Baby gear is expensive. I know that firsthand. I’m about to have another baby, and it seems like with each child that prices keep going up. I’m not a coupon clipper by any means, but I do like finding good deals and I’m not opposed to buying off-brand products or accepting hand-me-downs that are still in good condition.
While it’s good to be a savvy shopper and set a baby budget, there are some baby items you shouldn’t buy cheap.
When does it make sense to pay a little more for quality?
Flour is flour. Spices are spices. Some people may disagree with me, but the only real differences between most generic and name-brand foods are the packaging and prices of the items. So when you’re at the grocery store debating between Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes and the generic brand, you should be fine going with the latter. The box isn’t as fancy (sorry there’s no Tony the Tiger), but in this case, the cheaper product tastes the same so there’s no reason to pay more for the other option.
But when it comes to certain baby items, such as baby carriers, car seats and strollers, it pays to spend more for quality. Baby bibs and bodysuits may only last through one child, but there’s some baby gear you want to be able to use from infancy through toddlerhood, as well as for your next child.
How do you tell if you’re buying quality baby gear?
Quality baby gear usually means it’s made better. And the better something is made, the longer it will last. Higher-quality baby gear won’t give out after one or a few uses. As long as you do your part caring for these items, they should last you for as long as they’re supposed to for one, two, or maybe even three kids.
When shopping for quality baby gear, there are four things to look at: materials, construction, customer reviews and price.
Quality baby gear is made from quality textiles and hardware. Materials used should be safe and dependable – and bonus if they’re sustainable! If you can, shop in-store so you can physically look at and feel the materials and check to make sure things like zippers or cords are durable and function properly. If you’re shopping online, read the product descriptions so you know what materials were used.
Along with better materials, quality baby gear also lasts longer due to how it’s put together. With fabric products, check the stitching and seams. For baby furniture and other baby gear that’s been assembled, look to see how it was joined. Something assembled together with screws is probably better quality than something that uses plastic pieces and glue.
3. Customer Reviews
About 88% of consumers trust online reviews just as much as if they were receiving a personal recommendation from a friend. I’m one of those people. Before I buy something, I read the online reviews. If I see a lot of good reviews, I feel good buying it. If I’m reading person after person saying the item broke soon after buying, was poorer quality than what was shown on the website, etc., then I know it’s not worth my money. Check a company’s website for online customer reviews, and if you can’t find many there, then check Amazon. If there’s one site full of online reviews, it’s Amazon.
Many people assume that simply because a product is more expensive that it’s better quality. The saying, “You get what you pay for” comes to mind. But don’t let the price tag fool you. A higher price doesn’t always mean higher quality. Sometimes more expensive products break sooner than their cheaper counterparts, and sometimes more budget-friendly baby gear is the same or better quality than its more expensive, name-brand counterparts.
In some cases, though, I will say there is truth to knowing what you’re getting based on how much you pay for it. If something looks cheap and is priced cheap, then it’s probably cheaply made and won’t last long. But the reason I put price last on this list of things to focus on is that I think a product’s materials, construction, and customer reviews are the more important determining factors of a product’s quality.
Baby Gear That’s Economical and Eco-friendly
Quality baby gear isn’t just good for your wallet, it’s also good for the environment. When you’re able to reuse baby gear, you’re reducing waste and keeping things out of landfills. By producing less waste, you help save natural resources and energy needed to make new products.
Besides reusing things, you can also become a more eco-friendly family by buying more sustainably-made baby gear. This means choosing organic clothing and bedding. It also means shopping secondhand.
While many see the word organic and immediately think it doesn’t make it worth the higher price – because most often organic means more expensive – if quality and the environment are your priorities, then it’s worth it. Buying secondhand baby gear is another smart way to save and be an eco-friendly shopper. There are some things you shouldn’t buy secondhand, such as car seats, but if you know the person you’re buying from or you’re buying from a company that fully inspects, fixes, and cleans products before reselling them, such as Ergobaby’s Everlove baby carrier program, then you can feel good about shopping secondhand.
If you’re in the market for quality baby gear that saves the environment and saves you money, here are some baby gear items to check out:
- Cloth diapers
- Reusable organic cotton cloth wipes
- Diaper bags
- Car seats
- Crib mattresses
- Baby carriers
- Glass baby bottles
- Reusable squeeze food pouches.
- Baby Bouncers
Your baby is the future. You owe it to them to do your part to help better take care of the world they’ll grow up in. And if doing so also saves you money, whether now or in the long run, then doesn’t it seem like a no-brainer?