Baby Essentials

July 5, 2018 • Home DecorKids

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?)


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.)


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 OOITSHNUGGLE baby bath • grey large diaper bag from JOSEFINABUGABOO 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

last month i took you on A LITTLE TOUR of my favorite belgian children’s store het land van ooit, which also happens to be the place where i put together a gift registry for the new addition to our family. if you’re belgian, you’re familiar with the concept – you put together a list of gift ideas so that family and friends who’d like to offer you something to celebrate the birth of your baby know exactly what you’d be most happy with. apparently it’s not something that is usual in many countries, though from my experience it seems that our neighbors in france and switzerland are catching up. i know it’s the thought that counts and everything, but who can say in all honesty they like every single gift they’ve ever gotten that wasn’t picked from a list? i mean, how many pastel-colored-name-embroidered towels does a person need in their life? (none, if you ask me).

so many belgian children’s stores offer the service of putting together a gift registry when you’re expecting, and what shop is the perfect fit for you really depends on what you like and need. for me, the choice for HET LAND VAN OOIT was easily made. even more so than three years ago when juliet was born, the shop carries most of my favorite belgian and international brands. their selection is huge, and i love that it covers every single aspect of new parenthood – from dressing to feeding to bathing to transporting your babe. they also have the biggest offer in furniture and decoration – and that’s what sealed the deal for me. as you may know if you’ve followed my journey for the past few years, there are very few things i find as important as making our apartment look beautiful and feel like a true home for everyone involved. even though our rooms are decidedly fuller than three years ago and we already have many baby essentials lying around, i thought it was important to add some new things that make life as a family of four easier, and that will make our baby feel welcome and loved right from the start.

so a few weeks ago i sat down with karolien van turnhout to create the gift registry for our baby girl. she is one of the four kids of rita sels, who founded het land van ooit over 20 years ago. the five now work together in running the family business – karolien and her mom are usually off to the international fairs to buy the new clothes’ collections, for example. but around 19 years ago, she started out by helping clients put together the best possible gift lists before the arrival of their newborns. and from any interaction i’ve had with anyone at het land van ooit, it becomes so obvious just how much experience they have in that department. there literally is no question they haven’t heard before, no type of parent they haven’t helped out yet. i admit i’m not the easiest breed of consumer – my priority is definitely on creating a ‘big picture’ in which every little detail fits together perfectly. and yes, sometimes i tend to overlook the practicalities of real life in the process. but i’ve always felt like the people at het land van ooit respect my wishes and peculiarities with endless patience, while gently sharing their knowhow and experiences whenever appropriate. i’m very grateful for the way in which they have managed to simultaneously help me scout the perfect items for my ‘ideal vision’ and given me expert advice on some of the less sexy but hugely practical aspects.

but enough about how much i love the people there – let’s talk stuff! obviously i haven’t been able to resist scooping up some goodies already in order to prepare for baby’s arrival. you may have already seen THIS gorgeous garbo&friends bedding, and i already showed off our beautiful new OLIVER FURNITURE crib on instagram. i also couldn’t resist buying baby’s first outfit for the hospital (THIS and THIS from my favorite MARMAR) and some super cute cuddles. but there is plenty more good stuff on my list – and i have gathered some of my absolute favorites in the little collage above. from left to right, from the top down • 1+ more in the family CARDIGAN and T-SHIRT • cam cam BIB • beaba BATH THERMOMETER (how cute is this floral design?!) • liewood PLACEMAT and BATH TOWEL • mini a ture PANTS and TOP • cam cam BATH TOWEL.

i’m curious to know about your experiences with gift registries. have you had one before? what was the ultimate thing on there? any recommendations – stuff that people tend to overlook or something you truly loved? and if you are on the giving end of the equation – do you like gift registries or do you prefer picking something out yourself? what’s your favorite thing to gift parents of a newborn?

video and photography by stephanie duval • post in collaboration with HET LAND VAN OOIT


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my name is stephanie duval, and i am a storyteller. this blog is where i share my favorite stories about design, travel, fashion and the nice things in life.


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