Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Babies: Back to Basics or Buying the Best?

Ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes... perfection. Now all that's needed is a receiving blanket. And an outfit or three. And designer booties – those handknitted ones are made of itchy wool. Don't forget the diaper bag with wipes and nappies and cream and a bottle and a cap and mittens and another receiving blanket.

Babies seem to need so much – but where is the line between need and luxury? The consumerism surrounding babies is unbelievable. I don't know whether it's fuelled by parents who equate spending money with spending time, or by those who are afraid to seem cheap when it comes to caring for their offspring, or those who just get caught up in the excitement that is BABY. There is so much out there!

Why is the market for baby gear so astoundingly lucrative? Is it because this generation has lost the skills needed to knit and sew? Because new is considered better and more hygienic? Because health codes are more restrictive? We can each decide what is a necessity and what is a comfort for ourselves, but when it comes to our children, it seems that we are judged more harshly by others for the choices we make. If you don't have the latest stroller, or a $600 diaper bag (yes, they exist), or a personalised hypoallergenic blanket, does that make you a bad parent? Of course not – but loving gestures like handmade onesies and hand-me-down cribs seem out of place in today's consumer-driven world.

Those of you who know me will be aware that I married two years ago, and so far it's just the two of us. I can't speak from experience here, so my opinion may not sit well with everyone – but that's okay. Several of my classmates and friends are already parents, and I would never tell them what I feel is right for them – because, especially when it comes to raising a family, there isn't one way that works for everyone. Some of them are going back to basics, and others are providing what they believe is the best for their babies. I don't know what kind of mother I'll be someday, but I hope I'll be the kind that puts time ahead of money, and comfort ahead of couture.

Most of all, I hope that I will be able to focus on the tiny bundle of wonderment God may choose to bless us with one day. I'd like to provide the best that I can, but for me, that starts with a loving home, blankets and clothes that are soft and warm, good nutrition, and lullabies that my mother sang to me. Anything above that would be an embarrassment of riches...but I might be so content I wouldn't notice.

This week's topic is 'babies,' which is only fitting considering our chosen charity. That's it for this edition of the Blog-Off! Thanks everyone for your comments and contributions.

Mom, sis, cousins - don't freak out, ok? There is nothing I need to tell you. And Mom - thanks for all the lullabies.


  1. When my babies were brand new, I wanted to get nice things for them. I did what I could, which for some, would not have been nice enough, while for others maybe it seemed really nice.

    For me, it was the right amount of "nice" things. I think babies should smell good, so I always used Burts baby Bee products on mine. I always made sure they had at least one soft blanket. I loved the jammies from Gymboree for my babies, they just fit the best.

    There were lots more things that I wish I could have had for my babies. I would see those cute diaper bags, the boutique clothes, the top of the line baby equipment, but what I gave my babies was probably more than enough, afterall, it didn't change who they are today. Although, my kids still love the smell of Burts Bees :)

  2. I'm a middle of the line girl. I bought a top-notch carseat/stroller because the carseat safety factor was ultra important to me. I graciously accepted many many hand-me-downs in clothes because they outgrow them SO fast, it was hard to justify spending a ton of money on clothes. So I don't know, I"m rambling now because I'm excessively tired, but I think there needs to be a healthy balance (as in everthing). You need some stuff, yes. You don't need a lot more and just because you're paying more money doesn't mean that you love your kid any more.

  3. That is exactly my point, Courtney. Though I hope to be able to afford some nicer things (and 'basics' doesn't have to mean bottom-end everything), I hope my head isn't turned by labels when I become a mom. And of course health and safety are valid concerns when shopping.