Baby Must-Haves I Do Not Have

I have 8 friends and family members who are due to have a baby this summer. While a handful of them will be second time moms, the majority are first time moms and this post is for them. When I was pregnant with Calvin, it was the slow season at the hotel, so I had an enormous amount of time to fill, and how did I do it? Why, I read mommy blogs of course! Most of the time I laughed at them and thought “Why do they think they need that?” I made it an informal goal of mine to get away with as little as possible.

So here is my list of baby items that our family (somehow) lives without. Hopefully it is a nice break from whatever else all you expecting ladies are reading.

(disclaimer: I realize that everybody is different, so while some of these things are items I do not need, I fully realize that your baby and family work differently and may need them)

Pre-Baby

A specially shaped pillow – You know, they look like question marks or wonky noodles and run you about $70. I simply used a single pillow I already had and stuffed it between my knees. Tim never complained about losing bed space, and I was as comfy as a pregnant lady can be.

All those books – The only book I read during pregnancy was a comedic one that my brother gave to Tim, from a dad’s perspective. Some people like to be informed about everything, and I do too, but I prefer relying on the experiences of friends and family, and then if I still have a question, I go to sites like Baby Center or What To Expect. Rarely have I learned something useful from them though. When you have a baby, you will be surprised at how much you know how to do simply by instinct.

At the Hospital

A fresh pedicure – I am not a “must be pampered” kind of girl. I have had a real pedicure twice in my life, many moons ago, not even for my wedding. One of my labour nurses actually asked me why I didn’t have one. I thought it was funny, if not a little rude. Yes, maybe I would have liked it if I shaved my legs, but whatever. Those nurses and doctors see a lot worse than hairy legs and naked toe nails. Save your money, you will survive.

A special hospital gown – now this is probably one of the most ridiculous things you can buy. Many women purchase their own special, pretty hospital gown for labour. Why?! The hospital provides one! Who are you trying to look pretty for?

enough outfits – the best thing to remember is that the hospital provides everything you need postpartum. That includes clothing for your baby. No need to pack several suitcases. Tim and I went in with my diaper bag and a backpack.

your own underwear and hygienic items – I found the underwear the hospital provided to be the most comfortable. They are super thin and stretchy so it doesn’t dig in to any uncomfortable or swollen areas. Also, the pads they provide work just fine. Yes, they are a little bulky, but they are free!

Mom and Baby happy as can be in hosptial-provided duds.

Mom and Baby happy as can be in hosptial-provided duds.

Now That Baby is Here

the best of everything – many moms spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on the best car seats, the best strollers, the best furniture…Don’t go overboard just because you want the best for your baby. Your budget is also important, so if you can’t afford the highest end car seat, just remind yourself that they wouldn’t sell a less expensive car seat if it wasn’t safe.

nursing pillow – I just used a regular pillow from on my couch, or if I was in bed, I used Tim’s pillow. You already have it, it is used for other purposes, and it matches your decor!

nursing cover – a blanket does the same trick. You can tuck the corner between your shoulder and couch/chair or under your bra strap to secure it. If you are still worried about people seeing, it’s their problem that they are looking.

sound machines, mobiles and other distractions – maybe we were blessed with a baby who fell asleep easily, but maybe he fell asleep easily because he never had these things to learn to rely on. I don’t know which is the case, but I do know that we didn’t need these things.

the space stealers – I don’t believe it is necessary to have a play gym, an exersaucer, a swinging/vibrating chair, and all those other brightly coloured, noisy, space hoggers. I had just a swinging chair. It was gifted to me, and I feel like I would have gotten by even if I didn’t have that. Other than that, Calvin was happy on the floor with a few toys to swat at.

special crib sheet sets – the crib does not need a skirt or a fancy blanket and matching curtains.

wipe warmer – pure luxury.

Sophie the Giraffe – okay, this is one item that I do, in fact have, and I like that I have it, however my baby is not attached to it. I think this is a classic case of good marketing. It is a great toy that is fun to hold and squeaks very easily, making a baby happy, but it’s the parent who always gives it to the child and says “it’s his favourite!”, in turn making the child dependent on it. Calvin doesn’t have a favourite anything, except he prefers remote controls to real toys.

coffee every morning or die!! – now this one is very individual. I like a good coffee now and again, but I do not require it to be awake in the morning. Starbucks to me is a treat, not a necessity (well not Starbucks because I don’t like their coffee, but you get the point). I also do not require 8 hours of sleep at night to function during the day, so maybe in that way, I was born to be a mom.

yoga pants – yes, there may be a day here or there where I do not change out of my pj’s if I don’t leave the house, but I do not own sweats and a t-shirt covered in spit up, Lulus of any kind, or whatever you picture in your mind when you think “mom uniform”. Does it really require less effort to put on a pair of stretchy pants than it does to put on a pair of jeans?

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I believe that concludes the list for now. If you were offended by anything I said, please remember that this is what works for me and my family. I like being different than other people, so it’s very much okay that you are not the same as me! You may also have to know my personality quite well to really understand everything I say, but maybe what I say helps you understand my personality.

Over all, I didn’t want to spend uber amounts of money just because everybody said I needed to have this and required that. So I didn’t. Between gifts and gift cards, the only things we spent money on was my diaper bag, cloth diapers, a dresser and a few clothes. Budget is a very important tool in our family, and I encourage all new parents to really think about what you can afford and what you can live without.

I hope this has been helpful for you, or at least made you laugh and wonder what kind of crazy person I am.

And just a little photo of Calvin to round off the post. He loves to explore and found my potatoes. Yum!

And just a little photo of Calvin to round off the post. He loves to explore and found my potatoes. Yum!

Are there items you have for your children that you have learned you don’t actually need? Did you encounter a situation where you needed something you didn’t have?

I recently wrote about what baby items I do have. Check it out!

14 thoughts on “Baby Must-Haves I Do Not Have

  1. Dalila

    We were also on a very tight budget, so we bought second hand as much as possible. I was able to get a great used stroller that lasted for both kids and then went on to someone else. You are right that everything doesn’t have to be top of the line, perfect. Remember, they use these items for a short time and maybe somebody else can get use out of them too. Share your stuff, don’t get sucked into spending money and make do with less if you have less space! Babies don’t care! Put that money into their college fund!

    Reply
  2. Chavon

    I thought I didn’t need a swing. When I was gifted it, I was skeptical–“This is silly” but then Clark LOVED it. He would cry everywhere else but plop him in the swing and he was in heaven. Yes, I could have lived without it–but it was nice to have (for me anyway). When I was a baby, I hated the swing.

    Overall, I agree with pretty much everything on your list (although, I do love my pregnancy pillow). Watch out though, I thought Clark would never be attached to a toy. He totally is now and I have no idea how it happened. “Big Bear” went with him everywhere for awhile. It didn’t happen until he was 2 though. Now we’ve limited “Big Bear” to nap and bed time or if he gets a boo boo.

    Reply
      1. Monika Thiessen

        Larissa, you didn’t get attached to Pinky until Rosalynn came along and started grabbing for it. That’s when you decided that is was only yours and not for sharing.

        Reply
  3. mamastacey

    Your list is great! I think I pretty much have the same ideas you do. Though I did like using our noisy fan in the nursery, especially once we had more than one child. The fan is pretty useless for moving air, but it makes a nice hum, lol! And it’s definitely a luxury, but I love my baby carriers! I have never owned a new stroller, and second hand baby items are usually easy to come by.

    Reply
    1. Larissa Sevenhuysen Post author

      I have one carrier. It’s a simple sling one, so not so great for long distances. I am really hoping to get something like an Ergo one day when I can save up for one, especially when a second baby comes along.

      Reply
      1. Chavon

        Yes, I still love my ergo for Clark! It’s worth it. We are always on a budget too. Mine was a gift but I was surprised how many can be found second hand.

        Reply
  4. Jessi

    If I had things to do over again I would skip the stroller (it only gets used for luggage on the ferry) and start with a convertible car seat instead of an infant bucket seat. That said, I did have an enormous amount of love for Chavon’s snoogle and I’m a little jealous she gets to use it again.

    Reply
    1. Larissa Sevenhuysen Post author

      So excited she gets to use it again!

      I agree with you about jumping straight to the convertible seat. Our bucket seat stayed in the car the majority of the time.

      I do use my stroller quite a bit though. Probably less if I had an Ergo. :)

      Reply
        1. Larissa Sevenhuysen Post author

          For us, we just found it so awkward to lug around because they aren’t the easiest things to carry. We ended up just taking Calvin out when we went to church or somebody’s house so he would just sleep on us. It didn’t fit into our stroller, so we had to take him out of the seat anyway, if we went shopping or somewhere for a walk. Since we never had him in it in public, it made it a lot easier for people to ask to hold him and stuff, which I was totally okay with! Some people aren’t, so the seat provides a nice little shield. :) Also, Calvin was so easy going that if he fell asleep in it in the car, he wouldn’t freak out when we woke him up to take him out. Many people like the bucket/infant seat because they can leave the kid in there if they are sleeping, so as not to disturb them.

          Reply
  5. Rebekah

    I actually scoffed at the wipes warmer – but the baby fussed when we changed his diaper and used cold wipes. The baby’s uncle gave us several gifts, including the wipes warmer, and the baby doesn’t fuss – in fact, he usually smiles at diaper changing time now!

    I also only slept well with a body pillow (but didn’t buy a special pregnancy one – just a regular one) and feeding is so much easier with the My Breast Friend compared to other pillows – so I would say these are good items to have!

    Finally, all “hard” clothes didn’t work for me during pregnancy or after – so I have been living in yoga pants for months! I think this type of thing is an individual choice/preference.

    Reply
  6. Pani

    Totally couldn’t agree more! Thinking about what to budget for in the next couple of months, I have put into question what is a necessity and what is a luxury. There should be more blog posts like this!

    Reply

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