Because I have a small house and harbor illusions of leading a “minimalist lifestyle,” I wanted to limit the amount of baby gear I bought. When I was pregnant, I kept wondering if I really needed all this stuff: a wipes warmer, a bouncy seat, a swing, a white noise machine, a mobile, an arsenal of how-to-raise-your-baby books, a travel crib, a baby monitor? (The list goes on, but you get the point.) How was I supposed to know? Every time I’d consider not getting something, the consumerist girl scout in me would decide that I just wouldn’t be prepared without it.
After fretting over each purchase or non-purchase for a good three or four months, I had a breakthrough: Yes, I can live without (fill in baby doodad of choice here). And if I can’t, I can always get it later. That’s right! Contrary to popular belief and the aforementioned girl scout motto, you do not need to “be prepared” for every possible baby emergency. Not sure you need a bouncy seat? Don’t get one until you do. You may find, as I did, that you can indeed live without it.
Every parent’s list will be different, but here’s a list of gizmos I never had. My daughter is over two now and hasn’t suffered from deprivation. (She can always sort it out later in therapy, if need be!)
Baby monitors. Because our house is so small, there is no way I wouldn’t hear her if she cried.
Wipe warmers. We use cloth wipes dampened with a squirt of water from a squeeze bottle. Our baby never seemed to care that the wipes weren’t warm.
Swing. We actually broke down and bought a swing after a week or two of sleepless nights (and days). Unfortunately, the swing didn’t help at all, so it went right back to the store. Joy and her husband made the same sleep-deprived decision, with the same result!
Exersaucer. I knew I didn’t want this huge plastic contraption in my house . . . so I didn’t get one.
Glider. First of all, I find this piece of furniture hideously ugly. Second, I have at least two chairs with a rocking motion. I never missed having a gliding rocking chair.
You may be tempted to register for as much as possible so generous friends and family can pay for it. Remember you can always ask for gift cards if you find the need to stock up later. I didn’t feel like I was scrimping by not buying every item on the Babies-R-Us registry list–I felt resourceful, and my house remained blissfully clutter-free.