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Baby Gear! (Before Baby)

I’ve had a couple of requests for more info on the baby gear we’ve (ok, I’ve, because the Boy has thrown up his hands every time I ask for help) decided to go with.  So here it is.  Realize this is all pre-baby, and Henry might just hate some – or all – of this stuff.  In which case I’ll try to update this post with a post-baby entry as well.

Once a geeky, gear-head librarian type, always a geeky, gear-head librarian type, it seems…


After much deliberation, I went with a 2010 Bugaboo Bee.  I live in gucci-stroller central, where nannies push babies more often than moms do, and so while I knew I wasn’t looking at a cheap stroller, there was one that caught my eye on the street over & over, mostly because it wasn‘t as overdone as many of the others I’ve seen (UPPAbaby, the other Bugaboos, Stokke, etc.)  Besides being adorable, the 2010 Bee had most of the things I was really looking for in a stroller.

  • folds down into a single piece, with the seat attached.
  • fairly lightweight (17#)
  • can face front or rear
  • can take a car seat, specifically a maxi cosi mico (though I think it also takes the Gracos)
  • narrow enough to take into stores without running over others’ toes.
  • adjustable push handle (I’m 5’2″, my husband is 6’3″)
  • room under baby-seat for groceries.
  • pushes like a dream.  Seriously, I’m a sucker for well-engineered non-motorized things with wheels.  Meaning I couldn’t care less about cars, but high end bicycles?  I swoon!  This falls into that “WANT!” category.  As soon as I pushed it around the BabiesRUs showroom, I knew that this was it.
  • Cons?  Ok, mostly, just that it’s STUPIDLY expensive.  Like, I’m embarrassed to admit how expensive it is.  My first car cost less than this stroller does.  (Of course, this stroller probably goes faster than my first car, but I digress.)  Seriously, this is a ridiculously extravagant purchase, especially for someone like me who’s essentially thrifty, but hey – my MIL sprang for it, I’ll likely be getting many thousands of miles of use out of this stroller just in the first year – Brooklyn is HEAVILY geared toward walking, I’m a walker by nature, and, well, most of my baby fantasies involve walking with my baby.

Plus it’s just plain adorable.  So there.


Too many of the cribs we saw were scarily ornate.  Features.  On a crib.  Folks, to my way of thinking, a crib is merely a cage with a mattress at the bottom.  I felt really strongly about not getting one with a drop side – too damned many recalls, and they’re already outlawed in most other countries.  So a fixed side crib that wasn’t made of plastic should have been easy to find, right?  Hah.  Fortunately, IKEA came through for me here (though they seem to have discontinued the matching changing table before I could buy one, the bastards!)  The Gulliver in Birch is sturdy, unobtrusively simple, and, well, it was cheap.  As cheap as a cage with a mattress on the bottom should be.  Cons?  Not a one so far.  It was easy to set up, it adheres to all safety standards both here & in Europe, and it’s non-toxic.


Because I’m planning on breastfeeding, and because I’ve heard that it sort of sucks, waking up every 2-3 hours for the first 6 weeks+ to do so, I felt pretty strongly about NOT having to go into the next room to collect the screaming baby in order to let him snack at 4am.  In fact, I feel pretty strongly about not getting out of bed at 4am at all.  So.  But there’s no way Henry could hold his own in our bed as a co-sleeper, what with me, the Boy, and the whippet all overlapping limbs & pillows on our queen sized mattress.  Enter…

The Arm’s Reach Mini Co-Sleeper!  It’s designed to cinch in tight to the side of my bed, so I can heft Henry over to the Boobie-snack bar without actually getting up, and can get him back to his safe baby-place afterward without having to worry that he’ll get stepped on by the wonder whippet while he’s peacefully sleeping.  I’m really hoping that the cinched-in-close-to-the-bed thing works as well as it looks like it will, but even if not, being able to just reach over for him instead of leaving the room, etc. will be a sanity saver, I’m thinking.

Car seat:

To be honest, car seats are sort of overkill for here – I can’t remember the last time I drove my car.  Shoot, my hospital doesn’t even require you to bring a car seat to bring home baby, because they recognize that most folks are going home in a taxi, and in NYC, you don’t have to carry baby in a car seat in a taxi.  Go figure.

But, I of course, want to be able to bring Henry with us on our upcoming NH junkets.  And that trip to the World Fantasty Convention in October that the Boy’s trying to persuade me will be FUN with a 6-week-old, and the road trip out west we’re planning on for next spring to visit family and friends.  So.

First let me say that car seats are outrageously heavy and bulky and awkward, and for the most part, hideous.  So I went with one that was supported by the stroller I want, because Henry will probably be in it more in his stroller than in my car.  And I went with ‘chili’ color, which is more like a really bright salmon color.  (Hot pink, if you’re not feeling subtle.  Ah well.  Non-gender defined color schemes are a good thing, and god knows everyone who’s bought him clothes has gone for blue.)  The Maxi-Cost Mico!

I dislike bells & whistles on baby-gear.  I also get hives when the concept of baby-entertainment/education comes up.  My kid will only listen to Mozart if he likes Mozart, I say.  And if it needs a battery, he doesn’t need it for at least a few more years.  Which means 90% of the walkers/jumpers/swings/entertainment units on the market are not for us.

But I knew I wanted somewhere to stash the baby while I cook or shower or try to get the feeling back in my arms after holding him for 12 straight hours.  You know.  So I knew I wanted a


And this one came recommended and was “free” with points on my Amex card.  One of my first purchases, actually, and I like its simplicity, like that baby has to jiggle it himself, and like that it’s not pink or blue.

I’m also a big believer, though in baby-wearing as much as possible for the first few months, especially.  So I love the concept of the

Baby sling:

So much so that I bought two.  An Ergo for when he can hold up his head & a Balboa adjustable for around the house when he’s still floppy. I bought both of these on eBay, and am happy with them so far.  Comfy and lightweight – especially without a a baby weighing them down!

I found a Skip-Hop diaper bag on Ebay for $5, and it seems to be a perfectly adequate diaper bag.  I went with a puj tub because we do not have room for a standard tub, and this looked like a great compromise since it’s soft, but it also folds flat for stashing out of the way:

Most of the rest of the gear we’ve gotten have been gifts of clothing, towels, blankets, etc.  I will say that my favorite of the swaddling-type muslin blankets so far are these by Bambino Land:

I’ve got a ton, and they all washed up beautifully.  I was able to get 6 of these through one of those ‘daily deal’ sites I’ve registered for the emails from.  Haven’t used those emails for much else, but when I saw the Bambino land come up at 50% off, I totally jumped.  I have one Aden & Anais that I bought ages ago, and it’s lovely but, damn, it was expensive!

I’m still holding off on breast pump/bottle systems, til I see how much milk I’m producing, how much I’m hating/loving pumping, etc.  The Boy has volunteered, repeatedly, though for at least one of the nighttime feedings, so I’m thinking I’m going to be feeling pretty motivated to Make It Work.  Leaning toward an Avent Isis manual at the moment, but  I’ll let you know.

No crib mobile yet, because I couldn’t find any that I liked, so I decided to make one from the most amazing felted animals I’ve ever seen made by a woman on  Waiting for those to be finished & shipped so I can figure a non-deforming way to hang them so that I can also take them down in a few months when he’s past the mobile stage & give Henry one to nom on, while I display the others somewhere, because I think they’re beautiful and astonishingly wonderful.

I think those are all of the big purchases we’ve made, but I’ll keep you updated as I realize that Henry NEEDS a swing (or a playpen or a thingamahoo or a battery0operated Whosit or whatever.)

21 comments to Baby Gear! (Before Baby)

  • 17#. Fairly lightweight. HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA (jk, but it did make me laugh out loud). You’re lucky that you won’t likely be lugging it too much (like in/out of the car). It is, though, cute as a Bee!

    Susan Reply:

    Yeah, but compared to the other ‘city’ strollers at 27# – 35# (I kid you not!) it’s a feather. Remember, too, that this stroller is probably going to be seeing 5+ miles a day over cobblestones & wickedly uneven flagstones – the umbrella strollers simply don’t last around here, (because heaven FORBID the city should actually make this walking city more, um, walking friendly!)

  • Em

    Cute items! They all seem like great choices. I will be interested to hear if you manage to keep your “no battery opperated things” idea once Henry is here. I have invested heavily in batteries for all the battery opperated things we have gotten for Marley. I guess I’m just a sucker for the commerical side of babyhood. :)

  • Loved our co-sleeper. It rocked!

    I suggest a Moby wrap. I cant live without mine. (I have 2!)

  • Tamar

    Agree with Michele, you will want a Moby. Also, you will want an infant insert (sold on the Ergo website) to use with the Ergo when baby is tiny. There was a period of time when my DD was too big for the Ergo with the insert but too small to be in the Ergo without the insert. For those six weeks or so, I used the Moby every day. Glad to hear you will be babywearing! You may be surprised to see how much time your baby spends in the Ergo/Moby, and how little time he spends in the stroller/carseat/crib/bouncer.

    Did I see a Boppy pillow on your list? That is a must have for breastfeeding the first few months.

    So excited for you!

    Susan Reply:

    Got the Ergo infant insert, got the Boppy. Got several swaddling options going on.

    just need the infant.

    soon, please.

  • Tamar

    And of course how could I forget The Miracle Blanket. You will need a couple of these for an extra tight, extra secure swaddle. I recommend starting with them in the hospital. :)

  • Hil

    Great stuff.
    I love my Aden anais wraps…after the babe is done with them, I plan on making a blanket out of them for me (I have six) or a shirt or something because Im obsessed with them. It’s a sickness.
    For a swing we had a version of the Fisher price, aquarium travel swing. It’s more compact and can be moved from room to room. Was also $60-70 not over $100 like some Though now at three months, he likes his bouncy, no frills chair just as much. In fact sometimes, I think the swing’s fishes piss him off.

  • Heather

    Great items! Just something to consider….you might want to consider getting the breastpump ahead of time. My baby had trouble latching initially, and I wound up pumping for the first week to help my milk come in. Hopefully there won’t be any latching trouble, but if there is you definitely need a pump sooner rather than later. Good luck! I also love the name you’ve picked – it’s great! Heather

  • YAY YAY YAY! THanks for indulging me with info on the stroller. It’s super cute!!! and if you are going to be using it more than anything else its worth the $$$

    About the balboa carrier, just my own personal opinion, so you’re free to take it or leave it, but I ordered it also and when they’re little babies, like itty bitty, its kind of scary to put them in there, it almost swallows the baby up and their head isn’t supported well, etc. I returned mine and got the Moby Wrap. I LOVE the Moby wrap because it gives you really good shoulder and arm support and doesn’t put all the weight in one area or make your shoulders ache. It looks scary but there are some great youtube videos that help demystify it. With the balboa I felt like when he was really little and couldn’t support his head, he got scrunched in there, and with the way the sling is situated on your shoulders I worried it would be too much pressure on my shoulders once he was over 10-12 pounds. Just a thought.

    Susan Reply:

    Hmmm. Might just have to go Moby. It just looks so damned complicated. And I’m lazy. Fortunately, there’s a baby store not 2 blocks from my house. I can always send the boy to go buy one…

    VERY good feedback to know. And opinions from folks who’ve done this already? TOTALLY VALUED!!!

    Aisha Reply:

    I am going to be posting the youtube on how to do this on my blog in the next day or so. Will send you the link when I do.

    Also- if your’e handy with cloth and a sewing machine, surely you could make this yourself for a fraction of the cost. Its really just a wide and long piece of fabric.

  • oh- and a swing has been a lifesaver. He’s napping in there right now. We got an AC plug-in one so no batteries. We waited a while to get it, and I heard some kids don’t like it. If you can I’m sure you can find one on Craigs list and save some $$$

  • And LAST OPINION PROMISE (Maybe): Get an automated pump. If you can help it. Its been a life saver. Now that my hormonal issues related to BF are gone I don’t use it very much, but when I do use it gets the job done in 10 minutes flat and I appreciate that so much. IF you do go with a manual pump it may be hard to get enough out or feel motivated to get enough out every single night for your hubby to take a shift- don’t be afraid of formula for a once a night type of feeding if you get the manualor if you get an electric but just aren’t pumping out enough. Happy restful you is a better and happier mother.

  • Tamar

    Okay, again I give my two cents. The hospital lactation department can rent or sell you a super duper double pump, that will be more efficient than any manual pump. As as far as your DH doing the night time feedings, that is very sweet of him. However, those first several weeks it should be breast milk at the breast. Nursing is all about supply and demand, the more you nurse (assuming he is latching effectively) the more milk you will make. He will nurse probably all day long, and that is the best thing. And the most normal thing. Get some Lansinoh ointment for your nipples, pack it in your hospital bag. I’m very pro-BF, as you can see. But I just want to tell you that your husband will not be able to do much with the baby besides change and burp him for the first several weeks/months. It will be all you, all the time. Nursing is a huge time commitment, but so worth it. Check out kellymom. com, it’s my favorite nursing information site. Feel free to email me! I would say nursing and babywearing are two of my favorite topics, lol. :)

    Susan Reply:

    Yeah, that’s what I figured – it’s why I’m not stressing about getting a pump or bottles or anything breast-related (other than that Lansinoh, which is already packed!) just yet. I figure we’ve got time before that becomes an issue/possibility – I’ve heard 4-6 weeks? – and an outing or two to BRU might actually sound like fun in a few weeks when I’ve been staring at the walls of the living room for two weeks straight!

    I’ll absolutely go check out – thank you for the info!

  • Tamar

    Susan, what can I say? You’ve caught me in a writing mood. :)

    Awesome that you already have the Lansinoh! It helps so much!

    As I mentioned in a previous post, my current nursling is my third child. I nursed my son until he was 18 months and I became pregnant with my first daughter, I continued nursing him through the pregnancy, and then tandem nursed the two of them after she was born. My son continued to nurse for a long time (he was past 3 1/2 when weaned), my daughter also nursed until she was almost 3.

    My baby is eight months and still fed almost 100% breastmilk. It is truly a joy to nurse, a bond between mother and child that cannot be replicated any other way. However, the beginning of any nursing relationship is tough. It hurts, your nipples are not used to that much activity and they sort of freak out a bit. They bleed, can blister, and just… hurt. You bleed. You bleed after child birth (that’s a whole other thing, you bleed a lot for a long time, this last time for me I was wearing pads for about 6 weeks post birth), but you also bleed when you nurse. That’s by design though, because these “after pains” are meant to contract your uterus and help shrink it down to it’s original size.

    So anyway, there you are: a hormonal, sweaty, bleeding, cramping postpartum mess and your baby wants and needs to nurse all the time. And that’s normal. That’s the way it should be, to stimulate your supply. In fact, you will actually need to wake your baby (!) if he sleeps for longer than three hours so you can nurse him. That was tough for me, setting my alarm for something like 3:30 am so I could wake a sleeping baby to nurse. But you know, it’s only for a short period of time (3 weeks maybe), so your milk supply can truly get established.

    As far as when is the “right time” to start pumping so your husband can help with the feeding? For me personally, I never did that. I did not want pumping to be Another Thing To Do Every Day. If baby was sleeping, I wanted to sleep/eat/shower, not start the pumping process. My DH and I joke about how much he loves nursing, since it meant less work for him. 😉 And also, if your DH feeds back at night, and you sleep through those feeds you are going to wake up engorged and uncomfortable. So my personal choice is to not pump at all, no added work of pumping, no nipple confusion for baby, etc. Your husband can help by wearing your baby, changing your baby, burping your baby. But feeding? That is a mama’s job, at least when babies are small. IMHO of course.

    What else? It will probably feel like baby is literally sucking the life out of you. Your baby may nurse for 45 minutes, burp, poop, and then nurse again for another 45 minutes. That’s just how it is. I am “keeping it real” for you here. It’s a very demanding job, but the benefits are endless.

    Forgot to mention a nursing cover. I have a “Hooter Hider” and it’s great. Gives great coverage, and baby does not get to hot under it.

    I’m sure you can find other places to go for outings. Park, grocery store, library to visit your previous coworkers, your DH’s job to visit him. It certainly does not need to BRU for pumping supplies/bottles. 😉

    Here are a couple of links for you:

    Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, a book by LLL, an excellent read!

    A page titled “Middle of the Night Motivation” by a pediatrician:

    A list of LLL in your area, these are great for support and help:

    Again, ask me anything! It’s so important to have this knowledge before the actual event. Of course, nothing can quite prepare you for how your life will change, but it’s good to know the dirty details sometimes. :)

  • So exciting after my holiday to catch up with all your post holiday posts. My nephew is a Henry and my grandpa a Harry short for Henry so the name is ok with us! And you look great in your photo – definitely ready to be two people there. And equipment as well! I have that exact same Bugaboo for F. It is lovely and the yellow canopy is the best. Why spend a zillion to get a khaki hood I wonder? I do love it but it’s still heavy to drag up and down the steps on the Tube at which point I go for my wraps ( a Moby, a babybjorn, a maitai and another one whose name escapes me) or a Maclaren instead. I also have the same bouncer so I am totally on board with your choices.
    My pumping twopennorth is to try an electric and a hand held personally I found a hand held quicker and easier and less like I was a cow in a milking shed!

  • Pie

    Sooo helpful to read all of this. My niece has the bugaboo, a different system I think. Does that one convert to a toddler stroller too?

    It is amazing all the stuff a single-digit-weighing child needs, isn’t it? I have a lot of research to do!

  • Catching up here. Sounds like you’re set. Not going to add to all the advice. Although I’ll just say I had a difficult time getting an escape proof swaddle with a regular swaddling blanket. Loved the Miracle Blanket. Please feel free to call if you’re going stir crazy at home with Henry, or have a question you think might be too silly to ask someone else, or whatever. Sunshine and I have survived 9 months together, and she’s happy and thriving. I figure I must be doing something right.

  • kayteeweave

    Great post, this is such a great list of products. I especially like the look and sound of the Puj tub. it looks so smart and our apartment is so small I was unsure what to go with before, but this looks perfect. Thanks for the great recommendations!