An Experienced Pediatrician Reveals Which Things Are Unnecessary to Buy Before a Child Is Born
Pediatrician Födor Katasonov has a popular channel about the health of children where he gives parents useful tips, and shares his experience as a doctor and as a father of 2 children. Not a long ago, Individuum published the first Katasonov’s books that is titled Pediatrics: Anxiety-Free Approach to Children. In one of the chapters, the author explains why there is no need to buy toys, baths, or even a crib before a child is born.
With permission from the publisher, Bright Side is publishing this chapter for the people who are currently making a shopping list for their child.
Seriously. Don’t buy a crib before you realize which kind of sleep with the baby is more comfortable for you. You can prepare the room for it, but postpone the purchase itself until you are completely sure that the mother and baby can sleep separately. In general, infants can sometimes sleep pretty well separately, but later, by 6 months, their sleep becomes more cautious, and they require more attention. But even if you do sleep separately, you can’t avoid the nighttime feeding, and in my opinion, a big basket by the bed is the most comfortable option.
A mother picks up the baby, feeds them, and puts them back without taking a step. Baby cribs placed next to the parents’ beds do the same job, but they take up more space. Besides, if a baby starts to crawl very early, like my oldest daughter that started moving around at 4 months, the baby may somehow appear in your bed. And escaping from a basket is not that simple.
When a child grows out of the basket, you can move them to the bed or onto a mattress next to the bed. The floor is the safest place for sleep. It is quite possible that you will need a crib, but I recommend making the decision about this purchase after the baby is born.
2. Changing table
Changing tables are another problem. Children fall no matter how careful the parents are. Even I, who was studying the different child traumas at the time, couldn’t prevent my daughter from flying from the table. (I have to mention that a fall from the changing table is almost never dangerous, but many parents really freak out when this happens. So, if you don’t buy a changing table, you can save yourself from going gray too early.)
The most important thing to understand about a changing table is that you don’t need it. I recommend to my patients’ parents to buy a waterproof mattresses for changing diapers. You can then just put them on the bed.
If you don’t have severe arthritis, the best position to take when changing diapers is on your knees by the side of the bed. First, the bed is pretty big and it’s hard to reach the edge. Second, children adapt to falling from their height, so falling from the bed shouldn’t harm them at all. And all the things you need for their care (a pack of diapers, Kleenex, cream, and an eyedropper) can easily be stored in a bedside table or on a chair.
I have no idea what this thing can be used for nowadays. There is absolutely no point in washing a baby in a small bathtub, because bathing is physical exercise. A child can’t swim in a small bathtub and it’s too early for them to lie in it with a book and a glass of champagne. You should bathe your children in a big bathtub which can be thoroughly washed beforehand, if you really feel like it.
4. Stroller with a cradle
It is crazy how much strollers with cradles cost! Sometimes, they are even more expensive than the latest iPhone model. It’s a very inconvenient thing which is functionally limited and you will have to get rid of it later.
For me, the most important criterion when choosing a stroller is its weight. It is hard to handle heavy strollers, believe me. This is why my youngest daughter has never been in one. We walked her around in a car seat with special wheels on it. The entire thing weighed about 16 pounds. I ordered the wheels, but you can definitely find something similar locally. There may be many different options with strollers but here is what I recommend:
- Think about buying a stroller with a cradle only when you are sure you can’t borrow one from someone;
- Don’t buy a new one, look for a used one;
- There is absolutely no need to buy it if a baby is born in the spring or summer because you can transport them in a car seat until they are old enough for a stroller.
Most clothes for the first year of life are really cute but you can’t use them for very long. Children grow several inches a month and they wear every single piece of clothing only a few times. So, it is better to ask around to see if someone has some old clothes, or look for sales.
In France, they sell children’s clothes by the kilo — 1 euro per 1 kg. This is the wisest approach. Also, if a child has grandparents, there is no way you can avoid getting new clothes as presents. One more thing about anti-scratch gloves and bonnets: They are absolutely useless pieces of clothing, and these gloves also block a very important receptor section — the palms. There is nothing bad about small scratches and to reduce the number of them, just cut the baby’s nails more often.
When reading my book, you will realize that I believe that not a single baby thing needs sterilization, simply because there are no bacteria that exist in your house that can harm your child. All you have to do is pour some hot water on pacifiers and bottles or just wash them well with tap water. The bacteria left on the baby things will stimulate the child’s immune system.
Buy a scale if you want to be nervous all the time. A healthy child only needs to be weighed when they are visiting the doctor. Having a scale at home and weighing the child every day (or after every feeding) is the best way to go insane. If the child is putting on weight as planned, you will not be happy, because this is how it’s supposed to be. But if the weight increase stops, or even goes down, parents will start to freak out and the mother might even lose some of her milk supply, which will lead to a further weight drop. You should understand that all children are different and the weight increase is never even.
If they have a stomachache or some increased activity, the weight increase may slow down, but don’t worry — the child will gain the necessary weight. There are special standards in weight increases, so if your pediatrician says that everything is alright, you should listen to them.
8. Baby monitor
This is a useful thing if you live in a 2-story house or a huge apartment. In most apartments, you don’t need a special monitor to hear your child. By the way, you can use your tablet + cell phone as a video monitor too.
9. Baby crib mobile
The diversity of shapes, colors, and sounds provided by crib mobiles overrides the senses of a child and that is not what they need. They learn things about the world gradually and in the beginning, they need something simple, for example, the famous Munari mobile which is very easy to make with your own hands while the baby is sleeping. But in general, the whole concept of a mobile seems strange to me: why does a child need many objects in front of them? What purpose does this serve?
The same goes for toys: a huge number of toys doesn’t help children develop. On the contrary, a small number of toys actually teaches children to value every single one of them. 2-3 toys that are on the floor or on the bed is usually enough for stimulation.
One more thing about toys that are for older children: Parents enter toy stores (probably for the first time since their own childhood) and they see the toys they really like themselves. They buy these toys that their children are not old enough to play with yet. So children have no idea what to do with them and they just lie around like useless trash. When the child is finally old enough to play with this toy, they are not interested in it because they have seen it so many times before.
So, if you see an interesting and a rare toy, buy it, and hide it to give it to your child several months or even years later when they are ready.
Seborrheic dermatitis on the head is absolutely normal. Trying to get rid of it is one of the brightest examples of parents being too anxious. Who said that a child’s head is supposed to be perfectly clear? Mr. Photoshop? Usually, dermatitis returns 2-3 weeks after the mother embarked on operation “Clear Head” using a brush and oil. Sometimes dermatitis remains on the head until the child reaches school age, but it is not visible under the hair.
12. Playpens and walkers
Playpens are basically small jails. If you remember, in Back to the Future, Marty went back to the past and saw his uncle (who was in jail in the present time) in a wooden playpen. Marty told the boy to get used to living behind bars. Playpens are only convenient for parents and they have nothing to do with the comfortable development of children.
Walkers are pretty much the same — this is also a way to isolate a child, but keep them mobile. They work against teaching the child to walk, slowing their development down. Most likely, this happens because the mechanics of the movement are wrong. The children push themselves instead of actually walking and when they try to do the same without the walker, they fall forward. By the way, using walkers has been linked to many injuries, so much so that they have been prohibited in Canada, and The American Academy of Pediatrics insists on prohibiting them in the US. Instead of a regular walker, it is better to buy a special device that children can roll in front of themselves.
I recommend using a very useful cart from IKEA that can both teach children to walk and can be used for playing.
Which of these things was on your shopping list? Where do you agree with the author and which parts seem wrong to you?