The products you can’t live without when you’re a parent – as rated by mums and dads

There are some products you just have to have as a parent, and some things that once you use, you can't imagine being without. While we're all unique, thousands of us voted and resoundingly picked these products as our must-haves

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1. Mini First Aid Family First Aid Kit, £11.99, MadeForMums Awards Gold Winner

For quite a few parents, taking a decent first aid kit on trips is a bit of an afterthought. A few plasters and a bit of antiseptic cream thrown into the changing bag, and that’s it. Our gold award winner aims to address this habit by re-inventing a boring essential into an attractive – and well-thought-through – must-have.

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Packaged in a lovely wipe-clean pouch, the Family First Aid Kit contains all you need for numerous first aid situations: 51 pieces of valuable first response items. The package is also small enough to throw in a handbag or in the buggy basket – so no more excuses for for not having everything to hand.

Designed by Mini First Aid, which offers first aid courses aimed at all the family across the UK, this kit even includes items you don’t find in other off the peg kits – such as Tough Cut Scissors and burn gel sachets. It also comes with a handy First Aid guide, and is really well thought out. 

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about Mini First Aid Family First Aid Kit:

“As a Nurse and a Mum of 2, I understand the importance of being prepared for accidents and this lovely kit contains everything you would initially need. It has a nice design, and I like the fact that it has patterned plasters that match. It’s great to carry it around in my handbag, and even my mum loves it and has decided to buy one to pack in her suitcase for when she goes on holiday.” Mum of 2, Lindsey

“This is small enough to carry around but contains everything you need, from plasters to fabric scissors. I’m super impressed with how much fits in, and the pouch has a nice print too. The quality is fantastic and worth every penny.” Mum of 2, Samantha

Available from: Mini First Aid


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2. The Gro Company Grobag, £23.50-£44.99, MadeForMums Awards Silver Winner

A baby sleep bag is a wonderful thing. It allows you to keep your baby warm and dressed in the right amount of clothing for sleep. It prevents your little one kicking off duvets, or blankets accidentally covering their faces, and can also be a great signal for bedtime as part of an evening routine.

The Gro Company has been one of the pioneers of sleep bags in the UK, and many families rely on their silver award-winning Grobag for a restful and peaceful nights’ sleep. 

Recommended by the safer sleep charity The Lullaby Trust, it is available in two sizes – 0-6 and 6-18 months. In addition, each Grobag has ‘what to wear’ information clearly included in the product, so that you can be sure never to over- or under-dress your little one for nighttime. It also comes with a handy nursery thermometer and is made of great quality and washable cotton.

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about The Gro Company Grobag:

“The original and best! I was a devoted Gro Company user, and I love that they have made sleeping safer for our babies.” Broadcaster and Mum of 2, Sarah

“Absolutely fantastic product. Great quality and washes really well. The instructions on what to wear underneath the different tog bags is really helpful, as you do get concerned whether or not your child is wearing adequate clothing underneath. The thermometer is also a good idea.” Mum of 1, Lollie

Available from: John Lewis, Amazon and Mothercare


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3. Pampers Baby-Dry Nappy, 14p per nappy, MadeForMums Awards Bronze Winner

The Pampers Baby-Dry nappy is all about keeping baby’s bottom super dry and soft during the night, so that everyone can enjoy a good night’s sleep – and wake up happy and content.

From leading nappy brand Pampers, the Baby-Dry has three absorbing channels to help distribute wetness, Micro Pearls to lock away wetness, and keep mini bottoms dry for longer, as well as fast-dry layers. It promises dryness of up to 12 hours, and has deservedly won our bronze award, with our judges backing up the brand’s claims.

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about Pampers Baby-Dry Nappy

“Pampers are our favourite brand for nappies on the market. So soft, very absorbent and very breathable.” Big Brother 2016 Star Laura Carter

“I really like these nappies. They are soft and comfy with stretchy sides. They absorb really well, and my baby isn’t left with a wet bum, even when the nappy has been on overnight. Since using pampers I feel like my baby is sleeping much better at night due to not feeling damp, so I really believe they last with up to 12 hours of dryness. I would highly recommend them.” Mum of 1, Lorne

Available from:  BootsAmazon and Ocado


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4. Calpol Infant Suspension, £3.15 for 100ml

Every mum, and dad, up and down the country is guaranteed to have a sachet or 5 of Calpol in their handbag and a bottle or 2 more in a cupboard at home.

Calpol is the number one pain relief for children and many families swear by it; our judges felt exactly the same. It is the first product they turn to if their little one is in pain, feeling unwell, feverish, teething, with earache, sore throat or a headache, it’s Calpol every time. 

What our reviewers say about Calpol Infant Suspension: 

“Always have this in my FIRST AID Kit. Definitely a must have for me.” Dad of 3, Neil

“An iconic product that parents swear by.” MFM Reviews Editor Hazelann Williams

Can’t live without this.” Mum of 2, Daisy

“A lifesaver for parents and children.” Dad of 3, James

Available from: Boots, Tesco and Sainsbury’s


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5. Braun No touch + forehead thermometer, £52.99

Removing the stress and worry from taking your baby’s temperature is this brilliantly simple gadget and our bronze award winner, the No Touch + forehead thermometer, from Braun.

Measuring a child’s forehead temperature in less than two seconds, the thermometer can also take a child’s temperature by holding it up to 5cm away for your child’s forehead, which is ideal if your feverish child is asleep.

What our reviewers say about the Braun No touch + Forehead thermometer: 

“A must have as far as I’m concerned, non invasive, easy to use, great product!” Dad of 3, James

“Easy to use however you are unable to recall previous temperatures taken, great tool to keep check.” Mum of 2, Zoe

Available from: Amazon, John Lewis and Landys


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6. JPMBB PhysioCarrier, £80 – MFM Joint Gold Award Winner for best baby carrier

Age suitability: 4 months to 4 years (3.5kg – 20kg)

Number of carrying positions: 3 (front, back and hip)

The newest carrier from Je Porte Mon Bebe the PhysioCarrier is a soft structured carrier that has a really nifty ‘4 season thermo’ feature.

That’s an opening at the back of the carrier that can be zipped down or up, to ventilate the back of your little one.  The PhysioCarrier also has a meshed head support that allows ventilation and parents to see baby when covering his head. 

And although the main carrier is suitable from 4 months it can be worn with a newborn with the extension pack, which is a little like a seat that you pop into the bottom of the carrier.

Our MFM mum who tested the carrier with her daughter says the carrier is “a brilliantly-designed bit of baby kit, this stylish carrier is perfect for all weathers and ideal for babies and toddlers, alike! If you’re not a fab of baby carriers, with this one, you’re guaranteed to be converted!”  High praise indeed.

What our reviewers say about the Je Porte Mon Bebe the PhysioCarrier:

“The soft fabric and mesh is amazing. I like that it adjusts as baby grows. I feel it would be better if it came with the booster cushion and neck roll as standard. The mirror for back carrying is nifty. Very soft.” Carrier and sling expert and Mum of 2, Rachel

“I love the way it adapts for a small baby, lovely soft stretchy fabric and I also love the aerated netting fabric option that is great on hot days.  The little mirror attachment is very handy when your baby is on the back.  And overall this carrier is very easy to put on.” Mum of 3, Susie

Read the full review of the PhysioCarrier right here

You can buy the PhysioCarrier from Amazon.


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7. Ikea Antilop Highchair with tray, £14

Every family needs a decent, well priced high chair and Ikea’s Antilop is a much valued and well loved option. The product dismantles to break down very simply and quickly, it can be easily cleaned and packed in the car when you need to travel, on top of that it is only £14!

Read our review of the Ikea Antilop highchair here.

You can buy the Antilop highchair at Ikea.


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8. Summer Infant Babble Band Audio Digital Monitor, £49.99

An audio or video monitor allows you to check on your baby without disturbing his sleep.

This award-winning Summer Infant digital audio monitor lets you listen in using a clever wristband, so you don’t have to carry the parent unit around the house.

Has three monitoring modes, a range of 240m and an optional vibration-mode to allow you to feel when your baby makes a noise.

Great size for travel and comes with an EU adaptor. The baby unit doubles up as a charger, with battery lasting eight to ten hours of use.

What our reviewers say about Summer Infant Babble Band Audio Digital Monitor:

“Excellent idea with wearable receiver, good value.” Mum of 1, Kat

“Very cute looking and useful product with wearable parent unit, just like a watch – don’t worry about taking the parent unit around with you!” MFM Reviews Editor Magda Ibrahim

Available from: Amazon, BabySecurity and Boots


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9. WaterWipes Sensitive Baby Wipes, £2.70, MFM Silver Award Winner for best wet wipes

As every new parent quickly learns, you don’t go anywhere without a pack of wet wipes – and WaterWipes are among the most effective. They are some of the gentlest wipes on the market, which has made them a hit with our team at MFM HQ, and many of our parent reviewers and judges.

WaterWipes contain 99.9% purified and filtered water and a drop of grapefruit seed extract – a natural skin conditioner. They are fresh, have a soft texture and great absorbency, so will be useful well beyond the newborn stage 

What our reviewers say about WaterWipes:

“These are really great wipes for babies and toddlers – really reassuring to know there’s nothing in them to irritate young skin. The mini packs are great for your handbag and it’s good to know you can use them from birth. I always found cotton wool and water was ineffective on a really dirty bottom. The next step is to make them biodegradable – then I’d be completely sold.” Mum of 2, Sophie

“These wipes are a great alternative to the recommended cotton wool and water. I did find them a little bit too ‘wet’, and as for the cost I possibly wouldn’t use them for a prolonged period, but would definitely buy them for my newborn due in April.” Mum of 1, Alexandra

You can buy WaterWipes Sensitive Baby Wipes from: Boots and Amazon


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10. PacaPod Croyde changing bag, £115, MFM Gold Award Winner for best changing bag

A good changing bag can mean the difference between feeling like a headless chicken or feeling like a super-parent with everything under control. 

Being able to pack – and locate – all your parenting paraphernalia on the go is crucial, a fact that British brand PacaPod has recognised, and their PacaPod Croyde has the art of multi-functional changing bag organisation nailed down.

It includes the brand’s signature separate feeder and changer pods, as well as an additional clear ‘travel’ pod that allows you to see exactly what’s packed at a glance. With a huge capacity of 41 litres, it has plenty of features to help you find all your bits and bobs in no time – inner parent pockets with key fob and mobile dividing pockets, inner cargo hold which stores the pods, a lightweight baby changing mat and detachable pram clips.

We also love the contemporary, classic style of the Croyde, in neutral faux leather outer with classic gold hardware.

What our reviewers say about the PacaPod Croyde:

“The Croyde is a fantastic baby bag, the best I have have used. I love how it opens from the side and the different pods so that everything has its own space – food in one, nappies and wipes in another, creams, dummies and toys in another. I also love the style of the bag and that I can use the shoulder strap or hold it on my forearm depending on how full my hands are.” Mum of 1, Charlene

“Even the most chaotic days can be organised with the PacaPod – I love the fact it brings order to your changing bag! Ingenious to have the separate pod units, and the fabrics are all high quality and durable. It’s good value for what it is.” MFM Reviews Editor Magda Ibrahim

Available from: John Lewis


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11. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottle, £6.49 – £33.99, MFM Gold Award winner for best bottle

The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottle and teat effectively mimic the breast making it one of the best bottles around to swap between breastfeeding and bottle. The soft silicone teat is designed to feel like skin and to encourage baby to latch on easily.

It also features a valve to minimise air intake and reduce colic and its compact shape is great to let baby feed comfortable. 

It is a perennial favourite with lots of little ones and their carers!

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottle:

“I have used these bottles for both of my sons from birth alongside breastfeeding. I found the bottles to be durable and safe. My children were able to latch on to the teats with ease and I was able to control the flow of milk using the different teat options.” Mum of 2, Rachel

Easy to hold and the different sizes, from 150ml to 340ml, allow a range of options. I love the soft, flexible teat. Lid comes off easily, with no struggling.” MFM Reviews Editor Magda Ibrahim

You can buy the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Bottle from Amazon


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12. Joie i-Level car seat, MFM Gold Award Winner for best Infant/Group 0+ car seat

We love this innovative carseat which complies with new i-Size European standards. It is a rearward facing seat, suitable from birth to around 85cm, with plenty of added features.

The seat can recline flat, has great side-impact protection, the multi-height headrest can be easily adjusted together with the harness, without the need for fiddly rethreading, and it features great inserts that allow you to customise it as baby grows.

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Joie i-Level car seat:

This carseat has some excellent features, such as the 3-point harness that adjusts with the headrest (no tedious re-threading every time baby grows a little), the hood that unzips to lengthen and allows you to use as a sun shade, and finally the recline function that allows you to use it lying flat if your baby is asleep. It also clips pretty easily into the Isofix base that comes with it and is easy to install.” Mum of 2, Jenny

“This car seat looks well made and was very comfortable! It was easy to learn how to use and seemed to offer a smooth ride. I really liked the different recline options and it looked like it would have great side impact protection.” Doctor, MFM reviewer and Mum of 3 Meena Hindmarch

You can buy the Joie i-Level from: Kiddies Kingdom and Amazon.


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13. UPPAbaby Vista pushchair, 849.99 – £949.99, MFM Gold Award Winner for best newborn pushchair

If you’re in the market for a new pushchair that can grow as your family does, you can’t go much wrong with the UPPAbaby Vista. It is such a versatile pram, with newborn and toddler options, the ability to convert it into a two-seater, and even lets you take your eldest along for a ride with an added buggyboard.

It is great quality, has a massive basket, but also has a very easy fold mechanism, so it is particularly user-friendly. Carrycot, toddler seat, raincovers, insect nets and car seat adaptors are included too, so you’re ready to go without having to buy any extras.

It has some great design features such as the peekaboo window and built-in sunshades, and we love the new styles which include real leather features on the premium range – if you’re going to use this kit for years, you might as well make it a stylish one.

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the UPPAbaby Vista pushchair:

I love the fact that this pram can be added to, to carry more children. I’ve been using it for my toddler, but when our family expands, the Vista will expand with it, using the extra adapters and seats that are available. The carrycot is stunning and very easy to attach and detach. The fact that it can be used for sleep overnight adds to the versatility. The quality feels brilliant; the leather trim is beautiful and gives it a really luxurious feel.” Mum of 2, Elizabeth

“I like thenice big under-buggy basket. The carry cot is very softly lined, and the whole product is beautifully designed and very easy to push. It also has nice pockets in the buggy basket. Comes with rain cover and travel bag.” MFM Facebook contributor Claire Hamilton

Here’s the complete expert review of the Uppababy Vista buggy

You can buy the Uppababy Vista at UppababyJohn Lewis and Amazon


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14. Silver Cross Avia, £225, MFM Gold Award Winner for best lightweight buggy

We love a well-designed compact buggy here at MFM HQ, and the Silver Cross Avia is a firm favourite, winning this year’s gold award for best lightweight buggy.

It weighs just 5.5kg, yet is suitable from birth to 20kg. It is really practical with some great design features. It has a single-hand recline to a lie-flat position, a compact fold, with the bumper bar acting as a carrying handle, and is self-standing when folded.

It comes with a footmuff and a versatile hood that includes a pop-out sunshield and roll-up ventilation panel, and is super comfortable for little one to rest and grown-ups to push.

What our MadeForMums Awards judges say about the Silver Cross Avia:

“The Avia is a beautifully designed pushchair with quality fabrics and a luxurious feel. It is very maneuverable and easy to push. It is super lightweight and easy to carry, either folded or unfolded. I like the quality of the extras, such as the really soft footmuff and the raincover. It folds up nice and compact for storage in boots and at home, so I have no doubt that this would be great to use when flying abroad.” Mum of 1, Hayley

“This stroller is a perfect size, I love the fact it’s lightweight, yet sturdy and durable. It’s a compact stroller that can be used easily on the go. It folds down and can be carried with one hand, making it easy to use and still attend to baby at the same time. The design is lovely, sleek and stylish.” Mum of 1, Kimetra

Read the full Silver Cross Avia lightweight review

You can buy the Silver Cross Avia from John LewisPramworld, and direct from Silver Cross.

We’ve got more ideas about products that you and your family just can’t live without below:

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