Baby Stuff: The What and Why

Last weekend my parents drove down from Seattle to help us buy a bunch of baby things. And buy a bunch I mean ALL OF THE THINGS, with the exception of a few items I needed to research more, or that our one-stop-shop location didn’t carry. Even though we aren’t doing a baby shower, both our parents and my grandparents wanted to pitch in and help.

Since even before we got pregnant we did a lot of research on what kinds of products were out there and what things actually cost. I really had no effing clue how much we would be spending and on what. Plus! We wanted to make sure we could physically fit a crib and a baby into our 1 bedroom apartment before we even started in on the whole baby thing.

As far as products go, it helped that I had done an internship for a parenting website last fall and had written a lot a lot a lot of product reviews. So, even before I was pregnant I knew that 1) there were products out there that would fit into our life and 2) nothing was as expensive as I feared it would be. Of course you can spend as much as you want and as much as you have – just like wedding world. You can buy lots and lots of things, or you can by not so many things. We have friends who rocked hard in baby land and had lots of doo-dads for baby to play with, lots of different soothing chairs, lots of baby gyms and stuffed animals, etc etc. But I’m more in the “let’s get something that will last as long as possible so we don’t have to buy another one for a year” camp. How can we buy 1 thing that will take the place of 5 without spending obnoxious amounts? This has been my angle during research and purchase. And so far – though it is yet to be determined – I think we are doing ok. So, in case you are in the same boat as me, or are thinking about being in the same boat as me, let’s break it down.


This is the DaVinci Kalani mini crib. And it is $145.00. I thought cribs started at $500 dollars, but it turns out that’s not true. While figuring out what cribs I liked and what cribs would fit, I felt really crappy about not being able to fit very many cribs into our room. I felt like it was something I was settling on and instead of a cool, hip, modern, edgy, badass, not-over-the-top-yet-perfect-crib, I would be getting a meh crib that fit. I was resigned to the meh feeling until we finally saw this crib in real life (online research is the only way to go when you feel horribly hungover for 4+ months). Turns out! This is actually an adorable, classic, solid crib. And now that I have it home and unpacked, it doesn’t feel like settling at all. It feels completely perfect.

We opted to not get  a traditional changing table and instead bought the Hemnes 8 drawer dresser from Ikea. It was $300.00 and will afford us enough top space for diapers/wipes/changing pad/etc and has an added bonus of enough drawer space so that mommy (me) can shove the sweatshirts and pajama pants that have been living on top of my grown up dresser. Ha-Cha-Cha two-fer! I’m not showing off our room yet because I haven’t completed the finishing touches (like new awesome knobs for the ikea dresser, wall art, blahblahblah). We also plan on getting Velcro tape and Velcro-ing the changing pad to the top of the dresser to prevent slippage. Voila.

This was the one thing I knew going into baby-stuff-buying that I wanted to splurge on. This is the Bumbleride Indie and we paid $480, but it’s on Amazon for $386. We made the decision to not order things online because we have limited experience with baby items in real life and wanted to touch and feel and test drive…. and not pay for shipping. Also this stoller is in black/grey… I wanted the seagrass/teal option but they didn’t carry that color in store and when it came down to it I cared more about getting it all handled than I did about waiting/paying for shipping for the other color. It has an SPF fabric sun protector, is super adjustable in lots of different ways, easy to push and collapse, and is awesome for walking trails, the mall, the beach, whatever. Plus we can stick our car seat on it for as long as is convenient. Maybe you can’t splurge on anything or maybe you can splurge on all of the things! We did so much review reading, so much “sorting by best rated” before settling on an item, so much discussing of what was really important to us, where we wanted the dollars to go – there is a chance that maybe we care more than the average bear, but we debated almost every item. Color, expense, all of it. Even though it was annoying at times, the payout is having a house full of baby stuff that we’re totally content with. And though it is still yet to be seen – I have no regrets on any purchase big or small.

Car Seat! We have the Graco 35 Snugride. It fits with our stroller, will be good for the baby until it’s 35 lbs, and will probably prevent death in a car accident. Win! We paid $170.00. The weirdest things about buying baby stuff are the warning labels. I didn’t read any of them because this is pretty much what they say, “If you use this item in a certain way IT WILL KILL YOUR BABY.” That’s a whole lot of fear shoved right up the butt of new parenthood. No thanks. I’ll do my best to not kill my kid, I will use common sense and the latest safety technology. Beyond that – sometimes shit happens. Sometimes kids die. That would be a horrible horrible heart breaking tragedy, but I can’t pour over every possible death scenario. Life is messy.

And because Kamel loves tech and I love love love 1 product that does 15 things, we got the MamaRoo! It moves in a bunch of different ways and mimics the way mom’s and dad’s move and sway. This is our one soothing chair and was $200. This is our ridiculous play toy thing. The kid may love it, or tolerate it, but we were really excited to get it. And that’s part of the point of all of this right? It’s all “for the kid” but… it’s really for the parents. If you are interested in the MamaRoo you should check out the video on the website explaining how it works. It’s mesmerizing!

We also got an Ergo Carrier with stars on it. I tried it on using an All Detergent bottle as my baby stand-in. It’s really comfortable and I’ll show you more on that at a later date. For now though, I need to go vote!

23 thoughts on “Baby Stuff: The What and Why”

  1. I love that your choices were so well thought out and debated. Best best best. Also … you guys chose killer stuff! Baby Gabe is a lucky kid. ::grins::

    Plus, that’s my … well, Jon’s … dresser. (I have the 4 drawer.) We love it! Solid, and wears VERY well. =) )

  2. This is super interesting because I have zero exposure to baby things, and so I figured everything would be ridiculously expensive… but a crib for less than $200? That’s really not so terrible! Also, that dresser is boss. I want one.

    1. That’s exactly where we were coming from. Everyone says all baby things cost an arm and a leg, and when we really looked into what we needed and what we wanted, it ended up not being so bad. I mean, we’re buying real life furniture – which is always more expensive than I want it to be (a new couch? FORGET IT)… and there ARE way bigger/ornate/styled cribs and furniture that do cost more… it’s just like weddings – we had to decide what was important to us and where we wanted the money to go.

    2. Ditto! Even though we’re not on the kid-train, this was rather fascinating. I was led to believe all baby things were SUPER expensive.

      And yeah, that dresser IS boss.

  3. Hi Gabe!! Omigosh the physicality of your new digs with the baby stuff makes Gabe way more real 🙂 hi Gabe!

    ps: you rock. I love the MamaRoo 🙂 I’ve heard such great things from other moms like you that it is a solid purchase and mesmerizes the kiddo also.

    pps: so many things are over-priced in kiddo land, it’s true, but I’m so glad you were able to do the research and find the things that would be usable and affordable BUT also would crossover into toddler and adult life too!

    ppss: Ross. Enough said.

  4. Huzzah baby stuff! We have a Graco 35 Snugride and I use it with a Snap and Go to get around most of the time. Super easy and light weight. You can get your carseat installation inspected for free at a lot of places around the area. We had ours installed properly so the inspection was only 5 min but apparently about 90% of people don’t quite get their car seats installed right. If you need a list of places let me know!

    Also, if you’re interested in baby carriers it was the one thing I found most confusing. I tried a bunch and the most comfortable and easy to use one I found was actually made by someone locally (San Jose): http://www.kiddococoon.com/
    It’s comfortable like the wraps but easier (I am often too uncoordinated to do a lot of tying with a fussy child).

    1. Doh I just saw that you got an Ergo. Never mind the carrier recommendation then. Or if the Ergo is not good for baby Gabe when he is tiny you might look into that recommendation. Zach (our baby) didn’t like his little legs squished up so I am saving our Ergo like carrier for when he is a little bigger.

  5. Philosophical part of the comment: Yes – I think any stage of life you’re in benefits from conscientious thinking about money, possessions and priorities. Of course, we’ve always had the freedom to make decisions about which things to buy, but it doesn’t always feel that way when considering marketing, familial and cultural pressures.

    Non-philosophical part of the comment: I love that Hemnes dresser. Every time I see it at Ikea with the pretty drawer linings, The blue is such a great color and bonus points for the extra storage!

    1. Yes, completely. 1) there are the pressures of “no you HAVE to get this one.” and 2) I realize that I am coming from a certain level of privilege. There will always be those who make less than me and always those who make more. I’m coming from a very specific demographic and YET! the pressure still exists, the little voice that says “you aren’t doing this right” and “you should get the better one with more do-hickeys and knobs and thingies attached!” It’s hard to ignore and pave your own path.

      I didn’t get any of these things second hand, but you totally could! There is a booming rummage sale, thrift store world of baby things.

      1. Also depending on the life stages of your friends and family there can sometimes be hand me downs, which come with the added bonus of knowing how they were cared for and possibly having seen them in action. Less choice, but sometimes that’s ok too.

  6. Eeee psyched about this post! At T minus 3 months, we have not gotten a single. motherlovin. baby thing yet. And it’s starting to poke at the back of my brain. So it’s wonderful to see some inspiration/info and starting places.

    (As tempting as it is to show this to my husband and just say “Well these guys obviously have good taste, let’s just get what they got,” I GUESS we should do some research of our own…) 🙂

    1. Oh Annie! Please when you are next in the Bay Area look me up, cuz lady you made my whole LIFE with that comment. hahahaha. And though I have yet to even have one iota of an urge to buy anything baby related – my need to plan and prepare won over. So I totally get it.

      I don’t even have the urge to buy little hats. Thankfully my in laws do. hahaha

  7. I’m so impressed with all of your research and extremely smart buys!! I now wish we were pregnant at the same time… I could have used your help!! I am SO excited for you and Kamel… you’re off to a great start!! BTW, your parents are AWESOME!! (I’m sure you already know this!)

  8. Im still rallying for a pre-baby-non-shower-get-together where we bring diapers and beer. And play with the kinect. And eat croissant wrapped twix bars. 🙂

  9. Ok, I’m not gonna lie. When you said you weren’t having a baby shower, I thought this was going to be one of those situations where the baby comes, and the parents are totally in denial/unprepared and have to take the baby home in a hospital onesie (or birth center onesie ((woot birth centers! (((btw, I can’t wait to read that blog entry!))) But so anyway, from the looks of this post, you’ve totes got this covered!!! Go team!

  10. Totally unsolicited baby gear comment, but I have a five-month old at home and I live in a smallish NYC apartment and had no desire to buy all the baby things. The one item that ruled my world was the Bjorn Balance Babysitter. Expensive, but worth every last penny. It grows with the kid and folds up into nothing and I even take it with me when we go visiting/family parties. It’s the bomb.

  11. lauren, after following your blog for ages i just trust your judgment so much! thank you for your product suggestions! i get really overwhelmed when comparison shopping, so seeing this was insanely helpful!! as always, best of luck to you and your growing family!

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