If I'd made a list of baby gear and gadgets recommended by friends and family as "must-haves," the list would have been as long as ten Moby wraps tied end to end. Most of that information was appreciated, much of it was priceless, but a lot of it was useless. I don't think that special "must-have" baby bath seat got used a single time with either of my kids. Lies!
But what makes a baby product "good" versus "bad" baby usually has more to do with the baby than the product itself. For example, never was the phrase "every baby is different" so well illustrated as seeing how much my first son haaaaaated the battery-operated swing and then--thank goodness we kept it--seeing how my second son could barely fall asleep without it. The mystery of what baby gear will work for you and your baby is solved only through trial and error, and the solution will be as unique as you and your baby are.
When I think of all the things my babies hated (the swing), things I hated (the sling), and things that just didn't turn out to be all that necessary (the nursing pillow), my two bits of advice are these:
1. Borrow baby gear from friends and family. Try things out with your own actual baby to see if you both like the products enough to buy ones of your own.
2. Getting things for free is even better, whether as hand-me-downs, Craigslist or Freecycle scores, or yard sales. (Just last weekend we showed up at the end of a yard sale and the sellers gave us the Pack ‘n' Play we were eyeing because they didn't want to take it to Goodwill. Jackpot!)
It really would be so much easier if there were a definitive list of things all babies love or hate. But if it were that easy, they wouldn't be babies, and this wouldn't be parenthood. ;)
What were some of the baby products people swore you wouldn't be able to live without that turned out to be flops?
Photo © iStockphoto/kirza