Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20% to 50% on baby furniture, gear, clothes, toys, maternity wear and much, much more!
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on May 23, 2011
Initially, this book was the end-all-be-all for us. After we found out we were pregnant with our first, several of our friends told us we MUST get this book. So we did, and the information contained within seemed all-encompassing, and like the only reference we'd ever need. As the months of my pregnancy continued on and our research on different items expanded and deepened, we started realizing that several of the Baby Bargains reviews didn't match up with reviews we were reading elsewhere, including on Amazon. The Baby Bargains authors have a tendency to review items with an authoritative tone that is not always warranted or based on in-depth research. To be sure, there is A LOT of research put into the book, but it also covers A LOT of items, so in some instances, certain items don't get the same scrutiny as others, but the reader can't really discern in which instances this is happening. It becomes more apparent as you start researching the items you've narrowed it down to using resources other than Baby Bargains. I was looking at baby monitors on Amazon the other day, and based on user review (actual parents), there were a couple monitors that jumped out at me as the best (no 1 or 2 star ratings -- all 4 and 5 stars, out of over 50 ratings). I looked up the brand in our Baby Bargains book, and found that it was rated "F"! And the reason the BB authors gave it an F is actually refuted by someone in the medical field in one of the 5 star Amazon reviews. That didn't sit real well with me, especially for something as important as a Baby Monitor. I've had other experiences like that with items recommended by Baby Bargains, where they say "get this not that", and I do some more googling, and find that parents are actually not too happy with the Baby Bargains-recommended items.

Is this book worth getting? Yes. It's a great, one-stop-shopping roadmap of sorts for all the STUFF you need / don't need, particularly useful for first-time parents. That said - it should not be considered the ONLY resource / authority on baby buying. Like all the manufacturers of all the baby stuff out there, Baby Bargains is also a business -- they're in it to make money as much as the next guy. There's nothing wrong with that, but I do think it's important to keep in the back of your head. While they don't get paid to recommend one brand over another, they DO get paid (by those of us who buy their books) for coming across as the "experts" on all things baby-related. And they simply aren't. I recommend starting with the book, narrowing it down to options you're considering, and then doing additional research on the items that really matter - crib, car seat, baby monitor, etc. Beyond that, I pay particular attention to recent reviews NOT in Baby Bargains written by folks in the medical / pediatric fields. While Baby Bargains will often say something like, "According to the American Academy of Pediatrics...", they rarely say "According to pediatrician Joe Smith..." In other words, you start to get the feeling that maybe they just googled the American Academy of Pediatrics and passively noted their regulations, rather than actually talking to a real pediatrician about a particular item. Anyway, in sum, get the book, and take into consideration what they say, but don't consider it the Gospel on baby merchandise...
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on April 1, 2012
A friend of mine recommended this book because, as a first-time mom, I don't know what babies actually need versus what's just hype. And this book is absolutely GREAT for that!

However ... the Kindle version is missing large chunks that appear in the table of contents, and that I assume also appear in the print version. For example, in Chapter 2 (Nursery Necessities), the first 16 sections are there (about what baby stores are the best, registries, and some general guidelines on how to buy a crib); but after "Not Made in China," it skips straight to Chapter 3! There are TWENTY-EIGHT missing sections in Chapter 2, including the actual reviews of various crib manufacturers and all the sections about other nursery furniture like changing tables, gliders, bassinets and co-sleepers. So despite having paid for this book, I actually still have no idea what to look for in nursery furniture.

If everything listed in the table of contents were actually in the book, this would DEFINITELY be a five-star product; but so much of it is not there that I'm going to have to buy a different book to do the same thing, so it was a complete waste of money for me and therefore only gets one star.
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The 9th edition (2011) of "Baby Bargains" is the must-buy guide to help you pick the best baby products available in the market today. Signifantly better than previous editions, it is full of product reviews, ratings, side-by-side comparisons and recommendations that will save you tons of time, money and frustration when shopping for baby items or drawing up your baby registry. Parent feedback, recall information, marketing gimmicks, and pros and cons are all explained and taken into account - simply said, no other source has this much up-to-date information at your fingertips.

New for this edition is an extensive section on the many new car seats, strollers and carriers available. The sections on individual car seats (rated by brand and model) is excellent. For strollers, however, it's worth noting that they are only rated by manufacturer. Most models usually have a one-paragraph descriptions that include price, weight and parent feedback, so if you're looking for detailed reviews on individual models (for example the City Mini vs. City Select strollers), you won't find that here - probably because there's simply way too many (Maclaren alone has nine models).

What really matters though is their analysis of overall quality for the brand, their customer service, recalls and pros/cons, all very useful if you're trying to pick between two different brands. For example, if overall quality and customer service for one brand is not be great, this will be reflected in the rating and the authors may point you to a better option for the same price.

That said, I do have some small gripes - although the book mentions many new items, it also includes some products that are no longer sold at retail, like the Chicco Twin Trevi stroller which was discontinued last year. Not bad if you're buying second-hand but not great if you want to buy new. There is also about a one-year lag in terms of the products mentioned in categories other than strollers, carriers and car seats - I couldn't find popular products that work well for travel or small spaces (a big missing category) such as the Phil & Teds Traveller Crib that's a lot smaller than the Baby Bjorn travel crib they recommend, the FlexiBath Infant Bath Tub that folds flat for small spaces and can be used to age 4 (unlike the tubs they mention that are for babies younger than 6 months or huge to store), and the Kidco Go-Pod portable activity seat that folds to 30" x 8" x 8". Hopefully they will be included in the new edition.

Likewise, the authors sometimes skim over product descriptions - an Ergo Performance carrier is simply described as having a special lighterweight fabric when in fact it has a completely different fit and design when compared to the original Ergo. This doesn't happen too often though.

In terms of what you'll find - chapters include nursery essentials (cribs, bassinets, dressers, mattresses, gliders, changing tables etc.), baby bedding, baby clothes, diapers, maternity & nursing clothes, feeding (nursing, bottles, formula, baby food, high chairs), gear for around the house (monitors, gates, diaper pails, swings, potty seats, bouncers, playards, etc), car seats, strollers (singles & doubles), bike trailers and seats, diaper bags, plus an extensive section on carriers. Throughout the book, you'll find money-saving tips, wastes of money, features to look for in a product and best places to buy.

Other chapters include a reality check on costs for the first year (average vs a Baby Bargains budget), new safety rules (cribs, etc), organic baby items, what you need when, an appendix with a sample baby registry and another appendix with multiples advice (twins and more) which unfortunately is just 2 pages long and woefully inadequate (a dowload they suggest on their site from a reader contains a high chair they gave a C+ raing to - did they even read it?).

Besides the book, the authors also run the baby bargains dot com website (easy to find, google "baby bargains") where you will find a very detailed table of contents and tons of bonus material not found in the book. This includes crib maker reviews, in-depth advice on bottles and supplies, humidifiers, toys, baby proofing tips, baby announcements, mail order sources, archive of old reviews, extra stroller reviews, and advice on introducing baby to your pets. Also, it has a handy chart that lists stroller models with one-hand folds and/or height-adjustable handles and travel tips for flying with your child.

With the average cost of raising a baby at about $7,000 for the first year alone, this book will save you around $3,000 if you follow all the tips and suggestions in the book. If it doesn't save you at least $250, the publisher will give you a full refund on the cost of the book, no questions asked - details of their guarantee are in back. Even with a few faults here and there it's still an excellent book - I'm glad to say I've never had to take them up on this offer.
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on February 22, 2012
I received this book at my baby shower and quickly read it pretty much cover to cover. It is helpful if you have NO idea what to buy, as it gives pretty comprehensive overviews of the popular brands. However, two cons stuck out to me that made me trust the authors a little less:

1) Can the publisher please hire a decent proofreader? There were countless spelling and grammatical errors, from simple things like its/it's, your/you're, and then more ridiculous ones like "this baby monitor gives parents piece of mind", and "the buckles fasten around your waste". Seriously? Errors like that just erode my confidence in the authors' expertise.

2) More importantly, the authors didn't seem to have deep enough knowledge of certain areas considering the "expert" opinion they were giving on it. For example, they seemed to write off cloth diapering as an inconvenient and expensive option because using a cloth diapering SERVICE cost more than disposable diapering. And they seemed to lump all cloth diapers into one category when they said that even after buying the cloth diapers, you also have to buy expensive diaper COVERS, an additional expense. Clearly the authors have never cloth diapered their child! Many of today's cloth diapers are all-in-one, so you don't have to buy extra covers, and if you launder them yourself you can save thousands of dollars. These diapers were skimmed over briefly, leading the reader to believe cloth diapering isn't worth considering.

Having done my own research online by reading extensive product reviews, I didn't find that the book was all that useful. Perhaps if I had received it earlier, before having bought most of the big-ticket items, it would have been a good place to start my research.
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on February 27, 2014
This book is incredible! When my wife and I were expecting our 1st child, some friends recommended we check out this book (the 2012 edition at the time). So I went on Amazon, found the book and decided to check it out. For the price, it was a no-brainer. When it arrived, I was blown away at all the information it had in it. i was expecting it to outline how to save money on various baby products, which it does, but it also has tons of information on the products as well. I really liked the individual product reviews as well as the comparisons to similar products and how the book rates each product. Overall this is a excellent book and I think that it helped us out tremendously and it would do the same for any parent, new or seasoned.
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on April 7, 2015
i do a lot of comparative shopping research, and this book simplified prepping for the baby sooooo much. between helping me make decisions on what items to buy ( i still refer to it three years later!) and confirming for me the quality of the items i purchased before reading this book, i just can't recommend this book enough.

seriously, if you're having a baby, you NEED this book.
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on October 27, 2014
I haven't read through it all - there's SO much information that it's overwhelming for a first time mom. It does serve as a good reference book though. I saw a crib go on sale in a lightning deal from Amazon and I referenced this book and read that that brand had a good reputation (I wouldn't have known otherwise). That gave me peace of mind to proceed with my purchase. I'm not sure I'll read the whole thing, because there's so much information you forget half of it before you reach the end of a chapter!
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on May 5, 2013
In the overwhelming world of baby products it's so hard to identify what's actually a good choice for your new baby, and what's a bad product or a waste of time and money. You could go to all of the product websites and have each product tell you how great it is, or you could listen to non-biased consumer research in the form of Baby Bargains. Recommended on mommy sites everywhere this book is incredible for identifying the best products in all of the necessary categories from clothes to furniture to necessities, it covers all the bases and does a great job of helping you build your baby registry with the most effective choices. I also like how they always give you 3 good options for each of their product categories, good-better-best. All three are good choices but it falls into what is your budget for that item. I loved it because my budget was smaller but I knew I was still getting good products for my money! So far, everything has been a good choice. HIGHLY recommended for parents-to-be!
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VINE VOICEon October 24, 2011
As new parents trying to prepare for our first child looking around the big chain stores is completely overwhelming. There are so many things billed as "must haves" and then so many variations along the way that it can leave you paralyzed. The advice in the book can be a little obvious at times but overall it helped me to wade through the variety of products, brands and styles in a very organized way. I don't think it's the only resource you should use for making your decisions but it helps you weed out the subpar brands and narrow down your options. For example we had picked out a particular travel system only to find out via the book that they had filed for bankruptcy in 2009 (still pending) and were under a variety of patent suits. Who knows if they'll be around in a year or two if we have warranty or parts issues? We also had picked out a crib set only to discover the maker was give an F in the book for multiple safety recalls and poor quality. I brought the book with us on our next trip and we found something with a high rating from the book and online for just $20 more.

There are only two reasons I didn't give this five stars. First, I think that this is definitely more helpful to the first time parent. If you've done this before then you'll have much more insight into cribs, bouncers, swings, carriers, etc than us newbies. I'm not sure if it's necessary in that case but may still be helpful. Second, I bought the Kindle edition and it's really difficult to view some of the charts in the book. They're just too small so you're forced to page back and forth between the specific descriptions to get info.

All in all, well worth it for us and I'd highly recommend it to any newbies. Also, make sure you get the most recent edition since it does make a difference!
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on March 24, 2013
I purchased the kindle version of this book and wish I hadn't. Although this book is helpful, the kindle version is missing many of the charts/tables/graphics needed to compare brands of furniture (and other baby goods). In terms of the content, I found that many of the ratings in this book are inconsistent with other sources (Consumer Reports). Just keep this in mind when making decisions. For example, I purchased a dresser from a company that was rated B- in this book but high quality on Consumer Reports. In the end, the dresser was exactly what I wanted/expected and worked out perfectly. Therefore, I would say that this book is helpful but definitely not my go-to source of information. I found that online product reviews from other customers were much more helpful and accurate.
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