People expecting their first child often face enormous lists of things that babies need for survival in this unfriendly, cold and rainy world. This Entry will try to help future parents find their way in this neverending ocean of special baby items. Many of the so-called "special baby" things are superfluous and can be substituted by non-special baby goods that can be also used for 'normal' purposes.
This Entry is based on lists of necessary baby items published in several catalogues for baby and child equipment. It includes comments and excludes the chapters on clothing for obvious reasons1. Unnecessary things may still add comfort or merely please the parents. The author hopes that this Entry can help to save nerves and money, both of these could be really needed later.
Baby´s feeding and soothing
Mum´s breasts are doubtlessly the best and cheapest dummies and milk producers, if for some reason they are not avaliable, one will need:
- Some bottles and teats for herbal tea, water or milk
- Some dummies
- Sterilisers are quite practical, but it is better to buy a pressure cooker with a perforated inset. It can be used not only to sterilise baby bottles, teats and dummies, but also for cooking delicious and healthy food for the whole family.
- Many bibs (even for breast-feeded newborn babies) to protect the clothes.
- Bottles warmer for food jars are not really necessary but quite comfortably, the food jars can be also warmed up in a microwave oven or just in a pot filled with water.
- Highchairs (wood: more stable, plastic: easier to clean) with a waterproof, plastic upholstery .
- NO special stay warmplates, if a child wants to eat it should eat, if not, it should wait until it is hungry enough.
- Changing unit which can be later used as normal chest drawer and a shelf, the best ones are those with drawers so that parents don´t have to bow down to the changing unit.
- Shelf above the changing unit where are all the utensils like creme, powder, etc.
- Soft, waterproof change mat
- Radiator is recommendable for babies who are born in winter, so parents can play and massage, being not afraid of a baby catching cold.
- "Nappy wrappers" should be nominated for an award of being the most unecological and unserious invention for very lazy parents. As soon as the child´s excretions begin to smell more intensively one can put a common nappy bin, which should have a top, outside, for example on the balkony.
- NO bathtub with a changing mat, it is too large for every normal bath and there is no need for it.
- Thermometer for bathing water, many parents misjudge the temperature.
- Hooded towels are nice, but not really indispensable.
- NO soap, the baby´s skin is too thin and sensitive for soaps. One should use bathing oil or whey powder, they will protect the baby skin of going dry.
- Bath stands or supports will surely provide a lot of fun, but remember that taking baths is quite unecological and to top it all it dries babies skin too much. Of course, parents can also use the bathing water afterwards or together with their baby and make taking baths more ecological and more funny.
- A bassinets designed to be used for only 3-4 months.
- Crib which can be also used as a junior bed and which has an adjustable slatted bedframe (normally with three levels): for babies who only lie, for older babies who can sit and then for babies or children who can stand.
- A cot bumper is NOT indispensable, because at the beginning babies cannot move. When they learn to move they will only play with it.
- Pillows are NOT recommended, babies do not need them, furthermore pillows are associated with crib death.
- Blankets or quilts are NOT recommended, as they are too warm for babies. Young babies can be swadled in a big woolen scarf or knitted blanket,.2
- Sleeping-bags are very useful for a bit older babies, as they can not drop it.
- Some rolled towels can be used to put the newborn baby in the correct sleeping position (sideways).
Baby on the road
- Good perambulators have air-filled wheels, and can be also used later as a stroller. Some (more expensive) models even have the possibility to put a baby car seat on the carriage.
- Carriers or rucksacks are very nice, since the child can feel its parents´ warmth. However it can turn to a problem for mum´s back if the baby is a little roly-poly.
- Diaper-bags or rucksacks with an integrated changing mat are very handy.
- Fur-sack for cold seasons.
- Monitors are a nice invention, but parents should first check out, if their normal phone has this function as well, some portable phones have.
- Socket covers are important.
- Safety gates for stairs should not also be missed.
- Safety devices for drawers, doors, etc. avoid child getting its fingers caught, but otherwise these safety devices can hinder the child making his, sometimes painful, experiences of the real life. Children learn very quickly that they have to be careful with all moving things and parents can help them by showing how to handle them.
Baby´s entertainment (DO NOT EXAGERATE)
- Some colourful rattles above the changing dresser, the crib or in the pram help keeping baby quiet for some moments.
- Some small bells on a rope will entertain the little one for a while, because they sound and glitter if baby pulls the rope (all ropes should be checked if they are fixed well to avoid strangulation).
- MINIMUM of soft toys, they are just dust traps or dangerous, s. pillows, units, newborn babies do not understand yet what they are for.
- Electronic toys like exercisers should be avoided, they are often too exciting for babies with all their lights and unnatural sounds. After approx. 4 months children can start to play with electronic toys.
- NO walkers, there have been some bad accidents with children in those walkers, eg who falled down stairs. REMEMBER: The best entertainment is the sight of mum or dad running the household or working.
- The playpen shouldn´t be used like a prison, but as a unit where the child can play alone for some time - his own realm. A playpen is a good possibility to protect a child while at the same time keeping it near to his parents, in the kitchen, for example, which is one of the most dangerous places in a house.
This is a short list of things which in the author´s opinion are important to know before getting a child and buying its 'equipment'. Modern society is a consumer society: For that reason many producers play with people's primal fears about babies to earn more money. One (especially women) should not lose their mind and do not let the marketing industry for baby stuff seduce them. The most important thing the little one needs is its mother's love and patience, and not all these material things. The best way through the rough beginnings is to think practical and choosing things that can help you and your child. Good luck and enjoy it! Don´t panic!