How to Survive with Baby in a Small Space
This is a cool looking kid, right? He’s clearly got all the style, gear, and trendy items any baby could hope or dream about. He must have cool parents who have figured our juuuuust the right stuff to buy for him.
As you saw in our little house tour (check it out here if you missed it!) our Hong Kong abode is, in fact, very little. Luckily, our baby is little too. Unluckily, not much else associated with babies is small at all. We have had to be very selective and smart about how we have organized our place to accommodate the influx of baby gear and also maintain our sanity by not being surrounded by every plastic, colourful baby item ever invented. As we didn’t find out our baby’s sex before birth we also wanted to keep things limited so we could make choices specific for him after he arrived.
Obviously we’re not as prolific as Oprah, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do our own version of our Favourite Things, right? You get a diaper bag! You get a diaper bag! You get a diaper bag! (Just kidding, you don’t get anything.) Here are our top picks, when you should think about getting organised soon, and what you can leave to sort out later. This list is curated for minimalists and anyone living with a baby in a tiny space!
Setting Up the Nursery
As I shared in our house tour, and detailing of Campbell’s wall mural blog posts, you saw our little babe has his own space. While not critical, we felt we needed room for him, and our previous place was very tiny. He has his own room to keep most of this stuff. Admittedly, we could have made do with all of us sharing one bedroom but it’s a lot more relaxing for each thing to have its own space and place.
- BASSINET: For the first 3 months, Campbell slept in a little bassinet on a ledge beside our bed. We purposely selected a stroller with a bassinet appropriate for sleeping to play double duty, and it was perfect. I learned from our midwife that it’s safest to sleep with a new baby in the same room (but probably not the same bed) so Campbell’s bassinet was perched right beside us as we slept. This solution was extra versatile as we could transfer the bassinet in and out of the stroller base without disrupting our sleeping baby. Side note: Braden and I switched sides so I could sleep closest to the bassinet for night feeds. When he woke in the night, I would take Campbell out to my chair in the other room, nurse him, and then pop him back in the bassinet to sleep. When I returned to bed, Braden had rolled into his “old” spot. Every. Damn. Time!
- NURSING CHAIR: Personally, I like having a dedicated spot to nurse Campbell. Many people select a plush rocking chair. Braden – bless his heart – really wanted to get me one. Instead we waited to see how the antique armchair we already had might work. It’s a perfect size, and it takes up much less space than a rocker. I also like that it’s wipeable. More than one spit-up has hit that seat! I especially love that a chair that used to be my grandparents’ is now where I have special time daily with my little babe.
- FOOTSTOOL: In lieu of an accompanying rocking stool, I use our existing Ikea Stockholm cowhide pouf as a foot rest. It’s the right height, easy to move around (and sit on if necessary) and it’s one less dedicated baby item to contend with later.
- CHANGE TABLE: We use Campell’s dresser as change table. It’s one less furniture item in the room and it’s got a nice big surface for all his supplies. Most importantly, we have a simple changing mat from Mothercare, which we cover with a simple plastic-backed change pad from Kushies. We have a few, and used them as a liner in his bassinet, in our bed if he came for a cuddle, and even for in our laps in case we think a diaper leak is imminent. Of course we keep a stack of diapers on hand, our preference being Pampers after we found they fit best and didn’t aggravate his sensitive skin. Lastly, we have avoided wipes and instead use a square of cotton dipped in a bit of water.
- CLOTHING STORAGE: refer above the the dresser that’s also a change table. It’s quite large, with 3 small drawers and 4 larger ones. It provides LOADS of storage. Way more than we need. His little clothes are so small they basically all fit in one drawer. We also have a narrow closet from Ikea, but only because it’s leftover from our old place. We use it to store clothes for the future, clothes he’s outgrown, diapers, and his laundry bin. We could definitely do without it for now, though.
- TOY CADDY: After seeing it on Pinterest a bunch of times, I went for the Raskog rolling caddy from Ikea to store toys, books, etc. It’s ideal because it’s several layers of storage in one small footprint, mobile, and can be used somewhere later if it doesn’t suit Campbell’s nursery longterm.
- BABY SEAT: We received the Linkadoos Baby Seat as a hand-me down and use it every day, if for nothing else than to keep Campbell happy and contained for a few minutes so we can have both hands free. I don’t think this exact one is still available, but similar ones are. He especially loves the suspended toys; his favourite is the one with a mirror.
What do we NOT have? We don’t have a diaper geenie, or whatever those diaper disposal things are. Our garbage room is across the hall – diapers go straight there. We do not have a wipe warmer (it’s warm enough!)
We don’t have a car, so our main focus right out of the gate was a do-everything, meet-every-need stroller. We think we chose the perfect one.
- STROLLER: Everyone in Hong Kong focuses on having a tiny stroller because of the busy streets and are concerned about the weight of a larger one. We figured if we had a stroller anyways, we may as well have one that was comfortable to push and fit everything we wanted. The Uppababy Vista has a decent size cargo area below, sun protection, and a bassinet that worked with the unit as well. It also comes with a winter cover, rain cover and bug cover; they’ve all come in handy. Specifically for Hong Kong we are glad he’s up higher, away from the dirty streets, and appreciate that the seat can be both front and rear facing. Many people opt for a tiny light stroller, but we LOVE ours and are so glad we made the decision we did.
Campbell loves bath time, but we don’t have a tub. We decided to get a folding tub to meet our needs and tuck away when it’s not in use.
- BABY TUB: We chose the Stokke Flexi Tub because of good reviews and because it can fold. Admittedly it’s rarely folded; we just prop it in the shower to dry. It’s manageable to fill and carry, and Campbell has lots of room to spare. He outgrew the infant insert around 8 months when he could sit on his own.
- BATH THERMOMETER: A gift from a fellow new Mama, the Baby Bath and Room Thermometer settles any and all temperature disputes, both with the bathwater and room temperature. I would never want to risk running the water too hot, and if it’s too cold Campbell won’t linger and enjoy his bath. It’s awesome! Especially now that summer has hit Hong Kong we’ve been using it to check his room temperature too.
- BODY WASH: Our poor little bug has sensitive skin, and our doctor recommended Cetaphil RestoraDerm. We tried a few before discovering this one, then stocked up.
- BATH TOWEL: There’s nothing cuter than a fresh little babe wrapped in a hooded towel! A smart purchase unless you’ve got a talented Grandma like us and get a homemade one!
- WASH CLOTHES: A couple wash clothes just for Campbell are always at the ready in the bathroom, especially now that we’ve started feeding him solids! His face, hands head…covered in food…what a mess!
All the Cotton
We had a couple neutral options ready for each of these categories, then supplemented soon after with all the cutest boy’s clothes we could lay our hands on after Campbell was born and we knew we were outfitting a boy. I actually think there are SO MANY adorable clothing options for boys.
- MUSLIN BLANKETS: We have 3 and there’s always one or two in rotation. Ours are from Aden & Anais and Ideal Baby, and they wash and wear well. We always have one with us in the diaper bag in case we want to cover Campbell in the stroller at nap time, and when he was younger it was just the cutest thing to swaddle him up for sleep time. Love!
- BLANKETS: My Mama sewed Campbell a couple soft blankets, which are perfect to spread on the floor, lay on the sofa or cover him with to stay cozy.
- BURP CLOTHES: Once again my Mama whipped up some awesome hand sewn burp clothes that are literally always within arms reach. Similar ones can be found at M&S.
- ONESIES: Also known as bodysuits and baby grows, I’ve learned! Campbell received some awesome hand-me-down onesies from our friends and we were surprised how differently various brands fit. Campbell is quite long and lean and we found that some just didn’t work for him. Our favourite brands are Gap, Carters, Zara, and Marks & Spencer.
- PANTS: It was my Mom, while helping organise Campbell’s dresser just after he was born, who commented we had no pants for him. This is why you always need your Mom…how did i not think to have pants for my baby?! Our favourites are a soft knit from Gap. They’ve got a lovely elastic waist and he’s been wearing them for months with the cuffs rolled up, then down.
- TOQUE: Campbell was constantly wearing a little hat to keep him warm in the chilly weather (and now air conditioning). We often pop it on to prevent him from scratching his itchy little scalp…poor dude! His favourite is similar to these.
- MITTS: Again, to prevent scratching, especially while sleeping, we need to keep Campbell’s hands covered. Admittedly, we have been using a pair of socks. Really, we should have some of these.
- SOCKS: When they’re not on his hands (haha!) Campbell’s usually wearing socks on his feet. So far he hates wearing shoes, but we keep his feet covered when we go out, as it’s still cool in Hong Kong. His favourite stay-on-well socks are from Bonds and Carters.
- PYJAMAS: Every night when we cuddle Campbell into a pair of pyjamas he’s typically on the brink of an overtired meltdown. We reach for the easiest pair to put on, which always has a zip. We love Bonds Wondersuit with its easy zip, and also wrist and ankle cuffs that turn into little booties / mitts. Our other top pick is from the Gap, with little footies, a zipper and cuffs that roll into mitts. The adorable patterns don’t hurt either!
- SLEEP SACK: When he had first moved into his big crib, we cozied Campbell into the Love to Dream swaddle for bed because we knew he would stay secure and it allowed his hands to be up but still contained. I think it did help him sleep well. He has since graduated to one from Aiden + Anais that’s sleeveless and slips over his pyjamas. So cute!
- LAUNDRY SUPPLIES: All this cotton need some serious washing between spit-ups, poo-nami’s and now eating real food. We use a baby-specific laundry soap from Persil, stain remover from OxiClean, and a little laundry bag from Bonds. We always wash Campbell’s clothes separately.
Don’t Forget About Mama
Trust me. Once baby arrives, you’ll have no time to grab anything, let alone for yourself! I was so glad to have these few essentials on hand.
- STRETCH MARK OIL: I started using the Mother’s Wellness Stretch Mark Oil from Saje in my second trimester and I loved it. It’s a luxurious and soothing ritual to get in to before bedtime and I do think it helped minimize stretch marks. Awesome!
- NURSING BRA: I tried a couple different ones but the one I love is from Changes because it looks, feels and fits like a real bra. Spend the money!
- NURSING NIGHTGOWN: On a whim I picked this up from Target while I was still pregnant and it’s become the only thing I want to wear to bed. Super simple for blurry nighttime feeds and doesn’t fit like a potato sack.
- BREAST PADS: I can’t believe I even need to write about something like breast pads but you’ll need these! I started off with the disposable ones from Lansinoh, and felt terrible about all the waste, then switched to the washable ones from Medela, which come with their own little mesh washing pouch.
- NIPPLE CREAM: And now I’m talking about nipple cream…even better! Seriously, though, this one from Lansinoh is a godsend; I was so glad I had it in the hospital right from Day One.
- BABY APP: We downloaded the Baby Connect app for our phones and it’s amazing. I find it so useful to keep track of breastfeeding, diapers, nap schedules, etc. Braden and I both have it on our phones and are very diligent about keeping it up to date. It have graphs and charts to track various metrics, which I have found really useful to notice patterns and help develop a schedule.
Keep This Kiddo Safe
- CRIB: That bassinet that’s good for up to 6 months? That’s pretty much a sales tactic. Campbell is average size and was stuffed into his basically by 3 months old. We opted to transition him into the Ikea Stuva Cot with Drawers and Vyssa Vackert Mattress. We also got a mattress protector to prevent disastrous accidents, and lovingly hand-made sheets. How lucky are we?!
- OOGIE BEAR: Don’t ask me how my +/-8lb baby generates a pound (my estimate) of ear wax and nose boogers every week. It’s so bizarre! It’s also not safe to probe around with q-tips, as helpful as you might want to be. Enter the oogie bear! Best and safest little invention to help coax out gobs of wax and clingy boogers. Trust me! It’s necessary and (because I’m weird), satisfying.
- THERMOMETER: One of the most practical gifts we’ve received, this no-touch forehead thermometer is brilliant and fun for everyone. We all get our temperature taken..whosever is lowest wins!
- MEDICATION: Obviously I’m not a doctor, so double check all this advice with a qualified professional, but we stocked up on some basic medication to have on hand. My parents brought it over from Canada so we’d know it was all legit, and the dye-free kind that’s best for kid. Luckily we haven’t had to use much, just bit of Tylenol after his immunizations and daily D-Drops.
- SNOT SUCKER: Another practical gift from an experienced Mom! The infamous snot sucker was hotly discussed topic while I was pregnant. Eww! By the time Campbell came along and got his first cold, I couldn’t wait to reach for the Nose Frida. I wouldn’t say Campbell loves it, but he has started to realize it helps him feel better; I feel good knowing I’m helping him feel better.
- NAIL CLIPPERS: Everyone says how sharp baby’s nails are and how quickly they grow. They’re not kidding. We got a little pair of Nuk clippers and literally need to use them every few days. Ouch!
- LOTION: Again, for Campbell’s skin we use Cetaphil RestoraDerm a few times a day. We also find ourselves reaching for coconut oil often as well!
- DIAPER CREAM: Our poor little dude got a bit of a diaper rash early on, and since then we’ve been vigilant at applying Sudocrem to keep him protected. It’s like smearing cream cheese all over baby’s bum!
- TEETHING GEL: As one of the very first edible things Campbell ever had in his mouth, I feel a lot better that Tiber River Naturals (Canadian brand!) You Can’t Handle the Tooth Teething Gel is made from a few natural ingredients. I tried it, and it gives quite the tingly gums…and tastes like cloves!
- SALVE: Refer above to Campbell’s dagger nails. Unfortunately he’s given himself a couple scratches, which we’ve dabbed with Tiber River Natural Save Me Gel to help him heal extra quickly! I foresee us needing this for more bumps and bruises as soon as he gets more mobile.
- VIDEO MONITOR: We invested in a video monitor so we could peek in on Campbell while he’s sleeping in the next room. It links to our phone so we can even check on Campbell when we’re out. This one falls under Daddy’s Favourites, as Braden did all the research. He selected the Arlo system, and we have mounted the small camera to the wall so we can see clearly. How cute is this little bub when he’s sleeping?!
Getting Out and About
- BABY CARRIER: This is the stuff baby dreams are made of. Especially when he was tiny, Campbell loved the comfort and security of being chest to chest in the carrier. We love being able to go down stairs quickly! Now that he’s bigger he can’t get enough of facing outward to take in the world around him! We have the Baby Bjorn Synergy and like it because it’s comfortable and lightweight for Hong Kong summer.
- SOOTHER CLIP: We love this clip from Urban Baby Boutique because it’s also a string of teething beads. It’s almost always clipped in his stroller (or car seat when we travel) and it’s so useful and also cute!
- DIAPER BAG: I wanted to make sure I had a bag that I wouldn’t be stuck carrying all the time because it’s “too girly”, so we got the simplest black bag from lululemon that Braden is willing to lug around too. It’s lightweight and a great size to hold all our gear. If we’re going somewhere without the stroller, which is where the bag lives most of the time, we can just toss the essentials into a backpack and still have both hands free.
- CHANGING PAD: Years ago I bought the Skip Hop Pronto Baby Changing Station for a friend and she said it’s been incredibly useful. We agree, especially because it has space for extra diapers, wipes and I’ve squeezed an emergency set of clothes in as well.
- PACIFIER WIPES: Even with our favourite Sophie strap and soother clip, things definitely get dropped. We keep a package of pacifier wipes in the diaper bag to wipe down and sanitize anything that needs to be freshened up.
Don’t Let Baby Starve
- FORMULA: We only give Campbell formula once every other day or so; we started giving him a bit when I was traveling for work and Braden needed to feed him through the day. We chose the brand Aptamil, being careful to avoid any potential for tainted Chinese formula. Campbell devours it, but we learned that if we’re giving him both formula and breastmilk during the same feed, always start with formula. After drinking the breastmilk he is NOT impressed with formula!
- BOTTLES: A friend of ours passed on some Dr. Brown’s bottles and our midwife recommended that we go ahead and use them. I can’t speak for Campbell, but he’s never seemed to have an issue with them!
- BREAST PUMP: Our same great friend bequeathed me her Ameda Purely Yours breast pump. I had no clue about any of this before getting pregnant, and was so happy to get a great unit from a friend. The best feature is that it has batteries to use on the fly and comes in a carrying bag so I can easily transport it back and forth to work.
- MILK STORAGE BAGS: The Nuk breastmilk storage bags are easy to seal, have never leaked, and have a nifty little area to record the date and volume. I’m sure there are lots of brands out there, but this is what we started using and they’re great.
- STERILIZER: We got a electric steam sterilizer from Philip Avent that a friend of a friend was selling. I didn’t even know we would need something like that but use it every day for cleaning bottles, breast pump parts, etc. It is essential!
What didn’t we buy? No breastfeeding pillow (used a regular pillow or cushion). No bottle warmer (use a pot on the stove).
Don’t Forget About Mama
Easy things to do for Mama to help her ease into the reality of Motherhood.
- WINE: Any type
- WINE: Any variety
- WINE: Any price point
- TOYS & BOOKS: As much as we want to keep the baby clutter and “stuff” to a minimum, babies need stuff to play with. We’ve a great collection of colourful and interesting things to keep him engaged, including:
- You don’t actually have a legit baby until you have a Sophie, or at least that’s how it feels! Sophie the Giraffe is always popular with Campbell, super cute and easy to wipe off.
- We were lucky enough to get a home-made “leash” for Sophie so she doesn’t drop on the ground. It’s a lifesaver and we use it for everything, not just Sophie. You can find something similar here.
- Even with a teething toy in his hand, Campbell prefers to chew on his own fingers or drops his toy. An easy solution is his Munch Mitt, which he loves.
- The softest little lovies around are Jellycats. You can get them so many places, and they’re just the cutest and softest little guys ever. I was surprised how young Campbell was when he started to enjoy playing with his bunny and monkey.
- We have several toys for Campbell by Skip Hop and Infantino. We like the ones that do multiple things…vibrate, colourful, textured toys that he reaches for over and over. Bonus if they have a loop that can fit onto his bassinet handle or, now, stroller bar, so they stay in place when we’re on the go.
- TOY BINS: I’m a fan of everything having a place and being in its place. For now we’ve got many of Campbell’s toys kept in our living from in two bins from Franc Franc. They don’t look like toy storage bins (because they’re not) but they do the job just fine. One less thing with giraffes parading around on it, and one more thing that can be repurposed in any room down the road.
- SOOTHER: The ultra-popular WubbaNub is a soother attached to a soft little animal. Campbell loves his (we have two) and ends up chewing on their little paws just as much as the soother itself. He’s starting to outgrow soothers, but especially when he was really little having the little animal on his chest helped keep it in place as he was drifting off to sleep.
- DRIBBLE BIBS: Around four months old, Campbell started drooling incessantly and his entire outfit would be damp in an hour or two. Cute little bandana-style bibs are a great solution. Put your order in with an awesome Grandma who sews for you, otherwise you can get something similar from Cotton-On.
- JOLLY JUMPER: We have a Jolly Jumper on loan to us and Campbell ADORES it! He’ll spend up to 45 minutes at a time bouncing around. It’s a great toy because when he’s not using it we can tuck it away and it doesn’t take up much space.
- SHOES: Now that Campbell’s trying to scoot and spending as much time on his feet (with assistance) as possible, we’ve got him wearing a pair of little leather soft-soled shoes. This Robeez brand has an incredible selection of the most adorable patterns. Campbell’s are navy with alligators!
- PLAY MAT: We don’t have any carpet in our place, and we were finding that the blanket we spread on the ground wasn’t soft enough and too slippery for Campbell to enjoy himself now that he’s rolling. I found the Bubba Mat online and order it to bring back from Australia. I love it because it’s soft, thicker than a yoga mat, easily wipeable and looks like an ‘adult’ floor covering. It’s double sided, with a maze of roads and buildings to play with when he’s older. It’s AWESOME.
Let’s Take This Babe Somewhere (Sunny!)
We’ve done both warm (Koh Samui, Hua Hin, Melbourne and Sydney) travel and cold (Vancouver) travel with Campbell and between the two, not much changes. Cold weather demands extra layers of cold-weather gear. Warm weather demands a few extras.
- SUN SUIT: I found a little UPF 50 sun suit at Cotton-On for Campbell to wear. I think this is the easiest solution to protect most of his skin, rather than trying to worry about smearing sunscreen everywhere.
- SUN HAT: Campbell doesn’t mind wearing hats, but ones with a chin strap definitely stay put best. He’s almost outgrown his one from The Gap, so we got him this one from Australia, which is even better as it’s UPF 50+ instead of cotton.
- SUNSCREEN: Our poor little sensitive-skinned babe struggles with anything drying on his skin. So far this Aveeno baby sunscreen is working out well.
- ZIP ROMPER: I found a sweet little zip romper for Campbell and it had the most awesome banana pattern on it. It became his banana suit. I’ve since bought more from Cotton-On, and some similar ones from Bonds, but we still call them banana suits. They’re great because they’re lightweight, nice and breezy, and quick to take on and off. I think he’ll live in these come Hong Kong summertime.
- SUNGLASSES: Why get plain old baby sunglasses when you can get Babiators…aviators for your baby! What more can I say? They’re designed to withstand abuse and have a great warranty. And they’re so. darn. cute!
- SWIM DIAPERS: Every former swim teach knows…regular diapers can’t go in the pool because they just become enormous. The Huggies Little Swimmers are designed to get wet and still work properly. They’re available in Hong Kong but we brought some over from Canada because they’re about 1/4 of the price there. We plan to do lots of swimming when the weather gets warmer!
- FAN: Campbell’s clip on fan – very similar to this one – is essential when it’s hot. It’s got an easy clamp to move around and soft foam blades so it will never hurt him.
- STERILIZING TABLETS: We don’t travel with our huge steam sterilizer, so to keep our supplies sterilized in the hotel room we filled up the sink and dropped in a Miltons tablet. Easy peasy.
As we Go and Grow
We were so excited to start giving Campbell ‘real’ food! He had been watching us intently for several weeks as we ate, and we knew it was time.
- HIGHCHAIR: Cantilevered off the edge of our island, the Phil & Ted’s Lobster highchair is perfect for us. It takes up no floor space, can easily be moved or removed entirely, and packs flat in a little bag to take to a restaurant or pack for travel. All the positive reviews don’t lie. Winner!
- BIB: we have a few different bibs but the leather Mally Bib is the one we reach for the most. It’s easily wiped down, the magnetic clasp is easy to manage and the cute designs can’t be beat.
- BLENDER: Only the best food for my baby, of course! We’re making our own and it’s fun! I found some guidelines online to help decide which foods to introduce first, then got down to some serious steaming and pureeing. Our Vitamix is perfect for this, and we haven’t found the need to purchase a dedicated baby food steamer / blender. The only downside with the Vitamix is you need to prepare a reasonable portion to fill the vessel above the blade level. This isn’t a problem as we prepare large batches and freeze for later.
- FOOD STORAGE: We’ve got a good little system organized to handle all our homemade goodies. Our freezer is tiny, so we wanted to be efficient with our storage space. The OXO storage containers are little cubes and stack easily. I plan Campbell’s meals for the week on a calendar and pull out his meals to thaw accordingly. The containers come in two sizes, and we’re using both the 2 and 4oz volumes. We also got two Tovolo icecube trays to divide food into one ounce portions. We pop them into a ziploc for freezer storage. We also use these glass dishes with lids to heat and store his meals.
- FEEDING SPOONS: I bought some spoons very similar to these ones from the Real Canadian Superstore, but I can’t access their website in Hong Kong. How strange! Campbell can gum away at the soft silicone, but we try not to let him use the spoons as a toy.
- TOOTHBRUSH: Before bedtime we’ve added a little “tooth” brushing routine (fyi Campbell still has no teeth!) We use this fingertip baby toothbrush to get him used to us poking around in his mouth and the general routine of tooth brushing. He actually loves it!
Gifted With Love
Of course it goes without saying that gifts aren’t necessary all. And, honestly, living in such a small space we really didn’t want a bunch of things that we didn’t really need. That being said, little gifts are so appreciated and our gift-givers have been incredibly smart and thoughtful in their seleciton. Anything that’s super necessary and functional that I have outlined above is a great gift! A few other suggestions are listed below.
- BOOKS: We are a family of readers and educators; books are treasures! Already, Campbell enjoys story time. We have also decided to collect a book from places we visit as a memento for the future. Soft books are great early on, and board books for soon after that. A favourite gift we’ve received from Grandparents is All the Ways I Love You, a book that can be recorded and played back. Especially since we’re so far away, Campbell being able to hear their voices whenever it’s time for a special story is brilliant. What a special gift!
- AN HEIRLOOM: We received the most gorgeous silver Music Box from Birks. Not only is it functional and useful but it so beautiful and I know it’s something Campbell will have for a long time, just as we have Braden’s Birk’s silver baby spoon now.
- SOMETHING PERSONALIZED: A most special auntie hand painted Campbell an adorable plate with his name and birthdate on it! We think of her every time we use it, and it’s nice to have something made just for him!
- SOMETHING HAND MADE: My mom gave me some beautiful baby things to use for Campbell that used to be mine: a hand smocked nighty; a hand crocheted blanket. They are beautiful timelss items that she obviously treasured. You don’t get that very often these days! From my Aunt, Campbell received the most amazing hand-knit sweater and toque. It was knit to fit perfectly during our trip to Canada and he just looks so dark cute in something made with so much love. It’s going into the “Save Forever” pile now that he’s outgrown it.
- SOMETHING LOCATION-SPECIFIC: Living in Hong Kong, we love having a couple novel, unique-to-HK items for Campbell. How adorable are these onesies printed with iconic Hong Kong images from Snug-a-licious?! We also got some classic Canadiana to take back to Hong Kong, one of our favourites being a moose toque from Chapters Indigo and a little onesie that says “I’m Told I Like Hockey“.
- A FAVOURITE: We received a number of things while being told “this was my baby’s favourite” or “we couldn’t have lived without this!” I appreciate that so much, and is actually the inspiration behind this post in general. What better way to plan for a baby than with the recommendations of others! A couple examples are baby paper, one of Campbell’s favourite playthings, and natural bath powder from a local Coquitlam company.
- 365 DAY JOURNAL: I have a little book sitting by the sofa. It’s a 365 Day Journal from kikki k where we write a little note to Campbell every day. We jot down milestones, funny anecdotes or thoughts. It’s sweet! The idea is that if we have visitors or go see someone they can write Campbell a little note too. I think it’s going to be so sweet to look back on. I just wish I’d started sooner…I only had the idea a few weeks ago. Lots to catch up on!
- MILESTONE CARDS: We received a set of Milestone Baby Cards and they’re so fun to pull out and celebrate Campbell’s big achievements, such as First Smile, First Time Rolling Over, and Monthly Milestones. I can’t wait for the day we get to use the “Today I Said Mama For The First Time” card.
- FUTURE MEMENTO: We received Letters to my Baby, which are prompts for you to write letters to your little one in the future. They’re amazing and thoughtful and inspiring and I have yet to write one…#momlife. Lucky for me, I have a lifetime to write them…but I better get on it.
Don’t Forget About Mama!
Maybe I’m biased (I am the Mama, after all!) but I think the Mama needs a little bit of attention after baby’s arrival,too. I received some amazing gifts that have been so appreciated.
- T-SHIRT: Being a Mama is like being part of secret club. You can’t quite know what it’s like until you’re in it. Getting to wear a Strong as a Mother shirt is a perfect symbol of that.
- NURSING SCARF: I have used my Bebe Au Lait nursing scarf so often. It’s perfect to keep in the diaper bag for any surprise occasion when a public feed might be necessary, or to wear as part of an outfit when you know it’s inevitable. Another multipurpose item I love.
- TEETHING NECKLACE: I got a couple of these necklaces as gifts; one from Little Magpie and one from Tiny Teether. Campbell loves them! I wear it often, and it’s especially helpful when he’s feeding and wants to reach up and play with something (instead of my hair). I always wear it on the plane as it’s one more hands-free distraction that won’t end up on the floor.
- BLING: Silicone teething beads are nice, but something a little blingy-er is also nice! I received a charm bracelet from Pandora, a beautiful locket, and generous Daddy gave me a band to match my wedding ring to celebrate Campbell’s arrival. I don’t think push presents should be a thing, but my bling is much appreciated.
We’re ten months or so into this journey, but I think we’ve got a good little system figured out so far! Hope you enjoyed our list of Favourite Things; I’ll admit, the list got long quickly…but it’s entirely essentials – we swear!
xo Alison & Campbell