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Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on Baby Furniture, Equipment, Maternity Wear and Much, Much More!

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Cute extras. In addition to a sturdy bassinet, this model features a cute mobile and light/vibration module. Hats. Believe it or not, you’ll still want a light cap for your baby in the early months of life, even if you live in a hot climate. Babies lose a large amount of heat from their heads, so protecting them with a cap or bonnet is a good idea. And don’t expect to go out for a walk in the park without the baby’s sun hat either. Some migration of formula. While it definitely wasn’t a lot of migration, there was some formula from other compartments that moved around. We don’t think it’s enough to be concerned, however. When it comes to travel car seats and infants and toddlers, we’d go for a lightweight seat that is easy to use and affordable. The key issue is weight: if you are lugging this seat through an airport or wrestling it into a rental car, you don’t want a 30 lb. behemoth (yes, some car seats weight that much!). Here’s more on why the Costco Onlook is a best bet for travel car seats for infants and toddlers: What We Liked Blanket Sleepers/wearable blankets. These are heavyweight, footed one-piece garments made of polyester. Used often in winter, blanket sleepers usually have a zipper down the front. In recent years, we’ve also seen quite a few fleece blanket sleepers, their key advantage being a softer fabric and a resistance to pilling. Another option is a wearable blanket or swaddling blanket. See the previous chapter for our top recommendations. You may want to put a t-shirt on baby and then wrap her up in a swaddling blanket or wearable blanket.

Best pour. This the only dispenser we tested that didn’t require banging on the bottom like a ketchup bottle–a potential recipe for disaster if you bang too hard. Pretty much all the formula came out in one stream; better than any of the others we tested. How many? Three to four pairs are all you’ll need at first, since baby will probably be dressed in footed sleepers most of the time. Walk into any store and you’ll see a blizzard of brand names for baby clothes. Which ones stand up to frequent washings? Which ones have snaps that stay snapped? Which are a good value for the dollar? We asked our readers to divide their favorite clothing brands/stores into three categories: best bets, good but not great and skip it. If you’ve never had kids, you may not realize all the different variables when it comes to buying baby clothes. An outfit that’s perfect for day care (that is, to be trashed in Junior’s first painting experiment) is different from an outfit for a weekend outing with friends. And dress-up occasions may require an entirely different set of clothing criteria. Yes, we have been researching and writing about the baby biz for 16 years with a single focus: find and recommend the best baby products without breaking the bank. Without taking a single ad. Or bribe.

The point of a formula dispenser: you can pre-measure powdered infant formula into the three or four compartments of a dispenser and throw it in your diaper bag with some water-filled baby bottles (use purified, demineralized, deionized, or distilled water). Rear-facing to 40 lbs. It is safest for infants and toddlers to ride rear-facing as long as you can—and this seat’s 40 lb. rear-facing limit allows extended rear-facing use. Coveralls. One-piece play outfits, coveralls (also known as rompers) are usually cotton or cotton/poly blends. Small sizes (under 6 months) may have feet, while larger sizes don’t. Stay away from the super-size vinyl bibs that cover the arms, since babies who wear them can get too hot and sweaty. However, we do recommend you buy a few regular-style vinyl bibs for travel. You can wash them off much more easily than the standard terry-cloth bibs. By the way, is a t-shirt an outfit or an undergarment? Answer: it’s both. In the summer, you’ll find Onesies with printed pat- terns that are intended as outfits. In the winter, most stores just sell white or pastel Onesies, intended as undergarments.

Also: if your teething baby decides to munch on the crib rail, the finish will most likely come off. It isn’t a health hazard (the paint is non-toxic), but this has alarmed more than a few parents. (If teething is an issue, you can use a cloth rail cover). How many? Only buy one of these if you live in a climate where you need it. Even with a Colorado winter, we got away with layering clothes on our baby, then wrapping him in a blanket for the walk out to a warmed-up car. If you live in a city without a car, you might need two or three snow- suits for those stroller rides to the market. Motion can awake a sleeping baby. When you put a sleeping baby down to sleep, the bassinet can move—and that can startle some newborns.

Pour test. The most important test was the pour test. We tried pouring the formula from each dispenser into a standard baby bottle (not a wide mouth). We noted how much shaking and banging it took to get all the formula out of the dispenser and into the bottle. Mesh sides for air flow. Our testers liked the overall design with exterior metal poles and included an organic fitted sheet and mattress. The top edge includes a padded cover and it folds into a 19” x 23.5” x 5.5” bag. You’ll note that the shape is rather different from a traditional play yard and it uses poles like you’d see on a camping tent. What’s Needs Work For some reason, baby clothing companies have yet to synchronize their watches when it comes to sizes. Hence, a clothing item that says “six-month size” from one manufacturer can be just the same dimensions as a “twelve-month size” from another. Finally, let’s talk about one unspoken flaw of all-in-one car seats—wear and tear on the fabric. Graco promises you can use the 4Ever Extend2Fit until age ten or so. That’s ten years worth of fabric use and abuse, starting with diaper blow-outs and continuing through toddler tummy troubles. Yes, you can clean the fabric . . . but we can imagine some kids reaching the point where they reject sitting in a “baby” seat that is stained/worn from years of use. Just sayin’. Cup holders add to seat width—which makes it harder to fit into tight spots (some narrow airline seats, compact rental cars, etc).

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