Posts Tagged ‘email’

By Request

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Occasionally (rarely) I get email from a reader. It always makes my day, since just knowing someone took the time to type out my address and spend a few seconds telling me they liked my post or have a suggestion or agree with me makes all the time and energy I spend on this space worth it. What can I say, I’ve got an attention-seeking personality. Aaaaand everyone who new me in high school just said “DUH”.

Even better than “I like you” mail, sometimes people email me asking if I would consider writing about a specific subject. Take for example, this email I got from a lovely (and incredibly loyal) reader named Amanda:

In light of your comment recently about NOT buying thousands of dollars worth of baby stuff this time around, I have a request/suggestion for a future post. Feel free to ignore it if it sounds like a total pain in the ass designed for my own selfish purposes, which essentially it is.

I am 12 weeks pregnant with my first (due at the end of November) and both my partner and I feel convinced that a lot of the stuff that’s marketed as being essential for babies is really a lot of horseshit. I’ve found your posts on babywearing very helpful, and I think (I hope) I will end up having a fairly similar mothering style. I was hoping you might write something about what you think is *really* necessary for a fairly minimalist couple to buy before their first baby arrives. My list so far is basically bassinet, rocking chair, carseat, diapers, carrier, swing, infant bath, nail clippers and thermometer. (Oh, and slipcovers for the furniture that we spent a small fortune on not so long ago.)

I’ve written a couple of posts on baby gear before (baby carriers here, strollers here, baby gifts here) which in the blogging world pretty much makes me an expert on the subject. Also, having already gone through 14 months with an actual baby I can tell you definitively, YES, most of the stuff you are being told to buy is indeed horseshit.
The problem is: there is no way to know which stuff.

OK, some of it is truly unnecessary. You do not need a travel swing if you have a regular swing. You do not need both a bouncy seat and a vibrating seat. You do not need five dozen black and white and red “infant” toys. You do not need five different strollers for one baby.You do not need a high-chair AND a feeding seat AND a clamps-to-the-table seat.
BUT. I did not need a Bumbo seat, but about a zillion other people swear by them. I did not need a pack’n’play but some people use them for years. I regret buying a travel system instead of just a car seat but I see a dozen moms happily pushing the exact same system around the mall every week. Of course you need diapers but when you start looking at which diapers things can quickly get overwhelming. For the sake of answering the question though, I will combine what I personally loved with what I would change if I had to do it again.
Things to have:
1. Diapers. No cloth v. disposable debate today but for our next baby my plan is to buy 1 box of teeny tiny disposables and then switch to cloth.
2. Clothes. Those one-piece baby gowns were our favorite. 6 of everything (onesies, sleepers, socks, hats, t-shirts) is more than enough.
3. Somewhere for the baby to sleep. We had a crib and a co-sleeper and a pack’n’play….and ended up with the baby in our bed for 7 months. It depends on how interested you are in co-sleeping so REALLY think about it before buying any of the above. If the answer is “in our bed” you don’t have to buy anything.
4. Rocker/glider. The one thing I thought I didn’t need is our most important baby item. We still use it at least twice a day.
5. Somewhere to change the baby. Your back will thank you for not doing it on a bed or the floor for the first few months but a pad on a dresser works just as well as a changing table.
6. Something to put the baby in when you need to pee. Swing/bouncy seat/vibrating seat are all good. Don’t buy the most expensive one or I guarantee your baby will hate it.
7. Baby carrier. You can read my reviews of all my carriers in the post linked above. If you really wanted to buy just ONE I would recommend a woven wrap or soft-structured carrier.
8. Car seat. They won’t let you take the baby out of the hospital without one.
9. Baby health kit. Get one that has a nose-sucker, thermometer, nail clippers, and dropper.
10. Baby bathtub. Buy the one I have. Best tub ever.
11. Somewhere to feed the baby. For baby #2 I am buying one of those seats that clamps on to the table/counter. It’s really all you need unless you plan to start feeding a baby solids before the 6 month mark.
12. Stroller. This is my controversial inclusion (I KNOW I AM SUCH A REBEL) since some baby-wearers swear they never needed one. Personally, my back needs a break. Besides the jogging stroller I use at my fitness class, I use my tiny little umbrella stroller the most.
Things we thought were useless:
1. Bumbo seat. Baby Evan threw up every time we put him in it. Plus his thighs were too fat for it.
2. Recieving blankets. We have a million, used them for a week and then switched to a swaddler with velcro.
3. Bottles. Unless you plan to use formula from the beginning don’t bother to buy any until you really need them.
4. Diaper pail. A small trash can you empty regularly would work just as well and not cost nearly as much.
5. Travel system. The baby outgrew the bucket car seat really fast and I’m not in love with the stroller.
6. Toys for infants. Until they get the hang of hand-to-mouth all those “developmentally” stuff is bullshit.
7. Mobile. Baby Evan lost interest after 15 seconds.
8. Adorable matching baby bedding set. Bumpers are dangerous, quilts are useless and a crib skirt is just decoration. Buy a couple cute sheets and call it a day.

I’m sure I’m missing stuff in both lists so, dear readers, please help Amanda out. What did you LOVE and what do you wish you had never wasted the money/registry space on?

(P.S. After getting half way through this, I was about 75% sure I had already written pretty much the same post sometime last year. I can’t find it anywhere. Either I really am blogging in my dreams again or pregnancy brain is making me crazy. I suspect both are true.)
(P.P.S. I’m sorry for my apparent inability to add spaces between paragraphs in the second half of this post. WordPress is being a bee-atch and refusing to accept my ENTER ENTER ENTER <BR> <DIV> SHIFT+ENTER FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST PUT IN A SPACE commands.

High Expectations

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Dear Jeopardy,

Although I am confident my child is incredibly gifted and a true genius who will someday cure cancer, discover the secret to cold fusion, and invent a diet pill that causes chocolate to burn fat, lets give him a second to figure out how his hands work and why he can’t fit both in his mouth at once. So maybe you should cool it with the “Your child could be on Jeopardy!” emails for, say, five more years. Or at least until he stop crapping himself. K, thanks.



14 weeks

My future genius at 14 weeks.