There is literally no way your brain can comprehend how little sleep you get with a baby. Seriously, I went for the better part of a year only getting sleep in 2 hour chunks (max!), and even I can’t comprehend surviving that. I heard once that after 24 hours of sleeplessness you start to enter a psychotic state, so was I just hallucinating those newborn months? It would explain a lot.
Reminder: many people will tell you not to drink coffee if you’re breastfeeding.
Another reminder: 95% of babies will totally be fine if you drink a cup of coffee while you’re breastfeeding. Sometimes you just have to pick your battles. And by “battles” I of course mean “ability to stay upright at the park.”
I’m trying to emphasize just how unbelievably tired you will be in order to explain that you’re going to make bad decisions. There was actually a time when I genuinely thought that if I threw enough money at the sleep problem, it would magically get fixed. Spoiler: it didn’t work.
So, with the benefit of painful hindsight, here are the things that are absolutely a waste of time, money, and what little energy you might be able to scrape together.
In our new baby class the nurse told us that we needed to get a special tea kettle that could be kept warm, but not hot, and then cut paper towel rolls into thirds, so that we could dip them into the always-warm water and gently wipe our baby’s butt, before using a hair dryer on a low setting to dry it off. No, seriously, she actually told us this. She was serious.
Obviously, that’s completely insane, and makes the concept of a special tool that just keeps regular wipes warm sound practically… well, practical. But then you remember this is basically the equivalent of running warm air over your toilet paper to keep it toasty all the time till you need it. I mean, would a nice, warm butt feel luxurious? Sure, probably. Do I need to bother with all that noise? Absolutely not. And then I read about the baby who got so into having her wipes warmed that she screamed bloody murder when they were out and about and had to change her diaper with those peasant room temperature things.
Don’t turn your offspring’s butt into an entitled princess. Don’t invest in wipe warmers.
Side Note: you should absolutely invest in the wipes that are literally just water though, with no fragrance or soap or anything. Because dude, why would anyone’s bits and bobs want perfumed soap all up in their business? There will be so many fewer diaper rashes, I promise.
Glue For Your Infant’s Head
My miniature monster has always looked like the sex he was assigned at birth, based on his external anatomy. (Can you tell I live in Berkeley?) And while I honor and validate whatever future choices he makes about his gender, statistically speaking he’ll probably want to stay a boy.
I digress. The point is, I get that if you have a girl sprocket who doesn’t look like a girl, it might get irritating, having every stranger you meet assume she’s a he.
That does not mean you should start gluing shit to your child’s head.
I’m here to say, categorically, that no matter how safe this glue is, literally gluing a bow onto a non-consenting infant isn’t okay, no matter what your gender hangups are. That’s where I draw the line. No glue. I cannot emphasize that enough.
Look, I’m not telling you what to do (yes I am), but don’t bother with a changing table. Do you have a dresser of about the right height, so you won’t be hurting your back when you spend all your time at it? Great. Stick a changing pad on top. Congratulations, you have a changing table!
A Butt Spatula
Yes. This is a real thing. Don’t worry; you’ll get used to spreading cream on someone else’s anus with your bare hands in no time.
Fancy Baby Clothes
You’re going to ignore this one. I know you will. But I’ll still say it, because it’s so painfully true. This shit will be worn for a hot minute before suddenly you can’t even get your little chimichanga’s head through the hole. There’s a booming business in beautiful baby clothes that cost more than an adult’s – and I’m sure if everyone actually resisted it the entire economy would collapse – I’m just saying you don’t actually have to take part.
On the other hand, financial disaster is generally something to be avoided. Forget what I said, little Bernice definitely needs an exact replica of one of Scarlett O’Hara’s massive gowns for her 6 month photo shoot.
Controversial, but true for us. Hey, I loved cloth diapers! They were so cute, and made me feel like I was saving the world, one less diaper landfill at a time. People would actually stop me in the streets to congratulate me on what a great human being I was. Plus, who doesn’t like to imagine that she’s secretly time-traveled to the Victorian Era, only with less typhoid?
But. After three weeks of the World’s Most Persistent Diaper Rash, we sheepishly asked the doctor if maybe we should be using disposables instead, and she looked at us like we had asked if maybe water would help this dehydration problem. We switched over, just for a few days we told ourselves, till everything clears up.
My bundle of broccoli, who had up to this point been pretty severely behind on his gross motor skill development, was standing up within 24 hours. Turns out, having an enormous wad of fabric around your hips makes it hard to do things like “stand” or “crawl” or “move,” and an enormous wad of stuff pressing into your crotch makes lying on your belly and learning how to use your arms and legs really uncomfortable.
TL;DR Cloth diapers hurt my kid’s butt and kept him from learning basic motor skills. Eff those things. Eff them all to heck.
A Speaker For Your Vagina
This one is actually pre-shoving another human out of the most sensitive part of your body. And it’s exactly what it sounds like. In case playing music directly to your torso in the hopes of going to a Julliard concert in 20 years wasn’t weird enough, now you can make your own vaginal sound system!
I’m going to assume after the words “vaginal sound system” I don’t need to say anything else.
Your Own Sense Of Freedom, Personal Space, and Dignity