The Girlfriends' Guide to Baby Gear: What to Buy, What to Borrow, and What to Blow Off! (Girlfriends' Guides) Info

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WHO KNEW BABIES NEEDED SO MANY
ACCESSORIES? 

 

It’s official. You’re
pregnant. Get used to the fact that life is never going to be the same.
And break out the credit card, because that little bundle of joy is
going to cost you. The list seems endless—from car seats to
changing pads. But don’t despair. The Girlfriends are here to take
some of the guesswork out of shopping for baby-to-be. We’ll tell
you when to skimp and when to splurge, and which hand-me-downs are safe
and which are sorry. You’ll get advice
on…

 

  • Where to get what you
    need
  • Crib and car seat do’s and
    don’ts
  • Wardrobe musts and misses—for mother and
    child
  • Stocking the nursery and the rest of the
    house
  • What every new mom should have on hand for
    herself
  • The Master Shopping List—don’t leave home
    without it!

Plus the Top 10 Things to Do for Yourself Before
the Baby Arrives, the Top 10 Baby Items You Won’t Find at a Baby
Store, the Top 10 Best—and Worst—Things to Borrow, the Top
10 Signs of a First-Time Mom, and more…

 


Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.11

206 Ratings

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Reviews for The Girlfriends' Guide to Baby Gear: What to Buy, What to Borrow, and What to Blow Off! (Girlfriends' Guides):

1

Jan 27, 2008

At first I thought this was a great book. Then I had my baby. Enough with consumerism. There really isn't a whole lot that you need when you have a baby. Forget the crib and the swing. Just get some clothes and a Moby wrap and you are all set. You will figure out other things along the way. When your baby is first born all he or she really needs is you. All that other stuff is just junk that you don't need to waist your money on that will end up in the land fill someday anyway.
4

May 21, 2010

I find baby stores overwhelming, so this book made it a lot easier to research and choose items for our baby. I would go chapter by chapter, choosing items before moving on to the next chapter. The comments were really helpful.
4

Mar 09, 2009

I love their conversational style and sarcastic attitude toward "non-essential" items like wipe warmers. This was really funny and had good advice.
2

Jan 04, 2010

I love the "Girlfriends' Guide to..." series. Excellent advice that is funny to read. In general the advice is pretty good. If anything it's an entertaining read during pregnancy.
5

May 08, 2007

This book helped me decide which baby products were necessary and which I could do without. I was able to refine my registery, cutting out the non-essentials. A must-read for expectant mothers.
3

Sep 16, 2010



The only part I really remember was the carseat section an it scared me. It really wasn't all that hard to install but it did get the point across.
3

Jun 02, 2010

This book was ok. I probably would have given it a higher rating if I read it earlier, but it was mostly repeated information and seemed out of date.
4

Mar 18, 2008

This was a good reference for what stuff you NEED and what you really don't.. it also lists good companies known for safe, dependable baby "stuff"
4

Jan 31, 2008

It has a lot of good information but I think it goes overboard on what you need. Read it, but then get input from others.
4

Jan 13, 2009

Choosing baby gear can be a pretty dry subject but Vicki Iovine makes it about as entertaining as a guidebook can be.
4

Oct 02, 2007

This book was very helpful - what do put in the diaper bag? What do you take to the hospital with you? What is a layette? I think it offers helpful realistic advice about what you need - there are so many options for items to buy for baby it can be a little overwhelming...good luck!
1

Jul 12, 2007

Honestly - it was funny in places, but not as funny as Girlfiends' Guide to Pregnancy. I found the advice to be really common sense and what I wanted were specifics. Baby Bargains was MUCH better. I would not recommend buying this, much less reading it.
4

Jan 28, 2009

Iovine has a hilarious spin for much of the "baby gear" world. This book was helpful. Instead of saying what brands are the best, which could change over time, she points out the best types of baby gear verses the useless items that will just take up space.
4

Feb 13, 2008

This book is easy to read and even laugh out funny at points. I read it in conjunction with the Consumer Reports Baby Products books and the information was almost identical, so these ladies know what they are talking about. It really helped me figure out what to register for, which products to register for and what to avoid.
5

Mar 24, 2009

Another MUST HAVE! a great pairing of humor and practicality that this practical gal loves and appreciates. the section on car seats had me crying - the image of my husband trying to install the car seat as we're exiting the hospital was too much - needless to say, it was easy to get sleep after reading this - takes all the stress away!
5

Sep 14, 2012

I used this book to help me build my gift registry while I was pregnant... Of course, after having a baby, I will admit that you really don't need everything that you think you do when you are pregnant with your first child... But no first-time pregnant woman is going to listen to that(I wouldn't have either!)... This book was definitely helpful in narrowing down the options and choosing the most helpful of the items that are available.
3

May 15, 2009

This was a good introduction to what one needs before a baby arrives. I found it easier to digest than other baby gear books because of its organization.
But really ... after having had a baby, I don't think one is really ever ready by the time the baby comes. An extra suggestion. Save your receipts so you can return / exchange items when you get a better idea of what suits you when the baby arrives.
4

Feb 02, 2009

Vicky once again uses her unusual ability to add humor to any situation to navigate you though the basics of choosing what in those huge and overwhelming baby super stores you might actually want to purchase. She does not provide exact makes and models, but instead describes the desired features she and her girlfriends have found useful. Not having many peers with children myself I am grateful for this advice and the many references she provides to continue my search to educate myself in this Vicky once again uses her unusual ability to add humor to any situation to navigate you though the basics of choosing what in those huge and overwhelming baby super stores you might actually want to purchase. She does not provide exact makes and models, but instead describes the desired features she and her girlfriends have found useful. Not having many peers with children myself I am grateful for this advice and the many references she provides to continue my search to educate myself in this area. ...more
4

Jul 26, 2016

Vicki Iovine and Peg Rosen’s “The Girlfriends’ Guide to Baby Gear” is a fun read that I wish I had read prior to creating my registry. Some of it is slightly dated, but that aside, Iovine and Rosen lay out what exactly you can get away with borrowing and what you don’t need at all. And they do it with humor. Reading this book 3 months into having our first baby, I did learn of some new brands, and some areas I still found applicable as we hadn’t yet purchased some items – for example high Vicki Iovine and Peg Rosen’s “The Girlfriends’ Guide to Baby Gear” is a fun read that I wish I had read prior to creating my registry. Some of it is slightly dated, but that aside, Iovine and Rosen lay out what exactly you can get away with borrowing and what you don’t need at all. And they do it with humor. Reading this book 3 months into having our first baby, I did learn of some new brands, and some areas I still found applicable as we hadn’t yet purchased some items – for example high chairs. Pending when baby #2 comes along, I may find myself rereading this if we somehow end up misplacing/giving away some of the baby gear we have already. ...more
4

Jul 14, 2007

Now that I have a 3 month old baby, most of what's included in this book seems like common sense to me, but back when I was a clueless pregnant person this book was invaluable. It clearly explains all the options for the mounds of "baby gear" you will need to (or want to) accumulate for your first baby, provides recommendations on what you really need and what's optional (and what's a true waste of money), and even gives helpful hints on what you can do to help prepare your household and Now that I have a 3 month old baby, most of what's included in this book seems like common sense to me, but back when I was a clueless pregnant person this book was invaluable. It clearly explains all the options for the mounds of "baby gear" you will need to (or want to) accumulate for your first baby, provides recommendations on what you really need and what's optional (and what's a true waste of money), and even gives helpful hints on what you can do to help prepare your household and yourself for the impending arrival. It's written in typical Vicki Iovine style, the same as the other Girlfriend's Guides, but I found this one even more helpful and informative than the others. ...more
4

Jul 31, 2008

Basic Premise: What gear is actually useful for new parents and what isn't?

A good, fast read. It gave a really good breakdown of the stuff she and her friends found useful, necessary, and completely worthless. To me, that was the most important part. As an expecting mom-to-be I was baffled by baby stores and baby aisles, COMPLETELY not sure as to what I'd need when baby got here (beyond the obvious diapers and Onesies, of course). Lots of good info on the safety of some items, too. Iovine writes Basic Premise: What gear is actually useful for new parents and what isn't?

A good, fast read. It gave a really good breakdown of the stuff she and her friends found useful, necessary, and completely worthless. To me, that was the most important part. As an expecting mom-to-be I was baffled by baby stores and baby aisles, COMPLETELY not sure as to what I'd need when baby got here (beyond the obvious diapers and Onesies, of course). Lots of good info on the safety of some items, too. Iovine writes with a sense of humor, which is really nice when you're about to go around the bend on pregnancy hormones. She's a little posh for me- definitely a city girl with expensive tastes- but she knows her stuff, and to her credit she gives generic lists of items rather than brand names, so you can choose how designed you want to be (or not) while still using her advice on items. Very handy. ...more
5

Jul 14, 2008

The litmus test for baby gear is: Can It Be Used One-Handed? Does it Help Me Do Something Else One-Handed? Taking the tray off the high chair, unfastening a baby Bjorn, raising/lowering the side of a crib, getting baby shampoo into your hand, unfolding/steering/collapsing a stroller: all should be doable with one hand. And when you're testing a stroller, put some weight in it (almost anything is maneuverable when it's empty).

The Baby Bjorn: It does free up your hands, but it can be hard to find The litmus test for baby gear is: Can It Be Used One-Handed? Does it Help Me Do Something Else One-Handed? Taking the tray off the high chair, unfastening a baby Bjorn, raising/lowering the side of a crib, getting baby shampoo into your hand, unfolding/steering/collapsing a stroller: all should be doable with one hand. And when you're testing a stroller, put some weight in it (almost anything is maneuverable when it's empty).

The Baby Bjorn: It does free up your hands, but it can be hard to find something 'safe' to do with your hands once you have them. You don't want to sterilize bottle parts in steam (or use the stove or oven) with a baby attached to your front. Since you can't lean over with a baby in a front pack (babies don't care for the feeling of tipping backwards), emptying or loading the dishwasher becomes a series of squats exercises. You could try cutting something up for dinner, but you'll be standing at an awkward distance from the counter and won't be able to see what you are cutting. It can be nice for browsing the mall or a bookstore, but it can also be difficult to sit down to look at a book with both of you being comfortable (since the baby's legs will be dangling in front of your thighs). You can't really use your hands to eat a meal, either, or anything hot, without possibly dropping crumbs or dripping soup on the baby. Mostly I found it nice for taking laps around the house when the newborn was crying like his diaper was full of broken glass and my arms were spent and I needed to change the way his weight was on my back. (And that pretty much describes the first four months with that particular newborn, so I'd call it money well spent.)

1 Million Burp Cloths (Gerber Cloth Diapers) instead of the 12 suggested on page 55. I used them mostly for spit up and it's not that he went through a million a day so much as I just wanted them in so many places in the house that 12 was not enough to go around. Incidentally, they are useful for many more things than spit-up: you can put one between the baby's bottom and the changing pad, you can put one over a baby boy's penis during diaper changes to keep from getting sprayed, you can lay one along the length of the baby's torso when she's in the bath -it will keep her warm and the weight is comforting.

I especially like the Hunkering Down for the Hurricane section; I wish it were bigger:

1. Label the garbage disposal switch so that people don't turn it on in the middle of the night looking for a light.

2. Label your kitchen cabinets and drawers; this way helpers can find what they need to cook for you and know where to put things away. You could even tape a photograph of what the inside of each cabinet looks like when full. In the kitchen of one home in which I was a nanny, no one knew where anything belonged which meant every time someone unloaded the dishwasher, items went in a new place -which made sure it never got any easier to find anything. You can do the same in the nursery, labeling where supplies go so that you're not the only person who knows were to find things and where to put them away when stocking supplies.

3. Post a list of favors. Even people who understand you need assistance at this time and who genuinely want to be helpful probably won’t be able to tell what you could use at any given moment. It can include baby care, housekeeping, gassing/vacuuming/washing your car, running to the grocery store, or whatever helps you most keep your sanity.

4. Simplify your environment. Time with newborns is like conducting repetitive experiments on a space station -except, in this case, it's a space station full of extraneous stuff that has nothing to do with your tasks and is only getting in the way. Besides being less to clean and tidy, purging will spare you and your help stubbing toes and tripping over junk when taking laps with screaming child at all hours of the day and night. It will also spare you and your help from rummaging through that stuff to find the stuff that is actually in constant use. The caveat here is that this is the time to get rid of stuff you genuinely don’t use anymore or, if room is really at a premium, the stuff that is not worth the space it’s using. Just because you won’t be camping in the next six months doesn’t mean you need to put all your gear up on craigslist; planning “baby’s first camping trip” might be just what you need come his six month birthday. And if camping is something you dearly love to do, getting rid of that stuff can induce despair that you are literally having to get rid of your “old” life or your very self to make room for some interloping baby. On another note, it's not obvious, but "extraneous stuff" also means things that the baby doesn't need yet. There's really no reason to buy a high chair when you're six months pregnant. If you try to buy everything the baby might possibly need for its first year of life at once, your house will be bursting at the seams. Avoid the temptation to shop/register for gifts as though you were stocking a fallout shelter.

5. Get Out of the House. You will very soon feel like you and your newborn are taking laps in a fishbowl and it will do wonders if you make a point to get out of the house in some capacity everyday (after your recovery period). Just another reason to keep in mind that you are “hunkering down for a hurricane,” not preparing for a nuclear holocaust.

6. More than ever, put things in the same place. When so little information is making it from short term memory into long term memory, habit is your only hope. My sister got a clip for her keys so that they were always attached to her diaper bag.

7. Devise a plan to keep the kitchen running. That might mean collecting extra simple recipes, freezing a bunch of meals in advance, planning menus and grocery lists in advance, enlisting friends to bring meals, hiring a cooking service or some combination. Don’t forget plenty of easy, nutritious snacks for grazing; sitting down to regular meals in the very early days is about as likely as getting 8 hours of sleep.

8. Go easy on yourself: No one ever actually uses their maternity leave to organize all their closets and photos; you'll be lucky if you get to pee, shower, and brush your teeth as much as you used to.

My List for the First Three Months:

Soothing
white noise (could be just a radio tuned to static)
pacifiers
swaddling blankets
swing
vibrating seat
slings and front carriers

Travel
infant car seat + base(s)
infant car seat stroller frame
diaper bag(s)
auxiliary diaper bag (refill station kept in car trunk)

Laundry
little mesh laundry bag/ “lingerie” bag
scent-free, dye-free detergent
Zout or another enzyme-based stain remover for protein stains
small laundry basket/hamper/what-have-you

Sleeping
co-sleeper
sheets
a fan (reduces incidence of SIDS)
window shade
dimmer switch
a waterproof mattress pad for mom’s night sweats

Bathing
“burp cloths” (Gerber Cloth Diapers)
thin infant washcloths
thick towels
baby bathtub or baby bath pad
all-in-one baby soap with pump top
cetaphil cream
massage oil
baby manicure set
brush and comb (if any hair)
cotton balls and cotton swabs

Feeding
burp cloths
nursing pillow (the boppy, my brest friend) and slipcovers
nursing foot stool
nursing bras
nursing pads
"bust buddies" or "booby tubes" (ice gel packs for breast engorgement)
nipple shields
breast pump
bags for storing milk
dishwasher basket for tiny parts
bottles/collars/nipples
bottle brush w. nipple brush
optional: a glider (has anyone made an ergonomic nursing chair?)
optional: a way of recording nursing times, lengths, and sides

Health
rectal thermometer
vaseline
nasal syringe and saline drops
cool-mist humidifier
infant-strength acetaminophen (ask your pediatrician)

Diapering
main changing station
satellite changing stations throughout the house
ointments
trash can
wipes
diapers (expect 8-12 changes a day)
changing pad, changing pad covers, and lap pads/burp cloths

Clothing
hats
side-snap tees until the cord stump falls off
other clothing to be determined by season
Baby clothes that provide easy diaper access, are simple to put on, are comfortable for sleeping in, and can be used and abused by the baby’s many bodily fluids are better than expensive couture. Avoid anything that only creates more work, such as outfits that must be pieced back together after every wash (the right bib with the right pants with the right hat etc) and socks that must be matched (buying just one kind of sock not only spares you having to match them, but it means that if a sock does go missing, you never have more than one ‘old maid’ at a time).

Resources
Your Baby and Child From Birth to Age Five Revised Edition
The Nursing Mother’s Companion
The Happiest Baby on the Block (DVD)
Good Night Sleep Tight
Lonely Planet Travel With Children Paperback by Cathy Lanigan
Babyproofing Your Marriage
The Second Nine Months
http://www.pregtastic.com

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