What to Expect’s commerce team spends time learning about and testing baby gear like it’s their job (because, well, it is). But we aren’t just focused on new products; we also keep an eye on what parents in the What to Expect Community say is genuinely working for them and making their lives easier. This, coupled with our own parenting experience and testing, gives us a unique perspective into which products have the potential to start trending.
In 2023, you’ll see more gear that takes little annoyances out of everyday tasks or that stretches parents’ hard-earned dollars. (Or, in the best of circumstances, do both.) You will also notice shifts in the way people shop to save themselves money and stress.
Curious to see what’s in store (literally) for the new year? Here are some of the baby product trends you’ll see in 2023.
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Moms will have more wearable breast pump options than ever before
Wearable breast pumps, also known as hands-free or wireless breast pumps, fit inside your bra. There are no flanges that protrude from your shirt, and there are no cords that have to be plugged into the wall. The discrete, portable design means that, in theory, a mom can pump anywhere, anytime — and while doing other things. This makes pumping more convenient, which can increase the likelihood of sticking with it (something many moms have prioritized amid the ongoing formula shortage).
Willow ($550) and Elvie ($535) had been the go-to wearable breast pumps for years, with Willow making itself more competitive by adding the Willow Go ($350) to its lineup in March 2022. Then, in April 2022, Babyation launched The Pump. Winning Best in Show at the 2022 Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association’s Innovation Awards, The Pump promises to help moms express more milk as comfortably as possible. Late last year, Momcozy also released two wearable pumps: the S9 Pro ($120) and the S12 Pro ($170). Both were upgrades of current Momcozy pumps, offering softer-fitting flanges and an extra stimulation mode to maximize output.
Even more options are becoming available this year. In January, Tommee Tippee released its Made for Me Wearable Breast Pump ($297), while Medela launched the Freestyle Hands-free Breast Pump ($350), a wearable version of its popular Medela Freestyle Flex Breast Pump.
In an effort to stay ahead of its competitors, Willow also announced on January 17 that its mobile app is now available via the Apple Watch. Through the app, moms can adjust the pump’s suction, track their output and time their sessions.
More of an effort will be made to remove dangerous sleep products from the market
In May 2022, President Biden signed the Safe Sleep for Babies Act into law, which prohibits padded crib bumpers and inclined sleep products from being manufactured and sold in the U.S. The following month, the Infant Sleep Product Rule went into effect, making it unlawful to sell products that don’t meet the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CSPC) safety standards after June 23, 2022. Then, as a final push for safer sleep, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated its Safe Sleep Recommendations in July 2022. Among the many recommendations, the AAP advises caregivers to “avoid the use of commercial devices that are inconsistent with safe sleep recommendations.”
The end of 2022 saw the CSPC cracking down on companies that were not adhering to the laws. In November, the CSPC issued a violation notice to DockATot for continuing to import and sell its popular Deluxe+ Dock in the U.S., even after the company was notified in June that the product did not comply with the newly instated Infant Sleep Product Rule. Then, in January, the CPSC reissued recalls for more than 5.3 million Fisher-Price and Kids2 rocking play sleepers. The sleeper was initially recalled in April 2019 following 35 reported deaths associated with the product, and has since been outlawed as part of the Safe Sleep for Babies Act.
These recent instances show that CSPC is committed to removing dangerous sleep products from the market, and that it may issue more recalls and violations as needed in 2023. Be sure to pay attention to these announcements, and if you own a recalled product, following the recommendations for removing or returning the item.
Rotating car seats will become more popular
Getting a baby in and out of their car seat can result in a lot of crying — sometimes from baby and mom. Part of the frustration stems from the awkward body angling needed to secure a baby into a car seat. Many brands have picked up on this issue and created a solution in the form of a rotating car seat. Also known as a swivel car seat, this type of convertible car seat spins on the base, allowing you to position the car seat in a way that makes it easier for you to buckle in the baby. Once your little one is secure, you can spin the car seat back to its rear- or forward-facing position and lock it in place for a safe ride.
Evenflo, Cybex, and Baby Jogger have had rotating car seats on the market since 2021. Graco and Nuna released their own rotating car seats in 2022. Maxi-Cosi also has a larger line of rotating car seats for its European market. We predict that some could make their way overseas in 2023, assuming they are found to meet U.S. car seat standards.
Additionally Glimpse, which analyzes consumer behavior and conversation to track trends, found that interest in rotating car seats grew 192 percent between 2021 and 2022. With the combination of increased availability and increased interest, we expect you to see a lot more rotating car seats in 2023.
Generic and alternative brands will become go-to’s for everyday essentials
When parents find that one product that works for their baby, they sometimes refuse to buy anything else. Maybe it’s a formula that agrees with baby’s sensitive stomach or a diaper that holds in the most explosive of poops. But certain factors may cause this type of brand loyalty to waver in 2023.
First, there’s inflation. In an effort to save money, families have started looking for cheaper alternatives for some products, like diapers, wipes and baby food. Several stores, including CVS, Walgreens and Target, saw sales for their store brand items increase last summer, according to Fox Business, and that growth will likely continue as inflation rises.
Then there are the supply chain issues. Demand for infant formula and children’s Tylenol and Motrin skyrocketed in 2022, the former due to a product recall, the latter due to an unprecedented flu season coupled with spikes in RSV and COVID. Brands have been unable to keep up with parents’ needs, resulting in barren shelves, purchasing limits, and months-long backorders. But a hungry or sick child can’t wait for their go-to brand, so parents have learned to adapt and work with what’s available.
Generic versions of products benefit from this trend, but so do alternative brands that weren’t previously household names. When bigger brands were absent from the shelves in 2022, alternatives from companies like Genexa, KinderMed, and Wellements were available to help babies who were under the weather. Meanwhile, formula brands like Aptamil, ByHeart, Bobbie and Kendamil helped keep babies fed.
(It should be noted that all formulas marketed in the United States, including generic or name brand must meet federal nutrient requirements . Similarly, all generic medications, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen, work the same.)
We predict that parents will continue to opt for these generic or alternative versions even as supply chain issues stabilize.
The chic convertible high chair market will explode
When you’re spending hundreds of dollars on baby gear, you want to make sure you’re investing in products that will last. Convertible cribs and car seats have been around for a while, but until recently, Stokke dominated the convertible high chair market, with its iconic Tripp Trapp, as well as the Clikk and the Steps.
More recently, Lalo debuted The Chair, another sleek high chair that grows with your little one. And in 2023, you can expect to see even more options for aesthetically pleasing convertible high chairs. Maxi-Cosi released its Moa 8-in-1 High Chair ($180) in November 2022, while Ergobaby’s Evolve 3-in-1 High Chair will hit stores January 26, 2023.
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