Baby Stuff Worth The Splurge

by | Jul 2, 2014 | A Few of My Favorite Things, Babies, Baby Gear | 24 comments

I am a baby stuff minimalist. I’m also generally not that concerned about name brand things. If it’s cute, I’m usually just as happy with the Target knock-off as the real deal.

But I’ve found a few things that I really think are worth spending some money on, if you can swing it. And since few = five in this case, I’m linking up with Heather, our new Five Favorites hostess.

1. Diaper Cream 

I have had and used plenty of the cheap stuff. But the good stuff is so, so much nicer. I love Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
, which smells like vanilla (and NOT like a codfish) and clears up the red bumps in a day (and, according the the Amazon reviews, can be used as a natural sunblock!?).

I also love the Healing Calendula Balm from Radiantly You. My friend Samantha is a rep for the company and let me try it, and it somehow feels really luxurious. If that’s at all appropriate for something you’re smearing on a baby’s butt. But, seriously, it just melts right into the skin and moisturizes the heck out of everything it touches. And all of the Radiantly You products are all natural. AND the whole company was started by a Catholic Mom! You can check out Samantha’s page here.

I resisted Sophie Giraffe for a long, long time. My whole life, I guess, since apparently the first Sophie Giraffes were made in France in 1961, and she appeared in the movie Three Men and a Baby in 1987. (Thank you Wikipedia.)

So, it’s a really old toy. But I only became aware of it when my first two were little and we lived in Northern California, where ALL the super fancy Eco-friendly moms gave them to their babies. Well, I assume the moms did too, the nannies did for sure. I totally wrote them off as unnecessarily expensive and ridiculous.

But my sister’s very sweet friend had received two of them as baby gifts and sent one to Lulu and . . . man. That’s a good baby toy.

Yes, it is ridiculous to spend twenty or thirty bucks on a squeezie giraffe toy. But I’d absolutely do it, now that I know how much my baby loves this thing. She can chew on the head. Then she can turn her over and chew on the feet. She can squeak it herself. She loves it. I love it.

And, as if that wasn’t enough, she’s named after Saint Madeline Sophie Barat, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart. (Also Wikipedia.)

I have had and used a few different baby carriers, and the Ergo is by far my favorite (Theresa has tried ALL of them and agrees). It’s more expensive than most other brands, but the difference in comfort and useability (spell check says that isn’t a word, but I say it is) on the Ergo over all other brands I’ve tried make it worth it. I just bought one off of Amazon, and the whimsy factor is very high with it. I got my first one used off of Craigslist for half price and it was good for three of my babies worth of very high usage. I also hear you can get deals on them from Zulily sometimes.

It’s amazing. It’s UH-mazing. Maybe your baby doesn’t have the long flowing locks of my baby. But your baby will probably get hair eventually, so you’re going to want this brush.

It. Doesn’t. Hurt. It is a brush that you can use to brush the hair of babies and children and have them NOT scream as if they are being skinned alive a la St. Bartholomew.

I don’t understand it either. I’m assuming it’s made of unicorn hair or dragon heartstring or something, but I’m not asking questions.

It works on Betty’s wavy, medium-length, very thick hair (as long as you brush from the top and then again from underneath). It works on Anita’s short, straight, fine hair. It works on my niece Lucy’s long, fine, curly hair.

5. Running Stroller

This one is the biggest splurge of the bunch. But if you are a runner and you plan to run with your baby, you will hate it a lot less with a good running stroller. You might still hate running with the stroller. I do. But if you’ve got a baby and you want to run, you’re probably going to need a place to put the baby.

I’ve never felt tempted by one of those high end pram-type strollers. I’m all about cheap umbrella strollers for everyday use. But you get what you pay for with running strollers, and there is a BIG difference in how it feels to run with a cheap running stroller, or one of those strollers that LOOKS like a running stroller, but really isn’t. There are a lot of those around. If it doesn’t have wheels that look like bicycle wheels, it’s not really a running stroller.

The BOB Ironman Duallie Stroller
is, in 100% of the running moms I surveyed (that would be me AND my sister in law) the best of the best.

Craigslist is a great place to get a running stroller, since many moms only need them for a couple of years and a good one will last much longer than that.

So those are my picks. How about you? Which baby products are worth the investment for YOU?

p.s. Links are Amazon Affiliate Links, which means, if you click through to Amazon from my blog and buy anything, I get a tiny percentage. So . . .  thanks! (For 2-4 the link is right next to the number.)

For more baby gear I love, check out:


Or check the comments. There’s a lot of good stuff down there.


  1. Eliese

    Hooray! I have to brag: yesterday I found the Ergo on clearance at Target for $85! And I got a free $15 gift card for buying it. (They are remodeling the store and I guess they really want to get rid of stuff?) Of course I still had to order the infant insert from Amazon, but still. Winning! So excited to upgrade from the Bjorn.

  2. Theresa @ OrdinaryLovely

    Oh!!! I needed this hairbrush recommendation so badly!! Ruth is SO dramatic when I so much as LOOK at her and a hairbrush in the same minute (and she's not even the one with crazy curly hair…) I can't wait to try this. I will literally pay any amount of money to keep her tangle free w/o the fear of the neighbors coming over to defend us against the tomahawk-wielding natives or those same meanies that got St. Bartholomew. (Although, Ruth DID tearfully say to me the other night, after a day of Glory Stories in the car, "Mom, I just don't know if I'm going to be a martyr…"
    Also – I HAVE tried all the baby carriers 🙂 (Most recently had my baby Ergo-ed for a Cape Cod whale watch!) Thanks for promoting my misadventures in baby wearing 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    I have never even heard of Sophie the Giraffe. I will be revisiting a lot of your baby stuff recs in the coming months, so perfect timing on this one for me. 😉

  4. Anonymous

    I've never seen the Ergo. My Maya Wrap was my favorite carrier, and so pretty too. I am also a minimalist, and had less and less baby stuff as I went along instead of more. I don't run, ever, so umbrella strollers were fine. The Maya Wrap is probably the "splurgiest" thing I ever bought. If you really want to wear your baby, you need to try out lots of carriers, find one that works for you and that you will use, and then invest in it (or find one cheap used somewhere!).

  5. Christine

    Yep. Zinc oxide is the white stuff you see lifeguards slathering all over their noses (see: "Ug" in the opening theme song of Salute Your Shorts). It's the main ingredient in a lot of diaper creams.

    And babies sure do love Sophie! Ours has only gone through two kids so far, but she's already had all her spots sucked off. She's just white now.

  6. Valerie

    I had a Sophie la girafe when I was a baby and got one for my son as well. It has always been around in the family (as far as I can remember anyway), just like the bebes Corolle I grew up with. My Mom got my daughter her first baby doll, a little way of keeping with our French side. It is nice to learn that Sophie was named after Ste Madeleine Sophie Barat!

    • Kendra

      Anita really wanted a BOY baby doll for Christmas, and they don't really seem to make boy dolls in America, so I found a bebe Corolle boy baby on Amazon for her. It's a great doll. And smells really good. And is definitely a boy!

    • Valerie

      Haha! One of the first question I was asked by a housemate when I moved to the States was:' Is it true that in France you have anatomically correct baby dolls?' I always thought it was like that everywhere, not yet another French specificity. And yes, I love their smell!

  7. The Scarlett family

    Infant massage classes, Tummy Tub to bathe baby in after massage time, Old Dominion brand wooden restaurant-style high chair that pulls up to the family meal table, frame-type backpack carrier from an outdoor outfitter for my husband to carry older baby, toddler, or preschooler on family outings, baby toys from Montessori catalogs. I am 55 and these are the items that I have saved for future grandchildren or visitors.

    • Kendra

      I'd never seen the Tummy Tub, but it looks like a really good idea. Thanks for the recommendation!

  8. Miss Jill and Mister John

    My big splurgeon the list (we are a Bob family too)… Stokke High Chair. We bought all three used… and they are a bit banged up but they allow us, in our small 1950s CA home, to pull babies and children up to the dining table for a family meal. They'll likely be with us until the children are all grown up. They turn into a nice sturdy wooden chair…. and we are always short of chairs!

    I also believe in finding the right baby carrier… Tula is my favorite… Ergo was good to us too… and Beco Gemini. Well worth the money for good comfort. Love my Tula because I can fit larger children in it. I also like a good ring sling since it's easy to shove in a purse and use in a quick minute.

  9. Anonymous

    Love the Ergo! I've just been using coconut oil or breast milk on diaper rashes and those seem to be working so I haven't bought any lol.

    And we haven't had the hair problem yet…but I'll take note for when our kiddo finally does decide to grow some locks

  10. Amelia Bentrup

    So, if you see that someone bought 5 of those hairbrushes…that would be me. Hair brushing is the bane of a certain child's existance and she considers it to be the worst form of torture.

    • Kendra

      Awesome! Now I'm all worried. I hope they work as well for you as they do for us.

  11. Nanacamille

    Sophie really is the most baby friendly toy I have seen and she is so cute and old fashioned too. Baby can chew on all parts.

  12. J. Giunta

    Goody makes a version of that brush and you can find it at Target. It's the only brush my daughter will let me use on her hair.

  13. Hafsa

    We received a BOB double stroller four years ago when I was pregnant with my twins and we still have it and it still looks new. It's my favorite baby item. I am also a Sophie fan, my first son loved his hand me down version and then Nana went all out for my second son and fourth child, buying him a plush one with a bell and the original. Instead of the Ergo, we have the Manduca (only sold in Europe, my SIL lives there and bought us two for the twins) and it's very similar to the Ergo. Ours are four years old and still holding up and I wear my fourth baby almost daily.

  14. Julia @ I Camp At The Ritz

    Totally agree about the BOB! I got a BOB and a cheapie umbrella stroller and it turns out I've never used the umbrella. Not even in the airport. We just curb checked the BOB and I wore the baby through security. If people are looking for Ergos for less, you can always buy a gently used one on The Babywearing Swap. I see them all the time for $60ish.

  15. Kristi

    The purple (original) Desitin is the only diaper rash cream we've found that works – and works quickly. It's because it has the highest zinc oxide content. I agree with you on the Ergo and the diaper rash cream. None of my kids have much hair when they are little, and I don't run. 😛 I also think a swing and exersaucer (for older babies) are necessary "safe places" to put the baby when I can't be holding him. And I might have to splurge and buy a baby hammock to see if they help baby sleep better because my babies are all terrible sleepers, even with co-sleeping, they wake every hour for the first year or so.

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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