I’ve loved high-quality baby gear ever since we invested in the Quinny Zapp (the three-wheeled version, which you can’t get in the US) when Emma was born. I have yet to find another stroller that pushes as effortlessly, and we’ll be using it for baby number four this fall.
I love all things baby, so I was beyond thrilled when I was offered a ticket to the drool baby expo. It was well worth walking several blocks to the parking garage in drenching rain! Here are my highlights from the evening:
- Mike and I splurged on the Baby Jogger City Mini Double Stroller when Lily was a baby and it has been a fantastic investment, so I was thrilled to see this company there (hint: ask stores if they will sell you their floor models to save on pricey, never-on-sale strollers. Ours had been on display WAY above the showroom floor, so it was in mint condition, but we still got the floor model discount). It has the easiest fold of any stroller I have owned (pull the straps across the bottom of each seat and it folds in half), pushes great, and has gorgeously huge sun canopies. I like that there is a barrier between the two seats that makes it a little harder for kids to poke one another, and the fact that you can recline one seat (they recline flat) without reclining the other. The basket is a little hard to access, although this has been remedied somewhat in the most recent model. They have a new all-terrain model, too, with the same fabulous fold.
- I see the UPPAbaby Vista as your ultimate SUV stroller. It’s big, roomy for the baby and the parent (no kicking this stroller), but still has a nice push. You’re paying for it, both in the price tag and the size of the folded stroller, although luxury strollers get much pricier than this. I like the option of adding a second seat and a buggy board to transport three kids – but expect to feel that extra weight! The basket is HUGE, and the seat is reversible. I think the ventilation of their new bassinet (included with the stroller) is pretty cool, too. I don’t own it, but everyone I know who owns one loves it. This stroller seems particularly popular with the IKEA crowd – every time I’m there, I see at least one.
- The Blue Melange Stokke XPLORY is, honestly, the most elegant-yet-modern stroller I have ever seen – photos do not do it justice! Classic beauty meets brilliant engineering! Drool was the second time I had ever seen one of these in real life – the first time being on public transportation in Vienna, Austria when we visited my parents there a couple years ago. Which is appropriate, because this is the kind of stroller I could see someone owning instead of a car. I love the height-adjustable seat, and the simplicity of this stroller’s design.
Recommended Baby Carriers
- An Ergo Baby Carrier was my big investment when Johnny was born. It’s lasted through my three kids (Emma rode in it a lot, especially when Johnny was tiny and she was under two – she used to “help” Mike mow the lawn in it), as well as the babies of a couple friends. I have it back, and baby #4 will be riding in it this fall, once she outgrows our stretchy wrap (I prefer stretchy wraps like the Moby Wrap for newborns). Update in 2016: ERGObaby has finally released a baby carrier that works from birth, without needing a newborn insert! Check out the ERGObaby Adapt!
- Speaking of wraps, drool was my first time seeing the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier in real life. Think Moby Wrap without the yards and yards of fabric. I think it’s a great solution for someone looking for a newborn carrier who doesn’t want to deal with all that fabric, but I would not want to use it to carry and older/heavier baby.
Baby Feeding Accessories
- I was intrigued by the Medela Calma bottles, which are supposed to encourage proper latch and feeding technique for breastfed babies. Buyers seem to have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it based on Amazon reviews.
- Wean Green Wean Cubes are pricy, but if you are looking for a non-plastic option for your baby’s food storage, this is the best I’ve seen. The lids create a tight seal, and while I could open and close them without any trouble, Emma struggled with them (a bonus, in my opinion – I prefer to not have older siblings playing with the baby’s food.) Of course, a determined child, say, maybe Johnny, could probably open them, but it requires significant effort.
Helping Babies Sleep
- The all-around zipper is what sets the Gunapod Wearable Baby Sleepsack apart from other baby sleep sacks. You can unzip it from the bottom for diaper changes – or for a child who refuses to sleep when their feet are covered, like one of mine…
- The nested bean zen swaddle is a swaddling blanket that is gently weighted to make babies feel more secure. The fabric was gorgeously soft, and I can definitely see this idea helping a baby feel safer and calmer.
- The Baby Home Dream Portable Crib has a sleek modern look with a brilliant twist. The crib rests on two parallel bars. Twist them one direction, and it’s a crib on wheels. Turn them on their sides, and the crib stands still. Turn them on the other side, and it’s a rocking crib. All in a very lightweight package that collapses for travel (and comes with a travel bag). Expect to pay for this type of innovation, of course – and expect your child to outgrow it by six months.
I was hoping to see Quinny represented as a brand, but they weren’t there. Beco was the other company I was hoping for but did not see. I found the rest of the companies I was hoping to see, plus a few new ones!
What are some of your favorite baby products?