Thursday, July 16, 2015

14 luxury baby products you can live without

Baby fever is running high in our family since myself, my sister, and my sister-in-law are all pregnant and due within a month and a half of each other. 
My sister will be a third time mom, me a second, and my sis-in-law will be having her first. 
Because we are on our second and I was adamant about gender neutral baby gear when we had Addi, we will not be having another shower [per my request]. We're having a hard time finding room to store all the crap we have as it is! 
We had a garage sale a month ago and it got me thinking about all the junk that comes along with having a baby. It's amazing the crap they have these days to make our lives so much easier! And while these things are nice to have, they're not all necessary, especially if you have a small house or are working on your second or third [or 4th or 5th!] child.
I wanted to make a list for new moms who want to find ways to keep the baby crap [literally & figuratively] to a minimum.

Here are the things we could have or did live without:

1. Diaper Genie
We actually received one of these from a friend for a shower, despite it not being on our registry.  I went back and forth on whether or not to put it on our registry in the first place and after some research decided we could live without it. I didn't want to have to buy the extra stuff that it required to maintain, but the main problem was that we didn't have room for it in Adelaide's nursery.
Instead we set up a small trash can right outside our garage door equipped with a pop-open lid and some Febreeze-fresh can liners. This was ideal for a newborn since they poop about 6 times a day and when they're only on formula or breast milk their dirty diapers don't really stink that bad. It's still a good idea to empty the can at least every other day [we do it every day in the summer time because heat + poop=yikes]. Now, at 18 months, we just take dirty diapers out to the dumpster since they reek and she doesn't poop as much [hallelujah].

2. Tummy Time mat
I bought like 3 different types of these and you know what I could've done instead? Put a couple of blankets down [or one thick blanket]. We have hardwood floors so it wasn't really an option to just put her on the floor. I bought this really cute elephant one and then another one with a bunch of "taggies" and it was just unnecessary.
A much better idea: if you have one of these nifty activity mats [which I would highly recommend], you can just do tummy time on there! They will also use/stare at the fun toys when you lay them down for playtime on their backs.
Via Amazon
3. Changing Table
If you've got the room and the cash then by all means, go for it. We didn't have either to spare so we just skipped it and put a changing pad on top of her dresser. Dressers will go a long way - as in the kids can use it until they're much older. Changing tables? Not so much. Besides, we barely used the changing pad in her room [it mainly just held clothes that needed to be put away]. The couch, blanket or carpet is a much easier [and cheaper] option.

4. Expensive Baby Carrier
As much as I wanted a fancy Ergo or Tula baby carrier, it wasn't something I wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on. I've heard AMAZING things about the Ergo [my sis has one and used the crap out of it!] and Tula both but it just wasn't something we had the money for.
Instead, we received a Jeep carrier for Matt from our registry
Via Amazon
and I got the Peanut Shell adjustable sling for when Addi was little, which also came from our registry.
Via Amazon
Once she grew out of the sling I got an Infantino Mei Tai wrap that I LOVE! It was $25.99 and worth every penny!
Via Amazon
All of these were under $50 dollars and worked great for us. I know there's some debate on how some carriers [like the Jeep one above] aren't good for hip dysplasia and all that good stuff, but my daughter is walking just fine [that's not to dismiss the fact that it happens, it just wasn't a problem for us].
Carriers are a big deal for some people [as I'm sure it will be for me when we have a newborn and are chasing a toddler] so the expensive carriers are probably a no-brainer for them. To each his/her own!

A couple months ago, my mom scored a HUGE deal at Target for me in the form of an Ergo 360 for FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS! I think it was an open box deal or something but it's in perfect condition. I can't wait to use it for Will!

5. Bed Set
Via Amazon
The baby bed set. Every new mom's dream to buy! This one from Amazon is $99 - not a bad price for a 10-piece set. That being said, you can't use a few of the things, mainly the bumper, quilt and bed skirt [personal preference]. Remember: nothing but a sheet in the bed until they're older.
I enjoyed personalizing both of my kiddo's nurseries with my own style. For both of the kids' rooms I've ordered fabric online and had the crib sheets made. Target also makes super cute crib sheets and you can order bed skirts and window treatments separately. The nursery pictured is cute, but it would ideally have a blackout curtain over the window and I would rather pick out my own decor with colors that match the set.
Again - this is a completely personal choice so if a bed set is just easier for you, go for it! The quilt could easily be laid over a rocking chair or dresser as a decorative piece!

6. Baby Food Maker

I ordered one of these off of Amazon when I was in my "making baby food" phase. It's basically just a food processor with a "baby food maker" label on it. So dumb. If you're going to make your own baby food [more power to you!], just buy a regular food processor and call it a day.
Mine just sold at the garage sale we had for $2 bucks. I paid $25 for it on Amazon. [d'oh!]

7. Baby Food Storage containers

Along the same lines as the baby food maker are the baby food storage containers. Otherwise known as glorified ice cube trays with a lid.
These, too, sold at our garage sale for a whopping $1. The lady who bought them was going to make "ice cream treats" for her dog..
[Note that some people use these for breast milk storage which is wicked cool! Pun intended]
Instead of these, you can use regular small tupperware containers or the take and toss bowls with lids.
These are what I use to store most of Addi's frozen foods!

8. Fancy Formula Dispenser
Not gonna lie, if we had $130 bucks of spare cash lying around, I would totally buy one of these. It's awesome. But as I pointed out to my husband when he claimed we desperately needed the one at Target, it's not really necessary. Convenient? Yes. But you won't have it with you everywhere you go so you might as well get used to making those bottles the old fashioned way.

9. Bottle Warmer
I bought one of these used from a friend and never once used it. I don't think the Tommee Tippee bottles would fit in it anyway and warm water worked just fine for our daughter. Again, you won't have it everywhere you go [unless you're planning on carting a shitload of baby stuff when you travel] so you might as well get used to doing it the "hard" way.

10. Fancy Sink Bathtub
I had one of these on my Target registry but didn't receive it [sad face]. It was $46 dollars and my mom had the brilliant suggestion to just buy one of those cheap foam sink inserts. Guess what? It was perfect for newborn baths. And it was like $5 dollars. So it worked out. 
But I still kind of want one because HOLY BABY CUTENESS.

11. Name brand/pre-mixed formula
This is not a one-size-fits-all suggestion because every baby's belly is different. Some do not take to certain brands of formulas; that's just a fact of life. You've gotta give that baby what works best for them! And what keeps them from screaming.
After a ton of research I discovered that pretty much all formulas are made equal. They're all monitored by the FDA so they all have to have the same nutrients in them, no matter the brand or price. We went with the Target Up & Up Premium formula and it worked just fine for our daughter.
I won't lie and say the pre-mixed Enfamil formula we got at the hospital wasn't amazing, but it's stupid expensive and money doesn't grow on trees [if only]. We plan on using the same for Will, assuming his tummy handles it as well as Addi's did.

12. Baby Cereal
This is kind of a hot topic and a really annoying one at that. A lot of people will suggest that you give your baby cereal when they're not sleeping through the night at 3 months or if they're fussy. This, in my opinion, is a fallacy. Maybe it worked for you - and that's friggin' fantastic! Do what you do, mama. But our kid hated it. And everyone and their Aunt Betty told us to try cereal in her bottle at a time when her tummy couldn't handle it and our pediatrician didn't recommend it.
I'm one of those annoying moms who listens to everything our pediatrician says. And ours explicitly told me that cereal is just not necessary, especially before 6 months. So that's what I'm going with; the woman who has a medical degree.

13. Everything baby Einstein
I know, I know. You want your kid to be brilliant. But - and I haven't done any scientific studies or anything - you don't have to buy all of the baby Einstein stuff that's available. Buy a few to keep them entertained, but babies really aren't picky.
Seriously, give them a spoon and they're set for hours. Read to them, sing to them, give them hugs. It's all good for their tiny minds! But you don't have to spend a billion dollars on taggy blankets and teething toys that guarantee a 32 on their ACT later in life.
Chew me and you'll automatically qualify for a full-ride scholarship to Yale! Yippee!
Addi actually preferred my keys and cups to just about any other toy we gave her.

14. Super Fancy Baby Monitor
We never used a video monitor with Addi, partly because I was all "whoa those buggers are expensive!" and partly because I was afraid of seeing a ghost on the monitor when I woke up at 2 in the morning to check on her. Either way, not ideal.
My sister uses these for both of her kids and absolutely loves them, so I'm not saying they aren't both cool and incredibly useful. There were times I wished I had a video feed so I could see if I really needed to get out of my warm bed to check on the nugget when she was fussing..

Instead, we bought a cheap $20 dollar set from Target with sound only and it's served us well. Granted, it does have a lot of static so I think we'll splurge for the $35 dollar one for Will but we're otherwise really happy with it.

Again, these were just some of the "luxuries" we decided to live without, but that's no to say we didn't have any nice stuff for our child. Believe me, thanks to both sets of her grandparents she was not lacking in awesome baby gear!

Here are a few things I would highly recommend splurging on: 
-Diapers - the cheap kind will leak and you will wish you didn't get them. Changing wet/poopy sheets in the middle of the night is no bueno. Trust me, stick with name brand. There are tons of coupons out there for Pampers & Huggies so you can save some money [they both also have rewards programs online for a chance to save even more]! Our favorites are the Pampers swaddlers - the blue wet-line indicator is legit. Addi was allergic to Huggies but my sis uses those for her boys and they work great! 
-Play yard
-Johnny Jump up [not really a splurge since ours cost $20 bucks]
-Bumbo
-Sound machine/projector
-Tommee Tippee Bottles [not a lot of parts and great for both breast-feeding & formula babes!]
-Lovey [we use Little Yellow Chick]
-Mam Pacifiers [Just happen to be our favorite brand]
-A light weight pack & play
-Rock & Play [they even have the auto-rockers now!]
-Chicco Keyfit 30 infant carseat - I would also highly recommend getting a spare base if you have two cars. Each of our sets of parents got a base as well! My sis, SIL and I all plan on using the Keyfit 30 because it's a fantastic seat and it will make it so much easier for us all to have compatible bases!
-Britax convertible seat [we have the Pavilion G4] or Chicco Nextfit [we have used both and love them!]

Hope this helps some desperate mamas when trying to figure out registry items to add!!

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