Buy this, buy that, buy EVERYTHING and you’ll be a good mother! Having a baby is expensive! Or so we’re told. We live in a society that pushes us to BUY BUY BUY. Buy ALL the things! And few events in life push this ideal as effectively as when you enter parenthood. To be a good parent you need to provide for your children, so you need to BUY BUY BUY to ensure that they have everything they will need. What ends up happening though, is that we fill our houses with junk and then we give it to friends who put it in their spare room and never use it either. It might go to landfill, or it might go to the charity store down the street, but we can save money AND save the planet, if we just buy less useless junk.
So how do you know what you genuinely need to enter motherhood? Well it’s tricky, because everyone has a different lifestyle, and a different plan for raising their children, but there are a few things that really can be left in the shops. Here are the Whole Woman top 5!
- A Baby Bath: The idea of bathing your baby is one of the loveliest ideas in the lead up to motherhood isn’t it. We’ve all been swept away by those ads for baby products where the parents gaze lovingly at the cooing baby as they wash warm water over them. Who doesn’t want that moment! So how will you have tha tmoment if you don’t buy the bath ….. well, you still have the moment! You just have it in the bath with your baby, or in the shower iwth your baby. Extra skin on skin time with your baby should never be laughed at, and it’s much nicer than a baby bath which needs to be filled and emptied. A bath with mum or dad will soothe a sad new baby like nothing else, it will help promote breastfeeding, and you get real hugs at the same time as that commercial moment of baby gazing!
- Baby Products: Baby shampoo, baby oil, baby soap, baby skin moisturiser, the list goes on. And none of it is even remotely necessary! Why does skin that is that young need all that fuss? What does a baby do that requires them to have soap on their skin? Why would you want to put all those strange things near your new baby anyway. Read the label on them and you’ll soon see that they’re pretty much a party for chemicals whose names you can’t even pronounce! You might want to give your baby a massage, and that’s fine, but just use some cooking oil (coconut or olive oil are fine). You might want to wash them with something because you’re culturally conditioned to believe that you need to, and if that’s the case fill an odd sock with oats, and use that. The water will go lovely and oaty, and it has a nice soapy feel too, but it won’t dry out your baby’s skin, and since you can eat the oats, and probably pronounce SOCK and OAT, you have to assume it’s better than the stuff you buy.One major brand recently had a recall of their products because they contained cancer causing ingredients. The good news is they’ve now removed those, and the formaldehyde ….. no, really. Now their ingredients list is as follows:“Water, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate , Phenoxyethanol , Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Benzoate, Coco-Glucoside , Glyceryl Oleate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid, Parfum , * The remaining ingredients are essential to blend the product together and maintain effectiveness.”
But there was no list of the remaining ingredients. So, for me, SOCK, OAT, and WARM WATER, really do have more appeal. Despite the fact that this baby bath did actually contain water as the main ingredient. My theory is this. If I wouldn’t put it in my mouth, I’m not going to put it on my baby. Not without very good cause anyway, and washing a baby can be done with things I’ll put in my mouth.
- Bottles, breastpumps, boppy pillows, breastfeeding covers, formula: ANYTHING to do with breastfeeding. Don’t buy it unless you will have an actual, predictable need for it. The majority of women, the vast and overwhelming majority of women can feed their babies if they have good support and knowledge. We have not become the most successful species on the planet without a proven method of feeding our young. A small number of women will have trouble, and if you are one of them, you can always rush out and get the stuff you need, but as it stands, the number one factor that influences breastfeeding “failure” is easy access to formula. You really don’t need anything to breastfeed other than a baby and breasts. Everything that is sold to breastfeeding mothers, is an exercise in capitalism, and nothing more. Many of the things you can buy actually damage a breastfeeding relationship before it is fully established.
- Breast Pump: A pump can not stimulate supply as effectively as a baby feeding directly. Pumping to stimulate supply may actually damage your supply. Pumping exclusively may result in the same.
- Pillow: You get used to feeding with a pillow and then struggle to feed without it.
- Formula: Having formula in the house means you’re far more likely to reach for it, than reach out for support if you run into trouble. The early days can be tricky, but once you get breastfeeding established it’s easy! And free.
- A bassinet: But what will my baby sleep in? There are several options. Firstly, as a very tiny baby they should sleep in your arms as much as possible, so they’re close to their food supply. In a sling, or a baby carrier of some sort works well because you can get stuff done. They can co-sleep with you, you just need to read up on safe co-sleeping. Don’t panic about this idea, we didn’t have cots or bassinets when we first walked the earth, we slept near our babies to keep them safe. Babies are meant to sleep near us! But if you really want something separate for your baby to sleep in, just go straight for a cot. That will last for a few years, and cost about the same amount, as opposed to just a few short months for several hundred dollars.
There are probably a million more things that the baby industry will try to sell you before your baby is even born, this really is just a shortlist. Speak to other mums about what they found useful, many will have things laying about that you can either have, or borrow until they have their next baby. This is what we always did until we started living in a culture that’s obsessed with buying things, and has somehow managed to equate good mothering with being able to buy stuff. Good mothering is about love, not possessions. You won’t always get everything right, but that won’t be dependent on how many things you bought.
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