Backpack? Check. Lunch bag? Check. Pencils, pens and crayons? Check, check…and check. If it feels like life has suddenly turned into one big “to-do” list, that’s how you know summer vacation is officially over, and the new school year is about to begin. While we know so many of you are already set with all your supplies and new clothes, who says there’s no room on the list for a little something extra? (Don’t worry: these little treats won’t break the bank.) For the tween girl who’s always complaining of dry lips and has grown tired her Chapstick, she’ll want to get her hands on eos Visibly Soft Lip Balms. Designed in an unmistakably unique sphere, this lip balm is as much fun to put on as it is to uncap. Inside, the deliciously yummy balm goes on super smooth and is enhanced with special ingredients that put other lip balms to shame. Available in new flavors like Coconut Milk and Vanilla Mint, your lip-smacking girl is bound to turn some heads at the bus stop this year…Speaking of mints, who doesn’t love their annual Girl Scout cookies fix? But if your hungry gang can’t wait until the next delivery, satisfy their after-school sweet tooth with the Nesquik Girl Scouts line of beverages. Available on store shelves this fall for a limited time, these 14-oz. ready-to-go drinks combine low-fat chocolate milk with two of the more popular Girl Scout cookie flavors: Thin Mints and Caramel Coconut. Sounds like the perfect accompaniment to a snacktime favorite!
In a Nutshell: Back to school doesn’t have to mean back to the same old, same old. These two items help get the new school year off to a tasty start.
If your baby’s first bath was a momentous milestone, imagine what her first shower will be like someday. My own daughter’s transition from bath to shower was a bit late in the game (she was especially fearful of the water continuously hitting her face), but if Rubber Duckie & Friends had been around, the experience probably would have been a lot less traumatic…for both of us. Playfully designed in the likeness of a rubber duck, frog or other smiling-faced animal friend, this removable head attaches easily to any shower arm for an independent shower-taker, or it can be used a handheld sprayer for parents unsatisfied by emptying cups of water over their child’s head. It comes with all of the essential materials (a wand, 6-foot hose, diverter and mount) and can be installed in minutes. The water flow is gentle, particularly for those afraid of a potentially potent water supply (you know how painful that can be). Rubber Duckie & Friends is the family-friendly accompaniment for newly minted showering kids…And to complete your kid’s bathing experience, aden+anais all-natural shampoo and conditioner is a refreshing addition to the bathroom routine. As you may already know, this is the same company known for its line of organic blankets and swaddlers; it’s only natural then that they’d have a bath line made from only the safest ingredients. We love the shampoo’s fresh sandalwood scent that smells as good as it feels on sensitive scalps. The conditioner has a built-in detangler, leaving locks snag-free. With summer on the horizon, this formula works wonders for salt, chlorine-and sun-soaked hair.
In a Nutshell: Bathing beauties will benefit from a new shampoo/conditioner line, as well as a kid-friendly shower head that’s kind to tender tresses.
This past weekend, I did not have one of those ‘lightbulb moments’ in parenting. After returning from a quick sojourn to the beach with the kids, I failed to pack up my daughter’s nightlight that I had remembered to bring along in the first place…and only realized my blunder at bedtime. (Mind you, this is a kid who can not, will not live without some semblance of light in her bedroom.) In a pinch, we wound up swapping another nightlight in its place, but only temporarily, natch. I keep thinking that if we had a nightlight that stood out a bit more, maybe I’d be a bit better about noticing it when it was time to head home. Kushies Night Lights are a surefire example of lights that make their presence known. Available in a variety of whimsical styles like colorful bugs and plump teddy bears, they’re made from non-toxic plastic that doesn’t get hot to the touch. That’s especially important since kids can tap them on and off when they need a comforting glow. Fortunately, these lights have an automatic shut-off because even night owls need their shuteye. Especially the ones who are afraid of the dark.
In a Nutshell: A nightlight that stands out in a crowd–and that you’ll never forget to pack.
A friend just took her first cross-country trip with her baby daughter…and boy, were her arms tired! No, this isn’t a classic joke set-up, but rather a comment on the reality of today’s parents having to lug too way too much stuff with them. Being on-the-go may sound carefree, but if you’re adding a baby to that equation, traveling is anything but easy-breezy! If you’ve got a family trip on the books this summer, it pays to do a little advance planning to figure out what you’ll need and when you’ll need it, so you can pack easily and have everything within your reach. For that reason, we love the lil’ traveler line from Miamica. This designer has found a way to streamline the travel experience by creating pretty, yet practical accessories for each of your baby’s needs, from dressing to feeding. Always misplacing your baby’s hair clips? Lil’ Bows on the Go keeps clips and bows contained in a zippered bag, with a separate, see-through pouch for those easy-to-lose items. The TSA-friendly Plane to See bottle bag will get you thorough security without incident, and is well-stocked for any transatlantic flight. We adore the Lil’ Wet Suit bag that permits a last swim in the hotel pool right up until you have to head to the airport, and doesn’t take up much room in your carry-on. Sure, traveling with a little one can be challenging, but if you’re armed with a good sense of humor and packed gear that’s well-thought out, you’re good to go.
In a Nutshell: Take the pain out of packing (how much can you fit in one suitcase?) by parceling out your baby’s necessities via this travel-friendly accessories line.
When my older daughter was a baby, she loved to teethe on a smiling-faced snail. At the first sign of pain, I fished him out of the freezer and popped it into her mouth. Before long, she could outmatch that snail’s grin…and that made me a happy mom. By the time her little sister arrived on the scene, that teether had outlived its life expectancy (do snails have long lives anyway?), and she found pure heaven gnawing unexpectedly on a board book (go figure). Today’s tots have so many more choices when it comes to teethers: a baby item that usually isn’t given much thought, but that proves its worth when the times comes. Right now, we’re all over Innobaby’s ez grip massaging teethers. The lightweight handle is a plus for babes who’ve mastered their rattles, while the smooth, colorful teething part itself is free of PVC, BPA, phthalates and lead. We can’t decide which style we love best: the flowers or fruits. Let’s just say it gives us something to chew on…
In a Nutshell: Top-notch teethers offer baby plenty of comfort and are dishwasher-safe.
Baseball season is off to a busy start, and if you’ve got your own little slugger to join you in the stands, it’s the perfect excuse to let him (and the world) know just who he’s rooting for. Score a few points in the stands with the sportiest MLB baby gear we’ve seen this season. Baby Fanatic has a full roster of MLB goodies that will get little ones interested in the game long before they can get up at bat themselves. From bottles and bibs, to pacifiers and plush blankies, each item pays tribute to your favorite teams in their signature colors. And for the newly minted sports fan comes our favorite must-have: the Starting Line-Up Essentials Gift Set, which comes with a bib, pacifier and bottle in the team of your choice, be it the Cubs or the Yankees. It’s the ideal gift for a baby shower or a wonderful way to welcome a friend or colleague’s new arrival. Now that’s a home run!
In a Nutshell: Show ‘em who’s their newest No. 1 fan with a line of baseball-inspired baby goodies.
Moms always say how much they love the smell of their new baby; there’s something about that all-natural scent that prompts us to bury our noses in their skin and hair, and drink them up! But did you ever think about how a baby may recognize his own mother’s special smell and love it nearly as much, if not more? A new product that has just started hitting stores is tapping into this very notion, and may very well be revolutionizing the way to feed babies who alternate between bottle and breast. Mamascent is a bottle-feeding pad designed to fit inside a bra cup. After wearing one for about 2-3 hours, simply detach the pad’s five petals and store them in the included container until needed. Then, when your baby is ready to feed, just attach one of the petals on to the Mamascent clip and affix to your baby’s bottle. So, whether it’s Mom, Dad, Grandma or a babysitter, your baby may put up less of a fuss because she’s comforted by the scent of her mother. Mamascent is a great solution not only for a new mom who may be returning to work and is concerned that her baby won’t take a bottle from someone else, but for any baby who is transitioning from breast to bottle. Because our sense of smell is so powerful, this product zeroes in on a key element of nurturing, enabling babies to continue to feel the warmth and security of their mother, while letting them experience close bonding with another caregiver. And that’s something any new mom can appreciate.
In a Nutshell: Sure, nothing can ever replace a mother’s love, but this product helps bridge the gap between breast and bottle to ensure a comforting feeding experience.
A show of hands: How many of you swaddle your baby? If you’re a new mom looking for a way to comfort your little one, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of swaddling (how it can help babies fall asleep and stay asleep). But what you may not know is that the more natural way for your baby to sleep isn’t with her arms at her side, but with her arms UP. Studies have shown that giving babies access to their arms and hands enables them to self-soothe, and may help prevent them from rolling onto their tummies. While we’ve seen quite a few swaddling blankets on the market, there wasn’t any particular product that supported this type of design…until now. Enter Love To…Swaddle UP from Love To Dream, a Australian-based company whose product is launching this spring in the States. We were recently given a sneak peek at the Love To Dream collection and meet Hana Krawchuk, the woman behind the brand. The Aussie mom of two and former fashion designer invented the swaddling line when she couldn’t find a product that enabled her own children to soothe themselves when swaddled. Her ingenious, one-zip design covers Baby’s hands, while giving plenty of room to move and access their cheeks, so they can comfort themselves during naptime. The breathable fabric enables little ones to rest comfortably without the risk of overheating: a big difference from the multilayer designs we’ve seen in other blankets. We also adore the one-zipper design that makes diaper changing less of a hassle. The Love To Swaddle UP product family includes Stage 1 for ages 0-4 months in three different styles (Original, Organic and Lite), along with the Swaddle UP 50/50 blanket for 4-8 months. This transitional product is ideal for older babies who are getting ready to move from a swaddling blanket to a more independent sleep sack, letting moms unzip one arm at a time. It’s a brilliant solution to help babies develop and grow at their own pace, while giving moms and dads a chance to enjoy the journey of new parenthood without the stress.
In a Nutshell: A swaddling line that doesn’t unravel, so new moms won’t come undone. The Love To Dream swaddling collection will be arriving in U.S. stores later this spring and are also available online.
Do you know a kid who’s bogged down by their bag? I see it nearly every day when kindergartners can barely manage to traverse the steep step up on the bus, thanks to a bulky backpack. It’s even more heartbreaking when it’s a preschooler who seems to be toting enough luggage for an overnight flight than a half day at school. And a lunch bag to the mix, and you’ve got a date with the chiropractor in your kid’s near future. Maybe that’s why we like SuperMe! bags so much. It’s perfect for the pint-sized Superman-in-the-making who can’t quite part with this special powers when headed off to school or daycare. You can choose between the Cape Backpack, a sturdy model that converts into a cape for pretend play, or the Messenger Lunch Bag, sporting plenty of room for snacks and a drink and with a removable strap that doubles as a superhero utility belt. No matter your mission, these bags are ready for take-off…and sure to please even your most able-bodied superhero.
In a Nutshell: Help lighten the load of your favorite superhero-in-training with a line of lunch bags and backpacks that will get them out the door in a flash.
For a new parent, there’s nothing more frightening than the first time your baby has a fever. When my daughters were infants, the sight of their beet-red faces, along with their heartbreaking cries, was enough to send me over the edge. And trying to take their temperatures to confirm my fears? Truly scary for this mom. While there have been plenty of innovations in the thermometer category over the years, I wished I’d been able to take advantage of the latest development. Pacifier thermometers are the answer to the prayers of any parent who dreads the mere thought of having to take their baby’s temperature. There are already a handful of different models on the market, but our top pick is the Carex Digital Pacifier Thermometer. The sleek design looks like your baby’s favorite binky, but with a digital face. Within 3-5 minutes, it gives an accurate readout, minus all the fussing that goes along with temperature taking. Those few minutes may feel like forever, but the ability to suck and soothe helps make the wait more bearable. It’s one product that makes parenting a little less painful–for both of you.
In a Nutshell: Take the sting out of temperature-taking with a combination pacifier/thermometer that gets the job done…quickly and comfortably.