Thursday, September 13, 2012

Baby gear help?

My birthday is in a couple of weeks. I am using that opportunity that if anyone in my family asks what I want I am going to ask for baby stuff.

This is where you come in. I want your personal reviews.

Here are the big ticket items that I have discovered so far, I figured it best to ask people to all go in on one item. Help us with the cost of things.

I am looking for what you have loved in a :

  • VIDEO baby monitor. I know sound is fine but I want video. (Can be second hand)
  • Stroller that works for more than up to 20 lbs. I don't want 3 of them. Ideally I want one that will grow with us. (I feel nervous getting a used one unless I knew HOW it was used)
  • Car seat (must be new)
  • A pump (opinions welcome. Is it safe to go used?)
  • Cloth diapers (new. personal preference.)

Can you tell me why you love the one you love? I have been doing mad research on all this but also would just like to hear why others love theirs. Sometimes reviews are hard to read if you can't put a face and a person and lifestyle to them. Know what I mean?

I don't expect anyone to buy me anything. This is merely if they ask, everyone can go in on one and that would be AWESOME.

I am going to be honest and say I hope someone doesn't just buy one of these without knowing which we'd like. That sounds awful huh? Dave is a researcher. He likes to be an overly over the top informed consumer. Normally I'd say get whatever for any other aspect of my life. Let me be a neurotic first time mom on this for a minute though ok? :) While something might be the "best stroller on the market" and amazing, if someone gets us one and then we can't fit it into our hatchback really then it is no good to us .... see what I mean?

Nothing has to be the fanciest but it has to fit in with our needs and lifestyle and HOPEFULLY though not always able to be as sustainable and multitasking as possible. And no weird chemical shit. And we do NOT want to buy a ton of stuff. UGH. We are trying to only get what we need. Thrift stores, landfills and the like are full of abandoned baby gear. I don't want to buy into all that.

Oh and while we are at it. I know cloth isn't always going to work in all circumstances. I have been looking into more "healthy" diaper options. I found one I thought was a great company, compostable, sustainable Blah Blah and they were MADE FROM WHEAT!  Dave wouldn't be able to touch them! Do you know of any reasonable priced ones that aren't going to take 2389832 years to decompose ?

Edited to add. I felt bad there were so many words. So here is our baby. Well our baby a few weeks ago. Doesn't it kinda look like Homer J Simpson a little? I turned it on it's side so it is upright face pointing left. (I have to show all old people in my family because they SO don't get ultrasounds)

We think it looks like Homer J Simpson


Rebecca said...


Pumps. I've used three different ones over my breastfeeding career.

The first was a single by The First Years. It was okay.
The second was a manual by Avent. Not for me.

The third was a Medela double Pump in Style (the one that looks like a purse). LOVED IT. I should've gone with Medela from the start. I bought it used off Ebay for $150. It's okay to buy used, as long as you buy new tubing (which you can get for around $5 or so online). I bought from a top-rated seller on Ebay and everything was perfect.

We cloth diaper. My faves are the Green Mountain Diaper Trifolds with Thirsties covers and a Snappi if you're going to go the trifold/cover/snappi route.

For pocket diapers, I love Bumgenius and Fuzzibunz. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Olive Branch Baby, but they're not made anymore. If I ever find someone selling them used, I snatch them up in a heart beat.

I don't have any all-in-one diapers, although I hear that the Goodmamas can be used without a cover, so I suppose you could consider them an all-in-one? Anyways, we have one and I don't consider them to be of higher quality than any other fitted diaper. They're just super duper pretty and can absorb a ton of pee. I feel like they have the same absorbency as the Green Mountain Trifolds.

I've tried a variety of covers and Thirsties has been my consistent favorite.

If you want to go the wool route, there's a cute shop on Etsy called Forty 41: I loved the covers we used for our duaghter that came from that shop. Plus, they're upcycled. So, that's nice.

I could go on and on and on about cloth diapers, so if you ever have any questions, feel free to e-mail me! I had to do all my own 'research' when we started cloth diapering almost five years ago. None of my friends or relatives use cloth :)

beyondthebath said...

Why not ask for those at a baby shower? Another reason to PAR-TAY!

byhillary said...


One. I am assuming I will not have a shower. I have a tiny family and they are spread out across county and very few local friends only one of which is female. Plus I don't like to ask for anything. That is why I said if my family asks then I will ask for these items.

Two. Why not start now. If I don't get what I need my birthday, then ask for Christmas....

PostCard Princess said...

My little guy is 3 months old and I still don't have a monitor. He sleeps in a bassinet in our room so I haven't needed one so far.

I agree Thirsty covers are the way to go. The gussets mean fewer blowouts - which is a good thing.

We live by our mechanical Graco swing. He naps in it during the day.

Helen said...

You're right - you've got to pick out this stuff yourself. Even without a shower, you should register Babies R Us or similar place because usually they give you a discount when you buy the stuff on your registry that remains after people have bought for you.

I'm in love with our Chicco Cortina stroller. If you get the Chicco car seat (which I also recommend), then you can move the car seat right into the stroller. I love the stroller because it seems comfy for baby and it so super easy to maneuver. It's designed so you can also push with one hand (which ends up happening a lot for some reason) and it won't wobble all around. The handle is nice and high so I'm not leaning over at all. (Whichever you get, I would recommend you test the strollers in the store because the handle height varies a lot, but is really important for your comfort.)

I also love the Chicco Capri, which is an umbrella stroller for bigger babies. It's super light but sturdy and the handles are nice and high.

I just now see that Chicco has a umbrella stroller that works for newborns called the Liteway Stroller. I haven't tried it but based on my experience with the Capri for a toddler, I bet the Liteway is worth checking out.

Becky said...

Have you checked out the iPhone baby monitor? I think that's a pretty cool idea but I haven't heard any reviews.

We love our Bugaboo Frog stroller. I found it on craigslist nearly new for 1/2 retail price. It came with adapters for a Peg Perego car seat so that's the kind we got. The Bugaboo Frog is designed for birth to 4 years.

I got the Medela breast pump. My SIL did extensive research and decided that it was the best brand. It worked well.

I think you know we have a diaper service that supplies compostable diapers (everything we use (diapers, wipes, packaging, etc.) is dirt within weeks. I think they're corn products (let's not get into corn problems) so maybe they're GF. The brand is Nature Babycare.

nutmeg said...

I read you all the time but never comment, but since I have a 3yr old and another on the way in four weeks (!!!) I can at least remember what I did love.

- Someone sold me their used Advanced Pump in Style, and my handy husband took it apart and bleached the insides to calm my crazy paranoia. I also got all new tubes/pieces and that worked out well. It was fantastic.

- I had a Summer's Infant Day/Night video monitor and we liked it enough to buy a second for the new baby's room. I don't know if this one is currently available but we got the second on ebay. Its so much fun to watch what those crazy kiddos do.

- Strollers are tricky - it really depends on when you think you might use it. Lots of my friends got a snap-and-go for really cheap right away, and then figured out what they needed for a longer-term stroller - whether it be bigger wheels, super lightweight, etc. This might be the way to go, I've seen lots of snap-and-gos on Craigslist so it won't be a huge investment.

Vanessa said...

I can comment on the diapers thing... We use cloth 90% of the time, but at night use disposables because of leaking (my son is 2 now). If you're still curious about cloth, try G diapers. I liked the flexibility of them. You can use a disposable insert OR a cloth soaker... but don't bother using the G cloth soakers. They're way expensive. I prefer a high-quality prefold (like Green Mountain or OSO cozy). Also, the disposable inserts are flexible enough to use inside of different diaper covers.

Cloth diaper shopping can make you crazy, so don't stress. I spent hours researching different options and spent a fortune trying things... It wasn't worth it. :)

Melissa said... have a lot of posts on their experiences with their daughter. They are extremely detailed (pros and cons for their lifestyle) and though I'm no where near becoming a mom, I've read them all :) They are very thrifty and also prefer sustainable options. They are deffo not a baby blog, but I know they have had several good posts about various baby-related things!

Congratulations! So exciting :)

byhillary said...

@melissa. I have read all their posts :)
I was looking more for reader's personal loves since I already have been reading those blogs for (ugh years) at this point :) Thanks for the link maybe some other people might want to check them out because you are right they totally ROCK

Andie said...

I am thinking you are pretty tall, like me, so you would probably like the same kind of stroller I got for Andrew- a Maclaren Quest (or any Maclaren) because they are lightweight but are good from like 3 months till baby is 55 pounds and they recline all the way back, etc. Plus, they have a lifetime warranty. Best part is that they are for tall people and not bulky.

I got a snap n' go frame by maclaren for the bucket seat to use till he grew out of it but the Maclaren has been what we have used since he was about 5 or 6 months old.

We have a summer infant monitor that was loaned to us by a friend and I love it. :)

also, if you can get a regular convertible car seat now- invest in it or register while everyone else is buying. LOL We have a Britax Roundabout that we love. We are also fans of the Cosco Sceneras for extra cars and it's cheap but highly rated. There is a book called baby bargains that is a great resource!

As for the pump- I only breastfed/pumped for about 2 weeks... and we just rented a pump from the hospital and bought our own horns/collection bottles/tubes, etc. I think the rental was like $20 a month and the pump was one of those high quality hospital ones. It made sense for us because I wasn't sure how long I would breastfeed anyhow. It just didn't work very long for us. :)

If you have any more questions, feel free to email me! :)

byhillary said...

Andie I'm 5'3"

Casey said...

Car seat: I personally prefer a convertible 5 point harness car seat. It will grow with your baby from newborn till possibly age 5. Leia is still in hers. Britax is a great brand

Stroller: I hate strollers because I'm tall, but Peg Perego is like THE stroller. Easy to push, has all the bells & whistles.

I really recommend baby-wearing if you think you'd like to try it. I rarely pushed a stroller. It leaves your hands free, which is nice. But having a stroller as a back-up is definitely smart.

I've never had a baby monitor :) I co-sleep, but also, my house is teeny, lol.

Definitely go with the Medela double Pump in Style- nothing compares and believe me I've tried so many brands. get some Lansinoh for nursing soreness, too :)

Hope that helps a little.

byhillary said...

I WANT to baby wear I worry about my back I have back issues and also this awful thing called winter. It's icy and slick and dangerous to walk around so I want to have a backup plan.

The monitor is for all day. I proabbly won't be in bed all the time the baby is and our house is set up funny and you can't hear from other room. We holler now from one room to the other. It's not even big! I'm also neurotic and had a cat cam so there's that :p

C Lo said...

You can go to Babies R Us and "test drive" strollers. That's what I did for my last kid. My personal thought on that whole stroller thing is that...honestly, a stroller can get pretty thrashed and, really, when your mom-ing it up, keeping the same stuff for three + years gets a little boring. And there are very different needs in strollers when you have a newborn versus, say, a toddler. I had a really great Kolcraft 3 wheel stroller for when my baby was an infant, but we graduated to a Chicco fancy umbrella once he was older. Just my two cents on that.

I LOOOOVED cloth diapering my babies. :) I preferred pocket diapers, the most "famous" or popular being FuzziBunz. One's like that. I was on a website called DiaperSwapers and I tried LOTS of different pockets. I really liked Blueberry and Thirsties and RumpARooz. But there are loads that are very similar.

Bridgett said...

I'm in the same boat as you. We decided to try cloth diapers. I bought some pocket diapers from alvababy. They are cheaper than any others I've seen and I read some good reviews. We are also going to try prefolds and thirsties covers like someone recommended on this post.

You guys should register on amazon. That way if any friends or family want to buy, they know what you want. Plus that way you can keep track of what you want.

byhillary said...

We are registered :) its kinda small right now but it's there.

Maryn said...

Pump: had a Medela Pump-in-Style with my oldest when I was working and needed to pump enough to send with her to daycare. It was a total workhouse for more than a year for me, then for at least another year for a friend. When I had another baby last year, I bought another PIS from a friend - someone I knew that didn't have anything I'd worry about my baby getting. I'm not sure I'd buy one from a stranger, but I wasn't worried in the least about getting one from someone I knew.

Cloth diapers: Kissaluvs size 0 with a Thirsties cover until they outgrow them, then BumGenius 4.0s all the way. I love Applecheeks, too, as they're super cute, but they were more expensive. BG does a buy 5, get 1 free sale a couple of times a year, so I stocked up on them then.

I have tried lots of others (cheapie Chinese ones on eBay, Rumparooz, Fuzzibunz) and I come back to the BG OS every time. Some of my friends adore Fuzzibunz, but they're so trim through the crotch that I had trouble getting my hand in to stuff the inserts. I also bought a stack of used prefolds from a local diaper service that we use for spit up, drool cloths under their faces while they sleep, extra absorbency at night. It was like $10 for 20 or something ridiculously cheap and totally worth it.

Stroller: I had a relatively inexpensive Graco with my first and rarely used it because it was so hard to push. I always used a soft carrier and she was so much more well behaved when I did.

Fast forward a bit - she's ten and I also have two that are fifteen months apart in age. Today, I have a Britax B-Ready with a second seat add-on (so it can be a single or a double) and a Bob. It is crazy what a difference a nice stroller makes. I use it more, babies are more comfortable and the ones I have could roll over anything. One thing I really like about the B-Ready is that the seat is the right height to roll up to a restaurant table, so if I'm out with my kids, one can just stay in the stroller. Love, love, love the Bob; I just can't say enough good things about how easy it is to push/steer and how easily it rolls over everything at the park (uneven parking lot, debris on the path, grass, rocky off-road areas).

About used strollers: all of mine were purchased used and I don't think I'd buy a new one again. I just washed the cloth, hosed off the outside and saved major bucks ($350 on my Bob).

I had a Bugaboo Bee single that I also bought used off of CL (saved $400 off the original price, then sold it a year later for what I'd paid for it). Loved, loved, loved that stroller - it folded up as small as a briefcase and was so light. I only sold it because I rarely used it after Thing 3 came along.

If there's a buybuyBaby near you, they have a great selection and the employees seem to know how to fold them, pros/cons. And go now, so that you can fold and unfold and try loading them into your car before you're 8.5 months pregnant or before you have a newborn that you're trying to juggle while trying them out. (not that I made either of those mistakes....!)

I have a Boba soft carrier that I love - I can use it on front or on back. I am borrowing a friend's Beco for the weekend to give it a try, too, since we now have two that are carrier-sized and we're trying to decide about buying another one so that my husband and I can each carry one while we're out. If you're interested in carriers, I can let you know about the Beco after this weekend. :)

On car seats, I used to research safety and fit - you can search by the type of car you have and someone probably has posted about what fits well in it and is safe. We bought convertible seats and either carry Things 2+3 or they ride in the stroller while we're out. They outgrow the infant seats so fast, so we figured this was the least expensive route for us.

byhillary said...

Maryn funny you should say that. Dave my mom and I put the buybuybaby stroller guy through the ringer one day. Well not really but I had him pulling every one of them down and showin me how to fold and take apart and see how heavy.

We have a stroller in mind we really really like but it's stupid expensive. It's actually locally made and fits all our needs but seriously the price is alarming. I keep visiting it at different stores hoping to find something wrong with it.

Lorena said...

I do not have any advice because i don't have kids but i just had to say that i love how you are handling this and how conscious you are about how your choices affect earth. Wish everyone would :)

L said...

I've been following along for quite some time, but don't think I've ever commented before! My son is 8 months old and here are my recommendations:

* Car Seat - we used the Chicco Key Fit 30 for our infant seat. My son is really tall and needed to move out of the infant seat when he was 7 months old, but I'd still recommend the infant seat because it's great when they are really little and fall asleep in the car or you are running errands and can just bring them inside. I'm not sure how people go grocery shopping with a tiny baby if they don't use an infant seat.

* Stroller - if we have another baby I'll probably buy one of those snap and go frames to put the car seat on when they baby is really little. I think that was one thing I wish we'd had. Our son was born in winter so it wouldn't really have been for walks and stuff, but again more for quick errands where I didn't want to lug around the car seat, but didn't really need the big stroller.

Our big stroller is a Graco Trekko and so far it's working for us.

* Pump - I have the Medela Pump in Style. I think everyone I know who returned to work and needed to pump enough for the baby during the day uses this pump. It works great! Also, I'm not sure about getting a used pump, I think they are designed to be single user item. I might consider it if it was someone I knew well....

* We don't cloth diaper because we were using daycare at first and most places where we live didn't take them, so I don't have any suggestions there.

Good luck! I think it's totally overwhelming at first to try to figure out what you need!

Maryn said...

I know it feels ridiculous to buy an expensive stroller, but if you can either get one as a group gift or find one used (or just justify the price to yourself), it's totally worth it.

And for the record, admitting that I'd happily spend big bucks on a stroller is really atypical of me. I am a cheapskate, coupon shopper, sale watcher, thrifty kinda gal on most everything.

byhillary said...

@maryn We are in total love with the uppababy vista. I am a cheapskate too. I just was like $700 for a stroller? ack! I really really like that it is locally made to me and US parts and everything included. works birth up to like 50lbs. It totally was the right height for me and dave with the telescoping handle and it was SO easy for me to take apart and carry.
Who knows maybe I will win the lottery in the next couple months.

Teresa Kulupka said...

i only have about 3 weeks experience, but here is my 2cents.

i've got the britax b-safe infant car seat, it fits into the britax B-agile folding stroller and when he's too big for the infant seat the stroller works for bigger kids too. the only thing i didn't like was the fact that we have to buy an infant car seat and then year later the convertible.

we have a motorola wireless baby video monitor. if you're having baby sleep in a bassinet in your room you don't need this at all. but we've moved him into the nursery at 3 weeks and it works great since we can't hear him with the door closed. i like that you can turn the monitor off to save battery life and it also has a noise sensor so if you don't hear the monitor you can see the lights go from green to red (red = louder)

i have a medela pump and go pump. it works just fine, but i'm not able to breastfeed so it's just going to sit around and mock me for a bit. if you are interested, i could give you a good deal on it. it's the backpack version and it's surprisingly small. fyi: it's safe to use as long as you replace the tubing etc, otherwise nothing biological touches the pump.

byhillary said...

Just an update.

we ended up with a Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat and stroller
an ergo carrier