A bit of a rant on baby gear

by DaniGirl on November 29, 2007 · 29 comments

in Consumer culture, Rants and rambles

So, Dani, now that there are less than 10 weeks until your due date, what have you done to prepare for baby’s arrival?

*sound of crickets*

Well, that’s not entirely true. Couple weekends ago, I drove out to the Monfort Hospital, so at least I know where the hospital is for when I go into labour. That’s a good start, right? Didn’t actually go inside or anything, but if I can make it to the parking lot, I figure we’re off to a good start.

And it’s not like this is my first. We have boxes on boxes of baby supplies, and one of these days I’ll sort through them and wash all those adorable little sleepers and sockies and blankets. And the crib is still assembled from last year (see, laziness has its benefits) and I know exactly where the baby bucket car seat is in the basement. A place to sleep, a way to get him home from the hospital, and he won’t be starkers in the cold February drafts – what else does a baby need? Cuz I’m thinking that’s pretty much as ready as I’m going to get.

But just for kicks, this week I wandered through Babies R Us and took a look at the new stuff. There are a few things we’ll need eventually, including a new Pack N Play, and I’m waffling between buying new and buying consignment. I’m also considering buying a new baby bucket car seat because although we do have one, it’s been through both my boys plus a friend’s baby and this poor third child deserves at least a few new things of his own, don’t you think? Our stroller, too, is six years old and a little worse for wear, so while the boys oggled and coveted the Star Wars Lego in TRU next door, I took a quick wander down the stroller aisle to check out the prices.

I was balking at the prices, annoyed that the “travel system” stroller-car seat combos start at $250 and work their way up to $400, which I simply don’t have to spend right now on something I already own, albeit in slightly battered condition. And that’s where I came across the Bugaboo Frog Stroller. For more than NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS! Holy mother of consumerism, what the hell makes a stroller worth that much money? And that doesn’t even include a car seat!

And then I wandered over to the baby bedding section to take a look and see if I could find a nice little sun, moon and stars quilt to replace the baby quilt Simon still insists on keeping on his bed (sun, moon and stars has been our baby theme rather consistently) and found out that even after all these years, you still can’t buy a quilt on its own. You have to buy the full crib set, including the crib bumpers. Crib bumpers, which Health Canada (not to mention the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Canadian Paediatric Society, the Canadian Institute of Child Health, the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths, First Candle/National SIDS Alliance AND the Consumer Product Safety Commission, to name a few) have been saying are dangerous since before Tristan was born.

This infuriates me, that not only is a product that has been deemed unsafe by several trustworthy organizations still on the market, but that Sears and Babies R Us and the other major retailers basically force you to buy them because they don’t sell crib quilts separately. And while it’s bad enough that it was only through my own neurotically diligent research that I was aware there were even questions about their safety when Tristan was born, here it is six years later and nothing has changed.


Maybe it’s for the best if I don’t do any more shopping in the baby stores, whaddya think?

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chantal November 29, 2007 at 9:22 am

Holy hades, $900, that is nuts. Baby stuff is such a racquet. I often go into Babies R Us to shop for friends having babies and I am amazed at the large amount of expensive stuff that no one truly needs.

2 Dal November 29, 2007 at 9:59 am

As Gabrièle was my first, I had NO idea where to start. (My mom is still in shock from all the stuff that exists nowadays!) lol
Let me tell you that I was TOTALLY overwhelmed when I saw all the things that existed for babies. I must admit, I did register for a couple of things that I could of done without…but never would I of thought of getting a 900$ stroller! Unreal!

3 Gliding through Motherhood November 29, 2007 at 10:02 am

You might want to check the bucket’s expiry date, I think they’re only good for 5 years or so.

I think the problem with the crib sets is that they come from the states, and I’m not sure they have the same no-bumper pad rules as us?

4 p. November 29, 2007 at 10:28 am

The warnings are equally, if not more strict about putting quilts or blankets of any kind in the crib. Skip the set altogether and get the little player a sleep sack – shiny, new, and all his own.

Also, thought of you yesterday when I heard about a website: buymybrokenipod dot com . Not sure if any of your dead ones are still around, but this place buys them along with other passed electronics.

5 Barbara November 29, 2007 at 10:31 am

Now that parenting is a celebrity pastime, $900 strollers are on the market. In terms of your current stroller, could you buy new seat padding, even an umbrella from the manufacturer? Ours is looking a bit worse for wear and I would check on the accessories before passing it to a close friend/relative since the frame is so sturdy.

The crib bumpers make me think of cough medicine – as long as people buy them, manufacturers will continue selling them and people will think that they’re safe because they’re for sale. It’s circular logic to be sure.

6 Not So Little Sister November 29, 2007 at 10:46 am

I think I have the card for someone who makes baby quilts at a very reasonable price. They are totally machine washable and seemed affordable. Want me to look to see if I can find it?

7 alison November 29, 2007 at 11:32 am

I don’t think I spent $900 on all my baby stuff combined. (Not counting diapers, of course, I think I spent a jillion dollars on diapers for the girls over the years.) Good luck with the quilt hunt.

8 DaniGirl November 29, 2007 at 11:51 am

Ha, think I can make enough off my dead iPod to afford the fancy-ass stroller? Beloved says it’s bad enough I’ve been rewarded for my negligence by an upgrade from a 1G to a 4G – wait ’til he hears about this!

But ooo, a post about baby stuff you REALLY don’t need makes for great blog fodder. Thanks for that!

Thanks, too, for the info about baby quilts (and yes, P, I know you’re not supposed to use them in the crib. It’s more for the sake of having one around the house to lay the baby on top of, and when they’re a little older, that I was looking.) I haven’t entirely abandoned my idea of *snicker* making one myself – you know, with all my spare time – and am really only idly looking for one because it’s fun to browse.

9 annika November 29, 2007 at 12:09 pm

I agree wholeheartedly with you that the “baby gear industry” can be just too much sometimes! But I have to defend the Bugaboo Frog…I am a proud owner and it is an excellent stroller. For me, a good stroller was a priority, as walking is my main form of exercise. My baby and I started strolling six-km per day when she was just two months old…and by the time she was eight months old, I had shed the 30 pounds of pregnancy weight. It is a sturdy, lightweight and easy-to-maneouver stroller. For mommies who are just strolling through the mall or to the local park, a Graco or other basic stroller will suffice, but for those who want to put a lot of miles on a stroller while exercising (and be comfortable while doing so), a higher-quality buggy is required. I should also mention that good tires are necessary for snow strolling, something the Gracos/cheapos just can’t handle. For me the Bugaboo was a much sounder economical investment than a gym membership (which I would never use). Happy shopping and keep your chin up!

10 juls November 29, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Babies R Us is just evil. And anything with the Eddie Bower name on it is the exact same as Evenflo, just with a $100 embroidered name on it. It was actually a TRU employee that told me that!

I had Maxim at the Monfort. It was a cesarean so I was there for a few days, but the nursing staff is incredible. Hopefully you get Rachel. She was awesome!

11 bubandpie November 29, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Winners is a good place to look for baby accessories, along with Home Sense. I’m actually getting a lot of use out of my bumpers and quilt now that Pie is older: I put the bumpers on after she was a year old and they instantly solved the soother-falling-out-of-the-bed problem. The quilt is coming into play now that it’s winter. At this age, Bub was in his own bed, but Pie is doing so well in her crib I figure I’ll just make it bed-like, with covers until we’re ready to make the switch.

12 Mac and Cheese November 29, 2007 at 12:36 pm

There is a most amazing post about stoller culture over at Martinis for Milk,


Lots of Bugaboo mockery.

13 shortmamaof2 November 29, 2007 at 12:44 pm

LOL – “Holy mother of consumerism” – I luv this & just in time for the holidays. I think I will exclaim this loudly every time I go shopping if you don’t mind me borrowing the phrase 🙂

As for the overly priced baby gear, so often it’s the name that determines the sticker price not the quality. That & if celebs are using it or not…my take on used items, it must be pretty good quality to have survived this long so might as well use it ’til it can’t be used no more (pls excuse my deteriorating language here).

10 weeks left & counting. So exciting!

14 ali November 29, 2007 at 12:53 pm

bugaboo is a name. not a stroller. sure, it’s nice…but there are MANY nice strollers out there that don’t cost $1000.

15 kgirl November 29, 2007 at 1:25 pm

I think you’re a chump if you buy a bugaboo. Sorry, but it’s true. There are way better strollers out there for half the price. The celebs don’t even really ‘drive’ them anymore.
As for the quilt, ikea has them separately, and making a quilt cover is about the easiest sewing job in the world. Of course, I made my m-i-l sew ours 😉

16 Loukia November 29, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Bugaboo… my dream stroller! I love it. I think sometimes you pay for good quality. We are Peg Perego fans! I need to get a nice double stroller. And Dani, I’m due first week of January and we still haven’t done the hardwood floors in baby’s room yet, nor have I washed and folded all the baby clothes, new and Christos’s old (but like new!) clothes/onesies/sleepers. We need a new monitor, too. Yikes, too much to do, not enough time!
As for bedding, we bought Christos’s bedding from Sleepy Hollow. We totally didn’t need to buy the bumper, but we did. When the nurse came over to my house a few days after baby was born, she showed us how we can still use the bumper safely – just push it down so that it is level with the crib mattress and voila! This time around we bought new baby Dimitry’s bedding from Pottery Barn Kids, and bumpers also come seperately there… we bought it and will put it low like we did with Christos. What else did I want to say? Oh yeah the fact that Christos wasn’t even using the crib until he could sit up on his own – he was beside us in the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper – best invention ever! You should look into that for quick access to baby for all those night feedings! 🙂 And the Pack N’ Play can stay downstairs! LOL!

17 Jojo November 29, 2007 at 1:50 pm

Thank you so much for commenting on the Bugaboo stroller. There are times when I see them around that I wonder, do these people really need a $1000 stroller, or is it a status symbol?

This being our first child, I can’t believe this other level of consumerism which exists. The other thing which i can’t get over is the amount of things which you buy/have lended to you which aren’t safe. Ie. the carseat liners. My SIL was going to lend me hers, but I just found out that it could affect the safety of baby. Have you had a baby in winter before? What did you use to keep baby warm, but safe? Thanks!

18 Loukia November 29, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Dani – if you’re into a moon and stars theme, check this link out to PBK. It’s the bedding we got. It even has a moon and stars mobile, so nice!


Jojo, to keep baby warm all you need is one of those Jolly Jumper things that is essensially like a baby sleeping bag that fits into most car seats. Check it out on the TRU website. 🙂

19 Nicole November 29, 2007 at 4:11 pm

First time commenter….fellow Ottawa mom here and fellow Greek girl (hello Loukia!). I was so overwhelmed by all the stuff that is out there. My first son was born in July 2006. Having lived in San Francisco, I love Pottery Barn Kids and I found some great deals on crib sets on ebay. You have to be very careful when buying from ebay…I was and got a great set for Niko, called “At the Zoo”. I am mostly an online shopper, so when I ordered Niko his Grobag, I entered to win $1000 and I won. I know, don’t hate, but I ended up getting the Bugaboo Cameleon (like the frog). I have to say, the stroller is very nice, but I much prefer my Graco travel system, which came with a infant car seat and was much easier to load and stow in the trunk of my car. We use the Bugaboo for strolls around the neighborhood.

Also, there are some very good consignment stores around. A couple of my favs are: “Belly Laughs” at Kanata Centrum and “Here we grow again” in Stittsville.

Good luck.

20 Roxanne November 29, 2007 at 4:47 pm

I make quilts (not professionally, just as a hobbie). If you find that you don’t want to bother making one yourself, just let me know. I could make one reasonably priced since I have a ton of fabric that I always buy on sale.

I’ve bought cars cheaper than that stroller. Wow!

21 Nicole November 29, 2007 at 7:14 pm

Hi Dani,

Man oh man did your post hit home. I apologize if it is poor blog etiquette to link to my own post on the same subject, but here goes. (Keeping in mind that it was written before I discovered Babies R Us has also gotten in on this stroller caste system and started selling Bugaboos). http://playpenpundit.blogspot.com/2007/09/do-you-throw-in-tv-with-that.html

Don’t even get me started on the looks of pity I’ve received from some Bugaboo owners when I wheel my Graco around certain areas of town. (Relax Bugaboo devotees, I said some owners, not all). Didn’t realize I owned the stroller equivalent of the Griswold Family Truckster.

22 Karen November 29, 2007 at 8:12 pm

Yeah, I say stay away from the baby stores and stick to usedottawa.com and craig’s list. I think you’ll be much happier for it.

23 BeachMama November 29, 2007 at 9:07 pm

Dani! I can’t believe you only have 10 weeks left, wow. As an FYI, Here we Grow Again opened a Barrhaven shop, at the mall with Independant. They have great stuff. I bought a new stroller this time around. Our four year old one had seem many better days and the back wheel was ready to fall off so we invested in a Peg-Perego Pliko P3. The best money we have spent in a long, long time. Not only does it do one hand turning on a dime, but it is so much more narrower than our old one and it folds up umbrella style. It was the one I originally wanted and am so so much happier with it than our old one. So worth it for both me and my newest little addition. I felt since we didn’t really need anything else it was well worth the expense.

24 Sheila November 29, 2007 at 10:58 pm

Since you ask, I would vote:
– Yes, buy a new baby car seat, since the old one is probably close to its safety expiry date.
– Go second-hand on the pack-n-play and stroller, if you decide you need them. If you can wait til spring, you might find great deals at the Multiple Births Families Association of Ottawa, when they have their club sale. See http://www.mbfa.ca
– Try local community or church craft sales for baby blankets, and you might find a nice machine quilted, crocheted or fleece blanket. This is the season for craft sales.
– Polar fleece is very warm and washes so easily. You can even make your own with 2 square metres of fleece fabric, cut in half, cut 3″ fringes round the edges and knot them together – the fabric doesn’t fray.
Happy nesting!

25 daysgoby November 30, 2007 at 10:53 am

We have a bulky stroller (yes, a bajillion bucks, too) that we used for Cass. When Rosey was born, we used the same awful one until she could reasonably hold her head up (and come on, it was winter, how much stroller action is your child going to see?) and we bought one of those 25-dollar umbrella strollers.
And it was heaven. Put the baby in the car, and with ONE HAND, and WITHOUT STRAINING YOUR BACK, easily put the stroller in the back!

And it was small enough I didn’t even have to collapse it all the time….

26 Loukia November 30, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Dani, you should check out Sleepy Hollow, they have great stuff there!

27 yvonne December 6, 2007 at 12:44 pm

Ahem, and you could always sew a quilt. I seem to remember that you are quite skilled at sewing. Now the trouble is where to find the time.
And I have a pack and play that was rarely used that you can have, rather than buying through consignment.

28 Frank Bray March 26, 2008 at 6:57 pm

I found the information here quite useful.

I have a business making rocking chairs, and I also make nursery rockers and matching accesories, like crib quilts and boppy-style nursing cushions and diaper bags. Was going to start making matching bumper pads but now I think I will not. I also think I will advise my customers buying my nursery rockers about how unsafe bumper pads can be!

Thank you so much!

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