My expectant friend Krystyna has requested a review of the various baby products we’ve tried out and now that we’ve finally gotten Kate into a good nap routine I’m happy to oblige. I’ll break it up over a few snack sized posts.  I should say up front that I’m not important enough to have any of these products sponsored so don’t fret yourself about me being a corporate shill. Having said that, if any baby companies want to send some free stuff my way I’m not above charity.

I’ll try to link to where we originally got the product and all photos are courtesy of the respective sites.

Fisher Price Papasan Cradle Swing – My Little Lamb – 3 stars (out of five)

This swing sits in our living room and is a great place to plop Kate when we need to run to the bathroom or shovel in some food.  The material lining the seat is beyond soft and I kind of wish it came in adult sizes.  My major beef with this swing is that the lowest swing setting was insanely fast when Kate was first born.  Now that she’s ten pounds plus we can swing her on the lowest setting comfortably but I still would not go beyond that.  There are a myriad other speeds that she may never experience since she may not be able to use it much longer because it’s only appropriate up until she can sit up on her own.  She also isn’t quite aware enough yet to get any benefit from the mobile and mirror and might not until she’s too old to use the swing.  I also had visions of this rocking Kate gently to sleep but I think she’s fallen asleep in it a grand total of two times.  This may be because she’s a bit of a clingy baby but it’s worth noting.  Another little complaint is that it takes up quite a bit of space in our already cramped living area.  I haven’t tried one but sometimes I think a cheap bouncy / vibrating chair would be just as handy. Others have complained about it eating up pricey D batteries but I haven’t really noticed this, probably because we don’t have it turned on much.

Spa Baby Bathtub (actually purchased in store here but it’s not listed on their site) – 4.5 stars

I was terrified of using this the first time and initially it was a two man job, which is the only reason I knocked off a half a star because otherwise Kate loves her bathtub.  Before she lost her umbilical stump we bathed her laying down in our big tub on a towel and she screamed the entire time.  She’s all smiles with this bucket set up.  Now that she can hold herself up pretty well (we like to think of her as a neck strength prodigy) it’s a breeze to bath her. I recommend checking out the how-to video on the product website if it seems daunting to use.

Quinny Buzz 3 Stroller + Maxi Cosi Infant Seat (ours is actually the discontinued lemonade colour) 3.5 stars

I don’t have a ton of experience trying out strollers so this one is a toughy but here goes: the stroller is smooth and handles well. I do run into things often in close quarters because the rear wheels are wider than the stroller itself and apparently I have no depth perception.  Both the stroller and car seat are lightweight and the stroller packs up small which was essential since we don’t have much trunk space.  The car seat, however, is pretty large and can’t be placed behind the passenger seat in our Matrix without it being pulled all the way forward to the dash. My biggest problem with this system is that the only thing I can do easily is expand the stroller from its collapsed position. I’ve only had a bit of practice since we don’t go out much and I couldn’t lift anything until a few weeks ago on account of having a c-section but collapsing the stroller and lifting the car seat out of the car and stroller is a total headache for me. Chris reports that he also has a bit of trouble getting the car seat out of the stroller and that the brake is a bit tough to engage. Also, if you plan on toting a lot of junk around the mall this is also not the stroller for you.  It has a tiny triangular insert that goes between the wheels on which you can fit a few diapers and a burp cloth and that’s about it.  It’s also worth mentioning that it’s a pricey system.  The car seat was a gift and we would not have been able to afford the whole thing otherwise. (Just a note: if your car set is green everyone will assume that your baby is a boy even if she is wearing a dress and even if they knew you were having a girl.)
Arm’s Reach Mini-Convertible Co-Sleeper 4 stars

This little unit is attached to our bed on my side so I can easily hear Kate wake up and nurse her.  I love not having to get out of bed and walk to her room at 3 a.m. to see what’s up and I also love being able to sleep with her near by without her punching me all night.  The nifty thing is that the whole thing also turns into a play pen which will be handy later on.  Also, it collapses into a storage bag so we can take it with us on our travels (like to my grandparent’s in Ontario next week!)  Chris had some difficulty assembling it so set some time aside for that if you go this route but otherwise it’s been a good buy.

I’ll be back soon with some more reviews!