Ok. If you're anything like me, you see something along the lines of a glowing woman holding a child, a big smile on her lips and love in her eyes, while the infant snuggles close and sucks their thumb.
In what part of that picture do you see all the equipment that Fisher-Price and Graco can think up? Don't get me wrong, there are many things that are extremely helpful in caring for baby, and if you have oodles of extra money lying around waiting to get used, go whole hog in the baby section! But for moms & dads with little space and wallets with tiny cartoon moths flying out of them, many of these must-haves are ridiculous sales-pitches. Here are just a few of my pet peeves.
WIPEY WARMER So, your precious little baby wakes up hungry at two in the morning. You fight with your hubby over who gets to change him before you feed him (or, if you're using formula, who gets to do all of the above). You lose, ungracefully roll out of bed, pull on your nightgown and stumble down the hall to your baby's bedroom. When you pick him up and coo at him, you smell the smell that makes stronger men head for the hills. You have baby on the changing table (or dresser top--or floor--or bed, you get the picture) all nakey when you realize--oh snap! The wipey warmer is out of wipes. So, you put the diaper half-on your son's automatic sprinkler, stumble still half-asleep to his room, hunt for a pack of wipes, fight with the package, fill the warmer, wait for it to warm the wipes, fight to pull the first sheet out of the thing, then finally get the job done.
But wait--try this. Take out all the sentences after 'all nakey' and replace it with this: you pull a wipe out of a package, roll it in your hands for a few seconds to warm it up, and get the job done.
Wipey warmers are cute. They look good in an ad in a parenting magazine. But once you get frustrated enough with it, it doesn't look so pretty neglected on the corner of a changing table with a regular pack of wipes sitting on top of it. Save the twenty-thirty dollars and put it toward those ridiculously-priced car-seats.
BABY BATH This is a borderline useless thing. I guess it depends on if you have a full-sized tub, and if you don't whether you have the dexterity to hold baby while taking a shower.
I know some people love these baths, think they're the most convenient thing. Personally, I think they're a pain in the butt. You have to drag this humongous thing, plop it into the tiny sink, or set it into your regular tub where you have to hover back-achingly over it, and struggle to keep your baby head-up in it while he's all slippery with soap. Inevitably I would end up soaking myself & my kitchen, and that just made me irritated. Not to mention you have to clean the sink prior to it, clean the tub afterward, wipe down everything, and who wants to do more chores than you have to when you have your baby to play with? So there's twenty dollars and 45 minutes of work that you'll never get back. If you're one of those people who gets irritated fighting with things labelled for convenience, save yourself the headache and take a bath (or shower) in your tub with baby. Not only is it easier, it's great bonding.
THEMED SETS Ok, this is for those of you who don't do co-sleeping. I tried co-sleeping with both my boys, but I'm such a light sleeper that they kept me up just with their breathing (not to mention Jude was a kicker from day 1). So, we used a crib. We did buy a bumper, and let me tell you, the price was ridiculous! Even at Wal-Mart, it was something like forty dollars. So that's why I could never justify spending two-hundred for this matching bumper, top & bottom sheet, quilt, pillow cover, little toy, etc. I mean, they won't get any use of the top sheet & quilt until they're in a toddler bed because you're not supposed to cover them with a blanket anyway, right? I'll admit it, I think they're adorable, and if I had an extra few hundred that didn't need to go to silly luxuries like food and toothpaste, I'd buy a set. But while half of it would go to waste--because let's face it, I can't find half of Jude's baby things as it is--just get a cute bumper and some sheets that are in the same color category and call it good. You can theme their things once they're old enough to choose whether they want Thomas the Tank Engine or Lightning McQueen.
BOTTLE STERILIZERS Seriously? If you're worried about your bottles not being clean enough, boil them in distilled water & wash them by hand. Don't waste 70-80 dollars on something that does what you can do with a little elbow grease on your own. Our parents did it and ask them if they had a problem with their bottles not being clean enough.
BTW, got a blonde joke for you: Why didn't the blonde want to formula feed? 'Cause boiling her nipples hurt too much.
MOVEMENT MONITORS This one is a very touchy subject for some, especially if you have lost a child to SIDS, so I'm going to put this as gently as possible. Please don't get angry at me for speaking what my research has proven to me.
Unfortunately, one out of 2000 babies will die from SIDS. While fetal monitors--the 20-30 dollar ones that let your hear when your baby wakes up--are great, I have to call B.S. on these movement monitors for most situations. See, there's a reason it's called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Because, no matter how much you spend on these movement monitors, designed to wake you up if your baby doesn't move every 20 seconds, the thing is, if SIDS strikes your baby, God forbid, there's nothing you can do to help it. If your baby has something like sleep apnea, you'll hear the gasping through the regular monitor and almost stop breathing yourself, and her doctor can help you from there.
I hate that these baby products that give parents a false sense of security for an outrageous price--some are $150! I mean, if you have an extremely ill child, who has more chance of stopping breathing than others, that's one thing. (And at the same time you have to remember it will only work if you know infant CPR.) However, for perfectly healthy babies, it's a dent in the bank you really don't need.
I hope this has been both entertaining and informative, and my sarcasm is taken with a grain of salt.
My next post will be on the opposite subject--baby things I couldn't live without!