Monday, April 27, 2009

Top Baby Gear Picks

I focus so much on baby and child health on my blog, I think it is time for something a little more fun! Recently I have been asked the question of "what are your baby gear must haves?" a little too often - every week to be exact by several different people. Today that same question resounds from new moms all over Mamapedia. I am going to focus on the three baby gear items that made my life easier, and I have every reason to believe they will serve me well for a while. No, you will not see 'Graco' here or 'Bugaboo', my must have combination is a bit unconventional but I love it!
1. The Britax Companion Car Seat: Of course a car seat is a must have and many argue that they are all essentially the same and safe. Maybe at the core they are, but when comparing infant car seats side by side I could not help but notice how 'thin' all of them looked next to a Britax. I was under the impression that a regular Graco car seat has very little padding and almost no side impact protection. After some research my gut feelings were proved right, so we decided to go with a Britax Companion, after all - the company specializes in car seats and not a myriad of other baby gear products. It is a little on the heavy side and might not work for a mom who will travel with baby on her own after a c-section. A big plus, it is made in the USA - not China! Too bad the stroller I love isn't...

2. Kolcraft Contours Options Three Wheeler: I would be rich if I got paid for the time I spent researching what stroller to buy! I wanted an all-in-one stroller that would serve many purposes (what parent doesn't?) and would work for shopping, walks, jogs, rugged terrain, crooked pavement, grass, beach, you name it. At the same time I wanted all of that for no more that $160, I wanted it to look stylish, and fit comfortably folded in our Honda Accord trunk. The most important feature that guided my search was that it absolutely had to turn to face the parent.

I was first drooling over the Mia Moda Atmosferra, which is 3 pounds lighter but has a price tag of $280. Once I found the Contours stroller I was sold because not only did it look very similar, and had the same reversible seat, but at $150 it was a lot easier to convince my husband that we need it.

So here are its strong points, in order of importance to me, i.e. item # 1 is what really sold me on this full-size stroller:
  1. Reversible seat so that child can either face out or face parent
  2. Functions as a 'snap 'n go' (you can take out the seat and just use stroller frame with any car seat using the adapter, works well with the Britax Companion)
  3. Durable with light aluminum frame and not too many plastic parts
  4. Suspension system for a smooth ride
  5. More or less easy fold that fits into an Accord
  6. Never flat wheels
  7. Cool looking and stylish, comes in green and red (unisex)
  8. Large capacity storage basket
  9. Reclining seat, suitable for newborn
  10. The standard 5 point harness
  11. Parent tray
  12. Locking front swivel wheel
  13. Stroller stands on its own when folded
I want to emphasize that the stroller is pretty well made and is one of the least flimsy I have tried. I can't compare it to a Graco, it is a step above. The ride is incredibly smooth and it is easy to maneuver with one hand. It is big and heavy, but not much bigger than your average full size stroller. I consider it a gem for the features it has at such a low price and good quality. Speaking of quality, you should definitely consider this...

3. Ergo Baby Carrier: I am not quite sure what I would do without the Ergo baby carrier. It calms a crying baby, it is great for walks outside in the rain with an umbrella (no bulky wet stroller), it is gentle on my back, fits both mommy and daddy, super durable, practical, safe, and just all around praise-worthy!

It is designed by a mother, everything is taken into consideration and it is extremely convenient, fits well (both on me, I am 5 feet, and my husband who is 6 feet tall), distributes weight evenly, and is overall very comfortable. It was a really windy day and the hood came in handy to block the wind even though she is not big enough to put her head in to sleep in it yet. She fell asleep in two minutes! Now that is worth a hundred bucks!

The infant insert is so handy, I use it sometimes to just lull her to sleep, that way she does not wake up when I put her down. It also keeps her from waking up when transferring from carrier to crib. Snugly warm in the winter too.

I am eager to try the front, back, and side carry as she gets a little older. The reasons I chose the Ergo over the popular Baby Bjorn are:

a) Versatility of age 0-4 (although I am not planning on using it past 2 years old)

b) 3 carrying positions

c) The much healthier sitting position of the child where the weight is distributed on the butt and thighs as opposed to all the pressure on the spine in a carrier like the Bjorn (the same reasons chiropractors advise against bouncy jumpers and walkers)

d) I was convinced by other parent reviews who said the Bjorn hurt their back but the Ergo didn't

I certainly hope that my baby gear recommendations will be helpful to someone and maybe you will love these things as much as I do!


  1. I wouldn't leave home without my Ergo Baby Carrier. I prefer this over a stroller any day. It is super easy to use and perfect for my almost one year old.

  2. Wonderful baby gears.... i love Britax car seat and would like to browse sears for it.

  3. I really liked ur car seat but nowhere u have mentioned price of that. Do u have some entries on baby clothing

  4. ur baby carrier is awesome and that car seat is also looking very comfortable for babies

  5. Rohan, the Britax car seat is about $160 - 200, depends on where you buy it and what color/print you get. But I got mine 'used' (once) for only $30, people just had it laying around and didn't use it, it looked like new.

  6. We adore our Ergo. It comes in especially handy while my oldest is needing my attention. It's nice having baby right there with us. :)


We LOVE your comments, please share your thoughts!

Blogging tips