Shit You Don’t Need to Raise a Baby


When I was pregnant with Isabel, I used to devour little blog entries and articles on major parenting websites telling me everything I’d need for when my bundle of joy arrived. I even had Amanda write me a list of basics based on her experience working in maternity stores.

It’s all bollocks. Every article, every blog entry. Total and utter, mainstream, commercial bollocks.

Oh, we bought the cot bed with the lovely brand new super-expensive mattress. We bought the travel system with the removable car seat that allows you to pop baby in and out without waking them (it never works btw). We bought the bouncy chair, bought the muslins and the blankets, borrowed a moses basket, etc. We were given a steriliser, an activity mat and several months supply of nappies and wipes. I even considered buying the lovely little poopy nappy wrapper (you know, where you drop the nappy in and it automatically wraps it in yet more plastic so you don’t have to touch anything icky and dirty.)

Except … this stuff? This baby paraphernalia? I wouldn’t buy it if I were to start again. Babies don’t need plastic and brand names and parenting gurus. Babies don’t need harsh chemicals in their bath products or wipes. Babies don’t need special sleeping areas, expensive prams and buggies, ridiculous educational toys before they’ve hit 6 weeks old. Oh, and they definitely don’t need poopy nappy wrappers.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that not everyone is as big a fruit as I am. I know that not everyone will want to breastfeed and bedshare until their kid goes to college. Some people object to slings. Lots of mums don’t have the time or the stomach to wash a bunch of shitty nappies. Whatever. But where are the articles that say “If you want to co-sleep, here’s how to do it safely. Otherwise, you will need X crib for X years at X cost.” and “There are many makes and models of pram, or you can carry your baby in a variety of slings.” and “Breastfeeding is best for your baby. Here’s some tips, here’s some numbers to call if you’re having problems. If you can’t, or choose not to breastfeed, here’s how to make up a bottle safely.“?

Parenting is not black and white, you don’t NEED the material shit or thousands of pounds to make it work. Save your money for when your sproglet reaches 17 months old and discovers how to throw a tantrum, you can invest in an alcohol habit to get you through it. Ahem.

Posted in Parenting

9 comments so far

  1. Mumblies said:
    On April 30, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Exactly what I meant when you’d said before how expensive it was to have kids and I said it needn’t cost what they say it does.
    Now all you both have to do is cope with the next 20 years of “Mum can I have… Dad said…” etc and you’ll be do just as well there I’m certain of it. :o)

  2. SarahA said:
    On April 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    I read and was told a lot of times about how we wouldn’t use a baby bath or the Moses basket, for example, which was so untrue for us. Every baby is different but I agree that you don’t need the most expensive of everything. The most used item up until recent for Thomas has been the £5 second-hand vibrating chair (that doesn’t vibrate!) that we got off a car boot sale. Other friends have spent £40-50 on their seats and the babies don’t even like them!

    We were lucky though in that we were lent most stuff besides the car seat, pushchair and carriers. Saved us spending a fortune and meant we could plan and see what we needed :)

  3. Rhys L said:
    On May 1, 2011 at 2:09 am

    I think people try to make everything far too sterile for babies/kids. If humanity continues to sterilise everything, before too long the immune system won’t exist.

    My parents couldn’t afford anything new, and pretty much everything I was raised on was second hand. As for sterility, well I remember sneaking around to the drum out the back where the dog food was kept and sharing it with our Staffordshire Terrier. I used to eat the red ones, and I gave the white bone looking ones to “Mark”. These days, I rarely get sick.

  4. Cori said:
    On May 1, 2011 at 6:18 am

    True that, lady! Andrew and I bought every single plastic and shiny thing we could get our swollen fingers around (he gained some sympathy weight, I say it was from the drinking from having to put up with me pregnant) and Claire didn’t even use a third of it. We donated so many clothes with tags still on them because we put her in the same five or six onesies and body suits because nothing else we bought her fit her properly. Half of her toys were ignored, and those she did acknowledge just angered her. The stroller that came with her travel system was huge and always such a hassle to fit anywhere. Thankfully with Logan we’ve learned that hand me downs are awesome, and just because the magazine says we need it doesn’t mean we’re terrible parents for not getting it.

  5. Heather said:
    On May 4, 2011 at 3:13 am

    What about the toddler high heels I saw at JC Penney? Perfect for a little one learning to walk, right?

  6. Jem said:
    On May 4, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Seriously Heather? You have to be shitting me.

  7. Bobbi-lee said:
    On May 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I love you!

  8. Heather said:
    On May 4, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    This might not be the *exact* one that I saw, but it gets the point across… found under the header “infants and toddlers”

  9. Arwen said:
    On May 6, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Not that I ever plan on having children of my own, but I agree with this entry. Maybe it’s in the way we were raised. I know that for me and my sisters, my parents used none of that fancy shmancy uberbabytechnology stuff with us… then again, there was less of it around at the time, but still. It’s best to keep things simple, especially with something that’s already as complex as child-rearing.