March 16, 2012

Thoughts on Popular Baby Gear

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When I previously mentioned our baby gear strategy, I alluded to the fact that not every type of gear is needed by everyone. What you will need will depend on your life style, what kind of home you have, and even where you live. Babies are also very different, and what works for one baby does not necessarily work for another.

Of course, my opinion is just that. Worse, it’s a bre-baby, inexperienced first time mom opinion. I feel it’s also important to emphasize that I am in no means a baby product expert, and certainty not a safety expert. You should visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission and not take my, or any other blogger’s, word for it when it comes to safety.

So without further ado, here’s my current thoughts. Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind when Zippy gets here, and I realize all my preconceived notions are completely off.

Popular Items We’re Passing On

Pack N’ Play. I have had several friends recommend this to me as a place for baby to sleep in our room. However, there’s no room in our bedroom. The closest spot for a Pack N Play is about three feet in front of the nursery. If I already have to get out of bed to walk that far, why not just use the crib?

We do want to keep the baby with us for the first couple of weeks at least. I’m considering a Rock N’ Play for this, as it’s advertised as a “safe place for baby to sleep overnight” and small enough to fit easily next to the bed. I’m not completely sold on the Rock N’ Play as a night time sleeping spot for a newborn. According to amazon it’s “the only infant seat that meets industry safety standards for bassinets” but I haven’t been able to back up the claim anywhere, and I’m a nervous first time mom.

Bumbo Seat. This is another one that’s been recommended by many people, but I just can’t get past the safety concerns. In fact, there’s even a push to have these seats recalled. Admittedly the number of safety incidents are small, and mostly in cases were the seat may not be being used correctly, but it seems like an awfully expensive seat when it’s the same price as many bouncers and seats with harnesses. A when you consider a report that the seat offers no developmental benefits, and could potentially be harmful, it really doesn’t seem worth it to me.

Breathable Crib Bumpers/Sheet Savers/etc. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends no bumpers in the crib, even breathable ones. I’ve also seen similar concerns over sheet savors. We’ll have a waterproof mattress cover under the fitted crib sheet to protect the mattress. If baby has a diaper blow out, we are going to need to wash her sleeper and swaddle blanket anyway. Looks like we’ll be running the washing machine frequently anyway. If we’re already doing the wash, it won’t cost us anything extra to throw in the crib sheet as well. Is there a real suffocation danger behind these items? Like the bumbo the number of incidents is also small, but I’d just assume pass on them. Like with pregnancy, I’d rather be over cautious and not risk it.

Bottle Sterilizer. We are planning on breastfeeding. Zippy may have a few bottles early on, but she’ll mostly get them when she goes to day care. By that point she’ll be at the age where she’s putting anything that’s within reach into her mouth, and a bottle cleaned in the dishwasher will be the least of my fears.

Diaper Bag. Well, at least not right away. Why? I have lots of tote bags in all sorts of sizes already that can easily double as a diaper bag. Baby Bargains’s recommendation is to choose a diaper bag based on the changing pad. Personally I really like the Skip Hop Pronto Changing Pad a friend showed me. It’s small and compact, with a pocket to hold diapers and wipes. I imagine if we’re out and about somewhere I can leave the bulky diaper bag with all the extra soothing toys, pacifiers, change of clothes, etc with Domingo and take the SkipHop with zippy and I to the restroom to change her diaper. Baby Bargains also pointed out most first time moms start with giant diaper bags that hold everything and the kitchen sink, and then migrate to ones that are smaller when they learn what they truly need for their baby. I figure by starting with bags I already own I can get a better sense of what size is right for me before I make a purchase.

Where We’re Going Overboard On.

Rock N’ Play. Okay, here’s the stupidest reason ever for wanting to upgrade the Rock N’ Play – I dislike the colors of the standard Rock N’ Plays. I justified the purchase to myself that the extra padding would make for a better sleeping experience for baby. After all, she may inherent my taste for only super soft things. (I opt for comfort rather than style in all my fabrics. If it doesn’t pass the touch test, it doesn’t come home with me, no matter how good it looks or how good the sale is.) Since we got a deal on it, I don’t feel too guilty about buying the deluxe. We ended up with the Snugabunny.

Video Baby Monitor. We have a rather compact, small house, so we could get away with a small audio monitor with limited range. We may even be able to get away without a monitor at all, since the nursery shares a wall with the master bedroom, and we’re planning on keeping both doors open with a baby gate to keep the cat out. But I want the video capability. A video monitor can show whether a baby is fussing and self soothing, or truly awake. It can also be useful to see if a toddler is in bed asleep, or playing quietly. Besides, I’m an obsessive worry wart and the ability to see my baby should calm my nervous. Domingo is also into gadgets, so the high end video monitors really appeal to him, double win. We’re considering the Motorola.

Nursing Chair. At first I thought I’d want a nice glider, but after much consideration we’re leaning towards an upholstered armchair that rocks and reclines. We can get one with free shipping and 20% off if we open a store credit card, which actually makes the recliner cheaper, and the recliner will be useful post baby in the office, living room or den (if we’re fortunate to have a house with a den some day). It’ll also recline which gives me a comfortable place to sleep close to baby, should I feel the need.

So the things we’re going overboard are typically the most expensive baby items, and we’re passing on some of the popular cheaper items. Does this mean I can no longer consider myself frugal?

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