To Have or Not to Have: Baby Stuff

by - 9:17 AM

As a mom, you impulsively want to get every single thing made for babies out there. Along with every cutesy onesie that says "mommy loves me". It isn't bad to want things for your baby but you also want to get the useful essentials first before all the other things that might not give you as much bang for your buck. Aside from the obvious purchases like diapers and toiletries, here are some major items most parents consider buying for their little one and our personal experiences with them.

1. The Portable Playpen
     Yes. Definitely. A playpen is a good place to put your child in when you need to get something done or just need a little break. I prefer it to wooden cribs as my baby never got those goose egg bumps on the head with it, unlike me and my brothers who used the classic cribs growing up. I suppose you could baby proof a wooden crib with those linings and pillows but it is important to note that these could pose a danger to infants that have not yet developed full control of their necks and body. We co-sleep with our baby so we never really had to get those full on cribs but we always used our portable playpen that kept her safe when we needed our bathroom breaks or when we got tired of holding her. It helped her practice her pull ups and got her to stand and cruise along while holding onto the cushioned bars. We prefer it over the traditional crib because when she falls, she lands on cushioned and netted panels and the fact that it's portable is great for when you want to bring it along for vacations and short visits. Besides, have you tried lugging around the traditional cribs?

2. The Sterilizer
     There's an assortment of them out there, but the electric steam sterilizer is something you want because most of them have the auto off function that prevents nasty accidents that melt the baby bottles when you forget to turn it off unlike the traditional boil away stove top method. Some even have the auto resterilize feature for when you've left the bottles in them for a longer time.

3. The Stroller
     Depends. We got the big one from graco with the carseat and it was useful for about a few months until my baby outgrew the baby carseat and decided that she didn't like being strapped in a stroller. My husband also didn't like lugging it around especially in places without an elevator. Umbrella strollers are much better for toddlers as it gives you the option to fold it up and hold your child's hand to take the escalator or stairs when there aren't any elevators. However, the sturdier and bulkier strollers are great for putting your diaper bags in as well as walking and shopping excursions since they have a bottom compartment for bags and such. They are also much more comfy than the umbrella strollers. Generally, younger babies want the cocoon-like specs of the bulky strollers but toddlers like the open feel of the umbrella strollers. But don't you just hate being stuck with the stroller when the baby wants to be carried or prefers to walk? You see so many parents with the bags sitting in the stroller while they carry their little one.Try doing it alone and you'll appreciate the next item more.

4. The Infant Carrier/Sling
     Yes. If you like baby wearing and having your baby close instead of strollers, these are the best things to get. They are easy to stash away in your bag and easy to take out when you need them. These provide an easy way to carry your baby around that also let's you do other things apart from cradling your child. There are many slings/carriers to choose from and you might want to ask people who've used them to make the best purchase. You might also want to read up on the best material to use and the recommended time of use as they can cause overheating for babies. Most of them are machine washable so that's a plus for it. There are also carriers for toddlers up to 25 pounds but babies rarely want to use them when they get that big as they would naturally want to explore the world around them.

5. The Baby Monitor
    For some it would be a necessity but we rarely used ours since I was always near my baby and our house isn't that big. You should probably invest in it if your nursery is somewhere far from areas you might frequent while leaving baby to sleep. The key is to judge whether you can hear the baby cry or call out from the place you might go to in he house.  If you can't, the  the baby monitor is a good thing to have. If you have a nanny, they can be useful to monitor what goes on in the room while it's just them, although you can also have a cctv cam for this purpose. The baby monitor basically like a radio that lets you listen in on your baby. There is a limit on how far you can take the device so you might want to study the specs of each unit before buying it.

6. The Electric Breastpump
    Yes but only if you truly plan to breastfeed. Manual pumps are also ok. I used both to help build up my milk supply. I never had as much milk as my other mommy friends but the regular pumping, helped increase my milk at a satisfactory level for my child. The electric breastpump lets you relax more since you can just sit back and watch tv while just holding it in place without much effort apart from occassionally adjusting it.

7. The Walker with Wheels
     For us, no. As early as six months our baby was showing interest in learning to walk but since we got her the walker, she fondly calls her car, she started to prefer cruising or walking on tip toes around the house with the aid of the walker. The old filipino rattan walkers would probably be better but  we never could find one she wasn't too tall for. In my opinion, floor time is still the best. It lets the baby train and strengthen his/her body gradually. First through flipping over, then crawling, sitting, standing and eventually walking. Rubberized mats with a comforter on top or even a thin matress can help prevent bumps.

8. The High Chair
     Yes. They essentially get your child to settle down, keep them safe with the harness and lets them associate certain places with eating. They are generally easily to clean and puts your child at the right level with you at the table. My baby no longer uses hers but I am convinced that having a specific chair for eating has trained her to sit and focus during meals when I feed her.

9. Bassinets
    No. They are only useful for a few months and once the baby learns to move around, they become pretty much useless. They are great for newborns for the practical reason of confining them to a safe place especially if you are co-sleeping, so no one rolls over the baby and you get to stay close to your little one in bed. They stop being useful when your sweetheart starts to crawl. Cribs and playpens or even just the matress on the floor with pillows are better alternatives. They may be necessary for those that want to co-sleep but move a lot or are heavy sleepers. Due to the confined space, it may not be advisable to have pillows and blankets inside which may suffocate the baby.

10. Baby food Maker
      Total ripoff. Your blender or food processor does the same thing. This is one product we studied and decided we weren't going to buy. We simply used our trusty blender and got ice cube trays for portioned baby food ease.

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