gearapalooza 2013
Some of the goodies on display at Gearapalooza.

Over the weekend I had the chance to attend one of Austin’s most anticipated events for moms and moms-to-be: Gearapalooza.  The event was hosted by Bump Club and Beyond of Austin at the local Baby Earth store in Round Rock, and this year’s affair featured New York’s premier baby gear expert, The BabyGuy Jamie Grayson.

I am 7 months out from the craziness that is pre-baby gear preparedness.  But my mind instantly starts reeling when I think about how much time I spent researching what exactly we would need to care for our little one.  I’m pretty sure my initial reaction the first time someone mentioned a registry was “You mean babies need stuff?”

And stuff they need.  There are different opinions on just how much stuff but no matter how you look at it, the options are essentially endless.  We’re talking strollers, car seats, diapers, diaper bags, high chairs, bottles, breast pumps, carriers, slings, blankets, cribs, bassinets, diaper pails, more diapers, bouncers, swings, play yards, mattresses, sheets, lots of diapers, onesies, hats, socks, mittens (yes, mittens!), booties, toys, diaper cream, nail clippers…did I say diapers? *breathe*

Listening to The BabyGuy discuss the ins and outs of the mad, mad world of baby gear was like a heaving a big sigh of relief.  My family may not be in the market for a ton of gear at this point but I still learned a thing or two to help prepare me for my next few purchases.  For any of you planning baby gear purchases in the near or distant future, here are some tips I walked away with:

  • High Chairs.  The Stokke Tripp Trapp chair will last you a lifetime.  Yes, the price point is high.  But as Jamie pointed out, you can use this thing for-ev-er. He admitted using it as a coffee table/desk chair/ladder in his own apartment.  AMB contributor Elisabeth Hunter thinks the Tripp Trapp is totally worth it, too.  For more compact / affordable options, consider clip-on seats like the Phil&Ted Lobster, Joovy Hook, or Inglesina Fast Chair.  (I use the Inglesina for my daughter and LOVE how portable it is).
  • Bottles.  Start out with several brands, and pay close attention to the nipple if you are breastfeeding.  The shape and flow should closely match your own to avoid confusion between bottle and breast.  Jamie recommends Born Free, Tommee Tippee and Philips Natural bottles to start with.
  • Sleep.  For swings and bouncers, look for forward-to-back rocking motions as opposed to side-to-side, which can cause motion sickness.  Splurge on an organic mattress and bedding over the high-end crib.  And go for bassinets that have a rocking or bouncing motion, such as the Baby Bjorn Harmony to avoid abrupt stillness when you put your little one down.
  • Swaddle Blankets.  The multi-purpose blanket.  Use it to swaddle, as a nursing cover, a burp rag, and play mat.  The lightweight gauze blankets from aden + anais are a reliable classic.  We probably have a dozen aden + anais blankets floating around our apartment, and I can attest to their functionality.
  • Reflux.  For babies with consistent reflex who need to be elevated to sleep, the traditional seated bouncer can put too much pressure on the abdomen.  Jamie suggests the Tucker Sling or Stokke Bounce n Sleep instead.
  • Strollers.  When shopping for strollers, keep a few things in mind: Portability. Functionality. Comfort.  Is it the right height for you? Are you able to pick it up and carry it? Where will you be using it the most?  Can you engage the foot brake comfortably without shoes (important for us sandal-wearers in Austin!).  Some of Jamie’s favorites include Orbit Baby, City Jogger, and Book by Peg Perego.


If you’re in the market for baby products, hopefully that will get you off to a good start.  I highly recommend checking out Jamie Grayson’s Web site – – as well as Baby Earth in Round Rock, where Gearapalooza was hosted.  I could have spent days (and lots of cash) in that store!  It is baby-mama heaven!



What are you essential baby-gear items?  Is there anything you wish you had known before you purchased a baby product?


  1. Did you find the cost of the gearapalooza worth it? I am debating attending one in another city and can’t decide whether the shwag is going to be worth the cost.


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