NEW YORK — New and expectant parents flocked to a Manhattan pier to scope out the latest gear and services at the New York Baby Show, where companies large and small from around the world peddle everything from teethers and food warmers to strollers and nursing pillows.
The two-day annual show, among the largest in the country, was held May 14-15. There was a dad boot camp and seminars on breast-feeding, picking a car seat and nursery school admissions, among others.
A few highlights:
Much has been made of breast-feeding in public. The fact is not all moms are comfortable exposing the breast when out and about. Many nursing scenarios exist in clothing and covers that come in a variety of fabrics, patterns and closures. One cover stands out in its simplicity.
It's a lightweight poncho-style made of 100 percent cotton muslin, both organic and non-organic. It slips easily over the neck and provides a full back for privacy when lifting a top. It also includes boning at the wide, square neckline for durability and ease in checking on baby.
"There are some moms who are more conservative and they want to have their privacy," said Carolina Toro-Gerstein, a mom of two and founder and CEO of Poncho Baby, the Los Angeles company that makes them. "I launched this company because I wanted the cover. I just wanted to have a very personal connection between my baby and I, but so many of the covers were really heavy and hot."
The covers come in several soft colors, including pink, navy and beige. They're not the fanciest or the most fashionable but they can double as breathable stroller covers, baby carrier covers or car seat canopies. And they're machine washable.
Available at retailers and at Ponchobaby.com for $58.
The Boppy nursing pillow, a stuffed circle with an opening that lets mom wrap it around her waist, has become a standard. Now, there's a cute hen that can serve the same function.
Grandma Dana's Hen is from La Millou. It's not an all-around nurser, but it curves just fine and is handmade. In small and larger sizes, the hens are made of cotton and soft polyester fabric with hypoallergenic fluff inside.
Patterned cloth wattles match fabric along the bottom of each hen to break up the textured body in bright pink, blue, red, black and white, among other colors. One has black-and-white checkerboard accents and another features cute polar bear cloth in the patterned fabric parts.
The beauty is the mobility and versatility. They can easily be helpful when traveling, as a pillow or car-seat assistant and as a stuffed toy. They'd also make a great baby gift. Made in Europe, they come packed in linen bags.
Suggested retail for the small hens is $34.99. The larger ones cost $54.99. Available at retailers and Lamillou-us.com .
Plastic-averse parents have a variety of wooden teethers to choose from. One company, Darlyngandco.com , has a couple of new ones.
They're made in the U.S. of all-natural maple wood. They're left unfinished without any chemical coatings and are just the right size for tiny hands. Others on the market are coated with flaxseed oil and come as rings attached to cloth dolls or teething towels.
Ever wonder why babies reach for the TV remote? Darlyng has made one of their lightweight wooden teethers look like one. Another looks like a soda can, and both have holes in the center for easy grasping.
The same company also makes the Yummy Mitt, a glow-in-the-dark mitten teether with food grade silicone at the fingers and Velcro closures at the wrist.
The wooden teethers retail for $12.99. Available at retailers and at Darlyngandco.com after May 31.
Most strollers fold, but not all fold as compactly as a couple spotted at the baby show.
One, called Pockit, is akin in style and minimalist features to a basic umbrella stroller. There's an under-storage basket, a sun shade and sturdy wheels and straps, but the difference is in how it folds: Into a squarish handbag-shape, weighing in at 9.5 pounds at 12 inches by 7 inches by 14 inches.
It's small enough to fit under an airplane seat, but it's a two-hand, two-step process to get there. The wheels can also fold in to make it even smaller but that's an additional step. It will hold a child up to 55 pounds. Pricey at $249.99. Available at retailers and at Gbchildusa.com .
Another company, Babyzen, makes the Yoyo+. Features include a room under-basket and canopy. Options are available to accommodate baby from birth through to 44 pounds, including a flat, rear-facing bassinet. This stroller weighs in at 13 to 13.5 pounds, depending on options, and folds to 20 inches by 17 inches by 7 inches in its basic form. All fabrics are removable and machine washable.
Available at retailers. The chassis with adjustable back, carry strap, rain cover, under-basket and travel bag costs $495. More information at Babyzen.com.
BOTTLE AND FOOD WARMERS
Parents on the go, including those who camp with babies, will appreciate the lightweight Aquaheat line of warming products from Innobaby.com .
The company makes stainless steel containers for food warming and a stainless bottle that require no electricity to generate heat in seconds because of single-use pods that interact with a small amount of water. The pods come in warm and hot versions and are sold in bags of six. They are one-time use but can last up to an hour.
The warm packs can create temperatures up to 185 degrees for liquids, oatmeal or baby food. The hot versions heat up to 212 degrees for full servings of soup or pasta.
The pods are biodegradable. Food warmers come in 16-ounce and 28-ounce versions. The bottle holds 10 ounces and includes a stage 1 nipple and warming pod.
Available at retailers and at Innobaby.com. Bottle set retails for $34.99, small warmer with airtight lid $29.99 and large warmer with airtight lid $34.99. Packs of six pods sell for $9.99.