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.