So - without further ado - all you ever wanted to know about
There are so many baby contraptions available nowadays that it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what you need when you're having a new baby. I have a couple friends currently sorting through what they want/need for their soon-to-arrive babies. I love me a good baby contraption and I love to talk about the pros and cons of each. I'll try not to bore you too much, but here are some of my thoughts on what to consider when purchasing some baby contraptions of your very own.
I think when you are trying to decide what (large) baby items to buy you first need to consider how much space you have. It is so easy to let your house be overridden by baby stuff (just ask my husband). But if you think ahead and plan you can keep the clutter at bay.
Baby contraptions seem to fall in a few different categories - there are lots of different ways these could be broken up but this is how it makes sense in my head.
|Are you lookin' at me?|
I have this bouncy seat and this rock 'n play. I bought both used and have been happy with both. If you buy a used bouncy seat just make sure that it still sits up at a good angle. The seat will begin to sag as it gets used more and more (and as baby gets bigger and bigger).
I have friends who LOVE their rock n' plays, but I'm a little partial to the bouncy seat because it has the vibrator and toy attachment. I just recently bought the rock n' play when I found it for a good price. I wanted something to keep upstairs so I wouldn't have to lug the bouncy seat up and down the stairs all the time. Some of my friends even use the rock n' play as their bassinet for the first couple months before they move baby to the crib. So, if you're looking for an item that can serve double duty you should definitely take a look at the rock n' play.
Once baby wants to sit/stand more you move into the realm of jumpers and exersaucers. These allow baby to do a little more standing and a little less laying, and they have lots of toys attached to entertain baby. Baby needs to have very good upper body control - especially head control - to use these. Most of my friends would say getting something from this category is a must as it allows you to get things done around the house while baby is awake. However, space can be a big concern with these, so if you're tight on space I'd go with an exersaucer or a jumper that hangs in the doorway. If you have a little more room you can go for one of the larger jumpers.
|Fun for all ages!|
There are other miscellaneous play items like a play mat or a Bumbo. I really like our play mat and would recommend it to others, but definitely don't feel like it's a necessity.
I also like the Bumbo, but if I'm to be completely honest it doesn't get used all that much. I'm really glad I only paid $18 for it at a baby sale. The Bumbo is certainly something you can do without - especially if you have large babies. For smaller babies it can be great, but the overall consensus among my friends is that they're a waste of money (unless you plan on using it to feed baby, then it *might* be worth paying full price).
|This high chair has 3 (three!) different trays layered one on top of the other. |
It was great for those days where I just didn't seem to get the
tray cleaned before the next feeding time.
The only thing I don't like about this high chair is the fact that the sides of the seat cushion can be unattached....by a baby. Once Joseph figured out how to undo the seat cushion he did it at every. single. meal. Since then, he's been banished to this booster seat. I originally bought it for extra seating when my sister was coming to visit with her toddler because it was so cheap, but I LOVE it. It definitely isn't for babies who are learning to sit because it doesn't have the shoulder straps, but it's really great for toddlers and super easy to travel (in a car) with. We even take it with us to pot-lucks at church - because an un-contained Joseph at meal time is not a pretty sight.
|Cute baby. Awesome stroller. |
Magic Kingdom here we come!
A snap-n-go stroller is really nice for small babies who sleep a lot. The ability to transfer them in and out of the car without having to wake them is a huge benefit. Snap-n-go's are also generally inexpensive (although when I just looked them up they were much more expensive than what I remember), very light weight and fold up compactly - but this kind of stroller will only last you as long as baby is still in their infant car seat.
If you plan on running with baby, then it's probably wise to look into jogging strollers. Just be aware that these strollers tend to be very heavy and bulky.
Umbrella strollers are nice because they're generally inexpensive, lightweight and fold up very compactly. The one major drawback to these is that they generally don't have much room for storing baby paraphernalia.
My parents graciously bought us our City Mini with the car seat attachment. I loved the snap-n-go capability with Joseph. I took him on walks and out shopping a lot, so I really liked that I could just transfer him from the car to the stroller or vice versa (I didn't use the car seat attachment with John at all - I just reclined the seat all the way back). I also love that the stroller is lightweight and folds up compactly (and can be folded with just one hand!!!). The stroller also steers really well. I loved my City Mini so much I ended up getting the Double City Mini when John came along. I could be a sales rep for Baby Jogger and sell City Minis - that's how much I love this stroller. I feel it's the best of all the stroller worlds - lightweight, has snap-n-go capability if you buy the attachment (for about the same price as a snap-n-go stroller), folds up compactly, and has plenty of storage.
I do have lots of friends with various other strollers, and they're all happy with their choices so don't let my blathering on fool you. There are other strollers in this universe.
Finally, we've got pack n' plays. I don't have too many thoughts on pack n' plays other than they're great for travel or having an extra place for a baby to sleep when a friend with a baby comes to visit. I've never used ours for playing, but I suppose you could do that - it is called a pack n' play after all. Bottom line - get a basic model for travel. You don't need all the extra stuff that will only drive up the price. Something simple, like this, will do just fine.