Tired of being conned into a million “necessities” for your baby?
Expecting that your family will continue to grow?
Whatever category you fall into, there are an increasing number of baby items that you can buy that will grow with your child.
For me, it was a big concern when we were preparing to have our first baby and trying to get our baby registry together.
I knew we’d like to have more than one child, but I really didn’t want to find myself repurchasing items if I could get something that would last for kid #1 for whatever period of time it took before another kid came along and was ready to use it too.
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A stroller usually carries a pretty hefty price tag. So depending on what your family goals are, this is something I highly recommend considering making multifunctional.
Whatever that means for you.
But one of the big things you want to look at when you’re considering a stroller — any stroller, is what limitations they may have.
Strollers vary in weight, height, and age limitations and recommendations, so you’ll want to look into those specifics with any stroller you consider.
You’ll also want to consider how well your chosen stroller will adapt to you and the people pushing the stroller. Does it have pan adjustable handle for adults of varying heights? Does it easily convert? Will it operate well in crowded spaces? Do you need an infant insert or does it accommodate those newborn days already? Will it save money in the long run?
Also keep in mind that many strollers that allow you to use them for multiple purposes also require some additional purchase, whether its an adapter for your car seat to lock in place safely, extra seats in order to fit multiple children, or a special clasp to make your stroller attach to your bike.
Despite some of those additional costs to make the stroller truly multifunctional, you have a lot of different options in stroller types.
Here are a couple of different types of strollers that would be considered multifunctional:
The stroller that allows for additional separate seats:
There are a lot of options for these types of strollers, many of which allow you to have a bassinet or infant car seat attachment, additional regular seats, and kick board or bike seat for the restless toddler years.
A stroller that operates as a single stroller, but gives you the option of adding additional seats later on provides you with extra value. You don’t ever need to purchase the extra seat if you never grow your family or if you grow your family after your first child has outgrown the use of a stroller.
But what I like is that it’s an option. I knew when we had our first that I wanted the option of having additional children and if we needed that extra seat while our first was still young, I wanted us to be able to add it without having to purchase a new stroller.
Not long ago, Mockingbird debuted their convertible stroller and personally, its one of the baby products that I wish was around when I was establishing my baby registry for my first child. You can purchase an infant bassinet or you can use your car seat in those early days with a newborn. As your baby grows you can move into the larger seats. Not only is it a beautiful stroller with a modern aesthetic, but the price for the add-ons is much more reasonable than some of its competitors (which is really nice if you’re not sure if you’ll want to add to your family in the future).
The biggest con of a convertible stroller tends to be that they are a little bit bulkier and heavier than your typical stroller. None-the-less, some of them are pretty quick and efficient to pop open and fold back up.
The stroller that doubles as a car seat:
If you have a tendency to do a lot of car travel, the Doona may be a great option for your family.
This stroller doubles as a car seat and can pop in and out of the car and quickly becomes its own stroller, making for quick and easy transitions. Especially in those early days.
This stroller type is particularly appealing for people who aren’t hoping to have their stroller work long term for multiple children at a time (such as one-child families and families who have a baby with older children) or families that travel a lot.
The big incentive for a car seat stroller like the Doona is that it is ultimately a space saver while your children are young enough to fit because you don’t need to have a stroller stored in the back of your car and you can bring just this one item on airplanes.
The con is you may still need to purchase a stroller if your child likes/needs to ride while you’re out once they exceed the seat’s weight (35 pounds) or height (32 inches) limit.
A stroller that doubles as a bike:
This stroller type is pretty practical for parents who know they want their stroller to last into toddlerhood.
The big BUT here, though, is that it is not an option for those early months with a newborn.
This stroller type is more optimal for older babies (think 10+ months) and toddlers who can easily sit in a stroller without assistance.
That being said, if you had the Doona for your little one and are looking for another stroller that can do double duty, they also offer a stroller that turns into a trike for your little one.
The stroller that doubles as bike trailer:
If you’re big into biking, then you may want to consider getting a stroller that doubles as a bike trailer.
Keep in mind that it is not typically recommended for children to be in this type of stroller on a bike until they’re at least 6 months.
So depending on your goal with this product, you may still need to consider another option for those early days and months.
Our children at approximately 2.5 years apart and the crib we purchased for our first son is still going strong with our second.
Cribs tend to be priced somewhat similarly, whether you opt for the transitional bed or not. The catch here is that you need to purchase the toddler bed conversion kit as well.
When considering purchasing a crib that will transition as your child grows, there are a couple of things you’ll want to take into consideration:
First of all, what is your reasoning for considering a crib that transitions?
For us, we really wanted to save time and money. But if you’re going to get the toddler bed conversion kit, keep in mind that that will have its own cost.
Do you want to use this bed for multiple children or do you want the crib to transition from a crib, to a toddler bed, and then to a full size bed?
In our case, we opted for a convertible crib because our first was able to use it as a crib, then transition to a toddler bed. Then, once the new baby came, we were confident in his ability to stay in bed so we transitioned him to a child’s bed and reverted his toddler bed back to a crib.
Consider the cost
While the cost of the crib is typically the same as a traditional crib that doesn’t grow with your child, there are costs associated with the transitional pieces. Keep in mind that you’ll want to make sure the conversion kits you’ll need aren’t discontinued before you purchase them.
Convertible car seats are great, and there are a lot of options that exist for you to choose from.
Aside from the ultimate priority, safety, what else are you looking for when choosing a carseat?
How long do you want the seat to work for your child and your family, though?
There are some seats that will work from the day you bring your baby home from the hospital until they’re ready for a backless belt positioning booster seat.
Do you want your baby in a luxury seat that functions well through multiple stages (saving money without compromising on looks)?
Perhaps you’re looking for a car seat that work well when your baby needs a rear facing infant seat as well as a toddler seat, but you want a more luxury brand. Then you may want to consider a seat like the Nuna.
Perhaps you want to be able to avoid getting a separate stroller, then again, the Doona might be the right fit for you. Even though it won’t last you past babyhood, it functions as both a stroller and a car seat.
Gone are the days when your high chair was only a high chair.
Now, you can easily purchase high chairs that are multifunctional.
For parents that are always on the go and don’t want to take up a lot of space in their home, a high chair that travels well and is easily compact like this high chair seat that attaches directly to the table may be an appealing option.
Another option is a high chair that converts from your standard high chair, then to a table height toddler chair, and then finally to a table and chair, like this chair offered by Honey Joy.
The Tripp Trapp chair by Stokke is probably one of many parent’s favorite baby gear items, and for good reason. It’s durability and versatile seat options literally allow it to grow with your child from baby to adulthood (if you wanted to use it that long). And its known for being sturdy and well made. However, even buying one second hand tends to be pricier than some other high chairs purchased from the store. But like many baby products, this high chair has somewhat of a cult-following, with its owners absolutely loving it.
If you’re anything like me and you get overwhelmed by the sheer number of baby items and the amount of space children’s toys can take up in your home, then these are two items you can consider when you’re looking for things that can do double duty.
The first item is a play gym by Lovevery. If you haven’t heard of this company, they’re whole philosophy is based on toys that cater to helping your child learn and develop in each stage that they enter.
This play gym is great because it has fun items (that aren’t overwhelming) that dangle above your baby in those early stages, but its also specially designed to encourage them during tummy time and even comes with a cute cover for when they’re old enough to want their own little fort.
The SkipHop play center is another toy that is multifunctional and made to grow with your child. As far as baby gear is concerned, play centers tend to take up a decent amount of space. The nice thing about this one is that it works well when your child needs the support of a seat and wants to play upright, but then in converts into a table they can walk around and play with and ultimately converts into a table that has a chalk board center. So you don’t necessarily need to find a away to store it if you plan on using it for subsequent children because it can be modified as your child grows, until you’re ready for it to be a baby play center again.
Sound machine/ nightlight
Two things most children seem to need at some point to sleep their best is a sound machine (trust me, I was anti-sound machine for a while with my first) and a night light.
Initially we purchased each of these items separately (and I still absolutely LOVE our travel sound machine), but the convenience of having one item that does both jobs is definitely pretty nice.
Neither of these items takes up a lot of space, so its really never been a big deal for us to have one of each, but its nice to have a bit more control over the way the products are working.
One example of a piece of baby gear that does a pretty good job of making parenting a bit easier, is the Hatch restore. With customizable sounds and lights as well as a time to rise functionality (which is awesome for toddlers who need some guidance about when they can wake mom and dad up), this product definitely carries its weight. Best of all, you get to control all of these options from your phone, so if you change your mind while your child is sleeping, you don’t need to army crawl into their room in a mad attempt not to wake them (trust me, I’ve been there).
Which just makes sense.