10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before Becoming a Parent

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Strollers, car seats, playpens, swings, bouncy chairs, play mats, sleep hammocks, teething rings, bibs, burp cloths…babies seemingly need a ton of accoutrements. Let me save you a lot of money: You don’t need even half of those things.

Many new parents fear their babies will get bored or will need constant stimulation to develop their baby brains, but the truth is that infants pretty much just sleep, wake up, cry to be fed, and then fall asleep after being fed. You don’t need multiple, endless ways to occupy them even when they’ve started toddling, because everything is entertaining to a young child. (It’s also why baby-proofing is important.)

Also, kids tend to discard even new toys quicker than it took you to look for and buy them. I have a garage full of baby distractions and stuffed animals (the bane of my existence) just waiting for garage sale season. To this day, I’m thinking: Why didn’t I just buy blocks or make toys out of toilet paper rolls?

Similarly, I wish I hadn’t bought so many baby clothes—at least new ones. For one thing, family and friends love to gift adorable outfits (who can resist buying tiny shoes, even if the baby can’t stand up?). For another, kids grow like weeds, so some outfits are rarely even worn before they don’t fit.

If I could do it over again, I probably would’ve bought only on-sale or used clothes, enough to last two weeks of laundry. Of course, if your kid gets dirty a lot, you might have to buy more, but wait until you know before hitting up the kids clothing department.

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