In my last post I talked at (very great) length about all of the baby products we’ve been finding most useful lately, so today I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some of the products we didn’t end up using, even although we were sure we’d love them.
Now, before I go any further with that, I’ll just quickly caveat this post by pointing out I’m in no way claiming that these products aren’t any good, or that they won’t be useful to anyone – they may not have worked for us, but obviously all babies are different, so that doesn’t for a second mean they won’t work for yours. And, with that out of the way, here are some of the baby products we didn’t really use…
The carry-cot attachment for the pram
Our pram – sorry, ‘travel system’ – came with both a stroller attachment, and a carry-cot attachment. Naturally, then, for the first few months of Max’s life, we didn’t use either of them, preferring to simply clip his car seat into the wheel base (almost) every time we went out, instead. GAH.
I was actually quite sad about this, because, on the few occasions we DID use the carry-cot, I thoroughly enjoyed pushing Max around in it. The thing is, though, because we live in a tiny village, which doesn’t really lend itself to walking much, we tend to drive pretty much everywhere (Yes, we are terrible people, we know…), and, once we reached our destination, it was always just SO much easier to quickly transfer the car seat onto the wheel base, than to faff around trying to get a sleeping baby out of his car seat and into his pram without waking him. And, Lord knows, if there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s faffing.
We DID use the stroller attachment once he was old enough for it, so the travel system wasn’t completely wasted, but I could probably count on one hand the number of times we used that carry-cot, and I’d alternate between feeling mildly jealous of all the other mums I’d see pushing their babies around in beautiful prams, and very relieved that I hadn’t attempted to make the switch. Anything for an easy life, you know?
Speaking of prams, though, because we didn’t really use the carry cot much, it meant we also didn’t have much need for…
Pramsuits, for the uninitiated, are those little fuzzy all-in one suits you put your baby in to keep him warm when he’s in the pram. Because Max was born in the icy depths of winter, I had quite a few of these lined up for him, and, I’m not gonna lie here, I couldn’t WAIT to dress him in them: especially the ‘Little Lamb’ suit my mum bought him when I was about 5 minutes pregnant. Like, if I’d made a list of ‘Reasons to Have a Baby’ (And I actually DID make just such a list, now I think of it…), it would’ve read:
01. Getting to dress the baby in a pram suit designed to make him look like a lamb.
02. Ummmm… ?
So, I was looking forward to this whole ‘pram suit’ business, basically.
Well, I mean, see above, really. Max’s car seat had a foot-muff attachment which was basically just a giant sleeping bag which you zipped the baby into, like so:
This was warm enough for him to be able to just wear his regular clothes underneath, without the need of any extra insulation – especially given that we weren’t really spending long periods of time outdoors (Most of our early excursions were to places like malls or, well, garden centres, all of which were hotter than the surface of the sun…), so it wasn’t until Max was almost a year old that I finally got to realise my dream of dressing him like a lamb:
(This wasn’t the original lamb suit my mum bought when I was still pregnant, needless to say: that one didn’t actually fit him until the middle of the summer, and then he’d grown out of it by the next winter, so, yeah, it just wasn’t meant to be, really. Thankfully, though, this story does have a happy ending, as my little cousin had a baby in January, and in Canada, so the lamb suit went off to her, and we all lived happily ever after, dressing our children like lambs at every possible opportunity.)
A bottle warmer
Yes, we totally bought a bottle warmer, thinking we’d plug it into the car, or use it in garden centres restaurants to warm up bottles on the go. It’s still in its box to this day, as far as I’m aware. I’m not really sure WHY we didn’t ever use it, really, but it probably had something to do with the fact that, every time we left the house in those first few months, we were both laden down like pack mules, and stressed out of our minds, so I’m guessing that bottle warmer just felt like one piece of equipment too many? Or something?
One of the baby products I was really surprised we didn’t use was a movement monitor – one of those little gadgets that clips onto the baby’s nappy, and alerts you with a sound if senses the baby isn’t breathing. We’d had one of these recommended to us by friends, and, as I’d (correctly) guessed that I’d come home from hospital absolutely consumed with anxiety about the possibility of something going horribly wrong while he slept, I was 100% sure it would be inconstant use.
I’m tempted to say it was just down to our ineptitude as new parents, but, then againAgain, though, that thing is still in its box to this day. We did INTEND to use it, but, honestly, for the first few nights after Max was born we seemed to be changing him constantly – both his nappies, and his clothes. This was partly due to his reflux, which meant he’d frequently throw up and soak himself, but it was also due to the fact that his nappies just kept on leaking. To this day, I have absolutely no idea why or how this happened: I’m tempted to say it was just down to our ineptitude as new parents, but, then again, changing a nappy isn’t exactly complicated, and it’s not something either of us ever struggled with, so, thinking about it now, I wonder if the nappies were possibly the wrong size, or just not a great fit for him, or something?
Whatever the reason, though, as I said, we seemed to be constantly changing him, and that was hard enough in our sleep-deprived state without us having to think about removing and replacing the movement sensor every single time, too. (Also, I’ll just admit here that I was so completely overwhelmed by everything in those first few days that the thought of having to read the instructions on the thing and figure out how it worked was just totally beyond me. I’m not proud…) So we kept on promising ourselves that we’d start using the movement sensor soon, and we just never seemed to get around to it. This didn’t stop us buying a SECOND movement sensor – this one a mat designed to go underneath the baby’s mattress – and not using it either, though. I just… I have no idea what we were thinking, I really don’t.
Slings / baby carriers
I realise this admission is going to alienate most of my fellow parents, all of whom seem to swear by slings and baby carriers, but I guess there has to be SOMEONE in the world who doesn’t get on with slings, and, well, it looks like that person is going to have to be me.
When Max was small, we tried a couple of different carriers, and we also had one of those fabric slings that you wrap around your body, and which are totally incomprehensible to me, I mean, seriously. I’m sure people are going to tell me I obviously just didn’t try enough of the things (I know a lot of parents recommend finding a local sling library to find the one that works best for you…), and they’re probably right about that, but, to be totally honest, while the baby carriers we tried all did the job perfectly well, I just didn’t ever find them particularly useful.
For me, the main benefit of using a sling would be to allow me to be hands-free, so I could do all of the things that were impossible (Or at least much more difficult) while carrying a baby around with you. What I found, though, was that, while he was strapped to me, I still couldn’t do many of those things: yes, I could walk around, rather than being stuck to the couch all the time, but I couldn’t easily bend down to unload the washing machine/dishwasher, say, and I couldn’t really sit at my desk and work, either. I also found it a bit of a faff getting Max in and out of the various carriers we tried, and, well, you how I feel about faffing, right? Right.
In fairness, Terry DID use and like the baby carrier, so, as with everything else on this list, it’s purely a personal preference – and at least one of us got some use out of the things!
Finally, our number one waste of both money and space: the playpen.
We got this once Max was old enough to start sitting and standing on his own, and we had great hopes of it. Our main hope was that, if we put it in our home office, and filled it up with toys, Max would consent to play inside it for long enough for us to be able to answer some emails, or do a little bit of work. Well, all I can say to that is HAHA, NOPE.
Max absolutely refused to play in it unless one of us was in it with him. Even although the playpen was in the same room as both of us (It actually took up so much space that it was almost touching the back of my desk chair) Max absolutely refused to play in it unless one of us was in it with him. Any time we tried to get him to play in it alone, he’d just stand at the side crying for us, and reaching out to try to grab me – which, of course, was heartbreaking, and totally impossible to resist.
Once I got into the thing with him, he’d happily settle down and play with his toys, but, for Max, the best thing about the playpen was standing outside it, repeatedly opening and closing the gate of the thing – which obviously completely defeated the purpose of having it in the first place. I mean, we could just have set up the section with the gate on it, really – at least that way it wouldn’t have taken up the entire office.
We persevered with the playpen for a good few months, always hoping that Max would eventually reach a point where he’d be happy to be inside it. That point never came, though (And, even now, there’s still approximately zero chance of Max remaining in the same place for more than a few minutes at a time…), so we finally decided to cut our losses, reclaim our office floor, and sell the thing on Gumtree – which was where we’d found it in the first place.
Of course, the playpen was almost immediately replaced with the play kitchen – which he thankfully DOES use – so, when I say, “reclaim the office floor” I obviously mean, “not really, though.” Still, we’ll get the space back some day, I’m sure: just not any time soon…
What were your worst baby product purchases?