A few days ago, Kyle and I went to town gearing up for baby #3. You would think that one of the benefits of having two other children would be that we already have all of the gear you need to raise a baby, but it turns out that we had plenty to buy. Being honest, though, this is 30% because our baby stuff was worn out and 70% because we got the wrong baby stuff in the first place. I tried to do my research on baby necessities when I was pregnant with Eva, but at the end of the day you just don’t know what you don’t know. We ended up with almost everything we had asked for with that kid (and had the stuffed house to prove it) but it wasn’t until we started using everything that we realized we might have picked not-the-best stuff.
Calvin is actually the kid that got the brunt of secondhand-itis. Our first two kids were closer together in age than #2 and #3 will be and it didn’t make sense for us at the time to turn around and buy a whole new set of baby things. Plus, I was already on strict bed rest for a few weeks by this point in my pregnancy so that nesting time was really scrambled up with just trying to keep everything under control. He by no means had a deprived infanthood, but there are things we probably could have upgraded even then.
So, what did we get so far for the third kid? Here are a few things:
Old: Graco Charleston Convertible Crib
I have to start by saying that this is a fantastic crib. We used it for both Eva and Calvin and it’s still in great condition. It’s easy to wipe down, deep enough to be safe even as babies get bigger, and we never had any problems taking it apart and putting it back together. We also still have it, so theoretically this could have been something we could have pulled out of storage to save our pennies.
My problem with it? It’s a crib. What I didn’t know when we were looking at cribs for Eva is that cribs are actually kind of massive, especially if you live in a small house like we do. This wasn’t necessarily an issue in the beginning when Eva had her own room, but it became something of an issue when we needed to put Calvin somewhere and it’s pretty much a no-go for us right now. Even if we had the space, I personally think standard cribs are just insanely large. Hence everyone using bassinets when the baby first comes home.
Now I get that the cribs are large because babies don’t stay football-sized and one of the perks of our original crib is that it converts to a toddler bed, but we never used that function. Both of our kids moved out of the crib somewhere around 15 months, long before they had outgrown the crib’s dimensions, because it was easier to give them the freedom to get in and out of bed at that point. I think that’s pretty early compared to the average but it worked better for us, rendering all that extra room unnecessary. So we might just be crib-incompatible people.
New: Babyletto Origami Mini Crib
Mini-cribs are a solution to lots of different problems. They take up less space so they’re great for people who live in apartments or who are sharing a bedroom (like we will be for the first year). Some people use these instead of buying bassinets because they last a little bit longer as the baby gets bigger and therefore give you more freedom to choose when baby moves to his/her own room. Some, like this one, also fold up easily and can be tucked into a closet so they’re a great option for grandma’s house and I’ve actually seen this model provided at upscale boutique hotels.
I’m excited about the new crib because (A) it’s beautiful, (B) it will take up much less space in our bedroom, and (C) it fits through standard doorways so if we did need to move it around the house for some reason it will be easy to do so. I admit that the last one might be a non-issue because the house is small enough that we’re never too far away from each other, but nice to have the option, right?
Little note: although I’m happy about this switch, we did also have to get a new mini-crib mattress and mini-crib sheets because our stuff was all too big, so it would have definitely been more cost effective to have started with the mini-crib in the first place. I have no doubt that if we’d gotten this one for Eva it would still be in great condition for our new baby boy. Something to think about if you’re a first-time parent or grandparent!
Old: Safety 1st Comfy Bath Sponge
Eva and Calvin both used this kind of bath sponge as a bathtub (although I did buy a fresh one for Calvin) because I thought it made more sense with our lifestyle. Like I’ve mentioned, we live in cramped quarters and a big plastic tub seemed like a real hassle so we used these sponges and just plopped the baby on top of them either in the full-sized tub or in the kitchen sink. Being completely honest, I never really considered the sponges one way or another.
Well, it turns out that these sponges were the bane of Kyle’s life. Bathing an infant on top of a sponge is a little tricky because when the baby is really little both the baby and the sponge tend to float around if you have too much water and if you have too little water the sponge takes it all in and won’t let it get to the kid. Also, they don’t provide any support so you still have to make sure their head is a little bit up and neither baby ever seemed all that comfortable. Like I said, never bothered me but then again I wasn’t usually the one handling bath time. Anyway, when we were shopping and I went to grab the 3rd giant bath sponge, Kyle called shenanigans.
New: Safety 1st Modular Bath Center
This little tub has two pieces that fit together in different arrangements depending on how big the baby is. Because of the size, the baby isn’t going to slip around anywhere and we no longer have to deal with trying to get the baby not to float away while we’re looking for the cradle cap brush. I did point out that we still don’t have a lot of space for things like plastic baby tubs, but Kyle countered that we could just keep it in the bath tub when we aren’t using it and also his entire life will apparently be better if he never encounters another large baby bath sponge. Hard to argue with that.
Old: Chicco Keyfit 30
Like our original crib, I can’t recommend this car seat enough. We purchased it because it was the only one that fit in the car we had when Eva was born and we never had any issues with it. In fact, it held up so well that we actually used the same car seat for both Eva and Calvin. I think that might be a parenting no-no, just to warn you, so take that with a grain of salt.
New: Britax B-Safe 35
We got this partly because of the higher weight limit since we want the baby to be rear-facing longer than his siblings were and partly because it fits so well with our BOB jogging stroller and that means that we’ll be able to run with him even when he’s teeny. We also needed a car seat with a really thin base because the baby will be riding in the middle of the other two car seats in our back seat so we were happy that this one worked out.
Old: Petunia Pickle Bottom Satchel
I love Petunia Pickle bottom diaper bags and carried a different one for each of the first two kids. The prints are darling, there are tons of pockets, and the backpack feature on the satchel version was so handy. Sadly, though, there are two large drawbacks to this brand. The first is that they are pretty undeniably girly-looking diaper bags so Kyle was stuck with whatever floral print I had picked out as having our own diaper bags didn’t work out for us. The second problem is that they didn’t hold up as well as I wanted them to. We are probably harder on our diaper bags than most families because we carry them forever. Lots of people get away with just slipping a diaper and some wipes into a purse by the time the first birthday comes around but we always have to carry a full bag because we carry Eva’s medication and snacks along with everything else.
New: Bluekiwi HAKA Universal Backpack
Kyle picked this one out and we’ve been using it with the other two kids for this week. This little backpack is fantastic – lots of pockets and storage but it doesn’t feel like you’re carrying a ton of stuff and the straps are really comfortable. I’m also excited about the color and fabric because I feel like it’s going to take a long time for this bag to show any wear and tear and after years of carrying around my floral patterns it will be nice for Kyle to not have something that screams “my wife does all the shopping”.
We have other gear upgrades that I’ll share later on but I did want to point out that not everything is brand new. We’re using a ton of Calvin’s baby clothes because most of his stuff was still in great condition when he grew out of them and other things like the Boppy and the baby wrap are coming out of storage because they were easily washable and don’t have a lot of wear. Some stuff is also still in storage because we’re upgrading thanks to all of the advances baby gear has made just in the last 5 years! There are options now that we didn’t even have for Eva and Calvin (how crazy is that??) so you’ll be seeing more of those things are we start to get the house ready for baby…