March 6 2012 06:05 PM

Hitting up Hillcrest, South Park and El Cajon for cool baby presents

Baby beanies at So Childish
Photo by Clea Hantman

A reader wrote in and asked for recommendations for where to get a unique gift for hipster friends who are new parents. My first thought was: Wait? I thought hipster parenting was totally two years ago? Isn't chicken cooping the newest hipster thing? I totally know where to get chickens and the feed, but baby stuff?

First stop: So Childish (1947 30th St. in South Park). One of the most popular hipster-parents gifts of two years ago was a CD from the Rockabye Baby series. If your friends are new parents, they have no idea the CDs have been around for a handful of years. New to them! So Childish has the whole line-up, including lullaby renditions of Black Sabbath, Radiohead and Bjork. I'd avoid the Dave Matthews one. They also have the baby book M is for Metal. It's an alphabet book and, well, G is for Groupies. They also have really bright and modern bibs, Hank & Jojo baby knee-highs and the golf-inspired line of boy's baby clothes called Fore!! that features ridiculously cute plaid, collared rompers made from super-soft bamboo fibers. The Wry Baby line of onesies and tees used to be available online only, but So Childish has a fine selection of the funny one-pieces that declare things like “Naps Are Fricking Awesome” and “Screamin' Demons Stroller Club Local 28.” But the best are the “Mysterio Predicts” Tees. You get a T-shirt in a sewn-shut bag. This is so you have no idea what Mysterio will predict the future baby's career path will be. The one that's open and on display? “Cruise Director.” And I happen to know one of the possibilities is “Donut Tycoon.”

Next stop: Mythology (2365 30th St. in South Park). They carry the wonderful line Aminals that features both dolls and onesies featuring designs based on kids' drawings. The tees are cute, but the dolls are amazing—a kid's imagination come to life in huggable (and organic) forms. They also have onesies with bikes on them—doesn't get more hipster than that. I'm partial to the ones with a weird ram's head just because it's so inexplicable.

Style Child (1070 University Ave. in Hillcrest) is an obvious stop, but that's because the store's jam-packed with cool gifts. They have all sorts of amazing baby clothes (from makers Tea, Swell Studio, Splendid) and the Ergo carriers that are coveted by moms-to-be. They carry Goodfather Software—and while I can't stand behind the actual content of this item, it is funny: It's packaged like the Godfather DVD but it's a guide to being a dad. Style Child also has Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bags—and while the name screams cheesy awful sickly sweet, the bags are quite tasteful. The Scout line, which I presume is aimed at dads, is just so attractive—matte canvas and heavy-duty felt stand in for floral patterns and make for a very utilitarian chic bag.

But for truly hipster gifts, there might not be anything better than what you will find in El Cajon. Baby Frenzy, located in, yes, El Cajon (1529 N. Cuyamaca St.) carries cloth reusable diapers. Disposable diapers cause ginormous guilt pangs in most modern parents, and this is the place to get the Happy Heiny Pocket Diapers, which are, indeed, washable and re-usable. The folks here are very helpful and will teach the new mom how to use and wash the diapers properly.

But you know what? A lot of new parents have enough stuff. You may want to think less about cute and more about the whole new-parents experience. There are a ton of great gift certificates you can give. Baby Garten (2226 fern St. in South Park) is a studio that, among other things, offers baby sign-language classes. Or give the gift of a photo session for the newbie. I won't point you to specific photographers—just type “San Diego” and “Baby Photographers” in Google and you'll instantaneously see three-dozen portfolios. Passes to the zoo (or a year-long membership) are amazing because it's a great place to walk a newborn. Even the gift of food—not for the baby, but for the new and very tired parents—is welcome. Baby-friendly restaurant gift cards, Whole Foods cards, even pizza delivery coupons make great baby gifts. Really.

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