So I figured I would make a nice compilation page of all our things, nice and convenient for my readers :o)
First of all, a few of my fave places to get recommendations on Baby Gear are:
- Lucie's List
- Baby Gizmo
- The Baby Bargains Book
- Product Reviews on Amazon, Babies 'R' Us, and Buy Buy Baby
And here are some of the products that we will be using with little Owen...
Graco Snugride 35
With the car seat laws constantly changing (in our state in particular) we really wanted one that would cover us for as long as possible. Coupled with great crash test ratings and customer reviews, the Graco Snugride 35 car seat ended up being the one for us! Chicco brand was also a consideration, but I prefer the look, syle, and feel of the material used in Graco products.
Baby Jogger City Elite
After evaluating our lifestyle, we knew that we wanted a stroller that could handle all-terrain landscapes. Neither of us are joggers, and so a full fledged jogging stroller wasn't really necessary. But we wanted something with larger wheels, that weren't plastic. However, we also wanted something that wasn't HUGE, bulky and/or heavy, which a lot of the joggers tend to be.
So after doing my usual research, we narrowed it down to the Baby Jogger City Elite and the Bumbleride Indie. Both were comparable in size and weight. But in the end the Baby Jogger City Elite won out for a couple of reasons (1) it had a higher weight capacity of 75lbs vs only 45lbs and so we'd get our use out of it for longer, (2) the Baby Jogger brand has a super nice and easy one pull folding system, (3) the Baby Jogger City Elite has lifetime foam tires as opposed to inflatable (possibly pop-able) ones, and finally (4) the overall construction and quality of the Baby Jogger brand appealed to us more.
Graco Snugrider Snap 'n Go Infant Car Seat Frame Stroller
As I've mentioned before, size is a deciding factor for us in most cases. We have a smaller home and don't want a ton of big bulky baby items hanging around, in the way. We also don't want to be bothered with trying to lug around big bulky baby items - one of my biggest pet peeves are parents who insist on carting their massive sized strollers around with them everywhere, and trying to fit them into small or crowded spaces (i.e. stores with narrow aisles, festivals or public events with crowds, etc.). There are other more reasonable alternatives people!
As a result, I was searching for an item that would allow us to conserve space not only in our home, but also in the trunks of our vehicles and in public when we might happen to find ourselves in one of those situations.
The Graco Snugrider Snap 'n Go Infant Car Seat Frame Stroller caught my eye for several reasons (1) it's small and compact, (2) it's lightweight, and (3) it allows you to leave baby in their carseat. However, the price tag on these puppies is not something that I was loving quite as much... $75 dollars retail!!! Whoa, for a piece of metal?! You've got to be kidding me!
So what's a mom to do???
Well, I turned to our local garage sales and CraigsList to see if I could snag one secondhand :o)
There are only a few things that I will purchase secondhand (I swear, I'm not a germ-a-phobe) and this is one of them - an all metal and plastic frame, that can very easily be cleaned and disinfected.
It took some time and patience, but I was lucky enough to find one for only $25!!!
Hartford collection by Rockland, from JCPenny
Above all, we knew that we wanted our nursery furniture to be a dark wood - it's a favorite of both mine and my husband's. We also knew that we wanted a nice looking set that wouldn't break the bank - we aren't planning for this to be heirloom furniture, babies and children ruin furniture much to easily. And finally we wanted something gender neutral - once Owen outgrows the nursery and/or we have our second child (whichever comes first), he will move into his own room with big kid furniture and get to decorate it himself. The nursery (complete with this furniture) will then be used for Owen's future siblings, so we are planning for this furniture to get a lot of use!
Bottom line, we ended up ordering this set from JCPenny because it met all of our criteria.
By ordering online I was able to use a % off coupon code, coupled with free site-to-store shipping.
The reviews on this set were great, so it really was a no-brainer.
In the end, we got a beautiful 4 piece nursery furniture set for only $800!!!
Shermag Chocolate Glider Combo
We also wanted a glider that would match the furniture set as closely as possible.
Unfortunately there was no glider with the set, so we were left to find a match on our own.
The room that will be our nursery is on the smaller side and since we already had 4 pieces of furniture to go in the room, we knew that size was of the essence. So although we loved the look and comfort of the oversized full chair gliders/rockers, we knew it just wasn't feasible for our space. Plus, they run about double (if not more) the price of the smaller, more streamline gliders and typically don't come with a matching ottoman.
After reading reviews and testing out a lot of gliders in person, we decided that the reputation and quality of the Shermag brand was the way to go - their products receive great customer reviews, they tend to be reasonably priced, and it came in the color/style that we were looking for.
We were originally going to purchase this item from Babies R Us, but after fighting with their inventory for months decided to look else where... and I am glad that we did - we ended up ordering the same glider from Burlington Coat Factory Baby Depot for $30 less and we were able to use a 20% off coupon!
In the end we got our ideal glider and ottoman set for only $215!!!
Fisher Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper
Of course Owen will be too small to sleep on his own, in his own crib for the first few months.
So we also needed to find a convenient sleeping location for him, for his first few months. Notice how I keep repeating 'his first few months'??? Really meaning that he's going to be using it for such a short period of time, that again we didn't want to spend a lot.
I had heard great things about the Fisher Price Rock 'n Play sleeper, especially that a lot of people had used it as a bassinet type unit for baby's first months. It's small and compact, portable (folds up flat), and is inclined to prevent digestive and acid reflux problems. The only complaint and/or concern was the cause of flat head syndrome from baby laying on their back, in one position for too long. However, there is an easy and [again] inexpensive solution to this (1) put down a blanket under baby's head, or (2) buy an inexpensive head support positioner.
Pack 'n Play:
Graco Travel Lite Crib - Cabo
We knew that we wanted some type of Pack 'n Play, which will serve multiple functions for us: sleepovers at Grandparent's houses, "containment" for camping trips and/or outdoor time, etc. But we didn't want to spend a TON of money on a HUGE Pack 'n Play with all of the bells a whistles. We knew that we wouldn't need the newborn napper (which most of them come with) because we have our Rock 'n Play to use for sleeping and he could just sleep in the Pack 'n Play itself (seems like kind of a redundant accessory to us). And we knew that we wouldn't really use the changer (which most of them come with) because we can just as easily change him anywhere else or again, in the Pack 'n Play itself. So why pay close to $100 extra for those two silly accessories, that we will probably never use?
So the search began for a very basic Pack 'n Play solution...
Enter the Graco Travel Lite Crib!
This Pack 'n Play is very very basic - comes only with a multi-level adjustable mattress and small canopy - and it's a little smaller than the traditional Pack 'n Plays, which is great for what we plan to use it for!
Fisher Price My Little Snug a Bunny Cradle Swing
For us this will really be more of a calming/sleeping/napping item, than an activity item.
Since it's rather large, we see this as more of a stationary piece of equipment in our home. It will most likely stay in his nursery or our bedroom, but I really like the idea of having it near his crib... we'll see what works best.
We also really liked this piece because it plugs into the wall!!!! I have been told that this will save us a TON on batteries, which is what most other swings use. So that was just an added bonus for us :o)
Fisher Price My Little Snug a Bunny Bouncer
I swear that we're not neurotic and trying to stay within the same brand or collection here, we just really liked the Fisher Price My Little Snug a Bunny Bouncer as well :o) I love the fabrics that they used - they're so soft and plush - and we really liked the construction of this bouncer the best.
This is definitely more of an activity piece than the swing - it will be used for play time and developing his fine motor skills and leg muscles. It's also portable enough to move around the house (unlike the swing), if I need to entertain him while still getting things done.
Baby Einstein Musical Melodies Jumperoo
This piece cannot really be used for the first few months, until he can hold his head up and really sit independently for the most part (the product recommendation is a min weight of at least 15lbs). But we wanted it later on for the entertainment/activity aspect, as well as the motor skills development.
Fisher Price Rainforest Melodies & Lights Deluxe Gym
An entertainment and activity piece, for the early months - this gym is just super cute! Of all the ones we looked at, this once was the best for us! We love animals and the outdoors, and we want to instill that in Owen as well. This piece has a TON of stimulation items and is just an overall fun toy that we really think he's going to enjoy!
Angelcare Movement, Sound and Video
I am a firm believer that the baby monitor you choose, is specific to your living situation...
For us, our bedroom will soon be on the second floor with Owen's nursery still on the first floor. So it was important that we get a monitor which would allow us to not only hear him, but to see him as well - thus saving me several trips up and down the stairs in the middle of the night.
After deciding on wanting a monitor with video capabilities, we also heard about this brand - Angelcare - which provided movement monitoring as well! With a sensor pad that sits under the crib mattress, it will alert you if baby hasn't moved in several seconds. Although many reviews complain of it giving off false alarms, others rave about it saving their child's life... I think I'll take some false alarms, for the peace of mind.
Lucky for us, Angelcare now has a "Platinum" monitor with movement, sound and video all-in-one!
It's a little on the pricey side, but totally worth it in our opinion :o)