By Lyz Lenz
When my daughter was three months old, I had to be talked down from buying her yet another play gym, because I was concerned that the first one wasn’t stimulating enough for her. “You’re the only one who cares,” a friend told me. “Your baby is happy with or without that play gym.” She was right.
Three weeks later, my daughter started playing with the play gym more often and I was glad I still had that extra money. So I could spend it on something else, we probably didn’t need, like a baby jumper! As a new parent, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with baby clothes, baby gear, and just general baby stuff, that it’s hard to see the baby for the baby gear.
While baby gear is fun and sometimes useful, here are eight things your baby will live without:
1. Play gym
Play gyms are fun and useful for distracting babies, but so are a million other toys that are smaller and less expensive. Our baby has gotten more fun mileage out of her play mirror that we tied to the coffee table than the play gym.
2. More than one stroller
If you want to run, get a running stroller that works with your car seat. If you have no intention of running, then just get a normal travel system. No need to get both. If you want to pare down even more, use a baby carrier for your child when she is an infant and an umbrella stroller for when she is older.
3. Bottle warmer or wipe warmer
We put the bottle in a bowl of hot water and it’s ready in five minutes. For those times when we need warmer wipes, I warm them in my hands. Somehow my daughter has managed to fend her way through life without these items.
4. Shopping-cart cover
Cumbersome to put on and take off, the cleanliness of a shopping cart cover is more marketing than anything else. Even if you are a germophobe, just take some wet wipes and wipe down the seat before you set your baby in.
5. Diaper pail
I wish someone would have told me that I didn’t need a diaper pail. A regular trashcan with a lid would suffice and would be a lot easier to deal with. Also, finding the bags that work with the pail is a complete hassle. Now, we do cloth diapers and we just stick a wet bag in a trash can with a lid. If there is a problem with the smell, I sprinkle some baking soda inside.
6. Baby detergent
We used a dye-free detergent that was a lot cheaper and easier to find than the pricey baby detergents. Also, it made it easier to just wash all of our clothes with the dye-free detergent instead of constantly doing separate loads for baby clothes.
7. Changing table
A piece of furniture that does just one thing isn’t working hard enough for you or your family. Put a changing pad on top of a dresser and voila! Changing table. We also kept a changing kit in a bin in the play room. In emergencies or when I feel lazy, we have a changing pad, diapers, wipes and bag all ready to go.
8. Full-sized high chair
In homes where space is at a premium finding a spot for a full-sized high chair isn’t always practical. Using a portable high chair you can stick in a chair and push up to the table accomplishes the same task of giving your baby a place to eat and/or throw cheerios on the floor, without taking up extra space. Plus, your child will get to sit at the table with you and, despite the drool and mess, that is a little more fun for everyone.
What baby gear did you go without? Is there any gear on this list that you’d keep?
About the Author:
Lyz Lenz is a writer, a mom and a midwesterner. Although, not in that order. She lives in Iowa and on the web at LyzLenz.com