"There is such a variety of baby products available in stores that it can be overwhelming. Add to that the pressure you often feel from your peers to have the latest and greatest of baby equipment. Add to that still the bombardment of products that promise to make your baby smarter, faster.
When you want to be hip AND have those things that make mommying a little easier, how do you keep from breaking the budget?For those women who are past the child-raising stage, do you have difficulty with these pressures in wanting to provide the "goodies" for the grandchildren? Do you see them as a hindrance towards a child's natural ability to develop? What were some ways that you were able to achieve similar benefits without all the bells and whistles?"
I somehow managed to get by without a changing table, an exersaucer, a bobby pillow, or a bouncer with my first child. Her cradle was borrowed. Her wardrobe consisted mainly of onesies. And when it came time to move her into a crib, we started with just a mattress on the floor. We had the bare bones essentials, and just a couple luxuries (diaper genie, swing - both of which have lasted all this time, and stroller - we're on our second now), and we got by just fine. You'd hardly know by looking at her that she was so "deprived". Lol.
But as soon as I could afford some fun stuff, I got it. I got the boppy pillow with #2. And seriously, that was a great investment. It's lasted me 3 pregnancies now. I also got the bouncy seat. Or whatever you call it. So useful, I cannot even remember the proper name for it. Yeah - thumbs down on that one. But I was sure I needed yet another baby container. By the time I had #3, I also got the exersaucer. Another good investment - it's gotten tons of mileage by our last 2 babies. And finally, with #4, a baby gym. Meh... those things really depend on the child. Sasha was unamused, whereas Drew - who played with a borrowed one - just loved it.
Throughout the pregnancies, there have been some very good, worthwhile purchases, and some very frivoulous ones. I recall a side-sleeping positioner that was rejected by all my babies. As well as a "kick and play" (similar to the more expensive baby gym). We were given a bottle warmer and sanitizer, neither of which came in good use.
I have loved, however, my baby food processor. It is perfect for small amounts of food. Other wise purchases have been burp cloths (lots of them - you never know if you're gonna get a real spitter), lap pads (thick washable changing pad - hard to find) and a really good breast pump (I have used a Medela Pump in Style for 3 babies now).
Now. You all know. how I love. the baby toppings. Lol. That's the only way I know to describe the "fun stuff". If it's a boy, well you'll save a bundle in this area. If it's a girl, my suggestion is to get crafty, and fast. Baby girl bows and jewelry and outfits can be insanely over priced. But easy to reproduce yourself. And oh so much fun!
As for the toys and all that... I think a baby could grow up with a good set of blocks and learn every bit as much through play as a baby with all the bells and whistles. I vividly remember my creative pretend play as a child... setting up a grocery store in our living room, making a doll house out of shoes boxes, throwing a blanket on the ground and pretending it was a pool. With a chair to jump off of as our diving board. And very little of that play involved toys.
If we're not careful, we're going to raise our children entirely in a digital world where everything is put up on a screen for them, and little is left to their own imagination. Why are we so afraid of idle time? Is there some chance of mental degression if our children are not stimulated 24/7? Baby Einstein videos anyone?
I think there is value in boredom. Not unattended boredom, mind you. But boredom is what gets our children problem solving. It gets them thinking about creative ways to fill their time. I like to give my kids a bag of odds and ends and watch them come up with some way to have fun with them. A paper towel roll becomes a telescope. A pencil and string become a fishing rod. A plastic plate becomes a shield. A sheet becomes a toga. A wooden spoon works well as a wand. A pillow case makes a great cape. I also love a good homemade toy.
I hope some first time mother stumbles across some of these posts. There are millions of lists out there - of baby layettes and baby's first library and baby's nursery needs. I both got by without half the stuff suggested to me and found that I didn't need some things I really held out for! The truth is, your baby needs very little, and certainly not all at once. There is plenty of time to assess, even after he/she arrives. It is amazing how little you care about what they are wearing once they finally arrive.
Don't forget to see what Morning Glory's readers have to say! We'd both appreciate your comments AND links!