Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Kitting out by Kate

Just how many of these cute, pastel-coloured, curvy-shaped, cuddly character items are really necessary for a baby? Having just been on a (most enjoyable) shopping trip for our expected offspring, I've been quite staggered at the sheer amount of stuff being dangled enticingly under the willing and susceptible noses of potential parents and grandparents - stuff which I rather suspect is largely unnecessary for the health and well-being of the new infant. Of course, some items are essential and a few expenses unavoidable, but if people living in jungle tribes, two weeks from civilisation in all directions can successfully raise their new-born children without the benefits of ergonomically-designed breast-feeding cushions, baby baths and crib-bumpers, then I reckon we could probably manage it too.

Take nightlights, for example. Now, a low-wattage light to help you carry out the night-time feeds with minimal disturbance to your partner (and your retinas) seems like a decent practical idea. The little, plug-in lights you can get from the local electrical shop cost no more than a couple of quid/euros - and the job is done. In the baby shops, the nightlights made from soothingly-coloured, moulded characters with smiley mouse faces (for example) set you back by fourteen notes and yet they do exactly the same job as the two-quid widgets. And who's going to appreciate the extra twiddly bits on the fancy nightlight? The baby? Not on your nelly. Is it going to relieve your fatigue or boredom or enhance your enjoyment of the 3 a.m. nourishment session? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seriously doubt it.

Anyway, as I said, some baby equipment is essential. Clothes, for example - although we've been donated and promised such a wealth of babywear already, that I doubt we'll have to part with much more cash to complete our newborn's layette. Nappies are unavoidable and as we're keen to try and mostly use washable ones, that will be an initial outlay of a couple of hundred euros (but should work out cheaper than disposables in the long run, even with the washing costs factored in). And there's baby transportation. By law, if you want to transport your little one in a car, it has to be in a proper, government accredited car seat. You're advised against getting them second-hand and the new ones don't come cheap. That's why we figured we might as well try and get a multi-purpose seat that would clip into a frame on wheels and therefore double as a pram and/or buggy. In fact, we've realised that the seat, as well as having its uses in our vehicle and on its own set of wheels, can also be a baby seat for general use around the house - when our little one needs to be set down somewhere safe in our vicinity while we do other things, for example - and indeed as a cot. The height of the pram set-up is about the same as our bed, so conceivably (assuming she's willing) we could have our nipper kipping in it at nights (if indeed she does kip at nights, Inshallah...) and be within easy paranoid new-mother checking distance and conveniently grabbable for breast-feeding in the wee hours. That's the theory, anyway. I guess we'll find out soon enough if our baby finds that solution as practical as we do.

For general child transportation, I'm very taken with idea of tying her to our bodies (one at a time, obviously) with a strong and stretchy length of cloth. Baby-wearing, in fact. The idea seems simple and flexible and assuming we can get it right and she takes to it okay, it seems like a good way of having your babe-in-arms snug against your body but not actually in your arms.

Still, I'm aware that babies are nothing if not adept at knocking all the best pre-parenting ideas into a cocked hat and I can only hope that our one will share at least some of our views on the best ways to make her (and us) comfortable. Unfortunately, if she takes after her parents she's bound to have some definite ideas of her own about the way she would like things done and will no doubt be unafraid to express them. Yikes.

No comments:

Post a Comment