I went to an event for new moms in San Francisco, hosted by The Bump Club and Beyond, and the guest speaker was Jamie Grayson, aka The Baby Guy. Jamie’s job is being a baby gear expert and he makes a living on speaking engagements, consulting, and endorsements. He’s like the Anderson Cooper of the baby industry. But sillier.
I was not skeptical about gear advice coming from a non-dad because I could see that Jamie was passionate about his opinions and because he referred more than once to the mountain of baby carriers that live under his bed and the hundreds of strollers and car seats he’s tested. I envisioned his NYC apartment as a parking lot of jogging strollers and the photo he posted on Facebook today confirmed what I imagined.
The one thing that Jamie does not live with is a fussy baby — a real one. You can see he has an angry infant doll among his stroller supplies to use for testing purposes. However, I think real cries from a baby heavily influence our experience of various products. A swing that moves in two directions is a waste of money if your baby always cries on the second setting. A carrier that takes you three minutes to put on instead of 60 seconds makes a huge difference if those two minutes are spent listening to distressing cries.
I wanted to share these notes because they seemed very useful to those of you who are pregnant with your first child and putting together a baby registry list.
Jamie says your baby gear needs include six major categories to budget for:
- breast pump
- crib mattress
- soft carrier
Diapers. He didn’t make a diapering recommendation because that is a whole evening of discussion by itself. I agree. One could get a masters degree in cloth diapering. Or, pick up some Huggies at Target. I’m not going to take sides on that one either.
Carseat. Jamie likes the whole Orbit system because it’s high quality and the swivel of the carseat both in your car and on the stroller base offers more comfort for the parents who take the baby in and out and flexibility for facing the baby toward a table at a restaurant.
He also likes the CYBEX ATON car seat, which brings some serious safety features with it from Europe. It goes for $299 while the Orbit seat is $440. “Holy crap,” is what I was thinking, and was pleased when another mom in the crowd requested a recommendation for a less premium carseat for a family that doesn’t drive much. Hooray for Graco, whose SnugRide 35 seat is about $150 on Diapers.com and even less on Amazon. (But check both places because color options vary.)
Breast Pump. Jamie recommends Hygeia Enjoye because of shareability and eco-friendliness, and the 3-year warranty. (The closed tubing system on the Enjoye means it’s sanitary for handing down to your friend or neighbor.)
Crib Mattress. So why does he say that your budget should be spent on a crib mattress, but not the crib? Jamie urges parents to splurge on an organic mattress. “Your baby is sleeping on this. Buy an IKEA crib and put your money in the mattress. The baby is not sleeping on the wood.” Organic mattresses he likes are Nook, Naturpedic, and Naturalmat. As for the crib, get wood or metal, not laminate which may split once a toddler is jumping on it.
I am a huge fan of this advice because I do not like froofy wood furniture and IKEA cribs are just over $100 bucks and can look great in a cute room. (Also, check out this post on budget versions of fancy cribs.)
Soft Carrier. Jamie liked a Moby or Boba-style wrap because you can keep it on throughout the day (as long as you’re not trying to look put together) and slip baby in and out of it. He also was clearly a fan of Ergo and Beco carriers. And I’ll throw in my two cents that I like ALL of those as well. I’m pasting the Beco video below so you can visualize yourself looking as cool and traveling to as many diverse places as the babywearing mama featured in the video, who is not carrying a purse or a diaper bag, by the way, so what’s up with that?
Stroller. Some of you may have noticed that I asked on Facebook recently if a bare bones Snap and Go-style stroller had gone out of style because all the talk at Gearapalooza was about these really expensive strollers. The Bumbleride Indie Stroller, Aqua was a favorite and it looks awesome. Click through all the pictures on Amazon to see how it collapses. Also these two Baby Jogger models:
Baby Jogger City Versa Stroller and Baby Jogger 2011 City Mini Single Stroller
Finally, Jamie said, “Every mom deserves three things,” and then rattled off this list as if he’s been worried about cracked nipples his whole life. I like it!
What questions would you have asked Jamie if you were at this event?
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