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Strollers Buying Guide


Must-Haves for New Parents


Having your first baby is probably the most exciting chapter in any couple’s journey together. For nine months the parents-to-be wonder if their little bundle will be a boy or a girl; they will wonder what baby will look like; they’ll make list after list of baby names. Before they realize it, though, the due date is upon them and the nursery is not entirely finished. A trip to the baby store only makes matters worse, thanks to aisle after aisle of stuff that friends, in-laws, co-workers and, yes, even perfect strangers, say are “must-haves.” To help you figure out what you really need, we’ve put together a handy list. Consider yourself a minimalist if all you want are the bare basics. Can’t resist all the trimmings, the bells and whistles? You might just be a bit of a shopaholic. Make sure you get the basics then accessorize as needed. Or you might fall somewhere in between. Whatever kind of parent you are, remember that outfitting your nursery should be fun.    

SLEEPING & DISTRACTION

The things baby needs for a good night’s sleep, hassle-free nap time and safe play time.

The Crib

FOR THE MINIMALIST A convertible crib, such as Stokke’s Sleepi, is a great investment as it grows with baby from birth till the toddler years. Some cribs can even be converted (with the purchase of additional pieces) into a double bed.

What to look for: Sturdy bars; durable and eco-friendly finish (chances are baby will chew on the bars at some point); a mattress support that adjusts to different heights.

Don’t forget: The bedding. A fitted crib sheet is all you’ll need for the first year.

 FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC A bassinet or moses basket is great if you want to co-sleep (but not share a bed) with your newborn for the first few months. Since they are lightweight and portable, bassinets are particularly good if you foresee moving baby from room to room or spending the night at grandma’s. But keep in mind that eventually you will have to invest on a crib. You might also want to splurge on a crib bedding set, which usually includes a fitted crib sheet, bumper, bed skirt and blanket in matching design.

Don’t forget: A nursery monitor. Depending on your needs and level of anxiety, you can choose between a basic design and one that allows you to see, as well as hear, baby. A portable baby monitor is great because it allows you to move around the house and saves you the trouble of running to baby’s room at the slightest whimper.

The Bouncer

FOR THE MINIMALIST A bouncer can be a lifesaver for many parents, even those who prefer not to clutter their homes with stuff. Depending on your baby and interior design, you might want to get a sleek and modern one that simply bounces with baby’s natural movements. We are big fans of the Baby Bjorn Baby Sitter and the Bloom Coco Baby Lounger

FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC Want more bells and whistles? Look for a bouncer that will keep baby entertained with dangling toys, music, lights and different settings for vibrating.

The Play Mat

FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC A play mat is a cozy place to engage and entertain your baby. A play mat is also a great space for tummy time. Depending on the design, a play mat can include detachable toys, flashing lights and sounds.

What to look for: A mat that is padded and machine-washable.

OUT AND ABOUT

The things you need for taking baby on a walk and a ride in the car.

The Stroller

FOR THE MINIMALIST Look for a stroller that accepts an infant car seat so you can easily transport baby between the vehicle and the stroller without waking him. Some strollers accommodate only specific brands so make sure you check for compatibility before buying.

What to look for: Easy maneuverability and multiple reclining positions (remember that newborns must lie flat on their backs for the first few months). If dad is very tall, look for a stroller with an adjustable height handlebar.

FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC If getting in shape is high on your list of things to do after baby arrives, consider investing on a jogging stroller. Jogging strollers are appropriate for babies six months and up.

What to look for: Look for a light jogger with a fixed front wheel that swivels for easy maneuverability.

Don’t forget: Regardless of the type of stroller you choose, you will want to pick up some stylish gear to accessorize baby’s ride. There is a stroller accessory for just about anything.  A cup or snack holder is essential for parents who will spend much time out and about with baby on a stroller. Depending on the season and region where you live, you might want to get anything from a rain cover, a mosquito or UV net or a parasol. Many stroller brands also feature matching travel bags, footmuffs and even diaper bags. 

The Car Seat

FOR THE MINIMALIST If transferring baby between the vehicle and stroller is not a priority, go for a convertible car seat that’s designed to face the rear for the first year and can be turned to face forward to accommodate a child weighing up to 40 pounds. Remember that a convertible car seat cannot be moved onto a stroller.
What to look for: Adjustable straps; adjustable seat angles; comfortable cushioning particularly around baby’s head.

FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC Up until baby turns one and weighs around 30 pounds, she must sit in a rear-facing car seat. Choose one that can be transferred between your vehicle’s backseat base and your stroller model. Keep in mind that you will need to purchase a convertible car seat once baby turns one.

Don’t forget: Keep baby warm and cozy with a footmuff that is designed to fit a stroller or car seat. Look for a design that does not interfere with the car seat’s harness system.

The Baby Carrier

FOR THE MINIMALIST Newborns love them. Parents love them. You simply can’t go wrong with a baby carrier for some hands-free snuggling time. Slings, while pretty, do not offer back support, thus making them obsolete as soon as baby starts to grow and puts on weight. For the minimalist parent, we recommend a soft baby carrier, such as Baby Bjorn Original, which works for newborns and can also hold older babies.

What to look for: A carrier that is designed to be worn in various positions, such as front, back and hip; sturdy, easy-to-use buckles; padded shoulder straps; substantial head support.

FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC A sling is great for the first few months as it allows you to carry baby in a position that is familiar and comfortable for him. Plus, slings come in an array of beautiful designs and materials, from organic bamboo and 100% cotton to luxurious silks. Once baby starts to put on weight and grow, around six months, you might want to get a baby carrier to save you from back and shoulder pain.

CHANGING STATION & DIAPERING

The accessories you’ll need to get baby cleaned and changed.

The Changing Table

FOR THE MINIMALIST Forgo the changing table for something you already have, like a dresser. All you need is a foam changing pad that can be securely strapped onto the dresser and you’re set. Want a bit more protection from falls? Put the pad inside a changing tray  and sit it atop the dresser. The advantage of going with a dresser is that it will last well beyond the nursery years.

Don’t forget: A changing pad cover. Look for one made from non-toxic materials and, ideally, with an antimicrobial moisture control wicking fabric.

FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC Designed specifically for the nursery, a changing table features shelving and storage space for clothes as well as diapers, wipes, diaper rash creams and much more. You can also choose to buy a dressing table that comes as part of a crib set to guarantee that it will match perfectly.

What to look for: If the changing table has drawers, make sure they feature child-friendly safety catches on drawer glides; another safety design to look for is a stop mechanism that locks and does not allow your little one to open drawers all the way.

Don’t forget: Changing baby on the go? You’ll want a diaper bag. Choose one that features handy pockets (for snacks, keys, cell phone, etc), waterproof pouches (for baby bottles and sippy cups), and a changing pad. Don’t want to throw dirty diapers with the rest of the trash? Purchase a diaper pail, which is designed to control odors.
What to look for: If you don’t want to be constrained to having to purchase bags designed specifically for the pail, choose a diaper pail that uses standard plastic trash bags.

The Baby Bath Tub

Designed to hold newborns snugly in the sink or the bathtub, a baby tub features a contoured design to help prevent your little one from slipping.

What to look for:  A padded headrest that ensures comfort during bathing. Some models feature a temperature strip to help ensure the water is not too hot or too cold.

NURSING & FEEDING

The accessories you’ll need to help you feed and nurse baby better.

Breast Pump

Plan to return to work while continuing to breastfeed? Would like dad or nanny to help with the feedings? If so, a breast pump is a must have. Investing in a high-end electric type that lets you pump both breasts at the same time offers the maximum efficiency—particularly if you’re heading back to work and time is limited. If you think you’ll only pump once in a while, you can go with a lighter and less expensive pump but keep in mind that it will take longer. If you’re on a budget and have lots of patience, got for a manual pump.

What to look for: Latex nipples are softer and more pliable but don’t hold their shape as long as silicone nipples; skip the plastic bottles that contain BPA, a chemical that studies show contribute to developmental problems.

FOR THE SHOPAHOLIC

Not planning to pump? There are still plenty of accessories you might covet to make feeding time easier and comfortable for you and baby.

Burp Cloth & Bibs

A burp cloth and bib  come in handy during and after feeding. Each provides a great way to clean up after nursing or giving baby a bottle.

Nursing Cover

A nursing cover allows you to feel comfortable and confident nursing your baby anywhere. Nursing covers offer not just privacy for mom, but also a private cocoon for baby to nurse without outside distractions and stimulation.

Nursing Pillow

A nursing pillow features a contoured shape designed to fit around mom to help relieve back, neck and shoulder stress. A good nursing pillow also encourages correct feeding position by naturally rolling baby towards mom.  

What to look for: A firm pillow without complicated buckles, straps or zippers; a removable cover for easy cleaning.

 


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