What does your baby need? How much will everything cost? These are questions new parents wonder as they look at the vast array of choices offered to them in stores and online.
A person can spend a ridiculous amount of money before the baby even arrives or they can resist retail marketing and parental guilt for not buying every little thing they’re told they should buy.
Did you know you could spend $800 on something to swaddle your baby? Or how about $2600 for a fancy umbrella stroller? $2600! You could buy a car for that much. They even offer financing for the stroller. Here’s a tip- if you can’t afford to pay cash for the stroller, you probably don’t need that stroller.
There have been so many products developed over the years geared for new parents that we have come to believe we “need”. Some can be helpful, but some are just downright ridiculous.
Changing tables, wipe warmers, Diaper Genies, visually stimulating crib devices, and seats that can be set to move in different ways to mimic being held by a human, fancy crib bedding with 12 different pieces and three different kinds of strollers. Yes, three; one for pushing them in the infant carrier, an umbrella stroller for when the other one is too bulky and heavy and a jogging stroller in case the new parent has the energy to go for a run.
Not only do we not need these items, I would argue many of them aren’t good for your baby or you.
Many products are conveniences to make our lives easier, but at what cost? We are teaching new human beings from the time they are days old to rely on non human contact for comfort and stimulation and to be entertained by “stuff” instead of discovering toes or being entertained by mom or dad’s face. We are encouraging parents to set baby aside. Instead of putting baby in a seat that moves to imitate being held, hold them! Before long, they’ll be too big. Why not hum or sing a tune yourself instead of programming the device in the crib? Your baby doesn’t care what you sound like and their speech will develop far faster from being spoken to by a human than by an electronic device.
You don’t need all the latest baby equipment. Trust me. Your baby will be fine without them.
Save your money. You’ll need it later.
- Baby bathtub- These are often viewed as a necessity, but they’re not. I bathed both my kids in the kitchen sink until they were old enough to move to the bathtub. You can lay a washcloth or a non slip pad in the bottom of the sink so they don’t slip and slide all over. You use one hand to hold them up around their back and under their arms and the other hand to wash them. You should never leave your baby unattended in water anyway, if you have to hold them up, you won’t. If you can just let them sit on their own, you might.
- Exersaucers or walkers- A device to park your kid. I used to work with physical therapists that discouraged their use as they don’t help baby develop what they need to learn to walk and encourage walking on their tip toes.
- Expensive bedding for cribs- Your baby doesn’t care what his/her room looks like. You might, but if you have that kind of money to spend, why not put it in a college savings account instead. Trust me, your child will be much happier when they go to college that you did that than spend it on crib bedding.
- Bassinets- Your baby can start sleeping in a baby bed as soon as they are born. They don’t have to have a bassinet. If you really want one, ask around. Chances are someone you know has one sitting in their basement you could borrow for the few months you’ll use it.
- Wipe warmers- These dry your wipes out and come on, really?
- Diaper Genie- Seriously, what is the purpose of this thing?? If the things coming out of you baby are that noxious, put them in a Walmart sack, tie it shut, and set it outside your door or take it immediately to the trash bin. You do not need a $50 apparatus plus refills to seal the diaper. You’re going to have to deal with a lot of poop and foul smells during the course of raising your child. You may as well get used to it now.
- Any electronic toy or game- Please do not put electronics in your baby’s crib to entertain them, even if they play baby music or games, that doesn’t automatically mean they are good for babies!
- Changing Table- Why do people think they need an entirely separate piece of furniture to change their baby’s diapers? All you need is a changing pad to lay baby on and a floor. Hopefully getting down on the floor is not a problem for you, as you need to do this often to play with your baby. That’s right, entertain them yourself by talking to them and making funny faces instead of having the television or electronic music makers and things with lights and dancing animals do it.
I could go on and on with more things, but I’ll save those for another rant. Some of these things may be nice to have if you don’t have to pay for them yourself, but don’t waste your own money on them. Save that for things you will need later for your child, like food and college. Ask your friends, family or coworkers to see if anyone has baby items you could borrow. Make a list of things you definitely want after really considering whether the item is necessary and how long it will be used. When people ask you what you need, let them know.
Stop and think. Do I really need this or just want this? Did my parents and grandparents have this? How long and often will this be used? Is this going to be beneficial to my baby’s growth and development or is this more of a convenience for me?
When it comes to what babies really need, keep it simple. They need love, attention, food, protection from harm and a clean bottom. That’s really about all they care about.