Baby Stuff Overload: Crib Edition

NOTE: THIS POST WAS WRITTEN 6/13/10, ALSO IT IS WRITTEN IN CHUNKS WRITTEN ON DIFFERENT DATES – BOLD IS THE SECOND SET OF THOUGHTS, BOLD BLUE IS MY MOST RECENT THOUGHTS. AND FINALLY, SINCE I’VE MORE OR LESS COME TO A CONCLUSION, UNLESS YOUR OPINION SHOWS ME SOMETHING OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE (AS IN, THIS ITEM RANDOMLY BURSTS INTO FLAMES), PLEASE DON’T KNOCK MY CHOICE TOO HARD. IT WAS A DIFFICULT DECISION PROCESS FOR ME AND ANOTHER DIFFERENT OPINION MAY VERY WELL CAUSE ME TO SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST. OK, ENOUGH WITH THE CAPS LOCK DISCLAIMER…

Cribs. This choice seems a bit easier. If I stopped researching now and just kept my search to Babies R Us, I think I’d have 2 pretty good choices. Our budget choice would be the Graco Lauren Crib (not the dropside model that was recalled, this is a new model with stationary sides) and our other choice is the Da Vinci Kalani (in the highest rated section on the website). They’re both convertible cribs that turn into toddler beds and then full beds (you just have to get the bed frame separately for the full – the Da Vinci has custom wood rails you can buy, but for the Graco, you just have to go out and find your own metal frame), but I’m leaning much more heavily towards the Da Vinci one. I suppose the fact that any Graco has been recalled recently has something to do with it, even though this model doesn’t have the problematic feature at all, but mostly I just think the Da Vinci looks higher quality. The only negative I’ve read about is that the wood is soft and therefore dents easily and will show toothmarks if you kid teethes on it, but they make fabric rail guards to protect it, so I think I can deal with that. I also kind of like that the Da Vinci’s full size bed has both a head and foot board, whearas the Graco only has a headboard. On the other hand, I wasn’t able to see the Da Vinci in the store, since it’s online only and the website says the Da Vinci is currently out of stock. Obviously I don’t need the crib right now and didn’t plan to purchase it now, but I don’t know if the out of stock thing is common with that model. Will I have trouble getting it when I actually need it? Amazon has it though, so I guess it doesn’t matter where I get it. So I guess this choice is kinda a no brainer – the only benefit to the Graco is that it’s cheaper, but only by $75, so why not just go with the one I like better? Now then, ebony or espresso (I’m just a bit concerned that the espresso looks a bit lighter than I like when you look at the accompanying dressers. I really like rich, dark wood. But is ebony too dark?)? Or is this too easy – should I keep looking around? Is there a brand at a non-Babies R Us store that’s wonderful that I don’t know of? It must be dark wood.

EDIT: So, I’ve gone and complicated things by looking at the cribs at Buy Buy Baby. There were quite a few that I really liked. They were so much nicer than the Da Vinci. Really nice detailing and thick, hefty wood. As we intend to fully take advantage of the convertible feature, eventually turning the crib into a full size bed, I kind of want to splurge and get the great looking piece that looks like it will really last a lifetime…but they were also at least twice the price. Is that ok since it’s a lifetime piece of furniture or should we try to save? (Not to mention the accompanying furniture, which is also quite pricey). I’m also having trouble finding any reviews online. The Buy Buy Baby site just lists the styles and shows pictures – you have to call or order in stores, so there’s no place for reviews there. Amazon just plain doesn’t have them listed at all.

EDIT # 2: Ok, so thanks to the advice of a fellow pregnant friend (thanks Mia!), I picked up the book, Baby Bargains, which was quite helpful since it has tons of info and ratings on baby stuff. Though it seems I’ve again shaken things up, lol. The problem remains for the Buy Buy Baby cribs that I just can’t find the ratings. I’m sure they’re there, but the store’s website doesn’t specify the brand for all of the models, so I can’t look it up in the book that separates ratings by brand. For those that were specified, some were good and some were only ok. So, I just don’t know what to do about those cribs. I really liked some of them, so it’s hard to just put them out of my mind, but I seem to put a lot of faith in reviews, so it really bugs me that I can’t check them.

Oddly, despite seeing high recommendations on Babies R Us, Amazon, and Consumersearch.com, the Da Vinci brand only got a B-, so I don’t know what to make of that. 3/4 sources giving good recommendations is still good though. But! Babi Italia, another Babies R Us brand, got an A- and the store has 2 models I really like. I’m not sure how I didn’t see them the first visit, but I’m throwing them into the mix now. The Pinehurst even gets a full 5 stars based on over 250 reviews! Though, I think I like the Eastside style better. They’re both really nice, but I think I like the extra details in the Eastside model. And it still gets 4.5/5 stars, so that’s still pretty good. I couldn’t really tell why one was rated better though. They’re made from the same wood (which again, apparently scratches easily) and you have to buy the conversion rails separately for both models (those seem to be the 2 biggest complaints about both models), and I really wasn’t sure what, other than the details, could be different…so I figure the slight rating difference isn’t important.

Also, do I buy the accompanying furniture? There’s 3 choices there for the Kalani set – a dresser with rails that comes with a changing pad (but it’s also described as being partially made with particle board…) which I guess is meant to be the safest dedicated changing table with drawers, a lower dresser that you can place a changing pad on top of which has a low part and a higher part, and a tall dresser. I’m not sure how I feel about the dressers with the attached rails to make it a changer – what do you do with it after potty training? Can you make it look like anything other than a changing table? If you could take the rails off and make it a normal dresser, ok, but I just think it would look weird otherwise – like a changing table in your teenager’s room. Or if not, and I really need a changing table with rails, and not just a U shaped changing pad on top of the lower dresser (is that not safe? Can I make it stick somehow or tie it on?), Graco has a pretty cheap one that matches either crib. And then I guess I could just get a normal dresser in addition. Though do I really need that either? The room we’re using as a nursery in our house has a huge closet that I can easily fit toys and hanging clothing into, and with some customization, I could put all folded clothing in there, too.  I guess I just don’t want the room to look bare. It’s a good sized room and all we have in there now is a recliner and a really small bookshelf. Add a crib and it’s still pretty empty!

EDIT: The matching furniture of the Babi Italia cribs throws me a bit more. I think we’d probably stick with just the lower, longer dresser, but the 2 styles have 2 different matching dressers, and the difference isn’t just the aesthetic styling. The Pinehurst has a removable changing rail while the Eastside doesn’t. Again, I still like the added aesthetic detail on the Eastside (though I have heard a complaint about the positioning of the knob on the one cabinet door on it – but after seeing it in-store, I think it’s only a minor inconvenience), but again, I’m still wondering how necessary that changing rail is. Chris thinks we can just use a grippy pad or tie the changing pad onto the dresser somehow and it isn’t an issue, but who knows. My main complaint with the rail is that based on the reviews and the floor model in the store, once you take the rail off, the top of your dresser is butchered because of the stupid soft wood! I saw one person recommend using felt between the rail and the dresser – would that work well enough or would the felt somehow end up coming off often or scratching anyway? I also saw a few people mention that their rail wasn’t perfectly fixed, but I’m hoping that’s just a user flaw; otherwise, why bother? So I don’t know. I’m heavily leaning towards getting this brand, probably the style I like better…why am I not sure? I think I’m overthinking it.I do tend to do that.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. amal agha
    Jun 30, 2010 @ 15:52:19

    Hey Melissa-

    Remember me from High School? Amal Hassan 🙂

    As I was reading your post, I was also going to suggest baby bargains… I read the entire book (we’re expecting as well). Munire cribs are supposed be the best/safest baby cribs. you will find better deals if you go to crib specialty stores such as teen & crib city (which where we got our crib). They will offer you packages on the crib, dresser, mattress and changing pad. These packages usually come out to be cheaper than buying everything seperately from Buy Buy Baby or Babies R Us.

    Hope this helps 🙂

    Reply

    • sleepymel
      Jun 30, 2010 @ 17:56:37

      Haha, oh man. Looks like I’ve got a field trip for hubby and I this weekend! I just looked up the Munire website and picked out 3 styles I like… Their only store nearby (within 50 miles) is a Baby USA, so I’ll have to see if they’ll do any price deals (the website showed discounted prices, so hopefully yes!). Otherwise, It may be a tad expensive. But thank you for the recommendation! I’ve still got some time to decide, so I figure adding one more brand to the mix isn’t too bad!

      Congrats to you as well on the upcoming bundle of joy! And of course I remember you, lol! 🙂

      Reply

  2. Marcie
    Jun 30, 2010 @ 21:42:03

    We have two DaVinci Kalani cribs in cherry and the matching combo dresser (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000IAJWPQ/ref=oss_product). I saw the same thing as you did in the reviews, that the wood is soft and your kid could leave marks in the rail. What they don’t say is that your belt buckle, the button on the front of your jeans, and any other metal you wear will put deep grooves in your crib. The scratches aren’t a removal of the finish (so there’s no color change, revealing the wood underneath) but more like gouges. I’m not worried about the safety of it, since the finish is intact. I doubt that the fabric teething guards would protect it enough. You’d probably have to find a plastic kind that fit.

    We bought the cribs from Amazon. It took us a couple of hours to put together the first one. They are really, really heavy. The dresser, on the other hand, took us 4-5hrs to assemble, it was crazy heavy, and Jim barely got it upstairs (since I couldn’t help, being pregnant).

    All changing pads can be attached to any surface with two screws. Basically the pad has two nylon tabs sewn into it. They hang down the backside when you put it on a dresser top. You just run some screws through the tabs and into the furniture. The railings aren’t really going to do much for you, except look pretty. You don’t need any special piece of furniture to create a changing table.

    I’m happy with our choice, even with the soft wood issues. Everything is very heavy (no tipping over or moving) and secure. I only expect this stuff to keep the boys off the floor until they go to college. If it gets roughed up along the way, it’s ok. I mean, we have boys. I’m not sure anything would survive perfectly intact and I’m not going to go crazy trying.

    We didn’t get the tall dresser, mainly because there isn’t enough room with everything else. Instead, we added a second shelf/clothes rail in the closet. I measured it so adult pants and shirts fit on either rail, and it doubled the storage space in there. I also got some hanging basket type shelves. We got the stuff from Lowe’s for pretty cheap.

    Reply

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