Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Baby-Industrial Complex....or something like that

Walking into a Babies R' Us or Buy Buy Baby can be extremely overwhelming. There are companies out there that have people sitting in a room constantly coming up with crazy shit they think they can get parents and parents-to-be to buy.  Usually they use safety and health as their number one marketing tool, but as we all know, many of the products out there get recalled for one reason or another. It also seems to me that they try to make things have an educational purpose, but is my kid really going to get smarter by using a bouncy seat? I doubt it. Will getting my kid a walker help them walk faster? Not likely.

It's easy to spend thousands of dollars on all of the things baby registries throw at you as "necessary", but let's face it, babies grow fast and in just a few months those Baby Einstein videos will be laying on top of your dvd player gathering dust.  What's a parent to do? 

Hubby and I have already gone into a few of those big baby depot stores a few times.  We walked around, checked out basics like strollers, car seats and cribs and also took note of all the crazy stuff that is completely unnecessary. We've never stayed more than 45 minutes due to the danger of sensory overload and heart attack (when you look at the price tags, it's gut wrenching.)

Today on Off Beat Mama, I read a post about BabyList which sounds like a great alternative to the traditional baby registry.  So now I am considering using them--that way I can register for things from Target, Etsy, Land of Nod, etc. and have it all in one spot. 

Some products that while entertaining, aren't necessary (from my point of view):
1. The baby bouncer. It may make your baby giggle or keep him/her occupied for a while, but at an average of $200 a piece, this just isn't necessary.

2. Cradle swings.  These contraptions are automatic swingers meant to soothe baby and get him/her to sleep.  These average about $150 a piece and aren't necessary. They may make  life easier, but to me its something that I can live without. (also, on things like this we've decided to forgo swings and bouncers and if a few weeks or months down the line we realize we do "need" it, to get it then,)

3. Walkers.  I personally don't think a walker will help a baby walk quicker.  I also have to note that I am rather biased on walkers. When my brother was a baby he would run in his little walker all over the damn house and run into my shins, into furniture, etc.  It was a nightmare.  Also--if the kid can move around quickly in a walker with toys in front of him (they can be attached) and a little tray for snacks, why the hell would they want to walk on their own without these cool things?  At $70 a piece, the walker won't be in my house--and my shins are already thanking me.

4. The digital video baby monitor.  This one is just bananas.  They start at $250 a piece and creep me out a little. I suppose for anyone that has a special needs child this would be good, but to me, just hearing the cry through the monitor would be enough.  I don't need to hear the cry and SEE the baby crying on some screen next to my bed--we all know I am going to go in there anyways and feed/rock/change to make it stop

So that's my view on those four things--obviously we need a crib (though when my mom was born they kept her in a box), car seat, stroller, bottles, and other necessities.  In the meantime I am sure I will find more crap that is utterly frivolous (which I may give in and buy for the cuteness factor.)

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