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f&f Family Journal

Learn to Make the Best Use of Hand-Me-Down Baby Clothes

by Summer Robertson

Saving hand-me-down clothing and essentials can be a life-saver when you have more than one child or a blessing when donated to expectant parents.

Learn to Make the Best Use of Hand-Me-Down Baby Clothes

I love hand-me-down baby clothes. Wrapped up in a bit of nostalgia, previously worn clothing & essentials are economy at its finest.

If you plan on having more than 1 child, it's inevitable that you'll have to consider what to do with all the outgrown clothes, shoes, coats, and essentials.

Not only are hand-me-down clothes a cost-saving and environmentally-friendly practice, but they connect younger and older siblings and ensure that each special piece of clothing brings you memories for years longer. 

With the right spin, kiddos even love "hammy-downs." They get to wear the piece of clothing they've seen their cool big sibling rock for years! We all remember the jeans handed down from older brothers, the holiday outfits inherited from high school-aged older cousins, and the items we passed down to younger siblings ourselves.

Though hand-me-downs work for most families, storing clothes can be a hassle when it's not done properly. Ten years and four kids later, I've become a master of hand-me-downs with a method focused on saving the essentials and not loads of unnecessary extras.

My method for managing hand me downs 

  • Sort and store articles of clothing by size & gender, not season. This ensures you don't have to search through tons of t-shirts, sweaters, or other old clothes, to find a specific pair of shoes you want to gift to a friend's younger children.
  • Only save a certain number of each item type per size (6 tees, 4 leggings, 3 blankets, etc.). It's likely you'll be adding new clothes with each child, and too many clothes equals too much laundry.
  • Donate or sell clothes that your child never wore, were uncomfortable, or fit funky. 
  • Save only the best quality essentials! Unless you are specifically saving for play clothes, do not save clothes that are overly worn, stained, etc. 
  • Store clothes in large plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids. I love to throw in a few lavender sachets to keep the bugs away and keep clothing smelling fresh. I've found it best to store clothing away from the closet as it's too tempting to dig back in, which ultimately creates an even bigger mess. Make sure your long-term storage is sufficiently dry (no mold!). 
  • Get in the rhythm of sorting before every season. For me, this is 2x a year: early spring for spring/summer and early fall for fall/winter. Storing what I want to keep, pulling out what is needed next, selling what is still good, and donating the rest. I then take note of who needs what for the season in order to fill in any wardrobe gaps.
  • Make sure that everything you save for later is clean, folded, and in good order so your collection of hand-me-downs can last years in storage. 
  • When buying new clothing for my children, I choose quality over quantity. This doesn't necessarily mean expensive - isn't it just the worst when fancy brand name clothes wash up horribly? Clothing made of quality fabrics that wash up well are the ones to stick with. 
  • The less you buy & have, the less laundry you'll do, and the less you have to store, go through, and re-sort! I know it's easy to overstuff our children's closets, but it's ok to become an essentialist.

Hand Down Heirlooms, Not just Clothing

As you consider what to save and what to keep, remember that it's not just clothing that can be passed down to younger siblings - or younger generations. Quality items like bedroom essentials and wooden toys can withstand multiple years of use and still bring joy to future kiddos. When you buy something for the first time, consider choosing a well-crafted option that can last longer, so years down the road you’ll be able to give a family member a gift with deep, meaningful, roots.

What to do When Handing Down Items is Not an Option

Here are some ideas of what to do when your child outgrows an item, but you are not able to, or don’t want to, hand them down.

Keepsakes:

I also have an ongoing keepsake box for each child. Saving special pieces of clothing, items gifted by family members, or things that distinctly remind you of your child at a certain moment in time are perfect additions to a keepsake box. 

For me, this has been my boys' pajamas - albeit worn out, I'll snip off a square to keep. I've also kept my oldest son's messy shirt he wore to toddler art class and all my boys' lamb booties. Having only 1 daughter, her keepsake box has grown a bit large, but so be it! You'll be glad you kept these items later, so much wrapped up in this short bit of time when our babes are young.

Donating, selling, and giving:

If you have articles of clothing and essentials from older siblings that are no longer needed, consider your options.

  • Give. I have blessed many expectant families with baby clothes outgrown by my own kiddos, essentials, and gear. Being generous is a good seed to sow and always welcomed.
  • Donate. Donate to a local thrift shop or other meaningful organization. For me, these are usually the items I know I will not be able to sell. 
  • Sell online. I have had great success selling (and buying!) second-hand on eBay, Kidizen and ThreadUP. My favorite is Kidizen. 
  • Sell local. Consignment shops take all the work out of it and are a great community option to find and sell your second-hand kids' clothes.

With a method in place, keeping all the hand-me-down clothing and essentials organized is simple, and you'll find joy "shopping" for the next season in your well-stored collection.

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If you enjoyed these tips consider our tips on choosing the perfect chair for your nursery, picking the right baby blanket, or how to make you child's room safe.


wooden animals

by Summer Robertson

Nothing quite beats wooden animals that don't make a peep other than out of the imagination of your child! Plus, have you noticed that little hands like to hold little things? My favorite European made wooden animals are available here.

Your children will likely need no prompts to play, but I love this idea of adding wool felt elements to the scene.


teething tips

by Summer Robertson

teething tips | f&f journal

Despite Lucy's sweet nature, this last round of teething was quite rough and sent me on a search for some new teething-relief ideas. Nothing breaks a mama's heart more than a miserable feeling baby. 

Frozen Washcloths
I was reminded through this article the wonders of a frozen washcloth. So simple and yet so effective! I gathered & folded a few flannel cotton baby washcloths, soaked them in water (chamomile tea would also work great!) and popped them in the freezer. The cloths freeze quickly and are perfect for those little fingers to hold, soothing those sore gums.

Essential Oils
Creating a baby-safe essential oil blend to rub on the jawline is certainly new & intriguing to me. I found the details of the Jawline EO Teething blend here. As a quick alternative, I pulled out Root & Coco's Calm for Kids. It has a similar blend of chamomile and lavender, minus the sweet orange but with the addition of marjoram (which is said to bring relaxation & relief) and thought it was worth a try. Lucy willingly let me rub her jawline which was so much more peaceful than trying to rub anything on those sore gums, how baby hates that!

It totally helped! Sweet relief! Not only does the scent bring a gentle relaxation, the essential oils soak into the skin bringing relief to the jawline. After a couple sleepless nights this relief was welcome for both her & I. 

My favorite cotton flannel washcloths.
Root & Coco's Calm for Kids essential oil blend.

 

 


in my bag

by Summer Robertson

A peek! With my first babe, my diaper bag was always packed full & well, overboard. I've un-diaper bagged myself over the past 10 years and have thoughtfully narrowed down to the absolute essentials: 

  • A black leather bag by Clare V. with no pockets that I absolutely love, a gift from my husband. Not classified as a diaper bag, i continue to use this shoulder tote regardless of what i'm taking along. 
  • Blush colored leather zipper "clutch" that holds a few essentials, including:
  • 1 Sleeper
  • 1 Merino wool bonnet, for those unexpected chilly moments.
  • 1 Wet bag to contain any mess.
  • 1 Cloth diaper & insert. 
  • A few cloth wipes
  • A prefold diaper for a wipe cloth, impromptu bib or quick change pad. 
  • 1 muslin blanket, so multi purpose! 
  • 1 small toy, my daughter loves these mice.
  • A paci clip (back in the shop soon!) & natural rubber pacifier.
  • A small zip leather pouch that i use as a wallet & for small things like lip gloss. 
  • Glass or stainless steel snack container (though with 4 kids I usually bring a wicker basket to hold snacks & water bottles, ma ingalls had the right idea!)
  • Not pictured is my Sakura Bloom black linen sling that I never, ever leave the house without!

 


baby food in glass jars

by Summer Robertson

All of my babes started on solids a bit late but lucy is by far the latest & still not totally sold. Bananas yes, pears maybe. I've found these mini Weck jars to be absolutely perfect for small amounts of purée or tiny chunks. Have you noticed how yucked up plastic gets? Tempered glass rarely breaks and stays pretty ...


Hairbrush to Keepsake: From Daily Routines to Fond Memories

by Tristan Drew

A hairbrush is more than just a tool when you brush your baby's hair. It is an intimate moment with your little one that brings your closer together.
A high-quality hairbrush can become a long-lasting, cherished keepsake full of heart-warming memories of smiles, laughter, and cuddles with your little one.

Hairbrush to Keepsake: From Daily Routines to Fond Memories

One of the things that surprised me most about parenthood is how simple routines create the framework for the most magical memories. Some of our baby’s biggest smiles and loudest giggles were on the changing table, the sweetest snuggles were while drying off after bath time, and the deepest eye contact with warmest smiles was while we were brushing his hair.

You may be in the market for a soft bristle brush to stimulate the healthy hair growth of your baby's infant hair or as a scalp massage tool to help with blood flow and to stimulate natural oils to avoid dry skin. We want to remind you that when you are looking for the best baby hair brush, there is more to consider than beech wood vs. silicone or wooden bristles vs. natural goat hair bristles. Memories have a weird way of tying themselves to physical objects, so finding a good quality brush you love to use might be just as important as knowing if that baby hair brush set contains BPA or not.

It’s Not Just a Baby Hair Brush, It’s Some of My Favorite Memories

Time flies, and before long, those magical moments are warm memories. In our home, we look for creative ways to capture memories, and recently I accidentally stumbled across a great way to do just that! I was going through some cabinet drawers, andfound the newborn hair brush we used with our first child. As I sat holding it in my hand, I experienced a flood of happy memories. 

When our little one was still an infant, he had cradle cap, the yellowish scales often found on babies’ heads. We were assured that the scaly flakes were not causing our child discomfort and that it was nothing to be concerned about. But as new parents, we were overly enthusiastic about giving the best care to our baby. A family friend gifted us a super soft goat hair brush. We used this wooden baby hair brush once or twice a week to help gently exfoliate the cradle cap. Honestly, I don’t think it helped the baby’s scalp all that much, but I looked forward to brushing the fine hair on his head because it created an opportunity for us to connect.

As I sat in front of the cabinet, lost in memory while tracing my fingers over the soft goat hair bristles, I realized how I had unknowingly used this little brush to create a direct link to precious memories. Now when considering buying something, either for our child or as a baby shower gift for a friend, I take a moment to consider how my purchase might be used to create strong sensory connections. If we had rushed out and gotten a cheap, sterile, plastic cradle cap brush for our baby’s head, I might have completely missed out on the opportunity to re-experience all those cherished memories. When you use heirloom quality tools, learning to care for your baby’s skin and laughing together as you work to detangle that always messy toddler hair goes from being a chore to building a relationship.

A Daily Routine is a Daily Connection

Creating routines for your baby is so important. I could go on and on about how singing to your baby helps them understand language or how open-ended play helps your child learn to problem solve and develop a sense of self. But I want to take a moment to re-prioritize. Yes, giving your child every advantage is important, but remember to enjoy the relationship you can build while caring for your child. Learning and connecting are not two separate things.

Creating routines does help our kids develop and perform their best, but just as importantly, they are how we love our children. Spending time with them daily is how we communicate how much we value them. Tucking them under that blanket that grandma made for them and helping them put their toys away in the old pine toy box that your uncle made in high school woodshop is how we remind them that they are home.

Familiar objects are not just convenient; they are the few small bits of the world that help make a home, your home. Even when you change houses, that familiar blanket will still be part of the bed, that comb set will still be part of bathtime, and that toy chest will still hold your child’s treasures.

From newborn baby to graduating teen, Wherever you are in your child's development, now is the right time to start creating routines. Routines that help them get their homework done, routines that teach them how to manage money, routines that help them get good sleep. Routines that help you demonstrate how much you love them.

Invest in Making Memories

As I said before, one of the (now) most precious keepsakes that has been part of my baby’s life since he was a newborn is that ultrasoft wooden baby hairbrush. Of course, you will invest in hair care for your children, so let us encourage you to find something that is not just a tool; it’s also a keepsake. Spending time working the tangles out of your little one’s hair should be more than a chore.

At Fawn & Forest, we work with companies that make high-quality, long-lasting items that are a joy to use. If you care about quality, you will like what you find in our store.


High Chair Hunting: How to Find the Best Boosters & Chairs

by Tristan Drew

High Chair Hunting: How to Find the Best Boosters & Chairs

Your baby is always growing, and fast. As they grow you have to think about what stroller to get, the size of their crib, and if they are ready to sit in a high chair. Transitioning from bottle feeding to starting solids is a moment of bittersweet pride for every new parent. Watching your teeny tot sit up and learn to eat all by themselves is a joy - and facilitating that growth with the right chair is essential. If your child is nearing the age where high chairs come in handy, explore what to look for and how to find the best fit.

Why High Chairs Are a Must

Parents often wonder why they can't continue to feed a little one on their lap until they can feed themselves. While we all want to cherish the moments when they're still so small, it's important to transition to a high chair for a few reasons:

  • Save time and mess: However old kiddos are, it always seems like there are a million and one things to get done. But by adding a high chair to the mix, you can prevent some messiness - and save yourself time.
  • Include your baby at mealtime: Connecting your baby with the rest of the family is essential for development, especially as they get older. High chairs and boosters help you keep them close during family meals to spark moments everyone will remember forever.
  • Provide safety and comfort: When your baby is old enough, using a high chair is safer than other options. Choosing high chairs with safety features like 5-point harnesses, locking mechanisms, and adjustable heights ensures your tot is safe during meals, right by your side!
  • Foster their independence: High chairs and booster seats make the transition from feeding your baby to letting them feed themselves effortless. Modeling proper eating, supporting their experimentation with utensils, and helping them explore different food textures is easier with the right tools. 

When Do You Need a High Chair?

Most little ones are ready for a high chair when they're around 4-6 months of age. The teller is whether your baby can sit up by themselves. They might bob in that adorable baby dance, but they should be able to sit up without support. If you've reached that milestone, then congrats! Your baby is ready for their first high chair - and many other firsts.

As you search for a new high chair, you'll find a few different types:

  • Traditional: The chair you used as a toddler was likely a traditional high chair. Fit with a comfy seat and stationary support for tots, traditional chairs may or may not come with added features like harnesses or trays.
  • Adjustable: Your child goes through so many changes during the first year of life and beyond. Adjustable high chairs let you keep the same piece for multiple stages, giving extra room for them to grow with different seat heights, support to stay in an upright position, and other features. Use one high chair from the time you're bottle feeding to when they're old enough to feed themselves.
  • Reclining: High chairs that support the child's head in a reclined position can be used for bottle feeding and playtime. They're safe for younger babies who aren't old enough for a high chair yet but should never be used to feed solid foods.
  • Booster seats: When your kiddo is big enough to move out of their high chair, it's booster seat time! These compact blocks can sit easily on your dining chairs to give your toddler a comfortable spot to sit during family meals.

New parents can sometimes be wary of the mealtime change, but knowing how to handle high chair safety makes that transition natural and comfortable. Most importantly, consider safety features like seat straps or a safety harness. Safety straps are a must for wiggly little ones. In addition, make sure you choose a chair certified by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) - the highest safety standards.

Catch up on your high chair safety tips, too: Never put a high chair near a counter or table - your tot can push themselves and tip over. Keep dangerous items (hot liquids and foods, sharp knives, etc.) out of reach, and always supervise your child during mealtime.

Handpick Your High Chair

Keep space, cleaning, comfort, and more in mind as you look for a new high chair:

Space: If you have limited space, foldable baby high chairs or ones with wheels are a must. Bring them out when you need and stow them away for the rest of the day! Other space-saving options like hook-on chairs that attach to your dining table are perfect for small dining areas.

Features: High chairs are just as versatile as cribs and car seats. Find chairs with movable trays to lift your baby in and out, five-point harnesses to keep your little one safe, changing settings to adapt to their growing bodies, and seats with footrests for maximum comfort.

Easy cleaning: Washable fabrics, dishwasher-safe trays, and more - there are tons of high chair features that make for quicker cleaning. My personal favorite function is a removable tray. When we're done with meals, I just pop it off and wash it up in the kitchen sink to be ready for the next day.

Comfort: Next to safety, the comfort of our little ones is always a priority. Like all good baby gear, the best high chair for your tot will be functional and comfortable, with a soft, cushy seat and room to grow.

Design: When everything else is considered - remember to think about style when looking for a high chair. Find something timeless to fit your home: you’ll use the chair every day! I am such a long-time fan of Stokke's high chairs. They're incredibly sturdy, look great in our dining room, and even have slim-profile trays.

Fawn & Forest's High Chair Finds

Hunting for a high chair is simple when you know where to look. Our collection of modern high chairs is chosen with safety, comfort, sustainability, and style in mind to help you walk your baby through each transition. Explore high chairs and other classic seating designed to make mealtime memorable.