Sunday, November 3, 2013

Baby Gear: A Personal Review on the Big Things

Remember when I said that 97% of my friends are pregnant?

Well, that might be a slight exaggeration.
However, it sure as heck feels that way.

It's so thrilling.
Preparing to meet all these pint-size versions of my friends.
Watching them experience the excitement and anticipation of expecting a first baby.
And taking notes from my friends who are on round #2.

We all know that with a baby, comes information overload.
It's enough to make your head spin.
Because much of this information is completely contradicting.
And it's almost impossible to decipher between fact and opinion.

I was talking to an expecting friend yesterday about how to figure out what items are actual musts for your little one.
But you see, that in and of itself is opinion.
And all moms, dads, and babies are different.
What one may love another may absolutely hate.

This is the beauty {and the curse} of a free market.
And all these opinions and choices can be incredibly frustrating for a new mama.

I remember being completely overwhelmed the very first time I walked into a Babies-R-Us.
Before I left, I immediately vowed to never step foot in one again.
And to this day, I don't know what half of these baby contraptions are.
And you know something? Lyla had a pretty good infant-hood without many of these "baby must-haves".

And I've been meaning to write a baby gear review post for…oh, about a year now.
Because when I was pregnant, I did a ton of research.
The google search engine nearly shut down because of all the research I did on baby products.
But the most useful reviews for me were those written by other moms.
Reading about their personal experiences helped tremendously.

And seeing that I've received three e-mails from friends within the last month asking for a detailed response in my preference on baby gear, I figured I would go ahead and write my year overdue post.
Since there is so much to cover, I'd like to break it up into a few posts.
Today, I'm going to focus on the BIG items.

There were a few simple prerequisites for our big ticket items:
1). Simple. With both of us working, we wanted convenience and simplicity.
2). Gender-neutral. We want (ed) them to last beyond Lyla. So, we didn't want to buy all pink and purple in case we have a little Gabe someday.
3). Economical but with quality. I will admit, we did splurge a little on the big things. Because again, we wanted them to last. And of course they had to pass all the safety guidelines.

*We were very lucky and received a lot of the big items as gifts, so we were able to spend a little more on the things we wanted…like our stroller. But I have to say, looking back, I wouldn't change anything. I would give everything we purchased or received 5 out of 5 stars and would buy them all again. We got so much use out of each of these items, and some we are still using!

1. Bob Revolution Stroller. We spent the most time researching and discussing strollers and car seats. And for us, we wanted them to be sort of one in the same, like a travel system. And since Gabe is a big runner, and I wanted to be able to do some heavy walking once I was in the clear, we splurged on a B.O.B. Yes, they may be a bit pricey, but completely and totally worth every single penny. These things are indestructible, and baby can't feel a single bounce - even on rough terrains {which I am aware we do not have in KS}. The only negative is that there isn't a ton of storage space and no cup holder for mama's water.

2. Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat. Our car seat was pretty much determined by our stroller as the B.O.B. is only compatible with several car seat brands. The most expensive brands *go figure* but also the top rated. We went with a Chicco Keyfit 30 and had to buy the Infant Car Seat Adapter in order to be able to attach the car seat to our stroller. And we also purchased three car seat bases - one for each of our cars and one for GiGi's car. This may seem like a lot, but it's much better than buying 3 carseats (like we had to once Lyla turned 1). The only thing I would change is the color. I wish we would have gotten black or gray, not putrid yellow.

3. Graco Pack and Play.  This has probably been the most used product we purchased. And we went with a less-expensive model. I know a lot of people use these at the foot of their beds (instead of purchasing a bassinet), and we used it for nap time in the beginning. I would just put Lyla in the living room while I cleaned the house. And we still use this thing at least 3 times a week. It allows us to take Lyla wherever we go - we just put her to sleep wherever we are and then pack up and go home when we're ready. And honestly, I don't think it really matters the brand you purchase. But we did go with one with a newborn napper which is helpful in the newbie days.

4. Angel Care Monitor. There are lots of opinions on monitors. But we LOVED the Angel Care Monitor. I remember first reading about it on a few friends' blogs. We opted not to spend the money on a video monitor (which some of our friends swear by) mostly because I feared I would never sleep because I'd be too distracted {which I didn't sleep anyway so I guess it wouldn't have mattered}. We felt more comfortable with this particular monitor because an alarm sounds if baby stops breathing. And since we chose to put Lyla in her crib beginning the very first night home, we wanted to be sure that we would be aware if she stopped breathing - something you don't get if baby is sleeping in a bassinet. Although we did get a few false alarms when she would roll off the pad - which caused for some middle-of-the-night heart attacks. Highly recommend though!

5. Nursery Chair. Ok. Not everyone makes such an investment in a nursery chair. {Then again, have you seen the prices on Pottery Barn nursery chairs?} But as I mentioned before, Lyla slept in her crib from day one, and I was a nursing mom. So, I knew I'd be spending a lot of time in that chair. We decided on a neutral Best Chair, Inc. glider and ottoman from Nebraska Furniture Mart. I couldn't find our exact model, but this one is close. We also opted to purchase the gliding ottoman. Best investment we made as I've spent more hours in that chair than anywhere else in my entire house. And it is *almost* as comfortable as our bed.

So there you have it.
My opinion on some of the bigger baby buys.
And honest-to-goodness, I really don't think it matters the brand of most of these items. It simply matters what's important to you and to your preferences.
But for us, we have no regrets on the choices we made.

Next time, I'll work up a post on my opinion on baby must-haves.

Have a fabulous week!


Sarah @ Life, Love & Dinner said...

Our glider is my favorite big splurge. The only problem is I could fall asleep in that thing in an instant! It definitely makes late night feedings more comfortable.

Emily said...

We have the BOB stroller too and LOVE it!! I totally agree that it's worth the money. We bought the cup holder add-on and while it's not the sturdiest thing, it works pretty well for bottles of pop/water or the occasional cherry limeade from Sonic. :)

I love posts on what things/gear people would recommend! Thanks Ang!

Amanda said...

Great round up, Ang! Our one "regret" was actually not buying a video monitor. Our house is 100 years old and the floors creak so bad, so we were always waking him up when we went to check on him in the middle of the night! We loved our Chicco carseat, as well :)

this post said...

For their ultimate comfort. These are the things you should own.