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 Post subject: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:50 am 
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Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution

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Future first-time mom here and I've recently been thinking about all of the stuff- the crib, highchair, car seat, etc etc. How in the world is one suppose to decide which to buy or register for? How did you all decide? Any tips? Thanks in advance!


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:30 am 
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We only got the newborn stuff before the kid arrived. We had a cradle that is shared in my family, a carseat (rented very cheap from the nurses' office where they do baby check-ups), a pram and a carrier (bought used from my cousin), and a changing table we bought used. And some clothes. Everything else we bought as needed.

Eta: I realize now that you probably meant how you know what brand or model to choose. Well, we didn't have to choose much (obviously), but I think there are some basic questions that are good to consider:

Is it safe? Is the highchair stable, does the pram have a good break so it doesn't roll away etc.

Do you have room for it?

How do you plan to use it?

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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:14 am 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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I got a subscription to Consumer Reports pretty much just for picking baby stuff. They do testing and reviews of car seats and things and rate them by price (since the most expensive is not always the best). There's an iphone app if that's useful to you. (Also, this is pretty much US-based, so I don't know where you are but I'd guess there are similar magazines and organizations in other countries.)

It's also good to realize that while you, of course, want the best of everything for your kids, that's not really possible. These days there are enough consumer regulations and things that the difference between "super best" and "generally good" is pretty tiny. For example, any car seat will have been extensively tested for safety before it could go on the market-- you're paying more for convenience like fancy latches and cupholders and fabrics and things like that.

The one thing I'll recommend is that everything should be washable. We have a wooden high chair from Ikea, and it has a few crevices that have weird stuff jammed into them. We probably should have gone for a smooth-surfaced plastic one rather than wood, just because at this point I think there are parts on the one we have that will never be clean again.

Really, the only thing you NEED is a car seat (if you're driving around). Otherwise, although you can plan all you want, the realities of having a baby change everything. We never had a changing table or anything, and we never had a stroller-- we went with backpack or front-wearing type baby carriers and wraps and things.

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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:40 am 
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Hoards Peppermint Jo-Jos
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It is really hard to decide what you will actually need before the baby comes. My advice is to just be sure you have the basics before baby gets here and get whatever else as you go second hand if you are on a budget. Suggestions for stuff to add to a registry is non clothes. People are going to buy you clothes no matter what so put some big ticket items on there that you will for sure need. Carseat, crib, boppy, infant wrap or carrier... You won't need a high chair or stroller right away. Hanging toys and teething toys were nice to have too.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 1:47 pm 
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First, there will still be stores after you give birth and newborns really don't need a lot of stuff. This is really easy to lose sight of when you go to the full on sensory overload that is one of the baby superstores.

That said, parents love to talk about this crepe, so I recommend hanging out with lots of parents of small kids for a while. Do their childfree friends a favor and be the person willing to listen to hours of commentary on cloth diapers and car seats! I'd recommend thinking first about how you envision parenting going. And know that nothing is really set in stone! Sometimes it's hard to know what will work for your particular kid. Like we got a swing as a gift when my older daughter was a baby and she was very meh on it, but my younger one has fallen asleep almost instantly in it occasionally and it's almost always good for buying myself a little time! If you talk to people who have parenting styles similar to what you'll likely do, you'll get better recommendations. Like I don't use a stroller much at all personally (the double stroller I think I'd actually use, but still not enough to justify the price, is like $2k here, so I'll stick with making the 2 year old hoof it for now!!). We only own a simple umbrella stroller and a jogging stroller - the first is like $20, the second is enormous and impractical for doing much besides jogging, but it's great for that and it helped me find time for exercise. Your needs might be very different, though. I also don't own a crib and the highchair we have is a clip-on one that goes at the end of the table. (If we hadn't received that as a gift I might've gotten the super cheapo, hose-down-able IKEA one that people rave about, but the clip-on one is great and travels well)


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 2:45 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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I think the easiest way to narrow it down is to decide what qualities are important to you in baby stuff, then from there decide on items based on personal style and your price range. For instance, it was important to us to have non-toxic finishes and to minimize plastic stuff, and within that we wanted modern/Scandinavian-style furnishings, and from there we figured out what was reviewed well and actually affordable for us (which narrowed our options down considerably!).

Consumer Reports was really helpful for me when selecting a car seat. There are billions of blogs and forums out there for parents where people talk about this stuff too, if you're brave enough to wade through it all! Like annak said, talking to parents who have had a few kids will probably give you good perspective on what you really need (keeping in mind that everyone has difference preferences). I agree with the advice to only personally buy what you need for a newborn -- I way overbought before my first was born and we didn't use 3/4 of the stuff, including the crib! With #2 I didn't buy anything else before the baby was born, I just figured that Amazon could deliver it in 2 days if there was something I really needed. However, if someone is hosting a shower for you or relatives are chipping in, ask for the big stuff you're pretty sure you'll need or want, even if you won't need it right away -- it will save you a lot of $ down the road!


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 10:33 pm 
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trying to figure out what the hell you need for a baby and then specifically which ones is like one of the 7 circles of hell i think. it's literally impossible to figure out BEFORE you have the baby. i remember walking into Babies R Us and almost having a panic attack i was so overwhelmed.

it's impossible to tell what your kid will actually need/want/use but i would definitely say most of the stuff in the big box baby stores you dont NEED. then depending on your own particular situation and lifestyle some things might be useful for you.

the two main things i think everyone with a baby will NEED are a carseat (if you have a car) and somewhere for the baby to sleep (unless you plan on cosleeping from the get go).
i dont have the patience for reading reviews and articles and researching so i let my husband do that but as people have mentioned Consumer Reports is a good one and if i have to read reviews i will read the ones on amazon.

for carseats there are a million different brands that are good. we got a graco infant carseat and are actually still using it since BP is small. we just bought a Britax convertible carseat since she is outgrowing the infant one (finally) but it's still sitting in a box in our garage

for sleeping we got a cosleeper (the brand is Arm's Reach i believe) and i LOVE it. it is like sort of a side car thing for your bed. so there are 3 "walls" and then it's open to the bed. BP slept in it for the first 7 months of her life then we started cosleeping basically because she refused to sleep anywhere but on top of me. we have a crib my parents bought us and she has never once slept in it. so if you have any inkling whatsoever you might want to cosleep at some point i would hold off on a crib because it is just a large expensive piece of furniture. i have a lot of guilt and anxiety over our unused crib even though my parents have never said anything about it.
the cosleeper is actually still hooked to our bed. i use it to put pillows in, my library book, i have a white noise thing in it. it also makes me feel good on the rare chance BP rolled that way she wont fall on the floor. more than once after a particular bad night of sleep my husband will wake up for work and find me half in the cosleeper while BP is dominating my half of the bed.

for strollers i would REALLY ponder how you are going to use it to decide what kind you want or if you even want one. originally me and my husband were going to get one of the big travel systems (the term escapes me) but basically it's a stroller that your carseat just clicks into. they are really convient and really nice but we realized we had no space for it. they are very bulky. we had to trade in my husband's car after BP was born and get an SUV because we have two large dogs and a baby and all of their stuff and one of the dogs has to be seperated from the baby. so a bulky stroller wasnt going to work for us if we ever had to go anywhere with everyone like to visit my inlaws 6 hours away. if you are going to be in and out of a car alot and you have the room it may be good for you. for us it wasnt going to work. we got a lightweight stroller that i really like but ive barely used it. the only time i use it is in the summer when it's like 80 degrees and humid and there's no way im going to wear her. otherwise i always wear her. when she was little little i used a Moby wrap which was ok. i know some people really like the Moby and i used it quite a bit for several months but after awhile all that fabric and having to wrap it everytime it just wore on me. i just wanted something i could stuff her in and click it on and go. i LOVE my ergo. love love LOVE it. i wear it on my back now too. it's great.

if you're planning on breastfeeding i wouldn't worry too much about bottles and stuff like that. if you are going back to work at some point and plan on pumping then you may want to look into bottles but it's definitely something you could think about later. i got one box of like 3 bottles and a $40 pump but im at home so i didnt really need any bottles and BP is not down with bottle feeding.

if you're in the US and have health insurance see if they will pay for a breast pump because i believe most will.

other than that if you are having a baby shower and need things to register for there are a lot of things that can be convienant but not really necessary. we have a baby tub and first we used it in the sink and now we use it in the regular tub. it had an insert in it so when she was little she had like a seat to sit on and now she just sits on the floor of her tub.

ive seen peoples' registeries where they registered for stuff you need later on like baby proofing stuff and feeding stuff. i didnt do that probably because i didnt think of it.

we have a nice high chair, that is something you would probably wanna read reviews on.
we also got a pack n play which i use as baby jail when necessary. i hear some kids will sleep in it. not mine.

we registered for both a swing and a bouncy seat and got both at my shower and then i felt like that was excessive so i returned the bouncy seat but BP never really was into the swing. so it was kind of useless for us. i still use it now though when i want to shower. she doesnt seem to want it to actually swing but it's a seat i can strap her into while i shower.

i personally like the playmat we got for like tummy time and stuff. it's not really something you *need* but i like ours. we still have it out and she pulls herself up to stand by it and inspects the light on it.

we never bought a changing table or even a changing pad (the thick ones with the seat belt) we change her on the couch and have just a little changing mat.

the one thing i used A LOT OF when BP was a newborn was 800000000 baby washclothes. like my inlaws gave us a pack of like 10 or something and i remember thinking "why on earth would someone need TEN washclothes" yeah i had to order more. i used them as burp clothes, i used them to clean up breast milk that was squirting out of me, there was just always wash clothes that had some bodily fluid on them.

i personally think all the baby bath products are unneccessary except maybe a shampoo/body wash. i have Seventh Generation shampoo/body wash combo and it's all we've ever used on her. no lotions or powders or whatnot. we have one tube of diaper rash ointment too which is good to have but we have been REALLY lucky in the diaper rash dept. if your kid has skin issues then maybe you would need some other products but in general just a body wash/shampoo and some diaper rash ointment is all you need (IMO anyways)

ok im probably rambling by now :-)

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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 8:22 am 
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Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution

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Thanks so much for all of your help, everyone! I will be coming back to reference this numerous times!


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:21 am 
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Can't Dance, Isn't Part of Revolution

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Are swings a must-have? I can see the purpose for them but wonder if it is worth it as it seems like it doesn't grow with the baby (correct me if I'm wrong on that) and they seem a bit pricey. And what about swings vs. bouncers? Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 1:51 pm 
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this isnt a helpful answer but it depends on the baby.
for some babies a swing is a magic sleep machine.
BabyPunk was never really into the swing so we didnt use ours tons. she certainly never fell asleep in it

no they dont grow with the baby so after a certain point they will be too big for it. (i think most baby products will have a weight/height limit on them somewhere)
since BabyPunk is so wee i am still able to use mine when i shower. i put it on the bathroom floor and strap her in and shower. i cant say she "likes" it but she tolerates it long enough for me to shower.


some babies REALLY love the swing. mine happened to not care about it

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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:43 pm 
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Chip Strong
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All the babies I've known have been much happier in a carrier (up against your body) than a swing. That might be a better investment. In my opinion, a blanket on the floor works great when you need to put the baby down, and you don't actually need a bunch of devices. But maybe other people feel differently!


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:02 pm 
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Totally depends on the baby - with my first the swing was the ONLY place he would fall asleep for the first several weeks. This new baby could totally take or leave a swing. I think pretty much getting all baby furniture (that can be washed) used on Craigslist or Varagesale etc is the way to go. That way if baby hates it you haven't sunk a ton of money into it.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:18 pm 
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Saggy Butt
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I'm sure you could get by without either, if you wanted! And you can always wait to see how your baby does before buying those things. We didn't buy the swing before Sven was born, but on night three when we were both desperate for him to sleep we went to the store and bought one. Both my babies napped exclusively in a swing for the first 6-7 months, and Edie slept in hers at night for six months. I swear by the Fisher Price Snugabunny (papasan-style). Everyone has their own preferences, but is the absolute one thing I would never have wanted to do without! I would have paid triple for it.

If you are thinking of getting a swing -- around here, you can buy a Fisher Price papasan swing on Craigslist for $50-70. There are always tons of them listed, and Fisher Price customer service is really great and they will send you a new motor if the old one dies.

We also had a bouncer which I did find very useful (the Baby Bjorn one that has adjustable positions). We used it until both my kids could sit up reliably on their own -- it was great for hanging out on the deck together, letting them hang out in the kitchen with me while I cooked or did dishes, or for when I was washing my hands after changing a diaper. I'm not sure if the cheaper reclining bouncers with vibration and lights and things would have had as long of a useful life, though.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:38 pm 
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The Real Hamburger Helper
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There are also a lot of old threads on the playground discussing all this stuff. When I was pregnant I spent a lot of time reading through old "what stuff to get" threads to help me see what to read about, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:09 pm 
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There is a "new" baby gadget out there that we have been liking called the "sit me up". It is just another version of a floor chair like the bumbo I guess, but more supportive, folds relatively flat and it lightweight for moving from room to room. it isn't worth the $40 new we paid for it, but if you can get it as a gift or find it used I would go for it! At 10 weeks Sebastian has reached the stage where he doesn't want to lay down anymore when he is awake, but of course he can't sit up on his own yet (and the bouncer is too reclined for his taste).


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 Post subject: Re: How do you decide on all of the stuff?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:30 pm 
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Exists
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Oh this is a great post! I'm also pregnant with my first and nearly had a breakdown at Target yesterday looking at all of the STUFF! The choices alone are overwhelming not to mention the thought of "do I even need this?". Great advise here!


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