Baby Gear Boom

But can't one find a highchair for under $100 bucks that will do the job? Yes, but that may not be the point. Many new parents perceive "just doing the job" as no longer good enough.

"When you have kids later you obsess about how you're going to be different from other parents," said Ross. She argues that to a large degree the growth of luxury, hip and high-end baby items is a result of the parents' needs -- not the babies.

"It's totally a matter of keeping up with the Joneses in the sense that you have to be the person with the new thing. You have to be the person who discovered the new hot thing and if you're not one of the first 30 people with it you're not interested."

Not everyone's buying into the trend.

Dr. Jennifer Ball, a professor at Brooklyn College, has two young children (both of whom slept in the same crib she did when growing up more than 30 years ago). She sees the allure of the new "hip" offering for tots.

"Everything's so cool looking, and it's hard not to want to buy some of the stuff," she said. However, she believes buying into the bonanza of design and trend conscious baby items is shortsighted. "It's such a waste, even if you have money, because your kids use almost everything for such a short time that it just doesn't need to be the top quality."

Reilly concedes many of the expensive gadgets have been neglected the second time around. "I have a wipes warmer, first baby used it all the time. Second baby, poor thing, I never use it for him. I have a bottle warmer, once again, first baby used it -- second baby, not so much."

Does spending all that money on a crib, stroller or bassinet give parents a sense of security?

Ross believes the comfort of knowing that what parents buy for their children is well made and safe is an important reason why luxury baby items have become commonplace.

"You want to be really sure that what you're buying is the safest, best. You're trying to create this perfect nest. You willing to pay extra to make sure your gear is superior."

Bump's Murphy sees it as a reflection of a large portion of this generation that's more design conscious than their parents or grandparents ever thought to be. "Our generation started buying cool furniture for ourselves and as things became more widely available people definitely started taking part in the 'mini-me' phenomenon through having a baby. And now you want to extend that cool factor to the baby gear for your children or maybe a kid's nursery."

Of course, furniture and strollers aren't the only expensive objects on the market today. If you're a parent who wants the $17,000 diamond pacifier, the $850 Gucci baby carrier, the $3,000 Goyard diaper bag, the $280 cashmere baby sling or even the $300 Danish-made diaper pail for your newborn, then options are available, but Murphy suggests one might want to ask "for whom are you really buying these items?"

"I think people want most of it for themselves, so they want it for their children. I think people take it for granted now that's what they are doing. No one wants to stop and really consider that it's possibly getting out of hand."

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