To prepare for the arrival of Billable Baby, I spent many hours reading articles and watching videos about "must-have" baby items. In order to retain some semblance of minimalism, I told myself that my sturdy baby was not going to need wipe warmers or bottle warmers (turned out to be true, phew!) and that the total number of baby products in the house would be capped at 40 (sadly mistaken!). Overall, we did pretty well: three months in, we still do not have a crib or a stroller, for example. Yet, like most parents these days, I too have frantically ordered baby products from Amazon and Target at 4am in the hope that my overnight delivery would be the panacea to all of my parenting challenges. Among these purchases, three turned out to be surprisingly practical and are literally used every day, despite my initial incredulity that they actually make it on to people's registries.
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Is this a spoon? A spatula? A teething toy? No, it's the Baby Bum Brush, and its sole purpose is to apply diaper cream to the baby's bum so you don't have to get your fingers sticky. Sounds extra?! Here is why it is practical: after changing the baby, you always need to bring him or her somewhere, such as a mat for play time, a bassinet for sleep, or a chair for a feeding. When your hand is covered in diaper cream and/or poop, you need to set the baby down on a non-elevated surface (in the process covering baby's clothes or head with diaper cream-covered fingers), rush to the bathroom, wash your hands, and then sprint back to a baby who is probably now screaming. Alternatively, you would need to ask someone else to make sure the baby doesn't roll off the change station while you run to the bathroom. What's more, the Bum Brush's aerodynamic design ensures that it suctions to surfaces and stays well-balanced while allowing you to get diaper cream in some harder-to-reach places.
Because we are lawyers, we need to play devil's advocate. Reasons not to buy this product: (i) your baby never gets diaper rashes; (ii) you love the sticky feeling of diaper cream on your hands; (iii) you have more shopping self-control than we do.
My goodness, I can't believe I've spent nearly 200 words waning poetics about a butt brush. Let's move on.
If you have a baby that drinks from bottles, the Boon Baby Bottle Drying Rack is a godsend. Some drying racks have little stems that hold eight bottles. Is that enough? Not for me at least. Between pump valves, pump flanges, pump bottles, drinking bottles, nipples, pacifiers, adapters, and lids, I have 40+ separate items are in use daily. The "grass" of the Boon Drying Rack allows you to lay out bottles in almost any configuration you wish. The silly-looking flower stems are ergonomically-designed for nipples and flanges (do NOT sanitize the stems by boiling--I learned that the hard way). Everything stays organized, contained, and, mildly aesthetically-pleasing.
Reasons not to buy this product: (i) you do not plan to pump or bottle-feed; (ii) you plan to leave all of your bottles in a machine dryer; (iii) you plan to dry all of your bottles on paper towels because you hate counter space.
When I saw ads for the DockATot, a $175 flat cushion for the baby, I did not understand why people needed to "dock" their "tot" in this overpriced pillow when they could simply put the baby on a blanket or on the sofa. Turns out, babies are constantly squirming, spitting up, drooling, or creating poop explosions (let's count how many times I've said "poop" in this entry). If I had not bought my Baby Lounger ($40 and just as good!), my somewhat fancy sofa would be properly described as "well-loved" in a Craigslist ad right now. Billable Baby loves taking supervised naps in her lounger. During feeds, we place the lounger on the dining room table and feed and burp Billable Baby on it. Needless to say, the lounger has been through many, many washes. But hey, at least the rest of our furniture has stayed safe from the destructive powers of Billable Baby . . . so far.
Reasons not to buy this product: (i) your baby only likes lying in the bassinet (hahahahahahaha butomgwearesecretlysojealous); (ii) you hate your sofa and want to use baby spit-up as an excuse to get rid of it.
Of course, there are many more hype-worthy baby products that did not make it on this list because I was not skeptical about them. The Frida snot sucker, for example, is a tried and true staple in our household. In a future post, I may discuss the spreadsheet I created to track every single (!!) baby product we bought/received/used.
What baby products were you initially skeptical of? What quirky products are your must-haves?