Oh, Baby II!
Hip, design-conscious gear for the new kid on the block
By Debra Simon
This is the second of a two-part series.
To find hip baby gear for urban-chic moms, I went as close as Charlotte, our sister city to the southwest, and as far as Martha's Vineyard, an island playground for the rich and famous up north.
In Charlotte, I came across the U.S. headquarters of Combi, the Japanese maker of lightweight, portable stuff for small fry. In a boutique on Martha's Vineyard, I happened upon BabyCakes by Amy, which creates hats as sweet as sugar -- they look like cupcakes!
Part 1 of my picks for cool products that are on the leading edge in terms of both fashion and workability ran in last month's issue. Here is Part II.
BabyDiego Posh Bathinette
Form meets function in this sturdy, Italian-designed bathing and changing station ($140) that pampers both the bambino and the parents (no need to bend anymore!). Used with the lid open, it's a bathtub. With the lid closed, it's a changing table. When not in use, BabyDiego folds for compact storage.
Jahgoo baby bath and bath support
Jahgoo was born to provide nifty, ergonomic, price-sensitive hardware for modern parents and comfort for their guppies. The cheerful bath ($30), available in white and lime, is anti-slip on the inside and outside. The bath support ($15), in matching colors, is a sporty seat that can be placed inside an adult bath, shower or tub.
Tired of messy bath times in which you fight with a giant plastic tub and end up just as wet as your little Nemo? So were the developers of the Puj Tub ($40), which was invented to make cleaning a breeze. It works in any standard bathroom sink, supports and cradles your tot at a comfy height for you, and hangs to store flat on a wall after use.
aden + anais swaddling blanket
Started by an Australian mom who had moved to the United States and couldn't find the soft, muslin cotton swaddles that generations of her family had used for their babies, aden + anais now produces many kinds of blankets. The super-generous size of the swaddles (4 pack: $50) is made even better by their fashion-forward prints. Celeb fans include Sandra Bullock, Kourtney Kardashain, Julia Roberts and Sarah Jessica Parker.
BabyCakes by Amy
Your sweetheart will be cute as a cupcake in a hat by BabyCakes by Amy (infant: $15, toddler: $18). The enterprise started organically, when Amy improvised a pattern to create a hand-knit hat as a gift for a new mom. Soon, chapeaux that look like snowball cupcakes were selling like hotcakes in a boutique in Martha's Vineyard. The yarn, which rises to become confetti-like, is machine washable and oh-so-soft. Amy turns out the caps in two color schemes: white bottom with pink or yellow top and white top with pink or yellow bottom. They're all crowned with a green stem and red cherry.
These products are about as amazing as the story behind them. Itzy Bitzy produces adorable, yet still affordable, footwear and accessories. The company was launched by a mom of twins who wanted to raise awareness and acceptance for children with physical differences. The Itzy Bitzy shoe family ($11-$28) has a number of charming designs in Velcro sneakers, girly Mary Janes, snow-safe boots, decorated flip-flops and good-looking sandals. Accessories ($1.50-$13) include flower hair clips, irresistible headbands, artful hats and frilly socks.
Trend Lab Dr. Seuss Infant Bodysuits
The Cat in the Hat, how perfect is that? Big A, little a, what begins with A? The Dr. Seuss nursery collection produced under license by Trend Lab! A literary little one will have the smartest look in the neighborhood when she sports an amusing Dr. Seuss infant bodysuit ($13).
Combi Pod Bouncer
The Pod Bouncer ($90) uses your little sprout's movement along with a built-in sound-and-vibration unit to provide a great place to sit. Of the four styles, the lady bug and the bee are super stylin'. A three-point padded harness, slip-resistant feet, two-position recline, removable toy bar and MP3 input make for a safe and comfy environment for your sweetpea.
I know a newborn who's addicted to his mamaRoo. No worries -- I'm pretty sure he'll outgrow the addiction by the time he outgrows his mamaRoo! The innovative rocker-bouncer-swing combo ($200) moves like mom. The mamaRoo bounces up and down and sways from side to side, just like parents do when comforting their offspring. You can set it for one of five motions: car ride, kangaroo, tree swing, rock-a-bye and ocean wave. It slows down for rest or speeds up for play. The wee rocker can groove, as well as move, with one of five nature sounds or, for something a little more swingin', songs from a connected MP3 player.
Boon Bumbo Baby Seat
Once your buttercup can hold her head up high, the Bumbo ($35) is the place to be! It enables a baby to sit upright in a contoured seat that's designed to fit her posture and comes in a rainbow of colors. Plus, it can be placed anywhere on an even, ground-level surface. Customization is within your reach with a play tray and an attractive cover.
Cloud B Twilight Lady Bug
Watch sleeping beauty float away in peaceful slumber under a star-filled sky. Twilight Ladybug ($30) makes bedtime beautiful. It helps ease little dreamers' fear of the dark by projecting a starry night sky, with a choice of sapphire blue, emerald green or ruby red, onto bedroom ceiling and walls. With the Twilight Ladybug, your new arrival will sleep like a baby!
Kushies Shangrila Multi-Sensory Activity Mat & Portico Archway
Here's a whimsical island paradise to activate a pint-sized one's sense of play and discovery. The Kushies activity mat ($120) features a soft, smooth and fuzzy all-terrain environment for luxurious relaxation on one side and high contrast black-and-white graphics for neuro-optic stimulation on the reverse side. The Rolex of play mats encourages tactile stimulation, visual development, auditory stimulation, explorative play and flexible thinking. Plus, it's great for tummy time!
Cascading beads on this toy ($9) capture your munchkin's attention while the spinning wheel engages the concept of cause and effect.
Britax baby carrier
Britax, a maker of high-end strollers, just entered a new product category by introducing a softuctured baby carrier ($130) that offers optimal comfort for both mom and her darling. The ergonomically engineered apparatus features the CarryLong System, which reduces the risk of back and shoulder strain during extended wear by distributing weight across mom's shoulders, back and hips. The fresh face of Britax is a no-sweat item: the over-the-head design allows for easy on and off while the one-handled buckles and snaps allow for easy in and out.
CYBEX 2.GO carrier
The CYBEX 2.GO ($110) offers the possibility of toting your angel in five different carrying positions, so you can always find a natural way to have your kiddie with you.
CYBEX Onyx stroller
The Onyx ($230) is aimed at city-smart parents who want to match their slick black clothing with a slick black stroller for their progeny from birth to 55 pounds. Yes, the black design theme, which comes with purple, cactus, lagoon, lipstick (pictured) or gray trim, turns this lightweight traveler into a fashionable accessory. But it also features thought-through functionality.
JJ Cole Mode Tote Bag
The ultimate diaper bag for everyday use, JJ Cole's Mode Tote Bag ($60) is made of easy-to-clean laminated plastic and features 12 pockets inside and out. There are three carrying options, including two tote straps, a removable padded shoulder strap and stroller attachments.
Kokopax Samantha Diaper Tote
Available in eight custom fabric designs paired with striking leather accents, the Samantha Diaper Tote ($100) is so stylish that mom will be tempted to use it on her own, not just for her babe. Made of cotton canvas with a water-resistant lining and durable webbing, the bag's magnetic closure makes it a one-hand wonder.
Okkatots Travel Baby Depot Bag
This bag ($120) includes everything but the kitchen sink for a young globetrotter. Among its features are multiple pockets and pouches, a diaper station, an insulated pocket for bottles or sippy cups, a ventilated pouch for pacifiers and an outside pocket to securely hold a DVD player. The roomy survival kit stays conveniently organized while accommodating all the needs of a junior jetsetter.