As you prepare for your first baby, everyone has a very strong opinion on which car seat, stroller, bassinet and pump you should, accompanied by a lengthy story on why that product is good or terrible. Of course, your friends and family only want the best for you – but it can be extremely daunting and there are lots of guides to help navigate you through all the must-haves for baby.
This is not that guide.
We’ll keep our (very strong) opinions on which swing you absolutely should not shell out hundreds for and which carrier is definitely worth the money. Instead, we’ve compiled a list of brands that are the brainchild of South Asian female entrepreneurs who were inspired by motherhood to create products to help others navigate parenthood – and oftentimes instill some desi culture within their children.
- Diapers - The CEO of Kudos started the company long before she even became a mom. The MIT grad's passion for sustainability led her to create the first-ever 100% cotton diapers... and on Shark Tank!
- Formula - We'll consider the Founder of Bobbie an honorary South Asian since she's married to one. Although the company is only five years old, they've become one of the most trusted brands of baby's formula -- and with good reason.
- Happy Family Organics - Shazi is another example of a CEO who created a product, long before she became its target customer. This brand pioneered organic baby frozen food and snacks, and are impossible to miss in any baby aisle.
- Funny onesies: Babies go through what seems like a hundred onesies in a week, thanks to spit-ups and blowouts, but Paper Samosa puts a desi twist on baby clothes, so you can have a giggle at 2 a.m. when your little one is on their 10th outfit change of the night. With hilarious sayings such as “Dance like no aunties are watching,” plus funny mugs for that much-needed morning coffee, these will bring a smile to a new parent’s face.
- Blankies and bedsheets: When your newborn sleeps 18 hours a day (seemingly never, however, at 3 a.m. – funny how that works), you want their swaddles and blankets to be soft, beautiful and made with high-quality, natural materials – and since they are constantly spitting up or pooping on them, you also don’t want to pay a semester’s worth of college tuition for them. Malabar Baby makes baby bedding, towels, swaddles, blankets and play mats – as well as some grown-up bedding and loungewear – with collections named for and inspired by Mumbai, Miami, Manhattan and others. If you're looking for a custom option, then look no further than Her Sun & Stars Co, which makes minky blankets (which you can personalize with your baby's name in any language), muslin swaddles and bamboo pajamas makes trendy custom blankets with baby’s monogram and fun patterns.
- Skincare for baby: Coconut thail (oil) your grandma swore by plus helping the Earth? Sign me up! Bubbsi puts organic cold-pressed coconut oil, great for keeping baby’s skin soft, in eco-friendly food-grade silicone bottles to add some fun to bath time.
- Outdoorsy baby gear: When Lark Adventurewear founder Pallavi Golla took her baby son to the great outdoors, she stayed cool and dry in her activewear while he was always sweaty and damp – so she created eco-friendly infant activewear. It’s a great gift for parents who want to tote their kids along... and stay cool doing it.
- Indian clothes - The Hindu calendar has approximately 4,592 holidays (just kidding) in a year so chances are, your baby will need at least one nice pair of Indian clothes for that Instagram post. Luckily, Hava makes kids' clothes that have the signature traditional look, but made with 100% cotton and comfort.
For the Nursery & Playroom
- Plush toys & Crib Mobile: You didn't really think we'd skip Modi Toys, did you? From musical crib mobiles that play instrumental aartis to plush toys that sing mantras to even matching newborn crochet sets, your baby is guaranteed to impress you (and the grandparents!) with all the cultural gems gained from these meaningful toys.
- Books - Give Dr. Seuss a break and explore India from the comforts of you home, miles away. Indigrows' A to Z book about India helps introduce your little ones to their roots in a fun, simple and colorful way.
- Flash cards - Decades of research show that time spent looking at high-contrast images can contribute to a baby's brain development. So, if they're going to be looking, might as well make it cultural with these Hindu cards from Vichaar & Prem (who also have adorable wall prints for the home).
- Personalized memorabilia - Homebound Custom Decor makes hand-crafted goods that are as functional as they are Instagram-worthy. From a night light to name blocks, you'd be supporting a husband & wife team of entrepreneurs.
For Mom (and sometimes Dad)
- Maternity wear - Is it really fair to call Aniche a maternity brand if their clothes are designed to be worn long after the baby is born? That was precisely the intent behind its collection of dresses, jumpsuits, tops and bottoms: to be worn every stage of your motherhood journey.
- Comfort for mom: I noticed that when I was pregnant, people would constantly ask how I was feeling. The second my son was born, it was all about him – and both for myself and others, I was an afterthought. PajamaSutra robes and loungewear are created to pamper those moms with comfy, flattering pjs using non-toxic dyes and nixing harsh chemicals. If you’re going to be in your pjs for half the day like I was, they may as well be cozy and pretty.
- Superfoods for Pre & Post-Pregnancy: Freshly Moms founder Shruti, a chef and nutritionist, noticed a lack of ayurvedic supplements to help women during all stages of their pregnancy journey. Made with research-backed functional ingredients, their range of products also include support for miscarriages and irregular periods.
- A quick, easy meal: Friends and family who come bearing food are a godsend in the first few months after the baby arrives – but it’s hard for them to come regularly. First Seed Foods founder Arti Mala didn’t necessarily create her microwavable, oil-free, vegan meals just for new moms, but it’s the perfect idea for sleep-deprived, time-strapped new parents.
- Lactation treats just like auntie’s: Close to my due date, my mom made me lactation and recovery goodies for a few weeks – but not everyone can have a mom or an Indian auntie nearby to make them nutrition-rich power-food for months on end. Mrs. Patel’s makes artisanal lactation and pregnancy products based on ayurvedic traditions that are good for pregnant women and new moms.
- Making recovery stronger: Like the other "momprepreneurs" on this list, Myri's founder Pinkey Patel found a void and decided to fill it. Before her own pregnancy, she found that information on pre/post-natal fitness and health was not always consistently available – so she expanded her personal training experience to include pre and post-natal corrective exercises and continued to utilize them throughout and after her pregnancy. Now she coaches others and provides resources and support on the issue.
- Skincare for mommy: Visha Skincare has a line just for moms – from their Mommy Bright Eye Booster for puffiness, eye bags and dark circles to its Bump 2 Baby cream for stretch marks, dry skin and eczema.
Babylist makes it convenient for you to add anything to your baby registry from any list. Happy registering and/or shopping!