things are different when you have a second kid. people told me this beforehand, but i didn’t really believe it until eloise arrived. everything they say is true – no two babies are the same, like the same, behave the same. but the second time around, you learn much more easily, and much quicker. you also are more experienced – you have the whole changing-nappies-while-gently-keeping-that-pacifier-in-their-mouths-to-prevent-them-from-crying-the-entire-house-awake routine down to a tee. it’s easier to recognize when they are hungry, when they are sleepy, when they are in pain or when they are really happy. you swaddle, rock, bathe, soothe and feed your baby like a pro.
you also know what stuff you really need, and what only takes up space in your home or closets. it’s funny to see which things i bought for juliet and still use now, and which things never even made the list when i was pregnant with eloise. so much has changed in the three years between them (remember how hung up i was on monochrome? jeez – glad that went away) and yet so much is still as true today as it was when juliet was born. it’s still the most-asked question by moms – new and experienced alike: ‘what do you use for…’ so i have tried to compile a list of some essentials that i have been using with eloise right now, and seriously couldn’t live without.
my number one favorite discovery is the little SHNUGGLE BATH on foldable legs. it’s so nice to not throw your back out while bathing your baby! i have to admit the reclined position took some getting used to – i only ever bathed juliet holding her head above water as she was lying down against my arm. in the first two weeks i didn’t really feel as confident, as eloise was still so small and she didn’t really seem to ‘fit’ in the reclined position of the bath tub. but as she grows and we bboth get used to it more and more, i can’t even imagine switching to any other bathing situation. i always position the bath next to our changing table in our bedroom, and it’s so nice to be able to swiftly take her out of the water and wrap her up in a towel, without having to run from the bathroom, or setting up some kind of makeshift changing mattress next to the bath. so if you’re still looking for a baby bath, i couldn’t recommend this one highly enough.
we’re still using our BUDTZBENDIX changing tower, i still think it’s the most beautiful option out there. we alternate between the cat print changing mat cover and THE ONE FROM GARBO & FRIENDS that was on eloise’s registry at HET LAND VAN OOIT. i have an entire collection of bath capes (THIS ONE is my current favorite), because i love to get her warm and cozy after bath. i have been using the NAIF products since we had juliet and love them to bits. i do alternate with the MINOIS products though, they smell so nice and are all-natural without harmful chemicals (just like naif).
another thing i can highly recommend, are the WATER WIPES. they also don’t contain any chemicals, and don’t leave sticky residue. that’s nice for your baby’s tush, but it also makes them perfect for wiping sticky fingers and faces, or even just refreshing your own hands and face. i literally take them everywhere i go – even when i don’t bring any kids with me. i also plan on totally claiming that beautiful blue velvet ELODIE DETAILS wash bag as my own when we ever clear out the changing table once and for all (i can’t imagine a life without diapers yet, what am i going to do with all that free time?)
ON THE ROAD
for taking eloise anywhere, we still rely on the BUGABOO CAMELEON that we got three years ago for juliet. it’s cozy and sturdy and i really love its iconic design. back then i really liked the all-black look (again with the monochrome, i had a problem), but we’ve since switched up the canopy for the classy grey melée one, and i’ve also traded in my black leather JOSEFINA diaper bag for the grey version. i still think it’s the diaper bag out there – stylish AF, roomy (i have the large one though, can’t speak to the medium size) and so easy to keep super organized. i’m telling you, that bag always makes me feel like i’m winning at momming. (if you’re going ‘oh, but it’s not a contest’, clearly you haven’t been spending a lot of time on the instagram.)
here are some more diaper bag tricks for life on the road with a baby. always keep a bib that you can just wipe off with a wet cloth – so handy for babies and toddlers alike. i love the ones by ELODIE DETAILS – the wings on the side make it impossible for even the craziest kid to get dirty (though they look impossibly cute trying). another hack we learned when juliet was a baby is to carry a thermos with boiling hot water everywhere. you’ll never again need to look for a microwave to heat up a bottle, you just mix the hot water with bottled water until you have the right temperature. we also love the AVENT MILK POWDER DISPENSER to avoid messiness while mixing the bottle. i mean, i’ve prepared and given bottles in parks, coffee bars, supermarkets, parking lots… it’s a great feeling of freedom that you don’t have to think about where you’ll be when your little gets hungry (a feeling i imagine not unfamiliar to breastfeeding moms). finally, we decided to try a different type of bottle this time around – we used dr. browns for juliet. the difrax s-bottle is also vacuum-free, but we find it much easier to use and clean.
two final tips to create a soft and cozy nest for your baby in the stroller – i use the BABYMOOV cosydream mattress to keep eloise safely positioned and comfortable. i actually move this mattress from her crib to her baby nest to her stroller all the time – she recognizes it and feels much more comfortable on it. we started using it because her crib is slightly inclined to help her with her reflux, and the mattress avoids her slipping all the way down during the night. i also never leave the house without a 100% wool blanket. i didn’t know this before i had kids, but wool is perfect in any season – it regulates body temperature as needed, cooling down in summer and warming up in winter. even when it’s super hot out, i take one with me in case we end up some place drafty or air-conditioned. in my humble opinion, there are not better, prettier or softer blankets than the one from belgian label HVID but i might be biased since i own over half of their collection. (they’re THAT good, trust.)
AROUND THE HOUSE
three more things i can’t live without – a baby bouncer, sleeping bags and a baby nest. it took us a while to start using the VOKSI baby nest, since at first i thought it was simply too big for eloise and i didn’t want to put her flat on her back with the reflux. but once she started getting a little better and bigger, i discovered it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. i usually put it in the crib we put in the living room, where she can look up to her baby gym, or simply on the sofa next to us while we’re binge watching modern family on netflix. sometimes she’ll take a little nap in it during the day, but then i never let her out of my sight – i have nightmares of her waking up from a nap one day thinking ‘this is the moment when i’ll start rolling over’ tumbling straight out of the baby nest onto the ground. probably not gonna happen, but still.
the thing nobody told me before i started having babies, is that very quickly they start napping less and less during the day. now i’m not one to complain since eloise is a super champ at sleeping during the night (and any parent will confirm that is really all that matters), but after a few days of carrying your super awake and alert baby around the house to show them how the coffee machine, the shower and the light switches work, i run out of ideas to entertain them. that is why baby bouncers are the gift of god to mankind. you just put the baby in there, place them in front of the washing machine or underneath a baby gym, and you get ten to fifteen minutes of uninterrupted adult time. huzzah. we bought this BABYBJORN bouncer when juliet was born, and i really love the breathable mesh fabric in summertime. they have since updated the model and added so many cute new colors, i have to say i’m incredibly tempted to upgrade, even though there’s no need. these bouncers are indestructible, and we should know having a three-year-old in the house.
finally, sleeping bags. they’re simply indispensable as long as it’s unsafe for babies to sleep underneath loose duvets or blankets. eloise has inherited an entire collection from her sister, but i really love that she also has one that is entirely her own. that gold-speckled LES REVES D’ANAIS number also happens to be the best sleeping bag i’ve ever used. it’s lined with a super soft terry cotton, and its fit is nice and narrow, enclosing her body nicely and leaving virtually no wiggle room. that gold-speckled print is my absolute favorite – it’s so delicate and sweet and classy.
i have probably left out a few, but these are the majority of my favorite baby essentials right now. i have linked to most of them in the text above and once again underneath – but if you can’t find something, let me know and i’ll try to find out where you can get it. also, now that i still have a baby (probably for the last time) i am curious to hear what your must-haves are. maybe share your personal hacks with me, to make life even easier?
photos by stephanie duval • thanks to the brands that allow me to experiment, discover and only share what i genuinely love with you • naif baby products via HET LAND VAN OOIT • wooden baby brush from PETIT STELLOU • leather pacifier clip from MIES&CO • personalized pacifier from MIJNFOPSPEEN.BE • off-white camcam bath cape via HET LAND VAN OOIT • cat print swaddle and changing mat cover from BUDTZBENDIX • elodie details blue velvet wash bag via BABYMATTERS • water wipes via HET LAND VAN OOIT • SHNUGGLE baby bath • grey large diaper bag from JOSEFINA • BUGABOO cameleon stroller with wool mattress cover and grey melange tailored fabric set • elodie details petite botanic bib and forest flora thermos via BABYMATTERS • avent milk powder dispenser via HET LAND VAN OOIT and DIFRAX s-bottle (also available at het land van ooit brick and mortar shop) • inside the diaper bag are the billie blanket from HVID and the garbo & friends mossy green blanket via HET LAND VAN OOIT • eloise is wearing a gentle white outfit from marmar via HET LAND VAN OOIT • in the crib we keep a cosydream mattress from BABYMOOV • grey and cream colored anna blanket from HVID • swaddle from STUDIO ROMEO (sadly all sold out) • dark grey voksi baby nest via BABYMATTERS • babybjorn bouncy seat via HET LAND VAN OOIT • burnt rose modal body from MARMAR • gold speckled sleeping bag from LES REVES D’ANAIS