August 6, 2012

Baby Gear: Research Is The Name Of The Game

Posted by Kristin

Prepping for a baby can feel like alot of work, let alone raising a human being (I'm not even pretending to be mentally prepared for that one). There's the whole adjustment to pregnancy and the fact that there is actually a life inside of you. Then there's the flood of thoughs (and subsequent stack of library books) on what to do with this kid when they're here. Somewhere in the mix is trying to think through what kind of labor and delivery you'd prefer and what your options are. And finally there's the potentially consuming category of baby gear.

I've heard from friends and read on blogs that its easy to get sucked into wanting every little thing on the market for babies but to try to resist the urge. After all, for a while babies pretty much just sleep, eat, and go to the bathroom so how much stuff can they really need?

Funny Baby Gear :)
Yea...so I won't be getting this for me or my kid.
Somethings just shouldn't see the light of day. Via.


When starting to do some research on the oodles of baby gear out there, I found some really good sources. Some of the biggest items that I researched were the crib, the stroller, and cloth diapers. So here we go. Get ready to be overwhelmed with baby gear!

Online Info: Podcasts are my friend.

Somehow I stumbled upon two awesome websites that I've frequented over the last few months.

Pregtastic: Podcasts dedicated to every baby and pregnancy topic under the sun. Its hosted by pregnant women so you end up feeling like you're sitting around and chatting with a bunch of friends, not a stodgy doctor.

New Moms, New Babies: Podcasts focused on the issues, concerns and experiences of new moms and their babies. 



Crib

Holy smokes we have a crib in our home! I guess we really are having a kid after all...




After much research, we decided to go with the Park Lane 3 in 1 Convertible Crib

Baby Mod - ParkLane 3-in-1 Baby Convertible Crib, Amber and White

Despite scouring Amazon and other sites for cribs, I kept coming up empty. I knew we'd prefer to have a crib that converts to a toddler bed and wanted something with clean lines and no curves. I also wanted a white crib made out of solid wood. Thanks to a generous gift from Mike's grandmother, we knew that $300 was our budget.

And in keeping with true PEC style, I found this crib while reading this super helpful post on crib research from John and Sherry over at Young House Love. I knew there was a reason I always end up on their blog. Not only did the crib specifications exceed our requirements, it was on sale online for $250 instead of the current price of $300. Score! That left us enough money to find a nice mattress for around $50 and call the whole thing done. Before finalizing the purchase, I also listened to this podcast on crib and mattress safety to make sure what we were buying was a smart choice. I'm happy to say that the mattress fits quite snugly in the crib and leaves no gaps for little fingers or faces.

Stroller

Oh the joys of researching a stroller. This one probably took the most time. All I kept hearing from people was the inevitability of buying multiple strollers and how they wish they had just gotten one good one from the beginning. Not wanting to end up with a garage full of stollers, I decided to try to find one that fit most of our anticipated needs. 

I started out by listening to these two stroller podcasts (one and two) from New Moms, New Babies. It was informative and helpful to hear from experiened women what worked and didn't work for them and their lifestyles.

I also emailed a bunch of family and friends to see what they're recommendations were. Finally, Mike and I visited a few stores to actually push around some options. In the end we decided to go with the Bob Revolution stroller and the Bob Infant Car Seat Adapter (found online at REI)

BOB Revolution SE Single Stroller
via

All the reviews we read for this stroller were through the roof, so we knew it would be a solid, well built option. In assessing our lifestyle, I knew I wanted a jogging stroller from the beginning. And while some reviews said that its a bit big for a mall or crowded areas, you're more likely to find us outside or on our neighborhood streets than in a mall on a regular basis. Pushing it around in person also really helped solidify our decision. Once we stopped by Highland Bike and Hardware in Holyoke and saw how easy it was to fold down and even remove the wheels, we were sold. The staff person at the bike shop we worked with also shared his experiences of both owning a Bob Revolution and repairing a number of other jogging strollers. After several years with the Bob, he recommended it through and through. We also like the option of the $50 infant car seat adapter for the early months (instead of spending the same amount or more on a frame stroller, just another thing to sit in our garage). 

I realize that we may end up getting a lighter umbrella stroller for different kinds of outings but we both felt that it would be worth the investment in a good stroller from the beginning. This could potentially save us from buying multiple strollers over the course of a few years (and spending the same amount of money or more in the end). 

Of course we'll have to see how the it all goes once Baby Who is here but we're pretty psyched to take this guy for a spin if/when we end up getting him.


Cloth Diapers

Even before we found out we were expecting, I knew I wanted to do cloth diapers. Both the environmental benefits (less trash- diapers take a bajillion years to decompose) and the financial savings were the driving factors. I read in several places that parents can expect to spend around $3000 per child on disposable diapers. A good supply of cloth diapers costs around $200 (at least for the brand and style we're choosing) and can be reused for different children. Even with the energy of washing and drying those diapers added in, its still a heck of a lot cheaper in my book. Plus, you can't beat the cute styles of the different covers. See what I mean?

GroVia Snap Diaper Shell System
via

Before registering for cloth diapers and the accessories, I did some initial research and got the input of my friend Jennifer, who is pretty much a walking dictionary when it comes to many subjects, including the latest in baby gear. I also watched and helped change a few cloth diapers on her son, Silas, and saw how easy it was.

As fate would have it, I landed back at Young House Love and scoured these two posts (one and two) on their cloth diapering experience. I also found that Kelly Mom and Diaper Pin have good information on different styles of cloth diapers and forums on every possible question related to cloth diapers. This Pregtastic podcast on cloth diapers was also helpful.

I ultimately decided to go with a reusable cover combined with prefolds (essentially inserts that you remove after they're soiled). The prefolds are absorbent fabric that you fold into thirds, wrap around the baby, hold in place with a snappi and cover with any number of cute covers. Unless the cover gets dirty you can reuse it several times with a clean prefold. And now for some visuals: 


OsoCozy - Indian Cotton - Prefold Cloth Diapers (1 dz)
Prefolds catch all the soiled goods. Via.

Snappi Cloth Diaper Fasteners - Pack of 3 (Mint color mix)
Snappies hold the prefold in place. via.

Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap
Covers hold it all together while looking darn cute. via

The other item I decided to register for was cloth diaper wipes. This also saves a ton of money and waste. I chose these flannel wipes off Amazon.

OsoCozy Flannel Baby Wipes - 15 pack
via

You can use different things for cloth wipes and can even use regular washcloths. However, in doing the math, I figured that $15 for a 10 pack of wipes (what I chose) was a better deal than spending $3-$4 for a four pack of wash cloths. If your super crafty and sewing-oriented, you can easily make your own wipes. I almost went down this road but after realizing the headache-inducing job of sewing a small army of little wipes (atleast for me), I decided to just buy them instead. I did find this great tutorial on how to DIY them, something I've tucked away on my Baby Who Pinterest board for later reference.

So all in all, nothing replaces good old fashioned research, whether that's in the form on online reviews, podcasts by experienced pregnant women and new moms, or emails and conversations with friends and family.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for all this information! Hubby and I are not quite ready for babies, but we are very research oriented. So when it's time, I will remember this and thank you again!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tiffany,

      So glad you found this post helpful. Good luck with all future baby planning!

      Kristin

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