Babies are great for your consumerist self. I have spent many a Saturday wandering the aisles of Baby City, comparing sippy cups and baby cereal. But with my youngest preparing to enter preschool and my husband on his own special KonMarie trip, I've come to realise that most of the baby things I spent my hard earned cash on were entirely optional; some of them were totally unnecessary. Here are five things new parents could really do without.
1. Shoulder cloths for spit up
You don't need a special cloth to drape over your shoulder in case your baby spits up on you. (I love that quaint Americanism. Let's just call it what it really is. Vomit.) Seriously, if you're worried about a little vomit, a towel over the shoulder will do the job just as well. If like me, you have a child for whom projectile vomiting is at least a daily occurrence, I recommend learning to recognise the signs of impending upchuck and just dangling the kid over the edge of the bed or holding them away from your body when this happens. If you can't manage that, you're probably going to need a shower anyway and towels are good for that too.
2. Nasal aspirators that attach to a vacuum
Nothing will ruin your nights more than a baby with a stuffy nose. We all know that babies can't blow their own noses. (You do know this right?) But you do not need a snot sucker that attaches to a vacuum to remedy this situation. A spray of saline water does a world of good, and if you still need to suck the snot out of there, there are other nasal aspirators that don't involve lugging out the vacuum, waking up the entire household, and freaking your infant out with loud noises every time they have a snotty nose.
3. Baby bath seats
You're going to argue with me about this one but hear me out. I used a plastic bath seat with my son but really only a handful of times. After that it just sat on a counter top in the bathroom until we got sick of it and threw it in the recycling. The truth is this item is just there to reassure parents who think they're going to drop the baby in the bathtub. You're not going to drop the baby in the bathtub. You're just going to learn to hold the baby with one hand while washing them with the other. Nurses will teach you to do this before you even leave the hospital. Everything is going to be okay.
4. Pop-up travel cots
We loved our beautiful pop-up bubble cot and we still do. We just never used it. Okay, we used it exactly twice. This is why every second-hand pop-up bubble cot you find listed for sale online is described as being in "mint condition" or "as new". When you're travelling and sleeping in a strange place, your baby is not going to want to be in a pop-up bubble cot across the room. They're going to want to be in your arms, or lying right next to you, preferably with one arm on mom's boob and one foot in dad's face.
5. Special dummies for dispensing medicine
Honestly, do these things even work? Your baby doesn't want to drink the medicine. They don't care about the new strawberry or bubblegum flavour. If it doesn't taste like milk, they're just going to spit it out, regardless of whether you've used a fake dummy, dropper or plastic syringe to get it in their mouth. Just use that little plastic medicine spoon to keep scooping whatever they spit out back into their mouths and hope for the best. After a few months you can try getting everyone in the house to clap enthusiastically and say "Yay! Good job!" Positive reinforcement is your only hope. Until then, vasbyt.
If you fell for the marketing ploys that pray on parental insecurity, it's okay, we all do it, and we all regret it. The kids are alright, though.