High Quality, Durable, and Double-Duty Things That Are Worth the Investment
While I would like to think that I’ve been able to maintain my personal style throughout pregnancy and motherhood, I have found myself shopping a little differently than I used to. Of course, I’m still investing in high-quality, ethical clothing pieces. But features that have suddenly become very important to me these days are: uncompromising comfort, being easy to clean, and having openings at the front (ie: for nursing.)
I’m also mindful of my capsule-style wardrobe and wanting to make good investments that will last me for a long time. The clothing brands that I’m mentioning here all use fair manufacturing and focus on timeless, quality styles. Oh, and all of these items were purchased last year while I was still pregnant, so most of them are also great for pregnancy. With all of that in mind, here are the wardrobe pieces that I have been absolutely loving as a new mom.
I’m also going to include a few baby-specific items that I really found useful and worth the money. But of course, each situation is different and what works for me may not for others. I’ll tell you why I love each of the following items, and you can determine if you’re in the same boat as me!
The Best New Mom Investments That I’ve Been Using Constantly
NANIT Smart Baby Monitor
UPDATE 05/13/2022: I forgot to include this high-tech baby monitor when I initially published this article! If you are the type to constantly check on your baby or wonder if they are okay while sleeping, this monitor is for you. We love it. The breathing monitor gives us greater peace of mind. And the app provides a lot of useful insights into her sleep. In fact, it hadn’t occurred to me that my baby wasn’t getting enough daytime sleep until I started reading the insight dashboards in the Nanit app.
In addition to breathes per minute monitoring, this smart baby monitor also tells you when they fall asleep or wake up (great for monitoring self-soothing progress), creates heatmaps of baby’s movement while asleep, provides age-appropriate sleep tips, can be shared across multiple accounts and devices, has a ”red alert” that goes off from the camera and linked devices if a breathing problem is detected, and has quite a few accessories for various situations like travel etc.
I can’t recommend it enough! We also bout the Nanit multistand so that we can take it on-the-go. One thing to note is that the Nanit monitor does require wifi to work. Some people may not like that, but it hasn’t been an issue for us except once at a hotel where they wouldn’t provide us with the wifi password. Instead, we setup a hotspot from one of our phones and it worked just fine.
VETTA Cardigan Dress
I’m wearing this right now as I type this article! Although not as hyped-up as some of the other pieces from VETTA, their cardigan dress is an all around winner. It can be worn with the button opening at the front or back and has a detachable fabric waist tie. The fabric is very forgiving, not too thick or too light, and falls in a flattering way on the body. And as a Kibbe Soft Classic, I find the fit-and-flair silhouette of this dress to be super flattering. (Even as I’m carrying some extra weight in the stomach area.)
The Cardigan dress is available in three colours. I picked the mustard yellow for two reasons: first, I wanted a colour that wouldn’t show lint or pet fur easily since I’d be lounging around the house. Second, as a Dark Autumn, gold tones are meant to be flattering on me. (I’m not convinced if this is the right yellow for me though. What do you think?)
VETTA specializes in a capsule wardrobe approach to dressing and all of their manufacturing is done in the USA.
Alexandra K 1.5 Maxi Tote
This designer bag is a beauty! But it also acts as a highly functional diaper bag. I’m already a huge Alexandra K fan and have several of her luxury vegan handbags. However, I needed something substantially larger than my typical petite handbag now that I have what feels like ten-thousand baby items to carry around.
There are at least 5 built-in compartments and pockets that I use every time we need to travel with our baby: One large pocket for a blanket and extra hat, one medium compartment that holds two bottles upright (no spills!), a zippered pocket for my personal items, and two small pockets for sanitizers and wipes. Then there’s the main body of the bag itself. There’s enough room for a change of clothes for both baby and me, plus the diaper changing kit! The collapsible ”wings” at the sides of the bag can be zipped open to reveal even more room.
Alexandra K designs and hand makes her luxury vegan bags in Europe. And what makes this particular design unique is that it’s made from corn! My husband likes the 1.5 Maxi Tote bag too. Though he’s not as keen on the powder pink colour as I am. Luckily it does come in sleek black corn ”leather”. And I have no doubt more colours will be released in the future.
Because I live in North America, I always order my Alexandra K bags from Montreal-based Alltrueist. I adore Alltruest and do quite a bit of my luxury vegan shopping through them. Especially for European brands since I would normally have to pay import and duties fees to get those into Canada.
Province of Canada Basics
I’m not sure why it took me so long to discover this made-in-Toronto brand, but I’m obsessed. Their matching legging and cropped tee in Olive green have been my uniform on most days. I literally stumble into my closet and grab them when the brain fog is hitting hard yet I need wear something other than pyjamas.
Somehow this t-shirt looks infinitely better than any other t-shirt that I own. It’s made with a thick cotton so it doesn’t wrinkle and it just sits really nicely. Plus, the cropped length pairs perfectly with high rise leggings. And the Province of Canada leggings are quite soft yet still slightly sculpting. I have two pairs and basically lived in them while I was pregnant since they are stretchy and super comfortable.
LOVEVERY Play Gym
The LOVEVERY Play Gym was recommended by a friend and I’ve since noticed quite a few mom-bloggers have it. I’m pleased to say that we use it every single day. Our bub has been engaging with the black and white cards for 3 months now. And she recently begandiscovering the hanging sensory strands. She bats at the crinkly strands enthusiastically and this seems to be developing her upper limb coordination quite a bit. (The sensory strands are sold separately but came highly recommended from a friend. I’m glad we got them! She loves them. Especially if we prop her up so that she can made contact with them since she’s still too small to reach from the floor.) And we haven’t even opened the four other activity panels on the mat yet!
So far we’ve practiced eye coordination (eye tracking), neck strengthening (tummy time), cause-and-effect (kicking and batting at things that make sounds or move), and hand-to-eye coordination (reaching for things) on this play gym. It’s a great way for her to get energy out while also learning how to interact with her environment. And I don’t know if it’s just a coincidence, but our baby is reaching every milestone well in advance.
Joah Brown Invisible Zip Front Top
This fitted long sleeved top by Joah Brown is easily the most ”sexy” mom-friendly piece that I bought. Their zip front top is made of a thick fabric with a very thin ribbing effect that sculpts the body in all the right ways. It looks equally fantastic paired with sweatpants or with jeans. And the petite zipper allows you to open the front nearly all the way. (The zipper only runs down about 80% of the top’s length.)
While the black colour has proven a little more upkeep due to cat fur inevitably covering every soft surface of our home, that hasn’t dissuaded me from wearing this top any chance I get. I plan to buy it in at least one other colour!
Joan Brown manufactures their streetwear-inspired line in the USA. TIP: look for their thicker ribbed fabrics, as their ”naked” fabric line is more delicate and can stain easily.
Bottle Steamer/Dryer and Haakaa Silicone Pump
Because we ended up having to combination feed our baby, a countertop sterilizer was an obvious time-saving investment. My husband bought one with a drying feature. Which was actually a god-send when I was pumping and needed to wash and dry the pump parts multiple times a day. We have the one by Papablic, which he found on sale on Amazon for CND$80. But I’m sure there are many other brands that make equally good options.
The Haakaa silicon handheld breast pump does double-duty as a vacuum milk collector. Which is key if you have a heavy letdown. I had originally bought a knock-off version of this well known model and it didn’t work nearly as good as the original. I eventually realized that I was getting just as much milk with the simple, one-piece, hands-free Haakaa device as I was with my massive electric pump that kept me tethered in one spot. I’m sad to say I don’t use my Medela PumpNStyle anymore. It’s just not worth the hassle when the simple Haakaa suctions on and draws out the exact same amount of milk in the same amount of time! Given how popular the PumpNStyle is, I’m sure most women may have the opposite experience that I did. But the electric breast pump turned out to be not that effective for me.
VETTA Reversible Skirt
Another smart investment from VETTA: their reversible skirt. What I love about this design is that it offers the comfort of loose, swishy pants with the appearance of an expensive silk skirt. Except that it—shockingly!—is very low maintenance to clean! I’ve been able to wipe baby spit up, body lotion, and who knows what else off this fabric with ease and no stains left behind. The synthetic fabric is skims over the body in a flattering way and is suprisingly breathable. Of course the main attraction of this skirt is that it gives too looks in one: animal print or solid colour. If you follow me on Insta, you’ve seen me wearing it quite a bit now that I’ve started venturing out more.
You may be thinking: I’m a new mom, why would I want a silky medi skirt? Answer: for as easy as it is to clean, it’s even easier to pair with your favourite t-shirt! My go-to formula (because who has time to think with a newborn?) is my Province of Canada cropped t-shirt, sandals or flats, and maybe a cropped jacket. Voilà! Instant outfit.
The one thing that throws me off with this design is that I expected a side zipper. I suppose in an effort to make it truly reversible, VETTA opted for a super stretchy waistband as the way to get in and out of the skirt. Because of that, I have to pull this skirt on over my head since pregnancy has left my hips a little wider than before. However, it’s not a huge deal and I still wear this skirt constantly.
Stokke Xplory 2022
I wasn’t sure whether I should include the Stokke Xplory on my list since it is quite expensive. But I have to say, it’s a freakin’ awesome stroller! We purchased the 2022 model and I managed to save a little bit by grabbing the floor model. I can’t say enough good things about the Stokke Xplory. It keeps our baby perched up high and has a small physical footprint, which is ideal for city living. We find it easy to collapse, although it has to be separated into two pieces. It’s our ideal size: somewhere between a full-sized stroller and an umbrella stroller—and yes, it fits easily into the trunk of our car. I definitely didn’t want a ”minivan” style stroller with a massive cargo space basket. The mini basket/bag at the base of the stroller works just fine for us. It’s enough space to store her diaper bag and a few essentials.
If you’re also wanting to invest in the Stokke Xplory, I highly suggest first checking out secondhand options. I found several models from previous years on Rebelstork—which was a favourite online shopping destination for me when I wanted to snag high-end baby items at a discount. (Rebelstork is only available in Canada—sorry international readers!)
I was really looking for a chic stroller with smart design features for city living that would last. And I found that in the Xplory model. The Uppababy strollers are kind’a a status symbol here in Toronto. But I found the Stokke strollers to be more maneuverable and better looking, IMO. (Also, we didn’t want the real cow leather accents that Uppababy features.) For what it’s worth, we get loads of compliments from other parents on our stroller. I even overheard a father of four commenting to his wife ”that’s a nice stroller!” as we passed them. And I have to agree!