Sunday, July 01, 2007

Things Nobody Tells You About Being Pregnant, Part 7: The Gear

Sure, everybody knows a baby needs stuff. And stuff is stuff, right? Wrong. I have never seen more variety and different levels of stuff for someone who doesn't give a rip about it, much less even knows it exists. And technology has only made things more complicated. Let me explain.

Let's start with a simple thing like diaper rash ointment. Ointment is ointment. No, apparently it's not. Because you can get ointment that costs $1.49 a tube all the way up to $6.98 a tube. Is it all the same? I have no idea. Maybe. Does the cheap stuff work just as well as the worth-its-weight-in-gold stuff? I guess that depends on the rash and the rear. Is it the packaging that makes it cost more? Perhaps. But you have to admit that Boudreaux's Butt Paste (one of Husband's favorite things on the registry, by the way) is a lot more fun than the plain blue and white packaging of the old standby that was probably used on my hiney.

Moving on, let's address the baby monitor. When I was a kid, the baby monitor was your ears. You tiptoed down the hall and listened. Effective. Free. Long range? Only if the kid was really screaming - arguably the only time you really needed it to be long range. I remember when Mom bought something we thought was the coolest thing ever, from Radio Shack, of course. It was a plug-in intercom system. You just plugged the thing into an electrical outlet, selected your channel, pressed a button, and you could actually talk to someone in another room with their intercom unit. It was like a grown-up version of the Fisher Price walkie talkie we all had (or desperately wanted) as a kid. That was our first (and only) electronic monitoring device used for listening to a sleeping (or not sleeping) baby. It had an awesome feature where you could lock the button down and it would constantly monitor the sound in the room. What an invention! I would daresay that Mom and Dad probably still have those intercom units around the house somewhere.

As we were shopping for a baby monitor, Husband and I discovered the plethora of monitors that parents can now use to keep tabs on their sleeping child. It is, in a word, insane. You start with the bare bones model for around $20 that strictly lets you hear what is going on in the room, as long as it is not plagued by interference from cordless or cell phones, radios, etc. since it uses an analog signal. Then of course, are the digital monitors that don't rely on the staticy analog signals. Then you move up to the monitors that have lights that accompany the level of sound, so you don't actually have to have your end of the monitor turned up to know if there is noise in the room. Also good if you are hard-of-hearing, I suppose. Then come the monitors with extra monitors built in. There is a motion sensor monitor that alerts you when your pet enters the room. There's also a monitor that keeps tabs on baby's heartbeat - just in case hearing the kid breathe in and out isn't enough. Then, you really get into the mega bucks with the video monitors. Yes, I said video monitor. Of course, they come in various levels too - black and white, color, multiple "parent units," etc. I've seen those priced as much as $300.

And of course, there is the whole car seat and stroller debate. Do you buy them separately or as a combo? Do you spend a little or a lot? Whose safety ratings do you believe? Which fabric pattern do you want? How much does it weigh? (Yes, believe it or not, that seems to be a hot question.) Is it easy to maneuver? Will you be using it for strolling or jogging? Because if you jog, you know you're supposed to have a different kind of stroller for that, right? And then you should buy the bug shield, the rain shield, and the sun shield to go with it. And then if you plan to go "off-road" with your stroller, you should have one that has all-terrain wheels. You think I'm joking, don't you? I am most certainly not.

And don't even get me started on diapers. Bottom line, you are buying them for the kid to poop in. Who cares what package they come in or what designs they have on them? Doing their job is the most important criteria here.

That's as far as I'll go for now. If you're anything like me, your head is spinning just thinking about all the options and wondering what really is a necessity. As an up-and-coming parent, you're made to feel that if you "settle" for the bare-bones model, you are somehow putting your child's life at risk. Give me a break. Babies existed long before any of the gear we buy for them did. Sure, stuff is great to have, and it probably makes life a whole lot easier. But moms and dads and babies for that matter, survived and thrived without it. I guess we could too if we wanted to. But sometimes it's just better to get the stuff. Especially when you can have something fun like Butt Paste.

Entire What Nobody Tells You Series:

Part 1: You Always Have To Pee
Part 2: Snot and Boogers
Part 3: Weight Gain
Part 4: Clothes and Fashion
Part 5: The Ugly Baby
Part 6: The Loaded Question
Part 7: The Gear
Part 8: Your Crazy Mind

And then:

Some Pregnancy Advice
Some MORE Pregnancy Advice Pin It


  1. I think that Mom and Dad DO still have those intercoms. I used the often when I would babysit. Hide one in the house with the button locked, and put one in the shed with me. AWAY from the siblings! I, however, do not remember when Mom bought them. They've just always been around.

  2. Oh, we should talk. As for monitors, we used one, but I quickly found out that unless we had a fan blasting in my face at night, my baby need no more than whimper and I was awake. This is coming from a girl who could sleep like a rock. As for all the other stuff, it's all a matter of opinion. I'm anxious to see what all you get, though. Opening gifts for your little one is OH SO fun!!

  3. Yes, the gifts have begun to trickle in, and it is a lot of fun. Part of the trouble with registering though, is that Husband and I didn't agree on the best choice for some of those things. So we may have to duke it out over a few items later! Ha!

  4. I think I have to know where you registered for something called Butt Paste though... cause I have some baby showers coming up! :O)
    I live for the unusual.

  5. Where else but good ol' Wal-Mart? You know if they don't have it, you probably don't need it.