Before I became a parent, I vowed to never compromise my style: this encompassed everything from my personal wardrobe to at-home living standards. Since giving birth to my little one, I admit that it’s been challenging at times to honor this promise. Plastic and other harmful chemicals are laced in many children’s items such as toys, gear, furniture, and more. While it can be difficult to avoid, making small changes here and there – opting for quality over quantity – can make a big difference. Thankfully, many intrepid entrepreneurs are catching on to the notion that baby/parenting items don’t have to sacrifice style for substance – and safety! You can find all these elements in certain products and here are my top recommendations:
I’ve cycled through countless poorly designed diaper bags (e.g. ones that force you to dig through a bottomless pit) before I finally discovered Ayla and Co.’s game changing diaper bag. Founded by Nikki and Brody Day who are parents to four young children – the duo created practical parenting goods with a fashion-forward touch. While their collection includes fanny packs and mini bags, my favorite by far is their Black Ayla Diaper Bag + Vacuum bundle: it is not only sleek and stylish, but is also incredibly roomy, versatile, and useful. The design is gender-neutral, can be worn crossbody, over the shoulder, and as a backpack; it is composed of durable vegan leather and features many thoughtful touches to fit all your baby gear – expandable zipper compartments, mesh liners, a vegan leather change pad, stroller straps, reusable wet bag, and a mini canister vacuum cleaner (for all those inevitable crumbs baby will create). But perhaps the best part is that it doesn’t look like a diaper bag! As a result, I’ve used it for countless other activities: mommy and mini yoga classes, family vacations, quick grocery runs, and day trips to the museum and/or art gallery.
This exquisite Cybex Yema carrier, specifically from their Spring Blossom collection (in Light of Dark hues) exudes strength and grace. Jeweled embellishments, blooms in 3D appliqué, and metallic trims make it a fashionable statement piece. And the carrier isn’t just a stunner, it’s functionally versatile and safe. Tested and approved by Trageschule Hamburg, a well-known carrying consultancy, the carriers are ergonomic and secure (with back/shoulder support for the parent; and head support, skin-to-skin contact, and comfortable seating for baby). The carrier can also grow with your child from birth to two years (approx. 7.7 – 33.1 lbs.) and offers three carrying positions: front parent facing position, hip carry position, and back carry position – all with hybrid tie, waist click design feature, and personalized adjustments.
As a new mom, I have a world of patience for my baby – but not the items used to care for my little one. So if any kind of baby gear requires a textbook’s worth of instructions to set up, it’s a deal-breaker in my household. Thankfully, this soft carrier by Nesting Days is a no brainer: it was and remains a lifesaver for me and my tiny human. Compared with the convoluted slings that require you to fiddle with yards of fabric and constantly re-tie, this creation was inspired by yoga wear (code for flexible and durable). Founder Julie Arvan explains that “our carriers are completely soft and streamlined that can also compete with larger bulkier infant carriers. It is also superior to any other soft baby wrap or sling and specifically designed for skin-to-skin bonding with newborns right after birth.” From day one, I personally loved that it helped me with my postpartum recovery, thanks to the carrier’s gentle compression. Meanwhile, the carrier features crisscross wings and allows littles to be embraced in a natural ‘curl’ against the wearer’s chest. Pro-tip: it’s also been a lifesaver for any long train and plane trips!
I never thought I would ever describe a high chair as a work of art but indeed, such things exist when crafted by Cybex and acclaimed Dutch Designer Marcel Wanders. In merging Cybex’s stylish functionality savvy along with Wanders’ architectural, interior and industrial design ingenuity – this wood framed highchair features a removable safety bar, an embroidered Monster motif, and diamond hatch stitching. You’d think this would spell disaster especially since it is a white cushioned highchair (although, it is offered in black too) – yet through all the spits, spills, and splatters – everything’s come out easily with eco-friendly cleaners. The tray is also sturdy and can be easily taken apart with the latch mechanism (it is conveniently dishwasher friendly as well).
Child playmats found in the general market are a bit of an eyesore. The colors clash with the home and are frequently made with materials that are teeming with toxic chemicals, such as PVC/vinyl, BPA, and Phthalates. Thankfully, there’s Totter + Tumble to come to the rescue: it is a luxury British brand specializing in design-led playmats for babies, toddlers, and beyond.
Founder Susie Stubbs explains that all their playmats are safe for littles: “all Totter + Tumble playmats are non-toxic, responsibly manufactured, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, easily cleaned, safe, and supportive.” And it doesn’t hurt that these are design-forward playmats which can actually enhance your home’s aesthetic. Moreover, it’s not something you want to hide when you have company (although they can be easily rolled up and packed away when not needed). With an array of tones and patterns, the compliments will roll in from everyone spanning children to adults.
Lovevery is an award-winning company that is revered for its Montessori-inspired toys and subscription boxes. Beyond that, they’ve expanded into homeware that can grow with your child. I personally adore that all items are crafted with sustainably harvested wood; and moreover, as a newly B Corp certified company, their items are easy-on-the environment (with a commitment to renewable and/or sustainable resources) – and above all else – are safe for babies. Provide sensory play and cerebral development with their minimalist yet design pleasing Play Gym that helps babies explore the world with batting/teething toys, plenty of tummy time, and much more.
As first-time parents, my husband and I quickly realized that you need to have an effective organization system within your home or it will always look messy and chaotic. Thankfully, Lovevery’s new Montessori Playshelf helps littles understand playtime and clean-up time by putting belongings back in their respective place. Composed of ethically and sustainably sourced Birchwood, the shelved unit with hidden storage compartment exudes a Scandinavian sentiment with light tones and minimalist embellishments – and ultimately – remains functionally inclined for little hands (the unit has no hard edges and features soft-close technology to ensure closing and opening is done with ease).