I know how tempting it can be to grab the least expensive item when you’re baby shopping. Especially in the beginning, you need so much that it can all be overwhelming. I’ve been there, believe me. But I really cannot recommend buying the cheapest product after some of my experiences…

The Baby Gate:

We grabbed the one that was only ten bucks. I figured, “Why pay more for a baby gate? How different can they be from each other?” Plus it was wood – I like wood. In baby toys, anyway. Unfortunately, I discovered the hard way that the quality of the gates is VERY different. That one broke after about three weeks. Granted, we knocked it over a couple of times (it blocks our living room from our hallway and keeps Emma from opening doors and wandering into potentially dangerous places). Still, it should have lasted longer. Seriously, though? If it hadn’t fallen apart, I may have been tempted to take a hammer to it. It was impossible to figure out how to set it up, and everytime it fell down or was lodged out of place, it took my husband (designated keeper of the baby gate) five to eight minutes to get it back in place. It was taped in place at one time, even.

Oh my goodness, I found it at Target.com. Study it. Do not buy it. lol I generally like The First Years brand, but this is not an item I recommend.


Our second gate (here it is, the same brand, lol) was $20.00, if I remember correctly – that’s the one we still have. It is made of thick plastic and is doing the job.

I can get it back in place, but my husband is still keeper of the baby gates. ;-)

Ooh, here’s the gate I would like to have – by The First Years again. Nice. I would take over the baby gate if I had this…

The Playpen:

The second product I bought that I regret is Emma’s playpen/play yard. Something I take down and put back up up often. I can do it without too much of a hassle, but it took a bit of getting used to – there’s a knack to it. I predict that that this one won’t last long – definitely not long enough to be used with another baby.

What I mean is, no way will I be using it again with another baby, whether it still works or not. lol I can’t remember what brand it is, and I just looked all over it and can’t find a brand name, so that tells me that they must not be too proud of it. ;-) I think it’s this one. One of the simplest, without any special add-ons. It does have some nice features – you can carry it easily with a handle when it’s minimized (I guess I think in computer terms), it has wheels and can be moved easily (unless there’s a baby in it…), and it has a pocket on the outside (which I’ve never used). The cons – it isn’t quick and easy to put up and take down, and it is REALLY hard and uncomfortable. I put lots of blankets in when Emma needs to be in it for awhile. I wish I had looked for a better one.

What I’m Sayin’:

Do a little research and buy gear that has decent reviews – buy it online if possible and look around for the best prices! It might be a good idea to walk through a nice store that carries baby gear already assembled and take a good look at each product.

Sometimes, the cheapest is the best! It really depends on the brand, whether there’s a sale, and how often you’ll use it. And your patience level. ;-)

I’m planning to do things differently with my next child, should there be another (I hope!).

Sorry, baby. It’s true – firstborns are guinea pigs.

I should know, I’m a firstborn. ;-)

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Share Your Thoughts!

What are your experiences buying the cheapest baby gear, toys, or clothes?

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