The baby business is lucky – recession proof and always guaranteed a steady flow of business – particularly when it comes to first time parents. So if you’re one of those lucky folks that is becoming a first time parent and is overwhelmed with what to get for your treasured bundled of joy I have news for you: YOU DON’T NEED ALL THAT CRAP YOU THINK YOU DO!
Do you find yourself looking at the baby catalogues, finding yourself either overwhelmed or even saying “that one, that one, that one aaaand that one… OOOOH! And that one!”? Truth is there are a myriad of things you can plan for your baby, but ultimately your baby will tell you what works for them. Every child is different – even when newborn there are personality traits they will show that mean some of the best intentionally bought things won’t always work! This guide will help you save your hard earned cash for the things that really matter.
The baby bottle
There are so many variants of these – many have things like air valves to stop the baby gulping air (leading to extra burping duties for mum or dad), but sometimes your kid will just want a plain bottle, you just don’t know! As a father of two, the first one wasn’t that picky about the bottle, but the second would only drink from a bottle that resembled the female nipple – and they were fed using the same technique – so before you embark on spending on packs of that rather expensive model that looks cool from Babies ‘R’ Us, just tease it out until you know what works for your child.
Diapers / Nappies
Don’t skimp on this where possible… the last bastion of hope between you and potentially a lot of cleaning up your child/yourself/the car seat/etc.is important. While Walmart, Target or your local supermarket/grocery might have the cheaper own brand, the more premium brands are generally better at taking a full-force follow through (though sometimes, the laws of physics are too much anyway). Just make sure you have enough wipes on you at all times!
Baby Wipe Warmers
Yeah – you don’t need these. Seriously, your baby is fine with a slightly cool wipe so just don’t bother. You’re going to end up not using it. Just saying. If you’re THAT insistent then a warm washcloth is just a good… but then you find you’re out and about and you can’t use it anyway, so just accept your child can weather the storm of a slightly cool wipe…
Diaper / Nappy Pails
Your kids will let loose anywhere they want, so do you really want to go finding this in the house after you changed them? No (believe me, you won’t), so don’t bother. When your treasured child drops a stinky one, plastic bags are great at hiding the stank. An outside trash/rubbish bin is usually where these loaded items end up anyway…
Typically you’re going to get a crib – but be aware some kids just don’t care for them, so don’t go spending significant amounts unless you’re feeling flush with cash, or you know your child will take to it. Both our kids preferred sleeping in adult beds (with appropriate precautions [minimal bedding]) after a few months so the crib became a garage sale candidate very quickly. Obviously this is not the case for every child and many folks do find cribs work for them. However there are some cautions about baby bedding – see CNN article.
“Co-Cribs” or “Co-Sleepers” – those things you can attach to the adult bed, are a good idea – we never used them, but instead used something like this baby sleeper which got a few months mileage and was much cheaper, yet just as effective.
Also – your child doesn’t care that you dropped a ton of cash on a themed bed set – this would be for your benefit only.
Those baby baths are probably good until that stub falls off their belly button and then you may find you never use the bath again. Or you might. But probably you won’t.
Baby Detergent / Laundry
Waste of time. Use regular detergent and you’ll be fine. Trust me.
Changing table – meh… some folks like them; my wife insisted we have one so I shopped around and got one for $400…. when a dresser would suffice just as well. Do yourself a favour – get a dresser instead if you really want a changing table.
Some folks also say they don’t think it worth getting a rocker chair; we use ours daily, but if we didn’t have it there wouldn’t be any tears shed.
Stroller / Push Chair
How much do these things cost? RIGHT?! Well you only really need one – but make sure it’s something that’s going to work for you. Got one kid? Most sturdy ones will do. Planning on two kids? You might want a dual stroller, so when you have one kid, you might use that extra seat for carrying the myriad of crap that ends up coming with you as a parent and then when the second one comes along you don’t have to drop another wad of cash.
If you’re a parent that likes to jog, there are strollers designed to be friendly to this activity, so think about that once you get your post-baby sea legs (and motivation!).
The most important thing you can give your baby is love and security. Kids are tough cookies, and aside from food and sleep, all they really need is the love of a parents and the knowledge they are safe and secure is going to count for so much. You can buy all the crap I just listed if it floats your boat, but it’s irrelevant to your child, whereas your love and support will be paid back to you in droves. Just don’t spoil them!
So parents, what other crap did i miss?