Kicky Pants Bamboo

June 20, 2012

Bamboo used to mean “pandas,” but it’s migrated away from the Asian bear market and is everywhere. With good reason: it’s a sustainable crop + it can be turned into unbelievably soft fabric. Like, crazy soft. It’s almost offensive how soft it is. It’s soft like baby bunnies’ fur – except in prints and dots and with little bicycles on it. At least at Kicky Pants anyway. Not on actual bunnies. That would be weird.

Any expectant mom will be delighted when she picks up one of the Kicky Pants pieces out of your gift box at her shower. It’s like a heavier, machine-washable version of silk. (Did I mention how soft it is?) The company has graduated out of the boutique phase, so they have tons of options in different styles: pajama sets, tops, bottoms, dresses, onesies/bodysuits, plus stuff for older kids. I love that everything has a kind of swingy look to it but they haven’t gone over into, “Primary colors for everyone!” with their patterns.

Oh – one more thing: they have pants. That might seem obvious since it’s, um, in their name, so they better have pants, right? I know I keep going on and on about how it’s impossible to find pants for newborns. Well, Kicky Pants is one of the places you can bless a new baby with a top and bottom set that isn’t a pajama, thank you very much.

Pajamas and layette sets, about $34. Pants from $20very adorable hoodies from $40 all at KickyPants.com (Also available on Amazon or Diapers.com)

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Aden + Anais blankets

May 15, 2012

Aden + Anais is all the baby rage: their lightweight muslin blankets have been everywhere for a couple of years and make ideal baby shower gifts. The patterns are chic, and the size, 47″x47″, is refreshing after all the under-sized, can-only-use-it-for-six-months offerings elsewhere.

The blankets are designed for swaddling, but I found them a little unwieldy for that. There were, however, perfect for lots of other things like draping over Astrid’s car seat to block light and weather, wrapping her up when it was a little chilly and providing a clean and ample play space on foreign floors.

Aden + Anais make pretty patterned sleep sacks too – in single-ply for summer or quadruple-ply for winter – which are great for a visit gift or holiday present for a baby up to a year old. Astrid loved her lightweight and roomy single-ply in the San Francisco summer last year.

(Also in their line-up are crib linens and bibs, but I’ve tended to steer clear of those as gifts. The former because who knows what crib the parents chose, and the latter because we didn’t really use bibs much and, even if we had, cotton ones = lots of laundry for tiny, messy eaters.)

To keep you on your math toes, the blankets come in 2- or 4-packs (regular cotton), 3-packs (bamboo) or singles (organic cotton).

Unless your giftee’s parents are organic-only, I like the 4-pack designs the best (although bamboo is crazy soft). Both animal sets (jungle with elephants, birds, giraffes and monkeys or “mod” with bees, caterpillars, crabs, and little froggies) are cute and gender-neutral, so you’re covered for parents who aren’t finding out if it’s a boy or girl. Second choice: the 4-pack of “star light” light pink patterns or “prince charming” light blue patterns.

Handy as well: they come in a very wrap-able box.

Muslin swaddle blankets, $49.95 for four or $32 for two at Aden+Anais or $35-$49.95 at Amazon or Diapers.com

Organic muslin swaddle blankets, $26 for one at Aden+Anais or Diapers.com

Bamboo swaddle blankets, $40 for three at Aden+Anais or $36-$40 at Amazon

Muslin sleeping bags (aka sleep sacks), $32 for single-ply or $45 for 4-ply at Aden+Anais, or $20-$45 at Amazon or $25-$45 at Diapers.com

Angel Dear Jacket

April 20, 2012


Soft is the name of the baby game. They’re soft. Their toys are soft. And their clothes should definitely be soft. Enter the Angel Dear chenille hoodie jacket. I love this thing. If you can’t think of someone in your life whose baby needs one, look harder: you have to pass along this fluffiness to someone small and deserving!

A friend of ours got one as a gift and, after touching it’s ultra-softness, I ordered one for Astrid. When she outgrew that one, we got the next size up.

It’s not a rocket science jacket: it’s not waterproof or even windproof. It’s just pure, fluffy fleece that keeps most of that fluff even after repeated washings. We’re not talking flat, functional REI fleece (which we also have and like) but a little cloud to wrap up baby in the car seat, on errand runs or a chilly afternoon at the playground. I take ours with us on pretty much every outing here in San Francisco.

The hoodies come in a range of soft colors as well as stripes and sizes from 0-6 months up to 4T: an appropriate gift for pretty much any child and any occasion. And at $25, you won’t break the bank but people will think you did.

Note: the zippers aren’t the best out there and can be a tiny bit tricky to thread, but they work just fine with an extra jiggle.

Angel Dear Chenille Hoodies, $38 at Angel Dear or from $25 at Diapers.com

Every baby needs a blanket. Not for bedding (that’s a suffocation risk for infants and babies) but for taking along in the stroller, in the car and pretty much everywhere else. Babies get cold. They need soft fuzzy things to address that!

Pottery Barn Kids’ Chamois “Stroller Blanket” makes a great birth gift: it’s not too expensive, comes in a variety of soft colors, and you can have it monogrammed with name and birth date (which would be tough for a baby shower – unless you’d like to formalize your preference for Baby’s name + lay a bet on delivery date!)

It’s polyester, but that’s OK for keeping toasty on the go, and it’s sized for strollers and car seats, just where Baby will need it.

Who knows? Maybe you just bought the baby her security blanket! She’ll thank you later.

Pottery Barn Kids’ Chamois “Stroller Blanket”, $29.50 at PBKids.com + $7 for monogramming

 

In case you haven’t run across the name before, Petunia Pickle Bottom is a company that got famous making pricey diaper bag/backpacks in all kinds of nice prints. Very popular with the celebrity crowd. Some moms love them. I personally found the backpack too heavy + didn’t like that I couldn’t detach the built-in changing pad, but whatever: save that info for when you’re looking for a diaper bag!

The company has branched out from that success and has launched a new layette line which you might want to consider if you’re looking for a kind-of-expensive but not-everyone-has-it gift for a mom-to-be for her baby shower (or, if you’re really generous, at the birth of the baby.)

The best gift options are the Social Set (side-snap bodysuit + hat + pants) and the traditional layette combination of blanket + one-piece pajamas + hat in the Snuggle Set. All pieces are 100% organic cotton, and all patterns and colors are subtle and tasteful. (They also sell dresses and bodysuits individually, but for a shower, I prefer the idea of the set.)

Bonus: if mom doesn’t love it, she can exchange it for another pattern or put it towards one of their bags.

Social Set $44 in one of four color schemes, sizes 0-3 months or 3-6 months (I’d get 3-6, since babies grow so fast!), available at Petunia Pickle Bottom.com or, in San Francisco, at Day One in Laurel Heights

Snuggle Set $60 in one of four color schemes, 0-3 months only, available at Petunia Pickle Bottom.com or, in San Francisco, at Day One in Laurel Heights

http://www.petunia.com/layette/social-set/gardenlatticegirlssocialset