Baby products parents can't live without
By Anna Studman
What are the key baby products every new parent owns? Find out what parents most commonly owned in the first two years.
What are the key baby products that make up the arsenal of a new parent? We asked more than 2,000 parents in our spring 2015 Baby Survey which products they owned – either given or bought – during pregnancy and the first two years of having a baby.
Here are the 20 baby buys that more than 50% of our surveyed parents owned:
1. Child car seat
The unsurprising number-one product, owned by 90% of respondents, was a child car seat (we’re guessing that the remaining 10% don’t own a car), which is necessary to have from the moment you transport your new little one back from the hospital. We crash-test each car seat we review. Find out which we think you should avoid in our car seat Don't Buys.
87% of parents said they own a pushchair or pram. Browse our pushchair reviews to find the best one for your new baby.
13% of parents chose to transport their baby another way. Fabric slings and baby carriers are an increasingly popular choice for parents, as they help you bond with your baby. They can also help mums who want to breastfeed while out and about. Find out which are the best baby carrier and sling brands.
3. High chair
Most parents (84% in our survey) own a high chair within the first two years – without one, meal time for your baby becomes (even more) tricky. Ikea sells a high chair for £9, while a Stokke Steps will set you back £277. Find out how much you need to spend to get a durable, stable high chair that withstands mess in our high chair reviews.
4. Teething toys
Teething time can be a nightmare. Your little one will typically start teething between four and seven months old, and teething toys can help soothe the pain and distract your baby from chewing on anything in sight. Teething toys are a common go-to, with 81% of our surveyed parents saying they owned one of some sort.
5. Baby change bag
A baby changing bag is one of the most useful baby products, according to parents, and 79% of those surveyed said they own one. It keeps everything you need for your baby on the go by your side, usually with lots of pockets to keep you sane and organised. Check out popular baby changing bags to see which features and designs catch your eye.
6. Baby bath
Although baby washing bowls are consistently rated one of the least useful baby products, baby baths are more common, with 76% of surveyed parents owning one. If you don’t have a bathtub, or are worried about bathing your small child in an adult-sized tub, this can be useful to have. Find the best in our baby bath top picks.
7. Baby play mat/baby gym
As new parents, you are constantly looking for ways to entertain your baby. With lots of bells, whistles, dangly bits and colour, a baby play mat or baby gym can provide hours of entertainment, but make sure you are supervising your baby at all times while they’re playing.
8. Stair gate
Babies generally start to take their first steps between nine and 12 months old, and not long after that you can find yourself dealing with a little wanderer. A stair gate has been rated by our parent panel as an absolute essential for curious toddlers or crawlers, and 72% of our surveyed parents said they own one. Find out which we rate Best Buy stair gates.
9. Moses basket
The classic sleeping option for your newborn, a Moses basket is easily portable, which makes fitting it into your room for those early days really easy. But given that you’ll only get a few months use out of it (about three or four maximum ), it's worth weighing up the pros and cons before you buy. Many parents are clearly convinced to buy one, as 70% of those we surveyed had a Moses basket at home.
10. Baby bouncer/rocker chair
A baby bouncer can be a great way to soothe your baby without having to wreck your knees bobbing up and down, and is loved by many parents. On the other hand, baby door bouncers are widely rated by our parent panel as one of the least useful baby products around. Read our advice in how to buy a baby bouncer to find out the difference between the two and how to stay safe while using them.
Lots of parents like to use a dummy or pacifier to help soothe restless babies to sleep, and 64% of our surveyed parents said they have one for their child. Others feel it's not right for them. If you’re breastfeeding, you should wait for about a month before introducing a dummy, and try to wean your baby off it when they're between 6 and 12 months old. If you decide to use one, check and sterilise it regularly. Find out how a dummy can help with baby sleep safety in our safe sleeping tips.
12. Travel cot
If you don’t want to halt all travelling until your child is older, a travel cot is a handy item to have. They can cost anywhere from £20 to £200. For ease of use and a comfy night for your baby, it's important to choose the right one. Find out which we rate the best in our travel cots top picks
13. Baby sleeping bag
Coming in at number 13 on this list, baby sleeping bags were rated as the second most helpful baby sleep aid by our parents, although cot mobiles – number 15 here – did not make the list. See the full list of top baby sleep aids in our baby sleeping guide.
14. Baby walker
Despite its name, a baby walker is not intended to help babies learn to walk, but to provide them with some mobility and entertainment while they’re still unable to get around properly. It’s important to get one that is safe, easy to use, and comfy for your child – find out how to buy the best baby walker.
15. Cot mobile
Many sleep experts caution against the use of flashy cot mobiles at bed time, as they can actually rouse your baby from their drowsy state. Find out more about the common sleep mistakes parents make in our section on when babies sleep through the night - and, if you get a cot mobile, make sure it’s quiet and soothing.
16. Cot bed
Although they’re more expensive than cots, cot beds appear higher on this top 20 list – with 61% of parents owning one, just beating normal cots at 59%. A cot bed can convert to a small bed for a toddler once your baby no longer needs a cot, so will be in use for longer. Find out which ones we rate as best in our Best Buy cot beds.
17. Baby monitor (audio)
The most traditional type of monitor, an audio baby monitor can help you keep tabs on your baby when leaving them to settle to sleep. Many parents like them for peace of mind, and 60% of those we surveyed have one. To decide which baby monitor is best for you, head to our baby monitor reviews.
Coming in just below cot beds in this list, cots are smaller and cheaper alternatives. The key factors we recommend you look for when buying a cot are safety, price, whether a cotbed might be a better investment, whether it has a drop-side and whether it is durable. Read more in our guide to choosing a cot.
19. Baby bath seat
Although many more parents seem to be opting for a normal baby bath – which came in at number six in our top 20 – a baby bath seat can allow your baby to sit with support and safety in a normal-sized bath. It is suitable for use from six months old for babies who can sit up independently. Make sure you always supervise your baby in a bath seat, and check its stability. Find out more about baby bath options in our guide to baby bath time essentials.
20. Night light
A night light can reassure little ones when they wake up in the middle of the night, with a pleasing glow to diffuse the darkness. Half of all our surveyed parents said they had one during pregnancy and the first two years.
And the rest...
Only 20% of parents said they owned a video baby monitor - surprising, as it was actually rated number five in our list of the top 10 most useful baby products. We'd expect to see this figure rise in future years with the increase in smart baby monitors. Continued low breastfeeding rates might account for the fact that just 44% of parents owned a manual breast pump and 31% an electric breast pump, despite the support that both these products can give breastfeeding families. Find out which is best for you in our guide to choosing a breast pump.