When it comes to making decisions, I research a LOT. (Haha – it must be the engineer in me!) Sometimes I think the hours and hours I spend googling product reviews, comparing prices, and lezbehonest making spreadsheets must annoy my husband… Haha – we once stood in the Walmart printer aisle for an hour, just cause I wanted to make sure we didn’t buy another lame printer (aka expensive ink that needs replacing every month, and doesn’t work whenever you need it).
MOST of the time, I do all that research ahead of time, though – finding the best things for our family (aka that provide the most worth for the most money). I also LOVE supporting my fellow small businesses – particularly those who support causes I care about and just do things in an ethical, thoughtful way, and am always so very happy to discover a small business that makes a quality something that we need.
So, in today’s blog post, I wanted to share 7 of the products that I’ve invested in for these motherhood days – all from small businesses – to consider adding to your baby registry (or to gift a new mama.. or get for yourself)!
Rosie’s company doesn’t just offer THE most incredibly comfy dresses (mostly for temple worship, but also DAY DREAMIES aka the dress you all need, and baptism dresses and such) – it’s a fiercly loving SISTERHOOD that talks about all the hard things, respects different opinions, and supports each other. Seriously, I absolutely adore everything she does, and dream of someday making this business into a similarly authentic, real, supportive sisterhood.
BUT. Her Day Dreamies are QUEEN. Comfy, SOO soft, with attractive flutter sleeves, deeep pockets (for snacks, breast pads, your child’s fill-in-the-blank that they just handed you) and a very, very stretchy neckline (aka pull it down to breastfeed in). The only downside is that she recommends you hand wash these, which means that mine get washed less than they prolly should be…. but I love both of mine. I wear them to bed, and then for errands all day, and then to a neighborhood mama activity, and then to church (and I’m most definitely wearing one right now). Multifunctional, AWESOME. (Update as of Dec 2020 – Rosie has since added a NEW wrap dress AND breastfeeding friendly jumpsuit to her line of comfy day dresses)
This is my alternative to the day dreamy comfy life – I pick up my D&S caftans in the moments when I’m feelin’ buttons instead of pull down to breastfeed in, or just a more flowy feel. Again, they’re very much bump-friendly (a bit more than the Day Dreamies), breastfeeding-friendly with buttons, and have deep pockets for everything a mama needs to carry. The only thing I’m not a HUGE fan of are the sleeves on the caftan – it catches on knobs and door handles alll the time.
They have two other styles, but also meet all the Kaitlyn essential criteria for motherhood clothes (aka bump, breastfeeding, and pocket friendly). The cocoon is a more fitted design (Liz wore it for their newborn session) with less catch-prone sleeves and outside (instead of in-seam) pockets, and their swing is their new adjustment of the caftan – just with less crazy sleeves. (Update as of Dec 2020: I finally got my hands on a ribbed swing dress, and LOVE it! The ribbed fabric is heavenly soft without being hard to pull on, and the sleeves don’t catch (though they’re not as flattering as the flutter sleeves on my dreamies)!) They also make beautiful, matching baby gowns and swaddles that I haven’t tried yet.
Though we do use our stroller, both Ben & I LOVE the flexibility of babywearing. It’s hands free, stair friendly, easy to travel with, and keeps our babe close. And wraps were our babywearing tool of choice for Eleanor’s first six or so months. Sure, it was a bit tricky to figure out at first, but the tutorials (Solly has the best!) and a few practice rounds had us both confident in our wrapping skills pretty quickly.
We currently own two wraps – a thicker, heavier blue wrap that I was gifted, and our soft Fern Solly wrap. We definitely prefer our Solly wrap – it’s just quality, packs small, lighter weight, and breathable (which was REALLY important for our Brazil trip last year). Plus, their designs and colors are always GORGEOUS – simple and beautiful. (I really don’t like the typical “baby” colors and designs – give me all the neutrals and soft colors and subtle prints!)
Solly also makes incredibly soft looking swaddles, top/bottom sets, and crib sheets (which I haven’t tried yet). AND they support The Humble Village in building Ochoch’s (Mother Villages) in Guatemala – where maternal and infant mortality rates are HIGH. Elle just runs a thoughtful, authentic feeling company, and I LOVE it.
Once Eleanor started sitting up on her own (and honestly got a bit too smart/wiggly/tall for the wrap), our more structured onbuhimo carrier from Sakura Bloom became our babywearing tool of choice (we have the Clary Maven onbuhimo and Oak Maven ring sling). We use them ALL the time – for walks around the neighborhood, hikes, moments when Eleanor just wants to be held and carried and we need two hands to make dinner, etc.
The maven material is actually matte silk, and SUPER durable while also GORGEOUS, though a bit more expensive (I mean… it’s silk). They also offer lots of other textile options – other silks (simple silk, covet), bamboo (theory – it looks SO soft and I’ll probably get one someday), and a few different linen lines (which tend to be less expensive, but still really supportive and SOFT and did I mention gorgeous??). They also have stunninngg leather strap options, lots and lots of colorways, and an eyelet linen line that’s dreammmyyyy.
SB has two other carriers options besides the onbuhimo (which is for babes that can already sit by themselves) – the scout (which has more support for both you and your babe, so it’s newborn friendly) and ring slings (which plenty of other companies make, too.. just usually only in linen, not silks or bamboo).
Dec 2020 update: with our new babe girl here, I’m finding I tend to grab my ring sling to carry my sleeping newborn around the house, simply because it’s easier to breastfeed in! (We might be needing the cushy theory ring sling now..)
Tips: join the Sakura Bloom, unthreaded group on FB for advice on which material, color, and carrier meets your needs most. Purchasing from the BST group or sample sales are also helpful ways of saving money on their quality stuff! (Everything FLIES in the sample sales, though!)
OHH Gathre. I have to restrain myself from getting ALL of their vegan, gorgeous, leather, wipeable mats in all the colors (just get what you’ll use, Kaitlyn, just get what you’ll use). That currently looks like a heron tablecloth, pewter mini, birch maxi, and pewter and tannin toddler bibs.
The tablecloth stays on our table ALL the time, and is our first tablecloth to not get stained/ruined within a week. Just wiping it down every day (vs throwing it in the wash after stain-removing 3+ times) and not worrying about someone (usually me haha) spilling the chili or juice or whatever is SO nice. Our mini (when not in use for monthly milestone pictures) chills under Eleanor’s high chair and protects the carpet from her applesauce, pasta, banana, avocado, etc. messes that happen with every meal. The maxi is our latest new friend, and hangs up in its carrier so it’s ready to come with us to picnics and parks and our backyard and client sessions. We keep one of our bibs in the diaper bag at all times (wipable travel bib? HECK YES.) and the other floats around to wherever it’s needed.
Again, Mare & Jess have built just a beautiful, kind community that I LOVE, and work really hard to make products that are EXACTLY what we need to just make life’s messes a little easier to manage.
High bibs are the ingenious invention that has SAVED us and our mealtimes (thank you, McKelle!!!). Pretty much, the high bib wraps around your babe and attaches to the high chair, collecting all the mess that usually ends up ON your babe’s chunky thighs/belly/feet, and keeping them clean instead. And, yes, it’s also totally WIPABLE (aka less laundry for me!).
We keep the high bib on our IKEA high chair all day, wiping it down as needed, and thoroughly cleaned (along with the high chair and Gathre high chair mat) after dinner. Eleanor’s clothes stay pretty clean (which is AMAZINNGG). Occasionally, she’ll even discover and slurp up an extra dropped noodle or piece of chicken from the high bib (or she’ll use it to store all the food she doesn’t want from her plate)!
I’d especially recommend getting a high bib if you’re doing baby-led weaning (which we did) – I might even call it a NECESSITY. Our High Bib + Gathre combo seriously makes our clean up SO much easier. (Dec 2020 update: McKelle is currently expecting their second cutie in early 2021 (I’m SO honored to get to support & document her birth as her doula & photographer!), so if you don’t already have one of these, you’re going to have to wait for her to reopen her business back up post-babe!)
We personally didn’t worry about shoes until Eleanor was standing and walking by herself. But once we reached that milestone, my research-happy self found out that thin, flexible soles are best for new walkers, and off I went to find decent (aka affordable, durable, and cute) ones for my girlie! I quickly decided baby moccs were the way to go, and found a LOT of options out there.
Monkey Feet is the brand we’ve liked the most thus far – they stay on our girlie’s skinny feet (but don’t worry, they have different styles that work for chunky feet, too), are affordable, constantly have new designs & colors, and even matching mommy shoes (which aren’t really my thing, but I’ll admit they’re cute).
I will say that they don’t have a LOT of designs/colors that are exactly the simple style I like (they have a lot of patterns – some fun and some meaningful, like styles to honor police force and military, heart surgery and cancer survivors, autism awareness, etc). BUT the ones I love, I LOVE. (Dec 2020 update: STILL in love with these. We currently have matching combat boots, and they’re durable enough to get passed down to Sofie!)
Other Notable Mentions
While the ones above are my FAVORITES, there are quite a few other little companies and products that I LOVE and will mention here.
- Madeline’s Box makes the most UNIQUE AND BEAUTIFUL wildflower print. Their swaddles are quality – stretchy but breathable, and soft SOFT SOFT! Heather and her team of work-from-home mamas also make really, really beautiful pacifier clips that I haven’t been able to justify getting (Eleanor’s not quite a pacifier girl).
- Lou Lou & Co makes GORGEOUS and soft looking baby gowns, swaddles, bows, top/bottom sets, and dresses for mamas. While I personally haven’t used them, I have bought from them for others and love the goodness they put out into the world.
- Blossom & Pear makes some beautiful pregnancy and milestone cards, as well as pregnancy and baby journals. I haven’t had the chance to use any of their products, but now own their pregnancy cards and plan to use them to document future pregnancies!
- Starry Knight Designs is the other brand of baby moccs we own – we LOVE them, but they tend to fall off of Eleanor’s feet more than our Monkey Feet (which might just be the design/fit) and Eleanor wears through the toes faster on these (she’s such a toe dragger haha). BUT, Melanie does unique things like offer custom wide and narrow adjustments and a walker/runner sole to any of her shoes. Which is so, so helpful for, say, an early walker with skinny, still small feet that doesn’t fit into the other brand’s size with the waterproof/more durable soles (aka 12-18 months in Monkey Feet). I also ADORE her style and leathers.
- Sun and Lace is another baby mocc store that I WANT to try but haven’t been able to – Briana makes each one of these leather beauts to order, and up until recently, only took a very limited number of orders. Haha, I just couldn’t get on her list fast enough! But I LOVE her leather, custom lace boots (and how gender neutral they can be), so a pair is definitely on our want list.
- I’ve also found a lot of really beautiful looking mama (and mama + babe) jewelry out there. Ben bought me matching Eleanor bracelets for my birthday from Rainbow Row that I ADORE. Made by Mary, Gems by Laura, and the Milky Mudra make some gorgeous, meaningful products that have also made it onto my wish list.
I’m always on the look out for more small businesses with incredible products to support – so if you know of someone else who needs to be on my list, comment and let me know!
P.S. This post was 100% completely the result of my own research & experience – no sponsored stuff here!