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Baby gear and products get better with each passing year -- here are 10 must-haves you might find yourself drooling over in 2017.
1. Deki BabyBalanZ
Babies love to be wiggled and jiggled, which is one of the reasons why old-school English-style prams, which jiggle as you roll, were so popular for so long -- babies fell easily asleep in them. Modern strollers, which prize a smooth roll, just don't do the trick, and if you show me a parent jiggling a stroller to get a baby to sleep, I'll show you a parent with tired arms. The Deki BabyBalanZ is made to do the jiggle-job automatically. Fit your baby's stroller wheel into it, and it rocks/moves the baby back and forth in a rhythm designed to mimic an adult's heartbeat. Sweet sleeping ahoy!
2. Aden + Anais Disney Collection
By law, infant moms must own at least 2-4 muslin blankets, to use as an infant swaddle, car seat cover, impromptu changing pad, etc. Understated, faded, vintage-y patterns have been the thing in muslin for some time, but Aden + Anais is upping the style ante with enchanting Disney patterns like this four-pack of Bambi-themed muslin squares that'll be for sale any minute now. Burp cloths and blankets will also be available in Disney patterns.
3. BabyDam Bathtub Divider
Like so many pieces of infant gear, a baby bathtub is one of those things that's essential for a few months, but quickly discarded, leaving parents feeling guilty about throwing out yet another big hunk of plastic. Consume less with BabyDam, a cleverly designed bathtub divider that turns your regular adult-size tub into something suitable for little 'uns, no giant plastic tub required.
4. Project Nursery's Parent + Baby SmartBand
Keeping track of all your baby and life data can be difficult, even more so when you have to grab your phone or tablet when you want to make note of something or see who's texting you and why. The SmartBand aims to streamline your life by giving parents smartwatch notifications for caller ID and text messages, a tracker for parents' health (hydration, weight, diet, exercise, and sleep), and for baby doings (feeding, pumping, medications, diaper changes, fetal movements, weight, and naps). A single charge of the long-lasting battery lasts up to 30 days.
5. Totokan OXii monitor
Parents love the reassurance of knowing their sleeping baby is still breathing and well. What they don't love? Fitting a wearable onto their baby, whether it's in the form of a button, a sock, or a clip-on badge. That's why the Totokan OXii, which detects your child's breathing and heart rate wirelessly and sends notifications and a video stream to your smart phone, may be the monitor on a lot of baby registries this year.
6. Venice Child Kangaroo
Watch out, Bugaboo Camelon: this stroller's coming for you. Priced at about $400 less than the Cameleon, the Kangaroo can perform pretty much the same tricks. The system comes with a bassinet body as well as a regular seat, each of which can face front or towards the caregiver; the regular seat can lie flat for naps or infant use. The styling is plush, included car seat adapters hold just about any infant seat, and the under-seat storage basket is big enough to handle a giant bag of groceries.
7. StrollAir ReVu
Umbrella strollers are delightfully easy to travel with. But they usually lack the features of a full-size, making parents reluctant to use an umbrella for their main conveyance. But the ReVu may have parents thinking twice -- weighing in at a relatively light 17 pounds, the ReVu takes a car seat and has a reversible seat that can recline flat for naps or newborn use. Even better: the stroller folds compactly with the seat on and in either direction, and stands when folded.
8. Herobility HeroBottle
Here's a smartly designed bottle for formula feeders. A screw-on compartment attaches to the bottles bottom to hold formula or snacks (you can twist on as many as you like), or comes with a cover for separate use. The bottle's wide neck is super easy to fill, a special mixer attaches to the bottle to take care of any formula clumps, and an anti-colic system is built right into the bottle's nipple.
10. Shrunks 2-in-1 Safety Trampoline and Pool
Sure, you want a baby pool to keep your kids cool and entertained in the summer, and a trampoline to let them burn off crazy energy indoors. What you don't want: two giant plastic thingies you have to store in a closet or basement. The smart Shrunks 2-in-1 solves your problem -- you can fill it with water or air, over and over again, according to the weather and your children's desires.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.