Crowdsourcing: What Baby and Child Products Do You Love So Much You Overzealously Recommend Them to Everybody?

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It takes a village to raise a child, in large part because baby books won’t tell you things like, “This specific toddler bottle is crap, get this one instead.” And that sucks, because so much of parenting depends on product recommendations. Normally we get suggestions about this stuff from our friends, but if we don’t have friends with kids, there’s a lot we don’t know. When we find stuff we really love, we do the world a favor to stand up and shout to the heavens about how much we love it, because that can help people.

In Sex and the City, Miranda has a baby, and none of her friends have babies, and it’s pretty hard for her to deal with a loud, colicky newborn and a job and have no real support system because her friends don’t know what’s going on or how to help. The baby won’t stop crying, and another woman in the building comes to complain about the noise, but then the other woman looks around Miranda’s fancy New York apartment and realizes Miranda doesn’t know what she’s doing and doesn’t have any mom friends who can offer her any advice, like, “Buy this vibrating chair that will make your baby stop crying.” The other mother brings down a chair, which quiets the baby like magic, and says, “Your friends love you. They just don’t know about the chair.”

And that really happens! When I had my baby, I was living far away in Germany and I didn’t have any friends there. I also didn’t have any friends with kids. So it was just me and the Internet, and I missed a lot of stuff. Every day I thank God for former Mommyish editor Eve Vawter and her constant willingness to stan for the Nose Frida, because otherwise I would never have bought it, and my life would have been significantly worse.

The Nose Frida is disgusting, but you should have one anyway. Seriously. It is a tube that you stick one end in the baby’s nose, and the other end in your mouth, and you suck on it to clear the baby’s stuffed nose. It is horrifying. It even says “The Snot-Sucker” right on the package, and it is the most disgusting idea for a product anybody has ever had. Buy it anyway. Buy it for all your friends’ baby showers. They will squeal in horror and think you are a weirdo, but they will have that Nose Frida in the back of the drawer, and one day they will have a baby with a stuffed-up nose, and those stupid little squeeze ball nose-clearers will not work. And then they will think, “If only I could get some more sustained suction. … Eff it, I’m at my wits’ end. I will try the Nose Frida.”

Grudgingly, they will open and use the Nose Frida. The next day, they will be on the Internet like I am now, saying: “Buy it! Just buy it!” Nobody who ever needed to use a Nose Frida has ever regretted having one.

Seriously, buy the Nose Frida.

Only recently I have seen people getting together to talk about how their lives were saved by something called the Fisher Price Rock N Play. I think it’s some kind of bassinet. People are saying it’s the only thing their kids would sleep in. Why weren’t these people my friends!? My kid only slept in my arms for well over a year while I slowly lost my mind. I still haven’t tried it, but a part of me worries that I missed out on my only chance for sleep, like, ever, because I didn’t have friends to tell me to buy one of those.

Medela breast pump: If you’re going to attach a pump to yourself, I will be the first one in line to tell you to make sure it is a Medela. My first breast pump was a Medela hand pump because that was what they sold at the store next to my house, so that’s what my husband came back with when I said, “Go get a hand-operated breast pump.” I thought I hated it, until my luggage was stolen and the pump was taken with it. Then I bought a new one, from a different brand. It looked all fancy and high-tech and comfortable and pink, so I was excited about the upgrade. After two days with that thing, I was so angry I was twisted up in such a fury I was ready to crash through the wall like Kool-Aid Man. I was so angry I actually threw it away and bought a new Medela one, even though that was like $60 down the drain.

I didn’t know what I was doing when I had my baby, and I wound up with a lot of dumb stuff that had no real purpose. (Those Aden & Anais swaddling cloths that Kate Middleton uses … they’re soft as hell and make great nursing covers, but seriously, why are they on every single “must buy” list for babies? And Sophie the Giraffe was great, but mostly for my benefit, so I could walk around feeling like everyone saw it and recognized that I was the type of parent who bought Sophie the Giraffe.)

Oh! And baby nail clippers with an extended plastic hand-hold thing on the end so you get more control and better leverage! Those things are so great.

But seriously, I am strongly considering having an ad for the Nose Frida carved into my tombstone so future generations can benefit from it. (This is not an ad. I just really like it.)

You’ve probably used a lot of products in the raising of your children. What are the ones you are most willing to stand up on a hill and overzealously recommend to everyone you see? (Especially if you have toddler recommendations. I still have time to benefit from those.)