The thing about most first-time parents is that they have no idea what they’re getting into. Sure they think they know, but then they’re also scared shitless and are inundated with magazines and books and advice and clever marketing strategies that keep them constantly overwhelmed. It’s this state of mind that most baby product manufacturers love. They love to create it and they love to take advantage of it, because if they can convince you that you NEED their product for the safety and well being of your child, they know you’re going to buy it, no matter how incredibly impractical and useless it is.
My best friend Shawna, a very informed and level headed first time parent, ran across such useless baby items when she was shopping for her child and she shared them with me for a good giggle. I’ve highlighted the most ridiculous down below and in the interest of public service, I’ve also listed some more practical alternatives for the first time parent.
Baby Care Timer
Product description: This unique timer takes the guesswork out of keeping baby comfy, cozy and happy. Large display shows the elapsed time since the last diaper change and feeding, how long baby has been awake/asleep.
Alternative product(s): andy clock you already have, common sense
Product description: Want to meet all of your baby’s needs? Curious as to whether your baby is hungry, sleepy, wet, or soiled? Then try the advantages of common sense and the use of any timekeeping device.
If baby is unhappy then check its diaper. If the diaper is soiled, change it. Is baby hungry? Try to recall the last time you fed it, and even if you don’t recall then try to feed it. If it eats, then it’s hungry, if it doesn’t eat – it’s not hungry. Curious as to how long baby has been sleeping? Well it’s never long enough so don’t even bother keeping track. It’s never consistent either so even if you’ve timed every nap and they’ve all been 45 min. long, the one time that you want to take a long soak in the tub, the kid is only going to sleep for about 10 minutes or as long as it takes for you to get the water run and lower your exhausted ass into the tub and then it’s going to start wailing – guaranteed.
Portable Pacifier Cleanser.
Product Description: Dropped pacifiers are magnets for dirt and germs, and that is why Prince Lionheart invented this product! Just place your Baby's dirty pacifier in the spray shield and spritz the dirt away with clean water or antibacterial mouthwash. Unique design keeps clean and dirty water separated. Also great for cleaning Baby's face while you're on the go!
Alternative product(s): Your own mouth, your shirt, your hand/finger, a pacifier leash
Price: free/ .99 -$2.00
Pacifiers can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. However, they pale in comparison to shopping cart handles, toilet seats, restaurant floors, and the bottoms of shoes. These are all things that your child will put his/her mouth on once they reach the crawling/walking stage. It’s inevitable. So really it’s a good idea to expose them to as many germs as possible as an infant just to build up their resistance.
If the pacifier does become covered in some sort of visible dirt or other substance you have several options. You can wipe it on your shirt, or if moisture is required simply lick y our finger and then wipe off the nipple. It works like a charm. Remember that the 3 second rule applies to pacifiers as well as dropped food.
If you’re ultra concerned you may want to employ the use of a pacifier leash. A very inexpensive product that attaches the pacifier to the child’s outfit therefore removing the possibility of it falling on the floor. However this does not prevent the dog from licking it or an older sibling from pawing it excessively right after his fingers have taken a thorough and slimey journey through his nasal passages.
If dirt prevention is your aim rather than simple cleanup. Check out item #3 and its alternative.
Mam pacifier keeper with nipple cover
Product description: The Sassy MAM Pacifier Keeper with Nipple Cover is designed to fit securely around nipple of baby's pacifier to keep it clean. Keeper can be attached to baby's garment making sure pacifier is always within reach.
Alternative product: cleavage
Price: Free/cost of a good plastic surgeon
Let's analyze item #3. That cover is only going to fit over certain brands/sizes of pacifiers and you’re going to lose it within the first 2 days of use anyway. Even if you manage to keep track of it, the inside of the nipple cover is probably going to get dirty and then you’ll just be encasing it in dirt and providing a safe/moist environment for bacteria to grow and breed.
Therefore I recommend my soon to be patented portable pacifier keeper: cleavage (see here for more details). The downside is that you need to have a decent breast size in order to have a sufficient sized cleavage pocket. If you’re only sporting an A or B cup then you’ll have to upgrade before this technique will work for you.
Belle Baby Carrier
Product description: Adjustable Height, Adjustable Shoulder Straps• Features Waist Belt, Ergonomic Design, 4-Point Harness, Sleek 1-Piece Design, Dual Buckles, Locking Mechanism Indicator• Flexible Design, Reinforced Stitching, Ventilated Fabric, Adjustable Straps, Buckle Closure• Stain Resistant
Alternative product: Any baby carrier besides this one.
Baby carriers are fabulous things. I’m not going to discourage the use of this product in general. A good baby carrier should be comfortable, it should provide support for both you and the baby, and it should be covered in a fabric that does not suggest that the child you carry it in was conceived during a sordid S & M encounter. This thing looks like something you’d get at Frederick’s of Hollywood instead of Babies R’ Us.