Who knew a white-noise machine could cause so much divide?
Our last parenting article said it was worthless, and the parents of the internet could not have disagreed more. Sorry, friends!
To defend myself a bit -- I recently asked why a new parent would introduce a white noise machine for their baby right away -- I also pointed out that what works for some people doesn’t work for others. After all, I’m no expert! And there’s certainly no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t talk and laugh about it.
Let’s rewind even more.
When left with the question, “What made no sense when you were a first-time parent?,” some of you really delivered, responding with all the products, advice and baby quirks that just didn’t add up.
Other people answered in a more unconventional way, although their words resonated just as much.
- (What made no sense?) "Babies in general," Krista Hochhalter wrote.
- "Nothing made sense and it still doesn't," Anne Hastay said. "I am responsible for three humans, OMG."
- “Nothing makes sense because you’re sleep deprived,” Stephanie Kaplan said.
- “Unpaid maternity leave (makes no sense),” Maria Sanchez answered.
Who can argue with any of those responses, honestly?
We left the last article on this topic open-ended, and got a TON of responses between the submission form and from Facebook. We wanted to highlight some more of the best answers that we received in the comments, both online and in person.
So without further ado …
What made no sense to you guys? Here’s a good mix of serious and silly responses.
Those little “tents” to prevent your newborn boys from peeing all over the place during a diaper change.
You know the ones we’re talking about! Agreed: silly!
The realities of childbirth
Many of you said something like, “No one told me how sore I’d be after delivering!”
Preach, sisters. I think your brain kind of glosses over the memory if you’ve done it before, and then you’re back in the moment and you’re like, “Oh yes, here we are again. How do people do this more than once? OMG the intensity!"
Gender reveal parties
Should we devote a separate article to this topic? It's definitely a little weird to celebrate your unborn baby’s genitalia, and I apologize in advance if you had one of these parties. They can be cute! But they're not for everyone. The whole concept seems like a bit much, no? Plus, all that gender stuff is over the top: tutus or touchdowns? Staches or lashes? Team pink or team blue? Ugh. It’s a human baby, isn’t that exciting enough? Plus, just because you get a girl doesn't mean she can't be sporty. Or maybe you'll get a boy who wants to enroll in dance classes. There will be plenty more to celebrate as this kid grows!
Also, we'll remind you: commenters called this one out! But I will agree with you.
All the equipment to make your own baby food or purees
Good call, friends. Those special blenders and reusable pouches seem like a lot of extra work -- although I do appreciate the eco-friendly aspect of a reusable pouch.
Baby-led weaning -- a fancy way of saying "your baby eats what you eat, within reason, and self-feeds, once (s)he's old enough to sit" is really having a moment, and it just makes so much more sense. Talk to your doctor, of course, but if you're looking for easy, you won't find it in a baby blender.
Why have a feeding schedule?
Many of you called out this great and important question. We will say, if your baby’s having trouble getting back to birth weight, or gaining or maintaining weight at all, then maybe you’d want a feeding schedule.
But for a typical baby? (S)he’ll let you know when it’s time to eat.
"Feed them when they are hungry," Michelle Adamson Barnet said.
Buying baby toys
We agree -- a cardboard box goes a LONG way!
And here's a pro tip, because we know you're still going to buy toys: Don't keep all of them out in your living room or around the house. Your kid will get sick of them or they'll just become everyday items or (s)he'll neglect most of them, if your experience is anything like mine. I'd put most of the toys in some sort of basement, storage area or closet -- and then maybe once a month, you could cycle the rotation, or let your kid pick some "new" items.
Buying a crib
You’ll definitely want to consult with your doctor about what makes for a safe sleeping environment, but a surprising number of you said you rely on another safe area, such as a Pack 'n Play. Whatever works!
It’s true, the ones that you can wipe down just make more sense.
"Bibs that are not lined with a plastic/water repellent backing? Purposeless," Athena M. Aguiñaga said.
The people who warn you about “spoiling” a baby
Agreed! You guys are so good at coming up with these!
I’m on the team that says there’s no such thing as spoiling a baby.
Babies are helpless little creatures who depend on us for every last thing. Listening to their cries makes them trust you and take comfort in you. Learning how to self-soothe is important too, but I think there’s some balance here. Get those snuggles in.
Why do they even make those thick, puffy winter jackets?
Maybe if you live in a freezing climate and you guys are outside a lot, then OK. Or perhaps you live in a big city and you take public transportation.
The frustration here is likely aimed at how helpless you can feel at times, being in a cold-weather state and not being able to use these jackets in the car seat. We get it! Bundle up those babes.
Pajamas that are anything OTHER than the zipper kind
Who has time for buttons or snaps? Whoever made button PJs clearly never met a squirmy baby.
"Zipper pajamas are lifesavers -- especially at the 3 a.m. diaper changes," Gina Fernandez-Espinoza said. "(They're) a must-buy."
Worth mentioning, I recently discovered a brand that makes magnetic-fastening PJs. Is that the best idea ever, or what? Also, can confirm: they stayed on my son just as well as any other kind, and made diaper changes that much quicker.
Baby knee pads
h/t Julia Chernova!
We're giggling over here. Did you know these existed? Thank you, readers! How did babies ever survive without them? I feel like I want to put my baby to work gardening, looking at the photos.
Let's talk for another minute about the white noise machine.
Many of you took my side on the garbage can specifically meant for diapers -- pointless; get those nasty things out of the house, right? -- and the wipe-warmer. Silly all around, we all seemed to agree!
But as mentioned earlier, you were adamant about your white noise machines.
Like the original story said, if your baby’s having sleeping difficulties, do whatever it takes: special dances, weird rituals, you name it: we wouldn't judge a thing. My baby once went on a sleep strike for about three weeks and I was miserable. I also ordered a few pricy items off Amazon that I couldn't afford, in an act of desperation.
But like YOU said, this is one of the five S’s from Harvey Karp -- if you count the static noise from a white noise machine as “shushing.” Also, if you’re not sure what I’m referring to, close this tab immediately and go read “The Happiest Baby on the Block,” followed by “The Happiest Toddler on the Block,” both by Karp. We’ll wait.
I’ll admit, you’re gaining on me when it comes to the white noise machine. Maybe it’s not as habit-forming as I once believed.
Diaper cream applicators
There’s really a special brush for this?
"What happened to your hand?" asked Cheryl Mays.
Why is Sophie the giraffe so expensive?
For real, $25 is pretty steep, just for something your baby’s going to chew on.
The best one yet, if you ask me: How a blender doesn’t wake up my baby but a shielded sneeze does.
Thank you, Mika Kandy Mckoy!
Have truer words ever been spoken?
Phew! It seems we can all agree, there are a ton of products out there that you just don’t need.
We can’t really make any sense of unpaid maternity leave either -- or why those babies are so sensitive to noises like sneezes and coughs. I think you're officially a mom once you've "swallowed" a cough if that makes any sense (it will once you do it!)
If you’re about to become a parent for the first time, just remember: it’s different for everyone, and perhaps you just want to start with the basics, as far as supplies are concerned: a safe place to sleep, a million diapers and wipes, and some onesies.
Good luck out there, and we hope this list made you smile. Next month, let's talk about letting our kids get bored. I think it's a good thing. Also, if there's something you'd like to add, comment away!
Until next time!
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