4 May, 2023

Jess Diner’s Baby Must-Haves

Jess Diner, Vogue's European Director of Beauty & Wellness, shares her tried and tested baby (and new mama) essentials

My name is Jess Diner and I’m a recent mum of three having had two boys Noah, 7, and Jacob, 3, and now welcoming a little girl Léa, 3 months, into the tribe. I’m currently on maternity leave from my role at Vogue as the European Director of Beauty & Wellness, a job I adore and have been doing for the past six years (having been at Vogue for almost a decade before that).

Here are a few of my favourite things for mum and baby, that, third time around, really count as tried and tested essentials.

Jess xx

The Personalised Touch
What’s not to love about a cardigan with your little one’s name hand-stitched on the back? I’ve received two (different colours and sizes) from both The Little Worn Store and Rosie Sudgden for Léa and I adore them. I see them as almost a time capsule heirloom piece to mark her birth and when she grows out of them I will put them on her teddies or maybe frame one of them to hang in her room and she’ll have it to keep forever. The most precious and special gift.

Muslins and Beyond
I always like to gift things to others that I have have found to be useful, and as a parent you can never have enough muslins in those early baby stages. My favourite are the Aden + Anais ones, they come in such beautiful prints, are supremely soft and wash well. I also like to gift the Baby Mori starter sets that include one of everything you need to set you on your newborn way. Their babygrows, muslins and sleep bags are the softest and stand the test of time. I have babygrows from them that are seven years old from when Noah was a newborn and they are still soft and good as new. I can’t recommend them enough.

The Buggy Kit
When it comes to buggies I have always had a two-pronged approach: a Bugaboo for long walks and all-terrain endurance, complemented by a Babyzen Yoyo for travel (it can be brought onto the plane and put in the overhead locker) or situations where you need a more compact buggy, like in a restaurant, bus, small supermarket. Hanging off the back of it I have my Tiba + Marl buggy bag which I think has Bottega vibes, and inside you will find a Binibamba liner to keep the babe warm in winter and cool in summer.

THE Baby Bag
I love anything that elevates the everyday and this Anya Hindmarch baby emergency bag is so chic and is my carry-all for all the essentials. It has separate compartment for nappies/ wipes/ lotions and potions and comes with a fold away changing mat. I’m obsessed.

The Clothing Essentials
Léa was a month premature, and so having brought out all her brothers’ newborn babygrows to use as hand-me-downs, they were too big for the first three months. Cue a panicked next-day-delivery purchase on Next when I was still in hospital, as it was one of the few retailers I could find that had lots of choice for premature sizing. They do the loveliest prints and she has lived in them ever since. I layer them up with the John Lewis Pima cotton vests which are the softest ones I have found and don’t cost the earth, so if you happen to be on the receiving end of those classic early weeks bowel explosions, you don’t have to berate yourself if you end up needing to throw them away.

The Clothing Luxuries
Zara and H&M are my go-tos for when it comes to clothing the kids day-to-day, but for special pieces it’s Bonpoint, Belle Enfant Boutique, Pepa London or La Coqueta. Here I’ve linked a few of my favourite pieces that Léa has:

Embroidered dress
Collared cardigan
Amissa Set
Pointelle wrap top, leggings & bonnet set
Ruffle bow dress
Pink Floral Romper

Baby Tech
We are big fans of white noise in our house and we have a Hatch rest in each of the kids’ rooms for ambient noise and a peaceful night’s sleep for all! For when we travel I always take a Dreamegg portable white noise machine, which I also use in the buggy when out and about with Léa. That’s in addition to the Sleepytroll – a genius weighted device that attaches to the handle of the buggy and mimics a rocking motion, meaning you can be hands free whilst your baby is kept asleep by the gentle movement. Such a sanity saver when out for meals in restaurants.

The Handsfree Pump
I am a total Elvie convert. Having used a more traditional breastpump the first time around, I found it so restrictive to have to be sat in one place for 45 minutes, strapped in, whilst the machine did its job. It felt like dead time. The Elvie is brilliant as there are no tubes or wires, you can just pop in it your bra, turn it on, and go about your day while it collects your milk.

The Pillow of Dreams
As soon as anyone tells me they are pregnant, I point them in the direction of this pillow. Again, having tried others in the past, this far usurps all others with its soft touch cover and cosy, flexible shape. In addition to sleeping with this when pregnant, this time around I have introduced the slightly smaller nursing pillow to my bed fellow repertoire which I placed over my c-section scar whilst feeding as a padded buffer of protection, with the larger nursing pillow behind me for support. It’s a winning combo.

The Comforters
This elephant comforter or “Ellie” as my boys call them, which, despite being soft, soft and cuddly, has caused me no end of aggravation, such is their devotion to and reliance on him for sleep. We have lost a few before, and then they were out of stock for a while, so the minute they came back in, I went into the store and bought the whole batch because, heaven forbid, we should ever be without.

The Organiser
I was given this by a friend who is practical and organised beyond measure and it quickly became one of my most relied upon items once the baby arrived. I would load it up with everything I needed for the day (nappies, wipes, pads, medications, change of clothes, lotion and potions) and so wherever I was with the baby in the house, I had everything I needed with me. A godsend after a C-section when you don’t want to have to go up or down stairs to change a nappy or grab another babygrow. I can’t recommend this enough.

The Needed Nightie
When you spend the first few weeks/ months postpartum in sleepwear, why not make them lovely? I have amassed a little collection of nighties from this gorgeous brand that are perfect for feeding, and light and cool for riding out those night sweats that no-one talks about. Come summer, you will find me wearing these out and about too.

The Handsfree Hero
Let us give thanks to the BabyBjörn bouncer that allows us to put a baby down safely so you can shower/ whip up some lunch/ do some laundry/ have a wee. If this isn’t the definition of a newborn essential, I don’t know what is.

The Support Acts
I spent and inordinate amount of time considering my postpartum undergarments, deciding that my body post-birth deserved to be as supported and comfortable as possible. With much trial and error across my three pregnancies, it’s these H&M nursing bras and high-waisted pants (perfect for after a c-section) that have come out on top for me. So much so that I think I will just continue to wear them ongoing, long after I have healed or finished nursing.

Baby on Board
Baby carrying, for me, is one of the most fun parts of the early weeks and months of having a baby. I love the feeling of them still being close to you once they have emerged from within, and, let’s face it, sometimes it’s the only way to get them to sleep and go about your day. Having had small babies, I have found that, much like the buggies, a two-phase carrier approach has been what’s most comfortable: a BabyBjörn for the early days when they’re still really tiny – and this particular one doesn’t have a waistband, so it won’t sit on a c-section scar – followed by Artipoppe, the carrier that is beloved for being as stylish as it is supportive.

Follow Jess @jessicadiner

Main Image: The Little Worne Store