Gear and gadgets - pros and cons - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 08-17-2014, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Gear and gadgets - pros and cons

As a first time mom who worked as a postpartum doula and nanny for 15 years, I have come into contact with just about every product in existence marketed towards new parents. In that time, I have developed a couple of opinions about things I like, but in general, I had the benefit of being the by-standing supporter, and not the decision maker.

One of the opinions I have developed is: Less is more. I think stuff can get in the way (literally and figuratively) of the more emotional and relational aspects of new parenthood. That said, I know we need some essential basics, and would LOVE your various opinions about the following (and any other gear/gadgets you either love, or think are absolutely superfluous):

  • Car seat
  • Stroller (and all the various car seat/stroller combo options)
  • Monitors
  • Baby tubs
  • Seats/rockers/swings etc.
  • Co-sleepers or life-hacked cribs (there's one using an Ikea crib that seems appealing)
  • Framed backpacks (for hiking when babe get's bigger)
  • A rocking chair/glider (do we need it?)
  • etc.?
Thanks for the discussion!

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#2 of 27 Old 08-17-2014, 09:34 AM
 
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Here is a list of things I had.

Car seat/stroller combo
Bassinet
Crib
Baby bath
Bouncer
Swing
Pack n play
......

I had a issue with using anything that vibrated. I felt like, why get my son accustom to a sensation that I cannot create. What if I ran out of batteries? We camped a lot. And of course I wouldn't always have that vibrating bouncer.. It was just something in felt. And it turned out I was right. My friends son would cry uncontrollably until he was put in the bouncer. And he had to have the vibration, or he would continue to cry. It was sad to me.. My friends son didn't want her for comfort. He wanted a bouncer. I'm glad I chose not to use the vibration!
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#3 of 27 Old 08-17-2014, 11:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by forestlover75 View Post
As a first time mom who worked as a postpartum doula and nanny for 15 years, I have come into contact with just about every product in existence marketed towards new parents. In that time, I have developed a couple of opinions about things I like, but in general, I had the benefit of being the by-standing supporter, and not the decision maker.

One of the opinions I have developed is: Less is more. I think stuff can get in the way (literally and figuratively) of the more emotional and relational aspects of new parenthood. That said, I know we need some essential basics, and would LOVE your various opinions about the following (and any other gear/gadgets you either love, or think are absolutely superfluous):

  • Car seat
  • Stroller (and all the various car seat/stroller combo options)
  • Monitors
  • Baby tubs
  • Seats/rockers/swings etc.
  • Co-sleepers or life-hacked cribs (there's one using an Ikea crib that seems appealing)
  • Framed backpacks (for hiking when babe get's bigger)
  • A rocking chair/glider (do we need it?)
  • etc.?
Thanks for the discussion!

Car seat - obviously a necessity if you drive. The biggest decision for me was whether to get an infant seat or go straight to a convertible. Since I hardly need to buy anything this time, I'm going to go ahead and get an infant seat (leaning toward the very pricey cybex Aton Q for lots of reasons). We were never ones to lug around a car seat, into a restaurant or whatever, but enough times he fell asleep on our way home and it was nice to just carry it inside.

Stroller - we were gifted a fancy stroller that we almost never used. DS hated it, and it always seemed like more of a hassle to deal with a stroller than just to carry him, which is what he preferred anyway. It took up major car space, and it seemed like all the times when we'd really want one (like at the zoo, mall), there was always something available to be rented. But virtually everyone I know uses one regularly. There are ten thousand options out there...I don't think our fancy one is worth the money at ALL (it's a bugaboo...it handles well but doesn't have any of the cool features of the less expensive ones, like a tray or cup holder). Keep in mind with the "systems" that infants really shouldn't be spending lots of time in a car seat anyway, because the positioning scrunches them up and reduces their lung capacity and affects oxygenation. Just something be aware of, not scared of. Going from car to stroller back to car all in a car seat can be a lot of time in that seat.

Monitors - we just used ours for naps, since we bed share. Just an audio, no video. We lost it when we moved, so I'll be having to research this eventually. When we lived in our tiny house we didn't need to use it at all.

Baby tubs - waste of space, in my opinion! Babies really don't need baths unless they've had a major blowout or something, and in that case I would just hold him in/over the sink and rinse.

Bouncers/swings - I think it's good to have something to set them down in, but I don't think you need a swing AND a bouncer. A small portable bouncer is good to have, swings are neat but a big space hog and aren't portable. I also never wanted DS to get used to sleeping in one and have to transition out of it.

Co-sleepers - no experience since we just bed shared. I've thought about getting an arms reach just to use as a little bedside changing station though

Framed backpacks - nothing to offer here

Gliders - we got one as a gift and it was pretty unnecessary. Space hog, wasn't really even very comfortable to nurse in (I need to be really upright, not reclined), and became a safety hazard when DS got mobile and started pushing it (then it would come back and whack him in the face).



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#4 of 27 Old 08-17-2014, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by luckiest View Post
The biggest decision for me was whether to get an infant seat or go straight to a convertible. Since I hardly need to buy anything this time, I'm going to go ahead and get an infant seat (leaning toward the very pricey cybex Aton Q for lots of reasons).
Can you elaborate on the difference between the infant vs. convertible (pros/cons) and tell me why you are going for the Cybex Aton Q?

Also what size bed do you have? I would bed share but we have a queen and my husband is 6'2... worried we will be seriously squished.

Thanks!

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#5 of 27 Old 08-17-2014, 06:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by forestlover75 View Post
Can you elaborate on the difference between the infant vs. convertible (pros/cons) and tell me why you are going for the Cybex Aton Q?

Also what size bed do you have? I would bed share but we have a queen and my husband is 6'2... worried we will be seriously squished.

Thanks!

Pros of infant seat - it's portable, you can carry sleeping baby in it, can use it with a compatible stroller. That's really all I can think of as far as pros...I'm honestly not sure if they're any safer for infants than convertibles that are rated for infants. Cons - only used for a limited amount of time, most max out at 35lbs on the upper end, some as low as 20. There's no secondhand market for car seats, so you won't be recouping the expense. Most seats aren't recyclable at all, so it just becomes garbage. The best you could hope for would be to save it and use it again for another baby (I still have mine from DS but it will have expired by the time this baby comes).

Pros for straight to convertible - saves money, less wasteful. With a seat like a Diono, you can use it from birth all the way up to like 120lbs or something like that, so you'd only ever need one seat. Cons would be that it isn't portable, so you'd always be taking a potentially sleeping baby out of the seat to go in anywhere.

If I was on a tighter budget I would go for a convertible. But for us, the car seat is essentially the only thing we'll need to buy for this one, so I'm less concerned about cost.

What I like about the Cybex Aton Q - it has a floor bar (bar that goes from base to floor board and absorbs shock in an impact), a side bar (same concept but for side impact), it's designed so an infant lies almost entirely flat, then incline increases as you raise the harness level, and has a higher weight max of 35lbs (I'm sure you'd max out height long before weight) so hopefully I'll get over a year of use out of it.

Otherwise I'd go straight for a Diono Rainier.



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#6 of 27 Old 08-17-2014, 08:06 PM
 
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I'm a minimalist for baby gear. For my first I thought I had to be prepared with the "right" gear. As a result I bought tons of baby carriers that didn't work. Now I only buy what is essential for baby when they first come, and then see the needs of the baby and for the family as a whole. I personally hate re-buying the same thing i.e. a car seat or stroller, so I look for items that have longevity. I also look for things that are compact. I'm willing to spend more money on gear because I'm a firm believer that you pay for what you get. I am a total cheapskate with baby clothes though. Good gear can go from child to child, and even on to the next family.

I lived in Japan when DD1 was born, so an excellent umbrella stroller and a baby carrier were critical. I still carry my babies primarily, but for us a great stroller is important. We like to take long family walks. There are lots of brands that add a second seat so your stroller can continue to accomodate your family if it keeps growing. We're considering the Phil & Teds Navigator. We plan on having the 2 littles ride, and using the Mountain Buggy Freerider scooter attachment for our 4 year old. Sometimes I need to use our walks as a form of exericise-- no toddler pace! This system grows with your family and you can haul around 3 kiddos if need-be. We usually don't stroll with the babies until they're 6 months or so, so we may wait on this for a little.

As far as car seat, we went with a Combi Cocorro because it is an ultra-compact convertible. We can fit three across the back of my CR-V. It is affordable and lasts up to 40 pounds (maybe 35). At any rate, my 4.5 YO is still in it and it is holding up wonderfully. The cute candy colored covers don't hurt either.

We did bed-sharing with DD1 and it wasn't best for our family, so we bought an Arm's Reach for DD2. It was better and she slept in there for 6 months. I did find it to be cumbersome because the mattress itself is lower than our mattress, and she slept curled against my side for most of the night. And it was challenging to scoot out of bed for those first few post-partum weeks. But it was a nice place to put her if I was restless or wanted to sleep on my other side. All that being said, I know that this is against the grain, but I think that thing is over-rated. I could have just put a Pack & Play right next to my bed. It would have lasted longer-- the Co-sleeper only works for a matter of months.

I think, depending on your hearing and the size of your house, you may be able to skip the monitor if your baby has their own sleep space. I never needed one. Same for the tub-- what a waste of space. Sink baths rock.

Really, I think if you can find a car seat, and a sleeping place, plus diapers and clothes you'll be all set for the first bit. You'll learn what your baby likes, how you parent, and what you find handy.
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#7 of 27 Old 08-17-2014, 11:08 PM
 
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Car seat- definitely would get an infant bucket seat. I don't spend a lot of money on this one because it isn't used for too long. It is really nice for things like church or dinner where it is awkward to have a baby strapped to you(usually for lots of sitting)

Stroller- My best advice would be NOT to get one of the car seat stroller combos. Those strollers just suck! get a stroller with a single wheel in the front. they are easier to steer. Strollers are good for extended outings where you need to carry around a diaper bag. I usually use it for walks or for trips to the mall(especially if shopping for clothes). We got a city-mini on clearance and have just loved it. I always hated the other stroller we got as a gift with our car seat and recently traded it at the Babies R US trade in event for 25% off our city-mini. We plan to get the car seat attachment for it for this kid. Another option is one of those click-n-go or something strollers for use with the car seat in the early days.

Monitors- we have audio ones. I would definitely get one if you have a large or two story house. Maybe even if you spend a lot of time outside. I really like the 35 dollar v-tech one.
http://www.vtechphones.com/products/product_detail/1704

Baby tubs- It probably depends a lot on your physical capability and bathing preferences... I guess if you could always bath with your baby or get down low and wash them in the bath it would be fine not to have one... I always just find it too awkward to bath tiny babies without a little tub. Maybe one that is just a seat that collapses could work better for minimalist life.
http://www.target.com/p/summer-infan...WOIRoCGAvw_wcB


Seats/rockers/swings etc.
I would get some kind of seat to put the baby in while you cook or shower. We use the Fisher Price infant to toddler rocker. My kids 3.5 and 1.5 each have one and use them daily. one of my kids liked swinging only side to side and the other hated the swing. Make sure you keep the receipt. Its nice to have one that plugs in but we don't and we lived through it.

Framed backpacks - I went hiking even while pregnant with a regular soft structured carrier and that was just fine. I think the more structured ones will be useful if you are doing hard core hiking where more stuff would need to be carried(like more than one diaper change and lunch and such)

A rocking chair/glider- It is so awkward to nurse in a glider. the arms get in the way. i tend to nurse with the baby's head laying on the arm and leaning slightly over to reach. We much prefer our recliner. Also great for when you rock int he we hours and fall asleep. My husband and I had horrible trouble with our butt falling asleep in the glider but the recliner I slept in for a couple months.

I am trying to think of what other baby gear we have..... Im going to bed. I will come back tomorrow if I think of anything...

Sarah- sahm to a little boy and girl with a third blessing due in Feb.
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#8 of 27 Old 08-18-2014, 06:11 AM
 
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The Amazon Mom program offers a one-year subscription to Amazon Prime for free. You get free 2 day shipping, free returns, and you can subscribe and save and get every day item cheaper. This was a life-saver for us. We had diapers delivered to our door (we use both cloth and disposable) and when the inevitable need for baby things came up, we could have it at our house in 2 days, no trip to the store required. It was awesome too to get paper towels, soaps, etc.. for postpartum days when I wasn't game to go into Costco.

The free returns were great for gear because I could retun something if it wasn't the right product for us without buckling everybody up and going to the store in the winter rains/snow.
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#9 of 27 Old 08-18-2014, 06:16 AM
 
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We were going to build another room in the basement since our kids have been boy, girl, boy, and not sure what this one is, but all of the kids are 4-5 years apart in age. So we were thinking of adding another bedroom, but I was worried that after that expense I would have nothing left over for baby items. So we finally came to the decision that we're going to wait on the room for a couple of years and my 8 year old girl and 3 year old boy are going to share a room and I will make the smallest room that the boy was in the nursery. This will be my first ever nursery. I usually have a child and then move to a bigger place by the time they are 1. And it should work because both of these kids are extroverts who are never in their rooms, anyway. So we used the money that would have gone to the room on a few things this weekend.

We got a super bunk bed (not a cheap $200 one like I got last time) for the older kids rooms. And for the nursery I actually got a glider, but this was no ordinary glider. I wanted to get one of the clearance gliders that just looks like a normal armchair, but they weren't comfortable or tall enough. But then I sat in one of these rocking chair looking gliders with the padded cushion and I was like, "Damn, this is the one," even though I don't like the way they look. And I don't even want to mention the price, it's wayyy too much. But this is my first ever nursery, and I'm getting older, so I'm going to do what is comfortable.

I also saw a clearance dresser on the floor, but turns out it wasn't $300, it was $700 and someone put the wrong tag on it, so I didn't get a dresser, I just got a cheaper changing table and will keep the taller dresser that's already in the room.

In 2010, my MIL bought us a Chicco stroller/car seat combo for just over $300 and I have kept it all this time. The infant car seat expires in 2016, so chances are I will not get any money out of it, it will just get recycled after this one. But the stroller, although it doesn't expire (let me know if it does, because I couldn't confirm that it does), won't be worth much if we ever do get rid of it.

Other than that, I'm not going to splurge on anything this pregnancy except for maybe another Ergo carrier and cloth diapers. If I end up with an especially fussy baby I might go buy a portable swing. I love them because they are cheaper and take up less room, but work just as well as the big ones.

Three kids and one on the way.
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#10 of 27 Old 08-18-2014, 06:21 AM
 
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Oh, and I agree with sarahknavy about the strollers with the one wheel in the front. Better if they are a jogging stroller with actual wheels that are like bicycle wheels (real rubber). I had one years ago that was great, but if you actually jogged with it, the front wheel would start to wobble. So if I ever buy another one it's going to be a Bob or some good brand. I think it was a Baby Trend, but can't remember anymore.

Three kids and one on the way.
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#11 of 27 Old 08-18-2014, 06:34 AM
 
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We're going to attempt to not put the baby in a car for as long as possible. I'm a homebody, anyway, and we live in an area where we can take walks and connect with other people. When we do go in the vehicle, it's mostly for shopping... a setting I'd prefer to keep little babe from anyway.

With my first we got all the goodies. And used a fraction of them. With my 2nd, I was a single mom living at my dad's, so the gear was very minimalist. A sling, some cloth diapers, a little chair. My dad did get some toys, but mostly there were no real "baby items" around. And he lived!!

I'm even more minimalist now, so will probably attempt (or have my husband) to make a sling. And cloth diapers again, though with my being home with the tot, I'm reading into elimination communication to maybe even keep the diapering needs to a minimum.

I agree with all you ladies that less is okay. The older I get, and the more contraptions that become available the more I realize that babyhood and new mother/fatherhood is a great opportunity for corporate america to convince "us" that we need all this junk, so profits will expand. No thanks. I'll keep my money, and a strong connection to my baby!

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#12 of 27 Old 08-18-2014, 08:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by forestlover75 View Post

  • Car seat
  • Stroller (and all the various car seat/stroller combo options)
  • Monitors
  • Baby tubs
  • Seats/rockers/swings etc.
  • Co-sleepers or life-hacked cribs (there's one using an Ikea crib that seems appealing)
  • Framed backpacks (for hiking when babe get's bigger)
  • A rocking chair/glider (do we need it?)
  • etc.?
Thanks for the discussion!
Car seat - I do a LOT of driving so this is a must. I am seriously thinking of not doing the infant seat this time though. I think if you bike, walk, or use public transportation all the time this may not have the same necessity though.
Stroller - I did a lot of walking with my last two so this was necessary. I usually don't do it until they are a little bigger, so it is not something I needed right away. If you do a lot of walking, I recommend getting a good one with the larger wheels like small bike wheels rather than the cheap plastic ones. They are sturdier and easier to push on uneven surfaces.
Monitors - I have already mentioned that I never used them. I have always lived in 700-800ish sq ft homes. You can either hear the baby or already have them pretty close.
Baby tubs - I used them with my first two. With my last, I didn't bother to get one and it was not a problem. They are pretty cheap though.
Seat/swings - I have had swings for all three. My oldest was the only one that really enjoyed it though. You have to be careful not to leave them in seats like that too much or they get flat spots on their heads.
Co-sleeper - I never used one. For the kids that I co-slept with, they were just in bed with me.
Framed back pack - I never used one.
Rocking chair/glider - I never had one.
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#13 of 27 Old 08-18-2014, 09:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by forestlover75 View Post
Can you elaborate on the difference between the infant vs. convertible (pros/cons) and tell me why you are going for the Cybex Aton Q?

Also what size bed do you have? I would bed share but we have a queen and my husband is 6'2... worried we will be seriously squished.

Thanks!
I forgot to mention - for the first three months, we all shared a queen. Then we moved from our one bedroom apartment into a two bedroom, and got a firm, latex king mattress. We love it, and can still bed share with our 3.5 year old comfortably (most of the time). The master bedroom in our current house is really big, and we're thinking of putting our full guest bed next to the king for DS to sleep on.



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#14 of 27 Old 08-18-2014, 01:31 PM
 
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Car seat- I will be selling the one I bought last time because I hated it. It still has a few years left on it, so it will be allowed at the local consignment sale. I probably won't get much for it though. I have another seat- a Britax convertible seat- that someone gave us. It's really nice, but it's too big and bulky. I might sell that too. I plan to just get a nicer Graco infant seat I think. The one we had for our first baby was great and it lasted through two kids.

Stroller- We bought a Graco double stroller last time and it's okay. I would like to get a nice umbrella stroller too. I plan to look for one at the consignment sale I mentioned above (I love the bi-annual sales!).

Monitors- Never use one because our house is small. If we had a house with stairs I would want one though. Might be good if you spend a lot of time outside too.

Baby tubs- I have the same tub I had for the first baby and I still hate how bulky it is. I've never seriously looked into other options though. I do bathe with the baby sometimes, but I can't do it all the time. Of course, I only give baths if the baby if getting icky (usually related to spitting up... all my babies have been huge pukers!).

Seats/rockers/swings etc.-A bouncy seat has been a must for me. I have a swing still and we usually get it out and try it, but the babies seem to like the seats better. Honestly, if I didn't already have a swing, I wouldn't buy one. They are too bulky.

Co-sleepers or life-hacked cribs- I don't co-sleep, except for the first tiny bit of time. However, I don't think expensive cribs and co-sleepers are necessary. We will be using a pack n play or cradle (that someone gave us) this time, depending on which one the baby likes best.

Framed backpacks- Unnecessary, unless you do a lot of hiking. We actually bought one with the first baby and used it once. 7 years later, I plan on selling it.

A rocking chair/glider- Not necessary, but can be nice. I have a glider already, but I plan on making new cushions for it. The ones on it now are so thin and uncomfortable! I just like rocking the baby... I don't nurse in it...to restrictive.

Corrie, "trad" Catholic, wife to DH and Mom to DD (4/07), DS (2/09), DD (2/11), DD (4/13), two angel babies. 
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#15 of 27 Old 08-19-2014, 05:52 AM
 
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  • Car seat
If you ever drive, a car seat is a necessity. I live in the country, so I have to have a car seat. I can't even walk to Dollar General, let alone the grocery store or anywhere else. If you live in a big city with public transportation and don't even own a car, then no, you wouldn't need one I guess... though if you use a hospital, I think they usually make you have one.


Infant vs. convertible... One thing I wanted to point out is that many convertible car seats don't fit newborns very well. For example, Britax convertibles are highly rated, but my kids usually didn't fit in our Roundabout until 4 months of age! Now Britax may have changed in the last 5 years since I used one with a newborn, but it's something to be aware of. You can research your car seat choice on car-seat.org forums and see if the convertible you want to use will actually fit a newborn (don't just go by the lower weight limit - Britax had 5 lbs as their lower weight limit on that Roundabout, and there was NO WAY a 5 lb baby was going to fit properly in that seat I had). Infant seats are designed to fit newborns. It's also handy during winter to be able to bundle baby in the car seat in the house, then run out and click the seat into the car, then run seat back to the next building you're entering, then remove baby. Of course, if you don't live in a place that has "winter", this might not be an issue. I'm in Alabama, and I appreciate being able to do all the harnessing and such in the house. Remember that baby can't wear thick clothing or a coat in the car seat. They need to have normal clothing layers, then after buckling, you can place a blanket over them.

  • Stroller (and all the various car seat/stroller combo options)
This again depends on where you live and how much you would actually use it. I had a cheap ($40) stroller from Target that I got for #1 . I hardly ever used it. It was good to have one for the times I did need it, but I mostly wore my babies. Mine did not hold an infant, however, and there were times I would have appreciated being able to put an infant in a stroller - the biggie being trying on clothes postpartum when NOTHING FITS and you're going insane. Of course, if you have someone with you when trying on clothes, you can just have them hold the baby while you try things on. So a friend or family member can replace the stroller in that instance.
  • Monitors
I have a two-story house, so a monitor was a necessity for us. We actually used an intercom system rather than baby monitors, but it's the same basic thing. We had intercoms all over, so if baby was napping in my room and I was in my den (which was supposed to be a garage in the house plans, and thus it has brick walls and doesn't pass on sound from the rest of the house very well), I could still hear if baby woke up. Or later on when baby was upstairs in his own bedroom, I could hear him during the night from my downstairs bedroom and feed him as necessary. I usually didn't move my babies up there until they were sleeping most of the night (around 2 months old for all 3 of my kids), but they then have a wakeup period around 4-6 months when some major milestones are hit and there are growth spurts and such, that they start waking at night again for a little while.


I don't think you need a video monitor. A cheap audio is fine. And again, that is only if your house is large/multi-story, etc. If you're co-sleeping and baby naps only one room away during the day, you won't need a monitor. You can hear babies one or two rooms away usually.

  • Baby tubs
I don't bathe babies very often. They really don't get dirty (I spot cleaned necks from pukies and butts during diaper changes). But you can use your clean kitchen sink if you need to.

  • Seats/rockers/swings etc.
I really appreciated having multiple bouncy chairs. I NEVER used the vibration settings or anything. I prefer non-electronic toys for my kids at young ages. I've been known to take batteries out before handing a child a new toy. The bouncy chairs were just a place to put baby. One had no toy bar. The other had a toy bar that my kids did enjoy playing with. I used bouncy chair to take a shower, cook, etc. I have large dogs and young boys, so having a safe place to put baby down is a must in my house. The floor isn't safe here.


I had a swing for my oldest, and I used it some, but I didn't find it necessary. I never even pulled it out for #2 , and I sold it while pregnant with #3 , knowing I wouldn't use it. Never missed it! It took up a lot of room, and as others have mentioned, I didn't want baby to require movement in order to sleep.

  • Co-sleepers or life-hacked cribs (there's one using an Ikea crib that seems appealing)
I'm a co-sleeping dropout. I tried it with #1 , but a) he had spent 4 weeks in the NICU and was used to sleeping alone, b) when I did have him sleeping with me, I couldn't turn over as much as I like to (I switch left and right sides several times during the night), so I was in much pain, and c) DH didn't feel comfortable with him being on his side because he would roll over on baby (he's rolled over on cats in the middle of the night, and baby really is no different for him when he's dead asleep). Point b was my main reason for not even trying again. Too much pain for me. I need to be able to flip and flop at will, without worrying about squishing something (my cats will move out of the way if I start to roll on them).


Instead, I use a pack-n-play in our room for the first couple months. There is usually a period of time for about a few weeks (around weeks 3-6ish) that I end up sleeping in the recliner in the den with baby on my chest. My kids all had reflux, and I realized on baby #3 that it was overactive letdown/oversupply on my part, so I was basically drowning the kids. Block feeding helped a lot, and #3 had less problems with the reflux issue and thus less time sleeping in the recliner on my chest.


I also had a crib upstairs in the baby's room, and I used it for naps fairly early on, just so baby would be used to the crib. No sense putting baby upstairs while we're still in waking 3 times per night phase, but once it's down to once or twice, I go ahead and use the crib at night also. But since they've napped there from the beginning, it's no big deal to move them there at night also. I also like that the pack-n-play is wide like a crib, so the transition between the two is not so bad (not like a narrow bassinet to a crib).



  • Framed backpacks (for hiking when babe get's bigger)
I don't hike, so I've never needed this. I use a soft structured carrier for walks, and love that. I usually have many baby carriers, but this time I plan to have my SSC (which I kept from the last kid) and some woven wraps in a few different sizes.

  • A rocking chair/glider (do we need it?)
I liked having a glider in baby's room for nursing. I'm tall, so the arms didn't get in the way for me. I had a $100 set from Walmart, and at 10 years old, it's still going. I use it for bedtime read aloud with my older kids now. I'll probably buy another one for baby's room, because I can't lose my chair for reading time in the boys' room. When baby gets mobile, I quickly teach them not to get in the way of the glider (and sometimes bumping their head teaches them for me). I don't use the stool (it's hidden away somewhere).


I highly, highly, highly recommend having a comfortable recliner you can sleep in though. We bought a nice, wide recliner when I was pregnant with #1 , and that chair has been much loved over the years. Daddy could nap with baby in it. Mommy could watch TV while baby naps in it. An adult and a young child can sit side-by-side in it. Actually, we used to sometimes have all 3 kids on top of DH in that chair during movie time. Though they're a bit big for that now. My 5 year old will still cuddle with us in that chair. And if baby needs to sleep more upright, that chair is wonderful. Not quite as comfortable as laying down in a bed, but it's not too bad for the short time that we have to sleep like that. That chair was worth whatever we paid for it 10+ years ago.

Mama to Tornado Boy (6/04), The Brute (11/06), and Mischief (05/09)... expecting in February '15
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So much helpful info! Thanks!

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Now I only buy what is essential for baby when they first come, and then see the needs of the baby and for the family as a whole.
I like this approach. When I was working with families postpartum, I saw them so overloaded with stuff they didn't need (and all the accompanying boxes and put-together instructions) that is was quite distracting and overwhelming, and got in the way of the real work of new parenthood.

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we bought an Arm's Reach for DD2. It was better and she slept in there for 6 months. I did find it to be cumbersome because the mattress itself is lower than our mattress, and she slept curled against my side for most of the night.
This is a concern for me. Our bed is really high up and I don't want to set myself up for more back, shoulder, carpel tunnel issues than I need to. That said, I love having something on wheels that is semi-portable so I can pull baby around with me in the early weeks. Hmmm... going to have to figure this one out. Or perhaps wait and see what my actual needs are after birth.

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Really, I think if you can find a car seat, and a sleeping place, plus diapers and clothes you'll be all set for the first bit. You'll learn what your baby likes, how you parent, and what you find handy.
Sounds good.

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Car seat- definitely would get an infant bucket seat. I don't spend a lot of money on this one because it isn't used for too long. It is really nice for things like church or dinner where it is awkward to have a baby strapped to you(usually for lots of sitting)
This is what I am wondering. I don't want my baby to spend most of its first 3 months in a car seat (have seen this too often), but I wonder if it is a handy thing to have for some situations (especially for a baby that is a difficult sleeper and would be roused to easily being removed every time we go somewhere). However we are big on low-impact living and the fact that they are not really reusable is a disincentive. Going to have to do some continued thinking on this one.

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Stroller- My best advice would be NOT to get one of the car seat stroller combos. Those strollers just suck! get a stroller with a single wheel in the front. they are easier to steer.
Good to know. I know I prefer the 3 wheeled strollers, but wasn't sure how they are for small infants. I suppose avoiding a stroller for small infants would promote my desire to wear baby as much as possible.


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I always just find it too awkward to bath tiny babies without a little tub. Maybe one that is just a seat that collapses could work better for minimalist life.
Yeah, little one's can get pretty slippery! We do have a comfortable, but not particularly spacious home, so not having the extra gear would be helpful. Thanks for the seat idea. I will look into it.

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With my first we got all the goodies. And used a fraction of them...there were no real "baby items" around. And he lived!!
I think I am going for something in the middle (maybe swayed towards the latter) for us!

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I agree with all you ladies that less is okay. The older I get, and the more contraptions that become available the more I realize that babyhood and new mother/fatherhood is a great opportunity for corporate america to convince "us" that we need all this junk, so profits will expand. No thanks. I'll keep my money, and a strong connection to my baby!
Absolutely agreed on this one. I am not interested in promoting the consumerism that has replaced cultural value for infants and parenthood in this country! I take an anthropological view and think we have created rituals (as any culture does), however here they are about buying things as a form of preparation, vs. emotional and spiritual preparation. And I think the unfortunate byproduct is that we create barriers between us and our babies... All that said, I also know that I live in a world that I don't have control of and I want to be somewhat adaptable so I don't get totally isolated. So I am going for a minimalist meets realist approach. I like all the suggestions to "wait and see". That makes so much sense.

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I forgot to mention - for the first three months, we all shared a queen. Then we moved from our one bedroom apartment into a two bedroom, and got a firm, latex king mattress. We love it, and can still bed share with our 3.5 year old comfortably (most of the time)
Good to know the queen was sufficient for the first three months. I am jealous of your king! Our room is pretty small, but we will be moving out of faculty housing in July, so depending on where we go next, a king is possible. I like the idea of a crib lifehack that we can just slip next to our bed seamlessly to ensure we have enough space. The ikea cribs become toddler beds, so seems feasible. Just have the issue of our bed being pretty tall... may have to get handy to make it work.

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Originally Posted by cagnew View Post
A bouncy seat has been a must for me. I have a swing still and we usually get it out and try it, but the babies seem to like the seats better.
Ok this is helpful. I definitely don't want a ton of contraptions. Bouncy may be a good start, just for those moments when I need to pee or something and need a safe place to lay the babe. I also want to avoid over-mechanizing. Hoping the baby can get used to gentle, human movements to soothe. (Easy said now when I don't have the baby though!)

Thanks everyone for this discussion. This is exactly the kind of information I had hoped to get. Very helpful

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#17 of 27 Old 08-19-2014, 06:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had a issue with using anything that vibrated. I felt like, why get my son accustom to a sensation that I cannot create. What if I ran out of batteries?
I once had a client who was struggling with a baby who had a hard time sleeping. I arrived one day and she had a beaming smile and said "I got him to sleep in his crib, come look". We walked up to the room and she opened the door and there he was swaddled in a bouncy seat on the highest level of vibrate -- set in the crib! That baby refused to sleep thereon out if he wasn't in the bouncy seat on vibrate. So, yeah, I am with you on this one! That said, I have seen the desperation of an exhausted mama looking for a solution for the sake of her sanity. I will hope for the best, but know that every baby is different... I am prepared to be humbled by our little bundle!

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#18 of 27 Old 08-19-2014, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Infant seats are designed to fit newborns. It's also handy during winter to be able to bundle baby in the car seat in the house, then run out and click the seat into the car, then run seat back to the next building you're entering, then remove baby.
This is a great point and may have just made my decision for me: I will be giving birth in Massachusetts in FEBRUARY! This means, the dead of winter. I think it would be cruel not to use and infant seat! Thanks for that reminder!

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there were times I would have appreciated being able to put an infant in a stroller - the biggie being trying on clothes postpartum when NOTHING FITS and you're going insane. Of course, if you have someone with you when trying on clothes, you can just have them hold the baby while you try things on. So a friend or family member can replace the stroller in that instance.
Sadly, while I have tons of family and community in the West, I am fairly alone here on the East coast, so again, your points may have swayed me. I know the combo stroller may kind of suck, but one of those frames that I can put the infant seat on and throw the diaper bag under may be a must have for me in lieu of friends and family!

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I've been known to take batteries out before handing a child a new toy.
YES! I am pretty much anti electronics for infants. I tell parents "consider them baby video games". We are planning to stick with wood and fabric for this one. There are so many awesome ways to promote development through interaction and nature that are more beneficial than the scary interactive toys of today. No need for robotics in this house!

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#19 of 27 Old 08-19-2014, 06:36 AM
 
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I am always so happy when I see other people think like me I HATE the birthing/baby business, and @forestlover75 nailed it- it's replacing the value of the baby and parenthood in many ways. The checklist that Babies R Us gives you as a new parent when you go to register is a great example. You do not need most of that stuff. It's totally overwhelming and it's all about getting money from a group of vulnerable and (usually) clueless people. They've already prepped people to think, "Babies are expensive, that's the way it is, get ready to go into debt," so it's the perfect scenario for companies.

Don't get me wrong- I'm all about having something here and there to make things a little easier. The bouncy seat is my "cheat." I don't usually use the vibrator option because I see no point in it, and my kids liked to be manually bounced in it. The cheaper bouncy seats are actually better for this. But one of the best things I use the seat for are to take a shower. I can put the baby in the seat right outside the tub and I know he/she is safe and content.

I love the kitchen sink for baths. I still throw my 16 month old in it when she makes a mess all over herself eating. IN fact, when I use the infant tub, I stick it in the sink instead of the tub because it's much easier on my back.

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#20 of 27 Old 08-19-2014, 07:21 AM
 
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On the reusability of infant car seats... They CAN be reused. If you are planning on more than one child, you can use them for up to usually 6 years after their manufacturing date. So you might get 2-3 uses or even more if you space your kids close together. You can also sell/give the seat to a friend who is having a first baby. I used "used" infant car seats with all 3 of my kids. I got them from friends who had used them with their kids and were done using them. They were within the expiration dates and had never been in accidents (my friends had bought them new). You can also sell car seats at consignment sales if they have not expired. I personally wouldn't buy one there, but some people have to, so it's a blessing on them to provide a safe seat that hasn't been in an accident. I'm currently looking for an infant seat from friends, as I'd rather not pay for a new seat when this really IS my last child. If I have to pay for a new seat, I'll get one of the Graco Snugrides that Walmart has for under $100 that still has front adjust (you don't want the rear adjust version, and not all stores have the front adjust version of the cheaper Gracos... grrrr!). I've always used Graco Snugrides and been happy with them.

Once the seat is expired, then yes, you have to chuck it. That's a hard thing to do, but it must be done. Though there is a family on my street that turned a car seat into a tree swing. I thought that was a great idea!

Mama to Tornado Boy (6/04), The Brute (11/06), and Mischief (05/09)... expecting in February '15
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#21 of 27 Old 08-20-2014, 09:05 PM
 
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This has been such a helpful discussion! I spent a couple hours walking around Buy Buy Baby recently and got SO overwhelmed. I know I don't really need all that stuff, but it's hard to know what truly is needed. I've been using this thread to make myself a list of must-haves to research. I would also like to stay in the somewhat minimalist range of baby gear.

What about pumping supplies? My sister is giving me her pump, and I know I will need to get a refresh kit for it. Does anyone have recommendations on breastmilk storage? I have looked at the Kiinde system, but don't know if that's overkill. I'm pretty clueless as to how much I'll need to pump and store though. I plan to be off work for 3-6 months, so the pumping/storage situation won't become critical until then (I think???). Travel is also part of my job, although I can probably arrange to not do any traveling for a while after returning to work, and not more than one night at a time until the baby is older.
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#22 of 27 Old 08-21-2014, 06:09 AM
 
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sarahjs, what I didn't know until I breastfed is that pumping doesn't work as well as a baby's mouth. There is something about the baby's cry and smell that allows for your milk to 'let down'. You may also find yourself quitting that job if that is an option. Three to six months is plenty of time to practice with the pump, though. Sorry, I don't mean to be a downer about your job, there's just something so wonderful about breastfeeding. I think it's criminal that our society doesn't allow for mothers to just take the first year off, no questions asked, and support it with tax dollars the way we do other forms of welfare. Just so that moms can breastfeed on demand without the use of technology.

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#23 of 27 Old 08-21-2014, 06:34 AM
 
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I think it's criminal that our society doesn't allow for mothers to just take the first year off, no questions asked, and support it with tax dollars the way we do other forms of welfare. Just so that moms can breastfeed on demand without the use of technology.
I absolutely agree with this. I feel lucky already that I am able to take off more than the 6 weeks that many mothers are restricted to due to financial reasons. My husband and I both have well-paying jobs, and we have set up our financial situation to be supported by one of our incomes, if we had to. It would mean a slight change in lifestyle (not going out to eat as often, for example), but it's doable.

With that being said, I don't think I would want to quit my job completely, as I enjoy what I do. I know that thought may change once I have the baby. I have just recently considered the option of the additional 90 days of unpaid leave, to put me at almost 6 months off total. My boss and I discussed it, and he is supportive of whatever I want to do, including if that means starting back to work part time or working from home. Another factor is that if I do go back to work at the office, it is very close to home, and I could go home to breastfeed at lunch (the plan is to have a caregiver in our home). So between 6 months at home with the baby, being able to breastfeed before and after work and once during the day, I would be minimizing the need to pump and store (I hope, I am clueless how often babies need to eat by that age).
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#24 of 27 Old 08-21-2014, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone have recommendations on breastmilk storage? I have looked at the Kiinde system, but don't know if that's overkill. I'm pretty clueless as to how much I'll need to pump and store though. I plan to be off work for 3-6 months, so the pumping/storage situation won't become critical until then (I think???).
My sister-in-law works full time and pumped for her two little ones (1 and 2). I will check in with her and get some ideas for you.

While I agree @Valerie11 that it is criminal that our culture so undervalues care work (some very interesting literature about this, including about the economic value of breastfeeding, by feminist economist Nancy Folbre), double incomes are an economic reality for a lot of (most) families in this day, particularly for low income women who don't even get maternity leave because they are not salaried (which is why we see such low breastfeeding rates in lower income families). And also for higher income women whose lifestyles, or careers demand that they remain in the workforce, or who have the higher salary than their partner. Not to mention we are a nation full of single moms for whom staying home is simply not an option at all.

So while I think it is helpful to encourage those who have choices to think carefully about how to make the best ones for them, and their families, I would also think these decisions are incredibly intimate and can even be painful for women who do not have the choice to take time off.

Without getting too deep into the issues that can bring up guilt and fear, I like to tell moms, "think about a plan B or C if you have one, just in case what you are thinking now doesn't work for you, your baby or your family. For various reasons, many moms wish they had planned to take more time off, so if that's an option for you, think about how you can make it a possibility"

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#25 of 27 Old 08-22-2014, 08:48 PM
 
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I worked full-time or nearly full-time throughout both my older children's infancies. I pumped and nursed my son for a year, then continued nursing on demand for 18 months after that; and pumped exclusively for my daughter for 16 months total. It's doable. I have millions of thoughts and resources (which we may want to put into another thread, if we find this commands a lot of our collective attention?), but gear-wise: You want an excellent pump and decent storage supplies. I have found that a fairly basic Ameda pump did the trick when it was just to supplement breastfeeding while away from my son, but when I was EPing for my daughter, Medela was the bomb. The consensus out there seems to be that the Pump in Style gets the most consistently good results for the most mothers, and I agreed and liked the PiS a lot; many women love the Freestyle--I absolutely hated it. For top, top, top of the line, you simply cannot do better than a Medela Symphony, but those are truly ridiculous to purchase ($1500 for a breast pump! Not kidding!!), and quite burdensomely expensive to rent (~$75/month in my market). I still plan to rent a Symphony for at least the first month of this child's life, but that's cleft paranoia talking so it shouldn't be applicable to you! You will not actually need a Symphony.
For storage, we liked the Lansinoh bags; they freeze the flattest and are consequently the most efficient to store in your freezer. They are also some of the higher-quality bags I've seen, although their manufacturing has declined since my son was born in 2009. I don't know a ton about the Kiinde system--I've seen it and been intrigued, but if I'm being honest with you it strikes me as overkill and I wouldn't be inclined to spend the money. My Lansinoh bags suited me fine for twenty-eight months.

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#26 of 27 Old 08-23-2014, 04:03 PM
 
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Lansinoh bags are good. I babysit for a cute little bundle and at first, her mom used medela bags. They are HORRIBLE! and leak like crazy!!!! Just a heads up!

Sewing, gardening, home birthing, co-sleeping, extended nursing, cloth diapering, baby-wearing, home schooling, attachment parenting busy mommy to dd1 (7), dd2 (4), ds (1) and two in heaven. 
 
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#27 of 27 Old 08-24-2014, 08:09 PM
 
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Yup. Can. Not. Stand Medela bags. Go figure, since I'm such a devotee of their pumps, but their milk storage I can absolutely do without.

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