Scanning the baby aisles at Target is a real eye-opener for those studying baby culture in America. Oh the things we’re convinced we need to buy buy buy when adding a baby to the household!
When I was pregnant with my first,Â I thought I’d need the crib with matching changing table, the beautifully decorated nursery with the John Lennon baby animal motif. I remember feeling frustrated because we couldn’t afford all those additional items I thought were needed to have a baby. And then I gave birth to a child who would not sleep in a crib, especially not one that lived in a separate room from her mother. The happy ending is that I learned quickly and reinvented myself and my perceptions of what motherhood really meant.
I became a sleep-sharing, baby-wearing, extended breastfeeding, very happy mom; and my child slept well, ate voraciously, and grew into this long-legged, smiling kid whose entering second grade next Fall.
When my second child came along less than two years later, the transition was a whole lot easier.
And 5.75 years later (oy!), we’ll be bringing a third baby into our household. Even though we sold/gave away all of our baby stuff (because we were, errrr, done having children. Ha ha!), I figure I can pick up the things we really DO need at little expense.Â I’ll be getting lots of boy baby clothes from my best friend, Erica as well as from others in my community who will be passing down their used baby clothing. I’ve put a few things on an Amazon wish list (I have a link in the right column under “categories” if you’re curious), as there are some things I need to replace and would rather have new. Anything elseÂ I need, I can probably find on Craig’s List, Ebay, through my town’s list serv, from friends, or from freecycle.com.
The single most used baby item in my life has been my sling. For me, it’s a necessary baby item. I used my first sling, an Over-the-Shoulder-Baby-Holder, all day long while at home and on every excursion with Kelsey for her first two years. And then, when my second child came along, I replaced it with a Maya Wrap, as I had worn the first sling down to a nub. I used this sling for at least the first three years of Laurel’s life. Not continuously, but it was an item of comfort for her and a way for me to be hands free when out and about with two kids. If you were to ask me for the most important thing to acquire for having a child, I would hands-down recommend getting a good sling. I still have my Maya Wrap, and it’s still in excellent condition. I’ll get more use out of it soon.
Separating the needs from the wants isn’t something the baby marketing industry is terribly keen on your doing. But we’re living in some somewhat lean times. If you’re like me, trying to make ends meet in a part of the country where the rents are high, there’s just less money to spend on STUFF. And, honestly, a lot of us are cognizant of what is going into our landfills. We don’t NEED all this stuff.
What do you really need for a new baby in your house?Â You obviously need a way to transport the baby, a safe place for him to sleep, some VERY basic clothing and diapering supplies, health/baby care items, and formula/bottles if you aren’t breastfeeding. Those are the basics. The rest is dependent on your lifestyle and resources.
I wish someone had told me this 7.5 years ago.Â I would have put money into starting a college fund instead of spending it on decorating and furnishing a nursery we never used .