MFM Awards 2023 Winners – Editor's Choice Awards
The MadeForMums editorial team choose the innovative, unusual and exciting entries that scored an Editor's Choice Award for 2023
As well as our home testers providing their feedback on every product that enters the awards, our editors also give their own insight across a series of judging days. We also act as testers ourselves: across our team we have kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers, and there's nothing we love more than putting parenting products through their paces and getting to know the products as well as possible.
The result of this? We often discover hidden gems, unusual products that don't quite fit into their category, or clever innovations that do a specific job brilliantly, but get a bit lost amongst the competition.
That's where our Editor's Choices come in: these are the products our editors just can't get out of their heads. As with all the other winners, we've combined our views with feedback from our home testers, who also loved all the products in this list. Read on for the products that particularly impressed our editors this year, from pushchairs to pregnancy pillows, and everything in between.
Recaro Lexa Elite Pushchair, £299
Why it's an Editor's Choice: The Recaro Lexa is a bit of a unicorn – a mythical beast of a pushchair that delivers a long list of features that rarely come in one package. It's lightweight (8kg) with a one-handed compact fold, but also boasts an impressive lie-flat seat that can be used in both parent- and world-facing modes from birth. The best thing? You can find it on sale for under £300.
"There are only a handful of truly lightweight, compact buggies with a parent-facing option, but we're often asked to recommend them as this feature really appeals to parents," says Christy McGhee, MFM's Head of Consumer Content. "The Recaro Lexa Elite offers this at a really competitive price point, and we're really excited to have discovered it."
More like this
In the words of parent tester Rosie, who tested this with a 2 year old and 2 month old: "The best bit is that it grows with your child, so it is great to use from birth right up into the early years. We thought little extras like the roomy basket and extendable seat made this a piece that we could use for a long time without any issues, and the price point for the quality makes it excellent value."
Hippychick Hipseat, £39.95
Why it's an Editor's Choice: At only £25, this is a brilliant addition to your parenting arsenal if you have a velcro baby who always likes to be carried. Unlike a traditional baby carrier that offers a hands-free way to keep your child close, the hipseat does require you to hold on to your baby or toddler as you rest them on your hip, but the built-in "seat" on the belt-like carrier reduces the strain on your back and hips, and it's super easy to put on and off.
"This is great for those days when you know you'll be picking your child up and putting them down a lot – long days out, trips to the zoo or museum, festivals, or even on holiday," says Emily Longman Wall, MFM's Digital Content Producer. It's suitable from 6 - 36 months and comes in a whole host of colours.
In the words of parent tester Samantha, who tested this with their 2 year old and their 8 month old: "It's really quick to whip on whilst you're in the house or out and about. It definitely made those little jobs easier. I thought it was a great help while having more than one child, I could carry my daughter with ease on the walk to school with her older sister which was especially helpful now that she doesn't like being in a stroller."
Kit & Kin Magic Salve, £7.99
Why it's an Editor's Choice: It can be easy to end up with a whole cupboard full of toiletries for your child, but this year we were really impressed by multi-use products designed to save both space and money. This little tub of multipurpose salve contains a whole host of moisturising and protecting oils that make light work of dry patches and work brilliantly as a barrier cream on bottoms, faces and beyond.
"This is so useful you'll end up using it on the whole family – so it's a good thing a little goes a long way." Says Gemma Cartwright, MFM's Digital Editor." "Kit & Kin is also a certified B Corp company, so you know you're buying from a responsible, transparent company."
In the words of parent tester Carly, who tested this with their 4 year old and 1 year old: "I've used this for multiple purposes so far: for nappy changes, chapped lips, the kids' dry skin following scarlet fever and chapped skin from the recent cold weather. I like that it's not too sticky, but moisturises well."
Mamas & Papas Bug 3-in-1 Seat, £75
Why it's an Editor's Choice: For families that don't want a big high chair taking up space in the kitchen or dining room, a booster seat is a great alternative, and this one comes with the added option of being used as a floor seat or just a place to sit and play. Our editors were impressed by the sturdy design (which is also relatively lightweight) and the simple way it straps to most dining chairs so your baby can eat with the rest of the family.
"Little details, like the fact the straps retract back into the seat when not in use, take this to the next level," says Christy McGhee, Head of Consumer Content. "It's design-led while also being baby-friendly and practical: it's simple to clean, easy to use and has lots to keep a child safe and entertained."
In the words of Rhiannon, who tested this with their 6 month old: "I genuinely think it has helped my son with self feeding, he is able to watch and copy his big brother, as opposed to out on a limb in a separate high chair. Having the bug on a normal dining chair meant he is truly involved in family meal times and it is now one of the most enjoyable parts of our day as a family. It also works well for floor picnics when we have had friends and their babies round. The babies can sit together and have little chats whilst having their picnic."
Milton Cold Water Steriliser, £18.99 and Milton Sterilising Tablets, £2.69
Why it's an Editor's Choice: The steriliser market has come on a lot recent years, with all-singing, all-dancing models on the market that not only sterilise but also dry and store items like pump parts, bottles and dummies. They're great, but they come at a cost. For anyone looking for ways to reduce spending (or those looking to cut energy usage) a good old-fashioned cold water steriliser does the job at a fraction of the cost.
"I originally got a Milton Cold Water Steriliser for travel," explains Gemma Cartwright, MFM's Digital Editor, "but I ended up using it at home too, as it's so quick and easy. You only need 1 tablet per day and can take things in and out of the bucket all day long which is really convenient."
In the words of Chelsea, who tested this with their 5 month old: "Being able to use the solution for up to 24 hours is so handy for busy mum life while also allowing you to use less water. Sterilising is so much easier now! I think this product is good value for money and would last a long time."
RyRy Scallop Car Seat, £349
Why it's an Editor's Choice: It may sound odd to praise something for being "the ideal car seat for people who don't have a car", but we mean it as a compliment: the big selling point of the RyRy Scallop is the fact it's portable and can be quickly moved between vehicles, so if you use taxis and other people's cars a lot, it's brilliant. It even folds up and turns into a backpack so you can take it on a plane too.
"With its luxurious fabrics and smart features this is more than just a travel car seat, but I do love it for that purpose," explains Gemma Cartwright, MFM's Digital Editor. "It's easy to fit, can be carried on your back, and most importantly, is comfortable and cool for your child."
In the words of parent tester Chelsea, who tested this with their 5 month old: "My son LOVED this car seat. He was so happy it could be transferred between vehicles so it felt more like "his seat" and he really loved how nice the merino wool covers were. Myself and my husband installed the seat, alongside my father and mother-in-law who are both in their sixties. Nobody had any issues, in fact my father remarked on how easy it was on his arthritic fingers."
Leclerc Baby Influencer x 2 with Duo Connector, £863.85
Why it's an Editor's Choice: While we love a product with mass appeal, we also love one that fulfils a very specific purpose, and the more we played around with the Leclerc Baby Duo Connector and a pair of Leclerc Baby Influencer strollers, the more we began to imagine situations when it would be really useful. This handy set of 3 connectors turns the 2 single pushchairs into a double buggy: one which can be unclipped in a matter of seconds. This makes it a great option for families with young children of different ages, particularly if there are complicated pick-up and drop-off procedures for school, childcare and other activities.
"If you like the design of a side-by-side double with the convenience of a single-to-double, that's what you're getting: use the two buggies separately, or clip them together for an extra option. For families that already own an Influencer buggy it's also a cost-effective way to upgrade to a double when a new baby joins the family," says Emily Longman Wall, MFM's Digital Content Creator.
In the words of parent tester Georgette, who tested this with their 3-year-old son and 6-month-old daughter: "As I’m often travelling with two it’s easy to double up and only takes a few mins to pop the adapters on to connect the buggies. I mainly use it as a double pram for the nursery run as I quickly adapt it into a single buggy after I've dropped my son off. As it's so compact when folded down, the nursery staff kindly let me leave one pushchair there and then I collect it when I pick up him up and turn it into a double buggy for the journey home."
The Learning Tower Company Original Convertible Learning Tower
Why it's an Editor's Choice: Learning towers for toddlers have become really popular with our community over the last few years, and as we've tried more of them, we've realised they vary wildly when it comes to quality and longevity. With The Learning Tower Company you're in safe hands. This tower is beautifully made, and was an instant hit amongst our expert judges: even those not judging its category found themselves drawn to it during our live judging days.
"This is a great way to get children involved in family life from very early on. I also like that this converts from a learning tower to a desk and seat, so you're getting more for your money," says Helen Brown, MFM's Head of Content Delivery.
In the words of parent tester Rhiannon, who tested this with their 3 children: "My daughter is 2 but my 4 and 7 year old have also been using the tower. It has enabled them to have more independence and also feel included in things that I am doing and to learn. My children love the tower and use it multiple times a day. I also love the fact that for every sale made they plant a tree as the product is made from wood."
Buy from: The Learning Tower Company
Micralite Eat & Play, £170
There's no denying the trend in high chairs at the moment is for multipurpose, sustainable products that require a big investment upfront. And while we love – and have given awards to – a number of these "chair for life" options, our judges and editors were also impressed by the innovative way Micralite has ensures its Eat & Play high chair also has a lifespan of more than a couple of years, while keeping the price competitive.
Suitable from 6 months to 5 years, the 4-in-1 design means this can be used as a traditional high chair or a low seat, and the bottom half transforms into a little table without the need for any tools. "As someone who bought a high chair, a floor seat and a table and chair independently, I'm gutted this didn't exist when my son was 6 months old," says Gemma Cartwright, MFM's Group Digital Editor. "It's attractive, well-made, and a great multipurpose solution for small homes."
In the words of Tara, who tested this with their baby and toddler: "Anything that makes life easier gets a big thumbs up and this clever product does exactly that. I love the multi-functionality of the product. The low chair and table have been a game changer in our house as my three-year-old and 7-month-old can enjoy meals and play time even closer together, helping to build the important sibling bond."
Buy from: Micralite
Anna Pregnancy Pillow by Natal Comfort, £149
Why it's an Editor's Choice: Our pregnancy pillow category was really competitive this year, but this pillow stood out to judges for offering something quite special: the ability to sleep on your tummy, something that is otherwise impossible. With this in mind, it obviously appeals to a very specific consumer, but for mums struggling to get comfortable in the third trimester in other positions, we think it's worth the investment.
"You can't put a price on quality sleep towards the end of pregnancy," says Janet Mtima, MFM's Digital Journalist. "For tummy sleepers, this is a worthwhile investment that really impressed us on the judging days. It was also really fun to test!"
In the words of parent tester Gabrielle, who is pregnant: "It has provided me with exactly what it offered – a huge improvement in my back, pelvis and hip pains. To have the chance to safely lay on stomach has been wonderful as its something I always struggle with in pregnancy."
Buy from: Natalcomfort
thelittleloop: Children's clothing rental service, from £18 per month
Why it's an Editor's Choice: The average child will go through around 8 different clothing sizes by their third birthday, which means outgrown clothes can pile up very quickly. This clothing rental service works on a credit system, allowing you to return and exchange each size as and when you need to. It's a more ethical and sustainable way to dress your kids, and could also mean you can try new brands you'd never normally be able to afford.
"The brand offering is really impressive, with a focus on ethical brands like Kite, Frugi and Little Green Radicals, and we really appreciated the thought that has gone into how you can choose clothes, return them, and manage your account," says Christy McGhee, MFM's Head of Consumer Content.
In the words of parent tester Lauren, who tested this with their 6-year-old son: "Such a brilliant concept. Children grow out of their clothes so quickly, and organic clothes are expensive! So being able to rent and return them is a great idea. The clothes all arrived in excellent condition and appeared new. There was a good choice of clothes on the website to choose from, too."
Buy from: The Little Loop
The Coco Mat by Naturalmat, from £50
Why it's an Editor's Choice: When it comes to sleep, safety is paramount, which is why it's important that you buy a new mattress for each child. However, this does mean a lot of foam and man-made fabrics end up landfills. Naturalmat offers an alternative: the Coco Mat is made entirely from natural fibres, but it still passes all the important British safety standards.
"Babies sleep best on a firm, supportive surface, and this definitely offers that. Our sleep expert judge was instant impressed," says Gemma Cartwright, MFM's Digital Editor. "I was also pleased that, since they're handmade, the brand offers a made to measure option, meaning you can get one to fit any crib, cot or toddler bed on the market."
In the words of parent tester Jessica, who tested this with their 1 year old: "The features of this mattress are really important such as no synthetics, glues, or chemical fire retardants in the mattress. Every ingredient has always come from a sustainable and renewable source and everything is either recyclable or biodegradable - even the packaging! The quality is second to none - its worth every penny!"
Bumbles & Boo New Mum Hampers
Why it's an Editor's Choice: These customisable hampers take the stress out of choosing the perfect gift for a new mum, making them perfect for friends and family, or a smart way to spend the kitty for a colleague who's just gone on maternity leave. Containing a number of items for both mum and baby, the feedback on these gorgeous boxes was hugely positive, and we have to admit we even felt special when the sample arrived at MFM HQ for our judging days.
"The products are well-considered and high quality and the hampers come in so many different sizes that you're bound to find something that fits your budget," says Emily Longman Wall, MFM's Digital Content Producer. "All new mums deserve a treat and this brand makes it easy."
In the words of Natalie, who is pregnant: "Overall I found this product to be absolutely stunning. I was 37 weeks pregnant when I received it and it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling and put a huge smile on my face. I’m really impressed with how Bumble & Boo make the hampers feel really personable. I think they are a great gift idea for a pregnant women."
Buy from: Bumbles & Boo
Scrummy Tummies Lunchbox, £12.99
Why it's an Editor's Choice: Made from food-grade silicone rather than plastic, this stylish lunchbox is perfectly sized for toddler snacks on the go, or packed lunches for older children. Its airtight lid also makes it a handy storage box for the fridge while trying out baby weaning recipes. Judges loved the 3 well-proportioned compartments, durable materials and 4 gorgeous colour options.
Christy McGhee, MFM's Head of Consumer Content says: “Having tried out a number of children’s lunchboxes over the years, this is easily the most stylish. It feels lovely, and although it’s slightly heavier than plastic alternatives my children didn’t notice and loved how smart it looks.”
In the words of Claire, who tested this with their 10 month old: “This lunchbox is very well made, nice and thick, using sturdy silicone. A very simple but effective design, with no removable inserts to lose or come loose, and simple to wash too. It’s very reasonably priced for a product that should last a long time.”
Buy from: Scrummy Tummies
Family villa holidays at Oliver's Travels, from £1,000 per week
Why it's an Editor's Choice: Planning a family holiday is often no picnic, so finding a provider that really understands what it’s like to travel with little ones in tow is extremely welcome. Judges noted that the site covers a wide range of destinations, with plenty of options that can be filtered by targeted groups, from babies and toddlers, to kids, through to teens. The website is clearly set out and easy to navigate, with plenty of useful information about what each property offers family groups.
In the words of Christy McGhee, MFM's Head of Consumer Content: “The villas on offer look lovely, with some great choices for a special family break. As a parent, I really appreciate the little family-focused details, like whether a cot can be provided. The option to filter search results by ‘child-friendly pool’ is also an unusual but very helpful feature.”
Buy from: Oliver's Travels
See all our MFM Award winners:
- Prams, pushchairs, lightweights and double buggies — 2023 winners
- Car seats — 2023 winners
- Baby carriers, slings and wraps — 2023 winners
- Sleeping and nursery products — 2023 winners
- Breast and bottlefeeding products — 2023 winners
- Products for your pregnancy — 2023 winners
- Family health, bathtime and skincare products — 2023 winners
- Nappies, changing and potty training products — 2023 winners
- Baby & toddler weaning and feeding products — 2023 winners
- Lifestyle, travel, fashion, books and gifts — 2023 winners
- MadeForMums Special Awards — 2023 winners
Six big family moments that matter – and the products that make them easier to navigate
These products from John Lewis & Partners help support the memorable moments of family life.