Ah, new parenthood: sweet confusion, sleep deprivation and — I’ll say it — stickiness. You’re exhausted — but you have got to get out of the house. You dote on that baby — but, hey, you need some TLC, too. You had a baby, not a lobotomy! The good news: Our area is rich in great places that cater to new parents; loaded with laid-back and luxe little shops where screaming newborns and nursing moms are de rigueur. We rounded up our ParentMap posse — new moms who know the score — and a few savvy editors to come up with this year’s Best of Baby.
Best baby duds
When it comes to kitting out the litter, Seattle-area moms strike a balance these days between secondhand … and Bootyland! The Capitol Hill beacon o’ baby hipness stays on the cutting edge of fashion — and parenting trends, too. Elimination communication? Babywearing? Gotcha covered. Also: hemp, PVC-free, locally made, recycled and sweatshop-free items … and flying squirrel onesies. 1317 E. Pine St., Seattle.
Chic South End mamas are sweet on SugarBabies (1114 Main St., Sumner). And how about trying eco-cool Goods for the Planet (525 Dexter Ave. N., Seattle)? It’s our new fave for ultra-earth-friendly gear, recycling events and a sustainable Seattle lifestyle.
Best breast stop?
Nursing on the fly? Local moms say nothing beats Nordstrom for a midshopping breastfeeding stop. Most locations have a plush, quiet room off the main women’s bathroom. But no-nonsense moms tell us they’ll nurse here, there and everywhere (“Deal with it!”); modest moms rock the Hooter Hiders from Bebe au Lait ($35).
The hands-down sweetheart for sweating it out is Seattle’s Green Lake Park (7201 E. Green Lake Drive N., Seattle). A perfect length (2.8 miles), a stroller lane, stellar people watching, coffee shops and potties — it’s all here, if you can find parking. Sociable type? Join a local Stroller Strides class, and sweat while making friends. Still not in shape? Get yourself a Wii Fit (srsly, no one’s looking!).
Best mom blogger
She was one of the first, and is still the best: Heather Armstrong has blogged her way through two childbirths, postpartum depression, fame, book deals, a lawsuit and more — and still manages to bring the funny every time. She shouldn’t be so likable — but just try not to like her. Check out The Heir to Blair for a similar vibe, along with great reads about one mom’s epic struggle with baby weight (hello, McFatty Monday!). Message to every mom who blogs on mommytracked.com: I bow to you.
Best splurge-worthy strollers
For threading your way to that one free table at Starbucks, nothing beats the agility and adaptability of the Bugaboo Bee. Sure, it’s spendy, but the bee buzzes with features, like an adjustable handlebar, a reclining, extendable and even reversible seat, six color choices, and an optional cup holder, natch ($529). Posse moms and dads adore the Bob Revolution ($389), a rugged jogging stroller with a front swivel-wheel that causes trail runners — and mall jockeys — to swoon.
Best buying advice
Local moms and dads weighed in on what’s a must and what’s a waste. Top pick for best baby splurge: the Ergo baby carrier. Biggest waste of money: baby swings and wipe warmers. Weirdest product you’ll either love or hate: Milkscreen Disposable Breastmilk Home Test Strips ($19.99), for measuring alcohol content in breast milk. For übercool kiddie furniture, check out Tottini (259 Yale Ave. N., Seattle).
I can’t take my eyes off the Gussy bags (from $45); someone, tell me to order one already! Coach diaper bag (from $398) . . . three words: New. Spring. Colors. JJ Cole — the hotness with the dotness ($89). Woobee all-weather baby blankets now come in tangerine! Yes, you need one for dampish Northwest picnics ($69.99).
BEST BABY SHOWER GIFTS
- Gift certificate for dinner delivery
- Gift certificate for housecleaning service
- Big bag of cute and clean hand-me-down clothes
- A Honu Wrap bunting from Baby Polar Gear ($39.99)
- The Coach diaper bag; gather a posse and chip in together.
- Something special for the new mom, like a massage or pedicure
- A group big-ticket gift that the new mom really needs (like a stroller or crib)
- A few months of diaper service (because those spendy necessities can really add up!)
WORST BABY SHOWER GIFTS
- Post-baby sexy lingerie. Hey — give us a few months!
- Expensive designer baby clothes in micro sizes
- Stuffed animals
- Nursery décor items
- Baby-wipe warmer
- Designated “special event” clothes
- A big-ticket gift that the new mom already has, and now has to return
- A few months of diaper service (because there is such a thing as too practical!)
WIN A 'BABYMOON' GETAWAY!
We’re giving away a romantic getaway for new or expecting parents! Spend a night away from it all (or with it in a crib!) at one of three luxe local inns: The Salish Lodge, The Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes or Friday Harbor House. Winner chooses location.