Parenting must-haves reviewed: Essential Baby Awards 2015

The items our readers voted as must-haves in the Essential Baby Awards 2015.
The items our readers voted as must-haves in the Essential Baby Awards 2015. 

We wanted to know which products and brands mums and dads couldn't live without in the early weeks, months and years of parenting, so for the first time, we included the open-ended 'must-have' category in our annual awards.

As expected, products that help keep babies comfortable, fed, rested and entertained were popular choices, with the all-important breast pump being an essential for many mums.

Here are the products and brands our readers listed as their own personal 'must-haves'. 

Breast pump, bottles, sterilisers 

Many breastfeeding mothers will need to express their breast milk at some time, with many varied reasons why they'd choose to do it, including needing to be away from your baby, latching issues, giving sore nipples a rest, and letting a partner, friend or family member feed the baby for bonding.

The most popular breast pump brand with our readers was Medela, with the Swing model being your favourite.

Bottles by Medela Tommee Tippee, Avent, Pigeon and NUK rated mentions by our readers, as did new generation brands such as Difrax and Comotomo.

Activity centre/jumper/bouncer/swing

Parents need to get things done around the house, and being able to put baby down and have him entertained and happy is essential. Aids such as swings, bouncers and rockers, as well as activity gyms and play rugs to put baby down on, come in very handy with mum or dad needs to cook, eat or shower. As baby grows, she may find a jumper or exersaucer more exciting and stimulating.


Some of the most popular brands were the Baby Bjorn bouncer and the Fisher Price Cradle Swing


Whether used as a summer swaddle, a cool-weather pram cover, a breastfeeding cover or a burping cloth, this is one item you should always have in your nappy bag. They're useful for mopping up possets on the go, shading baby from the sun and rain while in the baby carrier, as well as being a great light blanket for the car. Some babies even bond with their muslin wraps as comforters. The wrap is a classic baby essential that's lost none of its appeal with all the exquisite design available.

Brands mentioned by our audience were Aden & Anais, Weegoamigo, Toshi and Living Textiles.

Baby monitor

When you aren't in the same room as your baby, a baby monitor helps you stay connected. There are several different types of monitors on the market, including audio and video monitors, as well as movement monitors which monitor baby's breathing and body movement.

Our readers loved their monitors from Motorola, Oricom, Fisher Price and Angelcare.

Nappy rash cream 

Nappy rash affects many babies and must be treated so baby is happy and comfortable. Your favourite brands included Bepanthen, Sudocreme, MooGoo and Weleda.

Carrier /wrap 

The vote was unanimous: a baby carrier, including carriers, slings and wraps, is a top baby essential. Keeping baby close to your body is one of the best ways of soothing them and having a great outing, while keeping you hands-free with complete access to your baby and the world around you.

Top brands include ErgoBaby, Tula, Baby Bjorn, Manduca and Hug-a-Bub.


They are probably the most useful thing on the planet when all is said and done - you'll find so many uses for wipes in your life as a parent, you'll wonder why you never bought them before you were one.  

When they are actually doing their assigned job of wiping a baby's bottom, your preferred brands are Curash, Huggies and Aldi wipes.

Bonds Wondersuit

The Bonds Wondersuit is a classic baby item that's lost no favour, despite the huge increase of clothing options available to modern parents. There's simply nothing cuter or sweeter than a freshly-bathed babe zipped into a Wondersuit. It helps that these days there are a stunning array of designs to choose from, and we're all glad about the design innovation of the zippered versions. Still, there's something nostalgic about doing up every single snap on that older-style suit while cooing at your delicious baby.

The truth is, we just seem to love them all; snapped and zippered alike.

Teething toys

Being seen out and about with the perfect teething toy has become a rite of passage for babies. Sophie the Giraffe, the oft slobbered-on queen of them all, is mainly responsible, with a whole new breed of non-toxic designer wooden teethers in all shapes and sizes being gummed by babies nation-wide.

For our readers Sophie was the stand out, but Fisher Price teethers also got a mention.

Awards 2015

See more 2015 Essential Baby Award Winners

Best Prams/strollers 2015
Best Baby Carriers 2015
Best Nappies (disposable & MCN) 2015
Best Nappy Bags 2015
Best Car Seats 2015
Best Family Cars 2015
Best High Chairs 2015
Best Cots 2015
Best Swaddles and Baby Sleeping Bags 2015
Best Maternity/Babywear Brands 2015