Jane Yee: What we didn't need
On Saturday night we had some friends over who are expecting their first baby in around three months. Over a delicious roast dinner (just throwing that in there so you know I'm capable of cooking a delicious roast dinner) we covered an array of baby-related topics, including the things we found we didn't actually need to get through life with a baby.
So today I thought it would be interesting if we could exchange lists of baby related items that either didn't work for us, or we found to be totally unnecessary.
I'll kick things off, and please bear in mind that this list is particular to our family. Just because we don't use a clip-on parasol with our pram doesn't mean you won't find one incredibly useful. Okay, let's go...
Either we're not very good at putting shoes on babies, or our baby has fat feet. I hope Future Victor isn't reading this and getting a complex because I think we're actually quite adept at putting on baby shoes, which leads me to believe he has fat feet. Or, more accurately, deep feet. The shoes that are the right length for him just won't fit over the bridges of his tootsies, but to be honest I'm not sure this Cinderfella would be in shoes even if they did fit.
He gets by in bare feet and socks, and last winter he lived in woolly slippers. As he gets up on his feet and starts walking he'll be in shoes but aside from having him look a bit cute in them, we definitely haven't needed shoes so far.
Fancy bathing products
This one is definitely specific to us due to Victor's eczema. When he was a wee cub we had bunch of really nice baby care products that we used on a daily basis. They all smelt wonderful but once little Vic's eczema kicked in we were advised to stop using anything fragranced. We went from pampering him in scented bath oils, baby shampoos and moisturisers to slathering him with greasy emulsifying ointment in the bath followed by a massage with a good dollop of non-ionic cream.
Until we kick this eczema to the curb for good, my baby will just have to smell of nothingness, but we've learnt the basic stuff certainly does the trick to keep his his skin clean and soft - and it's a lot easier on the wallet too.
I did a lot of research into baby carriers. I had grand ideas that I would wear Little Vic while I took care of the household chores. I also imagined wearing him while I strolled blissfully around the French Markets with my hands free to carry fresh baguettes and delicious pastries. The reality looked something like this: little Vic initially hated being in carrier. When I did manage to get him into it, trying to do housework with him strapped to me was pretty much a joke.
Finally, now that he will tolerate being attached to his mum for short periods of time, I don't find the idea of carrying the equivalent of a 9kg hot water bottle on my chest in the middle of summer particularly appealing. It's not that we don't use the carrier, it occasionally gets hauled out of the cupboard, but to be honest I think that money could've been better spent. Again, this is just our situation, I'm sure Blossom would tell you a very different story.
Amber teething beads
Some parents swear by these, and even before I'd had my own baby I bought them as gifts for friends, such was my faith in the endorsement of other mums. I wanted to believe! I had every confidence that these magical beads would ease my son's teething pain, and he'd look like a cute Grey Lynn baby in a wee necklace at the same time. So when his cheeks turned rosy red, he started drooling and became grizzly I immediately bought some amber beads.
I was very disappointed to discover they seemed to make absolutely no difference at all. Now they just sit in his top drawer attempting to ease the emotional pain of his unloved shoes.
When little Vic was still sleeping in our room I invested in a cute animal nightlight so that I could minimise disturbance to Joel when I had to feed the baby. When LV transferred to his own room we used the nightlight to help signify bedtime, and also took it with us when we were putting him down at other peoples' houses for the same reason. Then I read something about babies becoming reliant on 'sleep props' and freaked out imagining him as a thirty year old trying to explain to his new girlfriend that he needs his panda nightlight on to get to sleep. I decided to nip that one in the bud and lo and behold, our baby still went off to sleep as usual.
Now that I'm not so worried about my every tiny decision having a deep psychological impact on my child's future I can confidently say I don't have any issue with using a nightlight, but I have learnt that we don't need one.
The list goes on, but your kid is probably going to wake him from his or her nap soon, so I best pass the baton over to you before that happens. What baby products have you found totally unnecessary, or at least not as useful as you thought they would be?