From the Cutest Baby Shower Gift to the Best Maternity Wear: What PEOPLE Moms Are Loving Right Now
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Soft soft soft soft soft. That's pretty much all you need to know about Nuscheli's scarves, made of cotten and free of chemicals. I use mine as drool catchers, but they can also be bibs or burp cloths (or as their website suggests, toys for toddlers!).
Buy It! Nuscheli scarves, $26; hauptlihauskids.com
CHALK OF THE TOWN
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: I have five nieces ranging in age from two to eight, which means I'm always shopping for a birthday present for one of them. It's hard to come up with fun, fresh gift ideas, so I was thrilled to discover these adorable tees. Each one features a chalkboard surface that you can draw on with special markers. And here's the best part: When you're ready for a new design, you just wash away the existing one with water and start from scratch. So genius!
Buy It! Chalk of the Town T-shirt, $18; chalk-of-the-town.com
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: These sneakers for toddlers are as fun as they sound: colorful, easy to slide on and off, supportive and (most importantly for Mom) machine washable. We love the color selection, too, especially on the Ty line, which our 2-year-old wears.
Buy It! PLAE shoes, prices vary; zappos.com
Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director: My husband is a great cook, and has been making our kid's baby food lovingly by hand. I am a terrible cook, but I still want Josh to associate me with delicious food. Thank God companies like Little Spoon exist. They deliver weekly shipments of organic, fresh baby food in flavor combos I couldn't even dream up, and they customize it for your kid's age, pickiness level, allergies and more. It's not inexpensive, but neither is shopping for organic food - plus, it's great to know he's eating (and loving) the good stuff without any extra effort on my part.
Buy It! Little Spoon baby food delivery, starting at $35/week; littlespoon.com
LOVEVERY PLAY GYM
Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director: When I was pregnant, I only registered for beautiful things that would fit into my decor. Then the baby came, and I realized the reason most baby gear is so hideous is because babies love that stuff. Somehow, Lovevery managed to combine "babies go bonkers for this" and "I can have this in my house without cringing" with their genius play gym. It has about a million super-clever features your standard mat doesn't (read all about them here), Josh adores it and I love seeing it in my home.
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: This is literally the easiest way to shop for baby gear. Little Lamma was founded in 2017 by two L.A. moms who've curated a site full of adorable clothes and toys that make great gifts. They offer a free concierge service, so you can email them with some parameters on what you're looking for; they'll reply with ideas and price points, then ship it to you (gift wrapped!) from there.
Buy It! Little Lamma gift sets, prices vary; littlelamma.com
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: When I first heard about TILDEN, a site created based on the idea that maternity wear is a bad fashion investment, I was a bit skeptical since by my third trimester, I didn't feel like I could wear anything but that. But after clicking through their expertly curated selection of dresses, tops and more, I learned that it's absolutely possible to wear the same pieces before, during and after your pregnancy as long as you choose versatile silhouettes and fabrics. Case in point: a stretchy, form-fitting dress which will look adorable when your belly pops (btw, all of the models on their site are actually pregnant so no fake bumps), and just as cute layered under a sweater or jacket when you're not expecting.
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Bookroo — a monthly children's book subscription service — is one of the coolest parenting hacks I've found to date. We are lucky to have a ton of cute board books at home, but at this point my husband and I have them each memorized. This delivers some new reads to our door, and so far they've all been big hits with our 18-month-old son. When signing up (you can do it for yourself or as a gift), there are two options: a picture book club (for kids 2-6, two books a month) and board book club (for kids 0-2, three books a month). I'm so grateful for the new additions to our bookshelf!
Buy It! Bookroo children's book subscription, $15.99-$17.99/month; bookroo.com
LONDON PORTER DESIGNS
Mia McNiece, Senior Writer: For baby gifts I really like this site. It’s a curated line of gift boxes that allows you to handpick everything. You choose the gift box, items to go inside, a card, etc. It’s super stylish and simple one-stop shopping for busy moms. There’s a lot of items to choose from including clothing, books and soft blankets.
Buy It! London Porter Designs build-your-own giftbox, prices vary; londonporterdesigns.com
STRIDE RITE BAILEY
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Stride Rite recently made over the classic white baby bootie, and I'm so in love. The result is a mini high-top with rubber soles and interior memory foam that just upgrades the original. The Bailey is available in white or pink metallic, sizes 3 to 7.
Buy it! Stride Rite Bailey baby bootie, $51.95; nordstrom.com
Ariel Nagi, Social Media Editor: I love the Baby Bullet; I swore by it for both of my kids. I received this as a baby shower gift when I had my daughter in 2012, and I didn’t realize just how much of a time and money saver it would be. You’d be surprised how many meals you can make with just one sweet potato in this thing! It comes with storage containers, a tray to freeze meals and a recipe book with tips on what foods are appropriate based on your baby’s age. It’s also durable — three years later I used the same one for my son. Meal prep for the win!
Buy it! Baby Bullet, $59.95; amazon.com
RICE BY RICE DINNERWARE
Mia McNiece, Senior Writer: I am loving bowls, plates and silverware from Rice by Rice. The colors are stylish, colorful and make any table look happy. The bowls and plates are the perfect size for kids of all ages and my 2-, 5- and 7-year-olds all use them. The products are very durable and easy to clean. I keep adding to my collection!
Buy it! Rice by Rice dinnerware, prices vary; ricebyrice.com
Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director: I wasn't sure where to shop for little boys, so I was excited when someone gave me a code to try Kidbox. It's a subscription box geared towards your baby's "style," which introduced me to some fun new brands for Josh. And the best part? Every box you buy means a brand-new outfit for a child in need.
Buy It! Kidbox, $58 for 8-9 pieces; kidbox.com
Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director: The thing that's both amazing and exhausting about having a baby in N.Y.C. is that you walk with him everywhere. I quickly learned that all my fancy work sandals and flats weren't up for the challenge. Instead, I've been living in my trusty, retro-cool Keds, which look cute with everything from a sundress (when I'm trying a little) to jean shorts and a shirt Josh has already spit up on (most of the time).
Buy It! Keds "Champion" slip-ons, $39.95; keds.com
RADIO FLYER BUILD-A-GIFT WAGON
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: It's an exciting time: five of my girlfriends are pregnant! And while I love combing their registries for the essentials, I've recently fallen in love with this Build-a-Gift wagon from Radio Flyer. You start by picking your wagon (a mini version of their classic or a more built-up walker wagon), add the included teddy bear and blanket (available in blue, pink or white) and then choose a few add-ons — options like a rubber duck, onesie or bib. It ships wrapped, so you can even send it directly to the mom-to-be, and it's a great break from the usual jammies and pacifiers most people gift at showers.
Buy It! Radio Flyer Build-a-Gift Wagon, starting at $45; radioflyer.com
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: As a first-time mom, I'm clueless when it comes to baby gear. Case in point: When my son was about six months old, I realized that if I ever planned to take him outside our immediate neighborhood, I needed a lightweight, compact stroller (the one we bought when he was born is roughly the size of a Hummer). I crowdsourced my fellow moms and several raved about the Babyzen YoYo+ since it's just 13 lbs and collapses down to the size of a tote bag. I've used it every weekend at the Jersey Shore this summer (that's Saxon and me in Asbury Park), and it's been great for everything from morning coffee runs and boardwalk hangs to dinner in crowded restaurants.
Buy It! BABYZEN YOYO+, $420; bloomingdales.com
WEE BLESSING CLOTHING SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Are you familiar with StitchFix? Then you'll love Wee Blessing, a similar service just for little ones. Create a style profile for your child — sizes, favorite colors, budget, any characters or looks they love — then sit back and wait for a box of four outfits to be delivered right to your doorstep each month. Pay for what you want to keep (if that's everything, you score 10 percent off, too) and return what you don't within 10 days. Prices are promised at 40 to 60 percent off retail, and the selection is huge: the box for my toddler included Nautica, Under Armour and his favorite, a Mickey Mouse T-shirt.
Buy It! Wee Blessing Box, prices vary; weeblessing.com
MY 1ST YEARS "BUT FIRST" SET
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: My 1st Years is one of my go-tos for fun, personalized baby gifts (they're also the brand behind the most famous royal bathrobe in history). I was browsing the site recently for a present and landed on this cute sweatshirt/onesie set. Any new mom will appreciate the all too real humor.
Buy It! My First Years sweatshirt and onesie set, $40.99, myfirstyears.com
MUSTELA FACIAL CLEANSING CLOTHS
Laurie Coughlan, PEOPLE Public Relations Consultant: First baby, register for everything. Second baby, make a list of must-have, life-saving products. At the top of the list is definitely Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths (and all Mustela products, really). They're on the pricey side, but they made my baby’s soft, sensitive skin happy. I used these wipes as a clean-all during the first year. Makeshift bath, post spit-up clean up, quick rinse before guests come over — done. They also smell amazing. Everyone loves new baby smell, but I swear no child got more smell compliments than mine.
Buy It! Mustela Facial Cleansing Cloths, $16.48 for two packs; amazon.com
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: I've been obsessed with Parachute ever since I ordered a set of their sheets after spotting them on (where else?) Instagram. They're crisp, yet soft, and the prices are surprisingly reasonable for such great quality. And now the home essentials brand has a new baby collection, which features crib sheets, swaddles, quilts, pillows and gorgeous cashmere blankets, all in gender neutral colors. Bonus: The products come in adorable packaging, making them the perfect baby shower gift.
Buy It! Parachute Baby Collection, prices range from $19 for a swaddle blanket to $149 for a cashmere blanket parachutehome.com
SPROUT ANIMAL MOBILE
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: I discovered this handmade felted wool mobile from Sprout, a boutique that specializes in natural and organic children’s items, during one of many nursery décor Pinterest sessions. I added it to my registry and was thrilled when it arrived at our apartment courtesy of a very generous friend. Not only does it look great hanging over the baby’s changing table, but it also manages to keep his attention during every diaper change, which is pretty amazing considering it doesn’t require a single battery.
Buy It! Sprout Animal Mobile, $110; sproutsanfrancisco.com
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: Being a mom in my 30s, I've decided my bikini days are over (moment of silence). But demure doesn't need to mean dowdy. Mazu swimwear was created by two fashion industry vets — who happen to be parents — with new moms in mind, offering tankinis and one-pieces that cover the right spots but have adorable cuts, patterns and details. A plus-size line offers many of the brand's most popular styles, too, and a bonus: if you Instagram yourself wearing a Mazu suit, the brand will send you a free coverup.
Buy It! Mazu Swimwear, prices vary; amazon.com
BABY DEEDEE SLEEP NEST
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: Once it was time to move our wriggling, rolling baby out of her Merlin Sleep Suit (shudder), we had to replicate that fluffy, cozy feeling for her in order for any of us to get some sleep. Standard sleep sacks just weren't cutting it for our busy baby, so it was Baby DeeDee to the rescue. The sleep nest is like a comforter crossed with a sleeping bag, but completely safe for your little one. And super-duper cozy. Both my kids slept better in their sleep nests than in anything else. The line features different weights depending on the temperature in your home, and the shoulder snaps make for an easier in and out. I want all the colors.
Buy It! Baby DeeDee Sleep Nest, starting at $33; babydeedee.com
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: Now that I’m a mom, lots of friends ask me for baby shower gift suggestions and this cardboard box is at the top of my list. It’s a curated package of everything a newborn needs inspired by the traditional kit all expectant parents are eligible to receive in Finland as a benefit of the social security system there (sounds nice, right?). And in addition to providing new parents with tons of must-haves, the box itself can also be used a safe space for infants to sleep. The chic-looking Finnbin version comes with more than 40 awesome products including bibs, bath essentials, a swaddle, clothes, bedding and so much more. It adds up to more than $800 worth of stuff, but costs almost half that much, making it a perfect gift for a group of friends or family members to give the mom-to-be.
Buy It! Finnbin, $450; finnbin.com
KOHL'S MATERNITY COLLECTIONS
Alex Apatoff, Deputy Style Director: I managed to wear my normal clothes for the first six months of my pregnancy, but once I got to the point I had to buy new stuff, I was horrified to find that all the affordable stuff was hideous, and all the cool stuff was ridiculously expensive. And who wants to spend a ton on something you might only wear for three months?
Kohl's invited me to a press preview to see their new lines, A:Glow and Pip & Vine by Rosie Pope, and I was thrilled to see that the collection totally addressed my No. 1 beef with maternity clothing. The pieces are actually things I'd wear in my non-pregnant life, which means I won't be dying to get rid of them post-baby when my body is still recovering. And the prices can't be beat.
Buy It! Kohl's a:glow dress, $44.99; kohls.com
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: A friend sent my son a Yoee Baby as a gift and when I first took it out of the box, I had no idea what it was (other than really funny-looking). So I did what any good parent would do: I Googled it and I was surprised to learn that it was Kickstarter’s most-funded baby toy last year. It features a cute plush character (we have the dog), an easy-to-grab handle with a silicone teether, a rattle and crinkles inside and a long, feather-like tail. The creators say that using it with your baby helps promotes sensory and language development and motor skills. I can’t vouch for all of that, but what I can say is that my son never lets go of it.
Buy It! Yoee Baby, $24.99; yoeebaby.com
Laurie Coughlan, PEOPLE Public Relations Consultant: Heat wave + 26 weeks pregnant + very busy toddler = a need for easy, indoor toys that occupy for more than three minutes and allow me to sit. These magical magnet blocks have kept my son occupied for up to 45 minutes straight, which is a feat otherwise unheard of. He is able to build towers, ramps, houses or "ice ceeem cones" all on his own without much frustration. Worth the price tag.
Buy It! Magna-Tiles, $119.99; amazon.com
ADEN + ANAIS WHITE LABEL
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: Before I even had my son, I knew that aden + anais muslin swaddle blankets were a mom must-have. They’re super-soft, lightweight and can be used in a multitude of ways. And now the beloved brand has a new white label collection with a cool “downtown vibe” inspired by their Brooklyn headquarters. It features playful prints in an array of vibrant hues that you don’t normally see in the baby department. My favorite is the dinosaur-themed “jurassic” pattern. (shown here).
Buy It! aden + anais White Label 3-Pack Classic Swaddling Cloths, $38; nordstrom.com
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: Is there anything worse than a binky that goes bouncing through the night while your baby screams her head off? Actually, yes: When your darling infant can't keep the damn thing in her mouth in the first place. Wubanub solves both of these problems with an easy-to-locate, easy-to-keep-in pacifier for your little one.
Buy It! Wubanub Animal Pacifier, $13.95; amazon.com
CURIOUS CHEF CADDY
Amy Jamieson, Writer/Editor: My daughters, they really do have the best intentions. They just want to help — whether it's with the laundry folding (when they tackle it, I usually have to re-do it), with house cleaning (they abandon this activity quickly) or lending a hand with meal preparation ("Mom, I want to cook with you!"). Before I found this cool caddy, I was a little apprehensive about letting two sets of tiny hands loose in my kitchen, but now I really can put them to work. They can chop certain vegetables (they don't have enough hand strength for harder ones yet), they stir things that need mixing and roll out dough like pros. They love that there are a million tools to choose from and we have fun talking through how each one works.
Buy It! Curious Chef 30 Piece Caddy Collection, $79.99; curiouschef.com
HABA COLOR SPLODGE WOODEN CLUTCHING TOY
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: We currently have about 1.2 million toys that have taken over our living room (I kid, kinda), but this is definitely one of my 1-year-old's favorites. He loves flipping the wedges in and out and now that he's "toddling" around, it's always in his hand. It's also something he can't sink his teeth into, which is his MO with all books and plastic these days ...
Buy It! HABA Wooden Clutching Toy, $12.99; habausa.com
BELLY BANDIT ORIGINAL BELLY WRAP
Andrea Lavinthal, Style and Beauty Director: While I was several months pregnant, I ordered the Belly Bandit wrap out of vanity, hoping that it would magically shrink my stomach, waist and hips post-baby. What I didn’t count on was that I’d need it for more serious issues, namely a chronically sore lower back and abdominal separation. It provides much-needed support when I’m pushing a heavy stroller on a long walk and I wear it whenever I take a barre class to keep my posture and ab situation in check. And yes, it also makes you appear instantly slimmer, which is a huge plus when you feel like you’ll never wear skinny jeans again.
Buy It! Belly Bandit Original Belly Wrap, $49.95; bellybandit.com
BABYBJORN BOUNCER BLISS
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: I discovered this phenomenal bouncer when my second baby was a few months old and my only regret is that I didn't find it sooner. It's genius in several ways. First, it only bounces with the baby's movements, which helps your little one learn to use his or her body (and, let's be honest, to sleep better later!). Second, it's attractive, battery-free and doesn't play any music that will drive you batty. Third, and most important, it's a "seat" that my little one has actually enjoyed spending time in when several other rockers and bouncers have failed, so it's worth the high price tag — and it converts to a toddler seat for later. It’s also super light and portable so your baby will be safe and entertained while you're cooking, showering, or just taking a few minutes to yourself. A mini-vacation, as I've come to call them.
Buy It! BabyBjorn, $239.95; babybjorn.com
BABY MERLIN MAGIC SLEEPSUIT
Rennie Dyball, Senior News Editor: I don't know who this Merlin guy is, but his product is most definitely magic. When we brought our former preemie home from the hospital, she'd been out in the world long enough that swaddles were a no-go. But sleep sacks didn't work either, as she'd startle herself awake. I'm so happy that I followed a friend's advice and bought one of these babies. Actually two, for when one is in the wash. The extra weight muffles the startle reflex and keeps your baby feeling warm and cozy. Safe for use until your babe is rolling over. Merlin, you're my new baby shower go-to.
Buy It! Baby Merlin Magic Sleepsuit swaddle transition sleep product, $39.95; magicsleepsuit.com
SOUNDBUB PORTABLE SPEAKER
Kate Hogan, Specials Director: I don't know if my little guy needs white noise to sleep, but we've been using it since day one — in part to block out noise we make around the house after he's gone to bed. When we travel, though, it's a pain to tote around our bulky sound machine, so we pop the pint-sized SoundBub into the diaper bag. The touch of one button brings on soothing sounds, and it can also be used as a portable speaker (it's Bluetooth enabled). A fun feature we haven't tried yet: the abillity to record messages on a complementary app that then play through the SoundBub (something long-distance grandparents could do). It's another chew-safe gadget, too.
Buy It! SoundBub, $49.99; wavhello.com
SNOOGLE BODY PILLOW
Laurie Coughlan, PEOPLE Public Relations Consultant: I was not a believer during my first pregnancy and suffered through uncomfortable nights from 20 weeks on with a terrible throw pillow between my legs. So the second time around, I purchased one of these babies and it was a real game changer. If I wasn’t getting up to pee every one hour and 45 minutes on the dot, I think I could actually make it through the night.
Buy It! Leachco Snoogle Body Pillow, $65.99; bedbathandbeyond.com