Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Mom Tip- Buying Kid Gear

I've been at this mom gig for a few years now. I also am a pretty avid researcher when it comes to products I like to buy for our family. It can be daunting and exciting how many wonderful products are out there to make this whole job a little easier. I wanted to share some tips I have learned along the way.

1) Don't be afraid to spend money on something you think is the right product for you. Often we second guess ourselves in an attempt to save some money and end up outspending what we would have if we just bit the bullet and got what was best. After a couple of failed attempts- I can say that I truly prefer a luxury brand of most products and save for those items.
ex. High chair drama for Sammy. We bought several less expensive high chairs because we needed something safe and practical. What I knew would be wonderful was the Stokke Tripp Trapp. After a few missed attempts- we own the Stokke and it works beautifully.

2) Test Drive. I think BuyBuyBaby is the best infant gear shop around. If you can go there then I would. Even if this is a couple of hour drive I really think it helps to physically push the stroller around yourself, lift the carseat onto the frame yourself, collapse the stroller, ect. See how those products work for you. There are a ton of options and often what makes the difference is small and personal. Is your husband taller than you? You probably need to both push that stroller to see how it works and if the handle adjusts enough.

I recommend that store because they carry such a wide range of products and also carry more high end products. They have the less expensive too so you can get a true side by side comparison of some lower end strollers and some of the less expensive ones as well. Sometimes the Graco version will suit your needs just as well as the Bugaboo. Other times you need that Uppababy.

3) Don't get stuck in infant mode. A lot of products you buy can last past the infant years. Stroller and high chair spring to mind. Don't get stuck in the "this is for the baby mode" if this is something that lasts for a few years. One thing I did with the stroller is that I just got sidetracked into infant mode with the stroller/carseat combo. I purchased the Chicco one. I love that carseat but the stroller was not for me. If I would have just gotten the smaller carseat and gotten a stroller I loved, I probably would have been happier. We ended up selling it on craigslist and buying a Britax B Agile Same with the highchair. I got the Fisher Price Space Saver high chair and really needed a longer lasting solution that accounted for problems that we encountered along the way.

4) Be honest about your lifestyle. I live in the burbs. It is not freakishly cold here too often. I do not need extra heavy duty products that may be all terrain or very warm because they are a waste of money. Just avoid buying too many things that are "for this one extreme example of my life" type of products.

5) Your friends need different products. If you see something you love make a note- but don't get sold on the product because another mom has it and loves it. Diaper bags are notorious for this.

6) Think about things in terms of a life cycle of being a parent of small children instead of a life cycle of your child being small. For example- when you are buying a stroller- if you know you plan on spacing your children you really don't need that Phil and Teds double inline stroller. You can probably get away with a normal stroller and buy a skateboard for the back of it - saving hundreds of dollars. If you are having two very close together you probably would really love that Britax B Ready with the extra seat. When you have a third they have an adaptable skateboard making it perfect for three. Same with highchairs- ours will fit until he is an adult in some capacity. Just don't get narrow minded when you are buying.

7) Really see what is out there. Go to the store- shop around. Do some thinking. Let your coupons pile up. Take some time to really let things process and you will probably make a great decision. Don't be swayed by this product is safer than this product... most of the time that is just advertising. Just buy what works for you and works for your family in the long run.

8) Lastly - read the reviews. I can tell you with every single product I have purchased and hated... I could have easily popped on Amazon and read the reviews and steered clear. I bought a First Year's Ignite Stroller I think it was. It was so cute. I LOVED this thing. Pushed like crap and we had to warranty it out. After searching the heavens to get it in the first place. Ended up taking it back and getting the B Agile. If I would have read those reviews I would have seen those issues easily. Amazon is  the best place to do research. Baby Gizmo and BabyGuyNYC are also amazing. Babies R Us is also a good review place. Youtube is also a great place to go- often you can find a mom's review of the product and see it in action.

I hope this has helped a little bit. After seeing what we did use and what we did not use or had to replace I can tell you buying baby/kid stuff is my favorite (behind boy clothes of course!)

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