What comes to mind when preparing to take home baby for the first time? A carseat! There are so many options and designs when it comes to carseats it can become overwhelming. What is most important is installing your carseat correctly and securing baby properly. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has great resources on the different carseats available and the recommended age groups for each kind. Find out more information HERE and where to get your carseat install inspected for ease of mind before bringing baby home!
Nuna Pipa car seat carrier
When we decided to get a car seat, a major factor for me was that it had to be lightweight. I wanted a car seat carrier that wasn't too heavy since it was going to be the carrier + baby weight. The Nuna Pipa came in at 7.9 lbs (the lightest I had found - before the Pipa Lite came out) and had an accompanying travel system so we invested in the Nuna Mixx. This was a well worth investment! I absolutely love the travel system and use it all the time. It was super easy to take him from the carrier and attach it directly onto the stroller (especially if baby is sleeping and I need to run into a store real quick - no need to take him out of the carseat). The Pipa is recommended for 4 to 32 pounds and up to 32 inches. Features include a 5 point harness, a dream drape, a removable infant insert, and a mesh peek-a-boo window. What makes this carrier appealing is that it can also be used without a base if you're living in the city with no need for a car and can be used in a taxi/uber and secured with just a seatbelt. The insert was nice and soft and easily removable. I did have a little difficulty maneuvering the straps in and out of the slots when adjusting to size as he grew, as the straps would bunch up and make it hard to push through the slots in the back opening (nothing a little extra muscle power couldn't handle). The dream drape (stored inside the canopy) worked nicely to provide privacy with the magnetic attachments when baby was napping. Although I wouldn't recommend using it if it's super sunny/hot outside as my babe seemed to get a little hotter under the drape despite the meshy sides (think sauna). The base was also super easy to install with the Latch system and the stability leg provided extra support. We used the Pipa up until after his first birthday until he started to get a little too heavy for me to lug him around. Therefore, we transitioned him to a convertible car seat that he can grow with.
Graco 4ever all-in-one convertible car seat
When looking for a convertible car seat, I wanted something that will last and grow with my little one. Especially if I am going to invest in another carseat, I want it to be versatile and adapt to his stages of growth. How do you narrow down which car seat to buy? I did alot of researching and googling - searching review sites and different blogs and I came across some that were super helpful! Reviews.com summarized different convertible car seats based on ease of use with a chart summarizing the main features. It also listed some pros & cons and the comparative prices between the carseats. Definitely a site worth looking over when trying to decide which one to go with.
I ended up choosing the Graco 4Ever All-in-One. What made the deciding factor was the price! Originally at $299.99 we got a super good deal that was on sale at Babies"R"Us + an online coupon at checkout = $99 final price (this was before it was going out of business). The car seat was super easy to install with the InRight Latch system and wasn't too heavy to lift. So far, we've only used this rear facing and will probably update the review as baby grows into the different functions of this car seat. The rear facing seat accommodates 4 to 40 lbs and goes up to120 lbs in the backless booster seat. The insert seems soft and plush for support although I can see how little ones can get a little sweaty from the thick cushioning. So far we haven't had any issues with sweating as we're still having snowstorms in March ☃️ (where is Spring hiding?!). It was a little difficult to adjust the positioning of the seat once it was installed as you first start figuring out the comfort positioning for your little one (it is recommended in the manual to set the position before installing in the car). The harness was also difficult to tighten when rear facing as you have little room between the carseat and car itself. I had to readjust several times to make sure baby was properly secured (it's as if you had pulled on the strap that won't really move or tighten in the chest area). What I did find that was helpful was that if you tighten the chest straps from the back of the car seat then pulled on it from the front, it was much easier to tighten and properly secure baby. The harness straps were much easier to loosen if needed. The headrest was easily adjustable to my baby's height and he seemed to like how it snuggles on his head on either side. Overall, it doesn't seem too bulky especially for being in an SUV providing that it has much more space. My little one seemed to have transitioned nicely from his comfy Nuna Pipa to the Graco 4Ever (for now 😬 ).
* I will also most likely add an update once we install it in my husband's smaller sedan for size and how it fits with multiple car seats.