Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Essential" baby stuff that might not be!

Despite recent media reports, kids don't actually have to be very expensive at all.

This particular article isn't advice - truth be told, we have a ton of baby stuff, most of the baby stuff on this list.  What can I say, I like to shop! However, I've discovered that a lot of the stuff we bought, we didn't use...and some families don't use any of it.  Basic things, that "everyone" told you was necessary to have before you have a baby - well, turns out, you might not need it after all.  If you *want* it, or it makes you and your baby happy, awesome.  Enjoy! You're not a bad parent if you have and adore any of these items.  Just don't feel like you have to rip out the credit cards and go bankrupt to prepare for your little bundle of joy. 

Stuff you can skip (if you want to)

#1 The Crib

Yep, that's right.  You can skip the crib.  Your kid probably won't want to sleep in it anyway.  Most babies would rather be curled up in your arms or on your chest.  Cribs are expensive!  You can skip the crib, mattress, mattress protector, sheets, mobile, crib toys, sound machine that attaches to the crib, bumpers (they're bad anyway), mesh fluffy stuff that goes over the crib - all of it.  $500+ saved!  

#2 Stroller
I dig my umbrella stroller, but use it mostly to carry groceries.  We bought one of those ginormous mega-strollers, and it's hanging in my mom's basement.  Just like the crib, my baby vastly prefers to be carried (and you can make your own baby carrier for about $5).  There's no law that says you have to have a stroller. 

#3 Bottles
Well, if you're me, you might need these.  If you work and pump, you're going to need them.  BUT, Boobs are cool and require no sterilization.  Even if baby isn't drinking directly from the tap, they can actually drink out of a cup.  Yep, a cup.

#4 Diapers
This one sort of blew my mind.  There's this super-cool movement a-foot called "Elimination Communication".  If you pay close enough attention to your little one's cues, you start to find patterns to their pooping and peeing...and you can hold them over the toilet.  For realz!  There are babies who have never worn a diaper in their lives.  Additional plus side... no toilet training!  Wipes... you will still need.  :)

#5 Baby Food

Again, cool but very basic idea.  Babies are people, and they can eat people food.  You don't need to give a baby purees.  When your little ones starts reaching for the food on your plate, just let him have some. My little guy has a deep appreciation for steamed broccoli, pasta, and blackberries. Bibs strongly recommended.

#6 Baby Bath Tub
When they're teensy, a sponge and the sink works perfectly.  After their umbilical stump falls off, you may discover the wonder of co-bathing.  Mommy + Fussy Baby In Tub = Happiness.  You figure out how to handle a slippery baby very quickly.  Wrapsody sells a water wrap that works for co-showering too, plus instructions.   Another note... you totally don't need the adorable baby hoodie towels; regular towels work just fine.  I have to say though...nothing's cuter than a baby in a hoodie towel.


#7 Swing, Bouncer, Vibrating Chair etc.
Now, I'm not going to say these aren't nice to have.  For some babies and parents, they might be a necessity.  BUT, from my observation, kids only like one of them and dislike the others.  You should go for some trial-and-error here.  Some kids don't like any of them.  None of them are "must have or CPS will be called."

Stuff you might consider spending real money on:

#1 A high-end convertible carseat.
Infant "bucket" seats have the bonus of keeping a sleeping baby asleep, but they will be outgrown quickly.  A convertible carseat can serve you from the first car ride through kindergarten.  Get one that rear-faces to the highest possible weight (Radian sells one that rear-faces to 45 pounds).   If you spend the money now on a good one, you won't have to replace it later.
Why you should rear-face as long as possible

#2 A King-Sized Bed
No, you don't "need" this, especially if you're a single parent or a set of smaller parents.  BUT, if you or your significant other are a substantial person (in my case, both), this will improve your life.  You can get a cheap one from Ikea for less than you could spend on the crib.  AND, you'll be using it long after your child has graduated to their own bed.  For extra safety, consider a bed that is low to the floor, or even on it!

#3 A nice baby carrier
Yes, you can make a stretchy wrap for $5.  I recommend doing so!  But for long-term use, a nice soft-structured carrier (Ergo Sport is my fav), a beautiful woven wrap (Girasol = Love), or a Mei Tai (ala Babyhawk)...or all three....will be worth it for you.  Especially if you skipped the stroller and the swing!  Like the carseat, a nice baby carrier will last you well into toddlerhood.

To learn more about baby wearing options, check out www.thebabywearer.com

 #4  A nursing pillow
This isn't a huge investment, but it's worth every penny.  A nursing pillow prevents stiff necks and arms that fall asleep while baby is at the boob.  You can use it as a floor pillow later on (for those moments when you definitely do need to put the baby down!), for "tummy time", or even for a nice neck pillow while pregnant.  I love my Boppy and have used it often, despite having to stop breastfeeding.

#5 A rocker-recliner
If you have a gorgeous wooden rocking chair from your grandmother in the baby's room, stick with it.  If you were debating on purchasing one of those expensive gliders from Babies R Us, consider this.  Get a rocker-recliner, ala La-Z-Boy.  Bob's has them for $299, or drop by your local Salvation Army.  Comfy factor cannot be beat.  You are going to spend a lot of time in this chair - and no fingers will be pinched!  .  Move it into the "man room" when baby's grown, or they can take it to college.

That's what I can think of for now... I'll add on more to either list if more come to mind - or if YOU add them in the comments!  Do you agree/disagree?  Are there more items that need to be in the "must-have" department?


  1. I love the first one!! I have 3 kids and never have owned a crib, or for that matter a king sized bed :( Also, no baby bathtub for us. My kids bathe with me until they are around 9 months old then they bathe alone with me in the room.

    I did part-time EC with all 3 and can say that it is wonderful. Everything else, I have used. At one point I couldn't live without a stroller. BUT I used it to carry groceries, too. I had my homemade carrier: 2 for $5!!

    I love your blog; keep up the great work!

  2. LOVE THIS! People are always like, "Kids are so expensive" bla bla bla...but you're so right: there's very little you need! :)

  3. I just found your site and holy buckets! I just wrote a very similar post and your carriers are the same as my favorites (My Ergo Sport, BabyHawk and woven wrap!) And, I just glimpsed a view of your previous post...I used donor milk for my daughter that I get through HM4HB! I'll certainly be back!

  4. As an attachment parenting, ECing mum I agree with most of what you said. We co-sleep, so no crib, never had a stroller, or bottle, make all of my daughter's solid food at home. But you are misrepresenting EC a bit, a diaper free baby does not mean that your babe doesn't wear diapers at all. We have ECed since birth, and yes, my daughter, now seven months old, wears diapers. Cloth diapers, but no matter how attentive you are, no matter how quickly your little one starts using a potty or toilet there will be misses. Elimination Communication is about being open and listening to your child, reading their signs and responding to them. My little girl hasn't pooped in her diaper since 5 months old, and now rarely pees in it either, but she does sometimes and part of EC is that that is okay. I expect that given another couple of months she will be dry all the time, and no longer need a diaper, but yes with EC you still need diapers.

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