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 entrepreneurs who were inspired by motherhood to create products to help others navigate parenthood – and oftentimes instill some desi culture within their children.
For Baby & the Nur
- 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. Archana Patel's Etsy shop DesignsbyAZ has a different take on fun onesies (funsies?), making personalized onesies, bibs and blankets for baby (and even personalized adult shirts – you can match!).
- 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. Blankies by B makes trendy custom sleep mats, play mats, pillows and blankets with baby’s monogram and fun patterns.
- An age-appropriate cultural lesson: Okay, I may be biased, but Modi Toys’ Baby Ganesh will truly brighten up your lives. I purchased my son a Baby Ganesh when he was right around two years old (well before I started blogging for Modi Toys), and that is solely how he learned to do namaskar to Ganapati Bappa and opened the conversation to Hinduism.
- 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.
- Desi-inspired prints: Years ago, when my childhood friend was pregnant, I had to search far and wide to find a specific Indian-inspired print for her nursery. Thankfully, now there are tons of gorgeous options, from the prints, puzzles and books from Desi Babies to the female-forward goddess prints at Jai Jai Hooray to the modern, perfect-for-the-nursery artwork at Paperpad.
- 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 active parents who want to tote their infant along.
For Mom (and sometimes Dad)
- 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.
- Easy, clean postpartum eating: Freshly Moms founder Shruti, a chef and nutritionist, noticed a clear lack of clean eating options for postpartum moms. She went to work creating snacks and teas designed specifically for new mothers, made with organic ingredients, and borrowing from both western (sesame brittle) and Indian (khichadi mix) cuisines.
- 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. Gobble founder Ooshma Garg didn’t necessarily create her 15-minute, one-pan meal kits just for new moms, but it’s the perfect idea for sleep-deprived, time-strapped new parents.
- Lactation treats just like auntie’s: After my son was born, my mom made me lactation goodies for a few weeks – but not everyone can have a mom or auntie nearby to make them treats 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, The Snapback 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.
Avani Nadkarni is a former journalist who currently works in tech PR and is forever navigating the tricky balance of trying to raise her child in the U.S. while teaching him about his Indian and Sri Lankan roots.