I always tell people I am SO glad that we did not buy a lot of stuff before the arrival of baby because I (along with many who have gone before me) have discovered that babies don’t need a lot of stuff (good thing too as mommy is a minimalist!)
I think I initially did not buy much because of those minimalistic tendencies and also because I was just plain lazy….I figured there would be time enough when baby came to figure things out (boy was I ever wrong about the latter!!) But now after about a year or so into the adventure I feel it worked out well because babies really don’t need much (repetition for emphasis…;) My two most used baby items (other than the obvious diapers!) would be an Ergo carrier and nursing cover….and both those could be eliminated quite elegantly by a single piece of large cotton fabric (tie baby to you with it and also throw over your shoulder for a nursing cover)…..I’m just not that hardcore yet to take it to that level of simplicity…I do like the comfort?? of the specifically designed items mentioned.
(ALSO we were blessed with lots of gifts and hand me downs such that we have yet to need to buy any clothes for the baby (except 3 sleepers)…I think we could keep going through year 2 on the clothing scene)
Whenever I feel like I ‘need’ a baby item, I think about the millions of babies worldwide who have gone without said item and wonder how their mom did it. I mean what did people do before strollers and sippy cups?? Oh right…they carried their babies on their bodies and they let them experiment with adult drinking implements until they got it and used that. Simple…I mean part of the reason we have all these ‘baby’ items is because of the Western perspective of ‘independence’ for little babies. From birth it seems that babies are pushed towards independence and all these handy dandy baby things help you to keep baby at bay and arms length. Sippy cups are great and necessary if you just want to leave baby to play by themselves and help themselves to a drink, baby gets drink and no water is spilled – yay, right? I know what I write is close to sacrilegious here in our independence minded West but maybe babies were meant to depend on mommies for their drinking until they got steady enough to help themselves? Does a 1 year old really need to be that independent?
The other reason we have all these baby items is simply *marketing*…consumerism. Having a baby is simply another ‘life event’ that corporations have now capitalized on as an opportunity to sell a lot of stuff. I mean it is the perfect storm for consumption….most people going into it want the very best, have never done this before, are emotional, feel pressure to ‘get it right’ (I mean I was constantly asked whether I had finished getting ready through purchasing all the right gear)….every marketer’s dream!!
(Okay I could rant on and on and on…..but need to get to the point of this post)
Shoes. I used to work at a kids’ shoe store in high school. Everyone, including me, would oooh and ahh over the **adorable** size zero Nike’s and Reebok which were not even half the size of my palm but cost about 50 smackeroos. I will never forget what my boss told me about them….”they are more for the parents then the kids”….this excellently sums up a good percentage of children stuff and activities which litter our culture….Imean really your kid is going to remember their 1st birthday party? no of course not…why not just make it a ‘we-survived-one-year’ party for the parents…..so much more real…haha!
(right, but back to the shoes) My boss also told me and I have since confirmed that actually all baby shoes (even the bigger sizes) are actually not as good as children going barefoot. Feet will develop the most properly if the child is barefoot as the child is learning to walk. Doesn’t that make perfect sense? The muscles and ligaments in the foot and ankle need to nakedly encounter the pressures and rigors of the walking regime to get stabilized as they naturally were meant to…I mean shoes are a relatively new invention in our development as a species.
The only challenge is the fact that we have glass and gum and gross stuff on our streets so I guess I will eventually have to put shoes on my little pumpkin….but I am holding out as long as I can….and even then try to limit her shoe usage.(and honestly even at just barely one I feel this invisible pressure to put shoes on her to ‘complete her outfit’ since I see every other kid out there with shoes….but I keep reminding myself that I should focus on what is best for my kid NOT what others think or what our image and stuff-motivated culture dictates….easier said then done….wish me luck!)