Inspired once again by Michelle, there are some things every mother thinks she has to have that she can really live without. Okay, maybe some moms are smart enough to figure out they don't need these things, but here's the idiot guide for the rest of us:
1) Baby monitors: Now I know what you are all thinking, I will never hear my baby wake up, or but I want to watch them sleep! Here's the thing, unless you have actually slept through an earthquake or your child's room is on another floor or wing of the house, you will hear them when they wake up. And if you're breastfeeding and your ears don't hear them, other parts of you will. As for the monitors with the cameras: unless you have a Houdini on your hands, you probably can do without watching your child for EVERY second of the day. And if your child is walking and routinely departs his crib before naptime is over solo: it's time for a toddler bed.
2) Baby detergent: You can use the regular free-clear detergent for baby's skin. It's less expensive and comes in bigger containers and you can do a whole load with it. If you get tons of free Dreft samples or gifts, use them, of course! But there's no sense in spending the extra money if you don't have to.
3) Pee-Pee Tee-Pees: Don't know what these are? Check them out here. If you don't have boys you definitely don't need them. If you do, just keep a few old wash clothes around the changing table. At least those are reusable. Once little guy is potty trained, what are you going to use them for?
4) "Step-Up" Formulas: Rest assured moms who formula feed, you can go from regular formula to whole milk (obviously this is excluding babies with allergies to cows milk, follow your pediatrician's instructions). You do it the same way you would wean, replace one bottle of formula with one of milk slowly. This is a marketing ploy by formula companies to keep your business another six months to one year.
5) Tummy-time mats: I was seduced by these too. And I received them as gifts. You can do tummy time on a regular blanket on the floor surrounded by toys and pictures. They do not build up strength any more quickly with a special mat vs without one.
6) Baby Einstein DVDs and CDs.: Again, if you get them as gifts fine. But your baby will get much more valuable intelligence building by interaction. And it's a lot less expensive to just play the classical music station or watch animal webcams or whatever. I'm not saying never, but you don't need the whole collection.
7) Subscriptions to Parenting magazines: The ones like American Baby or Babytalk (my favorite) that give you one year free if you subscribe when you're pregnant are great. But who really has time to read them when you're chasing a two-year-old. Or multiple children.
8) A monitor to watch the baby in the car seat: There are enough distractions when you are driving without a color monitor to watch the baby sleep. You are not making your child safer by taking your eyes off the road.
9) A stroller and a pram: One is enough, preferably one that converts between the two, but to have two such big pieces of equipment is not an efficient use of space.
10) Every baby naming book on the market: one is enough if you even need that since every website out there has a baby name function. And I'm sure there's an app for that too. Trust me, the meanings of the names haven't changed.
Now, I'm not criticizing those of you out there who, like me, have most of these things. But the temptation, especially for new moms, is to have EVERYTHING. All the new gadgets and gizmos, but babies, especially new ones, eat sleep and poop. Sometimes all at once. And no is something you get used to saying a lot as a parent (and hearing starting as soon as they talk), so there is nothing wrong with resisting the urge to buy something you are pretty sure the baby will never use.
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