Monday, May 24, 2010

Before Babies ‘R Us

How did the new mother ever manage to care for her newborn children before she was outfit with all the latest Graco and Dr. Brown and Carter’s accoutrements?

It’s a wonder humanity was able to survive, so great is the import placed on all the “must have’s” for the successful gestating, delivery, and caring of baby people.

Erin needed newborn diapers.  I could have picked up a box of Pampers Swaddlers at Target, Meijer, WalMart, or any other number of local superstores.  But, no.  I felt an overwhelming need to go to the baby-ware mecca, Babies ‘R Us.

And though I knew to head straight to the back of the store to find the diapers, I instead willfully chose to aimlessly wander up and down each aisle, opening myself up to subliminal marketing ploys and clever packaging that somehow managed to get any number or random products off the shelf and into the cart.

ohio visit 006 ~ Beware of falling baby paraphernalia ~

Buzz Lightyear potty-trainer toilet seat insert?  Of course we need it.

Johnson & Johnson Oatmeal Baby Wash?  The only soap I’d deem worthy to bathe my children.

Ergonomically correct (and yet oh-so-comfortable and stylish!) booster seat?  Sure, toss that in, too.  We’ve got one at home; why not have one to keep at Grandma’s house, too?

Disposable nursing pads, Boogie Wipes, and Lightning McQueen sunglasses.  Check, check, and check.

Plush rattles to hang from the handle on the infant carrier, a mirror to mount on the headrest of Erin’s seat, and $180 later, I left the store feeling….

….. no more equipped to parent Erin and Seth than when I entered.

Now, in all seriousness, there are plenty of products of convenience that I will gladly endorse with not a word of defense: SwaddleMe blankets, crib sheet savers, Ameda breast pumps.  My life is easier, and therefore, I do believe that I’m a better mother, because of these things.  I could survive without them, of course.  But I’m glad I don’t have to.

But still…

As I walked through the massive square footage of BRU, I couldn’t help wonder if we haven’t complicated things by all the STUFF-YOU-HAVE-TO-HAVE-FOR-BABY that we’ve been convinced we need.

After all, isn’t a bottle (or breast), a clean diaper, and a pair of sturdy arms for cradling and cuddling all a baby really needs?

What are your thoughts?  Are you a minimalist baby-care-must-have mom, or do you proudly use your wipes warmer/Diaper Genie/Boppy/Exersaucer/Sophie teether/etc.?


Kelly @ Sufficient Grace Ministries said...

Definitely a minimalist mama here! I recently took my expectant "almost sister in law" to register for a baby shower at Babies R Us...and I was overwhelmed by all the stuff that is being marketed as a "must have". I remember wondering, "Do people actually think they need all of these things to parent a baby?"

I'm all for clean diaper, breast, and loving arms...oh, and LOTS of prayers. (Incidentally the prayers part doesn't end...) O.K....and maybe a Boppie...or some variation of it. I'm all for the name brand is irrelevant. I did find my generic version helpful when nursing. But, I could live without it. In fact, I did the first time around. (Did they even have Boppies sixteen years ago?)


Love to you...enjoyed this fun post and the opportunity to add my two cents!

Anonymous said...

Love this post! I thought I needed all those things for the first month or so and then I realized they weren't neccasary. I love Swaddle Me's, Boppy, and the infant swing(which my toddler still uses). Oh and Dr. Brown's quickly became my best friend when Zoe was struggling with reflux.

savannahgirl said...

I think I fall in the middle... I have baby stuff that is not necessary, but I'm a huge fan of garage sales, consignments shops, mom2mom sales, Craigslist and hand-me-downs from family. I try to save and reuse everything that I can. I like to have the extra stuff, I just don't like to buy it full price! (Of course, there are some items that each new baby needs new, that's fine.) Good post, Mon!

Mrs. Frogster said...

So true! Those marketers are very good at getting moms (especially first-time moms) to buy all the latest baby gadgetry because they "need" it. I was just talking to me sister, who is expecting her first baby soon, the other day; and she told me "I only have a bassinet and car seat so far. There is so much more I need yet before the baby comes."
Haha! I think we went way overboard with our first but cut way back with the others. I don't even have a changing table anymore - I just change the kids wherever. It's easier.
And I avoid Babies R Us at all costs. Even if i am shopping for someone's baby shower, I try to hit up Target or WalMart so i won't get sucked into the "needed" items at the baby mega-store.
BTW, we have the Buzz Lightyear potty seat as well. It is the only thing that gets my son on the potty each day! :)

Anonymous said...

The first time my hubby and I walked into a Babies r Us, he said "this whole store is for babies?" It's unbelievable isn't it? I think I'm pretty simple buit I do love the wipe warmer!!! And the swing, and boppy chair, and bumbo seat...come to think of it, maybe I'm not so simple. :)

Kate said...

although my beliefs fall on the minimalist mama side, I admit that I fall for "stuff" every time I step foot in BRU. After 2 children, I am now flush with unecessary items (sometimes multiples of the same unnecessary item!) that either never got used or got used once or twice. And, sadly, my baby is only 6 mos old, so there is plenty of time for me to acquire more unecessary stuff. Which, I've found, winds up mostly at the Goodwill.

Holly said...

I'm a minimal mama! Pretty much everything we have was bought by someone else. And a lot of that stuff I have given away or it doesn't get used.

Lori said...

I'm a minimalist in theory. I "know" I don't need all that stuff but it's so cute that I really, really "want" it. :)

Wendy said...

Totally use the wipe-warmer, to me, that is a total must-have! Guilty of the diaper genie and exersaucer etc etc..... No shame here though, only the best for my kiddos :)