There's a lot of information highlighting products you need when you travel with a baby, focused on what fits in the plane's overhead compartment or makes a hotel more baby-friendly. But I've struggled to find recommendations for what to buy when you're only going a couple (or more, in my case) miles away to the grandparents' house.
Those items you want to leave there with them that will give you peace of mind your baby is safe (because let's be honest, some things our moms did with us is probably not safe anymore) and also give them the confidence they can take care of baby while you are out. I focused on products that also have a long life with your children because there's no point in spending a ton of money on things they will quickly age out of when they won't necessarily be using them frequently.
Here are my recommendations for what to leave at the grandparents' house:
Why: It's light and easy to set up, making it perfect for longer trips or short visits. Since it folds up, it's easy to store behind a couch or in a closet, meaning baby doesn't need a dedicated room. It grows with baby, and it's safe for kids ages 0-3 years, which means you will be getting a lot of use out of it.
What: A sound machine is highly recommended to help babies sleep better and longer since it blocks out all outside noises. This top-rated Hushh version creates natural fan-based sounds and can be clipped anywhere.
Why: Compact and easy to use (no need to fiddle with confusing technology or download an app), everyone can operate this one. What's more, the rechargeable battery lasts up to 12 hours. Our family takes it with us wherever we go and it even helps me sleep better!
What: Babies go through a lot of diapers so make sure grandparents are set up for success by leaving them with more than enough. The Eco Pea diapers are earth-friendly and soft on your baby's bum.
Why: In my experience, not all diapers are good for all babies. Mine needed a specific level of absorbency (they were big wetters) and also blow out control (constant poopers). By leaving the exact brand of diapers you love and your baby is used to, you can ensure baby and Grandma will be having a blast while you're away.
What: These Mary Meyer soft character blankets are both cute and snuggly. The sloth is equal parts comfort and play, making baby feel safer while sleeping away from you.
Why: Children love loveys and I find it smart to buy two (or more!) of the same lovey to have in case of emergency (say, when you have to wash it, if you lose one, or to keep at the grandparents' house).
What: The Toki Mats play mats don't only come in adorable and stylish prints, but are a safe place to plop baby on the floor for some solo time play, practicing tummy time or taking adorable photos.
Why: These mats can fold in two for easy storing. The cover is removable and machine-washable in case of any accidents. They are a bestseller for good reasons , and not only ideal to use indoors but also outdoors to keep baby away from grass and dirt.
What: This BABYBJÖRN bouncer is an all time favorite for a reason —babies love it and parents love anything their babies do as well (I'm guilty of it!).
Why: The mesh bouncer is great for all weather and is made with super safe fabrics. No batteries needed to keep baby entertained as the bouncer moves with the kicks of their legs. It's perfect for the grandparents' house because it gives them an extra set of "hands" (so to speak) for when they need to prep meals or take a shower. It folds flat, making it easy to store anywhere. Suitable for kids 0-2 years old.
What: A play gym is another way to keep baby safely entertained while also developing skills and senses. The Lovevery play gym is an all-time favorite because of the wide range of activities baby can do on it.
Why: This play gym really grows with your kids, which means grandparents can use it for a really long time. The mat is machine-washable and the whole thing can be broken down and folded to be tucked in the closet.
What: This traditional set keeps little ones busy without the bright colors you expect from their plastic counterparts, which will probably make Grandma happy.
Why: The possibilities are endless and when play time is over, they can be neatly stored in their wooden box.
What: Some babies really like their milk or formula warmed up. If you have one of those babies worry not because the Baby's Brew portable bottle warmer will make your life (and the grandparents') so much easier by heating up to the exact perfect temperature in seconds.
Why: This bottle warmer will give grandparents the peace of mind that the milk or formula they are offering baby is absolutely safe. Plus, the formula dispenser guarantees the right amount of it will be in every bottle mixed.
What: The Mushie plates are not only unbreakable, but also dishwasher-friendly and super stylish, meaning they won't clash with Grandma's style or give her an extra chore.
Why: You don't want your kids breaking the fancy china at their grandparents (is that still a thing?) so send them over with these plates that don't look like children's plates to make sure everyone stays happy while you're not there.
What: We all know how important nutrition is in the first years of our children's lives, that's why this Yumi subscription service is great to have. It takes away the stressful thinking and planning of baby's meals while ensuring they are getting the best mix of quality and variety.
Why: Grandparents will love feeding baby their first solids, especially without having to do any of the prep ahead of time. The Yumi tubs can also be kept frozen so they'll be ready when needed.
What: Everyone who's ever bathed a baby in a bathtub knows how hard it can be on both arms and knees. Enter the PUJ bath kneeler to keep everyone happy during bath time.
Why: They may be spry, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve just a little more comfort. The compact design is foldable and small enough that it can be tucked away in any bathroom for the next visit.
What: The BABYBJÖRN toilet training seat is perfect to use on the go. It sits over the regular toilet seat and prevents little kids from falling in. It comes with a hook to hang by the toilet or behind doors.
Why: For bigger kids who are starting their journey on toilet training, this seat is ideal to have anywhere yo go, because it will give them the confidence and safety they need to use the bathroom, without having to lug around a big plastic pretend toilet. Thanks to the rubber on the outside sides, it won't slip off and is safe for children to sit on.
This article was originally published in September 2020. It has been updated.
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