It is a truth universally acknowledged: expecting parents are accustomed to hearing unsolicited advice. Now that my son is two, I kinda get it. I mean, parenting is a marathon, not a sprint, and new lessons and challenges continually pop up along the way, giving us knowledge that we’re desperate to pass on to other parents. Most parents I encountered were seemingly sharing tips with the best of intentions, but still; one parent’s advice won't apply to all parents. I found this particularly true about the things I was told I needed for my baby. In the end, the majority of those things weren't necessities. Like, at all.
I’m sure I’m just as guilty as other moms, too. I always try to hold my tongue when my friends announce pregnancies of their own, but sometimes unsolicited advice just slips out. I mean, I did things in my son's first weeks and and months and year of his life that I’m definitely not doing now, because trial and error is a very real thing. In fact, I’m sure that I’m doing things now that I won’t be doing a year from now. Of course other moms want to know, right? Right? Hello?
Either way, and in the end, I don't think sharing information (in a kind, respectful manner) is ever a bad idea. So, with that in mind, here’s the stuff that I probably shouldn’t have worried about having before my son arrived. I mean, I really could have saved the shelf space for extra diapers.
This one might be controversial, I will admit, but my partner and I were not adept at swaddling. It’s OK, I've made peace with it. I’m confident in the talents and skills we have acquired in other areas of parenting. So, once we discovered the various brands of Velcro and zip-up sleep sacks, our lives were forever changed and we pretty much didn’t touch those confusing blankets again.
Different Kinds Of Small Cloths
Burp cloths, wash cloths, tiny towels; they’re all interchangeable, at least in my house. That said, some of the small packages are pretty cute, especially when the towels are rolled up and tied with ribbon, so I understand the desire to stock up on various kinds, nonetheless.
Do you need shoes for a newborn baby, who will literally never put their feet on the ground unless you do it for them? Probably not, as long as they have some nice fluffy socks to keep their tiny toes warm, you're good to go.
However, do you want shoes for cute seasonal pictures? Yes, but that’s a different conversation.
A Baby Book
Yes, I technically own a baby book, but it’s maybe 20 percent complete. However, I still feel like my son’s first year is super-well documented, thanks to my phone and social media and our baby calendar, which required much less reflection and time to maintain.
Are they cute? Yes. Are they fun to pose near your baby and take lots of pictures? Yes. Are they necessary? I’m sad to say that, no, they are not. They're also potentially unsafe if baby is sleeping next to them, so ours were almost always out of the way.
A Floor Seat
In theory, I love the idea of floor seats like Bumbo chairs, but my kiddo’s shape and size (specifically, his awesomely chubby thighs) simply prevented those types of seats from working for us. Instead, we used his high chair to give him a view of the room, which he appreciated.
A Certain Name-Brand Teething Giraffe
I don’t understand, guys. We tried, we really did. We had one of these giraffes and I offered it to my son so many times, and it just didn’t take. Plus, it ripped. Of course, I have friends who swear by it so your mileage may vary.
A Certain Name-Brand Nursing Pillow Where The Baby Can Also Sit And Chill In Between Feedings
I didn’t even know what I was missing until I was at a friend’s baby shower shortly after my son had turned one. She received one of these pillows that shall remain nameless, and all the other moms raved about it and made it sound like her life would have been ruined had she not had one.
I can attest that, nope, you can get by without one of these.
Brand New Everything
Pretty much the only things I was adamant that we buy new were anything that could be potentially unsafe if we got it used. This means we have some super cute second hand clothes and amazing toys and books gifted to us by friends with kids who are slightly older than mine. Everyone wins! OK, mostly us, but still. Had I been particular about buying new, we would have seriously missed out (and our bank accounts would have totally suffered, because yikes babies are expensive).
A Changing Table
Of course, a designated place for changing diapers is crucial. However, does it need to be an actual changing table? Not in my experience, nope. We use a restored dresser that I’m patiently waiting to re-purpose once we’re through potty training. No pressure, son.
A Thoroughly Packed Hospital Bag
I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I had some pretty unnecessary stuff in my hospital bag. Our hospital even had TVs and DVD players in the room, which could be used for entertainment in a long labor. Spoiler alert: I did not need the DVDs I packed.