Tot Stuff | Verve Magazine

Verve People

Anyone who knows us even a little bit will know that we’re an “alternative” family whose life revolves around health, wellness and the outdoors. I met Kshitij for the first time while scuba diving in the Andamans, and we continue to share a mutual love and respect for nature. Most of our holidays are spent either at national parks to escape city life or at wellness retreats to work on ourselves, focusing on both mind and body. We’re conscious about what we consume and its impact on us and our surroundings: we run a vegan kitchen at home, choose essential oils and natural remedies instead of popping over-the-counter medicines, and use skincare products that are free from toxins.

The skin is the body’s largest and most responsive organ, easily absorbing what you put on it, and I strongly believe the fabrics that touch your skin matter. In fact, I launched an organic cotton baby essentials brand so that new parents could access trustworthy fabrics for their little ones from day one. The chemicals, strong bleaches and dyes used in conventional cotton often lead to skin irritations, rashes and even respiratory issues (for both moms and babies). Organic cotton, however, is the more sustainable and responsible as well as healthier choice for you, your baby and the environment. This is something we’re very passionate about at Masilo.

In 2018, we became parents for the first time, and it was one of the most exciting and joyful experiences of our lives. Determined to give our son, Krishav, a safe and green start in life, we spent a lot of time and energy searching for natural and non-toxic products for him. In the process, we discovered many honest, ethical brands that we have come to rely on heavily since their products are safe too, not to mention durable enough to pass down to the next bub in line.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some eco-baby goods that have earned their “must-have” status in the Maskara-Sheth home.

TOYS

As new parents, you’ll find it’s very easy to accumulate more toys than you ever could have imagined. But rather than buying cheap (or expensive for that matter) plastic stuff that won’t last too long, we recommend buying toys that are open-ended and encourage imaginative play so that your child doesn’t outgrow them too soon. Now, our extended family is aligned with this philosophy too, and we don’t get too many unwanted presents for Krishav as a result.

Some of our favourite brands include:

Plan Toys
We love their balancing cactus, pull-along toys and slide n go dollhouse — all made from sustainable rubberwood and coated with non-toxic dyes.

bloon Toys
Their rustic tree blocks and curvy board are our favourites. They even have modelling beeswax that never dries up and is infinitely reusable.

Loyora
Krishav has fun playing with their collection of wooden cars, trucks and cranes.

IKEA
They have a great wooden train set, as well as a pretend play kitchen, complete with mini steel utensils and fabric vegetables.

Sophie la girafe
We really like their bath toyxs made from natural rubber and painted with non-toxic, food-grade inks.

GEAR

Which stroller is the best? What’s wrong with BPA (bisphenol-A)-free plastic baby bottles? Should we splurge on top-of-the-line gear, or will our baby outgrow it too quickly? These are some of the common questions that all first-time parents have asked. In our experience, we have found that baby gear often ends up being bulky and expensive; it’s worth investing only in the things that will either provide long term use or grow with your baby.

The following essentials are good value for money:

Baby Carrier
As active parents, baby-wearing was a great way for us to bond with our baby and enjoy the closeness while getting things done during the day. We found it especially helpful to calm and soothe Krishav during the first six months of his life. We recommend the Godilo organic cotton baby carrier. It doesn’t have any ties, rings or buckles and is super easy to put on; so pop your baby in and go! Unlike other bulky carriers (which end up being just another apparatus to manage) this one folds into pocket size, making it extremely travel friendly. It also grows with your baby from birth to 12 kilograms. Our now two-year-old still enjoys being taken around in the Godilo!

Diapers
Since most babies wear diapers 24/7, it makes sense to invest in the kind that won’t have your child coming into continuous contact with toxic substances like chlorine, dyes and phthalates, which are found in most mainstream disposable brands. We used Bambo Nature eco-friendly disposables when our baby was smaller and soon switched to Bumpadum 100 per cent organic cotton pre-fold cloth diapers during the day at home, saving the disposables only for the night, going out or travel.

Baby Bottles
Many plastics (including BPA-free ones) contain added chemicals that may leach into the milk when it is heated. So, avoid buying plastic baby bottles altogether; there are safer alternatives made of glass, stainless steel and silicone in the market today. We went for old-fashioned glass bottles that are easy to sterilise in boiling water. Our favourite brands are Dr. Brown’s and Lifefactory. You can also turn the caps that replace the bottle nipples into sippy spouts as your child gets older.

High Chair
We love Stokke’s Tripp Trapp for its sleek, Scandinavian design. We especially love that it allows for your baby to join you at the table very quickly because the seating height is fully adjustable and the tray table is removable. We inherited ours from my nine-year-old nephew; it still works wonderfully in our home, so it’s clearly built to last!

Feeding Essentials
Miniware’s eco-friendly range of tableware and bento boxes for kids is made of plant-based materials, beautifully designed and durable — it can last your child from first foods to school lunch! For bibs, we used Masilo’s large Terry Bibs and the organic cotton all-in-one Burp Cloth & Bib that could be used through toddlerhood. If you’re looking for a non-fabric and low maintenance bib, we recommend silicone (instead of plastic) bucket bibs that are simple to wipe down or wash. The bucket is also a good way to contain the mess for independent feeders!

CLOTHING

It’s not hard to get carried away by the adorable selections of prints and styles available for your baby’s clothing. But they will outgrow them so fast, and let’s not forget all the messy food stains! So it’s worth investing in mix-and-match basics and limiting the occasion-wear to only a few pieces.

Here is how we keep Krishav’s wardrobe eco-friendly:

H&M Conscious
We depend on their soft organic cotton knitwear basics that range from baby to big kid sizes.

Whitewater Kids
Our little one lived in their comfy herbal-dyed kimono tops and pyjamas that go from daytime lounging to bedtime zzz’s.

MuuYee
Gender-neutral and carefree silhouettes made of herbal-dyed natural fabrics accented with batik forest animal motifs — what’s not to love?

Born
We are drawn to their muted palette and distinctive French style. It’s our go-to for eco-friendly occasion wear.

Love The World Today
Look out for their unique capsule collections that have a completely new story and aesthetic every time. We found their pieces durable and comfortable for daily wear because they are made from natural fabrics.

DIY
We also make a lot of our son’s shirts from Masilo’s in-house range of prints in organic muslin and voile. The fabrics are lightweight and breathable, and perfect for our hot Indian climate.

Hand-me-downs
We happily accept barely-worn clothes from close friends and family to keep our carbon footprint down and stay pocket-friendly.

NURSERY AND DECOR FROM MASILO

A baby’s nursery should evoke a sense of ease and lightness and be filled with coos and soft sleeping sounds. This is why the room deserves the utmost care to make sure that everything in it is clean, healthy and efficient. Naturally, Krishav’s nursery has several pieces from Masilo’s sustainably handmade organic cotton collection.

Take a look at a selection of the brand’s standout products:

Clean Sleep
The pillar of a clean, healthy bedroom is the bedding. Masilo’s cot bedding is sustainably handmade from GOTS (The Global Organic Textile Standard)-certified organic cotton and printed with non-toxic dyes, to prevent harmful chemicals from coming into contact with your baby’s skin. Choose from an adorable range of prints to suit your nursery style and theme.

Good Vibes
Hanging mobiles close to a window to move gently in the breeze will create good, soft energy and movement. The mobiles at Masilo are handmade with cotton/linen fabrics and finished on a bamboo ring frame.

Convenient Storage
Little ones need little things — tiny socks, mini lotions, petite wipes — and all these little things can scatter around and easily get lost. This is why canvas storage baskets for organising and stashing away are a must. Masilo offers them in different sizes, and the best part is that they’re collapsible too, making them convenient to store when not in use or to pack in your suitcase when travelling.

Bear Hugs
Masilo’s extra-fluffy bath towels, made of GOTS-certified organic cotton, are perfect for post-bath hugs. The cosy hood will keep your baby nice and warm while you pat them dry.

Soft Spot
The generously sized quilted mats from Masilo are designed for play and massage time. They are reversible: one side is soft, organic cotton that’s baby-skin-friendly, and the other side is a dirt and water repellent layer, for taking playtime outdoors.

To keep Krishav’s room and products clean, we opted for non-toxic home care products that could come into contact with the skin indirectly, such as detergents and surface cleaners from Coco Custo and Natural Clean.



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