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Best and Worst of Baby Products

My SIL and one of my very best friends are both pregnant with their firsts, and as excited as I am for them, it has also brought on the realization that I am totally out of the baby stage.  And while I don’t regret that necessarily, it does seem a little odd.  I will never experience this again, at least not with my own flesh and blood.

photo-251

I was always a source of information for my friends.  One girlfriend once referred to me a product junkie.  I didn’t mind.  I loved to research products (still do, but I’ve moved on to appliances and technical devices) and the latest version of Baby Bargains was always within my arm’s reach.  My friends still occasionally email me for my opinion about a certain baby product, which is what gave me the idea for this post.

First I’ll list products that I believe are worth every penny.  Then I’ll make a list of ones that I wouldn’t waste my money on again — things I rarely used and ended up throwing or giving away.  Take these lists with a grain of salt.  I’m sure things have changed, and everyone’s opinions and needs are different.

Here is MY Best of Baby Products List. I haven’t covered every possible category.  These are simply the products that I am (or was) PASSIONATE about.

Best book on baby gear: Baby Bargains

Best book on pregnancy: Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy

Best nursing book: So That’s What They’re For

Best stroller: Maclaren Quest

Maclaren Quest

Best infant carseat: Graco Snugride

Best convertible carseat: Britax Roundabout

Best booster carseat: Graco Turbobooster

turbobooster

Best skincare for baby: Burt’s Bees

Best potty chair: Baby Bjorn(so simple and easy to clean — and the best pee guard for little boys)

Best bib: Bumpkins

UPDATES:

Best chair for nursery: Recliner (thanks Susan for reminding me) — we have a huge La-Z-boy recliner that we inherited from my husband’s grandmother.  We have spent MANY a night in that chair.  It isn’t as pretty as those gliders you see at Babies R Us, but it was a lot more practical.

Nighties: I swear by these for newborns.  Wait on footed sleepers until they’re older (or going out) but around the house, I kept my babies in those little nighties until their feet were popping out the bottom.  I had winter babies, so I layered those fleece “bags” over the nighties. So easy for middle of the night changes — unzip the sleeper, pull up the nightie, change the diaper, and zip ’em back up!  Carters makes both!  They were my favorites.

These are things I wouldn’t waste my money on again:

Babywise — God gave us maternal instincts for a reason.  Use them, and politely disregard anyone who tells you there is one right away to parent your infant.

What To Expect When You’re Expecting — This book will give you a complex.  Eat whatever you want, or whatever doesn’t make you want to hurl.

Bulky travel system — As soon as your baby is out of the carrier, you will wish you had a lightweight, streamlined stroller.  I swear by Maclarens.  They are AWESOME.  They maneuver around the mall like nobody’s business.  I see that Graco now makes a stroller frame to go with their infant carriers — I wish they’d had that when I was having babies!

Over-sized boosters for up to 80 lbs — we had the Britax version, and the thing was mammoth.  So inconvenient for swapping cars and such.  Go with the Turbobooster and be done with it!

Bath seat — What a pain in the arse.  I gave sponge baths when they were infants and put them in the tub as soon as I could.  **NOTE – bath seat, not to be confused with baby bathtub, which I DID use for a long time.  But when they are ready to sit up, I just put them in big tub and held them so they didn’t slide.

Diaper genie — Again, pain in the arse.  I sold mine in a yard sale (I know, EW!) and just used those plastic grocery bags.

UPDATES:

Wipes warmer — more trouble than it’s worth.

I’d love to hear your feedback. What are your favorite baby products and the ones you could do without?  Feel free to disagree with some of mine.  I fully expect that!  🙂

Note: I didn’t mention slings b/c I could never get one to work.  However, I think they’re fabulous and highly recommend trying to find one to work for you.  I carried my babies A LOT and had amazing arms.  Wish I still had those guns. 🙂  Also, swings and bouncy seats and exersaucers, I used them all but am not passionate about any one kind.

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You may notice there is no fabulous giveaway today.  That’s because I’m moving all of my giveaways to Reviewsings to make things simpler.  There IS a fabulous giveaway over there — check out the gorgeous pearl necklace I’m giving away this week!  And don’t forget to write your What I Learned This Week post for tomorrow.

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48 thoughts on “Best and Worst of Baby Products

  1. I’m well past the baby stage and was reminded of this yesterday when my almost 10 year old went missing in our neighborhood and I didn’t panic. Within 10 min. she was back home asking for permission to go down a few more houses to play with a friend. Not worrying about my kids playing outside is a BIG sign that I’m onto the next phase of parenting. Yea!!! However, I have to respectfully disagree with some of your “wouldn’t waste my money on” items. I would purchase the “bulky travel system” if you plan on having multiple kids. I did use them for the first year with both my girls, but quickly moved out of it once the younger one was a year. But, it served it’s purpose for 2 years. And since I got my bath seat as a shower gift, it was well worth what I paid for it. I used them for a few months with each child and it made me feel better about bath time. And for Baby Wise, I used it with both my girls (the 2nd one was a much less strict version) and found it very helpful, but that’s just me. I tend to read EVERYTHING and then pull from each book what I liked. I personally LOVED the eat/awake/sleep cycle. But, I also learned from friends, the Bible and other books as well. My advice is, don’t any book (other than the Bible) your end all be all to parenting. Most books offer some advice and you never know what will help make you a successful parent. When it comes to parenting books… one size does not fit all! But, that’s just my .02 cents :o) As usual, you posted great information for new Moms!

  2. Sorry, didn’t mean to write a book up there. You don’t realize how much you’re typing until you hit the “submit comment” button!

  3. 9.5 years later and I STILL tell my BIL thanks for the wonderful advice to buy a rocking recliner for the nursery instead of a glider. The recliner was *just* moved out of my daugher’s room last summer.

  4. I would have to add the wipe warmer to the worst list. I hated that thing! Some love it, but for me it was just bulky and required me to remember to buy the warmer pads. As a busy mommy I was not about to remember to buy warmer pads!

  5. LOVE it! I have many of the same loves… the bumpkins bib, the graco booster, the nursing book… and the same dislikes… What to Expect, Diaper Genies (gag), bulky travel systems…
    I would have to add a baby sling (I loved Peanut Shell) because without that sling, my family would not have had dinner before 10pm the first three months of baby’s life! And it made it possible to grocery shop!
    And Cheerios (hours of entertainment with just one handful!)
    I also love our beach cabana. I made fun of parents who used these, but they are WONDERFUL because your kids can get a break from the sun, change, nurse, nap, whatever and you don’t have to hoof it back to the beach house!
    I hate hate HATE those digusting “meat sticks” that gerber makes. They are smelly, slimey… I’m feeling sick just thinking about them.

  6. Y’all. I love the long comments! Feel free to share as much as you’d like. Or feel free to post your own list on your blogs and link to mine. Either way! 🙂 Just let me know if you post so I can go read it!

  7. I loved the battery operated thermometers for the ears (and the pacifier one when they were infants), anything that helped them sit up and watch life around them and soft cozy blankies to bundle and snuggle with.

  8. Completely agree that Babywise is not so wise. Although I don’t give in to picking up my toddler every time he cries in his crib, I stay with him, rub his back, give him his pacy, whatever it takes to make him feel secure. Cry it out sucks.

  9. LOL – the FIRST thing that pops into my mind when I hear the words “waste of money” and “baby gear” IS the diaper pail. TAKE THAT POOPY DIAPER OUTSIDE, AND PRONTO!

  10. We loved our wipes warmer and used it for three years. Had a winter baby. Hated the diaper genie. And potty chair? Used once. Same with bath chair.

    I got a lot from BabyWise, but we are schedule people, so it aligned with our philosophy to begin with. I didn’t take away that it was saying there is only one way, their way, not at all.

    Didn’t use the swing or the vibrating infant chair with mosquito net thing, not once. Used the pack-and-play extensively.

    I loved and still use (5 years later) the plastic bottle drying racks that cost all of $2. 99% of the baby stuff you can skip, don’t really need.

    Your comments will prove that every mom and kiddo is unique!

  11. I totally agree with your thoughts on What To Expect When You’re Expecting. It is NOT the book for a hypochondriac such as myself! I was constantly in the back section about what could go wrong during pregnancy self diagnosing myself (my poor husband!) And I’m right there with you on both the Diaper Genie and the wipes warmer. The wipes at the end would be all brown (even though I did have water in there), and opening up the Diaper Genie to change the bag was enough to send my stomach up into my mouth! Ahhh, memories!!

  12. I completely agree with your three book choices. When I find out one of my friends is expecting, I immediately recommend those 3 titles…and I steer them away from Babywise! I realize it works for a lot of people, but it did NOTHING for us except make us miserable and guilty ridden! The only thing I would have to disagree on is: 1) The travel system. We loved ours! and 2) the diaper champ. The diaper champ doesn’t require the special bags and actually does keep the smell in. We love it!

  13. I was a big “Baby Bargains” lover, too. My favorite products were the Baby Bjorn plastic bib, Baby Bjorn potty seat that attaches to the toilet very simply, Pampers (down with Huggies–they leaked on both my boys), Robeez-type shoes, gowns instead of sleepers for newborns, plain cloth diapers as burp cloths, Avent Isis breast pump, “Nursing Mother’s Companion” book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” book, Boppy pillow, hospital pacifiers, and gripe water for fussy babies. I also wish they’d made the Bumbo seat when I had babies.

    Wasters of time and money: wipe warmer, Mylecon, bunting, 2-piece outfits for the non-sitting baby, and burp cloths.

  14. I totally agree with the stroller frame thing for an infant carrier. I saw one of those in the mall last week and I thought it was a great idea. I should have thought of that.

    In addition to that, Baby Bjorn makes a plastic bib with a “catch all pocket” that makes self feeding so simple and easy to clean up. Especially cereal and soups.

    http://www.chitchatbaby.com/BabyBjorn–Soft-Bib-2-Pack–GreenYellow_p_31-1258.html

    A must have for moms with OCD tendancies. =)

  15. I’m still IN the baby phase, but since this is number five, I’ve got a few things that I am LOVING this time around.

    I got a Blessed Nest nursing pillow. Way better than the Boppy.

    A nursing cover. Use it all the time since with all the kids, I have to go out in public with my baby more.

    I love my swing and bouncy seat and so did all my babies. But I realize that’s a very personal thing for mommies and babies.

    I’m with you on the gowns at night. Footies and snaps are very vexing at 3 am.

    MotherLove’s diaper cream is GREAT STUFF. But then, so is Tinactin when they get yeast.

    And one of those foam things to lay the baby on when bathing, costs something like two bucks, is all I ever needed. I use it in the tub, or I use it beside the sink if I bathe them in the kitchen. Then I have some place soft to lay the baby down.

  16. Isn’t it funny how much you realize you DON’T need by the time you have your second…third…(or more) baby? Some of my faves are Britax car seats. Won’t use ANYthing else. ESPECIALLY their infant seat. It’s hands down my favorite. We have a Marathon now, for my toddler. We also have the Baby Bjorn potty seat, but Mister Aiden has zero interest in using it!! I got it juuust for the splash guard factor, too! I agree with all your “not faves” except a baby bath tub. I get a wee bit slackerish with my kitchen sink and don’t always have it empty when babies need baths!!! So I always buy a bath tub I can place on the counter..or even inside the big bath tub.

    Other must haves? A carrier. When my son was a wee baby we never used a stroller. We always carried (wore) him, and it was SO convenient.

    A baby swing. Both of my kids so far have LOVED their swings. I was able to place them in there and get stuff done!! They loved their swings more than any bouncy seat.

  17. That was a great list. I always enjoy the “don’t bother” lists the most.

    I remember with my first child I felt like I needed everything!!! Tons of these and tons of those and if I don’t have one of these, my baby might die!! This time, child #5, I’m like “swing, diapers, crib, car seat, clothes, blankets, boobs… all set”

  18. We really enjoyed the Bumbo seat for our daughter. It’s a pretty secure little seat that baby can start using as soon as he can hold up his noggin, and it helps develop the muscles needed to sit up independently. My Girlie enjoyed sitting up on the kitchen counter while I made dinner, or up on the dining room table while I folded clothes.

  19. It’s so funny, I was just thinking about that Babywise book this morning! A friend of a friend actually had the audacity to give it to me when I first got pregnant. Seriously, I was floored and could not figure out how to return the book to her without offending her.

    I have to disagree about the tub. I got the euro baby tub and used it for 18 months with my older boy. It was safer for him and used a lot less water. I got it at a yardsale so it was only 5 bucks.

    That being said, there are way too many baby products that people say you need. It’s bordering ridiculous.

    Great post!

  20. Oh, I LOVE this post! Thank you. I will be making notes. My OB just put me out of work b/c of elevated pressure/heartrate/swelling so I am working on my list of last minute items. I was just trying to figure out what I REALLY still need, and this is perfect help.
    S.

  21. I loved Baby Bargains. I agree with the travel system strollers – I just used the Snap and Go with the carseat and a MacLaren when AEK outgrew the carseat. I also use the Baby Jogger City Elite when we go to Valley Forge or Ridley Creek. AEK loved the Exersaucer, the bouncy seat and her swing. And my Medela Pump In Style allowed me to breastfeed AEK until she was almost one despite going back to work at 13 weeks. The pack and play was great as a bassinet and changing table for the first few months.

    The microwave sterilizer was a big waste of money – the diswasher antibacterial setting worked fine. Same goes with the bottle warmer. Running hot tap water over a breastmilk bottle worked fine.

    My absolute favorite product right now are the Born Free sippy cups. Best cups ever and easy to transition the child on!

  22. I had to laugh at what you said about the “What to expect when you’re expecting book”, I totally agree.

    I find my Diaper Gene extremely useful. I use it ALL the time.

  23. First of all – that’s a great picture of you up there. So cute and mommyish.

    Second, one thing I learned this babytime around was that the new Bumbo seats are really convenient (when used correctly so as not to be dangerous of course!).

  24. Love the nighties. Even my hsuband tells people to buy them.

    I agree about the travel systems. It was such a pain to lock in the carseat. I loved my Peg Perego infant seat though and would get one of those lock in frame things.

    We didn’t do the umbrella stroller. My DH hates them. We bought a Bob jogging stroller. We are on our second one and love it. It’s great for the 40 lb kid who doesn’t want to walk around Disney.

    I love our Britax seats. My son is an escape artist. And it’s very hard for him to get out of it.

  25. I agree completely about Babywise. Time after time, before and after our baby was born, we had other parents tell us that this was the way to go. Following it just never seemed right to us.

    I would add a portable feeding seat to the best baby buys list. We bought one by Safety 1st for less than $30, and it’s been wonderful. Instead of using a traditional high chair, we just attached this chair to our kitchen chairs. What a space saver! It reclines quite a bit, so she was able to sit in it very early. And now at 18 months, she still loves it, and we just use it as a booster seat. Since it’s portable, we can easily take it with us when we eat at someone’s house that doesn’t have an available high chair.

  26. I’m still in the baby stage. Been there for nearly 6 years. There are some things I do differently and some I do the same.

    I agree with most of what you said. I’ve used the Graco, Britax, and Turbo Booster. Got rid of the Diaper Genie. Loved Baby Bargains. And my kids live in sleepers until they are big enough those blasted socks won’t come off every 2 minutes.

    I mildly disagree about Babywise. I thrive under routine and think my kids do also. Babywise is good for helping you establish a routine. They are heavy on theory and somewhat rigid which can be difficult for a new mom to live up to. I recommend The Baby Whisperer. She’s more realistic and flexible but can still help you establish a sleep, feed, wake routine.

    I would also add a bottle warmer to the list of useless expenses. There is no medical reason to heat that milk/formula up. Baby will take it however you give it so beware always heating it up (creates a habit/expectation). One day you won’t be able to and he won’t take it. So if you only bottle feed – lose the warmer. It’s a little trickier if you nurse and occasionally supplement when in public (which is what I’m doing now.)

    Well, that’s my opinion in a nutshell. After 4 kids I could go on and on. But I’ll stop now. 🙂

  27. Well, you know I am with you on the Babywise pan! 😉

    I would add Mylicon and Lansinoh to the must-haves.

    Also, we love, love, LOVE our swaddling blankets. We have used The Ultimate Swaddling Blankets with great success. The girls still snuggle them as their lovies.

    Baby carriers – I hear great things about stretchy wraps (like a Moby or Sleepy Wrap) for the new baby stage. I am all about a mei tai carrier (I love Mei Tai Baby) or a soft-structured carrier (like Ergo) for late babyhood/toddlerhood.

    Pretty much agree wholeheartedly with the rest of this list!

  28. Brilliant list.

    I love our Maclaren! Even though I absolutely love our baby jogger city and Q series strollers, I absolutely love how light weight and how well the Maclaren travels. Yes, I have three strollers and admit I have problems 🙂

    right there with you are the car seat, but not there with the booster b/c the little man still in his Britax!

    I have to say I don’t have any of the no’s, so I am feeling good. We do still love the baby TUB b/c our house is so old and the tub is an old cast-iron one. So scared double l will sleep and get hurt!

    and thank you for the potty recommendation. we were just talking about getting one to introduce it to double l. so feel free to post tips on potty training as well 🙂

  29. I was at a baby shower yesterday. I fought the urge to roll my eyes when she received a wipe warmer and cringed when she pulled Babywise from a gift bag. There were murmurs of BESTBOOKEVER around the room and I physically had to bite my tongue. The last thing a new mom needs is so much pressure. From a book!

    Love this list. I’m saving it to send to friends when I receive their happy news.

  30. I don’t have my own children, but I have worked as a nanny long enough that I’m on my second set of carseats. My first expired. I have used Graco, Evenflo, and Britax. My new carseat love is the Sunshine Kids Radian 65 and 80. The Radian is right on par with the Britax for safety. The great thing about is radian is the slim exterior dimensions, but the interior is just as wide as other seats. I can fit 3 radians side by side. With the britax I couldn’t get them next to each other. Also, the radian holds kids in a 5 point harness until 65 or 80 pounds, depending on the model.

  31. I find that being a “go to” person for information to the younger moms is ok. Finally. My baby will be five in April and to able to say with conviction I no longer have baby fever is so liberating! (although that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate baby smell nuzzle the closest one to me!)

  32. Oh my goodness! I pretty much agree with everything you said here! Esp the bit about Babywise and What to Expect! We are so, like, twinsies.

  33. The one thing I had with #3 that I loved was the grocery cart cover – the baby buggy. I wish I had this with #1 and 2. Baby gear changes so quickly – one day it’s in, the next day it’s out.

  34. I loved my Boppy…not even for Boo but for me. The after-birth pain was eased with the Boppy! lol

    I also loved the nighties for babies. It made life easy, and Boo could move around like a maniac if she wanted too. The zipper sleepers were easier as she got older, but not until she was more mobile.

  35. At this moment, am regretting my Graco Quattro system. Total back breaker. Wish I got a BOB instead. Love and can’t live without my Baby 411 book. I actually like our Diaper Genie as well. Sometimes my mom comes over and tosses the diapers in the trash. I can smell it immediately 🙁

  36. i didn’t realize you did this post yesterday! i wrote about two of my favorite baby products today. My big sis is expecting her first and I’m so excited. I remember being overwhelmed with not knowing what we would need and what would be a waste of space. But since she’s my older sister, I’m not sure she’ll listen to me, so I blogged about it. and i know she reads my blog.

    here’s my link: http://notadiylife.blogspot.com/2009/02/my-favorite-baby-gear-buys.html

  37. I had one of those net-like sling things for the tub (don’t you like how specific I am?) Basically, it is a wire frame with a elasticy sling to keep their head and torso up, and their bottom side in the water. Used a baby tub and seat for a while with my first – as soon as I found that thing I never looked back. It enables you to use the “big person” tub, and still mostly have two hands free – even for the newest newborns! I also had to laugh at the poster’s comment that you realize how much you DON’T need after the second and third. I chuckle when I think about how much “stuff” I carried around with my first. With the third, I would stuff a diaper and some wipes in my purse, boobs are always in place – and good to go!!

  38. The Baby Bargains book is great!!! I used it to make all my buying decisions with my first baby!

    I just wrote a post similar to yours last night! One of the products I’ve found least usefull for babies is the changing table. I used one with my first 2 babies, but after that, I moved it out of the room and have just changed our babies on the floor, bed, or sofa. Definantly one I item I can live without!

    Also, with the wipes warmer, you can skip buying that (like you suggested), and just warm the wipe up by holding it in your hand or by running warm water over it.

  39. Dr. Brown Bottles are the best i used them for both of my babies and they worked great,but Dr. Brown zippy cup sucks Big time, spills and they’re not durable, get Platex they are wonderful!!!

  40. I really loved the BabyWise book and method – it worked really well for my daughter and she gravitated towards having a schedule early on. I think that the best advice is to see what works best for your child and situation and also not to be so regimented or tied down to any one plan, but be flexible. I know that this worked really well for us and she was sleeping through the night at 10 weeks and super happy!

  41. Thank you so much for listing baby items that you recommend, as well as what NOT to get. Many moms disagree with the list that I personally compiled, but after having 2 kids myself and having discussed the theme with other moms, I feel compelled to share the list. Too many first-time moms feel pressured to buy everything for their baby, even though a lot of it is useless (wipe warmer, anyone?).

    Here’s a list that I compiled in my post for you on what NOT to spend money on for your new arrival:
    http://perfectingmotherhood.wordpress.com/2010/06/03/baby-gear-dont-waste-your-money-on-these-items/

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