Any new parents out there? Let's talk about all the products, things that make zero sense

All opinions are my own, but please share yours at the end!

By Michelle Ganley - Graham Media Group

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Becoming a parent brings enough challenges as it is. You come home from the hospital and you're all, "Wait, where are those helpful nurses who were showing me how to do everything?"

You get thrown right into the mix -- and you have so much to figure out: schedules, routines, the personality and needs of your baby -- it can be exhausting! Then, if you're anything like me, over the next few months, you might start noticing products, memes and old-wives' tales that just don't seem to make any sense. Maybe it's that people and companies are well-intentioned, but some advice and products just aren't for everyone. Maybe you're the oddball out. Maybe you'll read this list and decide that I'm the oddball out. C'est la vie!

I thought I'd share some questions I've had over the past three years, with now two small children underfoot. Read on, take everything with a grain of salt (we know, what works for some people doesn't work for others, and vice versa!) and be sure to tell us at the end: What made no sense when you were navigating the waters of new parenthood?


1.) Why do some new parents get so hooked on the white-noise machine, and swear you need one, right off the bat?

Don't get me wrong, sleep is king, especially with a new baby. If one of these machines helps your little one, then I'll just see myself out and you can stop reading. See ya later!

But I will say, it seems silly to introduce the machine too early on. If you insist on it from a young age, then won't the baby get dependent on it, and the next thing you know, you're hauling the machine around to the grandparents' house for naps, and on vacation? Who needs one more bulky thing to pack? Not me. If you must go this route (and like I said, let the baby try sleeping without one first), it's probably smarter just to get a white noise app, so that there's no said schlepping of an extra device.

2.) Why do some people insist on a nap schedule or sleep-training plan from birth?

You might want to @ me right now and yell about this, because sleep training talk is known to get contentious online, but hear me out. A) This is just my opinion. And B) keep in mind, I'm not saying, "Don't ever sleep train or encourage a nap schedule!" That's crazy talk. I'm just putting in a little reminder, it's been a long time since your grandma had a baby. Don't take her too seriously when she asks how your 3-week-old has been napping. Sleep takes awhile to regulate -- talk to your doctor if you're wondering about sleep training, or when to start, or what exactly to do or what methods to follow. But by all means, don't ditch your errands because you're worrying about adhering to a nap schedule.

Newborns sleep all the time. Just because he had a snoozy day, that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be up all night. Give it some time, and if you're going to skip errands, just make sure that's because you're snuggling that new baby -- not because you're worried about setting a routine. That will come with time.

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3.) Why do you need to know exactly how many ounces your baby is taking in at each feeding?

Some moms get pretty obsessed with this topic in moms groups and online forums. And really, if your baby is struggling to gain weight, or was born premature, and this is an issue you're working on with your pediatrician, please, roll past this section, because in that case, you probably DO need to know how much your infant is eating.

But as for a happy, healthy baby who's right on pace and seems satisfied after a bottle or nursing session? Don't worry so much about it. Sometimes she'll only want 3 ounces, other times she might want 4. Infants aren't robots. Some babies eat bigger meals and some are grazers. Cluster-feeding is a thing in the early days (and a really hard thing, at that). I once admitted in a moms group that I had no idea how much my son ate, and someone asked, "But what would you report to your doctor?" I always just ballparked it, said he had millions of wet diapers and it was never an issue. The doctor said, "Cool." And keep in mind, if you're nursing, then when it comes to all that ounces talk, you'll never know.

4.) The wipe-warmer: Why are these still for sale?

It seems like you always see reports that these can harbor bacteria. I know, you don't want a cold wipe to startle a jumpy baby, but I feel like we've survived as a species this long ... your baby will, too. You do NOT need to register for one of these.

5.) Along that same token, why is baby powder still on store shelves?

In case you've been living in a cave, this product has been accused in recent years of being connected to cancer. And yet, you'll still see it in baby shower gift baskets at some stores, right next to the baby shampoo and lotion. Why?

Although scientists haven't been able to say for certain if all that cancer talk is 100 percent true, research has shown mixed results, according to Health Line. Inhaling baby powder (talc or cornstarch) can cause respiratory problems if it enters the lungs, especially in babies, the site says, adding that there are no medically necessary uses of baby powder. So there's that. Baby oil, also known as mineral oil, can be quite scary as well, if it's ingested accidentally by an older sibling or you leave it sitting around. It just seems strange that no one talks about this stuff.

Related: Mom warns of dangers associated with baby oil

6.) Why does everyone seem to tell you to "sleep when the baby sleeps"?

Sure, it's nice in theory, and if you can manage it a few times a week, or even for a few naps, you'll be oh-so grateful. But you're going to come home from the hospital, especially if you have older children, and think, "How in the heck am I going to get anything else done if I'm sleeping when the baby's sleeping? Also, the baby sleeps 18 hours a day."

This advice sounds great coming from older, wiser people's mouths. But it's pretty hard to pull off (at least on a regular basis), in reality.

7.) What's up with all the wine moms online?

Right right, you like wine -- spoiler alert, a lot of people do. But it seems strange to have to talk about it all the time, and post memes about how you can't survive without it. It's often coming from a joking place, I get that, but it does send a strange message, especially to first-time moms, that we need alcohol to get through this season of our lives. On the contrary, we need to be more alert than ever to pick up on our new baby's cues. I hate to be the fun police here, but all the wine talk seems amateur and over the top. Oh, and please stop calling it "mommy juice."

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8.) Re: baby Air Jordans. What?

Let me know how your baby does in this year's dunk contest!

For real, these are like, $60 and will fit for only a small, small window of your tyke's life. They're cute, but don't buy stuff like this. Don't ask for stuff like this.

You might have some unexpected expenses as a first-time mom: perhaps nursing isn't going well and you need to bring a private lactation consultant to your home. Or maybe your baby will need one of those formulas that's crazy expensive. Those are the sort of things you should be spending $60 to $100 on. Not fancy baby shoes.

9.) Tell me more about those little garbage pails specifically designed for holding diapers?

As in, dirty diapers. Why the heck do you want those in your house?

I will say, I spoke with a friend about this issue, and she lives in a VERY HOT climate, so she provided some much-needed perspective about how it's almost worse to have the soiled diapers outside, in some cases. But where I live, if a baby has gone No. 2, it's getting bagged up and going to a special area in the garage, where I never have to be around it again.

But really, can’t we just remove all No. 2 diapers from the vicinity? This is likely a regional issue, sure, but between the concept of the diaper pail and then once you consider how expensive those specific bags are (which you have to buy), I just think this could be handled differently.

10.) What's up with moms groups and specialized Facebook communities that just want to fix everything?

"Your baby's teething? You have to try an amber necklace!"
"Your baby is struggling to nurse? Better check for lip ties and tongue ties!"
"Your baby's spitting up? You can get a prescription that will fix that right up."
"Your baby's constipated? There's a certain over-the-counter solution for that."

Again, there are reasons why your baby might need some medicine or to be checked for something specific when it comes to these problems.

But you need to be chatting about this stuff with your doctor -- not taking the advice of random momos on the internet. Let your babies be babies. Sometimes with reflux, your doctor really might want to talk about options. Other times, you'll have what's called a "happy spitter" and there's no good solution. If she's gaining weight well and it doesn't seem to bother her, make like your grandma and grab a towel. Same goes with teething. I'm not sold on the concept of an amber necklace. Didn't we all teethe once? Maybe there's a reason. Let's stop trying to fix everything on our own.

11.) Should baby walkers still be legal?

This follows the same ideas as above: but seriously, these things are outdated, and from all recent reports, they might mess with your baby's alignment as she grows. Occasional use might be fine (of course, this depends who you ask, so we'll drop in another recommendation to chat about it with your pediatrician), but between the risk from a walker falling down the stairs and the over-reliance, we're not sure why these are still sold.

12.) Are all these baby-specific products really necessary?

"Did you get the baby towels yet?" someone once asked me, a few weeks before my daughter's arrival.
"Baby towels? Can't I just use ... our towels?"

Yes, yes you can. There are so many baby-specific products, mostly because retailers know you'll buy them, and quite frankly, it seems unnecessary. Use your own towels. Your own lotion is probably fine, too. You do not have to buy *all the things*. Except when it comes to baby clothes. It's really hard to stop buying those!

13.) Baby pockets.

What are you gonna put in that pocket, baby? Your teeny tiny wallet? Your keys?


OK, your turn to tell us: Am I just being a stick in the mud? Or did this list make you crack a smile at least once, and think, "I totally remember that feeling"?

Graham Media Group 2019