As the grandchild’s arrival grew near we got busy with equipping the house with what we thought would be important. Two showers of wonderful gifts left not many holes in the list. For every new gadget and every improved gadget I remain amazed. How had we survived all these generations without?
Here are some things as grand baby’s caregiver I’ve discovered were unnecessary. And also some things that can’t be done without.
Number one unnecessary: The co-sleeper. As my mother-in-law told me take out a sock drawer and line it with a waterproof pad, it works just as well. The idea is that you put this little container in the bed next to you (the new mother) because, well if you’re a new mother you know the because. The co-sleeper we bought was awkward and the baby never got comfortable enough to sleep in it. It’s in the closet now.
Number one necessary: Besides diapers, waterproof pads, light-weight blankets for swaddling, and onesies, a swing is essential. Back in the dark ages I had one for my children, too, a clunky wind-up thing. The ones now are so far superior with mobiles, and music, and a really comfortable-looking seat that baby can and WILL sleep in for hours (thank you baby-swing inventor wherever you are!)
Bassinets are just pretty. Enough said.
One surprising new piece of equipment (wish I could find one in an adult size) that looks like a lounger and is made of memory (ahhh) foam. It is called a Nap-Nanny and has the child sleeping in a slight recline so that burp and spit up doesn’t do any harm. Spit-up is really scary with a newborn. It comes out of mouth and nose so that the baby is choking if she is flat on her back. How horrible is that? A baby flat on his/her back is the recommended position these days to prevent SIDS. But what about drowning? Yuck.
Baby clothes in sizes 0 to 3 months are nice, but not necessary by the truckload, this coming from the grandma who couldn’t resist.
Baby gyms are cute and seem to make sense except to the baby. What needs to be invented is a “tummy-time” blanket. Something water-proof that has bright colored textured geometric shapes for when baby is on her tummy practicing holding up her head.
An important piece of equipment to purchase if you have a dog is a play-pen. The baby bouncer, Nap-Nanny, etc fit inside and baby can nap or bounce without the dog licking her face. Note: Bouncers are great but newborns look really uncomfortable sleeping in them.
And my daughter points out that the Boppy pillow is an essential for nursing moms.
There are a lot more essentials like diapers and formula (a tricky road paved only by trial and error) and the car seat. We went with a Chicco because of its simplicity. All of them are awkward to get into the middle of the backseat with a sleeping baby nestled within. This is back twisting stuff so exercise to strengthen lower back muscles beforehand.
A lot of available things aren’t necessary but many are so by trying out different things and reading reviews you may be able to come up with the best options for your baby without breaking the bank. And it helps to have friends with older babies willing to lend their advice, tips and that baby swing (Thank you, Emily!).