Alan Thicke's Widow Says 'We Were Planning on Having a Baby' Prior to Growing Pains Star's Unexpected Death
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SPROUT ANIMAL MOBILE
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: I discovered this handmade felted wool mobile from Sprout, a boutique that specializes in natural and organic children’s items, during one of many nursery décor Pinterest sessions. I added it to my registry and was thrilled when it arrived at our apartment courtesy of a very generous friend. Not only does it look great hanging over the baby’s changing table, but it also manages to keep his attention during every diaper change, which is pretty amazing considering it doesn’t require a single battery.
Buy It! Sprout Animal Mobile, $110; sproutsanfrancisco.com
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BABY DEEDEE SLEEP NEST
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: Once it was time to move our wriggling, rolling baby out of her Merlin Sleep Suit (shudder), we had to replicate that fluffy, cozy feeling for her in order for any of us to get some sleep. Standard sleep sacks just weren't cutting it for our busy baby, so it was Baby DeeDee to the rescue. The sleep nest is like a comforter crossed with a sleeping bag, but completely safe for your little one. And super-duper cozy. Both my kids slept better in their sleep nests than in anything else. The line features different weights depending on the temperature in your home, and the shoulder snaps make for an easier in and out. I want all the colors.
Buy It! Baby DeeDee Sleep Nest, starting at $33; babydeedee.com
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Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: Now that I’m a mom, lots of friends ask me for baby shower gift suggestions and this cardboard box is at the top of my list. It’s a curated package of everything a newborn needs inspired by the traditional kit all expectant parents are eligible to receive in Finland as a benefit of the social security system there (sounds nice, right?). And in addition to providing new parents with tons of must-haves, the box itself can also be used a safe space for infants to sleep. The chic-looking Finnbin version comes with more than 40 awesome products including bibs, bath essentials, a swaddle, clothes, bedding and so much more. It adds up to more than $800 worth of stuff, but costs almost half that much, making it a perfect gift for a group of friends or family members to give the mom-to-be.
Buy It! Finnbin, $450; finnbin.com
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KOHL'S MATERNITY COLLECTIONS
Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director: I managed to wear my normal clothes for the first six months of my pregnancy, but once I got to the point I had to buy new stuff, I was horrified to find that all the affordable stuff was hideous, and all the cool stuff was ridiculously expensive. And who wants to spend a ton on something you might only wear for three months?
Kohl's invited me to a press preview to see their new lines, A:Glow and Pip & Vine by Rosie Pope, and I was thrilled to see that the collection totally addressed my No. 1 beef with maternity clothing. The pieces are actually things I'd wear in my non-pregnant life, which means I won't be dying to get rid of them post-baby when my body is still recovering. And the prices can't be beat.
Buy It! Kohl's a:glow dress, $44.99; kohls.com
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Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: A friend sent my son a Yoee Baby as a gift and when I first took it out of the box, I had no idea what it was (other than really funny-looking). So I did what any good parent would do: I Googled it and I was surprised to learn that it was Kickstarter’s most-funded baby toy last year. It features a cute plush character (we have the dog), an easy-to-grab handle with a silicone teether, a rattle and crinkles inside and a long, feather-like tail. The creators say that using it with your baby helps promotes sensory and language development and motor skills. I can’t vouch for all of that, but what I can say is that my son never lets go of it.
Buy It! Yoee Baby, $24.99; yoeebaby.com
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Laurie Coughlan, PEOPLE Public Relations Consultant: Heat wave + 26 weeks pregnant + very busy toddler = a need for easy, indoor toys that occupy for more than three minutes and allow me to sit. These magical magnet blocks have kept my son occupied for up to 45 minutes straight, which is a feat otherwise unheard of. He is able to build towers, ramps, houses or "ice ceeem cones" all on his own without much frustration. Worth the price tag.
Buy It! Magna-Tiles, $119.99; amazon.com
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ADEN + ANAIS WHITE LABEL
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: Before I even had my son, I knew that aden + anais muslin swaddle blankets were a mom must-have. They’re super-soft, lightweight and can be used in a multitude of ways. And now the beloved brand has a new white label collection with a cool “downtown vibe” inspired by their Brooklyn headquarters. It features playful prints in an array of vibrant hues that you don’t normally see in the baby department. My favorite is the dinosaur-themed “jurassic” pattern. (shown here).
Buy It! aden + anais White Label 3-Pack Classic Swaddling Cloths, $38; nordstrom.com
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Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: Is there anything worse than a binky that goes bouncing through the night while your baby screams her head off? Actually, yes: When your darling infant can't keep the damn thing in her mouth in the first place. Wubanub solves both of these problems with an easy-to-locate, easy-to-keep-in pacifier for your little one.
Buy It! Wubanub Animal Pacifier, $13.95; amazon.com
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CURIOUS CHEF CADDY
Amy Jamieson, Writer/Editor: My daughters, they really do have the best intentions. They just want to help — whether it's with the laundry folding (when they tackle it, I usually have to re-do it), with house cleaning (they abandon this activity quickly) or lending a hand with meal preparation ("Mom, I want to cook with you!"). Before I found this cool caddy, I was a little apprehensive about letting two sets of tiny hands loose in my kitchen, but now I really can put them to work. They can chop certain vegetables (they don't have enough hand strength for harder ones yet), they stir things that need mixing and roll out dough like pros. They love that there are a million tools to choose from and we have fun talking through how each one works.
Buy It! Curious Chef 30 Piece Caddy Collection, $79.99; curiouschef.com
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HABA COLOR SPLODGE WOODEN CLUTCHING TOY
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: We currently have about 1.2 million toys that have taken over our living room (I kid, kinda), but this is definitely one of my 1-year-old's favorites. He loves flipping the wedges in and out and now that he's "toddling" around, it's always in his hand. It's also something he can't sink his teeth into, which is his MO with all books and plastic these days ...
Buy It! HABA Wooden Clutching Toy, $12.99; habausa.com
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MUSTELA FACIAL CLEANSING CLOTHS
Laurie Coughlan, PEOPLE Public Relations Consultant: First baby, register for everything. Second baby, make a list of must-have, life-saving products. At the top of the list is definitely Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths (and all Mustela products, really). They're on the pricey side, but they made my baby’s soft, sensitive skin happy. I used these wipes as a clean-all during the first year. Makeshift bath, post spit-up clean up, quick rinse before guests come over — done. They also smell amazing. Everyone loves new baby smell, but I swear no child got more smell compliments than mine.
Buy It! Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths, $16.48 for two packs; amazon.com
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BELLY BANDIT ORIGINAL BELLY WRAP
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: While I was several months pregnant, I ordered the Belly Bandit wrap out of vanity, hoping that it would magically shrink my stomach, waist and hips post-baby. What I didn’t count on was that I’d need it for more serious issues, namely a chronically sore lower back and abdominal separation. It provides much-needed support when I’m pushing a heavy stroller on a long walk and I wear it whenever I take a barre class to keep my posture and ab situation in check. And yes, it also makes you appear instantly slimmer, which is a huge plus when you feel like you’ll never wear skinny jeans again.
Buy It! Belly Bandit Original Belly Wrap, $49.95; bellybandit.com
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BABYBJORN BOUNCER BLISS
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: I discovered this phenomenal bouncer when my second baby was a few months old and my only regret is that I didn't find it sooner. It's genius in several ways. First, it only bounces with the baby's movements, which helps your little one learn to use his or her body (and, let's be honest, to sleep better later!). Second, it's attractive, battery-free and doesn't play any music that will drive you batty. Third, and most important, it's a "seat" that my little one has actually enjoyed spending time in when several other rockers and bouncers have failed, so it's worth the high price tag — and it converts to a toddler seat for later. It’s also super light and portable so your baby will be safe and entertained while you're cooking, showering, or just taking a few minutes to yourself. A mini-vacation, as I've come to call them.
Buy It! BabyBjorn, $239.95; babybjorn.com
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PROJECT NURSERY VIDEO BABY MONITOR SYSTEM
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: I knew this monitor was good, but I didn’t realize how good until three different mom friends asked me about it. So what makes it so special? For starters, it’s super-easy to set up which is a huge plus for new parents who are exhausted, overwhelmed and surrounded by tons of new “assembly required” gear. In addition to the main screen — a 5-in. High-Definition LCD "Parent Unit” — there’s a mini 1.5-inch monitor that you can wear on your wrist (or stick in your pocket like I do) so you don’t have to carry the larger one from room to room. It also has a bunch of cool features including a two-way intercom, a speaker that plays lullabies and white noise and remote pan, tilt and zoom controls.
Buy It! Project Nursery Baby Monitor, $299.99; projectnursery.com
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BABY MERLIN MAGIC SLEEPSUIT
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: I don't know who this Merlin guy is, but his product is most definitely magic. When we brought our former preemie home from the hospital, she'd been out in the world long enough that swaddles were a no-go. But sleep sacks didn't work either, as she'd startle herself awake. I'm so happy that I followed a friend's advice and bought one of these babies. Actually two, for when one is in the wash. The extra weight muffles the startle reflex and keeps your baby feeling warm and cozy. Safe for use until your babe is rolling over. Merlin, you're my new baby shower go-to.
Buy It! Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit swaddle transition sleep product, $39.95; magicsleepsuit.com
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SOUNDBUB PORTABLE SPEAKER
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: I don't know if my little guy needs white noise to sleep, but we've been using it since day one — in part to block out noise we make around the house after he's gone to bed. When we travel, though, it's a pain to tote around our bulky sound machine, so we pop the pint-sized SoundBub into the diaper bag. The touch of one button brings on soothing sounds, and it can also be used as a portable speaker (it's Bluetooth enabled). A fun feature we haven't tried yet: the abillity to record messages on a complementary app that then play through the SoundBub (something long-distance grandparents could do). It's another chew-safe gadget, too.
Buy It! SoundBub, $49.99; wavhello.com
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SNOOGLE BODY PILLOW
Laurie Coughlan, PEOPLE Public Relations Consultant: I was not a believer during my first pregnancy and suffered through uncomfortable nights from 20 weeks on with a terrible throw pillow between my legs. So the second time around, I purchased one of these babies and it was a real game changer. If I wasn’t getting up to pee every one hour and 45 minutes on the dot, I think I could actually make it through the night.
Buy It! Leachco Snoogle Body Pillow, $65.99; bedbathandbeyond.com
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ROBEEZ BABY APPAREL
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Softest. Clothes. Ever. My son Henry recently decided he hates diaper and clothing changes, and will put up a pretty big fight anytime we try and pull a shirt over his head. But with Robeez's new, super-cozy shirts and pants, he's happy to put his arms up and let us drape tees and sweats over his head. The line is full of sweet patterns, with even sweeter sayings written inside waistbands and across backs.
Buy It! Robeez apparel, prices vary; myrobeez.com
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SNOO SMART SLEEPER
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: I first heard about the Snoo, a "smart" bassinet that's engieered to enhance a baby's sleep and calm their fussing with special white noise and jiggly rocking, when I was still pregnant with my son. At the time, I thought spending $1,200 on anything for a baby sounded ridiculous. Oh to be that naive again! After several weeks of extreme sleep deprivation, I would've shelled out three times that number if meant I could close my eyes for more than a few hours at a time. I reached out to the Snoo's creator, Dr. Harvey Karp, author of The Happiest Baby on the Block (a must-read for new parents), to inquire about it. He happened to be in New York City and offered to come to my apartment and demonstrate how the Snoo works in a Facebook Live. So is it worth it? Well, my baby slept from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. on his third night in the Snoo, (a first!) and I woke up feeling like a human for the first time since becoming a mom, which is something you can't put a price on.
Buy it! Snoo Smart Sleeper, $1,160; happiestbaby.com
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Kate Hogan, Specials Director: When we started Henry on solids, we started offering water with each little "meal." Sippy cups just weren't getting the job done, though; he'd bite on the spouts and couldn't quite figure out how to use them. So we switched to the Lollacup, which we'd seen on Shark Tank, and boom: success! He learned how to use the straw pretty quickly and loves holding onto the handles. While he's still deciding if he actually likes water, he definitely likes the cup.
Buy It! Lollacup, $16; bedbathandbeyond.com
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EZPZ HAPPY MAT
Amy Jamieson, Writer/Editor: My daughter turns her nose up at spaghetti with butter (no sauce, just plain pasta). My other daughter has a serious hatred for white rice (pair it with any sauce and you're just asking for trouble). With bizarre food aversions like these — and this is just the tip of the iceberg — I'm always looking for ways to make meal times more enticing. EZPZ's 100 percent silicone Happy Mats bring a certain silliness to the table that distract from the fact that peas (gasp!) are sitting inside it. The dishwasher safe, slip-free mats — which are BPA-, BPS-, PVC-, latex- and phthalate-free — are so easy to clean, I can quickly wash my hands of dinner and move on to the next household drama.
Buy It! EZPZ Happy Mat, $24.99; bedbathandbeyond.com
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Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Teething bites. And teething babies sometimes bite! Thankfully, the Munch Mitt eliminated much of Henry's munching when he started feeling that pain in his gums. It has a textured silicone top that gives great relief, and the rest of the mitt is made of that crinkly material babies love. Not surprisingly, this was made by a mom!
Buy It! Munch Mitt, $16.99; amazon.com
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QUINNY & MAXI COSI BY RACHEL ZOE
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: At 33 weeks pregnant, I was deep in the world of baby gear reviews. The first priority is obviously safety, followed by functionality. After you cross those two off the list, it's all about what the car seat, stroller, etc. actually looks like. Leave it to fashion expert (and mom-of-two), Rachel Zoe, to create an insanely stylish collection of baby gear that features golden hardware and cognac-leather accents. The Jet Set Canvas Diaper Bag is so chic, I'd use it as a weekender tote (not that I'll be heading out of town any time soon).
Buy It! Quinny & Maxi-Cosi by Rachel Zoe, prices vary; available at Nordstrom
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SPROUT NON-TOXIC NAIL POLISH
Aili Nahas, Deputy West Coast News Editor: My two little girls love getting mani pedis (after all, who doesn't?) and we've discovered the perfect addition to our at home spa kit. Sprout nail polish is non-toxic, which means it's safe for kids, and pregnant moms too! My 2-year-old Avery is a big fan of the pink. And the sparkles just add to the fun!
Buy It! Sprout Non-Toxic Nail Polish, $2.49; etsy.com
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Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Bathtime has been touch and go for our little man; some nights he's into it, some nights he's not. But what's seriously helped keep him happy while splashing in the tub is the introduction of SoapSox, washcloths shaped like animals that keep him laughing even when he's not so sure about getting clean. A bonus: My husband, the chief giver of baths, says these lather way better than your typical washcloths, too.
Buy It! SoapSox, $12.95; target.com
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JUST BORN SPARKLE COLLECTION CRIB SHEET
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: My family couldn't believe we weren't finding out the baby's sex until he or she was born (spoiler: it was a boy!). But I'm not the only mom-to-be who wanted to be surprised — I have a few friends who are planning to wait as well. In the meantime, we've all decorated our nurseries in neutral tones and the most popular color combo right now is gray and mint green. This adorable (and affordable) fitted sheet has a touch of sparkle and makes a great gift for someone who doesn't know what they're having. P.S. They also have a super-cute hooded towel set in the same shade.
Buy It! Just Born Sparkle Star Fitted Crib Sheet, $24.99; bedbathandbeyond.com
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CRAYOLA COLOR BATH DROPZ
Aili Nahas, Deputy West Coast News Editor: What's more fun than playing mermaid in a lagoon the perfect shade of teal? When it comes to bath time, these drops are an easy and highly entertaining way to encourage imaginative play — and color recognition practice. Watch the red and blue tablets mix to make a beautiful purple; we get lots of oohs and aahs before my daughters jump in the water. Plus, the tablets won’t dye skin — or your bathtub!
Buy It! Crayola Color Bath Dropz, $7.10; amazon.com
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CURRENT/ELLIOTT X HATCH
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: I thought that finding a pair of jeans to accommodate my six-months-and-growing bump was going to present a major fashion challenge, but I lucked out big time because the super-chic maternity brand HATCH just launched a collection with celeb-favorite denim brand Current Elliot. They have six staple pieces including the "Nearly Skinny" style (shown here) which has a subtle elastic wedge panel at the waist and boasts a "tushie-flattering" silhouette.
Buy It! Current/Elliott x HATCH Denim, $248-$378; HatchCollection.com
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Kate Hogan, Specials Director: When Henry turned 4 months old, with all his wiggling and rolling I could tell he needed somewhere more exciting to hang out than his rock and play. So after making sure our pediatrician was cool with him using a jumper for 20 minutes or so a day, we settled on this colorful rainforest model that features all the best baby basics: a mirror, light-up toys and a rattle he can't seem to get enough of.
Buy It! Fisher-Price Roarin' Rainforest Jumperoo, $73.19; amazon.com
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ADEN + ANAIS SWADDLES
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: After I announced that I was pregnant, several friends and colleagues kindly sent me their lists of baby must-haves. Some are just a few basic items, while others are 10-page long color-coded Excel spreadsheets with columns of notes. One thing that all of the lists have in common: aden + anais swaddles. Here's what one of the moms wrote in her "notes" section: "we use these for not only blanket related things in the apartment, but as a burp cloth, a car seat cover (in restaurants or when she is sleeping in the stroller to shade light), when she is on the floor, when it's warm out a great blanket, etc. Get a pack of 4–you won't need more but you will need at least those!!!"
Buy It! aden + anais Classic Swaddles 4-Pack, $49.95; adenandanais.com
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CHICCO PACIFIER CLIP
Charlotte Triggs, Senior Editor, TV: You tie the end on to the pacifier, clip it on to your child's outfit (as shown here on my daughter Tatjana) and suddenly, your life gets much easier. No bending over at restaurants to pick up the dropped pacifier over and over again and dunk it in a water glass, or watching it fall somewhere too hideous for words like the floor of the airport or discovering that it was left behind during an absent minded moment at the park. Our "house pacifiers" all consistently disappear, but the "travel pacifier" has been in pools, on planes and always makes it home safe.
Buy It! Chicco NaturalFit Fashion Pacifier Clip, $5.99; amazon.com
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BURT'S BEES WASHCLOTH BOX
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: One thing I've learned since welcoming my son: You can never have enough washcloths. They're great for bathtime, obviously, but also cleaning up mini-changing table messes, drool and, of course, spit-up. This box from Burt's Bees includes three 100 percent organic cotton cloths, and comes with a bottle of the brand's yummy shampoo and wash. It makes the perfect gift for a mom who has everything, too, and comes in blue, pink and white.
Buy It! Burt's Bees Washcloth Box, $10; burtsbeesbaby.com
Alan Thicke's Widow Says 'We Were Planning on Having a Baby' Prior to Growing Pains Star's Unexpected Death