Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baby Crap--the winners, Gear Category

This is the first in a new series: For Our Pregnant Readers
I was recently informed that several mommies-to-be read our blog often-even some I don't know. Since I know how much of a pain it is to register for gifts and figure out what you'll need all before the person who will use this stuff even gets here, I thought I would post some of our findings. You can talk to many a mom and hear many a different product review, so these are by no means universal thoughts on all things baby, but ours and ours alone. It's also important to note that I thoroughly researched all of our gear products in the book Baby Bargains and through online reviews. I checked out prices, safety, and quality ratings before settling on any items. I'm nutty like that--luckily for you!


We chose the Grace Love-n-Hug swing and it's worked great for us. It's huge and has a lot of settings. It has also worked wonders for hours on end when nothing else put Amelia to sleep. . . and we mean NOTHING. Remember, this baby was on a med that literally kept her awake for days on end. The swing was the only way we made it through that time. She napped exclusively in the swing for probably two months. . . double swaddled of course. Not all swings are created equally, even under the same label, so beware. We learned this when my mom got some hand-me-downs from her neighbors. We put Amelia in the swing and it didn't move much. She looked at us like, "Is this thing supposed to move or what?!" When push comes to shove, all parents will need to plop the baby in a swing now and then and let them be lulled to sleep. . . also important to note that Amelia did not love the swing probably until about 10-12 weeks old. We thought it was a lost cause before it became our life saver.

We got the Zanzibar bouncer for no other reason than it was gender neutral and seemed nice enough. While most new moms think that they need either a bouncer OR a swing, they have very different functions. The bouncer is portable and therefore a life saver. You can take it into the bathroom while you shower, put it on your bed (in the middle of course) while you change, or whatever. We use ours for a ton of reasons. Currently, we use it to keep her occupied while getting the bath ready. Even when she was brand new and tolerated very little, she'd tolerate the bouncer for a while. Then, once she got big enough to realize that it bounced when she kicked, it was time to strap her in because she goes bananas!! She loves it. And I have noticed that she likes the toy bar a lot, so that is crucial--a bouncer needs a good toy bar way more than a sleek look.

Activity Gym
I thought it might be a bit of a luxury item but I was wrong. We have the Baby Einstein gym and it's a gem. When nothing else could hold Amelia's attention (and I mean nothing), she loved laying in her little gym. The Baby Einstein one has an awesome sun toy that sings and lights up. It was one of the first things she smiled at. It helped her learn to track things with her eyes in the very beginning and is now being used to help her grab things by hanging toys really low for her to reach. The toys are easily exchanged with others and the mat itself is great. It all folds up and moves around easily. It's been used every day since she was born. It is still a go-to toy when mommy needs to pee.

Travel System
We purchased the Chicco Cortina Travel System and love it. It was the only travel system that, when the car seat is attached to the stroller and pulled up, does not hang loosely. That is, the car seat snugly clips in to the stroller so if you pick up the bar for the car seat, the whole stroller comes off the ground. I can't explain the logistics on that but it just seems safer, no? The base is easy to install and thanks to a voluntary recall, we got a second base for free. lol. The stroller is bulky, but also can be opened and closed with one hand. Not too shabby. If you have room in your car, this is the best one to get by far (according to others' reviews not just mine) and is also the most expensive. We will someday use a smaller stroller, but this one maneuvers well in tight spaces and has a lot of extras, including an adjustable handle for different heights. LOVE THIS ITEM!

Baby Carrier
We have the Jeep baby carrier. We didn't have much of a choice because it was the only carrier that would fit over Justin's shoulders. He's a big man, you see. We've also heard from another mom that she needed it for the same reason. That being said, we tried on a bunch of these things and this one was by far the easiest to adjust and put on. It has proven very comfortable and usable. We use it often. When Babygirl's car seat doesn't fit into a cart (a hazard of sorts), I put her in this and have never had a problem. When she was tiny, she fell right asleep in it and in the midst of the Screaming Era, Justin would strap her into it and vacuum around the house until she fell silent and asleep. Of course, then she'd scream the moment you took her out, but that was another problem altogether and dads--for whatever reason--don't usually think this far ahead. They consider it a success to just stop the crying, but I digress. It is a Bjorn knock off and totally worth the money. I've heard more poor than rave reviews of Bjorn so we were happy to be pleased with a much cheaper version.

Okay, I'm exhausted already. Next up in the series: Baby Crap--the winners, Sleep and Feeding Category.

Oh and when I feel more motivated, I'll add links to this post too. Maybe. Hey, I have a baby, get off my back!

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