The anticipation of the pending arrival of a first baby gives most of us a terrible dose of consumeritis. New baby on the way? Get the stuff in. ALL OF THE STUFF. When you haven’t got a clue what to expect and websites, magazines and work colleagues have a “list” that they want to share with you, it can be very hard to tell the wheat from the chaff when it comes to getting ready for a baby. I was no exception to this rule and bought plenty of tat that we had to have that just never got used. I thought I might share with you today the 9 most useless things that I bought when I was pregnant or in the first couple of weeks with a tiny baby. Without much further ado and in no particular order:
1. Bio oil
Ah I’m being a bit unfair singling Bio Oil out when I probably mean all stretch mark prevention thingies but this is the one that I used – twice a day – from my first trimester. I harbour very bitter feelings towards it. I bought into the hype, massaged my growing bump morning and night, even though I thought it felt gross – with a smugness reserved for the unprepared. In the back of my mind, I really knew that stretch marks are largely influenced by genetics and my own lovely mother had given birth to four fine sized babies without a mark to be seen anywhere on her belly so I thought I was on the pig’s back.
Turned out I probably have my father’s genes when it comes to stretch marks because they’re still effing there! They’re contained to a small area under my belly button but laughing their holes off at me all the same. The really annoying bit is that I think they only really appeared once I went over the 40 weeks’ mark so I nearly escaped them.
But here’s the punchline! After the birth, I spurned the useless Bio oil and its false promises but – rather than realising the pointlessness of some products – I replaced it with Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for stretch marks to undo some of the damage for months afterwards. Don’t think that worked either but it sure did smell nice. The power of advertising is alive and well people!
2. Newborn hats
I bought loads of these. I was given loads of these. I’d heard women had been given out to in the maternity hospitals for not bringing in a hat to put on their baby’s head whilst in the sweltering, subtropical communal post-natal wards. Pip was born in June. I had all the winter, fleece-lined insert thingys in the buggy and he was wrapped in a blanket most of the time. The last thing the child needed was a hat. When we were at home, he spent most of the time in my arms or on my chest. No need for the hat there either.
Not a million miles from hats, we have mittens. I think I had over 20 pairs of these. People seemed to lash a pair of mittens in with every present. But seriously, WHY? Yes, yes , I know, so they don’t scratch their little face but come on! They’re not talons. Newborns naturally lift their hands to their little gorgeous faces when they’re sleeping or for comfort. It almost seems cruel to lash a pair of mittens on them. So I didn’t. Hundreds of mittens anyone?
4. The tummy tub
This seemed like a revolutionary natural parenting concept to me, me fella and my bump when we were out shopping
for baby stuff. A lovely bath that replicates the closeness of being in the womb. Ah! We spent 30 quid on one. We didn’t buy the stand for another €35 though, TG.
It was one of the midwives who pointed out to me that it was in fact a bucket. A big old expensive bucket with a picture of a baby on it, but a bucket nonetheless. The thing scared the SHITE out of me. Bathing was a two man job at the start. I think I tried to wash the baby in it twice on my own but stopped after that because I thought a) I’d drown him and b) he was slippery like an eel in the thing. Setting it all up was like a military operation in itself. My husband loved it though. He was very good at it mind.
Along with an industrial sized tub of sudocreme, I bought a big jar of vaseline. As a “barrier” apparently, even though I didn’t actually know what a barrier was. I’m still a little unclear actually when I think about it, but I think it’s to provide a layer of protection over the baby’s bum after they have peed so they don’t get nappy rash.
Here’s the bit I never got though: if your baby’s bum is already beautifully perfect, soft and irritant-free, why would you slather a product down on top of them if they don’t need it? If he had a sore bum, which happened rarely, I put sudocreme on it and it went away. Never touched the vaseline. Hardly a bank-breaking expense I know but it took up valuable real estate in a baby drawer squished in with a whole bunch of other unused products for a long time. I think the seal is still on it actually.
6. Cotton buds
Why? Because they’re small and cute? What do you do with them? Now, cotton balls – there’s a product I wish I’d taken out shares in.
7. This yoke
So we thought this looked cool when we were in Ikea. It was a lovely colour and fitted in well with the other nice colourful Ikea things we had bought to decorate the nursery. We thought we could store baby items in it like muslins and mittens, socks etc. We lost count of the amount of times the yoke fell out of the ceiling. Sometimes it just lay on the floor for weeks and we plucked things out of it until himself decided to give it another lash and drilled yet another hole in the ceiling. It all got a bit serious towards the end and he resorted to some hardcore ceiling hook bored into the frame of the house thing and now I reckon it’ll hang there forever. It’s completely empty now. Just hanging there. As I said, useless.
8. Nursing cover
This was a very pretty item that I picked up in the first few weeks of breastfeeding when I was still finding my feet with that initial latch and was having some serious spray problems that I was trying to get under control. It wasn’t cheap – maybe €25? It turned out to be a huge hindrance instead of a help. Pulling it out, fitting it on, trying to get the baby underneath it and not freak out at being covered up made it quite the cumbersome accessory. I ditched it after about three outings I think. Now I see how it could probably be really handy for someone who was super-uncomfortable with feeding in public and it was this way or not at all, but really it wasn’t for me. Very, very pretty though.
9. Buggy umbrella
Have you ever used a parasol on a buggy? Did you find yourself stopping every 30 seconds to readjust it to keep the sun off the baby? Did you quickly realise you were wasting your freaking time? Me too. Of course I HAD to have the special one that matched my buggy. Dropped 50 squids I didn’t have on that one. I think there was no meat for a while. Might as well have shoved it up my arse.