Having a baby requires a lot of gear but which stuff do you really need? Everywhere you turn there is another cool looking seemingly must-have item. How do you decide what’s best for you?
Big City Moms has searched high and low and tested just about every product on the market. Everyone has different needs and lifestyles so it’s important to have an open mind when choosing products for your new baby.
If you want to wait until delivery day to find out the gender of your baby but don’t want to have a nursery full of green and yellow, pick out items for both boy and a girl and have the technician write the sex on a piece of paper, seal it in an envelope and mail it directly to the store where your baby registry is. That way you can be surprised but you will still get gender appropriate gifts. Make sure you tell your friends and family that you are doing this though so they don’t accidentally spill the beans.
Cribs:Although there are a ton of different styles of cribs on the market, all cribs sold in the U.S. have to adhere to strict safety standards set by the Consumer Products Safety Commission for more information. So what you ultimately choose is more about aesthetics. Some key points to consider are:
- Size: will a full-size crib it fit into your current living space? Or are one of the new oval designs or mini cribs maybe a better choice for now?
- Style: is there a headboard or footboard, or does it have rails all the way around? Some people prefer to have walls on either side of the crib as it allows them to peek in on baby unseen. Others like to have the rails all the way around as it allows the bumpers to lay properly and you can see into the crib from any angle. This can be useful if you’re using a video monitor as you can see every corner clearly.
- Does the crib convert to a toddler bed? This is a great feature to get more mileage out of an expensive purchase.
BEDDING: There are many options for bedding – you can buy a crib set from your local baby store or order custom bedding… Don’t be drawn into buying matching blankets and pillow as you will not use them inside the crib for safety reasons. Unless you are using these as decor on a glider, skip these and put that money towards something else.
A stroller is probably the biggest, most thought-out purchase you will make. It’s almost like purchasing a car. You need accept that there is no perfect stroller. All urban dwellers want a stroller that can fold up into the size of a penny and glide through the city streets over any terrain. The reality is strollers are a bulky item and while they won’t fold up to fit in your pocket there are some strollers that fold up more easily than others.
Think of how you will be using your stroller as that should determine what kind of stroller you will buy:
- Will you be using it on city streets daily? If so, you might want to buy a stroller with big wheels like a Bugaboo, Uppa Baby, Stokke, Quinny, Teutonia and the New G2 Orbit Baby. These strollers have standard shock suspension wheels meaning that they roll over bumps smoothly.
- Will you be in and out of a car/taxi frequently ? If you will be in and out of a car often then you will want a stroller that folds up easily and is somewhat lightweight. Big City Moms thinks the Orbit stroller is the best option. It’s so easy to travel with that even taxi drivers are in awe over the technology.
- Do you need a big storage basket? To date, the Uppa Baby has the largest storage basket on a stroller that we have seen. For any stroller you also purchase the Mommy Hook to hold your excess items from your handlebar.
- Will your baby be napping in your stroller frequently? If your baby will be sleeping in your stroller it is key to purchase a stroller that reclines. Most heavyweight strollers will recline 180 degrees but many of the umbrella strollers only recline back a little bit. Make sure your everyday stroller has a good reclining option.
- Do you live in a walk up building and have to carry the stroller in and out every day? If this is the case, you will want to have the lightest stroller possible. Most major stroller manufacturers make a lighter weight version. Try the Bugaboo Bee, Uppa Baby G-luxe, Baby Jogger Citi Mini, Maclaren, Micralite or Aprica.
Before you start looking at highchairs consider the following questions.
- How much space do I have for a highchair? And do I want a highchair with a tray or a European style highchair that pulls up to the table?
- If space is limited you may be better off with a foldable highchair such as the bloom or nano. Or a booster-seat style highchair that sits on top of a chair you already have like the Fisher Price Space Saver.
- Think about where you will be using the chair. Do you have a kitchen table? Will you need a highchair that can easily be moved from room to room? Do you want a chair that will grow with your child?
- If you are looking for a “European” style highchair such as the STOKKE Tripp Trapp – it’s important for you to actually have a table for your child to eat at. This may sound strange but many city dwellers forgo a dining table and eat at their couch. The European style of chair means that the child sits at the table with you, there is no tray attached to the highchair. The idea behind this is it promotes family bonding during meals. But if you want to encourage self-feeding in the earlier stages there are several accessories on the market that can be used in place of tray.
Many people choose to first buy an infant car seat that can be used until baby reaches 20 pounds and one year old and then buy a convertible toddler seat.
Infant car seats are considered to be the safest by most experts and make a great portable carrier for your baby. Big City Moms loves the Graco SnugRide for its top safety ratings and ease of use. Most strollers makers sell car seat attachments making it easy to click the car seat in and out of the stroller.
Once baby outgrows this seat, it’s time to buy a convertible car seat which is used by infants in the rear-facing position and then toddlers sit in the front-facing position. You’ll use this seat for several years, typically until your child reaches around 40 pounds, although weight restrictions vary by manufacturer so check accordingly. Big City Moms prefers the Britax Marathon for its cushy seat and wide straps.
For more information:
You will probably purchase at least three diaper bags throughout your diapering years. One basic one that your caregiver will use, a bag for yourself and then a transitional diaper bag – that will resemble more of a tote/pocketbook when you reach the “graduating stage”
You will find that you can never have enough pockets in your diaper bag so be smart when you pack up your bag – and look for bags with a different color lining other than black so you can find what you are looking for easily.