Baby Gear- "Must Haves" I've done without

So-called "must haves" that I've done quite well without:

1a.) Infant "bucket" car seat/ carrier:
The 'bucket' seat
I opted for the 3-in-1 convertible car set.  It was a much more economical option because it will grow with my daughter, from infancy all the way to when she no longer needs a booster seat!  Buying one seat instead of 3?  Yes, please!  No need to spend extra money if you don't have to, right?

     The other motivation for going with the convertible had to do with my desire to not get into the habit of carrying Smooch around in it out of 'convenience.'  Yes, its less convenient to have to unstrap a sleeping baby, especially when the weather is not so nice.  But I'm a firm believer that babies adapt to the life they are a part of.  Smooch transfers to and from the car seat quite easily these days.  And I just don't like the idea of the baby spending most of her life sitting, strapped in, immobile.  Well, I could go on ranting on my soap box about it, but I'll leave it there for now.  ;-)
Travel system

1b) Travel system stroller:
Because we didn't go with the bucket carseat, we didn't do the 'travel system' stroller that usually accompanies the carseat.  We didn't even get that kind of stroller -- we got a nice umbrella style stroller that has the ability to recline, so we could use it pretty early with Smooch.  This was also because we have a tiny little 2-door hatchback car, so space is limited, to say the least!  Mostly, I used my Ergo baby carrier for the first 3 months.

traditional high chair
2.) High Chair:
Because we live in a condo, space is limited, I didn't have floor space for a traditional high chair, so I opted for a portable, 'space saver' booster seat with tray.  Its great because it takes up no extra room than the chair its sitting on, and we can pack it up and take it with us when we're going to be out and about for meals.  I don't know why everyone says you HAVE to have a high chair.  All you really need is a seat that straps baby in, and a tray to put the food on!  Its also incredibly easy to clean, since its all hard plastic, it wipes clean with a damp cloth (no cushions/ fabric to clean).
 3.) Baby bathtub:
If you have both a kitchen sink and a bathtub in your house, this is a completely superfluous item.   When your baby is first born, the kitchen sink is more than enough room to adequately bathe her.  By the time she gets too big for the kitchen sink, she's probably close to being able to sit up on her own, which makes bathing her in the bathtub that much easier.  And really, based on how infrequently you're supposed to bathe a baby, especially at first when their skin is so sensitive, a separate tub seems like a big waste of space. 

4.) Swing:
I decided to wait and see on this item, and found that I never needed one.  Smooch has always been a great sleeper, and when she's awake, she wants to be a part of what is going on.  The swing also goes along the same lines as the car seat -- I didn't want her to spend a lot of time in it anyway (laying on her back, immobile), so I found there was no use having one taking up a TON of space in our small home.  I made the decision before she got here that, as often as possible, her sleeping would be on her tummy, in a bed-- either her crib or the pack 'n play, because I think this is much healthier for babies.  I will go more into this later...

5.) Baby monitor:
Primarily because we have a small, one level, condo,  I found there was no need for a baby monitor.  Even though Smooch sleeps in her own room, it is right next door to ours, and we leave our door cracked about 4 inches and hers closed but not latched.  This way, we can hear her when she is really stirring/ waking, and all the little grunts, squeaks, and funny sounds that babies make in their sleep go unnoticed.   This allows her to have an uninterrupted sleep cycle, because we don't jump up and get her every time she squeaks.   If we had a monitor in our room, it would be just like having her in our room, where we would be listening to every single noise, and nobody would be getting any sleep.   I will say, however, that I was given a video monitor system, and it has come in very handy at my in-law's house, which is a split-level, and very large, and Smooch's room is far away from everything else, so its very hard to hear her. 

6.) White noise machine/ lullaby player:
I'm not a huge fan of items that become necessities for sleep -- sleep aids.  You know, when the baby can't go to sleep unless the lullabies are playing, or the white noise is rustling?  Babies whose sleep is so temperamental that even the slightest noise beyond a constant drone causes them to wake?  Babies who can't sleep anywhere but their own beds, because that's where the noise machine is?  I actually did the exact opposite with Smooch.  From the day we brought her home from the hospital, I did my best to not change my habits when she was asleep.  Laundry still needed to be done, dishes washed, bathrooms cleaned, floors vacuumed.  She slept in a Moses basket for the first 2 1/2 months, and I would put the basket in the living room where we were during the day, so she learned to sleep with lots of noise all around.  Now, to be fair, I do have a small desk fan in her room for ventilation.  And when something is going on out in the living room, I'll often put the dryer on (there's only a wall between it and her bed), to drown out the fluctuations of conversation or a movie. 

7a.) Swaddling Blankets:
This may be controversial, but I didn't use these because I slept my baby on her tummy from the day she was born.  Yup, even at the hospital, I would unwrap the nurses' swaddling as soon as they left, and flip her over to sleep.  The main reason people use swaddling blankets is because newborns have a startle reflex when they are sleeping, so that if they are laying on their backs, their hands flail into the air, and it wakes them up.  Swaddling them helps keep their hands from flailing.  However, if they are on their tummies, the mattress is there to keep them tucked in, so their sleep is undisturbed.  A swaddled baby is completely immobile.  They cannot work their arm and neck muscles by pushing themselves up.  They don't even learn to turn their head from side to side.  It seems to me to be the most unnatural way to try and 'help' a baby sleep.  It looks incredibly uncomfortable.  And you don't know how many moms I've talked to who said their child refused to keep his hands inside, which then defeats the purpose of the swaddling. 

7b.) Sleep Positioners:
Sleep positioners are used to keep babies on their backs, when they get old enough and strong enough to figure out how to roll over.  Because a baby who doesn't spend time on his tummy (awake or asleep) often freaks out when they end up on their tummy.  And so many moms today are terrified of their baby dying of SIDS, even though a baby who can roll over on his own is pretty much out of the 'danger zone' for SIDS.  So instead of allowing nature to take its course, these complex foam or strapping mechanisms prevent them from rolling over. 
I have a lot more to say on this topic.  I will devote another entry entirely to my philosophy on tummy sleeping... in case you are curious.

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