13 Inventions Women Created to Make Mom Life That Much Easier

Mar 4 2019 - 12:35pm

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but motherhood may be the real inspiration behind many of the life-changing products [1] we have in our parenting arsenals. It's not until you're truly in the trenches and up to your elbows in dirty diapers [2] and unwashed dishes that you realize there has to be a better way, and you're determined to make it happen — now.

That's the motivation behind 13 products — including the disposable diaper, the Milk-Saver, those ubiquitous muslin baby blankets, and more — that moms have created over the years. Scroll through to see some of our favorite products that seriously make mom life that much easier.

Versatile Nursing Covers

Jamie Yetter, a mother of four, was all about breastfeeding her little ones when they were infants, except there was one problem: she didn't love any of the existing nursing covers on the market. Determined to breastfeed her kiddos at Disneyland out in the open without wanting to sacrifice her comfort, Jamie plugged in her sewing machine and made one that worked for her.

Enter Covered Goods, Jamie's homegrown brand that launched in 2012 and has been helping mothers feed their little ones IRL ever since. This 4-in-1 Nursing Cover [4] ($35) serves many purposes — which means it takes up minimal space in your diaper bag. It can be used as a car seat cover, shopping cart cover, or as a scarf and comes in tons of solid and print options.

Disposable Diapers

When changing your child's diaper, you probably don't take a moment to thank Marion Donovan, but you should. After the birth of her second child, she was tired of coming into the nursery and finding a soggy diaper and damp sheets due to a leak. So she set out to create a waterproof diaper that didn't cause diaper rash [5] like rubber diaper pants did. She started crafting a more breathable diaper cover out of waterproof shower curtains, moved on to nylon parachute material, and finally settled on creating a waterproof diaper cover out of nylon that could be stuffed with absorbent paper and fastened with snaps rather than safety pins to make it safer. She called it the Boater. But when Marion tried to sell it to manufacturers, she was repeatedly turned down.

Not one to take no for an answer, Marion struck a deal with Saks Fifth Avenue, which began selling the Boater in 1949. Two years later, she patented the invention and began work designing the first truly disposable diaper. She never found a manufacturer willing to make the throwaway diaper — the men at the companies didn't find it necessary. But 10 years later, Proctor and Gamble did introduce an all-in-one disposable diaper.

The Padalily

Having multiple kids and errands to run means one thing: you never seem to have enough hands. Lily Winnail, a mom from North Carolina, knew that frustrating situation all too well and decided to do something about it. Her solution? The Padalily [6] ($12), a cushion that wraps around your baby carrier or car seat's handle to make it easier to handle.

Like most mamas who come up with ingenious inventions, the idea popped into her mind organically. "While at the Post Office one busy morning, I juggled my son in his car seat, a box to be mailed out, and my two girls. As my arm became sore from the car seat handle digging into me [7], the idea struck." The mom of three started on the product's prototype using scraps of fabric — and the rest is history.


Leave it to a frustrated and sleep-deprived mother to develop a fuss-free swaddle that can comfort a baby back to sleep. Karen Barski's third child was born five weeks early and just couldn't get on a sleep schedule. As a nurse, she knew the importance of swaddling, but the baby ended up in a heap of blankets each night. So she sat down with her grandmother's sewing machine and made the Woombie [8], a soft yet snug cocoon-like swaddle that simulates the sensation of being in the womb. After seeing how it comforted her daughter, she launched Woombie as a product [9] ($25) in December 2007. Since then, babies have slept a bit more soundly, leading to more rested parents.


Not many women have heard of Patsy Sherman, but they've likely thanked her many times over the years. A 3M chemist, Patsy was one of the only women in her field in 1952. She worked on fluorochemicals [10] and was charged with developing a new form of rubber for jet fuel lines. But when some rubber spilled on an assistant's shoe and wouldn't come off, all of that changed. The rubber stain repelled water, oil, and other liquids without changing the color of fabric. 3M ultimately named the product Scotchguard [11] ($6) and parents everywhere have joyfully filled their homes with adult furniture ever since.

Magnificent Baby

You don't have be a mother to see a necessity for moms. Lauren Levy Feuer was babysitting her nephew when she became frustrated with the Velcro on his bib pulling at his fine baby hair. She replaced the offending closures with magnets, and Magnificent Baby [12] was born, making overnight diaper changes faster and quieter than ever before. New parents get to pick from newborn gowns, bibs, or Footie Pajamas [13] ($24 and up) for older children.

Alphabet Blocks

While Adeline D.T. Whitney probably wouldn't view herself as a pioneer (in the late 1800s, she wrote antisuffragist books that touted her belief that a woman's place was in the home), she invented something found in most homes and schools across the nation: wooden alphabet blocks. Today the blocks — originally a wooden cube with colorful letters and symbols on them — come in various sizes and materials, and one from her original set, patented in 1882 [14], sits in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Milkies Milk-Savers

Helen Anderson, an emergency room nurse, came up with this brilliant product after she gave birth to her second son in 2007. And, as usual, her inspiration came from being in a sticky situation. She was finding it difficult to make time to pump on the hospital floor, but still needed to come up with breast milk to cover her 12-hour work shift.

After noticing that tons of milk leaked through her bra and soaked her pads, the concept of the Milk-Saver [15] ($26), a product that allows moms to easily collect and save breast milk that leaks during their breastfeeding sessions, was born.

Muslin Swaddling Blankets

Muslin swaddling blankets [16]($16 and up) have been ubiquitous in Australia forever, but after relocating to New York City and having her first child in 2003, Raegan Moya-Jones couldn't find one anywhere. She was determined to swaddle her newborn in the lightweight, breathable cotton wraps she grew up with, so she created them herself [17]. Aden + Anais [18] (Anais is Raegan's eldest daughter) was born in 2006 and took the baby world by storm.

Maternity Clothing Emporiums

Before Rebecca Matthias entered the maternity-wear market, clothing for expectant moms pretty much consisted of muumuus. In 1982, while searching for maternity clothes she could wear to work, Rebecca was struck by the lack of options for professional women. Determined to fix that, she started a catalog called Mothers Work [19]. After a few bumps along the road, the company took off in the form of three retail chains — Mimi Maternity, Motherhood Maternity, and Pea in the Pod — that made maternity wear accessible to women everywhere at every price point.

Boogie Wipes

Sure, you could hand your child a tissue, but after discovering Boogie Wipes [20] ($10), you'll never go back to the dry stuff again. The saline-soaked wipes were created by Mindee Doney and Julie Pickens in 2008 [21] after Mindee couldn't convince her daughter to use drops in her congested nose. A clever parenting hack — putting the drops on a tissue and then quickly putting it in her daughter's nose — worked like a charm, and a multimillion dollar business was born!


Here's an invention we all can appreciate. In the 1880s, Josephine Cochrane was dismayed when her household servants chipped her heirloom china while washing it by hand, and when she tried to do it herself, she realized there must be a better way. She was determined to develop a machine that could do it faster and more safely. Working in the shed behind her house with a local mechanic, she created the first dishwashing machine [22]. She built wire compartments based on the size of the plates, cups, and saucers. Those compartments were placed in a wheel inside copper boiler. When a motor was turned on, the wheel turned and soapy water jetted onto the dishes. Josephine received the patent for the machine in 1886 and went on to sell them to hotels and restaurants. It wasn't until the 1950s that homes were designed with the time-saving machines, something every busy parent can truly appreciate.


If you've ever seen a baby with a stuffed animal seemingly hanging out of his or her mouth, you can attribute it to Carla Schneider. In 1999, while on vacation with her infant son, the special education teacher became frustrated when her son's pacifier kept falling out of his mouth. Armed with the hotel sewing kit, she attached the pacifier to his favorite stuffed animal [23] and the WubbaNub [24] ($14) was born. Once people on the street started asking where they could buy it, Carla filed for a patent, found a pacifier she wanted to partner with, and began manufacturing it.

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