20 January 2019

Baby Must-Haves that We Haven't Used

My first year with Cyrus is ever too quickly drawing to a close, and I found myself thinking about what baby things have been most useful to us and what baby things, while probably useful, we've done without.

Many of the things we haven't used--I have nothing at all against them. They are useful and even extremely necessary for many babies. It's just that, either because of our climate, the location where we live, or the cost...I haven't had a need for them.

So, here's what we've found we can live without:

Baby Monitor

Is it just me, or do the baby monitors that looked like walkie-talkies that I remember from childhood no longer exist? I looked for a baby monitor, but the selection that I found was limited to extremely expensive video monitors that were fancy-schmancy and connected to smartphones and stuff like that, and I said, no, we can't spend $200 on a baby monitor.

And even though I thought a baby monitor was pretty much a must-have, it's been fine without one. Cyrus slept in our room for the first 8+ months. Our apartment is pretty small, so now even that he's in his own room, we just keep the bedroom doors open and I can hear him any time of night. In a bigger house I think a baby monitor would be needed, but we've gotten along without one.

Changing Table

Again, I think this would be nice to have, but space is at a premium and furniture that looks nice is expensive. And I don't want to buy something cheap and then have to look at an ugly thing...I'd just rather have nothing at all. Does anyone else feel like that? I bought a travel changing mat and just use that wherever I want to change him. I guess that's why having kids in your 20s is great, you can get up and down off the floor after changing him.

Sleep Sack/Sleepers

I'm putting these together because these are climate related. These are sold here, and I see babies out wearing sleepers all the time...but this boy has never worn one. It is not chilly at night in the slightest and and he doesn't like anything touching his arms or legs while he sleeps.


Again, this is largely because of our climate and the fact that being barefoot indoors is pretty normal here. Even at some shops you have to take off your shoes before you go inside, so nobody blinks twice at a barefoot baby. He has been given a couple pairs of shoes, but he hasn't grown into them yet. Once they fit, he'll wear shoes more often. For now, when he is going to walk on grass or somewhere that's not very clean, I just put socks on him.

Wrap Carrier

I wanted a carrier that could be used by people who weren't me and could be used at many different ages of the baby, so I opted for an Ergo. The wrap carriers looked like they'd be ridiculously hot to wear in a house with no air-con in the tropics. Cyrus is not very snuggly, even since he was a newborn, so I think it worked out well for both of us that we didn't do a wrap carrier, although the Ergo is a lifesaver for shopping trips and traveling.

Diaper Pail

We just have a small kitchen trash can the size of a dinky little wastepaper basket, and we take out the trash every day, sometimes more than once. Because of rodent and insect problems near the can't keep any sort of garbage in your house anyways, no point in buying another trash can, fancy or not.

Nursing Cover

Again, climate. Once in a while I was out in public and had to use a light cotton blanket (his baby blankets were all very thin, light cotton, and I loved them!) as a cover and it was so hot and so not fun, and even while nursing him under a blanket, people wouldn't leave me alone, kids would ask to see the baby and he'd hear my voice or other voices and get distracted and it was all around stressful. So mostly I just opted to nurse him in the car or standing up in a public bathroom stall or in a room shut off somewhere. I discovered which shopping malls had nursing mother rooms, so that was handy. Anyways, I'm glad I didn't bother buying a nursing cover since as much as I could avoid it I just nursed him alone.

Books about How to Care for Babies

I worried a great deal about Cyrus before and after he was born, and specifically chose not to buy or read any books about birth or taking care of babies because I knew that in the state of mind I was in, I would just start worrying unnecessarily about him. With the internet and knowledgeable humans there if I had any specific questions, I decided that was a better choice than trying to over-indulge on all the info there is.


So, I think my take-away is really, for new moms, don't just look at other people's lists of what you need to have when you're preparing for a baby. I totally had in mind that Cyrus needed sleepers--don't babies automatically need sleepers? He had three...and yeah, never wore them. I forgot that I live in the tropics, apparently. Look at the lists, but then think about your own living situation, your own personality, and what's going to be a priority for you (i.e. I knew it would take me a really long time to let Cyrus sleep in his own room, so yeah, I knew that a baby monitor probably wasn't going to be needed right away). Some things that I am really, really glad we have, like a baby swimsuit diaper, a high chair, and a mix CD of old Spanish songs that Cyrus loves...might not fit your lifestyle.

What are your favorite baby products?
Anonymous said...

Three kids in and the only true must have for me is the little baby nail trimmers that have the light on them. Trimming baby nails is such a massive challenge, and the little light on the trimmer makes it much easier.

Kay R. said...

Girl when I see the 5000 gadgets needed to raise kids these days I wonder how people survived without them... and then I realize that the answer is "fine". People survived just fine. Some things are great to have but I genuinely think people done "need" as many of the things they use as much as "want" them.

Steph L said...

The must-have list is definitely different for everyone.

We have a very basic baby monitor (no way we were shelling out the $$ for a video one), but in our house we can usually hear him unless we have music on or something.

We also could have done without the changing table and diaper genie. Our "changing table" was a pad that secured to the top of his dresser but we got sick of running up and down stairs for diaper changes quickly so even now most of the time we do diapers on the living room floor. And since the diaper garbage is upstairs by the changing table we don't use that a ton either!

Michelle said...

I agree with all these.

We have a walkie talkie style monitor we got for $20 from Amazon. No way would I pay for the video ones. I can see why they would be helpful, but I can't stomach that price. We needed the monitor in our two story, but now that we're in a ranch, we could easily forego it if necessary.

We had a changing table, but I actually protested having one for awhile. It matched the crib and was cute, so I got over it, and now we have it in her closet to use for storage. We never did sleep sacks, wrap carriers, nursing covers, diaper pails, and I never read any parenting book because the more information I had, the more I freaked out. There are so many expensive gadgets and pillows and such for newborns that you MUST HAVE, and every single one makes me laugh. I didn't put shoes on Gracie until she started walking. What's the point?

AnneMarie said...

I don't understand changing tables. When I was growing up and helping to care for my 4 younger siblings, we NEVER had a changing table, we always just plopped the baby on the floor or bed for a diaper change. So it was very strange to me with my firstborn, when we'd be at people's houses and they'd offer use of their changing table. It's just so simple to keep baby on the floor!

We bought a cheap (I think it was $15 or something?) very basic baby monitor when we moved into a house and put our one-year-old in another room. Before that, we were in an apartment (and he slept with us). So even during naptime, we could hear him quite easily. It is helpful to have one now, because there's a bathroom in between our room and his (making it tougher to hear him) but I just don't understand the video ones. They're so expensive too!

Laura @ Life Is Beautiful said...

With our second baby, we upgraded to a video monitor (I said I'd never get one and thought they were ridiculous luxuries and unnecessary)...and I LOVE IT. It's SO nice to see when if our toddler is sleeping or just playing silently for nap...and if the baby is sleeping or not. HOWEVER, I'm not sure how much I'd actually shell out for one. I found ours at a garage sale for only $25 and it came with two cameras plus the parent monitor. Best garage sale find ever! (We do have an upstairs to our house so a monitor in general would be necessary as we can't hear.)

The Lucky Lifestyle said...

Cyrus is so precious! Your list is SPOT ON -- seriously. I feel the same about every item on this list! The only iffy one is the wrap carrier. Neither of my girls liked to be worn at all, but the wrap worked better than the Ergo for us. Still, I probably could've done without it. Fun post!

Brita Long said...

Babies are people, and people are unique! What works for one person or family doesn't work for another.

With my nephews, the baby monitor really helps because they usually don't nap at the same time. So one will be loudly running around the main floor while the other naps upstairs. Sometimes you can barely hear the monitor over the awake child! But I know that when Dan and I have kids, I want to co-sleep (with the baby in a bassinet attached to my side of the bed) for a fairly long time, so I don't think we'll need a baby monitor in the beginning.

Amanda said...

We actually didn't have a fancy diaper pail with R and just used a regular trash can, and it was awful. I'm sure if we took out the trash every day, we wouldn't have had a problem, but it just stunk so bad, and even just from changing her in the night to the morning it was gross. So for J we bought an actual baby diaper pail, and it has been the best thing. I totally agree that sometimes you don't need baby things (we've never used a monitor at night!), but sometimes you try to go without and find that you actually do need it. It's all trail and error, which I find annoying because I am impatient and just want to do it right the first time. ha!

Amanda said...

I promise I know how to spell trial. :)