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5 "Essential" Baby Products We Lived (Happily) Without

My dear friend– who had just had her first baby–wrote to me in my third trimester to warn me not to overdo it with the baby gear. I’ll never forget her final words, “Babies are cheap. (I mean priceless.)”

I took her seriously and we whittled our “must-haves” down to the truly “must-haves.” We bought a car seat, crib (and bedding, from Ikea for under $100), stroller, diapers, a few cotton blankets, a baby carrier, pump and a few other things I can’t remember. We got lots of gifts including many cute outfits, several invaluable slings and much beloved stuffed animals. (A seasoned mom gave me nipple cream and Butt Paste.) But here’s what we never got:


  • Bassinet 1 of 5
    Bassinet
    I actually love the bassinet pictured here from the terrific New Zealand company Cariboo, but the Ikea crib we bought (for about $90) was fine for not just a newborn, but a big baby, toddler and little kid (it changed into a toddler bed); we used it for 5 years in total (another kid came along). Our babies did sleep with us periodically and ultimately the co-sleeper we borrowed from a friend for #2 came in handy. But we definitely survived without a bassinet.
    Photo Credit: Cariboo.
  • Changing Table 2 of 5
    Changing Table
    We used a desk with a little padded mat on it. It was great, actually. You did have to bend down a touch more than you would with a hip-high changing table. The one pictured here transforms into a chest of drawers for an older kid, so that's a good option, too.
    Photo Credit: Pottery Barn.
  • Baby Bath Tub 3 of 5
    Baby Bath Tub
    Actually, I lie. We did get a $20 baby bath from Ikea for baby # 1 but we gave it away after using it maybe twice. What we found most effective and pleasant was to take a bath with the baby. It was a nice end-of-the-day routine. The baby didn't have to endure the stress of being solo and naked in some weird bucket and we all got to recline in warm water.
    Photo Credit: Fisher Price.
  • Vibrating Bouncy Chair 4 of 5
    Vibrating Bouncy Chair
    They're usually somewhat hideous and sometimes don't soothe the baby (or do only for a brief two week period). On the other hand, one of these dazzling, bouncing, shimmying chairs can be a LIFESAVER. So I don't want to poo-poo the things. I know people who love them. One option is to get one as a hand-me-down or second hand, and then pass it on as soon as your baby is through with it.
    Photo Credit: Peg Perego.
  • Glider Rocker 5 of 5
    Glider Rocker
    I breastfed both babies and probably would have loved a deluxe nursing chair like this one! But I nursed all over the place, not just in the nursery, and I found that just propping a pillow behind my back and under the baby worked fine in terms of getting comfortable. Plus, these chairs are not cheap.
    Photo Credit: Pottery Barn.

 

Follow Ceridwen’s pregnancy and birth blogging on Facebook or check out her book From The Hips.

 

 

Photo credit: p373/Flickr

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