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Genius Baby Gear

  • Michael Kraus

    Wrap It up!

    What's new about swaddling, you ask? This age-old practice of calming babies by wrapping them like burritos has actually scored some modern safety (and ease-of-use) upgrades. For instance:

    Lightweight, breathable swaddle blankets, like those by Aden + Anais, Swaddle Designs and Solana Baby Wear, keep baby cool, comfy and snoozing safely. (prices vary; adenandanais.com, swaddledesigns.com and solanababywear.com)

    Munchkin added pockets to the Swaddle Angel so you can wrap baby with his arms upward and change his diaper without unswaddling. (two-pack, $50; babiesrus.com)

    The Halo Sleep Sack Swaddle keeps arms tight and hips loose, which is just what the doctors at the International Hip Dysplasia Institute say is best for keeping hips healthy. (Too-tight swaddles can lead to future problems.) ($22; babiesrus.com)

    Zip baby into the Woombie for a calming prenatal experience: The soft, stretchy fabric keeps her secure but still lets her move a little. ($28; diapers.com)

  • Kim Kuhn

    An Even Better Boppy

    When asked what gear royal-mom-to-be Kate Middleton had to have, Jersey Shore's new mom, Snooki, answered: a Boppy. The original crescent-shape cushion works as a nursing pillow, an infant positioner and even a head prop for the sleep-deprived. And now it's road-ready: The new Boppy Travel Pillow transforms into its own tote. ($40; amazon.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Super Suckers

    The MAM Air keeps the delicate skin around baby's mouth dry. (two-pack, $10; walmart.com)

    Dr. Brown's PreVent is designed to reduce the pressure from sucking, which could aid tooth development. (two-pack, $6; target.com)

    The First Years GumDrop Pacifier curves under baby's nose for better air flow. (two-pack, $4; drugstore.com)

  • Savvy Spyware

    Is he sleeping on his back? Is he climbing out of the crib? Adding a screen to these safety devices was the parenting equivalent of switching from radio to TV in the 1930s. And it keeps getting better: Now you can even shush baby from the patio or sneak a peek of her slumbering from your office. Check out these high-tech monitors:

    $ Lullabies, room-temperature monitoring, nightlight and see-in-the-dark and talk-back technology made us fall in love with the Levana Safe N'See Advanced Digital Baby Monitor. ($150; target.com)

    $$ The Withings Smart Baby Monitor has all of the above, plus it zooms, pans and alerts you to noises, temp changes and movement. You can also keep tabs with the WithBaby app, compatible with iPod, iPad and iPhone. ($290; amazon.com)

    $$$ You (and Grandma!) can see and hear baby anywhere with the Summer Infant Peek Plus Internet Baby Monitor System — from your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone — via a secure website and free app. ($350; babiesrus.com)

  • Bold Rolls

    Forget the notion of one-size-fits-all. This isn't a sleep shirt we're talking about. It's a set of wheels you'll probably use for 1,000-plus days.

    Safety 1st takes the cookiecutter stroller-plus-car-seat travel system to stylish new heights with the Sleek Ride. Its bold pattern and smooth ride are more fitting of a high-end model. ($250; babiesrus.com)

    Tori Spelling, Jessica Simpson and Jessica Alba all use the Orbit Baby Infant Stroller System. And now, with the Double Helix, it's perfect for pairs. What makes it awesome? The seats spin 360 degrees, so baby always has a perfect view (and so do you!). (configurations start at $750; buybuybaby.com)

    The 4Moms Origami took the stroller world by storm with its high-tech, push-of-a-button mechanical fold. ($850; target.com)

    Jogging strollers aren't just for hard-core fitness types anymore. The compact J is for Jeep Wrangler Sport Jogger has a front wheel that swivels or locks and adjustable handles — so mom can jog and dad can saunter with the same stroller. ($350; kolcraft.com)

    The convertible Combi Catalyst goes from flat bassinet to forward-facing to backward-facing and just about every angle in between. ($360; diapers.com)

  • Kim Kuhn

    Cloth Diapers

    best of both worlds: gDiapers are hybrids: disposables for daycare and day trips and cloth for stay-at-home days. (prices vary; gdiapers.com)

    money-saver: Aptly named Freetime, the latest bumGenius diaper fits babies 8 to 35 pounds, requires no pocket stuffing and dries in a flash. ($20; cottonbabies.com)

    guilt-free: EcoPosh fitted diapers are fashioned from recycled water bottles, bamboo and organic cotton. ($35; nickisdiapers.com)

  • Kim Kuhn

    Disposable Diapers

    The Honest Co. diapers prove that earth-friendly can also be superchic. Oh, and they work great too! (prices vary; honest.com)

    Nighttime dipes, like Seventh Generation Overnight Diapers, let everyone score more shut-eye. (prices vary; diapers.com)

    Adding stretch makes for a diaper that moves and grooves with your little crawler, walker, climber, etc. We're fans of Pampers Cruisers. (prices vary; diapers.com)

  • Kim Kuhn

    Diaper Bags That Don't Look Like Diaper Bags

    We're so glad we bid bye-bye to boxy bags adorned with butterflies and bears. This once purely utilitarian piece transformed into a mama must-have fashion accessory used long after potty training. Take a look at the smart features these hot bags are hiding:

    The Lady Bento bag sports a special pocket that holds a trio of food containers in an insulated freezer pack. ($99; skiphop.com)

    There's a nursing pillow in this bag by Warm Milk — really! But there is still plenty of space for diapers, pacifiers and other baby essentials. ($125; warmmilk.com)

    Handbag? Cross-body? Backpack? The Chapel Convertible Backpack is the perfect accessory for everything from playdates to picnics. ($229; kellymoorebag.com)

  • Michael Kraus

    Bottles

    Bottles changed everything when it came to motherhood. Finally, dad could help with the feeding, and mom could return to work (or simply get a full night's sleep). And don't underestimate the lowly sippy cup. It's been saving carpets, T-shirts and sanity for decades. Here's a look at some of our favorite new bottles and sippies on the market:

    reflux fighter Evenflo Purely Comfi angled bottle (three-pack, $10; drugstore.com)

    hard spout for toddlers Poppy Patch Foogo ($9; shopthermos.com)

    sleek stainless Kid Basix Safe Starter bottle ($13; diapers.com)

    soft like mom's breast Comotomo silicone bottle ($17; amazon.com)

    vented nipple to ease colic NUK Tie-Dye Orthodontic Bottle (three-pack, $13; walmart.com)

    weighted straw to get every drop Sippin' Smart Ez Flow Straw Sippy ($13; Innobaby.com)

    suck or sip — it converts! Kid Basix Safe Sippy2 ($12; target.com)

    wide nipple for natural latch Philips Avent Natural Bottle (three-pack, $23; babiesrus.com)

    no leaks! The First Years Spill-Proof Sipper (two-pack, $8; walmart.com)

  • DIY Baby Food

    The idea of prepping your own purées got you all nervous and sweaty? Fear not! Odds are there's a baby-food maker out there that not only suits your skill set but also your price point. These babies are virtually foolproof:

    $ Munchkin's Fresh Food Chopper and Steamer does just that. You just peel, microwave and mash — that you can handle! ($20; walmart.com)

    $$ Steam and blend her first solids in the Baby Brezza One Step Baby Food Maker's single container. ($100; babiesrus.com)

    $$$ Cook peas and carrots for breakfast and lunch in the duo of steamers/blenders on the Beaba Babycook Pro 2X. ($20 0; williams-sonoma.com)

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