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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Best Baby Blanket

June 10, 2012

Tea Collection’s Lotus Print Blanket

This is the best blanket, period. I know it doesn’t look like it’s that different from the thousands of others on offer for babies and little kids, but it is.

  1. It’s single-ply jersey, not flannel or fleece like many baby blankets. This means it’s very soft and stays soft and is just warm enough for summer nights and snuggling. It’s size, stretch and weight also make it excellent for swaddling.
  2. It’s big. At 40″x40″, it’s considerably bigger than many baby blankets which means Baby can use it in bed when she’s a toddler, as our daughter does. This won’t seem like a big deal right away to Mom, but it will be when little Violet turns one and can’t use any of the 1000 blankets she received at her shower.

That’s it. That’s all I’m looking for in a blanket and Tea Collection delivers. Perfect for a second baby shower or a gift to bring to the hospital.

On sale now at Tea Collection ($25) or Diapers.com ($20)

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

Dwell Studio for Target

March 21, 2012

If you’re on a budget but are high-design minded and need something for a friend’s baby, gather your patience (or your willingness to pay shipping costs) and head to Target to collect an item or two from their Dwell Studio for Target line.

Let me say up front that I do not understand what Dwell or Target were thinking when they came up with the plan to make these high-quality products in cool patterns and then not distribute them consistently so anyone would be able to get them. Ridiculous.

On any given day, at any given Target, it’s almost impossible to find the Dwell Studio line on the shelves or racks. But you can order them. And you should, because they’re great. And that in-store scarcity means you will look like a genius for finding something unique + the baby will look hip because no one else at Mommy & Me will have what he’s wearing.

(The online stock is sometimes poor too – I keep thinking they’re discontinuing it – but it’s worth five minutes of sifting through the brief search results for “DwellStudio” on Target.com to see if they have a color you like. Their infant clothes are also great, if you can find them and want to skip layette in favor of clothing.)

My three recommendations are

  • The double-layer jersey baby blanket, which comes in great boy or girl patterns and is heavyweight enough that Mom will thank you for giving her a real, can-use-it-on-the-floor play blanket. (That said, I don’t love the new blue blanket pattern – but they change it every once in a while, so check back. Or maybe you’ll like the one they have – what do I know??)
  • The double-layer jersey sleep sack, also in boy or girl colors. Again, many thanks from Mom for providing an all-cotton but still warm sleep sack to supplement all the muslin and fleece ones everyone else gave her.
  • The adorable heavyweight cotton kimono pajamas which wash so, so well and keep baby warmer than all the others.
Get it together, Target! We like this line. So make more and just own it already.

Newborn Girls’ DwellStudio for Target Pink Blanket. Or blue. $12.99 at Target.com

DwellStudio for Target Wearble Blanket (read: sleep sack) in pink stripes (0-6 months only). Blue n/a at time of publication. $12.99 at Target.com

DwellStudio for Target Kimono Sleeper for Girls or Boys, about $8 at Target.com or in stores

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

Carter’s cute patterned bodysuits are the perfect quickie gift for

a.) a baby shower gift basket,

b.) a newborn as a little extra, “Welcome to the world!”, or

c.)  a not-close-but-I-still-like-you friend or co-worker who just had a baby.

That last category can be tough because you don’t want to spend a ton of time or a lot of money finding a small, useful-but-cute present. A friend of a friend whom we don’t see very often sweetly sent Astrid a pack of these when she was tiny and it was the perfect, “Hey! We’re thinking about you! Congratulations!” small gift.

They come in packs of three or four and I’d recommend the subtler patterned ones, since they’re cute but not tacky and suit any taste. For God’s sake, don’t get the ones that say “MOMMY” in giant magenta letters on them. Just don’t.

If you want to spend a little more, get one pack of patterns and add in a four-pack of the plain white long-sleeved ones: there is no parent who does not need more white onesies. Also: be kind and order the 3 or 6 month size. (Newborns can’t wear bodysuits until their belly button heals and babies grow so fast, they grow out of the Newborn size before you know it.)

Target has the widest selection of patterns but inconsistent in-store stock. If you’re going anyway, get them there. Or order online. Macy’s carries them in-store for the lowest price but they also have limited stock in the patterns. (Inexplicably, Carters.com doesn’t carry nearly as many patterns as Target does and Amazon is a total loss and usually sends you to Target.com anyway.)

Carter’s 4-pack short-sleeved bodysuits with little tiny elephants, stripes, etc. in brown, pink, or blue, $9 at Target