Cord Blood Banking

Cord blood banking has become something of a controversial topic. You can think of this as very expensive insurance given the upfront and annual costs to bank and store cord blood and the likelihood of actually needing to use it. The thought is stored umbilical cord blood may one day be used to treat certain types of cancers or other diseases. For more information, see the Parents Guide to Cord Blood.

Private Banking
Costs for the some of the more popular cord blood choices are found below, sorted by the estimated 5-year cost, current as of March 2008.

VendorEst 5 year costFirst year FeeAnnual
Family Cord Blood Services$1,930.001,330120

First year fees above do not include the cost of first-year storage to more easily compare services. Note that it is worthwhile to call the vendor to understand whether there may be discounts. For example, though not explicitly noted on their site, Family Cord Blood Services offered a physician discount.

The winner: Family Cord Blood Services

Family Cord Blood Services pays for inbound shipping to its Los Angeles storage facility. Further, a representative from their partner, AirNet will pick up the cord blood directly from the hospital. Family Cord Blood Services is owned and operated by two physicians and has been banking cord blood for 11 years, with its parent business California Cryobank in service for 30 years. It also offered the lowest rate of the top choices. Their referral program is also good. Please mention "Biju Philip" if you decide to enroll and we will both get a free year of storage.

Crib Accessories

A foam mattress like the Colgate Mattress Company Classica I Foam Crib Mattressis significantly lighter weight than a coil mattress. This particular one also has rectangular edges to for a flush fit with the inside of the crib and has gotten good reviews. However, this is at times a bit tough to find.

If you prefer to buy a standard coil mattress, do not purchase one with lower than 80 coils. Over 160 coils and the mattress tends to feel overly firm. Sealy in general has gotten fairly good reviews. Watch out for crib stores attempting to upsell you on an expensive mattress. This is really not necessary.

The winner: Sealy Baby Posturepedic Crib Mattress - Mini Fleur

At roughly $100, this mattress was just right. It is firm at 220 coils and sits fairly flush inside the crib.

Crib Bumpers
Crib bumpers line the inside of the crib with padding. In general, this is an unnecessary expense. Some will also indicate a correlation between SIDS and use of these crib bumpers.

Baby Crib

Your baby crib is likely one of your first major purchases given that it is an essential product and it may take anywhere from 2-12 weeks to receive. ORDER IT EARLY. Books like Baby Bargains, 7th Editionoffer a good insight to the features that are important and safe for your newborn. Here are some key points:

General features
  • Check the sturdiness of the platform that holds the mattress. Stronger quality cribs will have metal mesh. One lower end crib had particle-board. Buyer beware.

  • Some cribs have drawers at the base of the crib. Note that dust may collect on the items placed in the drawer unless the drawer is well covered by the platform under the mattress (a crib skirt may help too).

  • Cribs often convert to daybeds, toddler beds or even full beds. This typically requires the purchase of an optional conversion kit that would include the rails. It may make sense to buy this when you are buying the crib in case the crib is later discontinued.

About 98% of the market for cribs falls in the $100 to $1000 range. On the low end are brands like Ikea and on the high-end are brands like Munire and Natart. There is an entire spectrum of brands in between, with most in the $300-$600 range. Unless you purchase a minicrib or variant thereof, the size of the space for the mattress is standard. You are buying basically on the quality of wood, the aesthetics, the customer service and the brand.


Depending on your city, day care centers may be completely full. Get on any waitlists as soon as you find out that you're expecting. Places like KinderCare in downtown Chicago had a 1.5 year waiting list!