Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not your ordinary parent....

This afternoon I saw a headline that really enticed me. The article was called Baby Gear: The Only Five Items You Need and you can read it here.... http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/109493/baby-gear-the-only-five-items-you-need?mod=family-kids_parents (Sorry, I do not how to do that fancysmancy blog click on the link thingy.)

Anyhow, I thought "Great! Someone finally gets that you do not need a ton of the junk to raise a baby!" I clicked only to realize while the author and I agree you do not need a lot things to raise a baby, our must have lists are very different. After raising five babies I only have two of the article's must have items. Stacey Bradford, the article's author, sites her must have list as: car seat, crib, stroller, bouncey seat and baby bottles.

Of course, the car seat is a must - no doubt about that. My infant carseat of choice is the type that double as an infant carrier. They snap in and out of a base making going in and out of the car super easy without having to wake a sleeping baby. While not a requirement, I highly suggest a carseat bunting, especially if you live in a cold weather area and have a fall/winter baby. This is a sac made of cozy fleece is specially designed to cradle your baby in their carseat without sacrificing the safety of the seat. The edges unzip so you can remove the top layer without disturbing the infant.

I do not have a crib. If you are ecologically breastfeeding it is possible (and way easier) to safey co-sleep with your baby. No crib needed. Instead I would suggest that you use some of the money you would spend on a crib to get a few nursing shirts and a nice warm nursing pj top or two.

The other item on the original list that I have is a stroller. Actually, I own four strollers - a single, a double, a running, and a cheapy umbrella one that lived in the back of the mini van. There have been times when I could not have gotten by without a stroller, but there were more times than I care to count where I am pushing an empty double stroller as my two toddlers dawdled along beside me and I cradled the baby in a sling. More often than not, the main use for the stroller was not as a kid hauler but a stuff hauler. There was no way I could have kept track of five coats, five sets of mittens, five hats, five water bottles, my purse/diaper bag, etc. but the stroller does it, no problem! So, yes, a stroller would make it onto my top five must haves even if it ends up being just a glorified shopping cart.

I agree with Ms. Bradford that you need a safe place to put the baby while you do things. Stacey's choice for this is a bouncey seat. For me, it is a sling. Slings keep baby close and content while you go through your activities of daily living. If you need to back a break or need to do something that it is not safe or easy to have baby in a sling then I would suggest strapping them in their infant carseat. With the use of the infant carseat there is no need to have a bouncey seat as well. Neither the bouncey seat and the carseat should not be placed on a bed or table.

Last on Ms. Bradford's list is baby bottles. I would replace this item with breasts and knowing how to use them. Nursing is the best for both baby and mom and there are no bottles needed. I strongly encourage new moms to attend La Leche League meetings from the time they know they are pregnant. The information about nursing, labor and delivery and raising a child, not to mention the support and friendships I found at LLL helped shape me as a parent. As a side note, I find it amazing that pregnant moms read an average of six books on birth but few read an entire book dedicated to breastfeeding. Labor and delivery happens once per baby. Nursing will happen daily for months if not years. Seems like moms should be more prepared for it.

While I do not agree with all the items on Ms. Bradford's list, I am glad to see there are other parents out there forgoing all unneeded gear and accessories in order to parent more simply. It seems as if most of the items in baby superstores now days are simply places to put a baby and/or ways to keep the baby entertained so that a parent (or nanny) does not to actually parent.

Oh and while you are at that baby super store do not forget to pick up the non-gear items. Baby will still need clothes, blankets, diapers and those cute little socks!


RealMom4Life said...

Totally agree with you! I think it's so sad that these items are listed as the essentials. I think it overburdens a lot of folks thinking that they really need to spend all the money and have all the space to hold it all!

And....when we have wanted one of those extra's (like a baby bathtub) I find nearly every time that the cheapest one worked the best for us!

I hope soon to be momma's get a chance to see this.

The Road Scholar said...

I agree, too. When my little ones outgrow the infant carrier car seat, they move to a car seat that doubles as a stroller (called a Sit-n-Stroll). It comes out of the van easily and the wheels and handles deploy easily, however you must strap it in each time. Not too hard if you have an older kid sitting next to the baby (which I always do) to buckle once the straps are laced. I also like this seat because I can put a child in it and strap them in when they need to be somewhere other than on my hip in a sling.

We do have a crib and do ecological bf. The crib is bungee corded next to the bed, side car style for when we don't want the baby in the bed (i.e. enjoying the fruits of ecological bf, if you know what I mean ;-) and for those time when others wander into your bed (like a toddler).

I agree with you on all other counts. Bring on the cute outfits and sock, but leave the baby bottles, pacifiers and bouncy seats at the store.