Advice on Best and Worst Baby Gear?

opinion 2 I'm a nanny who is planning on having my first child soon and thought it would be interesting to hear what nannies believe is the best and worst baby gear available today. I know most of you have used multiple types and brands with different families, so please share! I personally plan on being a hippy baby wearing mom, but not completely becoming an attachment parent. I want the cloth diapers, homemade baby food, wooden toys and kanoe baby hammock (then straight to twin bed, no crib). Love to hear from all you :)


Wow said...

This isn't baby gear, but be sure to make contact with a local La Leche League leader before the birth of your baby, and plan to use her phone number as much as you need to after the birth. That's better than depending on the hospital's lactation consultant once you leave the hospital (if you're planning to deliver in a hospital and if you're planning to breast feed).

"The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers" by Jack Newman and "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by La Leche League are my fav breastfeeding books. The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp, and Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five by Penelope Leach are great baby books.

Swaddling from birth is effective, but I'm not a fan of commercial swaddlers. In my opinion, save your money and use a large blanket. Same with Mobey Wraps. You can buy the cloth and make your own by cutting a length of cotton jersey (5 - 6 yards long, 60" wide) in half or a third and following the wrapping instructions online. No sewing required.

I don't like the Lamb noise machine because it shuts off. A white noise machine that runs continuously is better.

My fav lullaby CD is Golden Slumbers: A Father's Lullaby.

A glider with an ottoman (which many people prefer to a rocking chair) is one of the best investments you can make.

I would say a cradle/swing combo and a Papasan Infant Seat, but the hammock will replace both of those.

Boppy is great; be very careful with Bumbo Seat.

You can either buy a floor mat with all the bells and whistles for tummy time, or save your money and use a large blanket on the floor.

A good blender or food mill and ice cube trays are perfect for homemade baby food later.

Teacher in a Combat Zone said...

Best Single Stroller: Micralite Fastfold Super-Lite. It's ridiculously light, literally turns on a dime (my sister-- who is much taller than I-- can actually spin the stroller in a circle while standing still) and folds into a 6-8" square. One con is that it is pricey-- I got mine as an almost-brand-new hand me down from a friend, but I think she paid about $300 to find out that she hated it. Oh, well, my gain!

Worst Stroller: Phil and Ted's. My sister had the stroller with the second seat under the first. I'm not sure why I hated it so much, but I did.

Double Stroller: Honestly, I never found one that I liked. I would often put one in the sling and the other in the Micralite and make any others walk. Or if I was particularly crazy, I'd put one in the sling, one in a backpack carrier and push another in the stroller. Than the other(s) would walk (we have five kids- two from my husband's first marriage and three of our own).

Infant Car Seat (Bucket-style): Graco Snug-Ride- it was the biggest one I found. It held all of my kids until they were around fifteen months (my kids are still tiny!). Because they were so small, I kept them rear-facing until they were each at least eighteen months.

Toddler Car Seat (Rear and Forward Facing): Sunshine Kids Radian 80 car seat. They are heavy as hell (about 20lbs), but they have a steel frame, the bottom folds up for easy storage and they are guaranteed to fit three across the backseat of a car. (I fit three in the back of a Subaru Forester, something I thought was impossible). Downside is they are about $270 each, but well worth the investment. They are also harness-weighted to 80lbs, meaning that your child will fit in the five-point harness until they weigh 80 pounds, which means that you bypass the booster seat entirely. We currently own eight of them (three in the Subaru and five in the minivan). It's great because all of the kids can fit in them still and the straps are ridiculously easy to adjust when we have different kids sitting in different seats.

My MayaWrap Ring Sling is my LIFE SAVER! You're still holding your baby (my six year old was VERY fussy and always wanted to be held), but you have both hands free.

In terms of burp cloths, onesies and receiving blankets, take what you can get because they are just going to end up with puke, poop and a wide array of other bodily fluids on them. All of which leave stains.

Congrats on the cloth diapering. There are so many styles to choose from, you have to find the ones that work for you. I ended up with a basic cloth diaper with snaps, inserts for extra protection and separate rubber toppers. Also, don't be afraid of using paper diapers during long outings, very humid days and vacations. I know a lot of parents don't like using bleach on baby clothes, but I found that it was the only way to get the lingering smell of pee out of the fabric.

If you plan on making your own food, Super Baby Food is a great resource. Also the following books will help you immensely: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth, Mayo Clinic's Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and the Whole Pregnancy Handbook are great resources as well.

I used a co-sleeper, then a traditional baby jail, I mean crib, so I can't offer my opinion on that.

Best of luck on this amazing and wild ride OP!!

nanny2 said...

I know Bjorns are so mainstream, but I love them. I also like slings (I like one with a little padding, especially once you have a toddler), but I always felt more secure having the baby nicely buckled in. If you tend to walk a lot, I think it would definitely be worth investing in one of the fleece covers. It saves some hassle of getting the baby so bundled up before going outside (since babies tend to hate that).

For cloth diapers, it really depends on what you're comfortable with. I have to say I like the convenience of all-in-ones (also good if you have a babysitter or Grandma changing a diaper). Kushies are on the cheaper end, but tend to work pretty well. I don't have a lot of experience with the more expensive brands.

For strollers, I do like the CitiMini, although it doesn't have the big wheels, which is a con. I would avoid Valco like the Ferber method (although I can only speak for the double version, single might be better).

The My Brest Friend nursing pillow is great from what I've heard, but if you get the Boppy it can double as back support for the baby.

Also, not really gear (and you're probably on this track already), but I highly recommend teaching your baby to sign. It is so great for language development and can relieve some frustration of the toddler years

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

Actually, bjorns and the new britax carrier are both pretty bad for baby's spinal alignment and hips. If hyou want a carrier like that, get an Ergo.

Equipment - I adore Graco strollers and infant buckets - the strollers last forever, and they cost less than all the strollers with man names.

If you're considering not using a baby bucket, and going straight for a convertible seat, I would advise against that. A convertible made to hold up to a 40 lb child isn't going to keep a newborn safe and snugly held IMO.

Convertible seats, look for something that RF up to 40 lbs, and use it RF until baby IS 40 lbs - don't let anyone guilt you into turning baby around sooner.

Don't bother with a diaper genie or whatever - they don't control the smell. Either just toss diapers in the trash, or use a grocery store plastic bag to contain the stink and then toss them in the trash.

Diaper bags - depends on your personal needs - you're going to have to shop for that, lol!

nanny2 said...


thanks for the info. I was completely unaware of that, but it definitely makes sense when you think about it

op said...

OP here,
I love ergo carriers, city select strollers, kanoe hammocks, stokke tripp trapp highchair, alphabet foam playmats, video baby montiors, and britax convertible carseats.

I do plan on teaching my child sign language and infant-toddler yoga which I've done with all my charges. I have a great blender and food trays for homemade babyfood. I also hate the phil and ted stroller that I'm using now for work. Not a huge fan of sound machines.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Oh! Forgot swaddling stuff. I love aiden + anais gauze swaddlers. I don't like usi9ng anything heavy due to overheating risks, and the gauze is stretchy and easy to use if you are an adept swaddler. If you aren't good with swaddling, the Miracle Blanket is a fave of mine.

Wow said...

The video monitors are a great idea, and I love them, but they are hazardous for babies. Do some research before you buy one.

I don't like the Maclaren Stroller. I love the Baby Jogger Stroller. Had one for the triplets and it was great. I also like the Graco.

A Pack and Play is good to have, too.

Wow said...


I know about the new rear facing recommendations for car seats, but my question is how do you get a 2 year old to sit RF in a car seat without a fuss? And it seems like it would be so uncomfortable after they reach a certain length.

Teacher in a Combat Zone said...


I found that my kids often sat (still do!) with their legs crossed in their seats anyway, so it didn't appear to be that uncomfortable.

Also, if it's the only way they've ever known, they don't really complain because they don't know any different. At least in my experiences.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Wow, the kids I have had extended Rear facing (ERF) were comfy - they also knew that complaining was useless, lol - it was how they sat in my car, and if they didn't sit, we didn't drive. They didn't face forward with me until they were over 2, and it just wasn't an issue.

One of them sat criss cross applesauce most of the time, and the other sat in a "straddle", with one leg to each side. Her dad once complained that she might break a leg in an accident, and my response was, "Legs will mend easily, broken necks won't"

My current charge is 23+ lbs and 30" tall already at less than 10 months old. His current seat RF to 33 lbs. Then his parents will be purchasing another seat, and I will get whatever fits in my car and has the highest RF weight and highest strap height I can find RF.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

P.S. I am a car seat safety Hard A$$, in case you didn't pick up on that already, lol!

Bostonnanny said...

The problem with this new rear facing recommendations that came out this year is that the car seat companies haven't had time to fix the issue with larger children facing rear.
Wouldn't it be kind of dangerous if the child was sitting criss cross or straddled because of impact from behind during an accident. It could do a lot more damage then just broken legs, possibly cause spinal cord injuries. I usually just face them forward when they are tall enough whether it takes 2yrs or 1.5yrs. They are constantly changing the recommendations back and forth, so I just do what I think is safest based on the child's weight and height. In reality, if your in a serious accident the children won't escape without harm, no matter what position they are in at age 2.

Nanny E/ Hippy Mama said...

I haven't seen any "hippie mom" products given yet, so I thought I would share what I used as a hippie mom myself!

As far as baby hammocks go, I used one called the Miyo..I just liked the look of it better than the Kanoe.I used it with my daughter Neve, and she loved it. She co-slept with me at night, but took her naps in the worked really well for us..and a plus being in an apartment is that it takes up barely any space!

The cloth diapers I used were from a company called bumGenius...the price was reasonable, and they had a lot of cute colors.

The baby wearing wraps I used were called Gypsy Mama, and they are adjustable, so I still can use it now, and she's almost two!

Hope this helps!

Northern Nanny said...

I have so many opinions on so many products that I can't possibly talk about all of them! As a nanny I think you learn as you go what you like and what you don't.. every family i've worked for has had different products and I know now which I like better. my 1 and only recommendation is the SOPHIE GIRAFFE. look it up if you are unfamiliar. It may seem silly to buy a chew toy for your child. but I know so many who've had and used them, and every single child LOVES it!

Wow said...

Tales and Teacher...

Thanks for the responses.

Tales, your boy charge is a BIG boy! And I did read on your blog that you're very serious about carseat safety.

MileHighNanny said...

Boon makes an awesome highchair that you can literally hose down if you need to. SO easy to not be cleaning a highchair cover!

Liam Mark said...

If you plan on having more than one child you may consider getting a multiple occupancy stroller. Also, you may consider buying a higher quality stroller that will last long enough for a second or third child.See more baby stroller reviews

this post said...

Better see it by yourself, search internet a lot, compare all of em, don't buy online, always from shop, where you can see them.