I have been wanting to talk about this ever since i launched the blog. Any expecting mom will be able to relate to the ordeal we go through while planning the stuff for baby’s first year. Its great to be prepared in advance since first year is actually tougher and things only settle as babies grow a little older, giving you more room to go out and finally shop peacefully. At the same time, get ready to be spellbound as you step out to shop, and find the most innovative products out there, the kind of stuff you never thought could exist.
Chances are that you pick the ‘post-baby’ stuff on one of your ‘vilayti’ trips as you get introduced to this entirely new, jaw-dropping HUGE world of baby stores (think Babies r Us?’) with everything “baby” here n’ there, up and down. It’s very easy to slip out of your self-control and behave impulsively as you think you might not find this ‘baby heaven’ back home.
There is also a possibility that you have a few spendthrift moms around you, making you believe that everything on the racks is just totally ‘worth buying’ for the baby. In my case, i was stuck to Dr. Google (as my husband calls it) trying to read 10 mommy blogger reviews per product to see what works & what does not, and frankly i still ended up getting a lot of crap.
The most practical Mommy Funda has to be ‘What works for one might not work for others’
So the mommy wisdom is that you can save soooo much money, time and space by getting ‘to the point’ stuff for your baby for their first year. Under 1, a baby dwells on safety, comfort & YOU! PERIOD!
Here is a list of TEN things that i would totally pass out given another chance. These are the things which i think you CAN & SHOULD TOTALLY survive without, as they are sooper high in cost and sooper low in value. Think TWICE before you get any of these!
1. Expensive Baby Bedding sets
They look sooooo adorable in those cute soft pastels and 3D animals protruding out. But they also have a tendency to break your heart when your lil one rejects the crib & prefers to co-sleep with you for at least the first few months. Also, i am sure nobody envisions all those leaked poopy diapers while buying one of these $200-300 worth of crib sets.
I am not against bedding sets as they sure do look cute, but i have to say you can COMPLETELY skip them for the 1st year or get plain colored sheets MINUS bumpers, mobile, quilt, diaper stackers & other accessories giving them an instant price hike.
Apart from the price, the risk of SIDS also increase with the use of bumpers, quilts & other crib accessories which is why it is globally advised to refrain from loose bedding items. I would encourage you to read more on SIDS here.
2. Bassinets, Pack n’ Plays or anything transitional for sleep
Babies grow up soooo fast you won’t even know when an year has passed already. I say first whole year is very tricky in terms of ‘baby sleep’ and we often tend to make it more complicated by introducing a variety of sleep places for them.
That traditional look of a baby bassinet in your room sure sounds cute, but pass a few weeks your baby won’t even sleep in that. Same goes for pack n’ plays and their bassinets! (provided you think of ditching the crib completely and use them as the sole option)
First year of a baby comprises of many many stages like colic, gassy-ness, teething, re-flux, common cold etc and i personally know a lots of moms who end up bringing their fussy babies on their own bed to make them comfortable during these phases. Sleep patterns are disoriented and confusing a baby with transitional sleep places makes it more worse.
It does NOT matter to them where they are sleeping, as long as it’s some place safe, snug and comfortable. So you can swaddle them and put them straight in the crib or like me, CO-SLEEP. For moms who are breastfeeding, i don’t think any option other than c0-sleeping is more viable at all. You can easily save about $150-200 here by ditching bassinets, pack n plays etc (only if i knew 🙁 *sigh*)
3. Jumperoos/ Exersaucers/ Activity Centers
Never worked for me, SORRY!
A lots of you might be giving me that quizzical look over this entry but i strongly feel that these are a waste of money, space and your efforts in finding one. We all know how difficult it is to find these in our country, and once you do, don’t expect to pay anything less than Rs 10k/ $100. If you are one of those desis living abroad, there are chances you can find a new one for as low as $50 or for even lower at a garage sale or perhaps totally free as a gift by adding it to your baby registry. It might prove to be a valuable thing for that less an amount but in Pakistan, provided you have picked it from OLX on peanuts or as a hand-me-down, its a NO-NO!
So why am i so against these colorful huge activity centers?
First let me tell you that i did get one for my girl too (from a local hyper market). I was hoping a lots of help while i do the chores, but that never happened. Not only my girl, but i have seen A LOTS of such babies who are not really impressed with these, unlike the Youtube baby videos we have seen with babies going hysteric over Jumperoos/ Exersaucers. Secondly, babies under 1 outgrow things soooo fast and within a matter of few weeks, they will not be interested at all. And once they start crawling or walking (which can be as early as 8-9 months) the last thing they will have is you confining them somewhere.
From personal experience, i believe if you are able to give a lots of other sensory & physical activities to babies, then a Jumperoo or Exersaucer might not even be important.
Moms, just because something has 5 star rating and more than 3000 reviews does not in any way mean that it will be a valuable addition to your baby’s first year experiences. Think wise.
4. Baby Food makers
Ditch them NOW!
Let’s be honest i too went “WOW, What an invention!” when i first saw these.
I seriously wonder why i even gave them a consideration at first. Perhaps because i am a sucker for home made, organic food, especially when it comes to babies. What i never realized was that i could soooo easily do it at home producing bigger batches. Also, these are not very convenient to clean.
So when did that realization come? :p When i tried using this US bought, $100 worth of machine to get a mega shock that their voltage is different from ours. The machine’s steamer refused to work and the time it took to have the whole electrical issue fixed, i steamed food man
ually (takes no more than 10 mins) and blended in a ‘normal’ kitchen blender. And that’s as easy as it is, period!
THIS was before i started BLWing, and quit pureeing completely (by the time girl was 7 months old i guess). I would encourage you to do a bit of research on Baby-led weaning if you are soon to be introducing solids. Chances are like me, you also might choose to ditch purees completely. I would love to do a post on my experiences with BLW sometime 🙂
5. Electric Sterilizers
Think of the job they get done for an average 10k cost! Can you do that for a 1/3rd price? Yes you
If you are one of those who can spare time to boil the bottles everyday, fair enough. Good job, You have already saved it all! But if you do want to reap the quick benefits of a sterilizing appliance, then think of Microwave Sterilizers which shouldn’t cost you more than $20-30 at max and are soooper convenient to use too.
ALL you have to make sure of is the sterilizers and bottles you are using are BPA FREE (Most good ones are). That’s it!
6. Fancy Bath/ changing tables
I was surprised to see HOW something as useless as these can cost upto 25k. You can get a huge inflatable swimming pool for half the price of that actually and kids will love you for that in the long run. Great id
A. Where would you keep them? B. If you keep them somewhere outside the bathroom, how do you drain them out? Very messy no?
I am a strong proponent for the changing table part, since its wayyyy more convenient to stand and change your baby’s diaper, at least for me i loved doing that way. Also, i STRONGLY believe in having one dedicated place to do all the ‘diaper handling’. Being a mom who has an OCD about hygiene, i find changing diapers all over the house very gross, even if its your own baby and your own house.
BUT that does not mean you need a fancy bathing/changing table for that, go look for cheaper changing pads which shouldn’t cost more than 2k, put them on a dresser and get the job done for 5-10 times lesser yayyy 😀 For bathing, get a sasta sa tub which can grow with the kid. Somehow i have never been too comfortable bathing a baby on a sink 🙂 Read my post on bath time fun to gather some bathing ideas.
7. Expensive Clothing items (Designer clothes, Shoes, Blankets etc)
Unless you are from among those who are regularly seen in famous fashion magazines, covered head-to-toe in Designer clothes & accessories, you might want to take this one VERY SERIOUSLY!
Clothes and accessories for little ones (especially girls) are sooooo cute, leaving you completely impulsive and emotional while shopping. Thanks to all the commercialism!
Interestingly in our part of the world, parents and grandparents splurge A LOT on things related to appearances, than ANYTHING ELSE. We tend to forgo comfort for what the world will see. It doesn’t come as a surprise when you find piles and piles of clothing items in the gifts you have received.
I find it totally tasteless & useless to spend sooooo much on clothes for babies under 1.
A. The stuff will not be used for more than 1-2 months each set as babies under 1 grow up sooo fast, literally in weeks time.
B. No matter how pretty outfit you have picked, they might not be able to carry it well since they don’t walk yet. At this stage, they just need simple, cute & comfortable clothes.
C. I have never been able to get the idea of getting tons of shoes for babies who can’t even walk yet! hmmm…..
Similarly, those fancy baby blankets you have been gathering might never get a chance to get used. Pick one or two that you don’t mind splattered & tainted with a lots of ‘unexpected’ stuff.
8. High Chairs
I STRONGLY encourage moms to have a fixed eating place from the very first day of introducing solids, provided you don’t want the whole house with splatters, bits n pieces of food here n’ there. With babies, habits develop from day one. The flip side is that a lots of moms don’t actually find time to consistently get their babies seated for their meals, and they eventually end up eating ‘on the go’.
Spending 10-15k for a High Chair which takes a lot of space and might not even be used as much, doesn’t seem like a smart investment. Alternatively, i found such ‘Space Saver Booster Seats’ a great, great idea for a baby’s meal place. They can be hooked to any standard dining chair, or can be used without a chair in case if you are sitting on the floor. They are soooper easy to clean, are portable (turns sooper compact) & grow with age.
For 1/5th of the cost of a high chair ONLY, i found these to be sooo sooo practical. I have carried mine on all the outstation trips too.
9. Baby Laundry detergents
You can TOTALLY do without the laundry detergents, said to be formulated especially for babies. Look for any eco-friendly, chemical free, clear and unscented detergent, and it will work just fine for your babies laundry.
The first & last baby detergent that i got from Pakistan, that too after a vigorous search in different markets, costed me somewhere about Rs 1000. I knew it then that this was an extra burden every few weeks that i wouldn’t want to take when i can completely do WITHOUT IT.
Provided that your pediatrician hasn’t told you of any specific skin condition (which is rare), a regular free & clear detergent would do just fine for your baby’s clothes, and yours too.
10. Video Monitors
Can you really break from your work and look at a video monitor every 10 minutes? Can you wake
up from your sound sleep every half an hour to see the video of your snoring baby? Especially when the chances are your baby is somewhere just around the corner of your eye??
For me, getting a video monitor is a height of being a fussy, finicky mom. Its a gadget which has zero value, provided of course you are living in a huge mansion with little one sleeping on a different floor than yours. The first signal alarm that you get from a baby is almost always their cry, which can totally be heard from a good audio monitor worth $30 or so. Think hard before you step out to spend (waste?) those $200-300. (shauhar ki halal ki kamai :p )
There are a lots of other baby products which i think are a total waste of money, like Diaper Pails, Wipe Warmers, Bottle Warmers etc. A lots of these are not quite common in our country hence they are not included in my list. I am assuming you are NOT thinking about these anyways 🙂 Anything in excess should be refrained for the baby’s first year as you learn about their preferences with time. Avoid temptations to buy lots of toys, extra bottles, pacifiers, bibs etc in advance as they might never get around to use them, thus wasting your hard earned money.
So which of these items did you find to be totally useless? Is there something else which you think your baby could live without? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Happy Baby-Shopping! 🙂