I thought of something else that I meant to include in the post I wrote about baby showers and gift registries. Retailers would like us to believe that it takes a whole room full of stuff in order to properly take care of a baby. Just take a trip through a Babies R Us store and you’ll see what I mean.
My siblings and I were raised on a farm, and money was scarce. We had the basics – cloth diapers, yard sale clothes and stuff my mother knitted for us, toys my father made, a second hand crib and stroller, and for the younger ones, a car seat (when I was a baby, people were still holding infants on their laps in cars). The two years I spent in Africa in the Peace Corps ingrained even more deeply in me the knowledge that we don’t actually need most of the stuff we think we do. In the village where I lived, babies needed nothing more than a large cloth wrap that held them against their mother’s back or chest all day, and breast milk. Smaller cloth wraps were used as diapers, and that was about it. There were no infant swings, no changing tables, no coordinating infant decor, no vibrating chairs.
We do not need to fill a whole room with stuff in order to take care of an infant. And for almost everything that we want for our babies, there’s no need for it to be new. Gift registries perpetuate the myth that we need all this stuff in order to have a baby, and I don’t want to have any part of this. I’m determined to raise a baby without losing my sense of wants versus needs. And to be honest, I don’t even want most of the stuff that is advertised for babies. It looks like more clutter to clean up.