|Spends 20 hours a day sleeping. Doesn't need much.|
photo by Milan Jurek
American Baby magazine and Babies 'R Us clearly do not have our best interests at heart when they publish lists of must-have stuff for your infant.
As a mother of five who dislikes seeing anyone waste money, I'm going to post a list here, for your edification, of the 10 most useless pieces of baby gear.
1. Wipes Warmer. I get it. Parents want to be compassionate, right? That cold wipe must feel bad, right? Wrong. Babies don't care. And after a few days of having a newborn and realizing that they poop and pee about 800 times a day, you won't, either. You're already going to spend half of your waking hours changing diapers. You can't afford to spend the other half warming up wipes.
2. Diaper Pail. You know what a Diaper Genie is? A trash can. With really expensive refills. You already get plastic bags from the grocery store for free, right? Use one of those to tie up a stinky diaper and throw it in the regular trash. Boom.
3. High Chair. We ditched our expensive, bulky monstrosity years ago for a simple booster seat with an attachable tray. It unobtrusively straps on to one of our regular chairs at the table, doesn't take up an entire corner, and doesn't make our dining room look like Chuck E. Cheese. I think it cost us about $40 from Wal-Mart.
4. Boppy. It's huge, it's ugly, and when it inevitably gets barf or breastmilk on it, it takes up an entire load in the washing machine. It's never around when you need it, and basically your older kids just carry it around throwing it at each other. Just use a regular pillow, or sit Indian-style, while you nurse and your life will be much simpler.
5. Nursing cover. These things have become super popular in the last couple of years. But if you look closely, you'll find that they've already been invented. They're called a blanket. When you're pregnant you're going to receive 5 million baby blankets as gifts, and then they multiply at night when you're not looking. You'll be drowning in blankets, I promise.
6. Baby Einstein. First off, babies don't watch TV, even if you try to fool them by putting the word "Baby" in the title of your DVD. Really, any baby toy is a waste of money. Babies' favorite toys are: ceiling fans, empty Tupperware containers, random kitchen utensils, and choking hazards like beads and gallon-sized Ziploc bags. Seriously, every time I need to keep a baby entertained I always start with the baby toys, and they end up playing with a potato masher.
7. Changing Table. A changing table is a flat surface upon which to change your baby's diaper, and lucky for you there are already dozens of those in your house! The floor, the bed, or any sofa, bench, or large ottoman will do. For the first few months, babies are short enough that I find it easiest to just change them on my lap.
8. Size 1 Shoes. If your child isn't yet walking, please don't buy shoes. Don't do that to yourself. Every pair you buy represents hours that you will spend searching the house, rifling through the diaper bag, and backtracking through each and every aisle of the supermarket to find the missing shoe. Trust me, you will be doing this until your child reaches adulthood and moves out of your home. Don't start before you have to.
9. Splat Mat. This is a nifty waterproof mat that goes under the baby's high chair to protect your rug and floor from food spills. Unfortunately, your baby doesn't know he's supposed to drop food on the mat instead of fling it all over the walls and windows. Also, you have a child now, which means that your entire house is a splat mat. Just accept it.
10. Baby Bath Seat. When their baby outgrows the baby bathtub, some parents put them in a bath seat or a bath ring in the full-size bathtub. They must enjoy kneeling on the bathroom floor and wasting 40 gallons of water filling an entire bathtub for an immobile person who weighs less than 20 pounds. The sink, on the other hand, is a perfect size, a perfect height, and costs less than this strange contraption:
|The Tummy Tub.... ohhhhhkay.|
photo courtesy of Tummy Tub USA
So if you're expecting, don't pay attention to people talking about how much babies cost. Of course you could buy every fancy and frivolous baby accessory at Baby Depot, but you won't. And your baby will be fine. You'll be fine.
In fact, your diaper bag will be lighter and your house won't be a landfill for outgrown stuff that your baby never really used anyway. You'll be more than fine.