It seems so complicated and messy and painful and expensive, doesn’t it? The night wakings, the poop, the tons of crap to buy… Why does anyone even do this?
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY! There are saner, cheaper, easier, proven alternatives.
1. Night wakings – probably the most dreaded of all the sacrifices that are assumed to come with having a baby.
THE STUPID WAY: You will be sleeping in your bed in the middle of the night when suddenly a loud alarm will go off, startling you awake. You will stumble to your feet, gather your nightrobe and slippers, and bump your way out of your bedroom, down the hall, and into the nursery, where you will ascertain that yes, the baby is crying. Probably needs food. You’ll either go to the kitchen to somehow put a bottle of formula together as the siren continues, or you’ll pull out a boob. Then you’ll take baby out of crib, sit in a rocking chair or something, and feed baby, trying not to drop her as you struggle with exhaustion. Forty-five minutes later, with baby sleeping peacefully, you’ll slooooowly, carefully attempt to put baby back in crib and get back to your bed. But it takes another 45 minutes before you actually lie down because every time you try to put her down she wakes up and cries. Repeat 1.5 hours later.
THE SMART WAY: You will sleep in your bed and your baby will sleep right next to you, or perhaps on your chest when he’s still super-small. When baby, still asleep, starts getting hungry and makes tiny noises or movements, you are gently pulled out of your state of deep sleep and become aware that it’s time to feed baby. You shift a little in your bed, perhaps moving baby from the center of your chest to one side. You will help baby (who hasn’t even fully woken up, let alone cried) latch on and then you will lean back in bed, close your eyes, and go back to sleep. When baby is done, you’ll know if you need to shift back to another position. Been told co-sleeping is unsafe? That’s the crib manufacturers’ propaganda! Check out: http://www.phdinparenting.com/blog/2009/1/11/co-sleeping-safety.html and http://www.askdrsears.com/news/latest-news/dr-sears-addresses-recent-co-sleeping-concerns
2. Poopy Diapers
THE OLD WAY: You clean up your kids’ shit for years. Stinky, gross, etc.
THE COOL WAY: You practice Elimination Communication (EC), aka infant potty-training with your child. Now I won’t say you NEVER have to wipe poop off a butt, but I personally only cleaned about a dozen poopy butts before my LO was potty-trained. The idea is very simple: instead of letting baby poop in his diaper, you hold him over the toilet and voila! The poop is where it belongs. Rinse bottom with a bit of water at the sink and you’re done. Obviously it takes some practice and it means really paying attention to your baby’s body language, etc. Which only serves to increase the bond between caregiver and baby. Plus it’s pleasanter, and a really good party trick. Relatives will line up to see your infant deposit poop in a toilet seemingly on order.
THE CONSUMERIST WAY: You buy all that baby gear you see everywhere because it all looks so necessary and plus it’s so cuuuute! What’s not so cute is your credit card bill.
THE CHEAP-O WAY: Here is the list of items you ACTUALLY need to have ready when baby pops out:
- a high-quality wrap
- some tiny little soft clothes
- some cloth diapers
- a car seat
And this one probably isn’t necessary but it sure made my life easier: a yoga ball, to bounce on while holding baby.
ALL the rest is unnecessary. Junk that will make your house a mess and may even be straight up bad for baby. For example: swing chair. You don’t need it. Put baby in a soft woven wrap like the Moby (especially good for small infants) or on your back in a Mei Tai like this one.
Basically, think of it this way: all those products are either trying to imitate something that you can provide better and for free (swing, bouncy seat, crib, etc.) or just try to appeal by their cuteness (decorations, baby blankets, etc.) Newsflash: babies couldn’t care less about the color of the walls, or whether it’s Winnie the Pooh or baby elephants on the lampshade. You. Just. Don’t. Need. That. Stuff.
If you’re wealthy and have lots of time and actually like redecorating in pastel shades, sure why not… But there are much better ways to make good use of the time left before baby gets here. Instead of all the shopping and reorganizing and repainting and redecorating, do this: READ. RESEARCH. PREPARE MENTALLY.