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Big baby purchases

4 Nov

During the slow times at work, I’ve been busy researching baby stuff and have been able to decide on some of the big purchases: car seat, stroller, crib and mattress. (Travis has agreed to all of these but he’s been so busy with work and hunting that I’ve been doing all the research.)

Car seat: Graco Snugride 30

Besides the good safety ratings this car seat has received, I like that the seat is compatible with several stroller options (including the stroller I chose, below) and is short enough to fit easily into an airplane seat (which we’re going to need when we fly back to Minnesota at the end of May for Travis’ brother’s high school graduation). I chose a gender-neutral pattern because car seats are good for about 6 years and we will almost definitely have at least 1 or even 2 more kids before that time is up. I’d rather not buy a new car seat for each kid, TYVM.

I went to Walmart last Sunday and played around with the infant version of this car seat. The 5-point harness is easy to undo and redo, it snaps easily out of and into the base (though it took me a while to figure it out), it has a little indicator on the side of the base to help you with the correct angle, and the seat seems pretty light. I compared it to the Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc car seat (the other one I was considering) while I was there and they seem pretty similar in weight and ease of removing from the base (though the button is located on the foot side of the car seat, not the head side, which I’ve heard some complaints about – doesn’t seem that big of a deal to me). The Baby Trend car seat had a longer canopy that could open from either side, which was nice. But the 5-point harness requires you to overlap the two side pieces and put them in together. I was not a fan of that at all (the Graco one allows each side piece to go in separately).

The different in harness and price makes Graco the winner for me.

Stroller: BabyTrend Expedition Jogger

I had originally planned to get a regular stroller and then a (used) BOB when our baby was older, but then I saw this jogger. It accommodates an infant car seat (Baby Trend, Chicco or Graco) but can also seat an older kid up to 50 pounds. It has parent and child cupholders and a big stroller bin below. The front wheel swivels for walking and locks in place for jogging. And the wheels are like bike tires, instead of plastic.

I wheeled this around in Babies R Us yesterday and while it’s slightly heavier than the more traditional strollers, it’s not that much wider and it rides smoothly. It’s easy to fold up, but doesn’t get very compact (kind of what I would expect with a jogging stroller though). The only thing I wasn’t crazy about is that the strap to adjust the seat recline was ridiculously hard to move. But for the price and the good reviews, I don’t think this can be beat. (And if we move back to Minnesota and are walking on gravel roads – which is highly likely – the big wheels will be a necessity.)

I did test out the Graco Spree stroller and the BabyTrend stroller while I was at Walmart. They both drive and turn very smooth and weigh about the same. The BabyTrend stroller has a quick release right on the handle for easy foldup but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to fold the Graco stroller. It could be easy to fold but I don’t know?

Crib: Graco Lauren Classic 4-in-1

This is a pretty basic crib that has gotten good reviews. It doesn’t break the bank. I don’t really care that it’s a convertible because we’ll probably use it as only a crib for the next 10 years or so (we plan to have 3-4 kids), but it’s nice to have that option I guess. And I really just like the clean straight lines. Done.

Mattress: Safety 1st Sweet Dreams Crib and Toddler Mattress

Like the crib, my main reason for choosing this mattress is that it’s reasonably priced and has gotten good reviews (on Walmart’s website, which is good enough for me). As with everything baby, there are a ton of mattress options out there but Travis and I agreed that a cheaper one (that’s still safe) was good enough for us.


I bought the crib, mattress and crib skirt/curtain fabric today, and we’ll buy the stroller and car seat next month. We’re trying to spread out our baby purchases by buying what we know we want (and won’t register for) now, so that all we’ll have left at the end are the things we don’t get from showers. In the next week or so, we’ll also be buying a futon for the new office and paint for the nursery.

Finally, a tip that you may already know: Babies R Us is pretty much the most expensive place you can buy anything. The Baby Trend stroller above was $150 there. I can get it online from Target for $100. Even with shipping, I come out ahead. So while Babies R Us is convenient and has a wide selection, it’s not the place to buy if you’re watching your budget.

Are you having/did you have a hard time deciding what to buy for your baby?