This post was first published on October 8, 2008, and since we’ve got number three percolating, this topic has been on my mind.
Expecting parents know the gauntlet of baby gear pushed and prodded their way through the store’s aisles. Modern-day culture all but convinces the average parent-to-be that they may very well fail at their upcoming task without the shiny new products begging for purchase. Never mind that men and women have parented children for eons without most of these things.
I have recently walked the “expecting parent” route, having two preschool children, and I registered for gifts with both. But my lists were small, because we really didn’t want to have stuff for the sake of stuff. We only wanted things that would enhance our home and our new life with a baby.
Here are a few items I opted not to get – and did just fine without.
1. More than one stroller
Photo from NY Daily News
Instead of going with multiple sizes of strollers (or even more cumbersome, a “travel system,”)we bought a well-made, rather glorified umbrella stroller. We made sure it was a stroller that both of us could easily push (my husband and I are a foot apart in height), and that it was well-made with sturdy wheels. Two kids, almost four years, a bajillion airports, and who knows how many countries later, it’s still in use.
2. Shopping cart cover
I’m just not a germophobe. Never have been. My mother never covered the shopping cart seat before sitting me in, and I’m fine and healthy today. So I figured I didn’t really need to do that with my kids – and as of yet, both very rarely get ill. The over-sanitizing of our culture is another topic altogether, but I believe that, within reason, everyday items like shopping carts are perfectly safe for my kids.
After traveling in many countries, it also seems like these seem to be mostly a North American trend.
3. Baby wipe warmers
On the rare occasion I felt like I needed a slightly warmer wipe, I rubbed it in my hands for a few seconds. Voila – a much warmer wipe, without the extra cost or clutter.
4. Full-size highchair
We were given one for free with our second child, and I can honestly say that having a big highchair with its own tray is pretty much the same as having a portable highchair strapped to a regular chair pushed up to the dining table. Plus, they take up so much less room, and the baby can eat right next to the rest of the family.
4. Diaper pail
We had a Diaper Champ with our daughter, but with our son, we just have a standard trash can that you open with a foot lever. We keep it outside on our balcony, and I think this simple method has kept our home much less smelly than an indoor diaper pail.
5. Baby detergent
I know there are some special cases when certain babies have ultra-sensitive skin. But since day one, I’ve washed my babies’ clothing alongside the rest of the families’ with the same laundry soap – and we’ve had no issues.
Of course, we exclusively use Soapnuts now, making it even easier to ensure chemical-free clothing for the whole family.
6. Changing table
With our oldest, my husband made a nifty catch-all type piece of furniture with shelves and a dowel for hanging baby dresses (it didn’t hurt that he was a carpenter). We put a changing pad on top, and used that as our changing table.
With our son, we simply put a changing pad on top of his dresser. There’s no need to take up valuable square footage with a piece of furniture that does just one thing.
I’ve never been a fan of the aesthetics of a typical glider, but the main reason we didn’t get one is because of price. I know lots of people love their gliders. Nevertheless, the wooden rocking chair I inherited from my grandmotherworked just as well with my daughter, and with my son, we just rock our body back and forth while we snuggle. Amazingly enough, he doesn’t seem to mind.
8. Baby lotion
I still have some from our almost five-year-old daughter. Babies have the softest, sweetest-smelling skin on their own, and I can’t think of any lotion that would enhance it.
To see some of my ideas of what is truly useful, check out my baby registry recommendations on Wishpot. And if you are expecting, I recommend making your registry there – you can include anything on the internet in your list. No longer do you have to stick to just one store.