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Ginger beer and baby gear

Maria is a licensed clinical social worker and a mother of two who has devoted her career to helping new parents make the most of their first moments with baby and beyond.

You've just announced your pregnancy to family and friends; now it's time to start shopping for baby gear. Here are some tips.

expecting woman shopping for baby gear

Photo credit: Ronnie Kaufman/Blend Images/Getty Images

Have you been through your first prenatal appointments and seen your little critter on the sonogram? Have you tried just about every edible ginger product on the market to help reduce your nausea? Then, chances are you have just announced your pregnancy to family and friends and you are most likely just about ready to begin thinking about baby gear. For some this is an exciting prospect, and for others a most dreaded one. Regardless of where you land on this spectrum, the world of baby gear is so extensive that anyone’s head will quickly be spinning with all of the products that are out there. Do you need it all? Absolutely not. That is why research and recommendations are so essential. You need not fill your home with an excess of baby gear, most of which you will never use.

Here are some tips for choosing your baby products:

Start with big items that you are likely to use throughout your baby’s first years... and beyond for future babies. This includes stroller, car seat, high chair, nursery furniture, etc.

Remember to think of safety first when choosing your baby products, then utility, then design.

Safety

  • Look for the JPMA seal (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association); having a JPMA seal of approval means that the baby product has been tested by an independent facility and met the guidelines set by standards developer ASTM International.
  • Check for sturdiness and test out any harnesses. Always think about potential hazards to baby when evaluating a product.
  • Consider going green; this means choosing baby products that contain natural and/or organic ingredients and are free of harmful chemicals.
  • When shopping consignment/secondhand (which I think is a great idea for families financially, and is also good for the environment), carefully examine the products for safety. You can find out whether your baby products have ever been recalled by visiting our website: http://pitterpatterbp.com/recalled-product-search/. I would not recommend purchasing secondhand car seats, as they usually come with an expiration date (and may not be up to date on safety standards).
  • You can find child safety seat resources on the web:
  1. www.njsaferoads.com
  2. www.nhtsa.gov
  3. www.safercar.gov/parents
  4. USDOT Vehicle Safety Hotline (888) 327-4236

Utility

The following are some questions to ask yourself when considering whether or not you need certain baby products:

  • Do you see yourself using the product with your baby?
  • Is it a functional item for your family?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • Do you have space for the product in your home? Or in the trunk of your car (for strollers)?

Design

You will probably be going out in public with many of your chosen baby products, so you want to make sure that you like the color/look of them, especially since you may be using these things for the next couple of years (maybe more). Some questions to think about are:

  • What color scheme do you prefer for your baby items?
  • What is your design preference? Modern, elegant, functional?
  • If choosing a brightly colored fabric, take note of washing instructions (it should be easy to remove, wash and replace).

Lastly, find someone who has done their baby gear research and take them shopping with you. This will not only save you time, but it will save you lots of stress and keep you from making unnecessary purchases.

So, congratulations expectant moms and dads, and happy shopping.

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