There is an abundance of lists for nursery essentials – most of them sponsored articles or articles written for marketing purposes – so the list gets pretty long and the sum total sky rockets.
So I decided to come up with a list of non-essentials – things that you don’t really need, things you can live without if you’re going for bare minimum or like us, on a budget financially and space-wise. But of course, I can’t leave you hanging – I’ve also listed down alternatives for your convenience.
- Changing table. This is a purely western concept and you don’t need it.
Even if you have a fat bonus, this will be the last item you would ever buy because a) it takes up space b) if you had the money, hire a yaya instead and she’ll be doing the diaper changing. Instead, you can use this which costs about Php 150-Php 200 depending on the size.
- Crib. The number of mothers I know who used this and did not use this are split in half. There are those who used it successfully because they were too scared of sleeping with the baby and there are those who did not. Yet, a crib is not all that safe. If you would research, there are statistics that identify the number of deaths per year due to crib accidents. So what’s the alternative? Co-sleeping of course! I did it with all my 3 children and we’re still doing it! Besides, this is the ideal sleeping arrangement for breastfed babies because it has proven to increase the mother’s milk supply.
- Bassinet. This has become popular in the recent years and I would have wanted one if only there was no problem of storage after the 3 weeks baby uses it. Yes, baby outgrows it in 3-4 weeks. But, it is a good resting place for baby – so as not to get lost in the big sea of bed – when he/she is still tiny and especially with older siblings who may or may not trample on the baby when they are rolling around like hotdogs in a pan.
Get a native hammock! This will only cost you about Php 200 or make one yourself out of blankets or bedsheets – just make sure it doesn’t unravel!
- Pacifiers. Since breastfeeding is now the NORM (I claim it) and pacifiers are a big hindrance to the success of breastfeeding, this is now a big NO-NO. Why do mothers give it? I heard it is used to keep baby quiet or to give baby something to suck on while waiting for the next feeding. Why curb the baby on the breast and give it a feeding scheduling? Let the baby suckle on the breast for as many times as it likes and for how long. The baby has instincts on how much he or she needs. If the parents have decided to give an alternative milk and decided not to breastfeed, parents can give a clean finger for baby to suck on when very young or an age appropriate toy when a little bit older.
- Bottle warmer. Bottle warmers are used to uhm… warm bottles – warm the milk in bottles.
Why would u want to do that in our warm climate? Since I go to work and express milk while I am away, I keep baby’s milk chilled in the refrigerator. Although at this age – 10 months, baby can tolerate cold drinks and food, we still warm her milk to melt the fat that sticks to the bottle. Yes, I use a bottle warmer because it was a gift from my parents for my 2nd son. It is useful and sturdy – using it for my 3rd child now – but it costs around Php 1900 if I’m not mistaken (it was a gift!). An alternative is to use an electric kettle (Php 300- Php 500) to warm water, put the warm water in a big mug and put the bottle of milk in it. And the kettle can used for other purposes as well.
- Wipes warmer. Really? in the Philippines? You don’t need this.
- Bouncer. A very nice toy indeed – colorful, attractive and baby would spend hours in this – costs about Php 2500 – Php 5500. Sure, if you have the money!
I was actually pondering to get this but since this is our 3rd child (and hopefully the last) and we lack space, I decided on the alternative – something we already have… a yaya and some toys! A bouncer is just a toy when you come to think about it and it’s not supposed to be a place where you can leave a very young infant or even an infat at that.
- Stroller. You may be thinking.. “what, you don’t need a stroller?”. You just have to get one and realize how infrequent it is being used. In our family, we rarely go to the mall – we’re not every-weekend-in-the-mall type of family. When we’re with the kids, we just go to Church, hospital, restaurants and my in-laws. Hospital hallways and waiting areas are quite cramped – especially the elevators – so bringing of strollers is really your choice. We once went to a restaurant where our stroller couldn’t fit and the waiting staff were all holding their breath to see how we could manuever it. So that’s that. Our stroller stays at home as baby’s chair. Alternatives? – Slings of course! or structure baby carriers! Keeps baby close enough to kiss – who wouldn’t want that?
- Playmat. I would have loved to have this just for the heck of it. It’s colorful, it’s cute and it claims to stimulate baby senses and encourage the development of motor skills.
But, it’s just way too bulky and pricey. After 6 months or so of baby using it, where am I supposed to pack it away? If you want baby to look at something, you can opt for a mobile – way smaller than it – and a baby quilt or comforter. If a playmat would cost about Php 2500 – Php 3500, a good mobile would cost about Php 500- Php 700 and a comforter Php 800- php 1000. Still cheaper and easier to pack than a playmat, plus a comforter can be used as baby’s mat until the age of 3.
This one is from here but there are lots of variety in our local department store.
- Diaper genie. A diaper genie is a contraption that wraps a dirty diaper in plastic.
I don’t think I’ve seen one in the Philippines and if ever there is, I’m sure its expensive. Just buy a dedicated trash bin with a lid that goes up when you press a pedal. It doesn’t contain the smell but make it a habit of emptying it everyday and cleaning it with soap and water at least once a week and the smell would be tolerable.
- Frogsuits and a lot of receiving blankets. Frogsuits are one-piece baby overalls that have the baby’s feet and, sometimes, hands covered. I see some babies in these suits – in the malls, in hospital corridors – and I can imagine how difficult it is when changing diapers. I know because I’ve tried it and it is hassle much!
As for receiving blankets, these are hooded blankets used to swaddle babies.
I was never good at swaddling babies (even after 3) and I didn’t really see the need to be. I just swaddled my babies for the first 2-3 days at home and that’s that. Besides, it is so warm in our country, I don’t believe in swaddling to keep baby from the cold. Instead, hug and hold baby all the time to give her/him your warmth.
And so I must end here. 11 non-essentials to avoid and keep your money’s worth. Enjoy shopping for your little ones with 11 less confusing items to decide on.