But here's what I consider(ed) necessary (aside from things like diapers, carseats, and clothes) and what I found to be really unnecessary; at least this is what works for our family.
Necessary The changing table. Babies can be changed almost anywhere. When they're little you can even change then in your lap. But we have a couch full of static electricity, and constantly bending to change a diaper is a pain... One of the problems of being tall I guess. Also? With changing tables you can strap your wiggly child in so they cannot escape! Genius! It also keeps all your cloth diapers in one convenient location, which I liked. So for us, a changing table really was necessary.
Necessary. Baby carrier. I wore both kids when they were infants and I still wear Griffin, especially when we go out around his nap time. Yeah, he's heavy, but he sleeps and Poe and I aren't stuck at home during morning naps. Baby carriers are also much more compact than strollers (although we still have a stroller). We can nurse in it as well, which means I can push Penelope on the swings and nurse Griffin.
Unnecessary. Nursing covers. I know a lot of women who love their nursing covers. And I don't have a problem with them in theory (although nothing screams "breastfeeding!" more than a nursing cover), but in practice they just don't work for me. I found it really difficult to latch, monitor progress, and relax. In fact, I couldn't relax. I kept having to check to make sure that nothing was blocking Griffin's airways. I was also fiddling with it so much (and Griffin hated it) that it really got in the way and was too distracting for us both. I actually found a way to nurse without a cover that was much more discreet than using a cover ever was. You couldn't tell I was nursing. And now I've gotten to the point where I really don't care if someone can tell if I'm nursing or not. But I know not everyone gets to that level of comfort. When it comes down to it, women should use whatever they need to support nursing.
Unnecessary.Swaddling cloth. Again, I know a lot of women to swear by these. We swaddled Penelope for a few month and swaddled Griffin for about three days. After that it became too much of a pain. He'd wiggle his way out anyway and swaddling didn't help his sleep at all. It does for some babies, and I know some parents who swaddle their 6month olds. Whatever works, right? I wish swaddling had helped G sleep, but alas it was not for us.
Necessary/Unnecessary.The binky. The pacifier (binky) was a lifesaver with Pen. G refused it and prefers to use me as his pacifier. There are pros and cons to using a binky. I know some people hate them... But they're like anything else when it comes to parenting, they're not inherently good or evil and can be used positively and detrimentally. If your four year old is walking around all day and talking with a pacifier in their mouth then it can actually negatively impact their speech. But if your two year old uses it to get to sleep then it's really no big deal. They're not going to pack the binky to take with them to college.
There are probably a hundred more products I could weigh in on (literally), but I'm done doling out unsolicited advise for tonight :)
I have a couple posts planned on childbirth... Some recent debates have ticked me off and I feel the need to sound off. So you can look forward to (or skip over) that post when I get around to writing it.
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