My very favorite baby products

Entering parenthood can be overwhelming on its own, but now new parents are bombarded with trying to figure out which gadgets to buy and what baby gear they need.  I've tried to stick with a minimalist approach to parenting, acquiring only things I absolutely love or know I truly need.  Here are a few of those baby items I adore and couldn't have done without these last 5 months.

Books: The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

This book was my bible during the first month of breastfeeding and has continued to be useful up to today.  Published by the worldwide organization, La Leche League, it's a god-send to new mothers, helping to normalize different breastfeeding struggles, encouraging you to trust your intuition, and gently guide you in bonding with your baby.  Even beyond this book, La Leche League is an invaluable resource to help with breastfeeding.  They have volunteers around the world to help guide you with any troubles or concerns you might have and I found they are so happy to help in any way they can!


The Tao of Motherhood

I keep this small book by my bedside and read a small excerpt from it a few times each week.  Every short chapter brings parenthood back to the essentials, back to simple guiding values on the days when I might worry I'm doing something wrong or when I become overwhelmed by it all.  It taps into deeper truths that I might tend to forget and it has helped me to trust myself and the unique relationship with my child.

Diaper bag: Moop waxed canvas bag

A diaper bag is one of those musts and for something you carry around all day, every day, you want something of beauty and high-quality.  For a bonus, support a small business selling handmade bags - Moop is a Pittsburgh business selling waxed canvas bags.  I received The Porter as a gift from my registry.

Song: Lullaby by The Dixie Chicks

You think the Dixie Chicks are so '90s?  Check out their beautiful Lullaby and think again.  I am in love with this sweet song and I sing it to Leo weekly.  It's our song. Try singing it to your child without crying.  Try.

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough? Is forever enough?

How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough ‘cause I’m never ever giving you up.
— Lullaby, The Dixie Chicks

Blankets: Embroidered knit cotton blanket

We were gifted this blanket by a friend when Leo was born.  As someone whose love language is gifts, this one touched me.  Embroidered with "lionheart," it's simple, beautiful, and meaningful, and the perfect blanket to wrap my little guy in.  I secretly hope it will become his attachment object.

Handwoven cotton swaddle blanket

It seems every mommy blog insisted that the swaddle blanket from Aden and Anais was a must.  I bought a pack for myself, but then I came across a group of weavers in Uganda and had them make me my own swaddle blanket.  It's the same lightweight cotton and the design is stunning.  It's handwoven from Ugandan cotton and can be used to swaddle your baby, as a burp cloth, a sun cover, or to put under their bum during an on-the-go change.


Bottles: Pura stainless steel bottles

These Pura bottles are the only bottles we have used.  They are stainless steel and BPA free, but the best part is they grow with your child.  Switch out the nipple with a sippy top when they become old enough and then switch it out again with a straw.  Or even put a top on it and use it for snacks.  Versatile, safe, and eco-friendly.  This product checks so many boxes on what is important to me and Leo seems to like them, too.

Bassinet: Mugavu wood base with Moses basket and sheepskin

I found this Moses basket in a craft market in Uganda, which is hand-woven from palm leaves.  Later, I came across this design for a bassinet and we had a local carpenter make it from Uganda's mugavu wood.  It's been the perfect place to put Leo down for a nap so I can keep an eye on him while I do work at home.  I love how it adds to our home decor rather than contrast with our aesthetic.  I completed the set with a sheepskin, which we use all the time.  I can take it out of the bassinet and place on the floor wherever I am, providing Leo a comfy, soft place to practice tummy time and providing my home with another piece of beauty.

Treasures and goods from India

One of the best things,for me, about travel is the treasures I find and collect along the way.  More and more, I find myself wanting to fill my life with goods that reflect who I am and express my creativity and/or my values.  This means I am drawn to items that are handcrafted and made locally from natural materials, making me feel connected with the maker(s) as well as our Earth. In our consumer, throw-away world, it feels great to buy something special and really appreciate it.  Here are some of the things I picked up in India that I'm excited about.

1) Hand-carved wooden block stamps
These stamps are traditionally used in India for block printing on textiles, but I can't wait to use them in decorating my own stationary.

2) Scarf woven with nettle from Alaya Design Studio
Our friend, Joshua, and his wife Richa, work with artisans in Northern India to make a variety of beautiful products from local materials.  I fell in love with this finely-made scarf and it was a staple garment for the rest of our trip!

3) Macrame garden swing
The very best impulse buy.  We picked it up on our first stop and had to carry it around the rest of the trip, but it was very worth it, don't you think?


4) Hand-embroidered 100% organic cotton dress from Manvi...the Handmade
I will not hesitate to say this is the most comfortable thing I've ever worn.  The cotton is unbelievably soft and each piece by Manvi is unique and hand-embroidered my women in Northern India.  It's truly perfect.


5) Marble mortar and pestle
I picked this gem up in Agra - maybe I was inspired by the stunning marble work from the Taj Mahal! be used for grinding herbs and spices.

6) Hemp place mats
Another great purchase from our friends at Alaya Design Studios to add a natural touch to the table setting.

7) Litchi honey from DevBhumi Natural Products
Our friends in Dehradun had this honey, made locally from bees raised near litchi trees, on their table each morning for breakfast.  And each morning I spread it generously on my toast and remarked how it was the best honey I've ever tasted, which is very true.  They kindly sent us home with our very own jar!

8) Wool socks
The most cozy purchase, worn every night to bed due to the very unexpected cold weather during our travels.

9) Organic nettle tea from the Himalayas
Nettle tea has all kinds of health benefits, including some great benefits for pregnant and breastfeeding women, so I grabbed this up when I saw it at Alaya's shop!

10) Khadi cloth
I kept my eye out for khadi cloth during our whole trip and finally found the goldmine in Delhi at Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan where I chose this cloth, which I plan to make into a dress.  What is khadi cloth and what is so great about it, you ask?  Khadi is a hand-spun cloth made from cotton, wool, or silk and, through the life of Mohandas Gandhi and India's struggle for independence, khadi has come to represent much more than the cloth itself.  The spirit of simplicity, interconnectedness, self-reliance, and national pride are all spun and woven into the khadi cloth.

But maybe Gandhi can explain it better himself:
"The 'KHADI spirit' means that we must know the meaning that the wearing of khadi carries with it...If we have the 'Khadi Spirit' we would surround ourselves with simplicity in every walk of life.  The 'Khadi Spirit' means illimitable patience whilst we are spinning the thread...The 'Khadi Spirit' means fellow-feeling with every human being on earth.  It means a complete renunciation of everything that is likely to harm our fellow creatures."

11) Cotton fabric with an ikat weave
I found these beautiful materials at The Cottage Emporium in Delhi and I couldn't decide between the two, so I got both!  The ikat weave is so beautiful and I can't wait to find a design to show them off!

11) Frankincense and Ylang Ylang essential oils
Ayurvedic treatments were everywhere in Rishikesh, so I decided to boost my collection of essential oils.