Cost vs. value: The registry

Friday, April 20, 2012

I’ve gotten a little bit of static from family and friends about the choices we made for the baby registry. Like everything baby-related – from names to child rearing – unsolicited opinions abound. I remember the same raised eyebrows (from some of the same people) when we registered for our wedding.

I know, I know … a hundred-dollar nightlight IS crazy expensive and we probably won’t get it. It’s there because we liked it. Sue me. Everything else, however, was chosen for a reason. Every item was heavily researched and carefully considered. It isn’t just a load of stuff that’s oh-so-cute but won’t get used.

We need things we can use for years or use in another room of the house later, not something cheap that we’d have to replace in a few months or years. As urban city dwellers, the list is tightly edited to save on physical space and create convenience. We’re all about having fewer things, but much better quality.

The diaper pail seems to be causing the most consternation. VIPP trashcans are built by hand in Denmark. They are ultra-high quality and are designed to last a long time. In reality, it’s not a diaper pail but a medical-grade trash can that can be used as a diaper pail.

The VIPP workers are well paid (with healthcare) and the company is environmentally responsible. They’re a family-run organization that’s been making bins since 1931. On top of that, the VIPP 15 (part of the MoMA collection) is a great piece of industrial design which, for us, is just as important as function.

If spending $319 on a trashcan results in purchasing fewer cheap Chinese equivalents – which are not well made, whose workers are not well paid, whose quality doesn’t conform to safety standards, and whose factories do not care about the environment – well, that’s cool.

But let’s break it down: The Biscuit will be in diapers for about two years. We’ll be using this trashcan every day and it comes with a 10-year warranty on all moving parts (does your Diaper Genie have that?). $319 over 730 days is just 44¢ per day for something that works well and looks great doing it. Yes, the initial outlay seems outrageous but this isn’t about price. It’s about value.

In my opinion, the price of a VIPP trashcan reflects the true cost of a well made, ethically produced product, and is not “ridiculous” as it appears. Americans have simply grown too reliant on Wal*Mart prices, without considering the social consequences of what that means or the overall VALUE of what they’re actually buying.

Ultimately, we know that friends and family who want to shop for The Biscuit will do so within their means and we’ll be eternally grateful for WHATEVER gifts we receive.

I would never judge someone based on what they can or can’t afford. We prefer not to be judged based on our product preferences, however “indulgent,” “ridiculous,” or “bourgeoisie” they may seem to those on the outside. 
Monday, April 16, 2012

34 weeks = a large canteloupe

No bumpers, please

Thursday, April 12, 2012
Since I can’t wear “real” clothes these days, I’ve been satisfying my urge to shop by buying online for The Biscuit. Many popular children’s brands have bedding collections that almost always include crib bumpers.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s concern that bumpers aren’t safe and may contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics:
There is no evidence that crib bumpers protect against injury, but they do carry a potential risk of suffocation, strangulation, or entrapment because infants lack the motor skills or strength to turn their heads should they roll into something that obstructs their breathing.
The city of Chicago was the first in the nation to ban the sale of crib bumpers and Maryland’s ban goes into effect next year. So, if they’re no good, why are major retailers still selling them? I suspect it’s because people are still buying despite the risks. The safety rules change all the time and it’s hard to keep up.

I understand some people can’t get past the aesthetic appeal of crib bumpers and will buy them solely because they’re cute. Skip Hop sells an adorable bumper-free bedding set that we’ll be using.

Here are some other safe-sleep recommendations and changes you may not have heard about:
  • Drop-side cribs can trap babies between the mattress and the rails. Most modern cribs have fixed side rails.
  • Babies should sleep on their backs, never on his stomach or side. Car seats and other baby seats should not be used for sleeping.
  • Babies should sleep in the same room as parents, but not in the same bed.
  • Keep all soft bedding (blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, etc.) out of the crib. Crib mattresses should be firm and covered in a tight fitted sheet.
  • Supervised tummy time is recommended daily to help with development and to avoid flat heads.
In other news: I have reached the point in pregnancy where I get to stop worrying about everything that will (but actually won’t) go wrong, and can finally focus on fun things like registering and nursery decor. At 33.5 weeks, we’re (finally) registered at
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