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- There’s a theory that around the third trimester of pregnancy, expectant women go into “nesting” mode. It’s around this time that I also started doing research on what I need to buy for my newborn, making lists, and shopping like crazy. Even with my second pregnancy, though I had sworn I wouldn’t spend as much money and would control my shopping impulses, I still ended up with way more infant onesies than any infant needs (everything was just SO cute).
Having admitted to that, there are still baby items that I regret buying, which I thought I would share with you so that you can reconsider whether you want to buy these items for yourself or as a gift.
Since I was visiting family when I gave birth (aka living in their home), I figured I shouldn’t buy too much “stuff” while there, and should just bring a bassinet with me. The travel bassinet seemed like a good idea because it could be used outdoors, was foldable, and could be placed on the floor.
After my son was born, I realized that my son is huge (aka tall) and thus wouldn’t fit in it very long; babies shouldn’t get any sun outdoors (they need to be covered up, so no need for a travel bassinet while picnicking); and my son doesn’t sleep well in it no matter how many pillows or mattresses we added to soften it up (he preferred sleeping with me, as do most babies, I believe). This turned out to be a pretty pointless purchase that didn’t get much use.
Who was I kidding? I really had this idea that a jogging stroller would motivate me to take longer walks with my newborn baby, and I had a beautiful vision of my husband spending father-son quality time by jogging with the jogging stroller. I had forgotten in my baby fever that a) I don’t like jogging, and b) babies generally don’t like facing forwards. We had a matching baby carrier that fit in this stroller, but then you can’t safely jog with it (well, you can if the ground is flat, but it’s a lot heavier). We actually still own this stroller (stored in the US), but we realistically only used it for hiking (it’s great for hiking, by the way).
Other problems with this stroller (which might not be as big of a problem with other brands or lighter models) is that it’s bulky and too heavy (I think it was at least 10 lbs) for, say, a new mother carrying a baby to stow away and lift into the back of a big trunk. Because it’s designed for outdoor use, it’s also like the SUV of strollers even in US malls, not to mention Beijing. I don’t recommend it unless you really are a fitness enthusiast and know you’ll get a lot of use out of it. Instead, buy a city jogger that weighs between 5-10 lbs.
We now have two Pack ‘N’ Plays, which will honestly just be used as a temporary bed, rather than for play. I have friends who have sworn they’ve survived babysitting gigs with a Pack ‘N’ Play as it apparently allows for multi-tasking, but once the infant parts were obsolete for us, my son was not willing to spend time in the “play” area unless he had company.
I think the pack ‘n’ play has served well for grandparents who would like to have a “play area” where they can store all the baby toys (that get in the way), and for use as a “baby park” when they just need to safely put the baby down somewhere, but I definitely don’t think it’s necessary to buy a pack ‘n’ play for your family home unless you’re an avid traveler.
You actually see these in China more than you would anywhere else, since formula is so widely used in China. I think BHG features one and they often have promotions. The reason we got the formula maker was to give my husband, who was in charge of midnight formula making, a break, but in the end he said it was too much trouble to figure out. I think we still have this in our closet if anyone is interested in giving it a shot…
I bought a baby food processor set (yes, “set”, with recipes and boxes, etc.) thinking I would be this awesome organic food making mom who would make all my child’s baby food and not feed him anything processed–that didn’t happen. We were living in the US at the time where we had significantly more options for baby food for a lot cheaper than in Beijing, so I ended up just holding on to the set. I also introduced solids rather early to my son, since he began teething at four months, so it wasn’t long before he was able to eat off our plates. When we did finally move to Beijing, I actually had visiting family bring a ton of baby food with them!
I didn’t even bring this set with me to Beijing (the electricity is different anyway), but I don’t plan on buying a special set just for baby food because I can just use our blender or food processor. I don’t think it’s necessary for a child to have their own set and clutter up my kitchen.
Don’t get me wrong; this is a lifesaver when you’ve got a lot of bottles (or just two) and you need it cleaned ASAP without having to do much. All you essentially do is rinse and wash the bottle with a bottle cleaner, make sure your sanitizer has water in it, and then press a button. It’s done in just a few minutes!
The reason I wouldn’t recommend it is because it loses its functionality after about six months to a year (once you’ve introduced solids) and then you’d be better off with an overall dish sanitizer where you could put your kid’s plates and spoons as well. We had this pictured model (which is a bigger model–Avent has smaller ones too), but you still wouldn’t be able to fit a full size plate in it. The dish sanitizers come with fancy new technology and don’t all rely on water (laser is popular) and it’s just a better investment.
Again, this is one of the items that I loved in the beginning because it allowed me to take a shower even while my son was awake (usually he’d fall asleep in five minutes), played classical music that I was tired of playing from other sources, and could put my son to sleep without me having to cradle him constantly. Overall, not a bad investment.
However, just like with the sanitizer, this swing loses its value after a few months due to two things: the limited movement (back and forth) loses its novelty after a while (and thus fails to induce sleep), and the weight constraints (my son was very chubby at six months). A better investment would be a Glider, especially the one from 4Moms (4Moms Mamaroo, cheapest at RMB 1,558), which has various different movements (we tested them out at Toys R Us and when our son would cry we’d just change the direction or the movement setting until we found one he liked), music, and a higher weight limit.
8. Car Mirror
Not a mirror for you, but a cute mirror to place in front of your infant carseat with lights, music, and animation–usually with a remote control as well. We bought one and didn’t get any use out of it because not only does our son absolutely hate carseats, even if you sit next to him, but he screamed at the top of his lungs as soon as he was strapped in that nothing in the world could distract him from his pain. But it could be that our son is just extremely difficult…
9. Baby Carrier
Actually I had bought a sling first, didn’t use it, and then bought a baby carrier for my husband to use. I will try out the sling this time around and see how it works, but I do regret buying the carrier, which I think was only useable up to 18 lbs. The reason is that I would’ve preferred to buy a more versatile carrier which would allow carrying your baby on your back, or that has an attachable “bump” to take some of the weight off my back.
After birth, my back was very weak and it took months of yoga, weight lifting, and basic muscle building before I could comfortably “carry” my son in front, so most of the time it was my husband who “wore” him. This time I don’t have as much back pain, but I still think that getting a reliable carrier with the “bump” would be beneficial, since the bump is removable and can be worn on it’s own even when your baby has outgrown the carrier itself.
What are items that you regretted buying for your baby? Share in comments!
Photos: courtesy of Taobao sites, Flickr