Baby Care

Top 10 must-have baby products

Bringing up baby is at once at the most rewarding and the most difficult job you'll ever have. Fortunately, there are a few tools today to make the job a little easier, allowing you to spend more time on the rewarding aspects of parenting. If you're expecting or have recently welcomed a bundle of joy, take a look at these must-have baby products:

1. Digital Bath Thermometer. Parents no longer need to dip their elbows in the bath water to test the temperature. Bath thermometers take away the guesswork and set a safe, comfortable temperature for baby's bath. A digital display indicates hot, cold or warm water. The thermometer accurately reads temperature within 0.1 degree.

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2. Baby Wipes and Wipes Warmer. Baby wipes are soft, moistened towelettes used to clean babies without soap and water. At room temperature, wipes can feel cold, particularly against baby's skin. With a wipes warmer, a low-voltage system keeps the wipes warm in the container.

3. Zinc Oxide. Zinc oxide works well for preventing and treating diaper rash. Wet and soiled diapers are often the main culprits that cause diaper rashes. Zinc oxide heals and soothes baby's skin. Change diapers often and generously apply the cream at each diaper change.

4. Car Seat. Buying a child car seat is vital. It is essential for all automobile travel. Hospitals require that newborns be transported home in a car seat. The best car seats have a 5-point restraint system (5 adjustable straps - at the shoulders, thighs and between the legs). Sometimes, the car seat is also used as a carrier for the baby.

5. Playtex Nurser. The nurser comes complete with everything new parents will need to feed their baby. The set has 4-ounce bottles, 8-ounce bottles and 15 disposable liners for each. Liners help minimize gas and stomach upset. Also included are silicone nipples designed to look and feel like mother's breasts. A helpful instruction booklet offers guidance on using the nurser system.

6. Odorless Diaper Pail. Perfect for eliminating diaper odors, this pail also stores wipes, tissues and other wastes. Regular kitchen and grocery bags are used to line the pail. Parents can easily dispose of the diapers with one hand while still holding the baby. Models vary and hold 40 to over 100 diapers.

7. Boppy Support Pillow. New moms voted Boppy their absolute favorite baby product. Babies lie comfortably on this crescent-shaped pillow while nursing. The pillow also gives mom's arms a needed rest. The Boppy can also surround and support the baby's body as they learn to sit up on their own.

8. Diaper Bag. Diaper bags are a necessity for all new moms and dads when they and the baby are away from home. Today's bags are fashionable and fully functional, with extra-roomy compartments and pockets to hold bottles and toys, wallets and cell phones.

9. Sterilizer. Modern technology has brought us the microwave sterilizer. No more boiling water for hours to sterilize bottles. A few minutes in the microwave and bottles, cups and pacifiers will remain sterile for up to 12 hours. Exercise caution when removing the hot sterilizer from the microwave.

Alternatively, place the baby feeding accessories alone in the dishwasher and run a regular cycle.

10. Bottle Warmer. Bottle warmers warm baby's bottles and baby food jars. Milk is warmed evenly in just 3 minutes. The bottles can overheat, so all foods must be tested before you feed the baby.

By Michelle Howard