So you’re knocked up and nesting, and you’ve been convinced that you can’t be a Good Parent unless you buy a bunch of useless crap. I’m here to save you.
I get it. You’re about to become a Mommy and you’re going to make sure to assemble the perfect fairy tale nursery for your Precious Angel. This is perfectly normal. Also perfectly normal? Soon-to-be Parents suffer Pregnancy Brain, a condition of temporary insanity that causes you to forget things, drop things, and become easily duped into spending a lot of money on crap you don’t need.
Let’s say you’re a pseudo-hippie, Breast-is-Best-Even-if-They’re-Driving, pro-cloth-diaper, co-sleeping, sling-wearing, unschooling, tradition-bucking, naturalist mama. This really isn’t for you because as long as you (at least) live in a tent near a well and have a scrap of towel handy, you’re pretty much covered. Carry on.
But let’s say you’re only partly that. Maybe you want to breastfeed but you’d rather not wring poopy diapers into the toilet and carry them to the laundry room and you’d like to keep your bedroom all to yourself thankyouverymuch. Maybe you work or you’d like your partner to handle some midnight feedings. You’re gonna need some stuff.
What You DO Need (and What You Don’t)
1. A way to keep Baby’s nether regions clean.
Wipes or washcloths, cloth diapers or disposables. Pins if you’re using cloth. A&D ointment and little gauze squares if you opted to circumcise. Clean up the mess, lightly fan or pat Baby’s bottom for a couple seconds to dry, apply ointments as needed, and close it up. YOU DO NOT NEED a wipe-warmer, a diaper genie, or baby powder. You maybe need a garbage can with a stick-on air freshener nearby. You also don’t need a special baby bathtub, as long as you have a kitchen sink.
2. A way to keep Baby warm.
I like onesies because they keep everything contained in a neat little Babylicious package and Baby is less likely to wriggle himself into a position where his shirt is coming up over his face. Onesies and one-piece pajamas, appropriate to the season. YOU DO NOT NEED an entire wardrobe of Infant Couture. I mean, spend the money if you want, but if you register for it, pretty much everyone will think you’re an asshole.
They also need blankets, but not a million of them. Like, four, total. If they’re in pj’s and you’ve learned how to do the Baby Blanket Burrito, you’re golden.
3. A way to keep Baby fed.
Even breastfeeding moms find cause to give their babies a bottle at least once. You’ll need a few of those, and you’ll probably have to experiment a little with nipple shapes. Whether you’re breastfeeding, giving breastmilk with a bottle, or using formula, obviously bottles and nipples are a must-have. Eventually you’ll want a little spoon (soft-covered or not) when it’s time to introduce cereal and solids. YOU DO NOT NEED a bottle warmer. I swear, of all the stupid crap…
Listen. It takes less than 5 minutes in the microwave to boil water for warming up frozen or refrigerated breastmilk. If you don’t have a microwave, you don’t need a bottle warmer, you need a microwave. Mixing formula? TAP WATER. Turn it on, put your wrist under the faucet, and when it feels neither cold nor warm, it’s juuuuust right.
4. A place to put Baby down.
You need a crib with a nice firm mattress. Absolutely. Could be new, could be used, as long as it’s well-constructed and properly-assembled, you’re all set. YOU DO NOT NEED a crib that turns into a toddler bed that turns into a full-size bed that turns into an Autobot.
You also need a car seat for the car, a stroller if you like to go for walks, and eventually a high chair or booster seat.
To Sum Up:
There are a ton of things out there that are nice to have – Pack’n'Plays, baby swings, bouncy chairs and exersaucers, and gadgets galore – but don’t be fooled into thinking you need them. You don’t. Babies are easier and cheaper than the retail industry would have you believe. As long as your baby is warm, fed, dry and getting lots of love and interaction from you, he’s getting exactly what he needs.
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