A lovely friend dropped over some baby stuff for us last night. We were given blankies and baby mags and all sorts of wonderful things. What I'm most thrilled about is the Angelcare Movement & Sound Monitor (sleep mat) because I'd only said to Tracey the night before we needed to replace our existing one.
Before our sleep mat, our little cherubs would be woken up every two hours by a fretting mum or dad because they hadn't been able to see or feel the baby's chest rise for a breath. Here's the thing about babies who are jolted awake from their quiet slumber by someone shaking their chest and yelling, "OMG. Breathe, baby, breathe!" They aren't happy. And when baby's not happy, no-one's happy.
It's so tempting when you fall pregnant to go crazy decorating your nursery. I know first time mums who refuse to have anything secondhand for their cherub, as though it's some sort of measure for the extent of their love. Here's the heads up, people - your baby doesn't care. It wants a feed, it wants to burp, it wants a sleep and it wants it's nappy changed (baby won't know the importance of name brands and a good decorator until it's second year).
Fact is, a lot of stuff people buy for babies is unnecessary.
Here's my top five baby money wasters and the alternatives:
If you want to make bathing your angel a nightmare, this is what you need. Baby baths suit anyone who can't see that walking a bucket of warm, soapy water into the nursery to bath a baby who's lack of control over their limbs turns them into a carpet sprinkler. After you've dried and dressed your little one you then have to bleed the water back into the bucket and trace it back through the house, or alternatively, when you're sick of waiting for gravity to work, you decide to carry the bath itself through the house - so you can thoroughly soak any of the carpet the baby missed. Instead, use the kitchen sink, or the laundry sink - they're even at the right height. Some people even like to shower with their baby, although not me - I have showers to escape the family.
I'm a little bias against change tables because as a baby Master19 fell off one. Somehow. He was fine (babies mostly bounce), but I've never fully recovered. Plus I made the mistake of telling him when he was older and he uses it as an excuse for everything he's ever done wrong - "must be from the brain jarring I got when you threw me off the change table." That sort of thing. If you want to avoid giving your child power over you I suggest you use the bed. I find my wife's side of the bed is particularly good for changing number two's. When they're older, of course, we change them wherever we catch them.
Nice for photos and for when you show friends around the house, but they don't do anything a good cot doesn't. And the thing is you'll still have to buy a cot when your little one outgrows it by six months. And besides, if we had a cradle I'd know it was a cradle and I'd think, "that's a cradle" and then I'd never get that Cat's In The Cradle song out of my head. There's enough unavoidable insanity around having babies, no need to deliberately start jumping cracks in the sidewalk. We have a cot with an adjustable base (makes the base higher to avoid unnecessary bending) and some inserts. My grandparents used to keep their babies in the emptied bottom drawer until they were ready for a cot. They still grew up just as loved.
Totally unnecessary. Unless you live in Melbourne. I believe Family Services frowns on poorly turned out babies in the shopping centres down there. Seriously though, babies are the most perfect smelling things in the whole world. And if your's isn't, one of you is just going to have to harden up and change that nappy.
Name Brand Baby Clothes
No-one cares. They're looking at your gorgeous baby. They're checking to see if you've lost your baby fat. They're thanking their stars you didn't take their favourite baby name. And consider this, if they do notice a Prada or Versace label on bub's one piece they'll probably be distracted from noticing your bub's rosy cheeks and silky soft hair. Is that really what you want? Most of our baby stuff is secondhand anyway, which works for us for two reasons: Firstly, they wear it for so little time it's usually still in pristine condition when a friend's bub grows out of it and they pass it on. Secondly, we keep our bed in our house and for the first three months we never want to be far from our bed - so it doesn't matter what baby wears because we aren't leaving the house.
What you need to spend all this money on is a coffee machine for dad and maybe a home brew kit for mum - she's not working now so she's got all that free time. Double bonus because she can't drink while she's breastfeeding ;) Seriously though, for my money you're better off buying a sleep mat. They aren't pretty and no-one will say "oh, what a beautiful sleep mat" when they visit, but it's worth it. When we installed a sleep mat we could all sleep soundly knowing if the baby stopped breathing the mat would alert us. That's smart money, right there.
Sweet dreams everybody.