Get excited about small local shops that sell gear, gifts and clothes with character, have spot-on service and registries . . . and may even become your new go-to hangout for picking up new mom friends. Before you start outfitting the nursery, scroll through our list of swoon-worthy favorites.

photo: Monica + Andy

Monica + Andy
You can’t make mention of adorable stores for baby and not throw Monica + Andy into the conversation. It’s more than just an infant and toddler shop, it’s a hub for kid and grown-up fun with an array of interactive and affordable (some are free!) family activities taking place with their signature high quality clothing, accessories and bedding in view. Any new parent would love a Bundle or Cuddle Box gift set to keep baby cozy (and stylish).

2038 N. Halsted St., Lincoln Park (312-600-8530); 520 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. #123, Mag Mile (773-857-0158); 296 Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook (630-382-0756); monicaandandy.com

photo: Twinkle Twinkle Little One

Twinkle Twinkle Little One
Nursery design is the specialty of this Roscoe Village charmer. Shop stylish furniture, fabric, wallpaper, paint, rugs and even dresser knobs. (Design consultations are available free of charge.) It’s also worth strolling over for the modern baby décor and gifts. The gift registry is useful for nursery essentials and adorable odds and ends such as plush baby blankets, mobiles, rockers and art.

2007 W. Belmont Ave., Roscoe Village (773-472-3000 or twinkletwinklelittleone.com)

Psychobaby
For the newborn that prefers the rock ‘n roll lifestyle, Psychobaby should be your first stop. They specialize in personalized gifts, edgy clothing, shoes, toys, books and gifts that bring a coolness factor to baby’s crib.

1657 W. Division St, West Town (773-772-2815 or psychobabyonline.com)

photo: My Sister Kate

My Sister Kate
This upscale west suburban children’s boutique is the place to go for high-end baby threads from Little Giraffe, Joe’s Jeans, Petit Bateau, Ella Moss and tea. The large, loft-like space also carries a unique collection of wooden toys, baby blankets, plushies, books and games that are worth the splurge.

48 S. Washington St., Hinsdale (630-986-5866 or mysisterkate.com)

Baby Dreams
Baby gifts are the specialty of this north suburban shop that is nirvana for a grandparent or proud new parent. Most merch is geared toward newborns up to age two and is plush, cozy and adorable. Knit sweaters are a favorite and most of the clothing, blankets and other gifts are available for monogramming. They can put together an amazing gift basket.

448 Central Ave., Highland Park (847-432-4704 or shopbabydreams.com)

photo: The Red Balloon Co.

The Red Balloon Co.
This stalwart pioneered the upscale baby store trend, with more than 15 years in the biz. Its all-around charming selection includes high-end baby duds (sleepers, dresses, playwear), custom infant gift baskets, and Chicago-themed toys and gifts. It’s also known for whimsical custom décor; pillows, blankets and knit sweaters are available for personalization.

1940 N. Damen Ave., Bucktown (773-489-9800); 3651 N. Southport., Lakeview (773-489-9800); theredballoon.com

Galt Toys
Galt is such a powerhouse, it’s easy to forget that it’s locally owned. Find just about everything a new parent could need — strollers, car seats, activity centers, swings, high chairs, furniture, bedding, feeding accessories and an inspired selection of boutique toys. The Clybourn location stocks the most gear, including an impressive stroller selection with more than 20 brands where customers can take one for a spin around the block. In-store expertise from a highly trained staff, a gift registry and free local delivery are bonuses.

The 900 Shops (newly remodeled store), 900 N. Michigan Ave., Downtown (312-440-9550); 1915 N. Clybourn Ave., Lincoln Park (773-327-9980); NEW: Northbrook Court, 1301 Northbrook Court, Northbrook (847-329-7712); galtbaby.com

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Sprout San Francisco
This west coast transplant is committed to bringing their customers the safest and healthiest clothing, toys, furniture, toys, gear, personal care and cleaning products, nursing and feeding supplies, and healthcare essentials. They take the guess work out of your decision making to make your big responsibility just a tad bit easier. They even offer mommy and me yoga classes, twice-monthly lactation drop-in clinics and story times. Check their calendar for updates.

943 W. Division St., West Town (773-489-0009); sproutsanfrancisco.com

What is your favorite local baby boutique? Let us know in the Comments section below.

— Maria Chambers & Rebecca Little

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