The 21st Century abounds with consumerism. Companies’ fortunes are predicated on coming up with products that they then try to convince their audiences/clients to buy. The marketplace for baby-related products, in particular, is a retailer’s goldmine. If you take a minute to examine the items that are being considered “necessities” for parents and babies these days, you will find that many frivolous “extras” are being touted as essential, all for the sake of sales.
As a first-time parent, it’s easy to be ensnared by all advice, solicited and unsolicited (including the overabundance of advice that can be found in baby magazines, books, and articles). And although you may feel unequipped at the time and at the mercy of experienced patrons, it’s important to keep a discerning disposition. This rings especially true when you are trying to stick to a reasonable budget.
When preparing for baby number one, my husband and I firmly fought to avoid succumbing to the pressures of society-induced consumerism. We did research, sought council, and approached our planning with a practical mindset.
Two major money-saving decisions that we made were to go the breastfeeding and cloth-diaper route. There are many practical, health, and environmental benefits that we took into account when making our decisions. The residual benefits for both, though, are that they are very cost-effective. Committing to cloth diapers costs more money than disposable diapers up front; but after making the initial investment, the dividends substantially outweighed the cost. (We spent approximately $300 on our entire diaper stash, and they will last until our daughter grows out of diapers completely.)
It’s always good to be prepared with the necessities: food, diapers, and wipes. Other items, such as the Boppy pillow, are a great luxury, but women have been nursing their babies for centuries without such nifty conveniences. I guess what I’m saying is, if you have the resources, I’m sure fancy bedding, designer clothes, and convenient accessories can be justified. However, it’s still important to realize that these things are not necessities (albeit nice to have).
So if all the frills, fancy nursery decor, and popular items aren’t in your budget, don’t feel guilty. As a parent you know what your baby truly needs, as opposed to what is extra, or “just for decoration”. And if you do have the funds, then you have the option of discerning what you need as well as what you want.