Friday, December 13, 2013

Baby Gear Review: After the First Year - Big Ticket Items

It's easy to get excited about products that you've just purchased or started using, but you need some time to truly give a solid review.

I'll give you the low-down on my bigger-ticket items after a year of use.

1) Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller - Rating: LOVE!

I was so scared to commit to a stroller, but I love the City Mini and see myself using it well through Dylan's childhood.  The number one reason I chose it over the BOB is the ease of collapsing it and putting in the back of the car.  There is a strap in the back of the seat that you grab with one hand.  I grab it with my left, have my right on the handlebar and push it straight into the back of my RAV4.  Very easy!  But there is no way I could do it while holding Dylan unless he was in a carrier.  I doubt you could collapse any stroller while holding a baby.

Opening it is a little less awesome.  Sometimes it catches and I have to pry it open.  I'm not sure if it was maybe damaged somehow, but it's not a frequent issue and doesn't change my overall love.

The control is the next best feature.  I can easily control it one-handed with a dog leash in the other.  I think the front swivel wheel is key (the wheel also locks with the push of a button).  The canopy is also very large.  The only time the sun gets in Dylan's eyes is right at sunset.  There are 3 different levels to open the canopy so you can get as much or as little shade as you want.  Last, the back of the seat drops to just about flat for naps.  We don't use this often, but it will be great for long stroller days like amusement parks.

The stroller is a big long which makes it hard to navigate in stores with small aisles, but I don't mind.  My least favorite part is the basket underneath.  You can fit a lot of small or squishy things in it, but my PPB diaper bag doesn't really fit.  I usually hang it which works, but is a tipping hazard.

We bought the infant seat adapter (which I used for a very long time), snack tray, and cup console.

2) Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack - Rating: Dislike

I wanted to love this so much, but the only thing I really love is the wipe clean fabric and the pattern.  It's tall and skinny which makes it hard to get to the things you need and it doesn't have very many pockets.  It also has a huge velcro closure which is very loud next to a sleeping baby.  There are no outside pockets for quick access of anything, so you always have to open the flap.  I still used this until very recently, but I bought a Skip Hop Bag at Costco and I keep choosing it instead.  If you still have to have a PPB Bag, buy it during Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale or at Nordstrom Rack.  I got mine for $85.

3) Chicco Keyfit 30 - Rating: LOVE

It seems that most people like their car seats, but I'm honestly going to be sad when we switch to a convertible.   Dylan has spent so much time in this seat and I think he truly feels safe and comfortable in it.  The primary reason I bought it as that it's one of the lighter models on the market and that has been huge!  I still carry Dylan in and out in his seat 80% of the time.  He's currently about 16 pounds and 29 inches and I just switched the straps to the third level.  He fits very well with room to grow, but we will probably switch within the next month or so.

The other excellent thing about the Chicco seat is the base.  It's has a bubble level built in and easily attaches to the LATCH system.  The seat just click in and you pull one lever to get it out.  So easy!

Dylan has also thrown up (very large volume - inside Toys R Us) in this seat and it wasn't bad getting the fabric off to wash.  I highly recommend this seat.

4) Graco Blossom 4 in 1 High Chair - Rating: Meh.

I wouldn't buy this again.  But I'll start with the pros.  The top tray is removable which makes washing it easy.  Also, the tray pulls out and tightens really easily.  But that's about it.  I don't know if other high chairs would be better or not, but these are my issues.

First, Dylan is small and there is a lot of space all around him which means tons of dropped food on the seat.  The fabric has a lots of grooves in it which makes it hard to clean.  I think a one-piece seat like IKEA's would be the only better option.  I guess my advice is just not to spend a lot of money on a high chair or find one used.

5) Best Chair Glider Recliner - Rating: Happy

This was probably the purchase that stressed me out the most.  It was the most expensive and the most "permanent."  I knew that I needed my glider to be cushy and to have a high back so I could rest my head (and I'm just 5'4).  I tried out so many chairs, but this was the most reasonably-priced while having the features I wanted.  I'm very happy with it.  It's extremely comfortable.  We chose a dark gray microfiber that is holding up well and I can easily wipe spills.  I don't have a footstool, but I can rock easily enough with a foot on the ground.  But most often I sit in the chair reclined.

Feel free to ask me more about any of these products!

Next up: the small stuff.


  1. Thanks for your reviews. I know a lot of people with the same City Stroller and they all love it too. I had the same problem with my nappy bag, no outside pockets and one big flap I had to open just to get my purse or nappies. It was such a pain. I ended up buying a Skip Hop bag too and loved it.

  2. Love my City Mini stroller! Can't wait until next spring/summer to start using it more!

  3. I've been meaning to do a post like this too! We also have the city mini (4 wheels not 3) and I love it too! What convertible car seat did you end up with?