When you're pregnant, every major baby brand is out to convince you that you need to spend money with them. These days we are all aware that becoming a parent is an expensive business so we are prepared to spend money. Sometimes we do so just because we are told to! I've recently been analysing all of the baby stuff that I've accumulated over the first few months of Lara's life, trying to decide what is worth stashing away in the loft for potential baby number two; and what should probably be offered to the Ebay or Freegle Gods.
You can read my earlier post about my top breastfeeding must-haves. Well, below I've listed some of my baby "don't needs". Stay tuned for my top 5 "must-haves" coming soon.
The following items are mostly things that I was given, loaned or won; and am I glad of it? Sure! Its nice to be able to have all of these things around the house just in case they happen to be exactly what you need at any given moment; but I wouldn't recommend splashing out much cash on them.
- Swaddling BlanketIs anyone able to swaddle a baby as well as a midwife can? No? Thought not. I very quickly gave up trying to wrap my little girl up as tightly as they did in the hospital because I obviously didn't have the skill required. I did however have a specially designed Gro swaddling blanket which is designed to make the whole process easier. It didn't. Even with flaps and step-by-step instructions I found I never wrapped Lara tight enough and came back a couple of minutes later to find arms and legs everywhere and my little munchkin totally unwrapped.Top tip - use a baby sleeping bag such as a Grobag or else blankets and sheets will do just fine.
- BumboA quick Google, or a browse on Ebay and you'd be forgiven for thinking that a Bumbo is THE single most important piece of baby equipment you can lay your hands on; people rave about them. Once you've recovered from the shock of how much they cost to buy new, you tend to have a re-think. I was seconds away from buying one on Ebay because my little girl was desperate to sit upright; thankfully a friendly sister-in-law offered me the loan of hers so I was saved the expense.I've only used the Bumbo a handful of times. Firstly because at 5 months Lara's podgy little legs were already so much of a squeeze to get into the Bumbo that when I tried to lift her out I had to either (a) brace myself against a door frame or (b) call for assistance. Secondly, Lara hates being in it. As soon as she drops a toy on the floor, she is just that tiny bit too high up to be able to reach it again which, naturally causes tears... followed by frantic wiggling of the legs in an attempt to tip the whole thing over as she attempts to push herself up.Top tip - use a wodge of cushions to help your baby sit upright instead.
- Baby BathI bought a baby bath without even thinking about it, blindly following the list at the back of my Mothercare catalogue... cot, check.... blankets, check... baby bath, check.Lara hated being bathed in her bath and it made both me and the hubbie stressed. We didn't have room for the bath or its stand in the bathroom so we ended up filling it with water and having to trapse down the hall with water sloshing everywhere. We only used it about 5 times before giving up.We then tried Lara in a Tummy Tub which is supposed to be a lot less stressful for the babies. Ha, Right! It took two adults to keep her upright inside it which meant there were no free hands for actually getting Lara clean. She hated it just as much as the traditional baby bath. I always told myself I'd try her in it again once she was a bit bigger and more able to hold herself upright, but somehow I just haven't plucked up courage. The Tummy Tub was a loan from a family member so at least I didn't waste any money on it. It is currently being used for toy storage in the bathroom!Top tip - Put your baby in the bath with you! Lara is totally relaxed in there (in fact, she only gets angry when we try and take her out). In the bath I feel like I am totally in control of her - its a mellow place for us both to chill out.
- Scratch Mitts and HatsLoads of people told me that I wouldn't need scratch mitts but all of the mums resources that provide pre-birth shopping lists(such as Mothercare, Emma's Diary, Toys R Us) seemed quite adamant. Just to make sure, I got a few pairs through Freegle, totally unused. I tried them on Lara once, they fell off. I tried them again, they fell off. Then I put them in a box in the loScratch Mitts often come in a set with a little baby hat. I know I had a June baby and the likelihood of needing a hat was quite low but until last week when the weather got a bit chillier, I had never had any need to put a hat on my munchkin. I think people go a bit crazy when it comes to baby clothes but its important to remember that babies can't regulate their heat easily so a hat will prevent them from being able to cool down. My midwife told me that the best rule of thumb is... if you need to wear a hat, then your baby does. If you don't need to wear one, then don't put one on your baby.Top tip - if your baby is scratching their face by accident, make sure their nails are kept short and if you need to, invest in a nightgown or sleepsuit with built-in scratch mitts that can't fall off ( I won't guarantee that your baby won't wriggle out of them though, mine did).
- Cot BumperI've never quite worked out which end of the cot/crib a bumper is supposed to go! Is it supposed to protect their head from knocks? Or prevent their arms from poking out? Or their feet from poking out? I thought it was their heads and arms so I placed it at the top end of the crib/cot... only to realise that if I placed Lara in the 'Feet-to-foot' position, that the bumper was miles away and didn't protect her from anything. Once she was big enough to have her arms up around the bumper, it didn't stop her from poking them out through the bars... it just encouraged her to fiddle with the edge of the bumper, eventually pulling it up around the sides. Useless.Top tip - Errr... Don't bother.
The list of things I could live without is endless, I could go on all day. Here's just a few more of them!
- Snot Suckers e.g. Baby Nose Clear. It makes me out of breath, and terrifies my baby!
- Small feeding bottles and small weaning storage pots. You use them for such a small amount of time that you could reasonably do without them full-stop.
- Moses Basket. I used mine (A family heirloom) for about 2 weeks. It was handy for letting baby L fall asleep in downstairs before taking her to bed, but she very quickly outgrew it and we could have coped with just a crib, or just a cot.
- Silk Dress. Whose idea was it to buy a 2-month old baby a silk dress? Not mine. It got dirty, the dry-cleaners couldn't shift the stain. Bye Bye silk baby dress!
Have you got any tips for mums-to-be on what not to buy?