Parenting · Simplicity

Things you don’t need for a baby.

Since we are expecting number 7 I guess that makes me the “experienced” mom.   At least I am experienced in the sense that I have in fact been here and done this a couple of times.  My sister-in-law is expecting her first.  So I suppose it is natural to think back to expecting my first and the absolutely uncertainty that I was awash in when I was a first time mom and laugh at myself.

Something that has been amusing me the past few weeks is the “baby registry” phenomenon.    What do you need for a baby?  I can almost feel that remembered panic setting in with me, the new mom, sure that I was going to miss having that one, ultimate, thing that will make caring for a new baby easy.   Especially when you don’t have much experience around newborns it can seem like they are little alien creatures who will break if you don’t care for them perfectly, and marketers are more than happy to exploit these insecurities and sell you all sorts of stuff you don’t need.

The reality is that you really don’t need much for a newborn (under normal circumstances).

Top ten things you probably don’t need:

  1. A changing table.
  2. Special baby towels/washcloths
  3. diaper wipe warmer
  4. diaper genie
  5. mobiles/white noise/baby lullaby/ crib vibrators
  6. sterilizers
  7. full-sized high chairs
  8. special laundry detergent
  9. baby food
  10. diaper stacker

Your newborn spends the entire day eating, pooping and sleeping with occasional breaks to look at things usually to face of whomever is holding them – at first they would be perfectly happy to be held 24×7.  As they get older they spend more time alert and quickly start looking for things to do.   Baby’s needs can be divided  into some basic categories:  sleeping, eating, diapering, bathing and care, clothing, travel, and play. These needs are what should drive baby purchases, not marketing.

3 thoughts on “Things you don’t need for a baby.

  1. Hmm, have to disagree with the changing table. My back hurts so much when trying to change a baby on the bed or floor. We spent the first 4-5 weeks of our 4th baby’s life in a hotel and I was so happy to get into our house and have the changing table arrive. Though, perhaps you mean the kind with the open shelves. Ours is actually a dresser made at the perfect height for changing and the perfect width for a foam pad. We still use it as a dresser.

    My first born was the Ultimate High Needs baby. If he was not being held, he was crying. Having him in a sling helped, but that meant I couldn’t do anything else, like cook or clean (arms too short to reach around him). We picked up one of those crib vibrators and it was the BEST!!! I could put him in his bouncy seat, and let him gently vibrate. He could keep an eye on me and be calmed by the vibrations so I get dinner done. Or just have take a break.

    Funny enough, he was the only one of my children to need it. I’ve never actually recommended one to anybody, either. I also have to add that we were very far from family and fairly alone in a new city, so no one to turn to for help.

  2. 🙂 I wouldn’t call that a “changing table”, I would call it a “dresser I change the baby on.” The funny thing, when talking to my friends and family “researching” this little ditty, the top, #1 thing people said that they got and never/rarely/briefly used was a changing table. I plan to write more in the next week or two and talk about what people actually do need and use a lot.

    I have seen lots of changing tables that are actually designed from the get go to convert to a normal dresser, but by and large this: is a good way to waste $90+. But I certainly am not dogmatic about my list, if you have specific needs (hurting back or high-demand baby) that makes something on the list work for you then it is something you will find worth having.

    For example, one thing that almost made the short list was “sleep positioners” now if you have a baby with reflux, or another medical need you need one, but under normal circumstances just roll a receiving blanket or two up if you need.

  3. I heartily agree! At present, we have 2 children and we are praying for more. When we were expecting our first baby, I worried about not having a nursery set up nor even a crib. We borrowed a travel crib with a bassinet after she was born, planning to purchase a crib later. I soon discovered I had no use for a crib as we fell comfortably into cosleeping (which made nursing every 2 hours roud the clock to combat jaundice thatuch easier). As time went by, I realized how many “baby essentials” were simply not essential for us. Bottles and pacifiers (neither of my babes took to artificial nipples and would react almost violently whenver they were attempted), bouncy seats (ours were both high need babies and didn’t tolerate bouncy seats for long…though they were nice at nap time…however long that lasted), baby food (I had planned to make my own bit neither of my babes took to pureed food and wouldn’t eat solids until they could pick up soft finger foods themselves), and high chairs (nice to have once baby reaches toddlerhood but not much use to us before that). We used cloth diapers after our fist was 6 months (using disposables when we were on trips or sometimes overnight) so diaper stackers and genies were totally unnecessary. Likewise, the sterilizer would have been useless because didn’t use bottles or pacis.

    However, I did find baby towels and washcloths to be very useful. The little hooded towels were great for bath time (though I could probably make my own now from among our more worn towels). The wash cloths were perfect for cloth diaper wipes. We only had one or two we used for baths and all the rest were cloth diaper wipes.

    To the list of don’t-needs, I’d add a closet full of adorable baby clothes and baby shoes. While cite baby clothes are nice to have, to me they aren’t worth spending money on when babies grow so fast and are so likely to stain them with various bodily fluids. As for shoes…I can’t wrap my mind around them for a babe who cannot yet walk. Expensive decoration, in my opinion. Socks and onesies are the absolute essentials for my babys wardrobes. Thatand warmer outer clothes as necessary are what I consider “essentials.”

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