My brother and sister in law are having a baby! I'm going to be an Auntie! Hopefully not your stereo-typical asian auntie (think red-lipstick-wearing, cheek-pinching, weird-smellingness)... But still, the coming addition to the family has made me think back about.... purchases. You parents know what I mean!!! Those things you thought you had to have before the baby was born. Heck, even the things you bought after the kid was born which turned out to be total suckage.
The thing I think I have learned the most is not to refuse free/inexpensive stuff. As in... "my kid is too good for used stuff" Especially in this economy, and in the neighborhood we live in, Garage Sales ROCK. Hand me downs from other moms? Whoa. Even better. Because you know it's good worthwhile stuff (unless their kid hasn't outgrown it yet, because then maybe it falls in the sucky category and they're just trying to unload).
Other things I have a major opinion on are baby monitors, safety gates, and highchairs (or lack there-of).
We bought the cheap-o fisher price sounds-n-lights baby monitor, and I don't love it. The receiver is top heavy, so it falls down easily. It also gets messed up if you put a cell phone near it. And I don't love that it eats through batteries (unless you plug it in). I would much rather have bought the Sony babycall monitor, which is more compact and has a built in re-chargeable battery, so it charges itself when it is plugged in! Ingenious, those people.
Secondly, I would never ever reccommend any wooden item made by Eddie Bauer (well, sold with the Eddie Bauer brand. Lord knows who made that stuff). We purchased the Eddie Bauer wooden saftey gate for the top of the stairs (in our old house) and that thing was totally awful. Hard to use, hard to assemble, just awful. But we were vain! I know now that the KidCo Safeway gate would have been a much better purchase.
In the same regard, the Eddie Bauer wooden booster chair. Ugh. Way expensive, and ridiculously hard to clean. And it broke! The back piece of wood snapped right off (granted I did drop it, but really? A kid item that isn't durable? Come on). I wised up and bought the Fisher Price healthy care booster which we still use and is SO easy to clean. Another note about booster vs highchair is that I think highchairs are totally useless. They take up a ton of space and cost way more than a booster chair, and really as soon as a kid can use a highchair they can use a booster chair, so I say just skip the behemoth.
Do you disagree? Why? Have any other advice for my coming niece or nephew?