When people have asked what our must-have baby accessories and items are, I have trouble pinpointing a single item. However, I can quickly respond with a few things that we found to be completely pointless.
Wipe warmers; seriously, the baby gets used to the warm and silky caress of a perfectly warmed wipie at home, then you try to change them at a filthy and freezing-cold gas station on a road trip to Ohio in the middle of December, and it ruins their entire day.
Nursing/feeding timers, like the “Itzbeen” timer. Do people seriously use a timer to determine when they should next feed their baby? I suppose it is important when babies are premature or have growth issues, but if you have a vigorous baby, just feed the baby when they are hungry. Simple as that. The Captain and I had one of those Itzbeen timers for when Pumpkin was born, and I honestly never even learned how to set the damn thing. What a waste of $25. Some lady bought it from me on eBay about six months ago, and I think I sold it to her for about $4. Sorry, lady. You could have bought yourself a nice latte from Starbucks instead. I felt a little like Bernie Madoff for even listing it.
Toys. Your infant is only going to be interested in the television remote, wooden spoons, and their own socks for the first few months. Let grandma and grandpa buy the rattlers, squeakers, and danglers, and save your money for critical things like Excedrin, nipple butter, and Ghirardelli truffle squares.
Bumpers for the crib. Our crib bedding set came with one, and it was freaking adorable, but we left it out because of safety concerns. This Journal of Pediatrics article from 2007 sums it up nicely. “These findings suggest that crib and bassinet bumpers are dangerous. Their use prevents only minor injuries. Because bumpers can cause death, we conclude that they should not be used.”
If I were to do a “favorite things” post a la Oprah Winfrey, at the top of my list would be my breast pump (one needs a good breast pump if nursing and going back to work, even for any small amount of time; I have the Medela Pump In Style Advanced), my BabyHawk mei tai carrier, our Baby Jogger City Select double stroller (seriously, this thing is like the Mercedes Benz of strollers; we call it the Strolls Royce; and it makes transporting together a reluctant toddler and a new baby a breeze), our 4 moms cleanwater tub (probably a wee bit over the top, but it is nice not having to stress about a mid-bath pooper turning the tub into a swamp), and finally, the Boppy pillow, but once again, this is assuming that one is nursing. Those are just what come to mind immediately, and there are a lot of incidental little things, but it isn’t a coincidence that the things I thought of off the top of my head are related only to feeding, carrying, and cleaning the baby. That’s what a new parent does the most of.
The Captain and I have found a single thing to be invaluable to have in the house with two children; dogs. Dogs and children are perfectly complementary of one another. Dogs clean up all manner of biological spills and accidents, if you allow them to do so. Did your toddler go the route of Mount Vesuvius with her applesauce? Call in the dogs. More noodles ended up in the high chair than in your kid’s belly? Tip that thing on it’s side and unleash the hounds. Did your five month old just spit up three ounces of milk on the carpet? Call in the dogs. The dogs work for free! (Note: don’t let your doggies clean up chocolate, raisins, or grapes…they are toxic to them! Most pooches are at least mildly lactose intolerant as well.)