Parents of newborns will go through 196 diapers in the first two weeks, a quart of breast milk a day and countless bottles and wipes as baby blooms virtually overnight. Show off growth spurts with finds that combine practicality with originality this fall.
Moms and babies alike will go ga-ga over the Paci Plushies from Nookums. The supersoft, super-cute plush animal attaches to any infant pacifier to make finding it easy for mom and dad and helps baby develop motor skills. Slip off the pacifier to wash or replace and pop the plushie in the washing machine. $13.99, www.paciplushies.com.
From Bambi to Minnie Mouse, Disney offers options with character, like a Garden Spin Pooh mat that makes tummy time sweet or a knit hat complete with mouse ears. $14.95-$49.95, www.disneystore.com.
Help toddlers tackle their "I do it" ideal with soft seating from Pottery Barn Kids. Lightweight and cozy, the chairs are eco-friendly with recyclable foam inserts that contain up to 30 percent soy-based materials. A handle makes room-to-room transport easy. Slipcover prices include personalization. $29-$80, "Anywhere Chair" from Pottery Barn Kids
Education meets recreation on gallery-quality canvas prints from Name Your Design. Perfect for the nursery since no mounting or frame is needed, all are covered with an earth-friendly coating that protects against moisture, humidity, abrasions and fingerprints. $18-$180, www.nameyourdesign.com
Milk junkies, insomniacs and boob guys can celebrate their pint-sized personalities with onesies, socks and New York taxi cab-themed soft soles from Bibi & Mimi. $9.95-$26, www.bibiandmimi.com.
Give credit where credit is due with personalized onesies from Mitetees that celebrate both halves of baby's parentage by displaying mom's and dad's family names. $24, www.mitetees.com.
Repurposing is the mindset behind Chicago-based Seven Smooches and its one-of-a-kind, handmade collections created from 100 percent recycled wool sweaters, vintage feedsacks and pillowcases. $10-$98, www.sevensmooches.com.
Little Boy Chic offers globetrotters an Inky Dink Guardsman tee that isn't afraid to poke fun at the across-the-pond icon. Tagless for toddler comfort. $21, www.littleboychic.com.
Pediped delivers with 27 new toddler styles and a safari-themed couture collection showcasing exotic leather skins. A collaboration with No Slippy Hair Clippy offers clips to match. $32-$59, www.pediped.com.
Based on findings from leading podiatrists and pediatricians, Stride Rite developed a Sensory Response Technology collection for early walkers optimizing baby feet biomechanics with eco-friendly materials, feedback pods, multidirectional flexibility and mid-foot support. $50, www.striderite.com.
Soft soles mimic bare feet by supporting, not constricting. Robeez promote flexibility and balance with elasticized ankles for stay-put style. The Mini Shoez line for walkers features cushioned foam insoles and non-slip, water repellent soles for indoor/outdoor wear. $27.95-$34.95, www.robeez.com.
Zoom Album offers portable, professional-looking photo albums made at home using a computer, digital camera and color printer. $23, www.zoomalbum.net.
Dads will flip for the new HD Flip video camcorders by Pure Digital Technologies Inc., Flip UltraHD, with double the memory, yet still not much bigger than a cell phone. The camcorder plugs directly into a Mac or PC to let dad edit and share videos of baby immediately. $199.99, www.theflip.com.
Ju-Ju-Be gives the chief haul monitor fabulous boutique style with smart function in its innovative line of well-appointed diaper totes and ergonomic backpacks. Teflon-coated exterior fabrics fight messes while AgION anti-microbial linings repel germs. How-to videos online offer inside details. $118, www.ju-ju-be.com.
For moms who want to keep wearing their cute, pre-pregnancy pants as the belly bump grows, Western Springs mom Annie Tandy has a solution: Pocket Dots. Made to work with a pregnancy band, the Pocket Dots clip to a back pocket and the <>band to keep mom from showing too much skin. Available in black or nude, $6.95 per pair. www.pocketdots.com.
For baby wearers everywhere, NAP Inc. has launched a soft organic cotton wearable baby carrier, the Organic Sleepy Wrap, that will make you the envy of the tot lot. Available in natural and khaki, $59.95. www.sleepywrap.com.
Fall brings scientific fun, and Step 2's Nature Station Playhouse encourages eco-minded exploration with a shovel, bug collector, butterfly net, working lantern, microscope with slides, tweezers, bug trap and binoculars. A storage bin doubles as a planter to grow herbs or small vegetables. $249.99, www.step2.com.
Blabla's collective of Peruvian artisans hand-knit new doll babies from natural fibers that are made to look contemporary, yet feel as comfy and familiar as old friends. Now with clothes to match. $44-$72, www.blablakids.com
Maria Pilar Clark is a mom times two and Windy City-based writer.
See more of Pilar's stories here.