Calico Elephant

June 13, 2012

I love this little elephant and bought it for my new niece as part of her “Welcome to the world!” gift basket. I won’t pretend that an infant will play with it (they’re not into stuffed animals), and I can’t promise it will become a favorite later, but it’s a lovely classic shape and a bright, friendly addition to any nursery. If you’re looking for a little something something to include with a shower gift (diaper disposals are practical and very much a must-have for parents, but let’s face the fact that they’re not exactly adorable!), you can’t go wrong with our little pachyderm friend here. Great for a boy or girl and small enough that he won’t clash with any decor.

North American Bear Calico Elephant, $14 at Amazon

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)

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

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