Baby Gear Confusion!

Updated on February 27, 2008
C.R. asks from Great Falls, VA
5 answers

Hi there,
I'm a first-time expecting mom. I feel completely clueless as to what "equipment" i need to buy. I assume I need something to carry the baby in, something for him to sleep in, and I figure probably a breast pump since I'll be working (unfortunately).
Can you please give me some suggestions as far as what you have found works best???

*I've had a lot of recommendations for the Snap-n-Go strollers - yea or nay?

*What about carriers - Baby Bjorn? WrapnWear? Sling?

*I've heard you can just use a PacknPlay deal as a bassinet (newborns) and crib (infants) rather than getting a big solid heavy crib that can't be moved around - any ideas on that?

*Any breast pump recommendations?

*Also, where is the cheapest place to pick up onesies and blankets/sheets and other basics like that?

Thanks so much!

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So What Happened?

Just wanted to let everyone know how much I appreciate their responses and thoughtful suggestions!!! He's still got another 6 weeks in my belly so I'll have to let you know how it goes later on :)

More Answers



answers from Washington DC on

Hi C.,
We had a Graco Travel system where the carseat snaps in to the stroller and snaps in to the careseat base in the car. It was really great for about 7 months until she got too heavy to be carried in the carseat/carrier. We moved her in to the next carseat that is for 5-40pounds and can be a rear facing and forward facing seat. We also stopped using her huge travel system stroller (that matched her infant carseat) by 11 months and got a lighter weight one instead. You can save money in the long run by skipping the travel system and getting a convertible car seat for 5-40pounds(rear and forward facing) and a "take-along" swing and a durable stroller--NOT an umbrella one. That way the carseat stays in the car (well past age 2) and if you go to visit people you'll have the stroller and that convenient take-along swing to put the baby in while visiting. Just be sure to get a stroller with excellent wheels and one that manuvers with 1 hand (because you may be carrying something like a drink or a bag in the other hand.)

I didn't need or use a sling or baby carrier. My daughter wasn't much of a "carry-me" baby so she spent a lot of time in a seat, swing, or rolling on the floor--where she was happiest. We borrowed a friends baby-bjorn for an airport trip when she was 4 months old and it was great for the layovers but that was the only time we used it. However, some women swear by them because their baby wants to be carried ALL DAY LONG and it's the only way they can get things done. This is something you can buy once you get to know your baby.

Bassinets are cute and pretty but they are not practical. A pack-n-play will last you through many years of use--not only while you're baby is a newborn and sleeping in your room but also for playtime and for visiting grandma's house overnight. Up until age 2 at least! Our bassinet was used for 4 weeks and then we moved her to her bedroom crib. It's now collecting dust in our attic. Our packnplay has been used countless times since she was born.

You can sign up for coupons at and they usually have $1.00 off onsies and different products like that. Just keep your eye out for sales and clearance bins at places like Sears and Kohls and slowly stock up. Be sure to buy lots of different sizes because the baby grows super fast. No need for shoes because their feet grow fast and they are just for show until they start walking anyway. My daughter never wore shoes (1 pair of shoes during the winter) and she started walking at 9 months. That's when we started shoes.

I did not breastfeed after a couple weeks due to various complications, however, my friends tell me that you must invest in a good electric breastpump (like $100+) because the cheaper ones are just not as good or efficient. It's a tough decision because you can not return them once you use it so hopefully it'll work out well for you. You can look in to renting one at local drug stores too...something like $50/month?

Must haves: carseat, crib, clothes, stroller, 1 bottle and 1 can of formula (just in case breastfeeding is not an option--I went to the ER 5 days after my daughter was born and this is what allowed her to be fed while I was in the hospital), and lots of LOVE! The rest is great and worked well for us(like a Boppy, bouncy seat and a swing) but not absolutely necessary. Oh yeah, and lots of diapers and wipes! Also, skip the fancy scented lotions and powders because their skin is sooo sensitive.

I hope this helps. Everyone has their own opinions on things and a lot of the time you just don't know until you've done it. I bought all the baby gear and now that I can look back a year later, there's a lot that I'd change. Sometimes it's just trial and error! Best of luck to you!



answers from Washington DC on

I also vote for the travel system. It was a lifesaver for us. The infant seat snapped into the carseat base and into the stroller. Usually babies fall asleep riding in the car - with this you can snap out the seat without waking the baby. It was also the only thing my daughter would sleep in the first few months. I would actually sit it in the crib at night!

As for the other stuff, I would wait a couple of months. As first-time parents we bought it ALL before our daughter was born. Unfortunately my daughter hated the swing and the bouncy seat, so they were a waste of money. The boppy pillow was great for breastfeeding, and for supporting her to sit later on. She also loved the saucers (like a walker without the wheels-not sure what they call them) and a playmat with the hanging toys overhead.

Wait until the baby is ready for those things, then you can try them out and if the baby doesn't like it you can still return it. Believe me, we wasted alot of money!

Hope you have a happy and health baby!




answers from Washington DC on

Get the Baby Bargains book, I highly recommend it. It tells you what brands and styles are good, cheap, expensive, safe, etc for every category.

Baby bijorns are great, but some babies prefer one or the other. Check on for good deals so that you can get one of each if you don't have a way to get hand-me-downs. Craigslist is a great second hand resource and you can usually find stuff in great condition for MUCH cheaper.

Pack N Play should only be a part time/temporary crib for your baby. It does have a bassinet and would be great to use as one if you have the room. Then you have a play pen/travel crib too. It also has a changing table which I used a lot. You cannot use it as a regular crib full time though as it is not as durable nor meant to be used that way.

As for a breast pump, I lucked out getting one from a friend but the most important thing is to have different speeds and settings. Everyone is different and your milk flow changes throughout as well so you need something that you can manipulate. Hand pumps are not the way to go if you plan on using it a lot. If the hospital you are delivering in has a lactation consultant available speak to them and they can give you resources.

I did not get a snap n go stroller but my brother used one b/c it was light weight and good to travel with. You need a regular stroller when they outgrow the carseat though (mine did at 7 months) so it may or may not be in your budget. Another good second hand item.

Hope that helps! Definitely get the book!



answers from Washington DC on

I bought a car seat that could pop out as a carrier or snap in to the stroller. This has been very useful. I also use the baby bjorn and have liked it. The cheapest place I found to buy things is at a tot swap. If you go to you will see the dates & locations. I went to one for the first time last month and got some GREAT deals. Didn't have to pay to get in either. They had a lot of car seats, swings, strollers, bouncey chairs, clothes, everything that you could ask for. I wish I would have know about this sooner.



answers from Washington DC on

Yea on the snap-n-go. I skipped it with my first, and almost did with my second too, but a friend gave me one and it has saved my life (and my back!!). Get the snap and go and forget the huge travel system.

The carriers you mention are really too different to compare, it's very much personal preference (yours and babys) I have a wrap, a Snugli, and a sling. I use my wrap most, then the snugli (same thing a a bjorn), my baby doesn't like the sling. I would try to get them used off of, so that you can try them out without spending a fortune, or borrow a friends.

You can exclusively use a pack and play, we used ours as a bassinet, but now he is in the full sized crib (he's 4 months) this is once again personal preference and space- if you don't have room for a full sized crib then go with the pack and play, if you do I would get the crib.

If you're going to be pumping a lot, Medela Pump in Style is probably your best bet.

For basics I recommend Target or Walmart, or if you have a Big Lots or a Value City near you, you can often get awesome deals there.

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