This past week we were in Buy Buy Baby and Chris overheard an exchange between a salesperson and expectant parents. The salesperson was saying something along the lines of, "You need two strollers; an all-in-one travel system and an umbrella." I wondered if it was the same salesperson that was trying to get the prospective stay at home mom to buy a $600 breast pump. I'm not slamming Buy Buy Baby. Their merchandise is amazing and their sales team pleasant - I just don't know that you always get good advice at a mega store.
So, for what it's worth, I thought I would make heads or tails of some of the "stuff" one says you need. These are a few things Chris and I can't live without.
1) Carseat/Stroller: Even in NYC, where you rarely drive, you have to have a carseat and it shouldn't be second-hand. The good news is that many strollers are now "all-in-one" travel systems that include both a car seat and an umbrella stroller. And you don't have to pay a fortune. After a lot of research we ended up with the Combi Travel System.
2) Slings/Wraps: Truth is we rarely use our stroller. Chris and I are attachment parents, and "wearing" our baby is a huge part of that. Having the turtle in a wrap provides warmth and security. It also keeps us hands free. We can fold laundry, wash dishes, push a grocery cart. The important thing about a sling or a wrap, and I've said it before, is to figure out what you're doing. There are a limited number of places that actually demonstrate how to babywear (and that's here in NYC), but you don't want to go into this practice blindly.
3) Snuggle Nest: We co-slept for the first few months of his life. And even now that the turtle spends the majority of the night in his crib, we often first fall asleep together. The Snuggle Nest creates a space just for your newborn, and it relieves many of one's fears about sharing a bed. Even for those that may choose not to co-sleep, the Snuggle Nest creates a smaller, more secure space in a large crib.
4) Boppy: The Boppy is basically a crescent moon shaped pillow that fits around your waist and it's a life-saver for the nursing mommy. It not only cushions your arms, which grow very tired, but creates a comfy place for your little one. The Boppy is also multi-functional, it's a great prop during tummy time, and can help support a top-heavy sitter (under close supervision of course.)
5) Cloth Diapers and Covers. Yes we are still cloth diapering at home. No doubt, it has it's challenges, but again with a little education (it's all about finding a boutique baby shop with sales folk who know what they're doing) it's not too complicated.
I think one of the scariest things about having a baby is the huge unknown: what it's going to cost. There are a of course places we refuse to compromise; where we've chosen to "buy the best."
Like formula and now rice cereal; we choose to go organic. We'll do the same thing when we buy produce for purees. We also buy good skin products: soap, lotion and oils (we like Aveeno Baby and Burt's Bees.) But there are a lot of areas where we have really managed to be frugal. Even now, while supplementing, breast-feeding has continued to save us hundreds, as has cloth diapering. We also have no qualms about accepting and giving hand-me-downs; a practice I fully plan to continue - at least until the turtle demands the latest brand of jeans. When is that - twelve? fourteen?
No matter what Chris and I remind each other that parenting isn't rocket science. And in the same vein, you don't need NASA's budget to raise a kid.