Before you welcome your baby home, you'll want to have everything in place. That means getting the big 4 baby gear items: car seat, crib or bassinet, stroller, and — if you're planning ahead — high chair.
You can check out this slideshow for baby gear tips that will show you how to make smart, safe choices.
So, mommies, have you already bought your big four? What tips do you have for other moms still shopping? Share your favorites, not so favorite, and why.
Baby in the tummy, it's all up to mommy. But once the baby's had, it's bragging rights for Dad
This is baby number two for us, so we've got the Big Four.
I must have read a million consumer reviews, fretted over a thousand tiny details, and changed my mind several dozen times. Now I look back and laugh a bit at how neurotic I was about it all ;)
The crib was easy: Non-toxic finish, fixed sides, sturdy, at least two mattress heights, and properly-spaced slats. If you're not stopping after one kid, don't bother with the convertible cribs. Once you convert to the toddler bed, they don't recommend converting back to a crib. The crib mattress is what took me an eternity to decide on. Coil counts? Foam vs traditional? Organic? Cloth cover vs vinyl? We went with a NaturePedic in the end. Love it! Most important feature: make sure the mattress is snug in the crib. Take your crib measurements with you when you mattress shop. They're all sized slightly different.
Stroller: After wrestling with my sister-in-law's hand-me-down four-wheeled contraption, we opted for a three-wheeled convertible jogger. Baby Trend. Much easier to maneuver, though you might want to keep a bike pump and patch kit handy.
Car Seat: This was the worst of the bunch; and it was also the only one my husband ever really had an opinion on. After researching safety standards and crash test specs and everything else I could think of, we decided to make sure we got a seat that had been side-impact tested and passed. There are several good seats out there, but we opted for a Chicco KeyFit 30. We loved having a seat we could pull out of the car when our daughter fell asleep on a drive. We also felt safer with a dedicated infant seat over a larger, convertible one. Also, we knew we'd use it again for our next child. It fits nicely in our sub-compact car, too.
High Chair: We just used one of the strap-to-a-kitchen-chair types. Honestly, if it's got a sturdy buckle system and props your little one up for feedings, you're set. The one-handed tray removal feature is nice to have. I think ours is a Fisher-Price, if you're curious.
One last item: the changing table. I didn't use one, or even miss having one, until I started cloth diapering with my daughter a few months ago. With all the little extras that go with cloth diapering, it's nice to have a centralized spot for everything.
Most baby stuff isn't worth the expensive prices because they grow out of it so fast. Try to get things that the baby will only use for a few short months borrowed, or slightly used for a lower price. The only thing that I spent good money one and bought new was a convertible crib--it made into a toddler bed and my daughter slept on it until she was 3 and now it will be used for baby #2. The other thing that I spent money on new was a convertible carseat--it will last several years and grow with my child. Baby swings, bouncy seats, ect, ect are only used for a few months the first year and aren't worth the high end prices--so try to save money by buying at thrift stores, garage sales, or ask friends and family to buy theirs or have them lend it to you.
With my first child I got so much things that I actually did not need and a lot of things were hand me down from my sister in law. CRIB: We got a convertible crib ( goes from crib to toddler and TWIN) 100% happy with this one it almost the only one out there that coverts to twin ( by Baby Dream- ocean dream collection) I wanted to get the same one for my coming daughter but in white but they discontinued the white, so disappointed! CAR SEAT: It is a must! We got Britax B-safe in red. It is one of the highest safety standards, very roomy, good size canopy, ergonomic handle, fabric like cotton ball and sooo light. STROLLER: Only with the second child I realized that I should of pick the stroller that has an option for a second toddler seat like britax B-READY or BOB. That would safe money if you plan to have a second child right a way. SWING: THat is a must have thing. My son slept in it until he was 4 months. You could run from the house if I tried to move him from swing to the crib. WE got a hand me down and will reuse it for our daughter but I would prefer the one that has an option to plug. The batteries dies pretty quick.
Me(26),husby(30) Our first son-Stanislav will be 3 and now expecting a girl Galina. EDD 09/02/2011
Some people have told us we're crazy, but we aren't getting a stroller right now. I did buy a really nice baby carrier to wear the baby in. We live on an upper floor in an apartment building with no elevator and just can't really think of places that I personally go regularly where a stroller would be useful. We decided it would be better to wait and see if we need it then invest the money and let it collect dust. Our crib, car seat and stroller are ready to go though :)
This is our second so I can give some advice on what worked for us.
Car seat - We bought one of the travel systems (car seat that attaches to the stroller) but we were only able to use the car seat for 6 months before it got to heavy to carry DD in it. We had to go purchase a convertible carseat, so I kind of wish that we would've just purchase that kind right away. My advice on carseat is to NOT buy use. This is such a safety issue, so spend the extra money to get a new one. It doesn't have to be an expensive one b/c all carseat have to meet the same safety regulations.
Crib - We have a small nursery, so we purchased one of the combo cribs that converts to a toddler/full bed. This is the type where the changing table is attached to the crib. I was worried that when DD got old enough that she would try to climb on the changing table but it never happened. I love that crib but it was a Simplicy brand and all of their cribs were recalled. I think it's ok to buy a crib used, just make sure it's not a drop side and that it doesn't have splinters.
Stroller - Ours came with the carseat, so we had it right away. Which actually worked for us b/c I was able to take DD for walks during my maternity leave. We've used our stroller so much that the wheels are starting to get loose and there are rips in it from taking it on flights. We purchased another used stroller for this baby. So my opinion here is that used, is perfectly ok.
High Chair - This can wait until your baby is 6 months old or even longer. We only used our high chair from 6 months to 1 year b/c at a year DD wanted to sit at the table with us. If I could do that over, I would've bought one of those high chairs that attaches to a normal kitchen chair and then converts to a booster chair. Used is best too!
From a lot of my suggestions, it looks like I would've preferred items that convert to fit the baby as they get older. Storing these huge items is NOT fun!!
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