We spent the past weekend shopping around for things that we'll need for the newborn when he/she arrives. I must say that there is a LOT of stuff that you need to buy and none of it is cheap. From what we've learned, here is a run down of the must buy big ticket items and what to look out for.
There are 3 types of car seats, all go by the weight of the child. There is the infant car seat which will typically support 5-22lbs, the toddler 22-40lbs, and the booster 40-80lbs.
The infant car seat is a must have as the infant will need to be transported from the hospital to home in safe manner. Infant car seats are all rear facing to help protect the infants neck in case of an accident. Look for an infant car seat with a removable base. That way, the base can conveniently stay in the car should you decide to carry the baby around in the seat.
You can find 3 in 1 systems that can switch between infant, toddler and booster. Alas, we chose a "travel system" stroller (more on this below), which includes an infant car seat. So we're shopping for a 2 in 1 system that can go between a toddler and booster seat.
Note, it's probably best not to get a pre-owned infant car seat as standards and regulations change. As well, who knows if the used car seat was previously in an accident. Whatever the case, buying new is recommended here.
- Cost: $80 – $150 each
For us, it made sense to get "The Travel System". What is "The Travel System?", it's basically a stroller that can fit an infant car seat on top of it. That's why I mentioned having a removable base can be so convenient, you can just pop the infant car set onto the stroller and voila, no need to unbuckle the baby. There are a lot of fancy strollers out these days, some with big wheels, others with suspension, all with their own advantages.
- Cost of Travel System Stroller + Infant Car Seat: $120-$500
Cribs are expensive! I guess we could get a used crib, but with the new house coming up, my wife wants pretty things. Cribs range from the regular kinds with a dropping rail to the convertible ones that turn into fancy sleigh beds. Note that if you get a convertible crib, you'll have to buy the conversion kit separately (~$150). On top of that, you would buy the conversion kit fairly soon as the store may stop stocking the item in the future.
- Price: $200 – $550 (Mattress is separate)
Crib Blankets/Bumper Pad
The crib blankets and accessories pricing is ludicrious. Who would have ever thought that a little bit of material with some animals or Disney characters on them could cost so much. From our shopping around, it seems that Walmart has the best prices by a long shot. For example, the Winnie The Pooh set that my wife is set on was $150 at Toys R Us and $75 at Walmart.
- Price: $65-$150
Ah, you thought the high price of the crib would include a mattress. I did too, but to my disappointment, the mattress is sold separately. From my research, a firm mattress is best with at least 150 coils along with a rim coil right around the perimeter.
- Price: $70 – $140
This item is not necessary, but it's a nice item to have in the nursery. You can just purchase a change table by itself, however, we felt it was more practical to purchase a dresser/change table in one. That way, as the baby grows out of those diapers and the change table becomes obsolete, the dresser can still be used for clothing.
- Price: $200 – $400
This is a waterproof mat that is placed underneath the baby during diaper changes. I guess anything waterproof could be used instead of an official "change mat", like a tarp or something.
- Price: $20-$30
This one is apparently an essential for the breast feeding mother. These can range from $250 at Costco to $600 at the furniture store. Needless to say, we'll be getting ours at Costco.
- Price: $250 – $600
This may not seem like an essential item for the newborn, but according to friend/parents that I've spoken to, they can't imagine life without it. According to other parents, these jumpers help calm the baby down and keeps them entertained.
- Price: $150 – $200
According to my wife's new mother friends, a portable playpen with change table built in is an essential item if the young child will ever be staying at anyones home that's not their own (like their grandparents). My wife was set on getting one and we lucked out in finding one at Walmart during one of their clearance specials.
- Price: $50-$170
While shopping for an infant tub, we looked for one that could be folded away along with fit in the kitchen sink. We found one for around $20, but there are others with less features and less expensive.
- Price: $7 – $40
This one is a bit tricky and probably should get a blog post on it's own. There are quite the few options in this piece of equipment that varies between audio, video, and motion detection. It's hard to say which type is recommended but we are leaning towards the video monitoring which includes night vision. There was a baby video monitor at Costco for around $150, but heard that the 2.4GHZ frequency can be a little unreliable. Any suggestions or recommendations on a good baby monitor would be greatly appreciated.
- Price: $50 – $250
Stay tuned for part 2 where I'll post my conclusions and some shopping tips.