Shopping for new baby gear is a lot of fun. When you find something you like, consider more than just the price or style. It may be worth it to spend a little extra on items that can last for your child through the transition from infant to toddler and beyond.
Car seats, cots AND more
When you are purchasing gear for your baby -- from car seats to a cot -- keep in mind that they won't be tiny forever. Instead of buying items that can only be used for infants, select gear that can make the transition with your baby from infancy to toddlerhood.
You can't use a car seat forever. Check the expiration date, usually printed on the bottom. This date is generally five to seven years after the seat was manufactured. If it's expired, smash the car seat and cut the straps to avoid anyone else using it after you dispose of it.
Convertible car seat
Instead of buying an infant car seat that your baby will grow out of in a year or two, invest in a convertible car seat. We love the Britax Haven convertible car seat (Britax, $339).
This car seat accommodates babies rear-facing from birth to up to 12 months of age and kids forward-facing from 12 months to 4 years old. Britax car seats are some of the most highly rated and safe car seats available. Also consider the Safe-n-Sound Meridian AHR Tilt and Adjust Convertible Car Seat (Mothercare, $439). This popular seat is extremely safe and comfy too. Plus, it was named the Best Car Seat at the 2012 Mother and Baby Magazine Awards.
Buying a convertible cot for your baby is a terrific investment. You can find a number of cots on the market that convert from a basinet to a cot to a junior bed and even a day bed/sofa. So when your baby is ready to move on to a big kid bed, you just need to make the adjustment. If you are looking for a convertible cot that is durable and stylish, we recommend the Grotime line. The Grotime Ritz 4 in 1 Cot (Baby Zone Direct, $500) is a fantastic option.
Baby and toddler carrier
Baby-wearing is awesome. It's terrific for bonding -- and oh so convenient. If you are looking for a carrier that will be comfortable for your baby as they grow, we recommend the Boba Baby Carrier 3G ($160). You can use it as a front carrier for your baby, and a front or back carrier for your toddler. It also comfortably fits adults of almost any size. This carrier features multiple pockets for storage, a removable sleeping hood, adjustable chest strap, removable foot straps and other features to get the perfect fit as your baby grows into a toddler and beyond. If you are looking for a wrap, the organic Boba wrap is awesome too.