July 31, 2010

What you ACTUALLY need for a baby.

Last week, I saw a link to this post on mom logic announcing another recall for a baby item.  This time for an “infant recliner”.  The linked article didn’t specify what the “infant recliner” was used for and frankly, I could really only come up with one good reason why you’d buy something like that and then put your baby in it.

Reflux, in case you were wondering.  Some babies have really bad reflux and need to stay upright after feedings.

But that led me to think about how strongly parents are marketed to.  How long the “must have” lists for babies have become.  I feel like, after three kids, I know what you need on your baby must have list.  And, since I’m feeling chatty, I’ll share.

Jamie’s Quick and Dirty list of things you need to have for your baby

(Somehow quick and dirty doesn’t seem to go with a baby and the title lacks pizazz but there you go)

  1. You need a way to feed your baby Look, I’m a breastfeeder.  Littlebit was breastfed for 24 months and Baby Bee is 13 months and can’t even go four hours over night without nursing.  The first thing I’m going to say is that you should TRY to nurse your baby.  I’m fully aware that some women can not for physical reasons and I’m not here to guilt you.    It’s just one free thing you can do that’s good for your baby.    If you can’t breastfeed, you need something to feed your baby with.  You probably don’t need to spend a gazillion dollars on special bottles.  Your baby will probably hate them.   The Princess liked the Johnson’s healthflow.  Littlebit got Avent (tossed, because they were cancer bottles) and Baby Bee got something that had a nipple shaped like an actual boob a la Meet The Fockers. The fancy schmancy, hoity toity bottles we bought for the Princess?  Unused.  She never took to them.  Consider buying a small package at first to get you through the first day or so and then pick up more if your baby is doing well.
  2. You need a place for your baby to sleep-You don’t need a fancy nursery or a crib that costs a million dollars (but that your baby will only sleep in for three years if you’re super lucky or 18 months if you have a climber).  You an chose to co-sleep, but if space and money is limited, a pack and play is fine.  You don’t need a fancy crib bedding set either.  A good tight fitting mattress, tight fighting sheets and a a few lightweight blankets work wonderfully.
  3. You need things for your baby to wear In truth, your newborn is going to be wearing sleepers most of the time.   You’ll find they’re the easiest things to dress your baby in and work around.  If you’re breastfeeding, you’re going to have blow outs, so make sure you have enough to get you through a few sleeper changes a day.  The sweet little outfits ARE adorable, but dresses on newborns aren’t very practical and little two piece outfits ride up.  Socks never seem to stay on, so once piece sleepers just make things easier on baby and parents.  That isn’t to say you shouldn’t indulge on some special outfits for fun, but sleepers are just easier.
  4. You MUST have a safe way to transport your baby in a car A safe, good fitting, well rated BRAND NEW car seat is one of the most important purchases you’re ever going to make for your baby.  Seriously.  Do NOT skimp in this department!  I can’t add enough exclamation points to that sentence.  You don’t have spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to get your baby a safe seat for the car, but a good fitting, well rated BRAND NEW seat is critical.  Don’t take that task lightly.

That’s it.  That’s all you REALLY need.  Everything else is marketing and filler. But, if you can’t adhere to such a spartan list…

Nine Things You Absolutely Do Not Need For Your Baby!

  1. Infant towels-total waste.  Too small.  Use your own towels.  They work just as good and probably feel nicer.  Infant washclothes are equally useless.
  2. Expensive detergent for infants-Buy detergents for the whole family contianing no perfumes or dyes.  Same outcome, lower cost
  3. Butt Wipe Warmer-they just dry out the wipes.  If you’re concerned your wipes are too cold, just hold them in your hand for a few seconds before wiping your baby
  4. More than one bottle of baby lotion-Return the extras.  Even if you lotion your baby DAILY, it’s going to take a LONG time to through that one bottle.  I’m not sure I ever finished one.
  5. A Travel System-Somewhere out there, someone is wondering WTF I’m talking bout.  Here’s the thing.  1) Those infant carriers?  They’re heavy, man.  2) The strollers that comes with them?  They’re huge.  I would recommend new moms skip the infant carrier. Get a convertible car seat (more bang for your buck) and a carrier that allows you to carry your baby on your person.   It really is easier, but I know that’s asking a lot.  Those giant strollers really aren’t what they’re cracked up to be.   You can’t even maneuver some of them in stores made to shop for children (like Gymboree? Forget it!)
  6. Shoes -they can’t even keep their socks on.  Save your shoe money for when they’re older
  7. Stuffed Animals-trust me, they multiply.  Buy/keep a few that are special/keepsakes and ditch the rest.  You.  will.  THANK me.
  8. Bumper for your crib-I’ve had three kids.  I’ve never used a crib bumper.  I’ve never had a baby get tangled in the crib rails in any way that is dangerous or harmful.   Do they bump their heads on the slats?  Occasionally, but still in no way that is harmful or dangerous.
  9. Anything super fancy that has multiple uses-They just don’t work as well as separate pieces.  I know this sounds weird since I’ve seem to be on a money saving tangent, but that bathtub that converts into a bath seat isn’t going to work as well as a bathtub and a separate bath ring.  Trust me.
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Tied Up 5 Replies to “What you ACTUALLY need for a baby.”
Jamie

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5 thoughts on “What you ACTUALLY need for a baby.

    Author’s gravatar

    I was actually just thinking about writing a post about this same thing. We’re about to have baby #4 and it’s amazing how few things we still use that felt like necessities with the first. Even with him, we didn’t buy a wipe warmer or one of those diaper holder things. Tie those suckers up in baggies and toss them out FOR FREE! :-)

    Although I will say that the infant carrier and double stroller was a must have for me with getting in and out of places with 3 small children. Our carrier finally bit the dust after the last kiddo, so we’ll be needing a new one of those…but I love love love the Sit & Stand stroller I have, which is lightweight and allows me to transport one kid in the carrier, one kid sitting and one kid standing.

    Oh! And crib bumpers: I never used them until my middle child turned into an acrobat in her sleep and kept getting her arms and legs stuck in the rails. We put them on there for a few months before we moved her to a big girl bed and it was perfect!

      Author’s gravatar

      Thanks for stopping by Bridget. I agree on the diaper geneies, etc. We had one and it was. so. nasty. Our kitchen trash goes out daily, so diapers go into the kitchen trash. MUCH less nasty. And less expensive too. I don’t care if they sell scented bags and stick ups for those things. They’re disgusting. Seriously A sausage casing full of diapers? I think I’m starting to have a traumatic flash back right now.

      My middle dd was almost 3 when my youngest was born, and since we just don’t use strollers with little ones (we use a bjorn like carrier) we never needed a double stroller. Our oldest outgrew her infant carrier so quickly that it felt like a waste of money, so a convertible seat was the way to go for us. That coupled with our carrier made things a lot simpler.

      But we’ve streamlined so much that our third probably only had 1/4 of the baby gear our first had. You just don’t need it.

    Author’s gravatar

    I have about 20 bottles of baby lotion under my bathroom sink. 19 of them have probably never been opened. Some of them are probably gifts from my baby shower for my first son… four years ago. So true.

    I have never bought the baby laundry detergent either. It’s funny, we just had our 2nd and we skipped a lot of the things we bought the first time around. I knew all we REALLY needed at first was clothes, diapers, wipes, and bottles.

      Author’s gravatar

      I bought one small bottle of all natural lotion for Baby Bee. I still have 75% of it. Of course, I admit I don’t lotion after every bath. Only if their skin seems to need it. Which is mostly in the winter and not that frequent. I threw away so much of those kind of products. People seem to love to buy them, but no one uses them. Or it seems most people don’t ue them that much.

      I was kind of amazed at how little we felt we needed when we had our second.

    Author’s gravatar

    LOL… I was just talking with my kids about this. We were leaving Toys R Us and they noticed the Babies R Us sign outside and was asking about it. I told them of the huge Babies R Us store we visited when I was pregnant with Caitrin and how most of those things are a waste of money entirely.

    I still have 2 bottles of baby wash left from when Declan was born over 4.5 years ago. We USE it almost every bath and STILL have some left. A little goes a long way! Lotion… I go through that a little quicker but I did lotion the kids after every bath when they were tiny because they loved it (and it calmed them) and now I use the lotion on my hands since they are so dry but it definitely lasts a long time.

    The travel system was a MUST for us though. We bought one before Caitrin that pretty much sucked… bulky, hard to attach the infant carrier, hard to control, hard to fold, etc. We gave it away (remember when we were watching baby Jamie?) and found a system we loved. We used it for 2 kids so we definitely got our money’s worth. I used slings a lot but we also got tons of use out of the infant carrier/stroller. The carrier was used in the house as a high chair, bouncy seat, etc. It was the baby’s place to sit in the house and the car. Both of my kids loved it. My kids were teensy and Caitrin was in the infant carrier until she hit 15 months old. Declan used it until his first birthday. My favorite thing about the infant carrier was using one of those covers for it in the winter time. We’d put it on there and not have to worry about blankets blowing in the wind. We could get the kids in and out of stores in all kinds of weather without worrying about them. Our stroller finally bit the dust… just about everything on it is broken. Its no wonder though, its over 8 years old! The infant carrier part was discarded after Declan outgrew it because it had lived a long and happy life and needed to be retired. ;)

    Really though… we used the infant carrier/stroller/eventually convertible carseat, diapers and wipes (mostly cloth), sleepers and blankets. That’s pretty much it. The babies co-slept, I breastfed (neither ever took bottles though I did try), and we didn’t have a lot of baby gadgets.

    I will say that I do place a pretty big importance on a changing table. This is all personal preference but I didn’t like changing them on the couch (our couch slants a little and baby would roll) or bed (with DH sleeping days it just wasn’t convenient). I have a bad back and bending over baby on the floor doesn’t help that… not to mention trying to bend down while my c-section incision was healing. When Caitrin was 3 days old we went and bought a changing table. It was used almost non-stop until Declan was about 18 months old. At that point he was too wiggly to bother with it any more and we gave it away because it was collecting clutter. Never the less… if we had another one (baby), I’d highly consider buying a new changing table.

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