Things babies need
And so many more.
When it comes to spending money, I can be tighter than a dolphin's bum-hole. That’s not to say I live a life of grim frugality, it just means that I'm loathe to spend my hard-earned cash on crap . Oh, and that I still bend for pennies.
But entering the mysterious world of Planet Baby for the first time can turn even the most ardent anti-consumerist into a starry-eyed shopper. Baby stores and magazines are bursting with gadgets and gizmos which claim to make your and your baby’s life easier and, in our sleep-addled, sanity-challenged state, we fall for the spiel. Most of them are about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.
Take baby wipes warmers. A quick search reveals a huge selection available, retailing on average around the £25/£30 mark. As well as protecting your baby’s tush from the horror of a room temperature wipe, most of them promise to keep wipes “fresh”, “moist” and even “free from discoloration”. Call me a cynic, but isn’t that what the wrapper does already? Moreover, if you're tender-hearted enough to want to warm a wipe before applying it to your little darling's derrière, what's wrong with using a bit of warm water to do so?
To be honest, things like baby wipes warmers and nappy bins (the latter aimed at those who must truly love the smell of festering baby poop wafting around the home for days on end) are such easy targets they’re hardly worth having a pop at.
Alas, I have no room for smugness as I, too, have been guilty of making useless baby purchases. In my case it was clothes for my first daughter; more specifically, adorable but overly complicated clothes. I can’t even claim to be the hapless victim of cynical advertising: I picked up these pieces of pint-sized couture while mooching around the shops, not because I’d seen an ad for them and nearly did myself an injury in my rush to get to the nearest stockist (this, as you've probably worked out, was pre-internet days)
The clothes of which I speak included dresses with more frills than a can-can troupe; dungarees with buckles made from actual metal; and clothes with pockets. Pockets. Unless they need somewhere to stash their Rothmans Superkings, what, exactly, do babies want with pockets?
In my defence, most of these outfits were purchased before my daughter was born, at a time when, looking back, I clearly subliminally suspected I was going to give birth to a doll I could dress up as opposed to an actual living human. It took a few goes trying to insert my flailing sprog into one of these clownish costumes – and trying to change her nappy or put her down for a kip while she was wearing them - for me to realise that buckles, bows and newborns are not a match in heaven made. After that, my daughter spent most of her first few months in blessedly squidgy babygrows, not a buckle in sight.
What’s your view?
Perhaps you'd sell your soul to the devil rather than get rid of your baby changing table. I'd love to hear about the baby buys you wouldn't be without, and the one so useless it's actually funny (well, it would be, if you hadn't shelled out £39.99 for it). You can leave a comment here.
Esther Onions can produce 1,000 words of decent quality copy (or so she likes to think). But ask her to write a mini biography...