Parenting is probably the most sensitive subjects in our country and the most publicly judged. From what goes in their stomachs to how we decorate the nursery, every decision is criticized from even the most obscure angles. And when we start discussing what our sweet baby’s “need” it gets even more heated. You are taught to feel like less of a parent if you don’t provide everything for your child. That your little one will be at a disadvantage without light-up noisy toys or a mink changing table cover. But when it comes right down to it babies don’t care about these things. And more importantly – they don’t need them.
Now, by all means, if it’s important to you go for it. But don’t think less of yourself if you don’t. There are things babies do need. This post however is all of the things we didn’t buy in the first place for our Pudge, things that were gifted unnecessarily to us, and things we regretted buying.
Refusing to purchase things like this in the first place not only protects your financial security, it teaches your children a healthy relationship to material belongings, helps your family focus on experiences, and protects our planet from unnecessary consumption.
- Disposable diapers and wipes.
- A diaper pail or liners.
- Commercial diaper rash cream.
- Baby powder. Use cornstarch instead.
- Disposable cloth diaper liners (seriously defeats the purpose of cloth in the first place).
- Changing table, pad and covers.
- Portable changing wallet.
- Head shields.
- Special bath toys.
- Separate body wash and shampoo.
- Bathrobe. Cute but not needed.
- Special baby-sized towels. Save yourself some cash and get standard towels that will last several years.
- Infant bath tub.
- “Baby” wash cloths. Regular wash clothes or a soft loofah work fine.
- Nursing bras. I bought nursing tank tops for the same price and saved myself laundry and the cost of clothes I could even nurse in.
- Pureed Baby foods. Check out Baby-Led Weaning instead.
- Special baby snacks (stay away from yogurt drops – those things are loaded with added sugar!)
- Special dishware for baby – I gave him a glass tea cup plate and tea spoon for silverware to practice with. But mostly he eats off a tray with his hands.
- Bibs. We just got him naked for meals and wiped him down with a washcloth afterwards. The bib really didn’t protect any of his clothes.
- Sleep sacks. These can only be used at bedtime. Save yourself the work, money and time by getting footie pajamas instead. This way if you need to go anywhere you can easily strap your baby into a stroller or car seat without having to wake them up and change their clothes.
- Bouncer/Rocker. Unnecessary and you can’t leave the room if your baby is in one (Babies have suffocated in them before – read the safety manual if you already have one. They’re really not that helpful).
- Shopping cart cover
- Jogging stroller
- Special “diaper bag”. Get a regular bag that can be used for longer than 2 years of your life.
- Bassinet. Just get the crib from the get-go. Get a convertible one, too.
- Special infant car seat. A huge waste of money. Most parents use them longer than it’s safe too (my baby outgrew his by 4 months), and again you can’t leave the baby in them outside of the car so they don’t “help keep baby asleep” at all.
- Play yard. Ours has been useful for when I’m vending at the farmer’s market but I never use it at home.
- Crib mobile.
- Crib bumper. Not safe until the baby is almost 9 months, at which point it’s not necessary.
- Teething guards for the crib. Cribs have to meet strict safety standards – your baby won’t ingest anything dangerous.
- Pillows. Babies can’t use them until about 9 months and the fire retardants in them make them undesirable even then. Your baby really won’t care.
- Extra blankets (unless you don’t have easy access to a washing machine. Then you want LOTS of extras).
- Crib skirt.
- Noise machine. Put on the radio or a fan if it’s a big deal but we didn’t need to do anything special.
Playtime and Learning
- Extra toys
- Anything electronic or noisemaking. These things will just irritate you when you’ve had 3 hours of sleep and the same song has played 265 times over.
- Walker (my doctor actually told me these were dangerous)
- Play gym
Safety and Healthcare
- Gas drops
This is part three in raising a zero waste family.