Advice Wanted

okay all you moms and dads…. it’s time for dave and i to start thinking about what baby gear should fill our home. and our garage. and our car. and you get the idea! what items are MUST HAVES (or were for you and your baby, at least?). what items are AWESOME but not necessary. what items are NOT WORTH IT?

please share brands, makes, models, etc. of what you do and don’t like. everything from strollers to baby carriers to backpacks for hiking to toys and rattles and pacifiers and bottles and blankets and clothing and cleaners and…. yeah … you get the idea. dave and i LOVE a bargain, but we’re willing to spend the extra money if it’s really worth it…. though with so many things these days, the most expensive doesn’t necessarily make something "better" – just more expensive.

this is your turn to TEACH ME (us) about what worked for you and your baby. or how you learned what did NOT work for you and your baby.

also, i know that blankets are HUGE gifts at showers (i’m already thinking i’ll get about 10 of them, not including the ones my mom already made for the baby or the ones dave’s mom gave us – that used to be his!) so i know not to buy those. but what else did you end up getting a TON of as gifts? (kinda like all that crystal you got for your wedding and NEVER use – we took most of ours back since we didn’t even register for any)!

you can post your responses here or if you’d rather send ‘em in an e-mail, that’d be okay too.

THANKS (in advance) for ALL of your help!

10 thoughts on “Advice Wanted

  1. Hey Tam… I don’t have a lot of time, as I could probably write a novel on baby gear. This is my one tip: Don’t buy Evenflo. With Micah, I purchased an Evenflo highchair, car seat, stroller and pack ‘n play. These are all bigger ticket items. Over the last three years (and adding two more babies to the mix), I have replaced every single Evenflo item with the equivalent Graco item. It’s amazing to me the difference in quality. Others may disagree with me, but that has been our personal experience. From now on, I only buy Graco.

  2. I have five minutes… 1. We have loved the Fisher Price Booster Seat instead of a high chair. Takes less room and sits right at the table in one of our chairs with us. Markus loves it. 2. We bought a Graco Quattro travel system stroller/infant carrier combo. LOVE it. Easy to fold up the stroller (can do it one-handed!) and easy to install the base in the car. Markus still loves the stroller, and I still love the cup holders and storage compartments for my keys, cell phone, etc. 3. Graco pack-n-play. Easy to fold up and take everywhere. A must if Seven will be sleeping at others’ homes. We opted out of one of the intense ones with the music and whatnot, cause all we were using it for was sleeping on the road. 4. Moby wrap (www.mobywrap.com). Loved wearinf MJ in this as a newborn. He was so snuggled inside. Lots of options of ways to carry him. Love it again now that he is bigger. The straps distribute the weight way more evenly on my shoulders and don’t cut into my shoulders anymore, which brings me to 5. Baby Bjorn. This was awesome for months 3-11 when I didn’t want to take the stroller. He loved it, and it is super easy to get on and off. But now it hurts me to carry him in it for too long. But not the Moby. I love having both. 6. Fisher Price infant to toddler rocker. Put Markus in this everyday his first 4-5 months when I took a shower. He would watch me and play. Now he sits in it to watch Baby Einstein. 7. Graco jumpster doorway. This is on loan to us, but I will buy one when next baby comes. You have seen the video proof. Enough said. Super cool that it can go in any doorway in the house so easily. 8. A swing. We have the Fisher Price Ocean Wonders one, and Markus loved it until 8-9 months. Would swing and look at the fishies all the time. Totally worth it. — My time is up. More later. XOXO

  3. Ready for more? 1. Nuk pacifiers. Worked like a dream for Markus. He eventually gave them up in favor of an alternative he couldn’t lose.. the thumb. 2. All about Huggies diapers. Tried some other brands.. nothing worked as well. They are pricier, but if you buy them at Costco they are not so bad. 3. Aveno baby lotion. With Markus’ eczema, this seemed like the only one that would work really well to moisturize him. 4. Avent bottles. He took to these with no problem. 5. Medela Pump ‘N’ Style breastpump. Way more money than the others, but super easy and efficient. No hands required. Loved this. 6. Lansinoh breastpads. Tried the Gerber ones- are you kidding me? It was like using one square of a paper towel to clean up 4 liters of soda on the floor. — More later. XOXOX

  4. Hey Tam – Wrote a long comment last nite and managed to somehow lose it before posting. Two pieces of advice from the old-timers: Unless you’re planning to have kids a long ways apart in age, I’d recommend getting a two-seat stroller right away. I know it’s unbelievably lunky and feels like you’re driving a tank, but you’ll end up needing it. By the time baby #2 comes around, you’ll have to figure out what to do with all the other stuff you use the second stroller seat for! :) In addition to the behemoth 2 seat stroller, we eventually got a single-seat umbrella stroller also. So easy to take along places. Wish we would’ve gotten this much sooner (you can get super cheap ones that do the trick). I refuse to recommend books to you because the Clay family will be buying a number of them for the Dunkin family library! :) HaHa. Hope to see you Sunday, Love, Meg

  5. Okay, as for what you will get lots of… blankets. I know you know that. But seriously, don’t buy any. You will not need to. I have an entire rubbermaid bin full of blankets we haven’t even used yet. And the “receving blankets” that come in the packages… I have no idea what those are supposed to be for. They never really covered up Markus, and they were super thin and didn’t feel very good. I only used them as a nursing coverup! You will also get lots of newborn clothes. If people ask what you want, tell them bigger baby clothes. Granted, you go through way more outfits in a day with the newbies, but everyone LOVES buying all those little, itty bitty clothes. Plus, when we were home, I usually just had Markus in jammies those first couple months anyways. In my opinion, you can never have enough 1. bibs (but Markus had reflux) 2. Nuks (there’s nothing like havinga screaming baby and not being able to find his paci!) 3. Burp cloths (but again, see #1) 4. Footie jammies for the newbies 5. Books. More still to come! Maybe I just need to get together with you someday (in all my spare time) and go shopping with you :) .

  6. Here’s some more faves: 1. the Boppy. Great for nursing, also great as a “seat” for MJ when he was learning how to sit on his own. 2. The Bumbo chair. Loved using this for feeding when he couldn’t sit unassisted in the booster without falling over. He also would sit in it in the kitchen when he was itty bitty and I was making dinner. Gotta go- Baby waking up from nap!

  7. I just want to second the recommendation for the Fisher Price booster seat instead of a high chair. It travels easily and you can just slide the chair back up to your table. The trays are dishwasher safe, which is great, too. I second the Pack ‘n’ Play as well. And the Boppy. The Boppy is great.

    Get a glider. Try a few out and get one you really enjoy sitting in. It’s nice when you’re nursing, and is great when you sit and read to your little one, too.

    Ellie loved her bouncy seat for the first few months. She’d sit in it for a long time, even before she learned how to play with the toys that dangled off it. That’s where I’d put her when I took showers, or when we were eating dinner and she just wanted to be near us.

    I also second what someone else said about an umbrella stroller. I bought one for Ellie not too long ago and I took it through the airport with us. It was great now that she’s getting heavy enough that I don’t want to carry her in the sling for 6+ hours on a trip. We also got some connectors that will allow us to hook two umbrella stroller together to make a tandem stroller. I thought that was a neat idea and have heard that it works well. Just something to keep in mind.

    Fisher Price Learn and Groove Musical Table. This is one of the few toys we’ve bought Ellie and it has been SOOO worth it. You can take the legs off (all four, or just two so it props up on the floor) so she can play with it when she was still doing tummy time. Then when she was sitting she’d sit and play with it for hours. Now she’s standing and still loves it. It’s got TONS of activities on it in Spanish and in English, plus a learning and music mode so you don’t get the same sound over and over and over until you want to scream. =) Variety is good. We love this toy.

    We also LOVE our stroller. It’s a Jeep Liberty Stroller, Limited Urban Terrain by Kolcraft. It’s a jogging stroller with a wheel that you can have swivel for easy turns, or locked for jogging. It can fold up with one hand, plus a baby carrier (the carseat carrier) fits very securely in it. We’ve tried a few different brand carriers with it and it’s worked securely with all. I love taking my stroller on walks outside (even on gravel – rides smoothly) or shopping (it maneuvers very well, even between clothing racks). I highly recommend it.

    When baby Seven starts solid foods, get those spoons that change color when the food is too hot. It takes the guesswork out of heating the food.

    My most recent purchase and something I like a lot so far (I’ll let you know if that changes, but I doubt it will) is a shopping cart / restaurant high chair cover. It keeps baby from chewing on the nasty shopping cart handle, and it has toys attached to it so he can’t throw them out of the cart, plus he stays entertained. Mine is made by Infantimo.

    WIPES WARMER: It gets all caps because it’s so important. Babies are so much happier when they get a warm wipe for their bums than a freezing cold wipe. We just use wet washcloths (they work SO much better than any wipes we’ve used – and we’ve tried a few brands!) and store them in there so they stay nice and warm.

    And I second the Huggies comment. We use cloth diapers, but when we have to use disposables (for traveling, etc.) I buy Huggies. Pampers swaddlers worked well right at the beginning, but Huggies are the best all around. They don’t leak, and they don’t smell nearly as icky as the other brands (or off brands).

    I think I’ll stop here, but if I think of anything else I’ll be sure to let you know. I’ll wait until Ellie’s not asleep and go look in her room to see what else I can’t live without.

  8. Yeah! I finally have internet connection again. =) I second the diaper wipe warmer. It sounds silly (or at least that’s what i thought at first) but after being peeped on way too many times and always at the moment that i was heading out the door i decided to splurge and give it a try. Seriously, it cut those moments done to half. So worth it because you save a lot of time by not having to change your clothes and the baby’s AND less laundry (you will be amazed at how much laundry your little one makes! =)) Also i really liked the Kirkland brand diapers & wipes at Costco and wish that they had them in Arkansas. I promise that i’m not trying to rain on the parade of Huggies but I thought that they worked just as good if not better because when Isaiah wears Huggies he smells like urine and with others he doesn’t. Just my opinion and who knows maybe my kid has smellier urine! I’ve also found that the very cheap White Cloud diapers at Walmart work great too and you save a lot of money. I think you just need to try a variety of diapers to find out what works best for your baby.

  9. Taya beat me to the White Cloud diapers from Walmart but that’s what I was going to say first of all. So much cheaper even than Costco Huggies and I actually like them better. But like Taya said, you almost have to try a bunch of kinds out for yourself. The only kind I’ve absolutely hated was Luvs. They were aweful I almost didn’t even want to finish the pkg. But the Safeway kind works great in a pinch too, like when you don’t want to brave costco or walmart! :) And I’ve found that I like certain sizes of ones but not other sizes. Like Huggies and Pampers newborn ones were better than size 2 or whatever. But I wouldn’t buy TONS of newborn size until you know how big your baby is. Or buy them, but don’t open them. Some babies go right to size one, or only use one pkg. of newborns. I hope that’s not the case for you, but you never know. I agree with the Graco lovers totally. I like it way better than evenflo. Also totally agree with the portable booster seat. So nice for so many reasons most of which were mentioned, just thought I’d say ditto! My Mom has a high chair and I just don’t even like it as well as our booster! (not to mention the price, ease, space-saver, etc…) Emma never had a diaper warmer, but I can see how nice they would be and might even consider getting one for this next baby, we’ll see. Oh, and she never had that Fisher Price table either, but she loved other peoples, I really wanted to get her one, but it was almost too late when I discovered her love for it that I didn’t. Same goes with the FP chair that they are talking about. She always sits in other peoples and they can use it for so long. Better than using their carseats for the shower which I always did. Again, probably buy one for #2. Love nuk pacis. and like Kels said, buy LOTS if they are addicted like Emma was/is because they are so easy to lose or misplace and you don’t want to be scurring around looking for one with a screaming baby! Baby Einstein DVDs are great, Emma loves them. I recommend the simpler smaller graco pack n play. It’s so much easier to set up and take down, and unless you’re using it a lot at home, you really dont need the extras. Even then, you can put other music on that would be better than what they have. Okay, I think that’s all I’ve got for now! :) Take it or leave it, totally up to you! Love ya!

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