What to Buy

Updated on October 01, 2008
M.B. asks from APO, AP
13 answers

I'm expecting my second baby in a few months. I still have all the basics from my first, but I want to get a few things I wish I had gotten the first time, as well as a few things that are new or I didn't know about before. Any advise on the best brand and or what to buy and not to buy?
-sling or wrap
-hooter hider
-bumpo chair
-video monitor
-a really comfy nursing chair
-bottle warmer
-wipes warmer
-pack'n play or bassinet with changing table attachment (I used a bassinet before, but got rid of it since it was a hand-me-down and was getting too old. I have a porta-crib, but I don't like it. I've seen some fancy ones in the store that look nice. I'd like one that can be a bassinet and then later be an extra crib/changing table for downstairs or for traveling)
-breat pump and nursing pillow (the air force lent me excellent ones, but I'm not sure I'll get them again at this base) it was the hospital grade medela one and the nursing pillow had a velcro strap to keep in place

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So What Happened?

Hi. Thanks for all the great advice. When I had my son I practically lived in this big lazy boy that my husband bought before we were even married. It had heat and massage. I slept in it when my heartburn was really bad during my pregnancy and I always nursed my baby in it when I wasn't in bed. It was so big and comfy and it rocked too. It's in storage, so I may have to convince my husband to buy a new one while we're here. I really wish we had thought to bring it with us. As far as all the other stuff you all gave me really good ideas. I have my ultrasound the middle of October, so hopefully I'll find out what I'm having. I have all boy stuff from my first. I will definately be hitting the thrift stores and websites. I realized some of the stuff I got used with my first I got rid of so I need to get more. I guess that's the hard part is deciding where to spend the money and what's not worth it. Please keep sending me all your great advice. Thanks --M.

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answers from Stationed Overseas on

I have a Evenflo pack'n play it is nice and not to expencive. also do you know what you are having? I have a pink bumbo my daughter doesnt like it much.

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answers from Stationed Overseas on

HI Micheala,
Check at the Foster Furniture store. Last year I bought a nice bassinet for a friend from our homeschool group. It could be a playpen, too and it has vibration and music. I think it even had a changing table on it. It also had a cute mobile attached. The price was reasonable. Good luck!!



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Hi M....

I have a 16 month old daughter so I just finished using some of these very same products. I had friends complain that they didn't have all these things around for them. Well...

I didn't actually use a sling... I had the baby bjorn but my daughter hated it. She just would get so hot in it that it wasn't very helpful. I remember that when I visited Okinawa it was pretty warm there. Just something to consider. I do understand that they make slings and even the baby bjorn brand of carrier in a mesh sort of material... I guess they're supposed to be cooler.

I love... love... love the hooter hider. I actually have two. I would keep one in my daughters diaper bag... just in case... and one around the house. Used them all the time... worth every penny of the $35 they sell for.

I bought the bumbo for my daugher around 5 months. It was super usesful for about 2 months. Then she just didn't need it. I think it would have been helpful if I got it earlier. It was certainly great for when I started her on solids. High chairs really don't do such a great job at holding wiggly little ones. So I used to put her in the boppy for meal times. (It's super easy to wipe down.) Or... I'd just set her in the boppy on the floor with a toy. She never actually physically outgrew it like I've heard some folks complain about... but she did get tired of being held captive in it!

I love my garage sale find... $5 baby monitor. It works great... but used to think it would be worth it to get one of those #100 plus video monitors. Hmmm... $95 saved!!

I really like my nursing (rocking) chair. It's not one of those typical gliders... but I used it all the time when she was really little and now it sits in her room so I can rock her if she's having a rough time... or just for bed time stories.

Bottle warmer... never used.

Wipes warmer... we live in England... cold weather = cold wipes. She... or rather I loved it when she was little. You know... for those night time changes.... no icy wipe to wake her from her semi-conscious state. But unless your fast those wipes cool off pretty fast anyways. Plus the container doesn't hold so many so I always felt like I was refilling it. So... I only used it for a few months. Again... living in Okinawa... unless the A/C is turned up super high... you'll probably not need one.

Pack-n-play... I have one with a bassinet and a changing table but the changing table was a joke. If you wanted to use the changing table portion you had to snap a dozen or so little pieces here and there. Plus you couldn't leave it attached if you wanted to use the bassinet. So every time you wanted to change a diaper you'd have to do all this assembly!! I pitched the cheezy changing table attachment.

The next model up from what I bought does have the changing table set off to the side of the pack-n-play. I suppose this was the fix to the previous models issues. I didn't get that one though because the whole thing looked so huge!! Base housing here is really tight!!

Breast pump... I got a manual one from the base here... it was a joke. Our old base used to give out those super nice madela ones too but of course they didn't here! The manual one was such a joke!! If you do decide you need one... don't waste your time or $ on the madela manual pump.

Nursing pillow... I used the boppy for only just awhile. But it did get a lot of use when my daughter was learning to sit up. She was so wiggly that we'd put the pillow around her to sort of cushion her fall. Our floors are so hard here that we joked about getting her a helmet!! The boppy worked great though. She could entertain herself on the floor with a toy while we felt confident that she wouldn't end up with a concussion.

Good luck!



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Hi, I am also a second time mom with a toddler and an infant. With respect to your list, I would say the Sleepy Wrap is absolutely essential. It is relatively inexpensive at around $35, MUCH more comfortable that any of the bjorn type carriers, and very versitile. My 10 month-old, who weighs in at a whopping 25 lbs loves this thing. I can carry him around in it for hours, even running through airports, and he falls asleep in it when he's tired. Plus, it's essentially a really long piece of fabric, so it folds up and stores as easily as a tee shirt. I had the Bumpo chair, but used it very little, perhaps just a few weeks. For the amount of usage we got out of it, I would save the money. A highchair is just as good and much easier to get the baby in and out of, since the bumpo gets stuck on the baby and when you lift him up, the chair comes with him. I know moms have incredible talent, but we still only have two arms. If you're really good, you can manage to kick the thing off his bum with a foot while holding him in mid-air.

With respect to a pack-and-play, Graco of course is good, although the bassinet/changing table part have pretty low weight limits. We discontinued using that by the time my babies were four months old. Plus those parts are a huge pain to transport if you're traveling. I'd say if you must have a pack-and-play for portable sleeping quarters, get one that has a sturdy bottom, comes with a thick cushion bottom and a carry bag, and is easy to set up/break down.

I also nursed my sons for around six months. As a full-time working mom from eight weeks on, the ONLY pump that comes close to even somewhat maintaining your milk supply is the Medela Pump 'n Style Advance. It's expensive, but it's totally worth it for working moms. I also used the Brest Friend nursing pillow, which I liked WAY more than a Boppy. It was more comfortable to use since it didn't have those hugely thick rolls on your back and sides, and it's flat on top so the baby doesn't roll away from proper feeding position. It also has bumps on the flat surface so it provides a bit of head support to the baby.

With the exception of a rocker/glider (which if you can afford it, get the best fully uphostered swivel glider with low armrests and a wide seat and ottoman), I would say the other items on your list are unnecessary. I had a wipe warmer and I never even took it out of the box. I figured by the time the wipe makes it to baby's bottom, it will have cooled off anyway. Plus if you hold it in your hand for a second, your body heat will warm it up. All that said, I know we want to get absolutely everything for our babies, so if you can, hey, go all out!



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Sling: I have the Beco and Ergo carriers. The Beco butterfly can be used with an infant, the Ergo needs an insert to be used with an infant, but both can be used up through toddlerhood in front, back or side carry positions. There is no learning curve, they are very easy to use. I also have a ring sling (Ellaroo) and a pocket sling that I made. I couldn't ever get my baby positioned correctly. I have the Bjorn. It is terrible and a waste of money. Bad for your back.

Hooter Hider: I never used a nursing cover, even while nursing in the Middle East. Most babies won't tolerate it after the first few months. I think it is better to use a blanket if you need a little more coverage when the baby is small.

Bumbo Chair: My son loved his Bumbo, He still uses it at 2 years old. Whether the Bumbo is a lifesaver or waste of money depends on the personality of your child. It is better to put your baby in it and see if baby likes it before buying it. It seems that skinny kids like it better than chubby ones, but that it totally unscientific just seems to be a trend in the reviews I've read.

Video Monitor: I bought a regular monitor and never used it. Unless you have a big house, you really don't need this.

Nursing chair: You will probably nurse where you are and not use this much. For nighttime nursing, you'll get a lot more sleep if you nurse in the side lying position in your bed. Then you don't really have to wake up. Having the baby in your bed, a co-sleeper or in a crib in your room at least for the first few months, will give you a lot more sleep as well.

If you really want a chair, maybe pick out something that can go in the living room instead of the nursery so you will use it more.

bottle warmer: you don't need this, especially if you are primarily breastfeeding.

wipes warmer: you don't need this. work quickly when changing the diaper. you can warm the wipe in your hand if you feel you need to. Wipes warmers often dry out the wipes anyway.

Pack n' Play with Bassinet and changing table attachment. I had this and used it primarily to change the baby when he was little and I was on the first floor of a two floor house. I used it a few times to put him in when I needed to do something and needed him contained. It was primarily used for toy storage. It takes up a lot of room. If you have the real estate for it, I think it is worth it because there are lots of uses. If you don't have a lot of room, it is not critical. You could just get a vinyl contured changing pad and put it on top of a dresser. I did not get a cover because the vinyl is easier to keep clean. If you have to have a cover, get two so you have a clean one when the other is in the wash.

Breast Pump: I had the Ameda Purely Yours Double Electric Pump, comparable to the Medela Pump in Style but cheaper. As a SAHM, I really didn't need this, though. There is a new Medela Swing Pump which is a single electric pump, but cheaper than the Pump in Style. Pumping can be a pain and not everyone is good at. It takes practice so if you will need to pump, paying for a good one is worth it.

Nursing Pillow: I like the My Brest Friend pillow better than the Boppy. It has a clip and attaches to you, plus the top is flat.

Good luck!



answers from Stationed Overseas on

M., If you come to Market Day at the Schilling Community Center on Kadena, there are a few different people selling homemade slings as well as Nursing covers. The next one is October 25th



answers from Stationed Overseas on

I have a 3yo daughter and just had twins, so I'm going through this exact thing. I'll tell you from my own personal experience what I've used or not.

sling-Use it all the time. I use it at the grocery store as well as just to carry a baby around the house hands free in order to get some chores done. The babies go right to sleep in there. I ordered a Moby, but there are a lot of different ones to choose from. I like the moby because it has a ton of options and grows with your baby. Down side is that it takes practice on how to wrap. But I've got it down now and we even got a second one for my husband to carry another baby in on walks or outings. Great workout!

hooter hider-Use it all the time. Allows you to stay where you are during outings instead of having to excuse yourself to a separate room. I'm not the type to whip out the boob in front of just anybody.

Haven't used a bumbo yet, but I've heard great things.

Don't see the point of a video monitor versus an audio. We use our regular baby monitor and it's just fine.

nursing chair- I rarely, and I mean rarely, nurse in a specific chair. I either nurse lying down or just wherever I happen to be at the time. At the dinner table, on the couch, sitting at the computer.

I didn't use a bottle warmer with my daughter but it's probably not a bad idea.

Wipes warmer, silly.

pac-n-play- Use it everyday downstairs as a bassinet, which is a special attachment that suspends above the play pen part. It has a changer attachment too and is great for traveling. We have a Graco.

breast pump-I got one this time around because of the twins. Wanted to ensure a great milk supply. It's worked. The extra large nursing pillow with the velcro thing has also been a must with twins because I have to nurse them simultaneously a lot. With a singleton, don't know how important it is.

Hope this is helpful! Good luck and Congrats!



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Hi Michelle,

I am stationed in germany with my husband. I am also expecting my 2nd baby after 10 years! eep! I know you asked about brand advice and Im not sure Im much help there but I did want to say that Babiesrus.com has been FANTASTIC with super fast shipping to APO addresses. I have gotten highchairs etc shipped with surprising speed! I highly reccomend it! Also Amazon.com has been a great resource with fast shipping. Im not going to get a sling as I came across the Mei Tai style baby carrier while I was in Paris. A womans husband was using one in the Lourve with their very young son. It looked wonderful. A good place to find them is etsy.com.

Hope some of that helps :)




answers from Stationed Overseas on

I had the Didymos wrap in the beginning when they are so small and it worked best for me and baby. It does take a little time to get used to it, but after a couple times I had the the baby wrapped in the same time as to put it in the Baby Bjorn. After the baby is a little bigger and until past toddler age I can recommend the Beco Butterfly. Can't live without it way better than the Ergo carrier. So much better for your back as well:)
As on breast pumps, I find that the electrical ones from Medela" swing" work quite well, however I would not buy one used!!! I see so many moms selling their breast pumps however it is not meant to be used by multiple users. So look on ebay on new ones. Good luck!



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Hi, we just left Okinawa last year and the best place to buy items is thru the Japan Update. You can also place an ad with all of your requests. As far as the brands go, for me it is all in personal taste, everyone likes something for some reason or another. Have fun, I miss using the Japan update for buying and selling things.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

I have a second child who is 15 months and my oldest is 3 1/2, and I wondered the same.
I would NOT buy the following: wipes warmer(not needed), video monitor(unless you live in a huge house, this is a waste)
Things that I liked: the Graco pack n play is nice with the bassinet attachment. My child slept in that a while before I put her in the crib. I never took my pack n play out but I did use it downstairs so that I can let her play.

I used a Medela portable breast pump that looks like a purse. I would borrow the hospitals (if they allow that) at first because the suction is stronger.

I have the bumpo chair and my son uses it as a booster for the table mostly. When I bought mine, my daughter was already pretty mobile and able to climb out of it.

I have a book that I would recommend. It is called "Baby Bargains". You can get it from Amazon. It is a good resource for what is needed and what is not, and how to get the best bargains on baby items.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Hi, M.,

I have an 8 month old daughter, and with this being our first child, my husband and I got everything. Of course everyone is different and what works for some doesn't work for others. So, here is my advice on the products:

sling/wrap - I got the New Native carrier and used it a few times, but my daughter wasn't as excited about it as I was. It has several ways it can be used to carry her; I just haven't looked at the instructions to figure it out much. But I still want to try to use it.

hooter hider - I don't have the specific brand, but I do have a nursing shawl. It is great, and definitely makes breastfeeding in public a lot easier. The only problem is my daughter will only tolerate it for a little while before she gets tired of being covered and starts flailing around.

bumbo chair - We love this. We started using this when my daughter was 3-4 months old and we still use it. It was great when she wanted so badly to sit up, but wasn't strong enough to do it yet. It is also great for feeding your baby solids. I often use it as a travel high chair to feed my daughter if we are out. Her legs do get stuck sometimes when getting her out of it, but it is not that difficult to push it off of her.

video monitor - I have one and love it. It probably isn't necessary, but it gives me piece of mind. My husband thinks I'm paranoid (and I probably am), but I really like being able to see her and know that everything is fine. Also, sometimes she doesn't make noise when she wakes up from her naps, so it's nice to know when she is awake.

nursing chair - I bought one when I was pregnant, and only used it for about a month and only at night. During the day I nurse where ever I happen to be, and at night I nurse in the bed. However, my daughter has always been a fast eater. I've never nursed her for longer than 10 minutes. So, if she ate longer a really comfy chair might be more essential to me.

bottle warmer - My husband uses it all the time. I am a working mom and my husband stays home with our daughter. So, he warms all her bottles during the day. We bought The First Years brand, and didn't like it because it frequently got the milk too cold or too warm. Luckily we also got a Munchkin brand one as a gift, and that one has worked out much better. As a SAHM, if your baby isn't going to be getting a lot of bottles then it wouldn't be necessary. There are plenty of other ways to warm the milk.

wipes warmer - We have one, and it is completely unnecessary. The wipes are cool by the time they make it to her little bottom anyway.

pack'n play - We have one that we have never used. We have a hand-me-down Evenflo, and it is a pain to put up. Plus we have never really had a need for it. We had a bassinet that we used for the first few months which was great. Our bedroom wasn't big enough to use the pack'n play bassinet.

breast pump - Again, as a working mom who is still breast feeding, I use this daily. I bought a Medela double electric for $230 from the exchange in San Diego. It works really well, but is probably overkill for a SAHM unless you plan to pump a lot. I've never used a manual breast pump. I also have a single electric Dr. Brown's pump that I keep at home just in case. This one was $140 from the Dr, Brown's website (that's the brand of bottles we use as well). It's actually kind of nice because it doesn't work the same as most others. Instead of the suction tugging on your nipples (which can be painful at first and takes a little getting used to) it has this honeycomb type cup which stimulates your breast more like a suckling baby.

nursing pillow - I used a Boppy for the first few months which worked well for me, especially after having a C-section. Now that my daughter is older I don't use anything special to nurse her.

I hope some of this helps!

S. :)



answers from Stationed Overseas on

I don't know about a wipes warmer, but I had three girls in 14 months and I do know a recipe for homemade wipes.

Cut a roll of high end paper towels in half so it looks like a huge roll of toilet paper. A great big serrated knife works well, and sometimes I had to ask my husband for help. I preferred Viva, my sister liked Bounty.

Put in an appropriate size container with a lid. I live in a humid climate and used an Ice Bucket, my sister lived in a dry climate and used a Rubbermaid with a tight fitting lid.

Mix together:
2 cups water
2 Tbsp Baby Oil
2 Tbsp Baby Wash

Pour over the paper towels. Wait until it soaks in, remove the core, and dispense through the middle.

After a few times of following the instructions above, I just put the water, oil and soap right in the bottom of my ice bucket, swished it around, put the paper towels in, let it soak up a little and then flipped the paper towels over. It seem to distribute the solution a little better. If you don't get enough water just add a little more. If you get to much, just squeeze it out.

For travel, I would wait until I had used about 3/4 of a roll, then remove the remaining bit, squish it in half and put in a zip lock. Dispensing isn't as easy as baby wipes, but they don't leave that sticky feel.

Hope this helps.

P.S. My daughters never had diaper rash!

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