Maura Benson

I have been in love with babies and all of their cute gear since I was a little girl, so of course I wanted it all when I found out I was expecting my first baby and needed big city baby gear. I have lived in Chicago for the past several years and tried to accommodate my walking lifestyle when making my purchases. I am by no means an expert, and to most mothers this information is probably obvious (seems that way to me now!), but I have learned a few things about raising my baby in the big city and want to pass them along. I would also like to point out that this is not meant to be a product review, so I have left brand names out. The Big City Baby Gear is a real thing and we should all know about it!

Having Some Big City Baby Gear

The Stroller:
The Pram

Our stroller is essentially my car since I rarely drive, so it is a very important piece of baby equipment. We are lucky to have a decent sized apartment by city standards, but now I know that smaller is better, at least when it comes to strollers.

Regardless, my prized possession and must-have (before baby arrived) was still my oversized pram. With its beautiful bassinet and stately carriage, it is a little girl’s stroller dream come true. (Yes, I dreamed of fancy strollers.) I knew from the beginning that this was not a practical purchase but, nonetheless, a fun one. I often imagined myself strolling through the park with my fancy pram, and now that I am a city girl, it was too perfect to pass up! Here’s the thing about the pram … it is gorgeous and the wheels are awesome on the cracks and divots of the city sidewalks. But it has the turning radius of a semi-truck, and although the basket is a wonderfully generous size, it barely fits down some grocery store aisles.

As it turns out, despite my constant obsession with all things baby, my husband picked some much better products — the best one being our regular-use, zippy little stroller. It is a travel system and one of the lightest on the market. I fought against buying it but will admit it has been our most valuable purchase to date. It maneuvers incredibly well, folds easily, and is light enough that I can carry it upstairs along with the car seat and baby.

Bottom line, a small simple stroller with good wheels is my personal best bet for city life. I also recommend choosing one with the largest possible basket; shopping for groceries can be a challenge without it! If you took a look around, you would see that I am the only mother in Chicago that didn’t figure this out sooner and bought a bulky pram anyway. (P.S., I still can’t part with it.)

The crib(s):

Due to the size of our nursery, we felt it was better to purchase a mini-crib. It is similar in size to a pack ‘n play but has a standard thickness crib mattress and isn’t portable. It truly is a great idea for smaller rooms and city apartments in general. The issue is our almost 5-month old already seems too big for it, and he’s a small baby. But with his new moves like rolling and spinning, he gets jammed up easily in a corner, waking himself up with a hand or foot poking out. In hindsight I wish I had sacrificed the glider or another piece of furniture to make a full size crib fit. Now we will need to purchase one, which makes the items we will no longer have room for an unnecessary expense. My advice: Plan further ahead and make room if you can.

The Baby Carrier:

In this case I am referring to a carrier that straps to your body. Not only do I love these for the ease of getting out of the house quickly, but also as a work-at-home mom. We use both the fabric wrap variety and one with a bit more structure. They have been fantastic and practical for us. I love to be able to just strap him on to go grab a coffee or take in one of the many fun summer festivals and eliminate battling the crowds with a stroller. My little munchkin has spent several hours snoozing in his carrier while I work both in the office and at home. We are getting ready to take our first air travel vacation with baby, and I know it will come in handy there as well. Find the style most comfortable for you, but I think it’s a must have.

The Diaper Bag:

I bought myself a big gorgeous diaper bag as a treat when I first found out I was pregnant. It is as functional as it is beautiful, yet I have used it only a handful of times. There really isn’t anything wrong with the bag, and I am used to carrying a large purse everywhere I go. But with the added cargo of baby and the new found ease of “strolling,” I just cannot bring myself to carry anything if I don’t have to. And really, I don’t want to risk damaging my lovely bag when I hastily cram it into the basket under the stroller. I do use it on long car trips or a night away, but it can be added to the not-really-needed category, especially since I continue to use cute fabric bags that I have had for years.

So there it is, my short list of advice for big city baby gear. I could write a book about what does and doesn’t work. Once I figure out baby number one, I will (hopefully!) need to tackle city life with two!

What’s your best big city baby gear advice?

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Category: Babies

Tags: baby carrier