Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Tip: The ultimate baby checklist: things you DON'T need

When I found out I was pregnant with Liam, I panicked. I was clueless.  I was good at taking care of our dog, but a baby?! I had no idea what to do with a baby.  So, I did what any neurotic, Type A, first-time mom would do; I bought every book I could, signed up for babycenter emails and started making lists... a list of things to do in our apartment, a list of general things to do before the baby was born, a list of foods to avoid and, of course, the inevitable new baby checklist -- that comprehensive overview of everything you need to bring a new little life into this world, neatly organized by category and frightfully long.

If you walk into Buy Buy Baby or any other baby "super store,"  you will find yourself believing you need everything on that super-sized registry list.  I am here to tell you that you don't.  Sure, you'll naturally get swept up in the frenzy of it all but believe me when I tell you that your bundle of joy will survive without a wipe warmer and if you really want to know, we survived five newborns, including triplets, without a Diaper Genie.  Here are a few other things that should be on your list of things you don't need...

  • Dreft.  Never heard of it, no worries, you don't need it!  Dreft is the overpriced baby detergent that I washed all of Liam's onesie's in until the day I discovered it was totally unnecessary -- it turns out that any brand free of scents and dyes will do the trick just fine.  A few good suggestions?  Seventh Generation or, for a more affordable option, All Free Clear
  • Shopping Cart/Highchair covers.  Repeat after me: I don't need this. I don't need this.  I'm no expert but, I do have five kids seven and under and we do get out a fair bit.  To places filled with germs and dirt -- places like Costco and restaurants.  My kids have sampled lots of local flavors and not just the ones on their plates.  They have sucked on shopping carts and licked nasty highchairs.  And, we all lived to tell about it.  Not proudly of course but really, save your pennies and spend them on a yummy meal out instead.
  • Anything with snaps or a zipper in the back.  This might apply to an adorable outfit, snuggly snow suit or some irresistably soft newborn pjs.  Do yourself a favor though and just say no -- you can find something just as cute with an easy front-entry that will save you -- and your baby -- a lot of unnecessary tears. 
  • Pants. This sounds strange, right? Why won't your kid need pants?!  Here's the deal:  your kid will, your newborn won't.  Want to know why? Because pants are a nuisance to put on and they require the addition of socks, which are also a nuisance to put on -- and will very likely be kicked off before you can blink an eye!  So skip the pants and go for those cozy onesies while you can!
  • A video monitor.  When Liam was born, we lived in a 700 square foot apartment -- and I'm pretty sure that's a generous recollection.  We fell victim to the registry checklist and got a baby monitor even though you could hear someone peeing from the kitchen and a sneeze could be heard in the hallway.  We did not need that monitor and we didn't need a video monitor either.  Think about it. If you're lucky, you might sleep for three hours at a time in the first few weeks and possibly work your way up to five or six hours in the first few months.  If you have some downtime to call your own, do you really want to spend it watching your wee one sleep?  Have a little faith, let them snooze and catch up on some TV if you really feel like watching something!
For all the things you don't need, there's plenty that you do and I'll plan to cover them in next Tuesday's Tip.  As a sneak preview, you can't have too many burp cloths and bibs... I suppose this was especially true for me since I had triplets the last time around but, as a general rule, more is better in these areas... and, those burp cloths will make nice dust rags when the spit up days are behind you... and they will be behind you before you know it! 

1 comment:

Tragic Sandwich said...

We did buy a shopping cart cover, but I agree with most of your comments. I never bought Dreft or any other baby-specific detergent, because we already use the Seventh Generation without dyes or scents (great if you have a gray water system as we do). I also don't think there's a need for a Diaper Genie. We just take the trash out when it gets stinky, as we do with regular trash.

And you know who's really awful about making baby clothes that fasten up the back? Ralph Lauren! We got some as a gift and some second-hand, and they're the most darling little outfits you'll never want to try to put on your baby.