Baby products rated by moms

HOUSTON So what about the baby supplies for expecting parents or loved ones shopping from a registry? We talked to experienced moms for some advice.

It's easy for First time moms to fall for all the baby items at the store. We talked to some "been there done that moms" who offer expert advice on what babies really need or don't need. From bedding to baby scales, bottles and wipe warmers there is so much baby gear on the market that it takes an entire super center just to house every product.

With three kids, Joan Dunlap admits buying baby clothes is her weakness but when it comes to other gear she doesn't have the same soft spot.

"The things you think are essential are not essential," she advised.

Dunlap's tip for first time moms, don't spend too much on toys.

"Usually they would much rather play with the cabinet of pots and pans just like we did when we were kids," Dunlap advised.

Other veteran moms agree.

"I mean you could have a baby and live in a tent and still succeed," Dunlap said.

Laura Solitaire says buying a bedding set was a waste of money because children's safety organizations say bumper pads are not recommended and blankets are a definite no-no in the crib. She recommends buying crib sheets and a dust ruffle. It'll save you at least $50. As for a swing or a jumper, Stephanie Sulo, a mom of four says, test drive baby gear at a friend or relatives home before you buy.

"A lot of those things like the jumpy none of my kids ever liked," Sulo told us.

Jumpers and swings retail for more than $75. Our moms also said don't bother buying baby shoes or bath robes. They also warn first time moms to stay away from gimmicky products like the Wee Block. It's a machine washable absorbing sponge for use when changing diapers.

"Like I can't imagine having the time to be like, 'Where is that accessory, it's time to change the diaper,'" Sulo laughed.

But for every baby frill, moms agree there are many life savers. Our experienced moms suggest:
- A sturdy stroller and infant car seat
- A crib that converts into a big kid bed
- Toys that grow with your little one
- And a baby monitor that has low interference and static

Our expert moms say before you buy a big ticket baby item be sure to do your research on the Internet and read reviews.

But what about the cost of all this stuff?

Does it pay to shop around? We decided to check out what some popular baby items cost.

First up is a three pack of Dr. Brown's bottles. The Babies R Us price is $14.99, Target's price is $13.79 but had the cheapest price at $10.96.

New on the market this year, the Fisher Price Starlight Cradle Swing. It's $159.99 at Babies R Us but $40 cheaper at Wal-Mart. However we found's price was the best at $119.97 because it was tax free and included shipping.

If you are looking for a baby stroller and travel system, the Chicco Travel System is a top seller. It's $299.99 at Babies R Us and about $11 cheaper at Wal-Mart. Once again the best price was online. Here the travel system was priced at just under $255 and includes tax and shipping.

When it comes to baby clothes, veteran moms say to keep it simple. They advise to stock up on body suits like a five pack of Onesies. Across the board, this item was priced at just under $10 at every place we shopped.

The bottom line, experienced moms say when it comes to big ticket items, do your homework before you make a purchase.

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