If you live in a house or apartment that’s short on space or in even a good-size home with a growing family, you’ve got lots of BIG reasons to cull your gear “get” list. For starters, baby stuff can quickly become a tripping hazard, eat up precious square footage and make you feel like you’re trapped in the home version of Babies R Us.
Megan Sedlacek, a.k.a. “Miss Megan,” should know. The owner and founder of Conscious Proactive Parenting and Mantra Sleep Solutions, Miss Megan shares her two-bedroom 1200 square foot apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with five others: her two children, Haiden, 2 ½, and Hazel, 1, her children’s nanny and the nanny’s 3 and ½ year old son, plus a roommate. Needless to say, there’s not much extra room for a baby swing or even a changing table.
Oh well. Miss Megan, a Montessori trained director who provides in-home sleep training, specialized play groups and other services for parents, knows there’s lots of baby stuff that’s nice but not necessary. “I’ve worked as a Governess to many celebrity families who bought every product on the market. Months down the road, I also helped them give away 75 percent of it,” she says.
Which baby products are worth the space? Which ones can you live without? Miss Megan’s mini guide to controlling baby-gear clutter can help answer these questions. It’s practical and useful for everyone — even if a McMansion is more your style.
Save Spacers — your bedroom, the nursery
Instead of a crib or bassinette, consider the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light. “I don’t have a regular size crib and bassinettes are a waste of money. I just put the Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light next to my bed,” Miss Megan says. It’s portable and multifunctional, and fine for the first six months. After that, transition your baby to a regular crib in the nursery, if possible, and keep the portable crib for travel.
Instead of a stand-alone changing table, which is back-friendly and nice to have if you have the room, just change your baby’s diapers on your bed or the floor.
Space Savers – the living room
Instead of a baby swing, get a bouncy seat. Miss Megan’s picks: 4Moms Mamaroo Bouncer, which was a big hit with her daughter for napping (put it on your registry if you don’t have a hefty budget) or a simple bouncy seat, such as Fisher Price Baby’s Bouncer, Geo Meadow, which is easier on the wallet. Both bouncy seats are compact and portable and helpful for colicky babies or babies who respond well to soothing movement.
Space Savers – the kitchen
Skip a traditional high chair. Instead, get a portable high chair that attaches to a regular chair or to the table itself, such as My Little Seat Travel High Chair; it’s easy to throw in the wash or phil&ted’s Lobster portable high chair, which is easy to wipe clean.
Instead of a baby food processor and all the storage containers and pouches that go along with it, DIY one meal at a time. “I’d rather just steam the broccoli and carrots and mash them up,” Miss Megan says. If you buy a baby food processer anyway, you’ll need to be committed to make it worthwhile.
Skip a formula powder dispenser and bottle sterilizer. Save counter space by just mixing formula by hand, one bottle at a time, and wash bottles with hot water and soap or stick them in the dishwasher.
Skip buying 4-ounce baby bottles. “Babies outgrow them within months. “Just get 8-ounce bottles,” Miss Megan says. For more on the type of baby bottle to buy, read this.
Space Savers – the hallway, garage–wherever you store your stroller
For two-kid families, skip buying a double stroller. Instead, get a single stroller with a buggyboard, such as the Lascal Buggyboard Maxi. You’ll save space (and money) by not going the double stroller route.
“Even if you have twins, you don’t need a double stroller,” Miss Megan says. Just put one child in the stroller and your second baby in an infant carrier, such as the Ergo Original Bundle of Joy baby carrier. By the time your child is a steady walker, a scooter becomes an option, such as the Mini Micro.
Space Savers – the bathroom
Instead of a baby bathtub, get a tub insert, such as the Babies R Us Bath Sling. “It’s great until babies can sit up on their own,” Miss Megan says. For a baby bathtub insert with a little more support, check out the Leachco Safer Bather Infant Bath Pad. When your baby can sit up solo, you can always just place him/her in a holey plastic laundry basket in the bathtub.
Space savers – the breastaurant
Instead of a fancy nursing pillow, use regular couch blankets and pillows as prop-ups. “I never used a Boppy. I just sat on the couch and used whatever pillows or blankets were available,” Miss Megan says.
Have you had to curate your own baby products to save space? What baby products did you do fine without?
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