By Mummy Contributor Olivia (@eeniemeeniemineymum)
When you're expecting, everyone has an opinion on what the essential items are for baby's first year.
There are lists, magazine articles, and whole pages of blog posts on Pinterest on the subject. Shop assistants at baby stores with expert advice on why the $742 item will be sooooo much more worth your while in the long run (and probably "safer") than its cheaper equivalent.
I can't tell you the amount of things I was told were useless and unnecessary when I was pregnant with my twins. Pretty much everything I bought ended up on someone's list of "you definitely won't need THIS". It didn't bother me particularly, these were my first babies, there were going to be (by the very nature of twins) two of them, and I needed ALL THE THINGS.
Correction, wanted, all the things.
I didn't always get all the things however, because I married Scrooge McDuck of Duckburg (love you babe!). Most of the items I wanted to buy, he was pretty sure he could make. Imagine my excitement.
Anyway, as it happens, some of the items I purchased that were touted as the most useless items of absolute unnecessary, superfluous rubbish, became my favourite, most used items of all with both my twins and my subsequent singleton.
So here I have compiled my list with a twist - of five useless baby essentials I never knew I always wanted!
1. Disposable nappy bin
Affectionately known in our house as Osama bin stinkin' due to its propensity to harbour weapons of mass destruction.
And, oh, the CRAP (pardon the pun) I still to this day receive about having one of these.
Why can't you use a regular bin?
Just take the nappies to the outdoor bin!
Why would you spend all that money on something that goes into landfill?
I hear ya people, I do, but aside from the fact that this item was actually gifted to me so the start up costs weren't applicable, there is one simple reason that explains why I still, to this day, love my disposable nappy bin.
Laziness. I'm lazy.
I don't want to have to go to the outdoor bin every time I change a nappy. And with the sheer frequency of nappy changes with twins, that was twice the amount of times I didn't want to have to go to the outdoor bin every time I changed a nappy.
I also have to go through the laundry to get to my outdoor bin and that just so happens to be the room I use to dump all my stuff when people are coming over so as to maintain the illusion that I'm not a crap housewife. It's just downright hazardous to go in there and climb over four bags, six towels, an inflatable flamingo, eight tins of paint, a bag of dog food, 67 shoes, a non functional paper shredder and a circa 1987 ghetto blaster every time I need to put a nappy in the bin. It's an occupational health and safety thing really.
Yes, there is a certain amount of financial upkeep involved in the purchase of replacement nappy bin canisters, and yes I moan and complain about it when I'm in Big W forking out money I could be spending on other useless items I don't need, on the bin liner refills instead. But I still do it, because this completely useless, waste of money baby essential saves me time (and potential death by laundry misadventure) and in my household, time is at a premium and being alive is preferable.
I promise not to give you crap about your itty bitty, tutti fruity modern cloth nappies, if you leave me to enjoy my poo bin in peace!
2. Change table
Use the top of a chest of drawers they said.
Why buy an extra piece of furniture that can't be used for anything else afterwards they said.
Well, firstly, I give you a little thing called the internet!
More specifically, Gumtree. Ebay. Facebook Buy and Sell. Any number of channels whereby people exchange goods for money.
Other people will no doubt want a change table they can't use for anything else afterwards too one day, so I feel pretty confident I can probably just sell it when I don't need it anymore instead of repurposing it as a DIY bar cart I found a tutorial for on Pinterest.
Or, given my hubby's (not at all annoying) propensity for stockpiling superfluous wood he finds on the side of the road that might be useful for something one day (otherwise known as never) maybe we can just break it down and pretend we're going to make it into a bunk bed or something.
For the first few months of the twins and my singleton's life, the change table rolled around after me in whatever room I happened to be in for any great length of time. Maybe my inherent laziness is a running theme here, but I just found it convenient to have everything I needed at arms length. When the babies were still sleeping in our bedroom, the change table was with us for ease of bleary eyed midnight nappy changes (so was the nappy bin, FYI) and when the twins were crawlers I didn't have to leave one baby in the living room to climb onto the entertainment unit and slap the TV while I changed the other one's nappy. This reduced my anxiety no end.
I've mentioned before that my milkshake did not bring all the babies to the yard. Unfortunately the "that's what boobs are for" brand of (unhelpful) biology lesson did not apply to my personal circumstances. Whilst I did breast feed all my babies, I had an unresolvable milk supply issue and oftentimes needed to top my babies up with formula.
I didn't think I'd need formula, I didn't want to use formula, multiple midwives in breastfeeding classes I attended prior to having my babies never even MENTIONED formula and yet, here it is on my list.
4. Microwave bottle steriliser
Saucepan. Boiling water. Same job.
Remember? See above. (And in all likelihood, below). Lazy.
Also slightly neurotic and afraid of dropping boiling water on myself, my child, or my iPhone.
Another item I could wheel around to be wherever I was.
Maybe the baby will grow out of it in six months (although in all three cases I stretched it out to about nine). Sure, babies can go straight into a cot and be just fine. But I just liked the idea of them starting off in something a little more snug when they were fresh from the womb.
I actually still have our Boori bassinet even though my littlest is now 12 months old. For the life of my aching ovaries I just can't get rid of it. Maybe I can repurpose it into a bar cart.....
So, sure I came across things I didn't need. Not even if I lived in the arctic circle would I buy a wipes warmer. Worst mum ever. Cold bums all round. Was I going to put my baby in shoes before it could walk or stand? Probably not. I also didn't want to drop a wad of cash on a feeding chair when we already own several couches, arm chairs, an outdoor lounge and I planned to feed in the comfort of my own bed overnight. So, as you can see, some of other people's "essentials" we're my "completely useless".
That's kind of the beauty of this motherhood gig though, you get to choose what works best for you! Just because someone else says it's useless, doesn't mean you won't love it! Just because you love it, doesn't mean someone else will. Open your mind. When you feel like it's necessary, open your wallet, and the rest will follow!