Baby gear

Cooper in his  Doona  at the Ocean Beach. Photo by  Erik .

Cooper in his Doona at the Ocean Beach. Photo by Erik.

Six and a half weeks into parenthood, I’m filled with gratitude and glee about the gear that’s been working for us. Here are the top five finds that have made a difference for us so far:

  • Snoo: The Snoo is a sort of robot bassinet that listens to a baby’s cries and uses white noise and gentle motion to soothe them back to sleep. We spent the first two weeks of Cooper’s life away from home—and so away from the Snoo—and couldn’t wait to try it out once we made it back to HQ. After experiencing new parenthood with and without the Snoo, I’ll take the Snoo any day. It’s not a magic sleep button—it doesn’t do a thing if Cooper’s not tired already—but if he’s ready to doze, it works like a charm every time. As a bonus, the Snoo comes with an ingenious velcro-and-zipper swaddle system.

  • Doona: The Doona is a transformer car seat, with legs and wheels that descend when you need a stroller and tuck back up under the seat when you need to strap it into a car. It’s also ultra-compact, which can come in handy around the city. We took Cooper out to Ocean Beach with the Doona in stroller mode the other day and it handled great in the park, at a restaurant, in shops, and even on the sand dunes. (We did lift it up the sand dunes instead of rolling…but it was light enough that that was no big deal.) Thanks to Elliot G. for the recommendation.

  • Kindred Bravely nightgowns: Kindred Bravely makes stretchy, comfy clothes designed for maternity and nursing. I’d seen ads on Instagram, but didn’t look into their line in earnest until Cooper showed up and all of a sudden nursing was my main activity in life. I have a ton of Kindred Bravely stuff now, but my favorite piece remains this “nightgown” that I wear out as a dress over leggings—I have it in just about every color. It’s comfortable, inexpensive, relatively flattering, and its crossover design up top is thick enough to be worn as the sole layer, providing easy nursing access on the go. A pro tip I didn’t discover until much later is that the two crossover sections can be parted (one pulled up, one pulled down), rather than both being pulled down all the way every time.

  • Ubbi wipes dispenser with weighted plate: When changing ten or more diapers a day, you go through a lot of wipes. (Or at least we do.) The weighted plate in this wipes dispenser acts as a counterweight when you’re yanking a wipe out, making it easier to pluck just one from the pile. The lid closes softly, so it’s not disruptive in the middle of the night. And wipes stay moist under the plate, at the (rapid) rate we go through them. We like our Ubbi diaper pail, too. Thanks to Youngna’s classic post for pointing us in the direction of Ubbi.

  • Paperclip diaper bag: On the hunt for a classy diaper bag, I realized I was leaning more toward utilitarian designs and neutral colors, and figured the industry shorthand for that was probably “masculine.” Searching “dad diaper bags” led me to this post on Fatherly, which featured a diaper bag brand I’d never seen mentioned anywhere else: Paperclip. Paperclip diaper bags come with a built-in fold-out changing pad with sloped side walls, and the one we got (The Bear) has a convertible strap system that takes it from messenger bag to backpack and back. The top closes with magnets, and it’s pretty handsome all around, too. Erik and I have both been thrilled with the bag; when we’re at home, we even keep it out as a handy extra changing station on the main floor. Cooper loves it, too…so much so that we sometimes set him down on the folded-out changing pad portion just to hang out when we’re at home, since being there seems to have a calming effect on him.

There are so many other things I could mention, and I’m tempted to write up a more exhaustive list—especially since I returned to more complete guides like this one by Youngna Park over and over while we were waiting for Cooper to show up. But for now, the top five that sprang to my mind feels like an okay place to start.

Diana Berlin