Products for dads

What products am I still using 5 years later?


Bryan Whiting


June 21, 2022

Products I enjoy as a dad

Third times a charm - I hope by(/if) kid number four I’ll have this all figured out. It’s amazing how I feel so new to it all despite raising two kids in the last five years. In starting fresh a third time I feel inspired to write down some things I’m rediscovering.

To anyone getting started on their baby journey, perhaps these suggestions can help. Your baby is definitely different than mine, so your mileage may vary! But since I’m still using this stuff five years later maybe it can help you too. Either way, congrats and good luck!

Products I still use on baby 3

Since I’m a mega influencer (on my very established data science blog here), I get paid $500 every time you click a link below. So please, go crazy.

I’ll also credit my wife for figuring out to buy these products in the first place.

  1. Stretchy swaddle, like this. I like stretchy swaddles because they’re forgiving. The cotton muslin swaddles are nice and soft, but if the fabric doesn’t stretch the right way you may have to redo the swaddle.
  2. Ollie swaddle (nighttime). This thing is ridiculously overpriced for a swaddle. $70? Don’t get it. But if you do, I like it because its super easy to put on and very sturdy (hard for baby to break). At month 2 the baby gets strong and the basic swaddles are so easy to break. That and I feel like I’m gonna hurt my kid if I try to make a cotton swaddle unbreakable. Enter Velcro! I can be gentle on the swaddle but have it be unbreakable. There are a lot of random contraption swaddles that tie the baby up like a pretzel. This is your classic burrito. Insert baby, wrap right side, Velcro left side and you’re done.
  3. Ubbi Steel Odor Locking diaperpail. I also hated the thought five years ago of shelling out $70 for a trash can. Five years since and the thing still performs. I know how well it’s working when garbage day rolls around and I open it to change it. Smells like a gentle coastal breeze, maybe. To this day my wife hasn’t changed it more than a time or two because thankfully I have an iron stomach and unfortunately she does not. Point is: it keeps the diaper smell inside (for the most part) and uses normal garbage bags (cost saver).
  4. Baby K’tan Original Baby Wrap Carrier, Infant and Child Sling. I’ve tried several carriers. Boba wraps take way too much patience to learn how to put on (patience I ran out of quickly as a new dad). This thing is just two circular fabric swaths, which means it takes two seconds to throw on. The convenience is huge - baby crying? Grab the carrier and snuggle up in 10 seconds or less.
  5. DockATot Deluxe+ Dock. We just got one off Facebook marketplace for $50 for third kid. We got it because let’s be real - sleeping is hard. The hardest thing about sleeping is the uncertainty what’s happening on the other side of the room in the crib. Grunting. Coughing. Is baby waking up? Needs a pacifier? When it’s 5am and you’re on feeding three of the night, being able to just roll over and plop the little one into the co-sleeper and monitor the situation close up is nice.
  6. 4moms rockaRoo Baby Swing. There are a thousand ways to solve the “where do I put my baby while cooking dinner” problem. We’ve liked this one.

Must Haves

  1. Dish soap. Honestly, nothing gets out a blowout stain like dish soap. That and drying in the sun is a miracle worker. (Apparently this is how cloth diaper people do it.)
  2. Apple cider vinegar for diaper rash. Once the little pimples appear, you’ll try anything to get them to go away. We just discovered this hack recently and I was delightfully surprised how easily it worked.
  3. This is the right way to carry a car seat. A friend of mine that has three kids didn’t know this was a thing until he saw me do it. It’s a thing. Do it! Your forearm will thank you.

Toddler Time

Down the road, these products have hit home runs for me.

  • Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup. Every time I put this cup together I consider applying to Munchkin for a job to be their sales rep. This company has very clever designs on their products and this one just crushes it for me. Acts like a normal cup. Performs like a sippy. (I’ll admit I’ve taken a few swigs out of this just to understand how it works!)
  • Contigo Spill-Proof Kids Tumbler. I think we have 80 water bottles in a junk drawer somewhere. Cheap ones. Expensive ones. They all end up scattered in pieces like the zebra herd before the lion that is your innocent child. This cup is no exception: I’ve lost a straw on one already. But! If you want a water bottle you’ll have the problem of spare parts. (Uhh, this isn’t a recommendation so far…) So why this cup? This cup is just good. I don’t know. It’s easy to assemble and clean (wide top). Doesn’t spill. Kids like straws?


Not that you’ll have time to read…

  1. The Happiest Baby on the Block; Fully Revised and Updated Second Edition: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer. I’m sure there’s a quick YouTube video showing the 5 ways to sooth a baby. (Here’s an article.) But if you like books this is a good one. TLDR: sucking, swaddle, shushing, swinging, and side are all soothing to a crying baby.
  2. 1-2-3 Magic: Gentle 3-Step Child & Toddler Discipline for Calm, Effective, and Happy Parenting. This is for toddlers, but I’ve learned this technique has been very helpful for giving me sanity in the terrible two phase. The approach doesn’t always work, but I’ve learned when it does, which is important. TLDR: don’t talk (engage in debate) with your toddler or show emotion when they’re misbehaving. Count them when they do bad acts. That’s 1. That’s 2. That’s 3. Break time. The book explains the method. YouTube is probably a friend here too.

Final word

Fatherhood has pushed my limits in all the ways. But I thank God every day I’m a dad. I do a nightly gratitude journal of my favorite moments of the day. If I’m paying attention during the day, at night it’s always my kids that have brought me the happiest moments and greatest joys of the day.

Just remember: the clothes/products/trips are like the tools used to construct a fine painting. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what tools you use. Nobody cares and neither will you. It’s the output that matters most. I’ve found by just really paying attention to and getting curious about my kids in any moment helps me see the beauty of it all, while distractions cause me to think I need this or that be a better dad.

For coaching on data analytics or machine learning, reach out.