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May 24, 2011

"Top 100 Newborn Essentials" Which Aren't All That Essential After All

So I frequent a website called, which is a parenting website. I like it because it typically has a bit more than the same boring things places like have, and without the drama of the boards that has. So I came upon their list of "Top 100 Newborn Essentials" and perused it since it's been my experience that a lot of these lists end up having things that really aren't needed, but make the website's sponsors happy. This one was no different, and I felt a strong need to post a long ass comment about those things that aren't actually essential, especially for newborns. I post it here to share. What do you think?

There are some items I disagree with as being "essential" for a newborn (babies from birth to three months), and are a either a complete waste of money or are something that shouldn't be bought until later.

1. Crib bumpers - No, no, a thousand times no! There is *no use* for a crib bumper. It is a SIDS risk for younger babies, and an easy foothold for older babies trying to climb out. The only thing needed in the crib is a mattress, a crib sized sheet, and the baby. Maybe a wearable blanket if it's cold. There's a reason why SIDS cases have dropped by 90% since the Sleep on Back campaign, both because of putting babies on their backs, and removing all things from a crib that are hazards. A crib bumper is one of them.

2. Moses basket - Nice, but *not* essential. If you buy an infant seat it can be used for newborn if the seat is deep enough and there's a buckle. If you're low on money, I recommend the infant seat instead of a moses basket.

3. Changing table - Again, nice but not essential. Think about it: Once your baby is mobile, it is easier and safer to just change them on the floor on a changing pad because they will turn over and take off the second you glance away! You're also left with a big, huge piece of furniture that usually doesn't serve any other purpose than being a changing table sitting around. My husband and I never had a changing table, using changing pads on the floor, and it was so much easier and convenient.

4. Disposable changing pads - If you have the money, go for it, but otherwise a typical folding changing pad works great. But buying so many changing pads gets very expensive very quick, especially for a newborn since their schedule is: Eat, poop, sleep, eat, poop, sleep. You are changing them constantly! Plus, a typical, plastic covered changing pad is easily cleaned with soap and water if poop gets on it.

5. Diaper pail - I include this only because those things can A) be a pain in the butt to empty out, and B) expensive in terms of buying those special bags. We struggled with a diaper pail for months until I realized an easy solution: grocery bags. Throw the diaper into one (that doesn't have holes), tied it up, and into the trash it goes! No more shelling out money for special bags, and no more struggle trying to empty them (or to put in an especially big diaper for that matter).

6. Hand sanitizer - Including this because I don't agree that it's essential. Overuse of hand sanitizer is causing super bacteria to develop (it's evolutionary science at it's best), and because they only handle bacteria. Colds and the flu are caused by *viruses*, something anti-bacterial hand sanitizers and soaps *don't* touch. It is far better to minimize use of a hand sanitizer to something used when it's really needed. I typically use mine only after we pet animals (like at the zoo), or before we eat if there's no wipes or sink with soap around. Washing your hands with soap and water touches all types of germs, and doesn't add to the super bugs. Even wipes are better than overuse of hand sanitizer. (Wipes are a godsend in terms of the best baby product!)

7. Special Laundry Detergent - So not needed unless your baby has skin allergies that react to normal detergent and to the unscented ones (such as a rash or eczema develop). We used Tide the whole time my son was a baby (and he has sensitive skin while I have severe eczema), and it was fine. It's another product that's nice, but not essential, especially if you're trying to save money.

8. Feeding Log - If you want to use one, great, if not, that's fine too. It's not "essential". Basically put, if your baby is growing, pooping a few times a day, and the pee is a light color, they're good. Dark pee singles dehydration, and constipation in a newborn should be reported, but it's not necessary to keep a food log. Especially when you're so sleep depraved you're lucky if you remember your own name!

9. Bottle Drying Rack - Really?! This is "essential"? Um, I don't think so. You wash bottles, them put them on a towel upside down, or any type of rack, including the top rack of the dishwasher. A special rack for drying bottles is so not necessary.

10. Mirror for Car Seats - Not "essential", but again are nice if you have the money.

11. Receiving blankets - In my opinion, a total waste of money. They're typical so small that all you can do with them is lay them on top of the baby for maybe a month or two. They do make great emergency burp cloths though! Investing in a good collection of bigger blankets and swaddling blankets is better idea.

12. Sunscreen - Last time I went through sunscreens, they all say not to use on babies until 4 to 6 months old. They're just not formulated for newborns' skin. Hats and covers are the way to good until they're a bit older.

13. High Chair - A high chair is "essential" for a newborn? No. High chairs aren't recommended for babies until they can sit up on their own, let alone for a newborn. I've never met someone who put a newborn in a high chair. It is essential, but for several months down the road. *Not* essential for a newborn! I recommend waiting to buy this until there's the need since it'll just use up money and space for nothing until then.

14. Booster Seats - same as the high chair; so not needed for newborns, so save the money and the space!

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