I’m a smarter mom, the second time around
From clothes to accessories to furniture, here are ideas on what you should buy or recycle
Seven weeks left to my due date and I have yet to buy my child’s stroller and car seat.
Clearly, my attitude toward purchasing for baby has changed significantly from when I had my first child. I’d like to think of it as me and the hubby being smarter, much more prudent, and a hell of a lot more discerning this second time around.
While this attitude shift may be a wet blanket to some excited parents, for after all, shopping for baby is one of the great activities of pregnancy, one must realize how much time, effort and money are wasted when we shop without thinking.
Really moms and dads (and grandparents, too!), do you need to buy another crib when there’s a perfectly good one in your storage room?
The first thing people think of when a new baby comes is fixing a room; I myself fell into that trap when I discovered I was pregnant. I would look at our guest room, constantly, moving things around (against my doctor’s wishes and my husband’s direct orders), trying to plan where this and that would be.
I’d look at websites and magazines, deciding which wallpaper, crib, dresser and changing table I would buy, that was, until my hubby pointed out how my firstborn never actually used his room until lately (he’s now four), and how we ended up giving away all our furniture (which cost us quite a bit as we had just arrived in London and hadn’t learned where to get the best bargains yet!) to people in our friend’s office.
Talk about a killjoy, but he was right. My firstborn barely slept in his crib (his father’s idea, not mine) and, in fact, his room turned into our guest-slash-storage room in no time at all.
This time, we decided to compromise.
Rather than spend on an excessively expensive crib, we bought a simple cot at Ikea, with matching changing table where we could store baby’s toiletries, nappies and bathing accessories.
We figured that child number two would end up choosing his/her own bed later on anyway, so we’d rather save up for that.
Since our older child now has more clothing than the baby will have, we swiped his old dresser, using that in the baby’s room and upgrading his—something he clearly appreciated, especially since we told him it was the baby’s gift to him (and so now, he thinks the baby is Santa!).
We’ve also decided that, like with our firstborn, we would sleep with our second, only in a modified manner—he or she will sleep in his or her cot next to our bed.
Not only did co-sleeping lessen sleepless nights for us, but it also made us closer to our son—and he did eventually move to his own bed, contrary to what people told us would happen!
We saw a co-sleeper cot called Arms Reach Co-Sleeper (for more information, check out http://glamomamas.com/2012/03/benefits-co-sleepin/) when we were home last, and we’re decided on getting it.
While pricier than our home-based cot, we see it as an investment and a convenience for our frequent trips abroad, having family in not one, but two continents.
In terms of accessories, such as bumpers, pillows and cot sheets, most (other than those sent by excited grandparents) will be recycled, even if we have a girl, for, as my wise, cost-conscious hubby likes to point out, “she won’t know the difference anyway.”
There is one accessory that we’ve replaced and that’s the sleep positioner (we used Summer’s Resting Up with our firstborn).
We changed it for two reasons—first, our son had some vomiting episodes on it when he’d get sick and I doubt any amount of washing will actually thoroughly clean it, and two, the pillow has depressed into the shape of his head, which would make the pillow’s anti-flathead properties useless for the next user.
While some people do not recommend the sleep positioner (I remember reading an article warning against their use sometime in 2010), we have had only a good experience—our son sleeps well—and it prevents reflux and flat-head syndrome. So I’d just caution parents to use it properly—keep the wedges securely fitted to prevent babies from turning over, and since nothing is 100-percent safe and accidents do happen, check on your babies constantly, especially until they’re able to roll around on their own.
The second target for any excited mom is the baby’s bath. Since my firstborn’s time, the choices of bathtubs and bathing accessories have increased tenfold, making it even harder to choose what to buy.
At the end of the day though, a bath is a bath is a bath, and so we washed and disinfected (and washed and disinfected, again!) our son’s bathtub for the baby and, trust me, it looks as good as new!
Thankfully, my mom’s friend who gifted us with the tub had the foresight to buy ours in white, a nice neutral color that picky mommy won’t mind using even on a little girl.
What we did buy was a replacement for the bath seat, as we didn’t think it too hygienic to use something that had gone through a few hundred baths and probably absorbed millions of germs. Now this is one accessory worth replacing!
Other bathing accessories worth buying are baby’s robes and towels. Over the years, our firstborn’s towels, while they served us well, are no longer as soft as they were when we got them—and so replaced they have been for cuddly new ones.
Baby’s gear and other essentials
There are some things really worth replacing for safety reasons; one of them is your baby carrier.
While we’ve saved our old Ergo (possibly, the best baby carrier in the world—for more information, visit http://store.ergobaby.com/), it has admittedly stretched out, so we’ll be trying the old one out. But if that seems too loose and potentially dangerous, we’ll have another one ready.
Infant car seats (we like the Maxi Cosi—visit http://www.maxi-cosi.com/international, but we may buy a Combi this time around to complement the pushchair we’ve decided on, but have yet to purchase—visit http://www.combi.com.hk/index.htm) must also be changed, particularly if you’ve inherited a used one.
Most baby sites recommend buying new ones if they’re more than five or six years old, mainly because of wear and tear, cracks and changes in safety standards.
The same recommendations go for car seats for toddlers and older children.
Furthermore, infant car seats are usually made of materials that take on the form of the user’s head and back, which means that what may have been comfy for your older child may not be for the next one, so it’s best to get a new one for each baby for maximum safety and comfort.
The same goes for strollers and pushchairs. Safety first.
The one thing my husband and I will probably disagree on is replacing the changing mats I used on my firstborn. While they are still usable, the thought of making my newborn lie on—even with a towel as liner and even after multiple cleans and disinfecting—his or her brother’s poop and pee does not appeal to me (Eeew!). Those will all clearly be replaced, whether Daddy wants to or not.
Clothes are a contentious issue. While it is great to hand-down clothing and shoes, one must know what to give and what to chuck out.
I go through all my son’s shoes and clothing every few months to see what can be given away.
Of course, if your firstborn is a boy and your next one is a girl, you clearly need to hit the shops with a fully loaded credit card in hand!
That said, even with a newborn of a different gender, one must remain prudent about purchases done before the birth.
For our second child, we bought just a few onesies and neutral-colored blankets to start with. We figured we could do more cost-efficient shopping once we know how big our baby actually is.
While the abovementioned need replacing, some things last forever, among them are Bumbos (for more information, visit http://www.bumbo.com/), your feeding chair (check for wear and tear nevertheless!), bed rails (ours have even been shared among friends!), baby bags (even as it is tempting to buy another with all the new brands and designs that have come out—oooh, don’t tempt me!), for those who breastfeed, your breast pump’s accessories (think dried old milk and other gunk from four years back—double eeew!) and what I call my firstborn’s “happy chair” or his baby bouncer.
Our bouncer, whose updated version costs almost twice what we paid for it four years ago, has seen my son and a friend’s son through their first years and is still in good condition, so it will now be happily inherited by our future newborn—as if he, or she, has any choice!
In Manila, we like shopping at Shoemart, Baby & Co. and Rustan’s, and many of the abovementioned can now be found in these stores. We also like Brusselsprouts (http://brusselsprouts.multiply.com/).
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