Tag Archives: baby bargains

Preparing for baby 2

I’m now 29 weeks pregnant, and officially into the third trimester. In the beginning of my pregnancy, everyone told me I would be amazed at how different pregnancy would be the second time. That hasn’t really been the case for me. I’m struggling with the same aches and pains, nausea, and extreme exhaustion (only this time, I’m anemic, too. Ugh.)

The only big difference for me this time? The time and energy I have to devote to preparing for baby. I wasn’t working for most of my pregnancy with Judah. For half of my pregnancy, Tony was in the process of job hunting, so he wasn’t working either, so I didn’t even really have to take care of myself! I napped, relaxed, and researched baby stuff on the Internet all day while Tony waited on me. Sigh. Those were the days.

This time, Tony is gone most of the day, and I’m doing the very physical (and exhausting) work of caring for our active, strong-willed 2-year-old. I’ve continued to teach part-time through most of the pregnancy, and I will do so (online) right up until the baby is born and beyond. I’ve been so busy, I haven’t really had time to think about nesting. There’s no chance I’m getting any cleaning or organizing done while Judah is awake, and I’m face planting on my bed within 10 minutes of his bedtime

Now that I’m in the third trimester, the urge to nest has hit me hard. I look around my house, and all I see are to-do lists. I have plenty of plans — but energy and time and motivation are still limited. I’m trying to be realistic about what I can get done.

Preschool is starting in early August for Judah, so I will have three mornings a week to catch up as long as my pregnancy continues to be free of complication (fingers crossed!). For now, I’m trying to prioritize what needs to get done.


The great thing about a second child who is the same gender as the first with a relatively close birthday (Judah was born in late November; his brother is due in late September) is that we have a ton of clothes that will likely fit him. I saved everything that was in good shape. We won’t need to buy any clothes, but I do have to get the newborn and 0-3 months clothes out of storage, make sure they’re clean and ready to go, and revamp our clothing storage system. I want to replace Judah’s huge dresser with two smaller ones, stain treat and store the clothing Judah has outgrown (he still has winter stuff in his drawers — eep), and of course, stock baby brother’s drawers with hand-me-downs.

Sleeping Arrangements

arm's reach cosleeperI will be using the same Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper bassinet that Judah slept in for the first 6 months. Our house is a 3-bedroom, and I’d like to keep a guest room available for family for as long as possible, so I’m resisting the urge to turn our guest room into a full-blown nursery. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot to do in there. I will set up a crib, but I’ll probably just leave the guest bed in there, too, since baby won’t need the room all night for another 6 months. It’s been a while since we had visitors, so the room has become an embarrassing depository for old toys and things that don’t have another place. I need to clear it out, clean out the closet (which has served as random storage since we moved in), and make the room functional as both a place to store the baby things and a guest room. We also need to buy a new crib since Judah’s was manufactured before the crib regulations changed, and he pretty much destroyed it by chewing on it (teething rails are on my to-buy list this time).


We’ll be cloth diapering for at least the first 12 months again. The beauty of cloth diapering is that pretty much everything can be reused. My diapers are clean and ready to go. I couldn’t resist buying some new covers when Cotton Babies had a seconds sale (50% off for diaper covers with minor imperfections!) So we’re hopefully all set. See this post for more information on my cloth diaper recommendations.

Car seat

britax b-safeThis is the biggest purchase we need to make, and I’m dragging my feet about it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to get an infant seat carrier or skip straight to a convertible car seat. We had the Chicco KeyFit 30 infant seat for Judah, and I loved it, but it’s so pricey! I can’t reuse that seat because it was involved in a minor car accident, and the manufacturer says their seats are unsafe after any collision, so we’ll need a new seat for this baby. I also didn’t need the high weight limit, because Judah moved into the convertible at 9 months and well under 20 pounds. Even as small as he was, I didn’t use the seat as a carrier for longer than a few weeks, because the whole thing was just too heavy and I preferred my Baby K’Tan and later my Ergobaby carrier. Even in the winter, I just jumped in the backseat, secured him in the carrier, and wrapped us both up in my old maternity coat. It was so much easier than hauling that giant seat around.

It sounds like I’m sold on the convertible, but even though newborns technically will fit in those giant seats, I just feel like the snug fit of the infant seat is a safer bet when they’re tiny. So I’m leaning toward getting a more affordable, no frills infant seat and upgrading to the fancy convertible I want when he’s 9-12 months. Unfortunately, I’m not thrilled with the bare bones safety and usability ratings on most of the economy infant seats, so I’m leaning toward a middle-of-the-pack seat with excellent safety ratings that’s short on extra features (the Britax B-Safe seat, which currently sells for about $135). It’s about $50 less expensive than the KeyFit with similar safety and ease-of-use ratings.

britax marathon 70 g3Eventually, I’ll move him into the Britax Marathon 70 G3. Judah has the Britax Roundabout 55, which is a great seat for the price, and I love it. My only big complaint is that the entire seat has to be uninstalled and the straps have to be completely removed to adjust them or wash the seat cover. This is a huge pain if you have a really messy kid (or one who gags and pukes a lot, ahem). The Marathon is similar with a few extra features and upgrades, and an easy-to-remove cover and no rethread harness adjustments. (Like the Roundabout, it will allow baby to rear-face up to 40 pounds, which is very important now that rear-facing is recommended to at least 2 years old! We just turned Judah forward-facing at 2 years and 8 months, and we plan on rear facing as long as possible with his brother, too.)

I’m also considering a few new purchases for items I used heavily with Judah that were given to me secondhand. Most notably, I’d like to replace the swing that was given to me by my sister. It’s a 5- or 6-yearold Graco Cradle n Swing that has been used by four babies including Judah. It’s powered by an AC adapter instead of millions of batteries, so replacing it won’t be cheap, but with so little to buy, I think it might be a good investment. Plus I’ll be able to resell it for a good price when the baby outgrows it.

Beyond that, I just need to clean, clean, clean and organize. I usually run a pretty tight ship when it comes to tidiness, but I’m a crappy housekeeper when I’m pregnant. A lot of clutter and messiness has built up over the past 7 months (almost a year if you include my last pregnancy and miscarriage recovery). Plus, our 1970s ranch is small with very little storage. It’s going to take some serious purging and Tetris-style reorganizing to fit a whole new person and all his stuff into this house.

How did you prepare for your second (or third or fourth) baby?

*All product links are Amazon Associates links, which means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product after following my link.

All photos courtesy of Amazon.com.

Advice needed: Choosing an infant car seat for our tiny car

Thanks to the reviews in Baby Bargains (affiliate link), extensive research, and a visit to some baby stores to test them out, we’ve narrowed down our choices for infant car seats to two options.

We opted to choose an infant car seat instead of a rear-facing convertible that will last longer because we’d like to have the option to use the seat as an infant carrier. With the history of giant babies in our families, I doubt we’ll want to lug him around in an awkward 10-pound car seat for very long. But I think in the very beginning it will be handy to be able to lift him out of the car and carry him without uncovering him, especially since he’ll be born at the beginning of a very cold Midwestern winter.

A few weeks ago, we were pretty sure we were set on the Graco SnugRide 35 (affiliate link). It has an A-rating for safety and usability in Baby Bargains, and it’s a top seller. I like that it’s safe to use until the baby is 35 pounds or 32 inches, which means we should be able to get through most of his first year without replacing his car seat. We probably won’t be using it as a carrier for that long, but the longer I can use this seat, the better. I also like that it’s compatible with a wide range of stroller frames and other baby gear. We’re opting to skip the travel system and use a sling exclusively for at least the first few months, but I like having the option to get the stroller later if for some reason baby wearing just isn’t working for us.

We made this decision without ever seeing the car seats in person, though. So Saturday, we took a short trip to the nearest baby store (about 45 minutes away), and checked out our options.

We liked the SnugRide 35. But. For comparison, we also looked at another high-rated infant seat/carrier: the Chicco Keyfit 30 (affiliate link). The Keyfit has a weight limit of 30 pounds and a height guideline of 30 inches. It won’t last quite as long as the SnugRide, but I think the difference is negligible.

The biggest difference between the two is size of the actual seat. The Keyfit felt much lighter. I found out when we got home that the difference is only about a pound, but it felt much lighter than that. I’m guessing when you add a 10-15 pound baby to the seat, every pound counts.

More importantly, it was about 2-3 inches more compact than the SnugRide 35. It’s also safe to leave the handle up when the Keyfit is installed in the in-car base. The SnugRide 35 handle must be down in the locked position, which adds even more length to the seat.

We weren’t able to take the seats out to our car to test the fit. This is our main concern: we share a single vehicle, and it’s a Hyundai Accent. It’s a four-door, but it’s still a pretty small, sub-compact car. We’re concerned that the extra bulk and the handle on the SnugRide 35 might make for a tight squeeze in our backseat.

Tony much preferred the Keyfit. He said it felt lighter and easier to carry, and since he’ll likely be saddled with lugging the infant carrier more often than me, I’m inclined to let him choose. But I’m bothered by the compatibility issues with the Keyfit. We’d rather avoid getting a stroller frame for the infant carrier, but if the need arises, I like that the SnugRide offers so many options. Our options for the Keyfit are pretty limited.

Do any of you have any experience using the SnugRide 35 or the Chicco Keyfit 30 in a sub-compact car (particularly a Hyundai Accent)? Or do you have any feedback on either seat in general? I’m hoping your feedback will push us over the edge for either seat, because right now we’re torn.

Baby Bargains: A completely unsolicited review

When I started researching big baby items like cribs and car seats, several moms recommended that I invest in Baby Bargains (affiliate link) by Denise and Alan Fields. They’re the parents of two children who want to help new moms sort through the marketing jargon and mommy guilt to find the best, safest baby gear at the most affordable prices possible. Sounded right up my alley!

It wasn’t available at my library, so I went ahead and ordered it on Amazon for about $12. I figure I can pass it along to another expectant mom when I’m done to score some good karma points. (Stay tuned, I may even host a giveaway when I’m finished shopping.) It arrived yesterday, and after flipping through some of the main chapters, I am definitely impressed.

Aside from some pretty common sense money-saving tips (“Just because your store’s registry checklist recommends it doesn’t mean you need it!”), the book’s most useful sections are reviews of brands and specific products based on interviews with real parents, safety ratings, and value.

Because recalls and safety recommendations change so frequently, the publisher has issued 8 different editions to update. The version I have was published this year, and the cribs section even mentions the recent recalls of drop-side cribs (though it doesn’t appear they’d been taken off the market completely at press time).

It’s also worth noting that a disclaimer at the beginning of the book states that “Baby Bargains” is ad-free, and no manufacturer or brand paid any money to receive an endorsement. The authors’ recommendations are based solely on their own findings after extensive research and interviews with real parents. I like that!

When I cracked open the book, the first thing I read was the chapter on cribs. I’ve been struggling with whether I should go ahead and get an inexpensive off-brand crib or invest in a pricier high-end brand. I was happy to see that the authors confirm what I already suspected — all cribs sold in the United States adhere to the same basic safety guidelines, which change so frequently that even the most expensive, highly rated crib could be recalled within a year. So price and safety have absolutely no relationship.

What does matter, though, is the specific brand’s safety ratings and track record. The book includes a huge list of crib brands, and I was surprised to see that many of them were the off brands I was considering.

Unfortunately, the crib I’d tentatively chosen (an off-brand tied to baby furniture manufacturers Dorel), received a big fat F. Apparently, the company sells cribs under a long list of brand names because they’ve been plagued with so many recalls and safety issues in their history, including a massive recall in 2008 that resulted in 320,000 cribs being taken off the market. So yeah. No amount of money saved is worth the risk.

I hunted around and found another nursery furniture set for roughly the same price, only its manufacturer (Nursery 101, a subsidiary of LaJobi) received an A-. Much better. After reading the reviews, I can now order my value crib with confidence.

I haven’t had a chance to read the rest of the chapters in depth, but after thumbing through, I’m sure I’ll find a wealth of information about the other items I need.

My only beef so far? Their chapter on diapers compares the cost of the most expensive cloth diapering methods possible (diaper service and pricey diapers) with disposables. I don’t think this is a fair comparison since the difference between a diaper service and laundering at home is so drastic, but whatever.

They also only discuss the savings in the first year with no mention of the fact that disposables will cost close to the same amount in the second year while the second year in cloth will cost drastically less depending on your system. Methinks the authors are disposable loyalists. But they do include extensive information on different types of cloth diapers and even laundering tips from seasoned cloth diaperers, so I can’t complain too much.

If you can find a copy at your library or even buy one yourself, I definitely recommend it.