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Kicking it into High (Baby) Gear

October 13, 2009

Anyone who’s ever stepped foot inside Babies R Us knows that baby gear abounds, nay, overwhelms. Strollers, car seats, bath tubs, humidifiers, diaper bags, bassinets, rockers, gliders, changing tables, changing pads, diaper pails, dressers, lamps, carriers, swings, loungers, portable cribs, high chairs, foam chairs, entertainment-type chairs, booster chairs, potty chairs, on and on and on and on… Until you want to sit down and cry. Which I did.

As we near the end of our baby gear phase with Ainsley, I’ve been thinking about what we could live without, what we might want next time around, and what I can’t possibly give up.

All the gear that any baby NEEDS is milk, diapers (we love Kissaluvs), a carseat (we love our Britax convertible seat) and a place to sleep (we love our crib — we don’t know the brand since it was a warehouse find). But what about all that other stuff?

My “Can’t Live Without It” List:

The Sling – I am firm believer in babywearing. I love my pink fleece Kangaroo Korner sling. I wish I had been more confident using it when Ainsley was teeny-tiny. I will definitely do more babywearing with our next baby (whenever that is). The sling can also be positioned differently for breastfeeding, and for later use with toddlers and children, which I love.

The Lightweight Stroller – Ainsley’s only stroller. Indecision resulted in our not registering for a stroller at all, and I’m glad we didn’t. My mom gave us a garage sale lightweight stroller with a generously sized basket below the seat and a moveable shade on top. My only two complaints: it doesn’t collapse (but it is very sturdy as a result), and I wish it had over-the-shoulder straps in addition to the lap belt (but Ainsley’s leaning-forward phase was ultimately short lived and we survived without shoulder straps). Regardless, we love it and won’t be trading it in anytime soon.

The Backpack – We didn’t register for a diaper bag, either. TOO MANY CHOICES! After a few months of struggling with the shoulder diaper bags (freebies), I found a backpack that was included with our luggage set. It ended up being the perfect diaper bag for us. It’s black and smaller than school backpacks. Scott is very willing to wear it since it isn’t “girly” and it fits inside the basket of our stroller. We can wear it and have both our hands free. We often put our things front pocket with diapers, toys, food, and the sling in the back. Perfect.

And let’s not forget:

  • I also like our garage sale pack ‘n’ play by Graco. It’s just the “classic navy” model. There are so many models out there with a lot of accessories. Ainsley never spends enough time in there to need a singing, motorized mobile, swinging and vibrating basinet, and so forth.
  • When I was learning to breastfeed, I was entirely dependent on my nursing pillow. I don’t know if I will need it with our next child, but I could not have managed without it in those early weeks.
  • In the category of “mama gear” — my breastpump was vital. I like Medela’s electric model in the shoulder bag.

And maybe someday:

So Mama’s, Daddy’s, Auntie’s, Sitter’s, and Grandparent’s — What’s the stuff you can’t live without? What brands do you like? What didn’t work for you? Please share!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2009 1:18 pm

    I think I’ve used my Ergo baby carrier every day since I got it, most days multiple times. I got it in early May when I had to travel alone with Anna to Connecticut for my grandma’s funeral. I had wanted one for quite a while, but wasn’t sure the price was justifiable (it TOTALLY was worth every penny of the $95 I paid for it!). I love it so much. You can wear it on your front, back or hip. I loved my sling when Anna was littler, but she never enjoyed being in it once she got bigger (10 months or so was when she started “complaining” about being in there). She loves the Ergo. I got mine at Peapods. Other than online, I’m not sure where else you can get them. I looked for a used one (craigslist, etc.) and you just can’t find them used. Or, people sell them for like $93 used instead of the $95 you’d pay used . . . might as well just get a new one at that rate! Anyway, I’m not much for babygear either, but I would be in BIG trouble without my Ergo. Oh, and also I wear it on my back probably 95% of the time. At first I wasn’t confident putting her in it on my back myself, but with some practice it totally becomes second nature! So, that’s my take on it.

  2. October 13, 2009 1:19 pm

    Also, I love my wagon. I’ve had it for years. It hauls multiple kids and some stuff and the kids love to ride in it.
    Also the Burley bike trailer (which we got used over 10 years ago and it’s still going strong) is a good investment. We don’t use it TONS, but are glad to have it when we do use it.
    Ok, I’ll stop now.

  3. October 13, 2009 1:54 pm

    Ours is a plastic Radio Flyer too, but the one without the seats. Just a flat bottom with a little storage “trunk” in the bottom. We can seat up to 4 kiddos in it at a time, but they’re kinda squished. They are big and bulky for sure. We don’t really ever put it in the van and take it places, just use it for family walks, trips to the park and every year we use it to deliver Christmas goodies to all the houses on our block.

  4. Meg permalink
    October 15, 2009 1:22 pm

    I love my Moby Wrap, Hazen spent ALOT of time in it when he was little, and it was indispensable with Emma being 1 1/2 at the time, I had 2 hands free and could maneuver with no worry of tiny Hazen slipping out.

  5. October 16, 2009 11:39 am

    So true! The market has us thinking that babies NEED sooooo much stuff! And you’re right- they don’t! We have just the basics and we are happy and healthy! 🙂

    My favorite items:
    – ERGO baby carrier (we used the Moby when he was an infant)
    – THe rainforset bouncy seat my baby looooved

    Now he is 7 months and crawling everywhere and doesn’t care about toys!

  6. October 18, 2009 5:52 pm

    I use my Mei-Tai carrier from Sacred Baby ( it’s soooooo wonderful! I use it ALL the time. Inside & out of the house!

    PS. LOve the blog!

  7. Allie permalink
    February 20, 2010 1:58 am

    Hi! I found your blog through passionate homemaking and couldnt’ resist commenting. The #1 baby gear item for all moms is an Ergo baby carrier. I can’t say enough about this carrier. My dd (1 month old today!) can’t survive the day without being in the Ergo for a few hours. It puts her right to sleep and she stays asleep while I go about my day, playing with my ds (23 months), cooking dinner, folding laundry, you name it! We love the Ergo so much we bought another one so my hubby can wear my ds while I wear my dd. It’s much more convient than dragging a stroller (single or double) around. Our backs never hurt after wearing the Ergo and I even wore my ds when I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with no discomfort what-so-ever. Anyway, buy an Ergo, you will not regret it. has a 90 day money back guarantee too!

    • February 20, 2010 8:59 am

      Thanks, Allie! I have heard a lot of praise for the Ergo. I’ll have to try that out. It’s so great to have glittering recommendations like this from real moms who’ve been through it.

      Babywearing is definitely my first choice for baby transportation, but as a one-car family, I’ll need a reliable stroller, too, for hauling babies and grocery bags, library books, and diaper bags. 🙂

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