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Seattle baby trends – Bla Blas, nose straws, and the color gray

Anna Williams stands by Bla Bla dolls in her store Village Maternity. She says the dolls are hand knit in Peru and are "not your traditional stuffed animals, which we love." (Linda Thomas photo)

What does one get a bouncing bundle of British baby joy?

Perhaps a diamond-studded sterling Tiffany spoon worth $1,230 or maybe a leather Aston Martin stroller with a sound system and a $6,000 sticker price?

Don’t bother. By law, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, have to refuse most of the presents that come their way.

Northwest baby trends for non-royal-parents-to-be involve nose straws, lactation cookies, Bla Bla dolls, and the color gray.

“We really have everything for moms, moms-to-be, and babies,” says Anna Williams as she shows me around her store, Village Maternity, in University Village. Her mother started the store 30 years ago when Anna was an infant.

For me, it’s been 13 years since I’ve needed any baby items. A lot has changed in the past decade.

“One of our best-sellers is a NoseFrida, which is actually a straw that you put in your baby’s nose to suck the snot out of,” Williams explains. “That sounds disgusting but it is our number one item that we sell.”

Another helpful item for new moms is from a company called Milkmakers. A mom who was having trouble lactating created a cookie made of oats, brewer’s yeast and flax seed to increase breast milk production.

“We have women who come in all the time that swear by it. They were sick and their baby was sick and they started eating these cookies and it really helped,” says Williams. “And they taste really good.”

The toys she’s most excited about are called Bla Bla dolls.

“They are hand knit in Peru,” she says. “They’re quirky and fun and not your traditional stuffed animals, which we love.”

For nursery decor, “sweet, sugary” girly pinks and light airy blues are out.

Gray is in.

“Gray accessories, gray furniture, gray everything and more neutral bedding is what people are buying,” says Tim Whitworth, assistant manager of The Land of Nod.

He says five years ago, patterns for bedding, rugs and curtains were “really cutesy and very babyish.”

“Now everything is more adult baby, if that makes sense,” Whitworth says.

Along with being chic, gray is practical despite it being the color outdoors many months of the year.

“About 50 to 60 percent of people don’t find out what they’re having, so they’re trying to keep the nursery neutral so they can go either way,” he says.

“If they have a girl, it’s easy to throw in a hot pink blanket. If they’re having multiple children they can keep the same products and the same bedding for the second kid.”

When I ask him to pick one item out of his store that he’d give the Royal Baby of Cambridge as a gift, he chooses a chenille Walk Softly blanket. They’re super soft and cozy, can be monogrammed, and are only $29.

The gift Williams would send to the heir to the throne would be a Seattle onsie with a Space Needle graphic design on front.

“We’ve gotta represent our hometown,” she says.


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