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Baby and toddler must-haves

Laura Willard is a law school grad who has successfully avoided using her education for eight years and counting. She's a wife and an adoptive mom to two kids. Motherhood is the best job she never knew she wanted so much until she had it...

Sanity-saving products for moms

The market is flooded with products for moms and kids. Sometimes it's hard to know what to buy and what to skip. While we couldn't begin to cover all of the necessities in just one roundup, we pulled together some of our favorites. Keep reading to simplify your mommy life!

Baby product must-haves

Oldies-but-goodies and new and innovative — there's a huge mix of baby and toddler products on the market. We've gathered six standouts from completely different categories. From the carrier to the booster seat, don't miss these baby products that will make your life easier.

1

InGenuity Automatic Bouncer

Are you the proud parent of a bouncing baby... well... baby? A happy baby equals a happy mom, and the InGenuity Automatic Bouncer ($65) will help keep your baby calm when your hands are full — or when you just need five minutes to shower. The InGenuity Automatic Bouncer features a unique technology that provides a smooth, consistent bounce that mimics your natural bouncing motion. A three-point safety harness keeps your baby secure and a washable seat pad makes it easy to clean.

2

Luv Chicken Booster Cushion

Stylish and functional, the Luv Chicken Booster Cushion ($45) is great for your little ones who have outgrown the standard high chair (or refuse to sit in one), but still aren't tall enough to sit in a standard chair. It's made from kid-safe coated fabric, so the cushion is easy to wipe clean, and a non-slip bottom keeps it in place.

My 3-year-old moved out of her high chair right after she turned 1. We were able to get by with the plastic booster seat in a regular chair for a year, but when she turned 2, she determined she was way too big for that, too. She sat on a cookbook until we discovered the Luv Chicken. She loves it and actually sits still at the dinner table now. Great for her... even better for us.

3

Ergobaby

Loved by moms for years, the Ergobaby carrier (price varies) was created by a mom who had "a personal desire for mobility and comfort, allowing you to tackle life while maintaining a close and natural bond with your baby and toddler." Moms who praise ERGOs always cite the comfort factor — you can carry a heavy toddler who weighs up to 45 pounds without needing a week of recovery for your poor back. ERGObaby carriers distribute your child's weight evenly across your shoulders and hips.

My daughter refused to be set down as a baby and the ERGO was a lifesaver for me. As a mom with lupus, I experienced a lot of neck and back pain after trying other carriers. The ERGO was the only one I could use for hours on end, and my daughter loved it too.

4

Ubbi Diaper pail

The Ubbi Diaper Pail ($80) is an aluminum container for your baby's dirty diapers. Who says poop can't be stored in style? I personally had a diaper pail in each of my kids' rooms (I had two in diapers at once — scary!) and would recommend a diaper pail for sure, especially if you live in a two-story house and diaper duty occurs on the second floor. However, the model I chose wasn't always the best at locking in odors.

The Ubbi claims to solve that problem. It's made of powder-coated steel, something the company says will not absorb odors like plastic does. Plus, it's easy to clean. The Ubbi is easy to load and empty, has a child lock to prevent curious hands from exploring, uses standard kitchen bags (which saves money) and has rubber seals to keep odors locked in.

5

Taggies Peek-a-Boo Blanket

Security blanket or stuffed animal? Both! Taggies offers the most convenient “two in one” for your baby. Peek-A-Boo Taggies ($13) friends come to life with their playful two-dimensional plush face “peeking” over the front of the blanket. The soft fabric and fun colors encourage interactive play and provide sensory stimulation and fine motor skill development.

My kids each have a favorite blankie from their babyhood as well as a favorite stuffed animal. Had we tried a combo, we'd have less to pack when we travel. Of course, remember to offer it early because lovies? Those are irreplaceable.

6

Comfort & Harmony Cozy Cart Covers

Germaphobe moms, unite! The Comfort & Harmony Cozy Cart Cover ($30) helps you stop worrying about germs and instead use that brain power to focus on your grocery list — and your baby. The cover is made of plush fabric and is machine washable. A cart cover was one of the items I didn't have when my kids were babies, so I was constantly wiping the shopping carts down with antibacterial cloths. This is a much easier solution.

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What baby or toddler product is on your must-have list?

More great baby products

The summer's hottest strollers and car seats
More new baby gear for 2012
4 Things to buy new for baby number two

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