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For the past nine months, I’ve longed for all sorts of things that are reminiscent of my childhood in France. And so here I am, pregnant with baby number 2, re-re-re-reading Le Petit Prince, trying to nail the whole French-girl look by sporting way too many striped shirts under my maternity jumpsuits, and craving all the French food -- croissants, stinky cheeses, charcuterie, pâté, profiteroles, champagne, snails… ok, not snails, but you get the gist. My pregnancy craving is France, and it has me filled with nostalgia.
So it comes with no surprise that when I was putting my baby registry together, I ended up picking the kind of stuff that, yes, I thought were essential, but that also had that “je ne sais quoi” taking me back to my good old “young” days in Paris, when things were comfortable and worry free.
Curious to see what I, as a French mama and expat, want for my French babies? From the quintessential Sophie La Girafe to baby moccs named after my grandfather, here are 15 baby essentials that make me swoon (and dream of a vacation in my beautiful home country).
1. Babyzen Yoyo+ stroller. Speaking of vacay… The Yoyo+ has made traveling with my firstborn a breeze. This stroller, which was imagined by a group of five Frenchmen, is small but can really pack a punch. It folds in a jiffy and is so compact that it fits in the plane’s overhead bin -- au revoir stroller gate check! And now that big brother can hop on Babyzen’s newly launched board, I can’t wait to conquer the streets of Paris once more, this time with two little ones in tow. I know I've been in the US a while, but the Yoyo+ is literally on every corner of Paris, so I’ll fit right in. $645, buy here.
2. Bloom Alma Mini crib. Much like New Yorkers and other city dwellers, many Parisians have to figure out how to make their small homes livable, happy and, well, stylish -- a task that can be especially tricky if you have children crowding all your cozy quarters. Now that baby number 2 is on his way, I have to make the most of my two-bedroom apartment, which means prioritizing baby gear with the smallest footprint possible. That’s why Bloom’s Alma Mini is at the top of my registry list. It's the smallest mini crib on the market, but can still be used for the first 12 months of my little one’s life; its four lockable castor wheels give me the freedom to move baby at will and with ease; and I can fold and stash it away in a closet corner when not in use. Plus, with its super sleek design, my baby’s tiny universe is sure to be bursting at the seam with style! $340, buy here.
3. Solly Baby French Stripes wrap. From Coco Chanel to Jean-Paul Gaultier, stripes are a staple of French fashion; and this Solly Baby design, which has a natural base and thin navy blue lines, is a modern take on this emblematic nautical aesthetic. Not only will it give me French-cool-girl vibes, it will also be a nice reminder of all the coastal shops in Normandy, where I used to summer. So excuse me while I layer my stripes with more stripes -- can we ever have enough stripes, really? $60, buy here.
4. Noble Carriage French Frog baby gift. What screams “French” more than a frog, a croissant and stripes (again)? This bundle from Noble Carriage truly has everything my baby-to-be needs to let the world know that he's French: Lewis the French toad by Hazel Village, a white onesie by Goat-Milk, striped leggings by Hansel from Basel, and a croissant teether from LexyPexy. Although, I can’t guarantee I won’t be munching on that croissant myself. *hashtag French mama’s hungry* $121, buy here.
5. Beaba Babycook. When my oldest started eating solids, I was so excited to finally give homemade baby cooking a try. So for the first year or so, I made all of his meals from scratch. But it turned out, I wasn't equipped for the task. Sure, my trusty food processor was great, but it took way too much space and was always a pain to clean. Enters the Beaba Babycook, an all-in-one baby food maker that steams, blends and reheats your little one’s foods -- from fruits and veggies to meats and fish -- in 15 minutes or less. With a sleek design, this one-stop-shop baby food processor earns a prime spot on your kitchen counter and will save you time and space -- two things that you most definitely need more of as a mama. $149.95, buy here.
6. Maptote Paris wall hanging. When I’m homesick, I usually look at old family pictures and imagine myself perusing the streets of Paris while devouring a Nutella crêpe on the go. But another way I beat nostalgia is by decorating my home with bits and pieces from the places I love. This Maptote Paris wall hanging is the perfect addition to my French baby’s nursery. Its minimalist design keeps it cool as it showcases the most emblematic monuments of Paris. Plus, it will let me and my little one travel through the different quarters of my hometown. Oh hey… Here I am again, wandering the Quartier Latin, eating my crêpe and trying not to drop Nutella all over baby’s head. $26, buy here.
7. Petit Bateau onesies. Petit Bateau is zee French baby brand that all French babies should wear at some point in their French baby lives. Case and point: My brother and I sported the brand on the daily, and thanks to my relatives in France, my firstborn had a lot of it too. It goes without saying that I expect my family to keep up with the tradition and dress bébé-to-be with lots of Petit Bateau’s signature prints, which, you guess it, involve a lot of sailboats and stripes (duh!). $75, buy here.
8. Sophie La Girafe. I remember snatching this French classic from my little brother’s hands because, “it’s mine,” I kept asserting. Indeed, my parents passed Sophie La Girafe onto my brother once they thought I outgrew it. Little did they know that I would be forever charmed by this quirky, retro teething toy. Major plus: it’s made from natural rubber and non-toxic coloring. $24.99, buy here.
9. Freshly Picked Jacques moccasins. I know, I know -- one more item with stripes. But these moccs are extra special. It’s not just that they are inspired by nautical French textiles. They actually share my grandfather’s name, Jacques. Papi Jacques took me ski in the Alpes and swim in Normandy; he unfailingly convinced me to eat those yogurts with fruit bits that I hated so much; and he sadly left us way too soon, just before I turned six years old. No question about it, these Freshly Picked moccasins won my heart and therefore a special spot in my little one’s wardrobe. $60, buy here.
10. Le Petit Prince pop-up book. Everybody knows -- Le Petit Prince is a classic for kids and adults alike, and I lost count of how many times I’ve read this book. I honestly can’t wait to share this whimsical story (in French, of course) with my children. This pop-up book is going to make it extra fun, as it brings the illustration to life with unabridged text and folding, popping and spinning surprises on every page. $38, buy here.
11. Uncle Goose French ABC blocks. “Ça y est, je les connais, toutes les lettres de l’alphabet.” I got these wooden blocks for my firstborn, and they passed the test of time. Simply put, they are still a hit and are thus, in my opinion, a registry essential for all French parents who want their kids to explore their knowledge of the French language early on. $36.95, buy here.
12. French Kids Eat Everything. Unfortunately, my French kid doesn’t eat everything. Arthur tends to go for bread and croissant over cauliflower and broccoli. So this time around, I’m determined to raise a healthy and happy eater; and if this book can help me put an end to food fights and pickiness, well, I’ll take it! Give me all the tips and recipes -- I’m ready to feed my littles, à la French. $9, buy here.
13. Charlie Crane changing station. Do you have a shortage of square footage? If so, forget about the full-size changing table. This hangable changing station, which I can proudly say is a French invention, is a dream come true. Not only will it save you tons of space, it also opens into a comfortable nappy station that allows you to also access all your baby care products without losing sight of your child. $479, buy here.
14. Babymoov zero emission camera. We didn’t use a monitor right away with our firstborn. That’s because we kept him by our side at all times. This time around, I plan on giving everyone a little more freedom, but I still want to keep an eye on baby when he’s snoozing. With this Babymoov baby video monitor, you can do just that without the potentially harmful electromagnetic waves making their way into baby’s bedroom. Plus, the zero emission camera plays lullabies for baby and can also serve as a nightlight. $199, buy here.
15. Miam Miam subscription box. I know new mamas need nutritious foods to recover from birth as fast as possible. But the heart wants what it wants, and right now, my heart… err, belly wants a yummy trip down memory lane. So send a MiamMiam’s subscription box my way… I’ll be one happy mama, chomping on Bonne Maman lemon tarts, Fraises tagada and Prince tout choco… with bubbly in hand, of course, because, hey, I just made a baby! Learn more here.
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Homepage photography by Stylish Hip Kids Photography.
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