Just about every kids’ shop in town has a section for infants. But often it’s a few onesies and SPIT HAPPENS bibs among a sea of big boy and big girl clothing. When you’re looking for a gift, whether it’s for your own child or to present at a shower or birthday party, it’s worth checking out a specialty store.
The Pump Station & Nurtury is known for its breast-feeding educational services. But the accompanying shops are tidy, well-organized places to score some new duds for the smallest children. Preemie clothing can be hard to find, yet here are cute sets by Preemie-Yums (printed tops and footed bottoms) and Kissy-Kissy. For under $50, you can take home an irresistibly soft floppy pink poodle or a golden lion that doubles as a blanket. The spaces are small, which makes quick sorties a breeze. » 2415 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-998-1981; 1248 Vine St., Hollywood, 323-469-5300
Customers at La Bella Cosa loop the floor once, then twice, so as not to miss anything. The enormous space—think countrified loft—is filled with cribs and other nursery furnishings, organic clothing from Under the Nile, Gund rattles, and a zoo of stuffed animals. Ultraplush, oversize hooded white bath towels with colorful fabric accents are a store exclusive. » Helms Bakery complex, 3240 Helms Ave., Culver City, 310-559-5142
The Little Seed serves the hip and slightly hippie items such as BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free teething toys in appealing apple and fish shapes, “green” cotton rompers by Kit + Lili, and wood rocking horses that won’t mar the living room decor. The gift wrapping—burlap sacks or bundles tied with raffia—will stand out amid the Babies “R” Us paper. » 219 N. Larchmont Blvd., L.A., 323-462-4441
For the fancy-schmancy child, Bel Bambini is the equivalent of a Milan showroom. A white linen dress by Les Bebes is stunning in its simplicity, and a Lucite-like bouncy chair from Bloom boasts a disco-appropriate silver-metallic cushion. Let’s just hope Baby doesn’t drool while lounging. » 464 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-855-9272
Though it’s called the Green Cradle, a more-fitting name for this two-year-old San Fernando Valley boutique might be the Oatmeal Bowl: Just about all the organic cotton bibs, T-shirts, diaper covers, and crib sheets are in the beige palette. In addition to sweet hand-knit cotton tops by Aravore—a V-necked vest for him, a little tank top with crochet details for her—with matching fitted pants, the compact shop carries organic baby lotions and creams, glass bottles, and stainless steel sippy cups. » 13344 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-728-4305
Label-conscious moms-to-be love registering at the Juvenile Shop for its mod high chairs and strollers, slings in dozens of snazzy patterns, Nowali moccasins (the classic knit booties with no-skid leather bottoms), and racks of clothing from the likes of Splendid, Okkies, and Nano. The only thing that doesn’t make an appearance in the jam-packed space is diapers. Negotiating the store with a stroller can be challenging—ditto getting help. But once connected with a salesperson, you’re in good hands. » 13356 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-986-6214
A small chain reminiscent of BabyStyle but bigger and better, Giggle now has an L.A. location. Designer clothing mingles with Giggle’s line of cotton separates. Battery-free toys from Plan and Alex complement nursery furniture that’s among the best designed in town (don’t miss the pint-size contemporary upholstered rockers). The selection of bedding, mostly from Dwell Baby, the anti-Laura Ashley, is stellar. » 517 S. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626-744-0233