I had the honor of attending Gearapalooza 2014 last Saturday, hosted by Bump Club and Beyond and Baby Earth, and for me it was like going to the Oscars (okay, not quite, but close)! I was thrilled to have the opportunity to touch, see, and smell the latest and greatest in the baby gear world. Plus, listening to the always entertaining Jamie Grayson, “The Baby Guy,” describe the products like a food critic for the Times was super entertaining. He definitely knows his stuff.
Here’s what I discovered:
First, Jamie says (yes, we’re on a first name basis now) that when shopping or registering for baby gear you should put your money into your mattress, car seat, stroller, diapers, and breast pump.
Why is the mattress important? Well, a good quality, well-made, and ORGANIC mattress greatly reduces your baby’s SIDS risk and increases the likelihood that everyone will get a good night’s sleep. Jamie recommends Naturepedic organic mattress, mattress pad, and fitted sheet.
Ugh, there’s so many car seats, how do I decide? The car seat is what’s going to save your baby’s life in the event of a crash; this is not the place to be frugal. When buying a carseat, the main concern should be safety so read the safety ratings, check for recalls, look for built in lock features and clasps, and don’t worry about the weight of the carrier. Remember, it’s not meant for carrying around all day everyday with a baby inside- it’s meant to be a carseat.
- Uppababy Mesa- adjustble harness height, 10 second accurate install, side impact safety features, and easy pop-up travel system
- The Nuna Pipa has a 5-point safety harness, lightweight design, a comfy insert that doesn’t interfere with safety, sunshield to block harmful sun rays, and it actually has a bar that extends behind the seat into the floor of the car to protect baby from the impact during a collision.
Second, Jamie really discourages carrying your baby around in your carrier as do I. Babies are only meant to be in a carseat or carrier, sitting chin-to-chest for 2 hours at a time max. In fact, we’re one of the only societies worldwide that don’t wear babies regularly, but wraps can be intimidating. Try:
- Happy Baby Wrap which is lightweight, soft bamboo cotton, easy to use, and comes in 3 pretty colors
- Baby K’tan, which is very user friendly, ie idiot-proof
- Ergo Baby carriers such as the Ergo baby 360, which allows you to go from front to back easily
How do I choose a decent breast pump? Well, Medela is one of the more common brand names, but it may not the best. Apparently, there have been several recalls due to them catching fire spontaneously (no, I’m not kidding). Also, the open pumping system allows for growth of black mold which obviously is not what you want in your breastmilk!
- Hygeia has the ability to record your baby’s cry. My husband laughed and said, “Why the hell would anyone want to listen to a baby cry?” Obviously, it’s not for your listening pleasure; it’s to help your milk letdown. Nature is SO cool this way!
- Kiinde designed by dads, the bags screw shut, freeze flat, won’t overheat, and come with multiple nipple adaptors.
Speakin’ of nipples (that’s not a phrase I say often), choose a nipple that matches your flow and your anatomy for easy transition between breast and bottle. The Mimijumi Bottle, for example, is specially designed to match the flow and shape of the female breast, prevent gas and colic, it’s BPA free, and easy to assemble. It’s the best next to breast!
Although Jamie said that “diapers” are a priority for new parents, he didn’t spend much discussing them so if you’re on the fence about what route you want to go (cloth vs. diapers), just be sure you do your research. Get the scoop on disposable diapers here and if cloth seems too much to handle, go for an organic brand such as Seventh Generation or Earth’s Best. I could do an entire blog about diapers! Stay tuned, lol.
Strollers, strollers, strollers! OMG, there were SO many strollers I felt like I was at a car show, but for strollers! Here are the faves:
- Orbit G3- 2 cup holders, better suspension, eco-friendly, non-toxic materials (hurray!), big wheels, state-of-the-art design, storage options, adjustable handle, easy breakdown, sunshield that blocks UVA rays
- UPPAbaby Vista was AMAZING- it folds up quickly and easily with the seat attached, comes with a bassinet, has a sunshield, can be forward facing or rear facing, has storage options, and several reclining positions
- Baby Jogger City Mini (won by yours truly at Gearapalooza)- super easy fold up, very durable, plenty of storage
- Jane Rider- lightweight, removable/washable upholstery, patented fold, patented shock absorbing suspensio
- Bugaboo- these are the Ferrari of strollers and PS: they’re going up in price by 10% April 1 (FYI)
Of course, the highlight of Bump Club events is the swag bag and the giveaways! Giveaway and swag bag brands included Baby Jogger, Angel Care, Stokke, Joovy, Sage Spoonfuls, Babyzoom, Baby Bjorn, Boon, UPPAbaby, Aden and Anais, Dr. Bown’s, MAM, Dr. Smith’s, Skip Hop, MD Moms, Avent, Summer, Bathtime Baby, Cryocell, Fit Pregnancy, and many more!
So, will we see you at Gearapalooza 2015? What are your favorite brands?