Friday, November 27, 2009 Gear

A girlfriend of mine is pregnant with her second baby. She asked me for insights on any must-have gear for her expanding brood. One of the great joys of second+ kids is the opportunity to reuse all of the stuff you've hoarded since number one came along. Especially since the rumours about how fast they grow are true: average life span of kids' gear is painfully short. Once you're beyond rookie status, you also have a more seasoned eye for what you *need* to make life with babies easier.

One thing is certain: with more kids, moms have more stuff to carry. Hence, the genius of the MommyHook. It's a sporty carabiner type item that allows you to hang your shopping bags and what-have-yous on your stroller.

Speaking of strollers...among the greatest disillusionments of motherhood is the realization that no one stroller can do everything you need it to. Most moms I know have an infant car seat adapter for quick wheels-on-demand in the early days; a heavier-duty model for jogging or other more active applications; an umbrella stroller for light-weight travel once kids are sitting up on their own; and any number of other wheelie options. Once you have a second kid, add a double or sit-and-stand tandem stroller to the arsenal. We got one (I liked the Baby Trend version best) and it's fantastic for both the baby and our "I'm NOT a baby!!" kindergartener, unless they both want to sleep. Told you nothing was perfect.

There's a fantastic web site that helps parents navigate the baby gear landscape. Think of it as the TripAdvisor of kids' stuff. The Baby Scoop provides a forum for parents looking to share their experiences with a wide variety of products. And while you're surfing, always check Craigslist and other online swap shops before taking the plunge. Second hand can save money AND come along with some nice tips from the previous owner.

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