Be wary; starting pretty much at the moment that feisty little sperm fertilizes your egg, every baby business starts to hone in on you with dollar signs in their eyes. You have entered the market of baby products and there is money to be made. Below is a list of things you may think you need in preparation for the baby’s arrival but, in my opinion, you really don’t.
1. Maternity clothes. You need some, but you don’t need a lot and you don’t need them for long. Suck it up and wear the same few outfits for those last couple of months when your belly is actually too big to fit into your other clothes. For the ones you do buy, get them in the season of your last trimester. Don’t go buying cute summer maternity outfits if your baby is due in January. Make sure you do get one really good pair of maternity jeans that make you look stylish but feel like you’re in sweatpants.
2. Yoga classes. I’m not saying they aren’t great. I’m just saying they are not necessary. If money is tight, there is an abundance of online prenatal and postnatal yoga videos at your disposal.
3. Change table. This is the number one thing I hear from parents when asked about their useless baby purchases. You’ll probably end up changing your baby on the couch, your bed, the floor, in the car. Even if you start out using the change table on a consistent basis, you won’t want to have the baby elevated once they learn how to wriggle and roll. Your best bet is to buy a portable change pad that you can move around the house, or even just lay out a receiving blanket wherever you may be. Don’t get cocky and try to change a baby’s diaper without something underneath them – that’s always the time they will end up leaking out the back or peeing mid-change.
4. Video baby monitors. Everyone has one nowadays. They are used to monitor your sleeping baby or child from a different room in your home. I’m sorry, but do we all live in Drake’s Toronto mansion now? Babies have this specialized built-in alert system in which they cry or holler when they wake up from a nap or when they want to be retrieved, and if you can’t hear that you’re either hearing impaired or you might be too far away from their bedroom. If they need to be checked while they are sleeping, few things would prevent you from periodically standing up, walking over and physically checking on them. Seriously, how far away are you all from your child when they are napping that you need closed-circuit surveillance? Not to mention that the video feeds have been known to get hacked, meaning some creepy stranger could be looking in on your baby’s bedroom. And, is it just me, or do all of the pictures any parent shares from their baby cams show their toddlers standing straight up in a pitch-black room, head cocked, and looking directly into the camera with that horror-movie night-vision-eye-glow thing going on? I know I’m going to have a lot of you up in arms over this one, but this is a hill I am willing to die on.
5. Bibs. Especially if you plan on practicing baby-led weaning, but even if you don’t, babies’ food ends up on their sleeves, in their hair, on their lap, down their back, between their toes, under their bums and, most of all, on the floor. The little half-crescent bib covering the upper portion of their chest is like using an umbrella in a hurricane. I mean, best of luck to you, but it’s not the proper gear. If anyone can design a full-body, hazmat-style bib that’s easy to use, they’ll be rich. Until then, just accept that messiness is synonymous with feeding baby. A great stain remover is a better investment than a collection of cute bibs.
I know for expectant parents, especially first-time parents, the ritual around the material preparation coincides with mental preparation. I wouldn’t tell any parent to deny themselves the motions of decorating the nursery and buying those irresistible, adorable teeny size-one shoes that the baby will only wear once. Bringing material things, like clothes and toys, into your home before the baby is born adds to the excitement and reality of what’s to come. I would advise, however, that you take it down just a notch. You truly don’t need as much as you think you do.