10 Beautiful Basics for Baby No. 2

I met the lovely Janette Crawford at Alt Summit SF this summer. She’s the founder of Sun + Dotter, a personal shopping and styling service for design-conscious parents. So when I needed recommendations on new baby gear, we knew it was a perfect opportunity to work together! She came to my home and we talked a ton about my needs, new cool baby gear since Henry was an infant, space issues, and design sense. It was really informative and she had some great advice. Here is her top 10 list of items for our second baby, customized just for me but I know you’ll love them too. To keep up with Janette’s styling tips for new moms, be sure to join the great Sun + Dotter newsletter.

baby gear baby #2

Written by Janette Crawford

WARNING: This is not a comprehensive list of newborn essentials. (You’ll need that nipple cream, trust me!) The products I picked for this list offer a fresh take on style and versatility, and I think they’ll become Liz’s new favorites.

Liz has been on the lookout for options that fit her impeccable style and that have been improved since Henry was born six years ago. She lives in a second-floor walk up without much of a foyer, so her stroller situation needs to be lightweight and low-profile. One of the only gear items she has so far is a Graco SnugRide carseat, a hand-me-down from a friend. All that considered, here are 10 picks that totally say YES.

Keep reading to see more info about each of the picks and where to find them!

  1. My Moon Swaddle Blankets ($78-98): Liz has already made some gorgeous muslin swaddlers, but she should splurge on an organic My Moon blanket as well. They suit her style perfectly, and the jacquard and flannel ones can be worn by HER as a scarf long-term, which is a great bonus considering that babies only need to be swaddled for their first four months. (I don’t recommend buying any self-affixing swaddling blankets unless you figure out you really need them.)
  2. Natural Play Gym ($60–90) and Montessori Toys ($36): Play gyms are one of the most unappealing-looking baby gear items, and yet none of us want to deprive our babies from the entertainment (and development) they offer. Fortunately, some lovely handmade options have been popping up that let you hang your own toys on them, including hanging Montessori toys. Did you know there’s a series of Montessori toys designed just for infants? The natural wood finish on these pieces means they’ll look great in your living room, too.
  3. Puj Flyte tub ($35): The Puj tub is a perfect infant bathtub, especially for one-bathroom households. It lets you bathe baby comfortably in the sink, rather than putting an insert tub into your bathtub and kneeling beside it. When you’re not using the Puj, it hangs flat on the wall. I used mine until my daughter was 6 months and then transitioned her straight to sitting in the full-size bathtub.
  4. Beco Gemini Carrier ($130): This carrier is the best of all worlds. Like the Ergo, it puts the weight on your hips, and like the Baby Bjorn, it lets you carry baby facing in or out. A pull-up top lets you breastfeed discreetly, plus you don’t need to buy an additional infant insert. The Metro Black colorway is super sleek and sophisticated. (For gear, go as simple and neutral as possible for the most stylish look.)
  5. Laptop Table ($179): Having a baby is the perfect excuse to add a laptop table to your living room, and you’ll wonder how you ever survived without one! Use it while you’re breastfeeding on the couch — for some extra laptop time, eating, or anything else. I like this industrial-style option from West Elm, but you can search online for “laptop table” or “c table” to find plenty of other options.
  6. Graco SnugRide System: The SnugRide Car Seat ($130) itself is an affordable and popular car seat. But what makes it stand out is the accessories made for it, which make it incredibly versatile. The SnugGlider ($73) is a small swing attachment that allows the car seat to play double-duty as a swing. The downside of many swings is that they occupy a huge footprint, but this one is remarkably small and even folds up. The SnugRider ($93, or widely available on Craigslist) is a low-profile stroller base that is lightweight and also folds up, suiting the needs of Liz’s walk up that has a very small shared entry. When her baby outgrows her infant car seat (around 10-12 months), she can sell this on Craigslist and then get something like a Maclaren umbrella stroller.
  7. String Headbands: Liz isn’t crazy about the idea of bows on her baby girl. I was the same way! But with the right headband, I came around, and I think she will too. These say “girl” in a simple, subtle way, made from a simple strip of jersey tied into a bow. I made several myself, and I bought some from Thief & Bandit Kids ($10), shown here. (To complete the rest of Liz’s little girl’s “uniform,” I love the combination of onesies, leggings, and bandana bibs. Liz has all short-sleeved onesies for her baby due in November, so these cardigans will also come in handy.)
  8. My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow ($40): With her son Henry, Liz used a Boppy nursing pillow and didn’t love it. We looked at a handful of alternative brands, and not only were most other concepts not appealing to Liz, their covers weren’t simple enough, either. My Brest Friend has attracted an impressive fan base, plus the organic cover is a nice simple ivory.
  9. Dria Nursing Cover ($80): A stylish breastfeeding cover, a maternity top, and a carseat/stroller cover — this thing does it all. To be able to discreetly breastfeed in public is invaluable.
  10. Moses basket ($225): The beauty of a basket like this is that you can use it to tote baby all over the house… put it beside (or in the middle of) your bed at night, beside the bathtub while you shower, in the dining room while you eat, and more. Liz has a vintage cradle that she can put this into to lift it off the ground and rock, or you can get a separate stand that does the same thing. In the Bay Area, the Serena & Lily Moses basket shown pops up on Craiglist pretty regularly.
To learn more about the styling services Janette offers, join the Sun + Dotter newsletter and read more at http://sunanddotter.com


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That swaddle blanket is really beautiful but I think it’s a bit impractical. I received several muslin swaddle blankets as gifts and I love them but I don’t actually use them for swaddling. My son is a very wiggly baby and he broke out of traditional blankets by the time he was two weeks old. I highly recommend the Miracle Blanket. It comes in natural/non offensive colors (I also believe its organic?) and is hard for babies to get out of. My son woke up frequently during naps/ during the night when we used traditional blankets. Now he sleeps much better.

I love the miracle blanket too and have a couple. Henry was purely swaddled in miracle blankets. Although it has been fun to make some swaddles as well and have a few different options!

love the natural play gym – the link to etsy doesn’t actually have the gym pictured. any lead on where to find that one? it looks like the Activity Gym from Cariboo, but a little simpler?

The American Academy of Pediatrics HIGHLY recommends AGAINST buying a used car seat as you may be putting your child at a high risk for injury by doing so.
With that said, if you MUST buy a used car seat (e.g. because you absolutely cannot afford a new one) PLEASE be very careful about what one you choose. Check out http://thecarseatlady.wordpress.com/tipsheets/used/ for some helpful tips on what to look for when considering a used car seat as well as lot of other helpful information!
The big point is, you don’t know the history of a used car seat, if it is missing pieces, if it has all the original manuals for safety and installation, if it has ever been in an accident, etc. All of these things are very important to know so if the seller cannot provide this information DO NOT BUY the car seat.
As someone who has sold and installed car seats, I am often appalled by what I see parents doing – using the wrong type of car seat, forward facing before TWO years, incorrect positioning of the straps and chest buckle, not tightening the straps enough or not taking off bulky clothing such as jackets before tightening the straps – use car seat covers!, and not installing the car seat correctly. Please research everything, for the safety of your child. I also highly recommend getting instruction on how to safely install and use the car seat, there are generally lots of local options run the the police or fire department, and sometimes children’s stores will have a certified car seat installer. Once again, research!

My cousin had a baby about six years ago and my sister and I split the gift. we had nipple cream, everything she needed for breast feeding storage, the “My breast friend” pillow and a book about nursing. We put it all in a basket with a sign that said “BREAST GIFT EVER.”. Everyone at the shower loved it and so did she. Now I laugh every time I see that pillow!

I have to say you’re right about the beco, it’s the ‘better’ ergo. we love ours!

I totally need this, thank you Liz and Janette- sounds like a great service!

Love these picks and I have to echo how amazing my moon blankets are!

I was given a brest friend and a boppy as hand me downs, and the brest friend is great! Its so good for hands free breastfeeding and comfortable for baby and momma. My girl is almost 8 months old and I still use it with most feedings.

Janette, I’m curious if you’ve used the natural play gym and montessori toys with an infant? I bought some wooden toys much like these, and my son (now 11 months) is and has been completely uninterested in them. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the toys are just natural wood with no colors, making them less visually appealing.

Hi Stacey! Yes, I had the exact gym and toys shown here here for my daughter. The grasping beads were her first favorite toy! The perfect size for her hands and mouth.

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