*swaddles and sleepsacks
*versatile high chair
The business of baby gear and products has become completely overwhelming. It's insane to me how much is available, especially considering how little babies actually do require in the way of material items. Most of us could make do with far less than we have, and it's easy to get turned off by the excess. Still, as someone who is excited by good design and appreciates quality, I am definitely guilty of splurging on my fair share of baby items.
My philosophy in general is to buy less stuff but at a higher quality, and I apply that rule to the kid's products as well my own. It's important to me that things hold up, both in style and construction, and can be passed down to other children for years to come. Nearly everything that we purchase has been researched, debated, and turned many times over in my head before it makes its way into our home. I am happy to report that regrets have been very few (a moving swing I ordered in a fit of desperation when Little Smith was a few weeks old comes to mind), and so while some of our choices may be high priced, the investment has been worth it to me.
These are a few of my very favorite splurges for baby. Each one is practical, but obviously I have a weakness for design, and that plays a big role in my selections as well. They are admittedly skewed towards the winter, it's been a long one!
cozy thermals: Our whole family is obsessed with thermals. We live in New England with unforgiving winters (ahem March), we love to spend time outdoors and also live in a fairly drafty older house. When it comes to warmth, materials really matter and I won't scrimp, especially for my babies. Patagonia makes a great set for babies and toddlers because it's a special blend of polyester that wicks away moisture, dries quickly, is easy to launder, and of course keeps babes warm. Nothing beats wool though, and our baby girl's Nui Organics thermals are probably my favorite item I've purchased for her. They do require hand washing and air drying, but they are so soft and toasty that it's well worth the extra effort.
special blanket: Every child needs a timeless blanket to comfort them at night, and I have visions of these kids toting their blankets into adulthood (we'll see if they agree!).
When Little Smith was born, our dear friends (Cindy and David) gave him a wool Pendleton baby blanket and it quickly became one of his treasures. It was the only blanket that he used in his crib, and although it isn't machine washable, it's held up impeccably. When our baby girl arrived, the same friends kindly sent her a blanket of her very own... but Little Smith immediately claimed it for himself (and we didn't have the heart to set him straight). He snuggles up under his two Pendleton's every night and even insists we bring them for travel.
I have long been obsessed with quilts and purchased a sewing machine a few years ago with every intention to get quilting. In my dreams I would have made a baby quilt myself, but since I still have yet to thread that machine, I turned to Etsy in search of a consolation blanket for our baby girl. Amanda Bergen put together a quilt every bit as lovely as I imagined, and we use it constantly for floor play or to cozy up on the couch, it can even be machine washed!
swaddles and sleepsacks: I have tried so many brands and types of swaddles over the years, and I keep coming back to Aden and Anais. I really do think they are so popular for good reason. The muslin is soft and breathes so well (not the warmest in winter, but I actually keep the kids' room pretty balmy since Little Smith kicks everything off in his sleep). We used the flat swaddling blankets for the newborn stage, then the 'easy swaddles' until she started to roll, those are so great because they don't stretch the way that many of the velcro versions seem to. These days we have graduated to the sleep sack and it makes me smile every morning to see her in these sweet layers.
versatile high chair: I think our high chair might be featured on this blog almost as much as Little Smith (almost!). It's an older version on the Fresco by Bloom and while it certainly is an investment, we have used this sucker to death. Initially I wasn't convinced of the design and wanted something more subdued and timeless, but the more I learned about the myriad of features the better it started to look. Many families manage to make do with a short high chair phase, but for me it's been indispensable.
I like to sit down at the table with the kids for at least two meals a day (and of course James joins when he is home as well). This chair pivots back to allow baby to be up at the table from birth and gives me free hands just long enough to scarf down some food. I really appreciate having them up at table height before they are able to sit instead of lost in a bouncer on the floor. There are also two trays so that we can clear a messy plate and continue our meal, the whole thing swivels for feeding or gazing out the window, moves up and down to get a perfect table height, and I have grown very accustomed to the space-age design. The downside of all the options is that it isn't easy to clean and takes a while to learn the various configurations, but at this point I have it all down to a science. I don't know what I'll do when we finally outgrow it, this chair has become such a fixture!
There you have it, a few of my favorite indulgences. Honestly when the snow is falling in mid March, it can take a little splurge to brighten my day!