I have just had the immense pleasure of meeting my first grandchild! He is such a delicious little blob of goo. So soft and warm. I have always loved babies and am happy to cuddle any baby at all. But my own son’s baby feels very special indeed.
My daughter-in-law, Chloë, and my son, Simon, who live in Ontario, were very conscientious in curating a wish-list for their baby shower. So I thought I would share some of those items the new parents liked the best and found the most useful. And I have added some of my favourites, too.
1. Swift Playard by MaxiCosi
Chloë absolutely loves this. She says it’s super clutch to have a shallow bassinet where the baby can sleep in the living room, and where they can change a quick diaper. Later it will convert to a deeper playard which can fold up and come along on trips to friends’ houses.
I like that it’s got wooden legs—makes it feels like furniture instead of camping equipment. And it’s very light and easy to set up; I was able to do it with no trouble. maxicosi.com/ca-en/swift-playard-05430-mc-ca-en.html
2. Happy Island Diaper Service
Simon is so impressed with the Diaper Service they are using in Ontario. He very much wanted to use cloth diapers, but they live in an apartment with coin-operated laundry. So washing their own diapers is a difficult proposition. The Diaper Service delivers clean diapers every week and take the dirty ones away. Diaper service is comparable in price to using disposables, but it’s better for the environment.
My mother, the baby’s Great Grandmother, is paying for the diaper service for the first few months. It makes her feel very useful! happyislanddiapers.com
3. The Yoyo2 stroller from BabyZen
Very compact, the Yoyo2 folds up in a snap to the size of a carry-on suitcase. Light enough for Chloë to lug up to their 3rd floor walk-up. There are several attachments for it: a bassinet for new babies, clips for the car-seat, a yoyo-board for the big-sibling when the next baby comes, even skis for deep snow! It’s steady, with a low centre of gravity, but easily manoeuvrable. It’s quite pricey, but several households pitched in at the baby shower and it seems to have been well worth it! babyzen.com/pages/yoyo2-stroller-birth
(Simon and Chloë recommend consulting this comparison chart on Reddit: reddit.com/r/beyondthebump/comments/z2qwrs/comparison_of_travel_strollers_details_in_the)
4. Herschel Settlement Sprout Backpack Diaperbag
This backpack comes in many colours. Trim and compact, with many separate compartments and a changing pad. Will need an extra wetbag if parents are using cloth diapers, but that’s easy enough to get (see #5). Both parents agreed they could carry this bag with confidence. So stylish that Simon’s fashionista Great-Aunt was happy to select it for the baby shower. westcoastkids.ca/settlement-sprout
5. Colibri Wet
Colibri is a Manitoba company with wetbags in a whole raft of sizes, colours and patterns. Good quality at a great price. Wetbags are useful for so much more than wet diapers. Bathing suits, toiletries, snacks, sandwiches. A great parenting hack! colibricanada.com/collections/regular-wet-bags
6. Beluga Baby Wrap
This Canadian company makes soft and stretchy sustainable bamboo fabric wraps, just over in Vancouver! While learning to use a baby wrap might seem scary, it’s really no more complicated than tying your shoelaces. Simon learned in an afternoon and loves to wear the baby around the house and out on walks in the neighbourhood. It really is the cosiest, easiest way to keep a baby soothed, while getting chores done, and a great way for parents to bond with the baby. belugababy.ca
7. The Make My Belly Fit Universal Jacket Extender
This is a brilliant idea, invented by a Dad in Montreal. It’s a panel that zips into most jackets to create space first for the growing pregnancy tummy, and later for the baby in a wrap or carrier. It has a removable fleece layer for colder climates. A really thoughtful gift that Chloe used all winter. And Simon can use it when he baby-wears too! makemybellyfit.com/products/universal-jacket-extender
8. ErgoPouch Cocoon Swaddle Sack
As Chloë said, this was clutch in the early days when baby needed to be swaddled to be comfortable but the parents were still figuring things out. Later, when the baby can roll over, you can open the sleeve holes so baby’s arms can be free. Being swaddled helps baby calm down because of the slight pressure on their body. And it also keeps them warm and cosy through the night. The ErgoPouch was invented by an Australian mom—Alina Sack! ergopouch.com/products/pouches
9. Organic Cotton Baby Gowns from Parade
I loved dressing my own babies in baby nightgowns. Not only did they look so cute and old-fashioned, but the nightgowns were so easy to pull up for diaper-changes in the dark. And no need to thread legs back into pants, or snap fasteners with sleepy fingers. The organic cotton gowns (and all sorts of other baby clothes) from Parade come in lots of colours and patterns, including a wide selection of genderneutral ones. And the cotton jersey is thick and warm and holds up to many many washes.
When I found out Chloë and Simon had not received any little gowns at the shower, I sent a batch of these off to them. They use them all the time. parade.ca/collections/organic-baby-gowns
10. Copper Pearl Premium Burp Cloths (in the Bloom pattern)
So pretty with their flowery pattern (and there are many other patterns to choose from), but also thick and absorbent to catch baby spit-up. A lower price-point item, always good to include on a baby shower wish-list. copperpearl.com/products/premium-burp-cloths-bloom
Really more of an “Oh Wow you’re pregnant!” gift: A is for Advice (The Reassuring Kind): Wisdom for Pregnancy by Ilana Stanger-Ross. Ilana is a Registered Midwife in Victoria. Her book is full of up-to-date, evidence-based, gentle information and advice for pregnant parents. It’s wonderfully comforting and beautifully designed with great illustrations. I send it off (via bookstores on the internet) to anyone in my circle who gets pregnant. And they all love it.
Being a grandparent is full of surprises and joys. I didn’t expect to feel so moved by seeing my son parent his baby so sweetly. I never thought about how I would feel to see my parents hold their first great-grandchild. I think that was a high point in my life.
With Simon and Chloë and the little one living so far away, I am going to be a Zoom-Ma, who checks in via the computer screen on the weekend. I will miss a lot, I know. But I certainly can engage in one of the time-honoured joys of grandparenting—shopping for the baby! Enjoy!