ISYN Consumer Reports

What are the best and worst baby products you have used? What were the pros and cons of each. I am looking for input on mostly infant and toddler products - swings, carriers, high chairs, strollers etc.


Jessica said...

I love baby products and great ones really do make your job easier. I love having a lightweight umbrella stroller when the baby is older (6 months) Maclaren is my favorite brand for that. A stroller with a bassinet and big wheels for outside walks is also great to have for little babies I like the UppaBaby Vista or Bugaboo Cam. I do like the vista more though. You cant beat a Fisher price swing. I love Ergo baby carriers but hate the new born insert its too hot to wear for you and the baby. Baby Bjorn does not allow for proper hip placement and is awful on your back. If you have room for a high chair I suggest the Fisher Price brand its so easy to clean! My friend has a Graco that grows with the baby and she loves it but its HUGE. I hate clip on high chairs they never seem safe to me and are very hard to clean. My all time favorite pack and play is the Baby Bjorn travel crib. Less then 30 seconds to set up and weighs 11Ibs!

knittynanny said...

As a nanny to infants, a bumbo is a great thing to have. At my first nanny job, I was paranoid about watching a two year old and a 3 month old. I wondered how on earth I could make a bottle while worrying if the toddler was hurting the baby. When they told me about the bumbo I was relieved. Its amazing. I bought one for my aunt and she loves it.

knittynanny said...

My charge also has an UppaBaby Vista. Its a good stroller, but I couldn't imagine bringing it on outings where we had to travel by bus or car. Folding that thing is insane. I was eyeing MB's friends stroller (we hang out with her a lot). It was a city mini. Then a few weeks ago, my MB won a City Mini GT. It's purely amazing. The turning and going over bumps is so smooth. I could talk about that stroller all day. Btw. My MB is always winning this amazing baby stuff. It's incredible.

MissMannah said...

NO on the Bumbo. It has been recalled because of the falling and injury risk but so many parents and nannies still use it. Why? I don't get it. Plus, forgetting about the risks for a second, it doesn't do anything except keep the baby immobile. How is she supposed to develop physically if she is stuck in this little chair? She is not "learning" how to sit, she is sitting with no choice about what else to do. It is an awful product for lazy people. If you need somewhere safe for the baby, put her in a pack and play.

nycmom said...

Stroller (I have had SO many of these due to moves and kids spacing):
Newborn - Snap n Go x 4-6 months. You carry them in the car seat constantly anyway.
Full size - City Mini
Umbrella - Uppa Baby G-Lite (I know Macs are extremely popular, but I personally have not had good experiences)

Swing or Bouncy: Don't pre-purchase. Seems dbs like one or the other (or none). Best to try them first if you can as they are big also. None of my dc liked the bouncy. 2/3 loved the swing and we love the Fisher Price version. FP will keep sending you free replacement motors if theirs burnout, which is a pita but common swing issue.

Playmat: Loved the Gymini, doesn't need the bells and whistles just the basic version.

Baby Bjorn: a carrier is essential. Again, people seem very divided between Bjorn and Ergo. I love the Bjorn and hated the Ergo, but I am short and I have repeatedly read the Ergo is not as comfy for short people. I also hate that the Ergo does not allow forward facing.

Diaper garbage: blue tie diaper bags + a Diaper Champ. Hate the Genie as it smells more and requires special bags. They all smell, but Champ was the best IME.

Highchair: prefer a more modern, less bulky design. Have owned a FP/ or Graco (eh), BabyBjorn (great but huge), and a Boon Flair. Boon was my favorite all around.

Potty: Baby Bjorn by far.

Diapers: Pampers Cruisers
Bottles: Avent

Car Seat: Graco (the version with smaller weight limit, those suckers are heavy already; you are going to have to move to a toddler size anyway, so why not sooner and avoid carrying the heavy seat?)

Bath: EuroBath. I've had a ton of these too and the spongy infant ones don't fit toddlers great plus they can get moldy due to difficulty drying them out. Didn't find this one til #3 but much preferred it. It is large and doesn't fold though.

Changing: I love me a changing table with a nice contoured pad, but many people hate changing tables and prefer to use the floor, bed or a portable station. I love having everything all in one place. I loved my Netto table but bought it used and resold it at cost so I could justify the expense!

Finally: buy as little new as you can. CL or a mom's group are great resources for baby gear and most of it barely gets used. Plus, resell everything you do buy and it will hardly cost you anything except the disposable items.

Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Stroller - A basic Graco model. I love them, have used them since I started my career, and don't get the obsession with strollers named after male baby boomers that cost hundreds of dollars. My current Graco (no carseat, just the stroller) was about $100.

High Chair - I also like Graco brand here. I loathe (with a passion that burns like the heat of a thousand lactivists told not to feed their babies in public) the Chicco chair my current charge has. It sucks. Gets and stays filthy, crevices hide food bits, the seat pad is not washable, and I don't even like the way the straps fit. If you want to skip the whole high chair as additional furniture look, buy a Fisher Price high chair/booster seat combo. It attaches to a dining chair, and can be used for infants to preschoolers.

Potty and step stool- Baby Bjorn

Diapers - Babies who have booties need pampers, babies with skinny booties need Huggies. Pampers sensitive or cruisers, not Baby Dry.

Bottles - Dr. Browns

Diaper trash - unless you simply can't avoid the gimmick of the diaper pail, use the plastic bags that you get at the grocery or discount store and double wrap the dirty diapers in them and toss them in your regular trash.

Wearing the baby - research, find somewhere to try on different types, and do not buy a baby bjorn. That brand skews your baby's hips and spine badly. Look at wraps, Mai Tais, slings, mick slings, etc.

Car seat - NEVER buy a used car seat. NEVER! Buy new, and do your research. the best seat for me and my car may not be the best one for you and your car. These days, most convertible seats rear face to 30 or 40 lbs, so you can keep baby RF until 2 or beyond. Those same seats allow you to keep your toddler/preschooler harnessed until 60+ lbs. Check out Britax.

gypsy said...

Baby seat, any kind, doesn't have to be Bumbo brand, with tray.

Chicco Polly high chair. Several layers to stay clean. Folds flat.

Fisher Price Infant To Toddler Rocker. Vibrates. Lasts years.

Safety First Single Hand Fold Stroller. Lightweight, sturdy, nice canopy, good sized basket.

Fisher Price swing. The kind that swings in both directions & plugs into the wall.

A co-sleeper. Because momma needs all of her babies in the same den before bed. :)

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn toys take the cake! No annoying sounds. The "doorway" they can crawl through is the most popular toy! Babies & toddlers will play with one for hours.

NO: Carriers that look like the child is jumping out of an airplane.
NO:Peg Perego strollers. Super narrow. Small baskets.


Tales from the (Nanny)Hood said...

Gypsy, my charge has the Chicco Polly high chair, and I am...not a fan. Why do you like it? How the heck do you keep it clean? How do you keep food and scum out of all the cracks/crevices/nooks/cranies? How do you clean off the vinyl seat pads?

MissMannah said...

Wow, it surprises me how many of you guys like all the baby junk out there. Maybe I'm just a bit more hippy-dippy but I'm not planning on buying anything more than the essentials when I have my baby: car seat, crib (maybe), cloth diapers, clothes. My charge's junk has taken over my boss's house and there's no way I have room for all that. Just wondering if I'm alone in this opinion.

Teacher in a Combat Zone said...

Car Seats:
Infant: Graco SnugRide
Toddler/ Booster: Radian by Sunshine Kids (I think that they're called Diono now). We have two sets of the RadianXTSL, which are harness rated to 80 pounds and then boostered to 100 pounds. They are also NARROW (which means we can easily fit three across the backseat of my husband's Forester). The bottom also folds up for easy storage. The downsides: they're heavy as hell (about 20 pounds) because they have a steel frame and they are about $250 each (I scored three on a mega-sale for $165 each- probably the bargain purchase I am most proud of!).

We had the Snap-n-Go when my oldest was an infant, but as we've had more kids, I've changed my mind. I usually use my Maya Wrap versus lugging around the ridiculously heavy infant seat.

I love my Micralite Fastfold Superlite (voted most ridiculous name ever) stroller. It turns on a dime (my sister is 6ft. tall and can literally spin the stroller in a circle) and folds up to a ridiculously small square.

Slings/ Carriers:
I agree that Bjorn is a no-go. I love, love, love my Maya Wrap Ring Sling. I got mine as a gift when I was pregnant with my oldest and it was a LIFE SAVER!

I love my backpack carrier as well. The brand doesn't matter too much, just make sure it has heavy-duty "backpack" straps and a strap that goes around your waist.

Bouncy/ Swing:
Again, I don't have a favorite; we've had several throughout the years and each one served us well. All three of my kids enjoyed both swing and bouncy, depending upon their mood.

High Chairs:
I got a Svan high chair when I was pregnant with my oldest. I didn't think I would like it, but ended up loving it. It's compact, easy to clean, the cover comes right off the seat and goes in the gentle cycle and is still going strong after three kids!

Changing Table:
I literally got a contoured pad with a buckle and put it on top of an IKEA shelf (the ones with the eight cubbies). I've done the same thing for all of my kids. The top has enough room to keep supplies handy and then got bins to put in the cubbies and used it as a dresser as well. Uber convenient!!

I use cloth diapers and I don't really have a particular favorite. They all do the same thing. I do, however, bleach my diapers. I know a lot of people who cloth diapers don't. My sister didn't and her diapers were kind of disgusting within a few months. She also washed her kid's diapers with the family laundry-- blah! Gross! Ick!

If I need to use paper diapers, I use whatever's handy.

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.
Stationary walkers/ entertainment centers (terrible for baby's legs/ hips)
Any stroller named after a man
Flimsy umbrella strollers-- any stroller MUST have a basket underneath! TRUST ME!
Bottle warmers
Jogging strollers, especially in the city, crowded areas or generally whenever you're not jogging

Above all, what I've learned is to spend money on quality products because they will last a long time. My high chair is 6+ years old and is still going like a champ. Other than car seats, take hand-me downs. That's how I ended up with my FABULOUS stroller. A friend paid $300 to discover she hated it. Her loss, my gain! Also, the stuff doesn't need to be the latest trend or the most flashy-- trust me, your baby doesn't care.

And Mannah-- you will definitely need something to put the baby in and carry the baby in. Trust me, I ALWAYS said that my house wasn't going to be full of baby junk. I've done a good job at being minimalistic, but no matter what, your baby WILL take over your entire house. Just embrace and enjoy it-- the need for infant products doesn't last long and you'll miss it when it's gone.

gypsy said...

Oh, Tales!! I know *exactly what you mean! As soon as I read the review I remembered how bad it first. The one you have is awful. Its very porous! You need to buy the plastic that covers it!!! Call Chicco. If you don't have the plastic, its super hard to keep clean, short of putting the pad in the sink & scrubbing it 3x a day!! Mine was like that. I was spending a lot of time scrubbing that darn thing, lol. Then I saw my cousins twins ones with the plastic. All better. Hope this helps you, Tales! :)

gypsy said...

We travel quite a lot. The essentials would include(for an rv or small space):

Portable swing (serves as a feeding seat also, if needed)

The First Years Infant To Toddler Booster Chair for feeding. Its back is twice as big as most booster seats, more comfy for baby & can be used for a couple of years! Easy to clean.

Small pack & play. They sell one 1/2 the size as most. But I prefer a crib with a firm mattress.

Honestly, when your baby comes(I believe you already have children just that they haven't been born yet...speaking of hippy, lol., you may want everything. Motherhood has an excellent way of proving us wrong on sooo many levels. We would rotate what we use, storing some. So everything doesn't need to be out @ once.

Sarah said...

Highchair: Svan
Stroller/Carseat: Graco snap n go, Graco literider, Grago snugride
Nosefrida for baby colds
Cetaphil for baby eczema
Ergo baby carrier
Dr. Brown bottles

Ice Queen said...

A&D. For me and baby, lmao.

I loooove the Joovy stroller my family has. The only downside is with a 14 mo old and a 3 year old both riding, it gets hard to maneuver. However since I've been doing it for quite a while it isn't THAT bad. :P

I HATE Dr. Brown's bottles. They leak like CRAZY if they are not absolutely 100% triple-checked before an outing. :(

I wish my family had a real diaper bag. Random complaint.

bostonnanny said...

First I like to say I am a hippy when it comes to baby gear and believe most of the crap out there is not necessary. However, in my line of work I have used almost every baby item/ stroller known to man.

What I hate:
Bouncy seats, jumparoos, play mats, exersaucers, bumbos and packnplays. I find anything that contains a child in the first year is not great for physical development. I also thing most of those items are way to big, over stimulating and a waste of money since the children grow out of them in a matter of months. I prefer a blanket and toys; however, I do like swings and love baby hammocks like the kanoe hammock.

For travel I think the peapod travel system is the best. It basically pops open like a tent and when closed Is the size of a hand bag. Children up to age 5 can sleep in it And play in it. Great for the beach.

I don't like infant carseats and would rather just by the sunshine kids radian convertible carseat that will last from infancy to 70lbs. It is slim and you can fit 3 side by side in a sedan. I find infant carseats to be to heavy and a waste since the child out grows it within a year. But I also perfer to just put the baby in a sling or stroller immediately after parking anyways.

Slings are awesome and I perfer it over the ergo and baby bjion. The maya wrap does get hot in the summer and can be a pain to put on.

Strollers: I've tried everyone known to man
City select are my fav for two kids but is heavy and kinda big. Have excellent storage and I love the multiple ways you can adjust the seat.
Phil and Ted sucks as double because you lose storage space, not easy to close, heavy but narrow and easy to get around small spaces
BOB way to big and heavy, hard to fit in small trunks but great running strollers and great in the snow. Not an everyday stroller
Uppababy vista is slim, adjustable, moderately heavy and has a few steps to closing. It's a decent stroller
City mini is light, easy to close but lacks storage and the tires aren't great in the snow
Mountain buggy is the same as BOB
Britax is the same as Phil and Ted
Gracos are just cheap looking and bulky
Bugaboo are stylish but over priced, ok in the snow
Maclerians are like any other umbrella stroller just more expensive because of brand, the G-lux is almost identical.

The only high chair I would ever recommend is the stokke. It is amazing, modern looking like a piece of furniture, easy to clean, adjusts so you can use it from infancy to adulthood. I hate chiccos with a passion.

Changing tables are a waste of money, just buy the pad.
Diaper pails are a waste just buy a stainless stain trash can

Not a fan of rockers/ gilders or boppy pillows because I like to feed on the sofa

Dr brown bottles are the best but have to many pieces

Baby food makers are a waste just buy a food processor

I'm sure I left out a ton especially strollers I've used so many

Laura said...

It's been awhile since my kids have grown. Excuse my ignorance, but what MALE brand name strollers are you guys talking about staying away from? They've named some from famous men? Did they have anything to do with the design of them? (Sounds very silly!)

This is definitely one of the most interesting posts ever! Brings back some great memories, lol.

Teacher in a Combat Zone said...

There's a particular brand of stroller called "Phil and Ted's" that's really trendy. I'm not too sure on the history of the brand, but they have a jogging stroller that you can put another seat under (so that the second child is almost sitting on the ground with their feet in what should be the basket). My sister had one and they are terrible.

Here's their website (I don't know how to make it "clickable":

MissMannah said...

Teacher, you're right I will. I don't plan on carrying the baby in my arms every time we leave the house! I will probably try a few different carriers, particularly a sling and a K'tan. I do not like the Bjorn because it is one of those "crotch dangling" ones that can cause hip problems. I doubt I will get a stroller and if I find I absolutely need one, my friend has already said I can have hers. (Don't know the brand, as far as I'm concerned they're all the same. Living in Okie, you don't need strollers much.)

Bostonnanny, I completely agree with this statement: "I find anything that contains a child in the first year is not great for physical development." This is why I will not be getting my child a Bumbo, Exersaucer, walker or any other baby holders. I only use them with my charge because it is expected of me.

I will admit that I already have a Beaba Babycook baby food maker, even though I think those are kind of pointless too. I won it in a contest. :)

MaryPoppin'Pills said...

Teacher in a Combat Zone,

Readers can Copy & Paste links that are in the body of the comment box (such as yours.)

To make it "clickable" you have to put the link in the Name/URL.

Thanks to everyone for providing all of the helpful information in this thread!

Manhattan Nanny said...

Toys that play electronic out of tune music.
Infant and toddler pants with snaps and zippers at the waist, rather than elastic.
Electric wipe warmers, what a waste of money.
buggy boards
Sleep sacks
Old fashioned cloth diapers for burp clothes. So soft and absorbent.
Jackets and coats with hoods

Re Strollers: Huge heavy strollers in the city are a nightmare to get up or down steps, and can't be easily folded, which is required in some venues such as libraries. I like the Maclaren techno for city use. It is so easy to fold you can do it while holding a baby. It is very sturdy and will last through heavy use for more than one child. Most of all, I want umbrella handles on which to hang the immense amount of stuff I have to take. You can even hang a scooter on them. Second choice, the City Mini. Also easy to fold, and has a great canopy, but I don't like the handle bar, and you can't fold it when the basket if crammed full.

JESSICA said...

I agree with not restricting the baby in the first year but there are times when you NEED to put the baby down such as when you are cooking or need to use the bathroom room a bouncy seat or pack and play work amazing for these purposes. Not all strollers are created equal and if you live in a big city a nice one is essential! I am soo against exersaucers and jumpys for babies but then ive talked to moms who could not shower without one! 20 min max in these please they are bad for babies development but some times essential for moms well being!

I like the UppaBaby Vista it is a bit heavy but the push, bassinet, and the fact that baby can face me make the heft worth it. The fold is easy for me and ive taken it on the T need some muscle but again worth it for me and baby! It turns into a double just not a great one.

If you need a light weight stroller and are fancy the bugaboo bee has an amazing push and is also rear facing. I already told you my love of Maclarens and I hate the uppa baby g luxe and light crotch strap is way to short!

A great double in line stroller is the britax B ready

A great double side by side is the City mini GT

I forgot to mention:

The baby bjorn babysitter balance it is AMAZING and grows with the child.

Aden and Anais swaddle blankets are useful for so many things. I love their bibs as well.

Ergo is good for taller people but i made it work. I loved the kinder carry carrier i heard about it on the baby wearer I got mine for a steal. Baby and I loved it!

Chicco infant car seat all the way. But only use infant car seat IN THE CAR! I hate when you see a baby strapped in at parties in someones living room. Then Britax after 1 year. I cannot imagine putting a newborn baby in a rear facing car seat my sister tried it and went to the store immediately to buy an infant car seat!

Skip hop diaper bag.

Regular diaper genie you have to squish the diaper in but controls the stink. the deluxe one has a foot pedal that ALWAYS got stuck.

Pampers diapers huggies wipes.

TRIPLE PASTE diaper rash miracle.

Born free bottles although they have a lot of pieces.

I liked the boppy for bottle feeding.

Avent soothie pacifiers but throw all pacifiers away when your charge is 6 months!

Kidco gates and safety stuff easiest to install good quality

Honestly you don't need a lot for a baby but some products just make life easier. Once you have used the expensive ones you see why they are so expensive. Ive baby sat for the minimalist who has only a sling and the maximist who has 6 strollers, 10 carriers, 2 swings, exersaucer, jumpy, toys galore etc. Both babies were well cared for with loving parents who used the products to make life easier for them. A think you should register for everything that you want even if its expensive then when the baby comes he will let you know what he really needs even if it is 20 min in and exersaucer!

gypsy said...

Playtex Drop In Disposable bottles. You get a sterile bottle each time. I started using them in 1994!! I still love em. I've used every bottle type many times as I had a daycare for many years.
I've also owned & used all kinds of baby gear. I also used to have a childrens consignment store.

Also Graco Double Stroller is great. Nice sized baskets & canopys. Eddie Bauer, awful. Too hard to use.

I love a diaper changer bc you can store diapers underneath in attractive baskets. And with a drawer, you can store the ointments and other supplies ouut of site. NO diaper holders. You'd be refilling daily.

No diaper pails. Just take dirtys out to the trash UNLESS ur in an RV or high rise.

MissMannah said...

Jessica, I agree. I also love the Aden + Anais swaddle blankets and Soothie pacifiers. I also really like Dr Brown's bottles. They are the only ones that wouldn't give C gas when she was tiny and trust me, we tried a zillion different brands. They are just annoying to wash.

Can'tStandYou said...

Wait a minute, MissMannah... You give your charge a PACIFIER!!?? What kind of person are you?!!?