Round one of our foray into parenthood, almost 6 years ago, included the normal bouts of exhaustion and confusion as well as excessive doubt and questioning. But we weathered all of that with some degree of grace – or luck – and came out the other side of babyhood mostly unscathed.
And even in possession of some valuable new insider knowledge.
It seemed that every baby product out there was marketed to gullible, insecure parents. Like we once were. When we found ourselves ready to welcome another baby into the family, we were relieved to have some tricks under our belts to guide us through the exhaustion and confusion as well as other traps of new parenthood: those found in catalogs and magazines and stores. Those meant to entice us into believing we need certain ‘vital’ accessories to be successful in parenthood. Those meant to tease us into spending way too much money on useless products.
Here’s a rundown of some of what we’ve found to be the least necessary baby products on the market.
Changing tables are a staple in any catalog, but your nursery can do without. Instead, use a sturdy, contoured changing pad on top of a low dresser to get the same effect without shelling out extra money on a silly piece of furniture. Then when you’re done changing diapers, the dresser is still functional, unlike the one-job changing table.
Diaper stackers, too, are really pointless. They hang so low as to be an instant target for babies once they’re crawling, and they just seem to get in the way otherwise. A dresser drawer works wonders for diaper storage, but a basket tucked into a shelf will suffice without cluttering up the nursery. And it will cost much less than designer, bedding-matching stackers.
High chairs take up so much space that unless you have a really large kitchen, they block paths and require extra storage. Spend a fraction of that money on a belted, tray-topped booster seat that uses your existing dining chairs, and streamline your kitchen at the same time. Plus, they’re portable for trips to grandma’s house or an outdoor picnic with ease.
Wipe warmers have always been on my list of completely frivolous baby products. Since when is it hard to warm up a washcloth under running water? And yes, room-temperature wipes may seem cool at first, but I would think that to be a refreshing benefit, not a drawback, after sitting in a diaper full of…you know.
Bath kneelers are a wonderful idea – until you consider that you could fold up a plush towel on the floor, for free. Or use a floating pool toy. Or your existing bath mat. Any number of items will do, so when it comes to saving money, I’ll skip the kneelers.
There are many more things I could list, mostly falling into the categories of ‘designer’ and ‘brand name’ and ‘trendy’. I choose not to go those routes most of the time; babyhood is a flash in the pan, and it feels better to save that money for more important items, later. But if any of these products make you feel more confident in your daily parenting tasks, then by all means, shell out the cash.
Because one thing I’ve learned about having a new baby is that even silly habits and theories can make us feel like better parents.
Except the theory behind the wipe warmer. That one just irritates me.