Help, Help Me Mamas

I learned some lessons on round 1 of the baby ride, especially when it came to baby gear. We bought stuff we liked, we bought stuff we hated, we bought stuff that seemed unnecessary but is OMG VITALLY IMPORTANT and we bought stuff that seemed VITALLY IMPORTANT but ended up being useless.

I discovered a “co-sleeper” is just a  fancy word for “$150 bassinet” and if you plan to actually sleep with the baby you can save yourself $150.

The high chair I thought was very very necessary is collecting dust in the dining room while the clamp-on Phil & Ted’s chair I thought was probably a huge waste of money gets used 3x a day.

Nursery bedding sets are a joke. Buy a pack of 3 fitted sheets. The end.

If your baby hates tummy time, there is no tummy time mat on the planet that will convince them they don’t.

Sometimes a $7 umbrella stroller is all you need – and sometimes spending $400 on a car seat is totally worth it.

But if there was one most important lesson I learned, it’s to READ THE REVIEWS and LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS when it comes to baby stuff. If someone on the internet says “Hey, this high chair had a bunch of pieces fall off after a few weeks” they’re probably not making that up. And when your friend says “My kid REALLY loves that Sophie giraffe teether thing” you should stop balking at the $21 price tag and just BUY ONE. So when it comes to the stuff we’re going to need for round 2, I’m not spending a single cent until I get some advice from you.

We need a crib. Eventually. After Baby Sandy starts sleeping in 4 hour chunks of time, outgrows the co-sleeper and I decide I need my bed back. I’m thinking Ikea – they seem pretty well liked, I don’t think they’ve had any major recalls, and some even convert to toddler beds.

Advice needed #1: Does anyone own an Ikea crib they love? Or hate?

We need at least one double stroller. Probably two. I want a side-by-side jogger for Stroller Strides and in case I ever actually, you know, jog. Plus I want a tandem double for regular use, like at the mall or the aquarium or walking around the neighborhood. Since I’m not really interested in the jogging part, my plan is to buy a used side-by-side cheap (like really cheap, like probably from my friend Sarah for $20)(if she still has it)(Hey Sarah, I still want your jogger) and invest in a tandem.

Advice needed #2: Does anyone have a tandem double stroller they love? Or hate? My top choices so far are the Baby Jogger City Select, the (much more afforable) Kolcraft Contour Options Tandem II, the Phil & Teds Inline, or the Uppa Baby VISTA with the doubles kit. Advice on the brands in general is also welcome.

And I think we need another glider/rocking chair. The glider in Baby Evan’s nursery was such a last-minute decision – I had resisted buying one, mostly because the ones at Babies’R’Us seemed so expensive – but it gets used more than any other piece of baby equipment except for the crib. Our current glider is from Target. It is…functional. I mean, the arms are really loose and one of them keeps coming unattached and several screws seem to have fallen out and it squeaks a lot and it doesn’t recline so you can’t really sleep in it. But it still rocks. I guess we’ve gotten our money’s worth in the last 18 months.

Advice needed #3: PLEASE recommend your glider. It doesn’t have to be expensive but it can be. I learned my lesson when it comes to cheap chairs.

That’s it. Unless you have an absolute favorite baby item you cannot live without and want to recommend. Especially if it’s the sort of thing that helped you survive life with TWO children. Because I’m more than willing to take advice.

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35 Responses to “Help, Help Me Mamas”

  1. Barbra says:

    i can’t wait to read all the comments for this post. funny thing, its 6am my time and i’ve been awake for two hours researching gliders (okay to buy off craigslist? or need to be new? how fancy, etc.). so i look forward to those suggestions. i haven’t had my baby yet, but i bought the Ikea Mammut crib in blue. i LOVE it. it’s gorgeous, solid as a rock and has zero moving parts. my simmons crib mattress fits super tight and snug. my husband put it together last weekend, it took him under an hour. not all of ikea’s cribs fit my requirements, some seemed rather…ikea-esque. but the mammut is awesome. i actually bought the blue one before i know i was having a boy. now it looks like i did it on purpose, but i really love the color, it’s sorta curvy and dr. suess-ish. and heavy and rock solid – it doesn’t budge when you try to shake it. it’s made from solid wood – no plastic anywhere. oddly, it’s not on the website, and there isn’t a whole lot on the web about it, but i still love it and believe it is a safe choice. oh – it does come in pink if you prefer that.

    • merin says:

      We have the blue mammut crib as well (along with the matching armoire and chest of drawers) and we love it. I echo everything barbra said about the quality and the cost was very good. Even better considering Cora has never slept in it-I would have been pretty pissed if I had spent much more since it was basically a laundry basket until we moved…now its disassembled in our attic. Hey!! Do you want to use our crib??

      • bebehblog says:

        I THOUGHT that was your crib – when she said “Dr. Seuss-ish” I thought “hey Merin has that one”. I’m surprised it’s wood though – I totally thought it was plastic. If we decide to use that series in the nursery I would love to borrow yours for a while :)

        • merin says:

          I would love to have someone use it! Honestly, I didn’t know it was wood either-I guess it’s that IKEA particleboard wood business. It IS really solid though!

  2. Swistle says:

    We have the Graco Duoglider and I love it. I researched by asking every mom I saw out with a double stroller whether they liked their stroller or not. What I like is that the infant carseat can snap into it: with the twins I had two seats snapped in, but with Henry I could snap his seat in and let one of the twins ride in the other seat.

    For a comfy rocker/recliner, I recommend La-Z-Boy. We bought two when I was expecting the twins, and I have slept in them many, many times. They’re not gliders, but I don’t like gliders as much.

    • bebehblog says:

      Ha! At the fair yesterday I accosted several moms with double strollers, demanding to know the brands & how they liked them. That’s how I found the Kolcraft – it looked very expensive and fancy in person.

  3. StraderSpiel says:

    I have a sit & stand stroller (which isn’t a jogging stroller) but you might get more use out of it. In the front can either be a regular child seat or you can put the bar attachment on and voila! the car seat attaches to the stroller. The back is a seat where an older child can sit or stand. Ethan & Carter can actually both sit on the seat in the back and Cadence goes in the front. It’s much more versatile than just a double stroller as you’ll be able to use it longer and with more kids…:) You could also totally use it for stroller strides as it’s easy to push. I don’t recommend it if you are going to be shopping in stores that have narrow aisles, but any stroller will give you problems there!

    • Amanda says:

      I was hoping someone would mention a Sit & Stand stroller! We are working on number two and I just know that my 4 year old will be crazy jealous of a baby in a stroller when she has to walk- oh no! the horror! Hubby and I have browsed a few different one but this is the first one I have seen with such a big weight limit for the back seat. Thanks!

    • bebehblog says:

      My only problems with a Sit & Stand are a) I don’t think my Chicco car seat will work with most of them and b) it’s going to be a long time before Baby Evan is old enough to actually stand. And once he does he isn’t contained as well as in an actual stroller (which means chasing him down, because he is a TERRIBLE LISTENER). Plus I can’t use it at Stroller Strides – kids have to be strapped in.

      The Uppa (which is the most expensive, of course) has a “stand” attachment that an older kid can ride on – so we could actually get 3 kids on it at once. And if we ever had MORE than 3 Baby Evan would be old enough to not use a stroller anymore. Unless #3 ends up being twins. God help me.

      • StraderSpiel says:

        Just an FYI, with the sit and stand, there is a seatbelt to strap the sitting older child. And it should fit the Chicco car seat, the base is really large. If you make it over between Thanksgiving & Christmas and want to try it out ahead of time, I’ll bring it up with me.

        • Myungho says:

          I recently flew with my then 13 month old son. Check the car seat ulesns you plan on using it (we did the plane was not full, so they let us use a seat for him). We did not use a stroller, but I had my husband with me and he doesn’t do well in a stroller anyway so just ask the airline about that if you want it.Bring food/snacks! Be aware that they will want to check any liquids, including baby food/juice/formula/milk so know where you have it I found it wise to take more than I thought I needed. I found freeze dried fruit and crackers kept him the most busy and happy.Having some of his favorite books with us was probably the best thing we brought along and kept him entertained.

  4. afteriris says:

    We had the Phil and Ted Tandem. It’s brilliant. Mine converted to a single too, which was very useful as Ava was able to walk longer distances. It has good suspension so it’s actually quite good to run with (which I did *ahem* twice)so you might not need to have a side-by-side too.

  5. Cheri says:

    So, My sister has a sit and stand that broke while it was being put together. BRU would not take it back, so they finished putting it together and the second time they folded it down the snack tray broke. Her 50 pound Evan makes the ‘stand’ part squeak. I would do an uppa baby! You can carry up to 3 children (2 sitting 1 standing) so it would work as a sit and stand does, just much better quality and not a mile long! And I LOVE my rocking chair over my glidder (which I gave away several months ago!) I dont have a #2 but if I had one on the way that is what I would do!

  6. merin says:

    On gliders-we have a Dutailer from babies r us and I love love love it. It’s a bigger one with a high back. Definitely not the cheapest item but so comfortable and even now Cora and I can both sit in it and read a book. My sister got a glider from PBKs (I think) that looks like a normal chair and its pretty nice, but I love the high back and cushiness of ours.

    On strollers-we don’t have a double (yet… I still hope!) but we have a BOB revolution and it is very smooth rolling and rugged. The front wheel turns or you can lock it for jogging/stroller strides. I think that with the double you can use the infant car seat adaptor on one side and the regular seat. The only down side is that the car seat adapter only works with a few brands (at least it did when we bought it in 2009).

  7. Kim says:

    I have an Ikea crib that I love! JD moved into the Gulliver crib a few months ago to ease the transition for him. We’re putting baby #2 in the old, expensive Babies R Us crib because hubby is determined to get our money’s worth.
    As for the Gulliver, it is super sturdy, took 15 minutes to put together, is very low to the ground so I don’t have to lift his heavy butt up far to put him in or get him out (although for a baby that’s not standing, it’s a long way to bend over to get them in and out- there’s a pic on my blog), and it was under $100! Awesome! I read all the reviews before I bought it and checked it out in the store twice because the low price made me nervous, but we are very happy with it. JD jumps around and violently rattles the bars, and it still seems new.
    For a double stroller, we got the double sit & stand from Target. It was definitely on the cheaper side, so we may get another as we figure out what we need. I went with the double instead of the regular sit & stand because I wanted the option to put JD in a regular seat with some shade when we go for long walks. I liked that I can put the infant carrier closest to me facing me while JD gets the front seat instead of him being squished in the back with the infant carrier blocking his view. We haven’t even put it together yet, so I can’t say much else.
    I can’t wait to read the other replies to this post :)

  8. I absolutely adore my glider. It was from JC Penneys but you can also get this brand, Dutalier, at BabiesRUs. Check it out!

    My crib is also amazing. I was never impressed with the cribs I saw when I walked through Ikea. Check out These are well worth the money, super sturdy, and you can turn it into a regular sized bed and get matching furniture for it- so it would be good all the way through college!

    I don’t know about double strollers because I only have one baby so far. But I think if I were to have to pick one type of double stroller, I would opt for the jogging stroller. I find that I use that one way more often that the other one because it navigates so much more easily.

    Hope that helps!

  9. molly says:

    I just had my second baby boy in May. My boys are 21 months apart.

    We didn’t buy much at all this time around. We don’t have two nurseries so our mini cosleeper is a must in our bedroom. Our bed only fits us.

    I am a HUGE advocate of babywearing. Honestly, I don’t know how I would have made it through the first three months. Especially with a fussy baby on our hands. He’s outgrown our baby k’tan so I’m headed to buy a moby or ergo soon.

    Next up – double stroller. We didn’t buy one until our baby had good enough head control to sit up. That saved us the money of buying a carseat adapter. We went with the Baby Jogger City Mini double. It’s amazing. It’s been life changing.

    I tried out a lot of the tandems and they are just too big and bulky for my taste. When the time comes we’ll get a sit and stand. But for now the $300 side-by-side works great for every situation.

    Good luck, mama :)

    • bebehblog says:

      Mine will be 21 months apart too. I have practically every baby wearing device available and I bought a woven wrap especially for this one when she’s tiny. For you, I would say go with the Ergo over the Moby. By the time Baby Evan was 8 or 9 months the stretch in the Moby was too much to keep him secure for long – but our Ergo is still used on a regular basis, even by my husband.

      I think the reason I like the tandems I linked to is because they’re a little on the smaller side (at least for tandems). Especially the Phil & Ted and the Uppa. Of course, I could buy two (or more) of those Baby Joggers for the price of one Uppa so I’m still undecided.

  10. TMae says:

    Co-sleeper = fancy bassinet, indeed. I hate my glider, but I don’t think it’s a problem with the glider, I think it’s me. I’m really short (5’0″) and NOTHING lines up right to breastfeed in it. The arms are too high for me…

    UPPABaby Vista – We have one and are really happy with it. We looked at DOZENS of strollers (I drove my husband insane. INSANE.) and picked it, because I wanted a stroller: that let me face the baby, that was comfortable for both the tall husband and me, that was easy to maneuver, and had a huge under basket (which I realize will be of little use to you with the doubles kit, but is incredibly handy for hauling all the kid stuff around.) We were also swayed by the availability of the doubles kit, and the stand-on thingy. It’s gotten lots of use. I also like that the seat is higher up than on most strollers so I don’t have to bend down as far to lift sleeping child out, etc. The only thing I don’t like about it is that it has a craptastic cup holder. I did catch myself telling him the other day though that I have Phil&Teds, and BOB Revolution envy, so do with that what you will.

    I had the *worst* case of high chair envy over Baby Evan’s high chair. :-)

  11. Sarah says:

    The $20 side by side jogger is all yours! :) I’ll even deliver it some afternoon while the girls are in school if you want.

  12. michgal18 says:

    Suzanne–I know we don’t know each other so your level of trust in my recommendations shouldn’t be high…but TRUST ME when I say BUY THIS GLIDER: (and the matching ottoman). If you keep your eye out for sales, you can get it for like 20% off or even use a 20% off coupon when then have a buy the glider, get the ottoman free sale or something like that. This glider is sooooooo awesome. And it is in the store in Waterford (at least it was when I made the wonderful choice to sit in it FIRST when I was registering). Reasons why I love it: 1. It is BIG, wide I mean…I have found a lot of other gliders you can’t actually fit yourself and the baby in it together…which seems…I don’t know…not right. Anyhow, you can fit the Boppy IN the seat between the armrests without being all jammed up. 2. It glides and reclines. I don’t think this requires more explanation. I slept in it last night when Carson was all croupy and miserable. 3. The ottoman has a pull out foot rest, which I don’t use now but loved when I was first breastfeeding, it got me all perfectly positioned and stuff. etc, etc, etc…I’m telling you: BUY IT and Thank me when you do. It is so wonderful. Also, good for tall hubbys. Mine is 6’4″ and he fits comfortably in it. But who cares about them really…just thought that may help you get the OK to buy it! :-)

    • merin says:

      suzanne-this is the exactly the glider we have-we have the ottoman as well and it was very helpful (although you are now a PRO!).

  13. Megan says:

    You know I adore my Uppa Baby (even though I don’t have need of a doubles kit) because I tell you how great it is almost every time I see you at stroller strides. I will only add that it has been great in other venues as well. It can fit in most shops (even in the mall), turns on a dime, and it is still “off road” capable. Also, don’t forget that in addition to the rumble seat, you can also attach a board that makes it work like a sit & stand stroller as well. (Plus it comes with 2 bug nets, a rain shield AND a bassinette, which was what Amelia slept in all last summer for travel and naps.)

    I also really like my glider, which I purchased at JC Penny. It is lovely, and looks like a real chair. I find it super comfy, although my husband claims it lacks lumbar support. If I had it to do over again, I would buy the same chair as a recliner rather than a glider. The recliners A) recline in addition rocking and B) have a foot rest that folds up rather than an ottoman, which saves floor space.

  14. I have no advice. I really have gotten a ton of use out of our play yard with the attached bassinet. we used it for the first 4 months in our room and I used it to help him learn to sit and stand as well. That way when he toppled over he never got hurt. Now I use it for time outs!

  15. Amanda says:

    So I haven’t had my baby yet and can’t comment, EXCEPT to say that I know two people with that Phil & Ted’s who’ve had issues with the fingers of the kid in the lower seat getting caught in the wheels. Apparently there is some safety cover that you’re supposed to install when you install the second seat, but the stores don’t always seem to know about this and therefore rarely mention it. I asked about this at the local store where they sell them, and the lady there had no clue. (In fairness, I “know” both of these people in an online sense only, so I have no way of knowing whether they’re just idiots. I do know one person in real life who has this stroller and likes it.)

  16. becca says:

    i haven’t used any of the things you’re looking for… but i will say, for kiddo #2 we’ve discussed going the ikea route for a crib. they’re cute and simple. and the price tag is really cute too. plus, i think they rank pretty good on the consumer list…

    as for a glider, we got a rocker last time around and paid a fortune for it. it’s nice and super comfortable… but looking back, would i spend that chunk of change again? most likely not… this is the glider version of the rocker we got and i’m sure it’s fabulous (just a little pricey):

    it’s all so exciting; can’t wait to see everything come together!

  17. brigidkeely says:


    That’s all the advice I have. We don’t have a glider, so I have done far too much rocking-of-the-sleep-striking-baby while sitting on my ass on the floor.

  18. Mama Fischer says:

    I am new follower and the mama of a one year old. We share a nanny with another family so we have a double stroller. We have the Baby Jogger City Mini Double and like it but I will tell you we wish we had bought the double Bob. Even if you don’t run, it is just so darn easy to push and maneuver.
    The one thing I will tell you is we did do our research and bought an expensive glider and it was worth every single penny. We have a Best Chair Glider…handmade in Indiana by a family business and it is AMAZING. Best investment we made… I cannot recommend it enough to anyone!
    Hope that helps!

  19. Jaime says:

    Just so you know, the Stroller Strides BOB double fits through a standard doorway. I use mine at the mall all the time.

  20. Emmie Bee says:

    I basically have no advice, but I will say I plan on an Ikea toddler bed for Hudson around Christmas. I hear they are good.
    My double stroller of choice is the Bumbleride twin indie. But, with the $650 price tag I have yet to actually buy it. I have, however visited it multiple times at the store.
    I don’t have a glider so I have idea about that.
    Love you, woman!

    • bebehblog says:

      I guess that means H is still in a crib now? We’ve debated moving Baby Evan to a toddler bed now but the crib he’s in was a Craigslist buy anyways. Plus it has one of those death-trap drop sides (which I love) so I guess $120 for something safe is going to break me.

  21. […] when I was pregnant with Caroline, I decided that this time around I was going to shell out for a good quality stroller even if the price sent me into early labor. […]

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