Thursday, April 15, 2010

Baby Essentials

What does a new baby need? A simple web search will turn up hundreds of lists that will tell you every product they think you will not survive the without. Well I'm here to tell you that we didn't buy half the products on those lists. Seriously.

We do not own (and never have owned): a bassinet, a bouncy seat, a walker, an exersaucer, a play mat/gym, a rocking chair, bath toys, baby oil, baby powder, a diaper genie, a baby monitor, a bath thermometer, a bucket car seat, a travel stroller system, an umbrella stroller, mobiles, a Baby Einstein dvd or cd, baby laundry detergent, a glider, or a spill mat for under the high chair (though we do have Luna...). (I am trying to work out how those things are considered "needs" when we have never owned them and are getting along just fine without them.)

We own but never or almost never use: a jogging stroller, a crib, a co-sleeper, baby bottles, a fancy electric breast pump, pacifiers, disposable diapers, and probably a bunch of other things I can't think of right now.

We use (or used) a lot, but could certainly do without: a baby swing, a humidifier, a second convertible car seat, all my baby carriers except the moby wrap (though it hurts to say it - I love my baby carriers!), a bumbo, nursing pillows, a travel high chair, a baby bathtub, a car sunshade, a nice changing pad mattress on top of a waist-high bookcase that doubles as a changing station, and probably a few more I'm not thinking of.

Here's my list of bare-bones essentials:

*1 convertible car seat, if you own a car (maybe a stroller if you don't own a car)
*cloth diapers, wipes, and covers
*a wet bag for dirty diapers
*a moby wrap (by the time the baby outgrows the moby wrap, they're usually old enough to ride in umbrella strollers, shopping carts, or even to walk on their own)
*a night light, for nighttime nursing (unless you have great nighttime vision, unlike me)
*1 or 2 burp cloths (if your baby is a spitter - Pearl isn't - you probably need more)
*some of the safety items, like drawer locks for the knife drawer and outlet covers

In my opinion, anything else is a luxury. What is on your list?

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  • Sammy

    It is interesting how different our lists can be. I relied heavily on our exersaucer (my son LOVED it!) and our baby monitor when we moved him into his own room, but thought the bumbo was ridiculous and never used it. I'm expecting my second now and definitely don't feel like we need anything extra. There's so much STUFF out there, it can be overwhelming. And I agree with you--a lot of it is unnecessary!

  • Laura

    I think it's important to have *something* to change diapers on, even if it's just a blanket. I can't count the number of times something got on our changing pad (just a rectangle of fabric with a water resistant backing).

    I don't think that a basic wardrobe of clothing conducive to nursing are a luxury. (Not saying you need shirts sold specifically as "nursing tops" but the right underclothing is important.)

    I have a hard time accepting that the nursing pillow is not essential... nursing was already so, so, so difficult as it was. You're probably right, but I wonder how much more I could have taken back then. (As it is, I wonder how I made it through the first month. My memories of nursing pain are stronger than my memories of labor, amazingly enough.)

    Anyway, I guess we can leave the nursing pillow off if we add "lactation consultant" to the list of essentials. ;-)

    A library card is a must, and I would say that owning at least a few good books is close to essential.

    I think some form of seating for the baby during mealtimes becomes necessary or very nearly necessary by toddlerhood. I do prefer a travel high chair for this because it is versatile.

    Our kitchen eating area is carpeted, so if we were staying here long-term, a spill mat or at least a towel down there would be pretty important. Actually, maybe it's pretty important now... and maybe that's why we're having an ant problem...

    I would have been scared to bathe Savannah before she could sit up if I didn't have something to hold her safely out of the water. Not strictly necessary, but I can't imagine not having it.

    Working part-time meant that I did need a good pump and some bottles. I can't imagine why a full-time SAHM would need one.

    I do wish I had a nursing stool. I've nursed with one before and it made such a difference for me! Probably because I'm so short? I have to cross my legs and strain them upwards to keep Savannah from slipping down to the floor.

    But I agree that there's a LOT of stuff out there that you're "supposed" to get that you don't need. I think you hit on a lot of those.

  • Harmony

    You can use a regular pillow you already have as a nursing pillow. You can use a bath towel as a changing pad.

    Of course it's nicer to have a boppy or a changing pad, but I don't think it's essential. YKWIM?

  • Harmony

    Oh, and yes. The number of a LC is essential, even if you never use it.

  • CappuccinoLife

    I think the "essentials" list will be a little different for everyone, but I totally agree with the spirit of your post.

    A vast majority of "baby needs" are not needs at all, but stuff, pushed and promoted by the best manipulators in the world--advertisers. :p

    Not a single one of my children appreciated the swing. Got rid of it. Highchair was occasionally useful, but not enough so to counteract the fact that it was bulky and always in my way. By the time we got to our third child, we really had pared down to clothes, diapers, baby carrier, carseat, and boppy pillow. We had a stroller for a while too but around the time he started toddling, ours got damaged and wasn't useable. By the age of two he was able to hike with the rest of us on his own two little chubby legs. I thought of getting another stroller (so we could hike *faster*, lol), but my dad really encouraged me to let the kid walk, and I'm glad he did. :)

  • Sherry

    Lots of the things young mothers want nowadays were not around 30 years ago and we did just fine. I liked my swing (got dinner started while the windup worked for 15 minutes). We had a bassinet but only used it for a month & then used the crib. We used a bed for a changing table. We got lots of use out of the stroller & even had a double stroller but it seems like one was always walking! It did carry things some of the time. The bottom line is you can get by with less. Clothes & diapers seem to be the biggest necessity!