Baby Products that Don’t Suck
I‘ve already listed several (out of many) baby products which are a waste of money. Now it’s time for a few that are worth the expense. Being a great parent means sometimes accepting a little help. Help can come from family willing to babysit or assist with various other tasks and chores. But just as relatives and friends are handy to have around, so is technology and inventiveness. We aren’t cavemen anymore so it’s perfectly within reason to seek ways to make life easier. Here is a short list of useful devices that all new parents should consider buying.
I’ll admit this isn’t exactly a baby product. However, it is a lifesaver for parents who would prefer less stress in their lives. My wife had a conference in Chicago a few years back and brought the kids and I along with her for a mini-vacation. While she was working I took the kids to Navy Pier for a day of fun. One of my kids was just out of diapers and happened to poop his pants while on the ferris wheel. I had no car and no cleaning supplies on me. I had to find a drugstore in the middle of Chicago with a soiled child. I had a GPS in my pocket and simply typed in “drugstore”. A quarter mile later and I had everything I needed. Case closed. Get a GPS.
Every baby uses diapers, but some parents save money by buying the cheap ones. It is better to cut corners somewhere else rather than on diapers. Huggies and Pampers both make excellent ergonomic diapers these days that do a great job of preventing leaks. In a pinch I’ve tried the cheaper brands. They are totally worthless and do nothing for a parent’s peace of mind.
Car seats are really secure little containment units. Imagine being strapped into one without being able to move around and not knowing how far the drive is. Babies and toddlers need to be distracted in the car because there is no way parents can let them know how long the discomfort is going to last. There are plenty of educational and musical DVD’s which babies love. It’s a good investment for a little parental sanity. But wait until the kid is in a forward facing car seat or he won’t be able to see it. When it’s time for a new car, consider one with a DVD. The extra expense will be worth it as baby grows into a toddler.
Baby Bjorn makes a nice carrier for babies. All a parent needs to do is strap their kid into the chest carrier and be on his/her way. The baby loves being close and normally falls right asleep. And, since he doesn’t weigh much of anything, mom or dad can walk around freely without having to steer a stroller around in tight places. When baby becomes too big for the front carrier they can graduate to a Kelty backpack version.
I’m not really talking about the ones that face backwards and that are intended for newborns. Rather, the forward facing models for young toddlers and such. Consider that kids have to use them for about 4 years and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s a really good idea to get one that is sturdy, has some cup holders, and is comfortable. This is an item that even if it’s expensive it gets used every day. Break the cost down by day and it’s obvious how cheap it really is. Also, don’t buy a used model. They have unknown crash histories and are, thus, unsafe.
A mechanical swing is a great way for mom and dad to get a few minutes of rest and let baby be entertained for a while by himself. Any experienced parent will say the same thing. The monotonous sound of the mechanical swing even puts parents to sleep. They are excellent places for babies to take naps. The steady tick of the rocking motion makes a great white noise too.
There are many unnecessary baby and toddler products on the market. There are several though which do make our lives easier. GPSs and Car DVD players aren’t exclusively baby products but I would almost call them essential. Strictly speaking there are almost no products that are absolutely necessary for kids. But, in our modern world, there are a few which come pretty close. There are also some which are required by law such as car seats. When the life span of car seats is taken into consideration it is well worth the small extra cost to get a higher quality model. We have a pretty hard job as parents. Any advantage we can get, and can afford, should be exploited. Sometimes money spent is not missed. When that is the case we know it is not a wasteful.