What has been your best bit of baby equipment?

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What has been your best bit of baby equipment?

Post  floatingworld on Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:52 am

Ali is nearly 1, and recently I've been sorting out a lot of his too-small clothes and the toys and equipment we don't use anymore. It's got me thinking about what the really useful things were during this first year, and which things didn't get as much use as I expected. Before he was born I was really keen to keep baby stuff to a minimum because we live in a fairly small space, but - of course - we have ended up with quite a lot. Now I'm trying to work out what things I should definitely hang on to for a future baby, and what I can get rid of.

For me, the absolute lifesaver was a bouncy chair. I got the Baby Bjorn one, because I liked the look of it, but I think any one would have done. I didn't buy it until Ali was about 3 weeks old, but after that he used it every single day until he got too big for it at about 7 or 8 months. It meant he could sit and watch me cook dinner or hang out the washing and kept him entertained and happy. And it folds flat, so is easy to store... definitely one to keep.

The best value thing has been the baby bath. I got it from Ikea for A$12, and it has had SO much use. Our bathtub is big and takes ages to run, and there are water restrictions in Sydney so I just put the baby bath inside the tub so it's easy to fill up and drain. I think cost-per-use for that one must be 5c by now, and we'll probably use it for another 6 months at least.

Things that didn't get as much use as I expected were:
- the moses basket: it looked so cute, and was lovely to have Ali next to our bed when he was tiny, but he'd outgrown it before he was 3 months and ended up co-sleeping a lot anyway.
- the change table: the shelves underneath are still good storage, but I don't really use it for changing anymore because Ali escapes, and I could have easily done without it
- a Baby Bjorn carrier: It was good to start with, but because he got big really fast I needed to get an Ergo with a waist strap to help keep the weight off my shoulders. He's 12kg now, and I still use the Ergo if we're going on a bus or somewhere non-stroller-friendly. If I have another baby I'll probably get the infant insert for the Ergo and just use that from the beginning.

I know this is going to vary hugely, because everyone needs different equipment depending on where / how they're living, and babies have their own preferences too, but I'd be really interested to hear what the rest of you found the most useful bits and pieces. What got the most use? What didn't work for you?
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Re: What has been your best bit of baby equipment?

Post  kat on Tue Aug 26, 2008 8:22 pm

Thanks for starting this thread, Suzy! I have been thinking about this kind of post for a while. When I read other mama blogs and they list their must have stuff - sometimes it's the total opposite for me...so like you say everyone has a different baby and a different living situation....which makes it hard to decide what to keep for baby number two.

It's good to get this in writing now because I'm forgetting everything about the beginning already!!

Things we loved:

* Graco Bumper Jumper - this is our all-time best buy for sure (apart from our baby carrying devices). We got this secondhand and J has been using it since he was six months old. He LOVES jumping in it and he's fun to watch. He likes the freedom it gives him. I put him in this when I cook mostly and it has a tray so it's also his high chair since we don't have a table or any chairs at our place - we do everything on the floor. He'll also hang around in this watching baby einstien for half an hour if I desperately need to get something done (like cooking) and can't have him running around the house!!

* I got a Graco Snugride car seat with Snap n Go base secondhand before J was born and we used the car seat as our rocker seat in the house. That was convenient because if J fell asleep then we could just carry him outside and place it in the base. We never used it as a car seat though as we don't have a car - funny! That being said we only really used it for the first six months or so...and I resold it.

* Graco swing - this also got minimal use timewise, but it saved our butts a number of times when we couldn't settle J in the first 8 weeks - sometimes it was the only thing that could calm him. I sold this too so I'll get a cheap one secondhand next time!!

* Every single sling we own - the Maya wrap, the hotslings, the ergo, the pikkolo!!! We used one of them every single day...Definitely keeping all of these. From our experience we pretty much carried J around for the first year of his life (still doing it), so we'll use the stroller for him as he gets bigger and then carry number two....a beco might be good to backcarry a smaller infant....

* Ikea convertible chest of drawers/change table - this was awesome. everyone said we wouldn't need a change table but since we don't have room for a nursery, this was where all of J's things went..it was his corner. This is a normal chest of drawers but you can extend the top of screwing on an additional piece of wood to convert it into a change table for the first few months. We used this as change table all the time in the beginning - it really helped to keep things organized. We don't use it as a change table now, but I still have it set up as a change table as I love having the extra space on top of the drawers to store stuff. I wish I could take this back to Australia, but I'll be looking to buy the same when we go back.

Things that didn't get much use or could have done without:

* moses basket - didn't use this at all since we all sleep on the floor. got it secondhand too and sold it for what I paid for it so it all turned out ok.

* Tiny Love play gym (bought secondhand - thank goodness) - we live in a tiny apartment so I pulled it out a few times for J's tummy time but it really got minimal use - we could have just hung some toy above him and he would have been happy.

* bumbo - also bought secondhand - j will sometimes sit in this but really it's too restrictive for him and until he could sit up on his own he was happy to hang out in the infant car seat. Once he could sit up on his own there was no need to use the bumbo and he can climb out of it anyway.

* strollers - I hate to say it but I wasted SO much money on strollers...I'm pretty sure they will get eventual use, but since darin stays at home with jake, we really just needed the jogging stroller - this is the only one that darin can push comfortably without his feet kicking the wheels.

I'm sure there is more that I will think of, but those are the big ones I think!! Can't wait to hear about everyone else's experiences!!
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Re: What has been your best bit of baby equipment?

Post  amylou on Tue Sep 02, 2008 11:08 am

I thought I would reply here- since these first months are very fresh in my mind!
Maggie is nearing 3 months old and there are certainly some things that have made these first few easier on us:

Bassinet- My mom found this brand new at a garage sale for $10. It has all the bells and whistles- it rocks, has vibrating action, music, a night lite- the works. She has slept in this thing right next to our bed from the beginning. Co-sleeping wasn't for us, my hubby sleeps too hard and tosses and turns- and this allowed her to be next to me all night. The fact that it rocked was great too- I only wish that it was an auto-rocker! She will be grown out of this soon though. Crying or Very sad

Graco car seat and base- This is basically a necessity for us since we drive everywhere. She hated it at first, but has warmed up to it somewhat.

Portable bouncer seat/rocker- We actually have 2 of these, one is a bouncer that you can turn on vibrate or rock manually, the other is a portable mini- swing. Both get a lot of use, usually I have one upstairs and the other down so I always have a "pit-stop" place to put her down in. These are also really good for trips since they are pretty small- we usually take one with us when we go over to Grandma's house.

Boppy- In the beginning when I was nursing so much this was great- they are so tiny and floppy and having this really helped me get her in the best position for nursing. I still use it everyday now, but can absolutely get along without it if I have to. It also makes a good pillow to prop them up or to do tummy time on.

Moby sling/Beco- I like both of these in different ways, but being able to carry Maggie around while getting things done is great. These both have been lifesavers too to get her to calm down and even sleep. The downside is that they are both rather hot to use in warm weather- I am looking forward to some cooler weather so I can get more use out of them.

Things I really didn't need (right now anyways)

Stroller- This was my big purchase before Maggie was born- thinking that I would use it all of the time. I really haven't. I mean sometimes I will get her out in it, but really she prefers to be carried. If I go to the store I usually just pop her carseat on top of the shopping basket. So I really could have waited on this.

Activity playmat- We got this off our registry, and maybe she will enjoy it more later, but she gets oversimulated by the hanging animals and rattles etc. She really just likes to be played with with one or two toys.

Crib set- When I was pregnant and all about setting up the nursery, I went out and bought a fancy-schmancy crib set- the bumper, sheets, quilt. Not only has she not used her crib yet (it was given to us seconhand from a friend, thank goodness), you can't have any of that crap in the crib when they do use it anyways. It looks cute, but save your money.
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Re: What has been your best bit of baby equipment?

Post  studiotamar on Sat Sep 13, 2008 8:15 am

Suzy, I was exactly the same way - "I am not buying into the idea that a baby needs all this stuff!" - and then my husband and parents and sister had to go back to work and there I was all day alone with a tiny baby. A month later, our house was overtaken! Here is what I found especially useful:

Swing: Total lifesaver. This is the only place where I could put Noodle down if he was awake in the first months, and the only thing that would soothe him to sleep when nursing and rocking wouldn't. We have a Fisher-Price model that alternates between "glide" and "swing" motions, and it was the "glide" motion that really worked. (Amazing how individual and particular they are from birth, huh?)

Play Gym: It sounds like this wasn't of much use to the other mamas, but it was a huge hit for us. From 3-6 months or so, this was one of Noodle's favorite things to do.

Changing table top: I was averse to this also, but it really came in handy. For changing, and for just putting the baby on for playtime. For some reason he liked to lie on it! Maybe it felt cozy with the slanted sides and fuzzy cover. We just got the changing mat and put it on an available piece of furniture.

Nursing pillow: I have the "My Brest Friend" one...and it was. I actually may end up getting the Boppy in addition next time around because you can't really prop up the baby with the one I have (when you're not using it to nurse), and that seemed to work really well for some of my mama friends.

Jumperoo: Okay, we are still using it. I bought it secondhand and without it, well, I wouldn't get my 15 minutes to drink coffee in the morning (oh, I am so not a morning person) or get dinner started or answer the door or, or, or.

The two things that we didn't use almost at all: the bouncy chair (he hated it! I am still kind of surprised) and the Bumbo seat (actually we have the BeBePod one made by another brand, but same thing). But, I am going to keep these around because - well, now I know how much I didn't know! And we are lucky to have a little storage space at our home. (I wrapped these, plus all our other outgrown baby stuff, in garbage bags and put it in the outdoor storage closets - I hope it will be okay!)
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