Baby Stuff Avalanche

baby toy thingamabobbyOur unborn dragon is now at 23 weeks and counting, and as tells me, can hear sounds pretty well, so I broke out my iPod and played a little Billie Holiday the other day, thanks be to Susanne’s unending patience. One book I found suggests that I should play loud sounds in proximity to her uterus so that they won’t bother the dragon as much once it’s out in the world with us. I’m not sure I can pass off needing to vacuum our bedroom, as we have hardwood floors in there. Maybe I’ll blame it on the dust bunnies that have huddled under our bed. Protection in numbers won’t save those buggers from the Electrolux, after all.

The other major development on the baby front is the sudden and frequent acquisition of “things,” a new pipeline of products of everything from baby food processors to cargo loads of bright and cutesy onesies, breast pumps, pump sanitizers, all manner of diaper-and-tushie-related accessories, and educationalish toys that I’m sure a 3-week-old will surely require. It’s like socially condoned hoarding.

To further complicate the onslaught of plastic, Ecuadoran-made cotton clothing, and safety-assured seating (car seats, bouncy seats, bassinets, cribs, and strollers, they’re all super safe in case the child needs to be set down for a moment), there are virtual and real-life opinions presented to us about these things. Buy this, not that. You don’t need a baby food maker. OMG, the baby food maker SAVED OUR LIVES.

About the only item people agree is unnecessary is the baby wipe warmer, although one of the complaints is that it made the baby wipes too warm. It’s not the idea, I guess, it’s the execution?

Baby products as a market surpassed $6 billion in 2007, and advertisers are still looking for new ways to sell similar, if not the same, items to consumers. Because the diaper market is saturated, marketers have shifted to “training pants,” which to my eye look like bigger diapers with less absorbent material and more elastic. Somewhere in the middle of all of this are things we actually need to care for our little winged one. We turned to friends who are parents, and have gotten some advice, but there is still a lot of research to do before plunking money on a counter for these very many things.

I also want to note that all of this research takes a lot of time, something I’m not supposed to have much of after the birth. I’d go ahead and get started on reading up about the needs of my someday 6-year-old, but I’m concerned everything I read will be out of date by then. What’s a future parent to do?

Here’s an idea—I’ll attempt to let a lot of this go. One acquaintance remarked to us this weekend that she’d been improperly sterilizing her breast pump tubing, and so fed her daughter spoiled milk for her first three months. Break out the La Leche police! Good thing I could look over and see that the daughter, who just finished kindergarten, miraculously survived such abuse. Maybe we can relax about what kind of trauma our children will suffer at our best intentions.

Of course I’m not suggesting babies should drink sour milk, and of course this mother corrected the way she cleaned her tubes, but we all know that the point is the kid is fine, the mom’s fine, and in all likelihood, breast pump cleaning instructions could be improved.

I suffer from this culturally imposed concern, I know. On Sunday we procured a bouncy seat for $5 from a woman who no longer needs hers. I pointed to two stains on the seat, as if they were clearly live anthrax or botulism toxin. Susanne gave me a look, she of the even-tempered clan, and reminded me that there are still more products out there, in stores across the country, that clean such soiled fabrics. Yes, yes, I nodded. I’d forgotten myself.

Now if I can just remember to stay rational when I haven’t slept in six weeks. I’m sure it’ll be a cakewalk. A cakewalk past the play mat, foam squares, folding playpen, IKEA toy chest, and changing table.

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22 Comments on “Baby Stuff Avalanche”

  1. May 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    That is one lucky dragon!

    It’s true. I gave in to a lot of hype when I was pregnant and probably bought many more things than I ever needed. I had the best intentions, but I’m a hoarder on an average day, so you throw in a baby? I’m screwed. Ikea killed me. Going in there was a big mistake. Don’t follow me down that road. It only ends in bankruptcy.

    • evmaroon
      May 16, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      I have a much easier time not shopping at IKEA after: 1. I’ve seen furniture collapse after 12 months, 2. I read that they don’t include sexual orientation or gender identity in their nondiscrimination policy, and 3. they took 14 weeks to deliver a couch I ordered and then sold it to someone else. Meanwhile, I can’t fault anyone for their good intentions! I hope you’ve forgiven yourself that fault!

  2. Barbara
    May 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    Amazing what you get when you market stuff to slightly traumatized, sleep deprived new parents! It’s all kind of hilarious (at least in retrospect). And frightening. In retrospect the one crucial thing was the DVR. Oh, and lots of diapers. And washcloths. And…

    • evmaroon
      May 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm #

      HAHAHA! I hear you, big time. And I have heard so many stories from friends about the revolving door at Target, in the days after the birth, that I know it will happen to me. Trouble is, Target’s an hour away and there’s no WAY I’m shopping at Wal*Mart. So it’ll be interesting how that aspect plays itself out.

  3. Barbara
    May 16, 2011 at 12:27 pm #

    I cannot tell you the relief L and I felt to go to Buy Buy Baby/Target/etc. at some point in Ari’s early weeks. You may well decide to drive the hour! But aside from the crucial stuff (and yes we could debate what that is, other than more diapers than you think you will ever need) you might hold off, since you don’t know how you guys or the baby will be. (And you will probably have some friend counseling the exact opposite!) The crazy thing is, there are all these things you (feel you) really do need, but then 5 conceptual minutes later you don’t need them anymore.

    • evmaroon
      May 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

      My confusion aside, I think both Susanne and I appreciate hearing what did and didn’t work for other parents, because it helps us have a better understanding why something may or may not work for us. The more distance I can have about products, the less I’m apt to see a product failure as my own mistake. If that makes any sense…

  4. Nicoline
    May 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Kudos to you guys for buying at least some stuff second hand! It’s great fun decorating a nursery, but furnishing and stocking it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. Put it in a college fund, that’ll be a lot more useful to your kid than the latest thermostat-regulated baby wipe warmer.

    • evmaroon
      May 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

      Things like the crib and the car seat we’ll buy new, but unless there’s a safety issue, I have no problem picking up second hand items, and passing them along when the kids have aged out of needing them.

  5. Sarah
    May 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    Trying to laugh…. 😉

    • evmaroon
      May 16, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

      I think I heard a chuckle…

      • Sarah
        May 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

        Small chuckles. ;-D

      • evmaroon
        May 16, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

        I figure I’ll just use the sanitizer from my beer making supplies, and it’ll be fine. 😉

  6. Sarah
    May 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    BTW – you don’t sterilize the tubing. You sterilize the bottles, cones, and diaphrams, depending on brand. And the spoilage rate depends also on the lipase levels produced by the mother, which may vary significantly.

  7. hsofia
    May 18, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    I don’t recall sterilizing tubing – though I did have to replace it once (I exclusively pumped for over a year so my pumps got a lot of use).

    One of the great things about Kidlet being 2.5 years old is that for the last year I’ve been able to breeze right by the baby sections. It’s weird because they are so attractive and call out to me with their cute and handy little things, but I avert my eyes and repeat to myself, “I don’t need anything from over there!” The only time I have to venture that way is to pick up a new sippy cup now and again. Whew! It’s amazing how much that stuff dominates for the first year or so! And then the kid doesn’t need hardly any of it anymore.

    • evmaroon
      May 18, 2011 at 9:00 am #

      I’ll be so excited if I can make it through newborness without turning my house into a Disney installation. Though I suppose it gets worse after that point.

  8. hsofia
    May 18, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Enjoy it while it lasts! These times are all too fleeting.

  9. Gloria Weissman
    May 18, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    Great post, Everett…although I have to tell you that my grandchildren loved those warmed baby wipes (at least we thought they did)! And, let me tell you, it’s even harder for a grandma to resist all these new baby things than it is for a parent. I keep thinking–wow, why didn’t they have that when my kids were babies? Of course, the truth is that babies can sleep in drawers, tolerate an amazing amount of germs, and have a blast looking at a spot of sun on the wall.

  10. IrishUp
    May 20, 2011 at 3:47 pm #

    I’ll confess, I pumped and stored and the whole 9 yards, and didn’t sterilize a damn thing after 1 melted plastic bottle, a thumb burn from said plastic, and a moment to pause and consider: I realized this is more USian germ-phobia. Seriously, breast milk is not sterile *in situ*, right? I just froze my milk right away, and every thing seemed to be fine. I bet this goes against 1.765 gazillion baby-books, but WeeIrish has made it to 8, and his pediatrician (jokingly) complains that she only gets to see him once a year for his checkup now that he’s done with most of th shots.

    So now that you know how negligent a moms I am, you can add salt as needed to the following: the wipe warmer (esp on cold or rainy days) makes the first year of diapering exponentially easier. We did cloth diapering (not for the first few weeks, too exhauisting and heartbreaking when there are 8-12 changes a day!), so I took it to the next level and used the soft cloths they had in the hospital, and I made my own wipe solution so it wouldn’t have petro-chemicals and stuffs in it.

    Also, I figured out that the hospital stay is kinda like a hotel stay. You know how they’ll keep replacing the soaps & shampoo at a hotel if said is opened or gone? They do the same thing with the wipes, diapers, and baby blankets. Every time housekeeping came in, I swiped the goodies into the bag. Next time housekeeping came in, it was all replaced, LIKE MAGIC! Believe me, those extra supplies came in handy that first week when we were going through all that stuffs like gangbusters and too tired to shop.

    I think that the FSM has designed babies to need or want the things you decide against initially, and won’t like or use whatever it is you thought you’d all love. This is why I went 2nd hand for everything that we didn’t get as baby-gifts. I do miss the cute little outfits.Tho his current Emo/Goth sensibilities are pretty cool too.

    You guys sound like you’re having a lot of fun!

    • evmaroon
      May 20, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

      I agree with your strategy, especially as I don’t want to get too stressed out about every little thing. I’m not planning on dropping the baby on its head, but I know I clunked mine more than once and here I still am! I’m happy to hear stories from parents about what they think they did well or wished they’d known before, so I can compare as we muddle through.

      How did you make wipe solution??? What is in it?

      I’m thinking about disposable diapers at first and then reusable, also. I wish there were still diaper services around, but I am prepared to do massive quantities of laundry! I think.

      Thanks for sharing, IrishUp! I think you’ve got a great handle on parenting.

  11. IrishUp
    May 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm #

    evmaroon; I’d be happy to share my wipes method and cloth diapering experience. It would be a rather long post, but feel free to email me (I assume you can see that on your end?) in case you’d rather not have an avalanche of poo-poo advice on this post ;). Just let me know which you’d prefer.

    I will say this, at the end of cloth diapering (using disposables only the first month & for away games thereafter) & reusable wipes (7th gen disposables only for the road), I compared notes with friends whose kid was born almost the same time. We spent about 2300 less than they did through year 4. By which time wI was fully diaper independent (only needing help because little kids’ arms are the wrong proportion to reach ’round back until they’re ~5), while their kid was in trainers. Cloth diapering is often said to lead to earlier PT because the kid can feel that zie’s wet/poopy, and it feel uncomfortable, goes the theory. This seemed to be true for wI.

    However, I think it is contingent on having the luxury of a washer/dryer conveniently located. Or the time to schelp to a laundromat every 2 days early on. But really, that’s how often I was doing laundry anyway. We didn’t seem to be doing more loads of wash than our friends (we have the same size families).

  12. IrishUp
    June 5, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    HAH, finally found it! This is the website I went to for researching eco-friendly earthy-crunchy parenting stuff.

    • evmaroon
      June 5, 2011 at 10:42 am #

      Awesome, thanks, darling!

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