Gift Guide: Books & Toys for Young Toddlers 12-24 Months

Call it the holiday gift guide, the Christmas guide, or the baby guide, these have been my favorite books and toys for my son. I haven’t gender separated the books or toys because I don’t believe children should be told what toys are for “boys” and what are for “girls”. If your kid loves them, then let them play and explore.

PS: These are affiliate links. I may make a small commission (that doesn’t affect your price) that keeps this site alive. Thank you! <3 Books: Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
by Richard Scarry

A classic paper book with all sorts of crazy cars, trucks, buses, and boats. For a baby, you can get the
Cars and Trucks, from A-Z.

The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Time to sing and dance and get to bed! We loved reading this book. While we didn’t read it right before bedtime, my son learned about the bedtime routine concepts in a fun way. Sandra Boynton has written many books that talk about life concepts, so it’s worth checking out her authored books.

ABC Animal Party Board Book

Bright and simply illustrated, my son loved this book as a baby. Now, 2.5 years, it’s again back on his favorite’s list.

Toys:
Grimm’s Large 12-Piece Rainbow Stacker

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This unassuming rainbow wood stacking blocks is magical. At first, we didn’t know what to do with it. Soon, we figured out how to stack them, mix them with other toys, and create art pieces. Made in Germany of solid wood, this is a present that will last years.

Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy

Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 74 Piece Set

On the pricey side, magna tiles are awesome. Build in three dimension with triangles, rectangles, square, and trapezoids. A classic STEM/STEAM toy, your toddler, and their friends, will love these. For a budget friendly version, you can buy the off-brand tiles.

Baby Toys & Essentials Shopping List

Wee Gallery Organic Muslin Swaddle • Wee Gallery • $28
Art Cards For Baby – Original Collection • Wee Gallery • $8
Art Cards For Baby – Safari Collection • Wee Gallery • $8
Toddler Wee Gallery Reversible Sunshine/stars Playmat • Wee Gallery • $89.95
Wee Gallery Woodland Animals Growth Chart • Wee Gallery • $38
Toddler Wee Gallery Set Of 3 Animal Nesting Dolls • Wee Gallery • $42
Infant Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller & City Go Infant Car Seat Travel System • Baby Jogger • $492.99
Graco Breaze Click Connect Travel System • Graco • $229–243
The Honest Company Honest 40-Pack Newborn Diapers in Teal Tribal Pattern • The Honest Company • $13.99
Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Sweet Memories Keepsake Photo Box • $19.99
Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Cream to Powder • Burt’s Bees • $9.99
Add to Cart • $8.99
thinkbaby Baby Shampoo & Body Wash – 16oz • Thinkbaby • $9.99
Noodle & Boo Extra Gentle Baby Shampoo, 16 oz. • Noodle & Boo • $16
Calendula Baby Shampoo & Body Wash by Weleda (6.8oz Shampoo) • Weleda • $12.50
Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash, Calming – 21oz • $10.19
aden + anais Silky Soft Sleeping Bag • Aden Anais • $28–37
aden + anais Metallic Swaddles • Aden Anais • $50
Carter’s Baby Carter’s 3-pc. Lamb Babysoft Take-Me-Home Coverall • Carter’s • $13.99
Okie Dokie 6-pk. Lowcut Crew Socks – Baby Girls newborn-24m • $4.99
Add to Cart • $16.95
Add to Cart • $18.95
Burt’s Bees Baby® Newborn Sweater Cardigan in Grey • $29.99
Burt’s Bees Baby® Newborn Rugby Stripe Footie Pajama in Navy/Green • $12.99
Cotton Rich Elf All in One with Hat • Marks and Spencer • $23
UNIQLO Newborn Crewneck Long-sleeve Onesie (set Of 2) • Uniqlo • $9.90
UNIQLO Newborn Crewneck Long-sleeve Onesie (set Of 2) • Uniqlo • $9.90
Etsy Zero Fox Given Onesie®, Baby Shower Gift, Hipster Baby, Boho Baby Clothes, Funny Onesies, Newborn Ph • $16.99
Ralph Lauren Polo Bear Cotton Coverall White Multi Newborn • Polo Ralph Lauren • $20.63
Tea Collection Newborn Cycle Footed Romper in Navy • Tea Collection • $19.99
Lansinoh Soothies Glycerin Gel Pads • Sold Out
Lansinoh Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bustier • Lansinoh • $30.99
rene rofe (Newborn Girls) 3-Piece Little Star Bodysuit & Pants Set • Rene Rofe • $6.99
Munchkin® White Hot® 4-Pack Safety Spoons • Munchkin • $5.99
Munchkin Bottle & Nipple Brush • Munchkin • $2.99
Munchkin LATCH 3pk BPA Free Baby Bottle Set • Munchkin • $19.99
Skip Hop Explore & More Animal Car, Bee • Skip Hop • $9.99
Skip Hop – Hop Moby Bath Mat Accessories Travel • Skip Hop • $15
Lego Duplo Town Truck & Tracked Excavator • Lego • $19.99
UPPAbaby® VISTA Stroller and Bassinet in Samantha • UPPAbaby • $703.99
Infant Uppababy 2017 Mesa Infant Car Seat • UPPAbaby • $299.99
Munchkin Nursery Fresh 3-pk. Diaper Pail Refill Bags • Munchkin • $12.74
Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags 100ct • Medela • $19.99
Medela® Tender CareTM 2 oz. Lanolin • Medela • $7.99
Medela Tender Care HydroGel Pads – 4pk • Medela • $7.99
Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack • Fisher-Price • $6
Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics First Blocks • Fisher-Price • $9

Some Days

some days i’m amazed at how much you say
some days i’m amazed at…
…how you can make up your own games
…how you can keep busy with nothing in sight
…how you can end a little baby’s cry with “me is here”
…how you share your favorite stuffie
…how you are so headstrong, no one can stop you
…how you hug when others are down
…how you can understand things when told just once
…how you know how to push all the buttons
…how you laugh when nothing and everything is funny
…how you love

some days i’m amazing that you are mine and i am yours

Because Formula Isn’t The End of the World

On the roller coaster of becoming a new parent, you are inundated with so much information that your head spins and tears increases.

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Over the past decade the pendulum swung back to emphasizing breastfeeding over formula feeding. The unfortunate result were offshoot groups pushing breastfeeding as the only salvation.

And moms felt the guilt. I felt the guilt. I spent the first four months in tears in everyday because the bean never wanted to latch properly. Once he got hooked onto the bottle, well, that was it too.

To make myself feel better, I pumped. For 10.5 months. Exclusively pumped. But I also had to do 1-2 formula feeds a day because I could never produce enough milk through pumping alone.

Everyday while I pumped, I had detailed notes on when and how much I pumped and how much formula kiddo had.

Here is a day’s worth of notes:
Sept 2:
*00:40 pumped 12 min, 90 ml
06:10 fed 100 ml
06:30 pumped 20 min, 170 ml
07:00 fed 30 ml
08:30 fed 150 ml
09:30 pumped 20 min, 110 ml
12:00 fed 70 ml
Mini poop
13:20 pumped 20 min, 130 ml
Giant poop at CVS! 😂
15:45 fed 150 ml
18:30 breastfed 15 min
19:00 pumped 15 min, 90 ml
21:15 fed 90 ml formula
22:00 pumped 20 min, 90 ml*

My notes were copious for the first 6 months and then after I just did totals each day and marked the number of pumps (that actually helped me with dropping pumps/day once I was ready to do that).

Perhaps this kept me sane (or less insane to be honest), but I want to stress to you, new mom, that it is OK to give formula. Formula today isn’t formula of the 1950s, barely regulated and without a lot of nutrition. Sure, formula does not contain antibodies or different flavors like breastmilk does, but if you cannot breastfeed or your life is turning into a complete mess, add that formula.

*”J’ai faim” – “I’m hungry”*

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For me, a formula supplement allowed me to skip a pumping session and sleep a little extra. I need a good 8-10 hours of sleep and without it, I fall sick easily and have massive headaches. That formula session (where my husband could feed baby) was everything.

And speaking of husbands, formula feeding (or bottle feeding) allows your spouse to bond a little more closely with the new bean and lets them feel more involved.

Dreamforce 2015 & Nursing Moms Don’t Mix

Well mommies, it happened. I learned what it’s like be a nursing mom and attend a conference with my baby.

A tech conference (Dreamforce).

In Moscone Center.

In San Francisco.

For two hours.

Since I had been to Moscone Center and seen children present at other conferences, I figured it would not be a problem bringing bean in the stroller. Plus I did not find anywhere on the Dreamforce website that children were not allowed (although I admit to not perusing the fine print).

With a free expo+ pass in hand, it seemed like a great idea to go with my dad and the little bean on the last day. Conference ending in a couple hours meant less people and a less troublesome baby.

And this sign welcoming you:

After picking up expo passes in Moscone North, the three of us headed to the elevators.

Dum dumm….

(sounds like the making of a horror movie… promise, it is)

We are told that babies are not allowed to use the elevator, BUT we can carry baby down the escalator along with the stroller and go to the expo.

Errr…okay? Seems silly that a perfectly functional elevator stands unused but that I have to carry my baby in my hands and that my dad has to carry the stroller on the escalator.

I then went to the Salesforce information lady with and she seemed confused that a baby wouldn’t be allowed in the elevator. She went off to find a security personal.

A few minutes later the security personal, the elevator guard, and the Salesforce info person returned.

“Kids are not allowed on the expo floor. It’s a liability issue.”

Ok? Kids have been to Moscone before, so I ask, “why isn’t this written anywhere when signing up for the ticket (at least in legible font, not the fine print)?”

“That’s the rules, kids aren’t allowed.”

The security guard walks off and so does Salesforce info person. The elevator guard hangs back and says that there’s a nursing room I could go to in Moscone West and hang out there while my dad visits the floor. We can then switch off.

I was disappointed but pleased that she offered a solution and we ended up talking for 10 minutes. She was very nice.

My dad headed off to the expo floor and I headed to Moscone West where the *Nursing Room on Level 1, Sponsor Room A* is located.

When inside Moscone West, I go to the Information booth to ask where exactly is the room.

The guy is dumbfounded and says that no such room exists. After insisting it does, he looks it up and tells me, the nursing room is in Moscone North.

I said, “no, Moscone North just sent me here. It’s in this building.”

He says they have no idea what they’re talking about and points to the booklet. I reply, “but right here it is written, *Moscone West*.”

“Ohhhh, well, then go through the expo hall and it should be in the back.”

Already feeling tired and annoyed, I go into the expo hall. After a few seconds, a security guard chases me down and says, “NO KIDS.”

I explain that I’m just going to the nursing room. He says no such room exists and I may not enter the expo floor. He says go to the check-in desks and ask them.

At this point, I am ready to give up and head back to the car or feed the bean in some public place.

I give it my last chance and head to the check-in desks. Nearly in tears I tell the lady that I just want to go to the nursing station but security won’t let me inside the expo hall to WALK through it and go to the room.

She gets it. She says that we’ll figure it out. After speaking to security, who reiterate NO KIDS, the security guard calls Head of Security to sort this out.

Within minutes he comes and says it wouldn’t be a problem. He escorts me to the “nursing room” in the back of the expo hall.

Would other moms be allowed to the nursing station? I dunno. Can I walk through the expo floor to *leave* it and not be accosted by security? I hope so…

After seeing all the plush couches on the outside of expo hall, I figured the nursing room would have a nice plush couch and water.

Yea…no…

The nursing room is this:

Two chairs, a table, and a trash can.

Very inviting!

Outside the room…

Well, it was a private room. I nursed the bean, we hung out, and did a little crying.

I tweeted about the incident and Salesforce had this response:

Appreciate the canned response. I know how you really feel about moms now.

**So Dreamforce team, I have only one thing to say: next time you implement a half baked idea to win over tech moms, make an effort to read your own rules.**

We have a long long long way to go to achieve any sort of equality in the workplace, or errr… a conference.

PS – Bean at least didn’t cry or whine at all; he took in all the sights. Yay for that!

PPS – No, I never saw any of the expo halls at Dreamforce. #fail

What I Learned About Exclusively Pumping

Hi mommies!
I did it. I made it to three months exclusively pumping for my bean. To say the journey has be difficult is an understatement.

My milk started late and not a lot came, my bean had tongue tie, and we had lots of trouble latching. In tears, we began formula supplementing when he was three days old. It was NOT how I envisioned this to be.


For all the sleepless nights, poopsies, and screaming, I wasn’t prepared for the difficulty that breastfeeding possesses. There is so much to say as a new mom. The struggle is real.

I know I’ve only been pumping for 13 weeks, but I have learned a lot.

**Formula is OKAY.** Truly, it is. You know, I was *that* asshole four months ago that was against formula if you can make milk. I totally support moms who give formula when they are incapable of making milk or that their babies need it. What I didn’t know is that most moms have trouble making milk. Some take hours to get a supply, others days, and others weeks.

When we brought home our bean from the hospital after three days, he was screaming so much (he’s a vocal sort!), I went out to CVS with my dad and bought newborn supplements and a pint of ice cream. I was a real mess.

A couple days later, we went to a pediatrician who gave us a box of supplements. He said, ‘mom, if you continue to cry, you will never make milk. You need to destress and let baby eat. It will happen.” Two other pediatricians said the same thing.

And so, we supplemented with formula. First it was 80% of his meals, then 50%, then 20%, and now, we give supplement during a growth spurt or when I want some for the freezer. And you know what? He looks awesome.

None of my pediatricians have given a rat’s ass about feeding formula.



**Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone.** I now pump 99% of the time. For me, I couldn’t do it without the help of my husband and my dad who can help take care of baby and the house.

But here’s my secret, I haven’t found breastfeeding to be amazing. I don’t feel a “connection”, my hips still hurt, my tendonitis is returning, and I’m exhausted. I feel that at least when I pump, I can type, I can read, I can still play with the bean.

**Pumping sucks. Literally.** Your boobs will hurt, you’ll be on a schedule (my alarm went off every three hours for the first six weeks), and you will feel like a cow.

It is an uphill battle, until it isn’t. I have found a groove now and know when I want to pump. I know that when my dad leaves, I won’t be pumping as often, and if I pump less, that is OKAY. Because, I can supplement. And I am totally not a loser mom.

**Your baby takes a bottles from anyone.** There ARE benefits to pumping and formula. Your baby will take a bottle. And your baby can take the bottle from anyone in your family.

You know what’s awesome? Letting your husband feed your baby while everyone enjoys an adult beverage. And then he burps and changes bean’s diaper and then they play. And bean? He doesn’t care who feeds him, as long as someone feeds him.

**You CAN go out for more than one hour.** Sometimes my husband works home, and on those days, I go out, by myself, for 3-5 hours. Run errands, get a massage, meet friends and grab a drink, it’s amazing. Because you need you time.

Pumping lets someone else feed the baby. Even if you do BF, a couple pump sessions here and there will allow you to get out for much needed R&R.



**You do whatever makes it work.** Seriously. What I say, what others say, it doesn’t matter.

You know what matters? Your sanity. Do what it takes so that you have a good transition for pumping/formula/breastfeeding whatever.

Hugs and kisses moms!
/P

Elegant & Whimsical Baby Shower

Baby showers – they can be so kitschy you want to hid under the diaper cake or so babycentric you want to hid under those “chocolate” diapers.

I know I know baby showers are meant to be about babies. But shouldn’t they also be about mom? and dad?! and having a good time.

Two of my best buds M & J put together a stellar baby shower. We of course used Pinterest for inspiration. We wanted to stay away from the most cliched aspects of baby showers. Almost like a bridal shower minus all the alcohol and more whimsical.
Out: the candy diaper game, the chugging bottle game, and sorry, everything lame.
In: pretty flowers, macarons, and a sense of elegance and whimsy.

We had lovely macarons from Fleur de Farine, based in Palo Alto.

A selfie with the party organizers, M & J!

Our baby shower party setup – presents, a diaper cake (I give credit, this one is adorable), and stuffed toys and toy blocks from our childhood.

“Who’s that baby?” game. Our hosts collected baby photos from the guests and we had to figure out who each person was. Super fun. It took me 10 minutes to figure out some of my friends!

Opening baby presents. It couldn’t get more fun. This diaper bag from Skip Hop is amazing too.

Belly henna by Henna Lounge. I just LOVE mandalas!

If you want more whimsical ideas check out my 10 DIY ideas for onesies and my Indian maternity baby shoot on The Big Fat Indian Wedding.

10 Adorable DIY Onesie Ideas

At my baby shower, my friends put together a DIY onesie and bib station. Friends made the cutest and funniest onesies for our baby.

I just have to share their artwork and creativity!

**iPood** – Forget the iPod, the iPood is what really happens with a newborn baby.

**Est 2015** – Don’t you love all those annoying apparel companies telling you what year they were established? How about make one for the babe. Way more meaningful.

**Crying gets you things** – if crying doesn’t solve the problem for your baby bean, cry some more. Crying will pretty much run your lives for those first months. Might as well enjoy a onesie with it!

**I am why we can’t have nice things** – That ended when I chose to have rabbits, but it’s just as true when you have a baby.
**Input//Output** – put an arrow facing up to the mouth, and put the output sign on the baby’s tushie. There will be a lot of outputting.

**noob** – give the nerds some love

**player 3** – honestly, I haven’t figured out what this means, but it’s sure cute!

**Feed me and no one will get hurt… I left you a present** – need I say more?

**Hangry** – now that it’s an official word in the Oxford dictionary, you can be the coolest aunt/uncle ever for designing this onesie.

**”#tbt”** – This was by far the most creative and provocative onesie. Do you remember the time when you were just a wee little sperm? Make this throwbackThursday so your friend’s kid can learn the trauma of how a sperm becomes a baby.

Now on to making more onesies!