Row Shops: The Big Ticket Baby Items You Need Right Away

Maybe I pushed it. Or maybe it's just the way things are when you love your work and believe in the project you've spearheaded for months, but are also about to have a baby. Either way, I was full-term, larger than life, and determined to deliver a weeks-long, comprehensive training program to my company across the country (and every Vancouverite knows the time difference is not great in the morning).

In between sessions I would take off my heels, fall into any nearby chair and eat the leftover Halloween-sized candy we had placed on each computer station. Mercifully, by the time I was nearly nine months pregnant I was driving into work (instead of transiting) and only had to waddle about 37 steps to my car, then another, oh, 29 to my desk. Repeat in reverse to get home. Definitely not hitting that 10,000 minimum.

The last thing I could even consider was which baby items we needed. Luckily, the marketing tactic used for most baby products is basically, "Psssst, hey there. I hear you're having/have a baby. You seem pregnant/sleep deprived and emotional. Do you want your baby to die/get hurt/need therapy in 30 years? Then you're going to need to buy this."

It's overwhelming because as much as you think you won't be that kind of parent, it's actually not hard to fall into the basic traps. I'm not even talking about Baby Einstein 'make your kid a genius' type stuff. No, the sinister truth is that most products will appeal to your more basal instincts.

If something promises to keep your kid safe, give you sleep or make life more convenient during a time that getting out the door can take at least 30 minutes, you will be tempted to buy it. Because none of us has time to go to the store and feel moronic at our inability to form coherent questions, let me tell you what we chose, and why.

From strollers and car seats to bouncers and bassinets, the following is an overview of some of the most foundational items we purchased:


Stroller - Uppababy Cruz

 [image:  uppababy.com ]

[image: uppababy.com]

Pros: 

  • There is a car seat that clicks right in, which is very convenient. I promise, convenience is everything.
  • It's lightweight, and easy to push around and pivot. The Vista has larger wheels and is slightly more bulky.
  • There is ample storage underneath the carriage. This is especially necessary for city living, where you're likely walking to get most of your groceries.
  • A rain cover and mosquito netting are incuded (the first is more important than the latter in Vancouver).
  • Customer service was very good. The back wheel was clicking and they sent us a new frame and wheels immediately.

Cons:

  • The Cruz is only for one child. If you know you want more than one, you want the Vista, which can be adapted for two children.
  • If you get the Cruz, it doesn't come with the bassinet (the Vista does). We borrowed the bassinet from a friend, but it can be purchased separately, too. There is also an infant insert for the main seat which can be purchased separately. This is probably a better investment than the bassinet since it will be used longer.

Note:

  • Different colours can come at different price points. There is also a price difference between the metal and carbon frames. This is purely aesthetic, there is no functional difference.

Car Seat - Uppababy Mesa Infant Car Seat

 [image:  uppababy.com ]

[image: uppababy.com]

Pros:

  • If you get an Uppababy stroller, this coordinates. Coordination and convenience are the name of the baby game. Also, find a way to grow a couple more arms.
  • This comes with infant insert for under 8 lbs - perfect for the drive home from hospital.

Cons:

  • I think all car seats are like this, but boy oh boy is it hard to get your baby in! They hate it. Row usually screams the whole time until we finally pick it up and start swinging it - and in the car, the crying never stops. Exactly how I imagined fun family road trips.

Bassinet - Halo BassiNest Swivel Sleeper

 [image:  target.com ]

[image: target.com]

Pros:

  • It vibrates and emits comforting sounds, and has a light that I've used during nighttime feedings.
  • The mattress is included.
  • It swivels right onto your bed, if you want.
  • Honestly, the price point is pretty good for something this "high tech" that you will use pretty much every day in the beginning.

Cons:

  • Very fucking heavy. Expletive required as I was about nine months pregnant when I decided to put this thing together on my own. The task began to feel very personal. This is not a portable item at all.

Note:

  • Row didn't take to this right away. The first few weeks of her life were spent sleeping with us, some babies just need to be closer with Mom and Dad at the beginning. Once she transitioned into the Halo, it was a really great to already have it on hand. We used this until about four months, when she got too big.
  • There are different versions and price points. The most expensive one appears to just come with mattress covers and a pouch. The pouch is unnecessary as there are already two pockets on the side of the bassinet, and I registered for the mattress covers as they are a good price point for a registry item.

Bassinet - Dock-a-Tot

 [image:  dockatot.com ]

[image: dockatot.com]

Pro:

  • We loved this item. Spending the first six weeks with her so close was priceless. Plus, I have to be honest, it helped SO much with the anxiety I felt about going to sleep. For that, it was invaluable.
  • It's very easily portable. We take this to our parents and put her down for naps in it.
  • Easy to wash.

Note:

  • The Canadian guidelines around this item changed while we were still in the throes of using it. They no longer allow it to be sold in Canada, so you will have to purchase second hand if you do want one. Canada, in general, says co-sleeping is dangerous, while my midwives and any medical professional I've spoken with have said it's fine if proper safety measures are taken (I will post on co-sleeping one day, too). If you're interested, consider discussing with your doctor/midwife about co-sleeping or using a DockATot.

Bouncer/Rocker/Swing - Mamaroo

 [image:  shop.4moms.com ]

[image: shop.4moms.com]

Pros:

  • I can't say I personally have one... Row never really took to it. With a roughly $300 price point it's a big investment given that babies tend to be fickle. I would not recommend investing in this, or anything like it, from the get go. Plus, if you have a really chill baby (haha, I've heard rumours) you may never need it.

Note:

  • A simple solution would be to find this second hand. People whose babies take to the Mamaroo say they absolutely LOVE it. I've heard people call it "the parent-saver" and lovingly wax poetic on how it provided the luxury of time to shower.

Bouncer/Rocker/Swing - Baby Bjorn Bouncer

 [image:  amazon.com ]

[image: amazon.com]

That said, we loved this product. It's great when you want to put baby into something while you're cooking or doing something - extra points if you simultaneously recite all the words to "Oh I Just Can't Wait to be King"  that you didn't think you still knew while your baby shrieks with happy laughter.

Pros:

  • Very portable.
  • Row LOVES it. I have genuinely felt jealous of the chair.
  • As your kid grows, they will learn to bounce themselves.

Cons:

  • They can't, obviously, bounce themselves right away. We spent many an evening in a chair, rocking the thing on the ground with our feet... But you'll do anything for the peace and quiet and this is a low fee.

I think these are the big ticket items you will need to get through the first month. Are there any other investment products that are must haves?