Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Choosing Practical Baby Items

As a new parent, it's hard to know what to buy for your baby as stores are filled with things that look useful or cute.  Not every baby is the same and you might find that you wasted money.

First, try borrowing items from a friend.  Before you invest in bottles for when you go on a date, you might want to make sure your baby will even take a bottle or a certain kind of bottle.  The same goes for pacifiers.  Maybe buy one at first.  None of my children have taken them except for maybe a minute, but they eventually make them gag.  So far my 4-week-old hates being in the Moby wrap.  I'm hoping that will change, but also really glad I borrowed it.  I just tried out a nursing pillow at the lactation consultant's and I love it, so I'm asking for it for Christmas.  I will definitely use it because it is so much easier on my back.

Second, ask yourself, "Is it pastel?"  You have no idea how easily baby poop stains the most adorable, expensive things you purchased.  Pastel clothes are hard to avoid.  Buy secondhand.  Pastel baby chairs?  No.  Don't do it.  It only gets worse when they start eating carrot baby food.  My daughter had a blow out today (on a dark brown swing) and even though I immediately ran her outfit under water, I couldn't get the poo out.  If I were to develop a line of baby clothing, nothing would be pastel.

Third, ask yourself, "Is it worth the money?"  I have friends who love things like squeezable baby food or disposable bibs.  One of my friends squeezes the baby food onto a spoon, which kind of defeats the purpose of using them. You might as well buy cheaper jarred types or even better - make your own.  If you're buying cheaper diapers, but you find you have to change them more often or they don't work well, you're probably not saving money. 

Fourth, "How long am I going to use it for?"  If you can get by without it during the couple months you might use it, your money might be better spent elsewhere.  I got a baby robe because it was cute, but it didn't fit for long and I usually just ended up wrapping them up in a towel anyway.  I think I wanted a photo op more than I wanted my baby to have a robe.  Also, baby towels aren't a need.  Your average towel works just fine, plus baby towels tend to be pastel.

Fifth, ask your friends what they found useless and what they could do without.  New products keep coming out, so it's even better to ask friends who are recent parents.  I discovered tiny burp cloths were pointless.  Think hand towel or even bigger.  Our wipe warmer ended up drying out the wipes and after a while, you change your baby wherever instead of putting them on the perfect changing station next to their matching crib.

Sixth, "Will my older children break this?"  Yes, they will.  My friend loaned a baby swing to us and I found my 6-year-old daughter sitting in it not once, but three times so far.  It's still working, but the bar that goes over the baby bouncy seat broke off.  None of my kids will admit to who did it.  We also had a swing years ago that played music, which was optional, but my toddler at the time wouldn't stop turning it on.  It's a pointless, annoying feature and I'm capable of playing my own music. We had a brand new portable crib in great condition, but my boys leaned on it and cracked parts until it was unstable.

Seventh, "Will I use this again?"  As cute as some baby products are, you might want to go gender neutral unless you don't care if your future little boy is being carried around in a pink car seat.

As a parent, what products were the most or least useful to you?

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