Plus it has a night-light with a 10-minute auto shut-off function.

    A white and green plastic wipe warmer
    Amazon

    Promising review: "An essential for my baby. Every diaper change was an event full of crying and screaming until I bought this. Then it became a bonding time full of coos and smiles. I absolutely love this thing. It is super easy to set up and use, and you can buy the wipes in bulk which likely saves you money as well. If your baby cries every time you change the diaper, I highly recommend this." —Jorge

    Get it from Amazon for $27.44.

    Well, a pretty good one if you're using any of these things to make life easier for you and/or your child.

    20th Century Fox / Via giphy.com

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