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Smart Baby Gear Shopping Tips

Brian Hagiwara

When Hillary and Jason White prepared for the arrival of their son two years ago, they bought a laundry list of gear, including $900 worth of cloth diapers. But once the baby arrived and the Whites were too exhausted to wash diapers every night, the Kansas City, Missouri, couple resorted to disposables. They realized in their excitement they had gone too far. “When the bills came, it hit us we’d spent tons more than we probably should have,” says Hillary.

Sound familiar? In the first year of parenthood, the average mom and dad spend between $9,000 and $19,000 on child-related gear, clothes and accessories, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The fix: Longevity reigns supreme, so choose products designed to last. Inspired by the Whites, here’s our two cents on how to save on popular baby gear.

Strollers out designer models with modest weight limits that require two hands to open. in umbrella-style options like the Maclaren Volo ($130; maclarenbaby .com), which can be used starting at 6 months and carries children up to 55 pounds.

Cribs out dangerous drop-side cribs and overpriced designer varieties that don't grow with baby. in stationary-side cribs that emphasize substance and safety over style. Check out the sturdy Ikea Leksvik ($129; Ikea stores), made from beechwood and spruce, it converts into a toddler bed.

Highchairs out bulky one-dimensional seats that take up a ton of tableside real estate. in multitasking models such as the Fisher-Price EZ Bundle 4-in-1 Baby System ($130; Toys R Us stores), which converts into a highchair, an infant swing, an infant seat and a toddler chair.

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