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Trust Me, You Don't Need the Crazy Expensive Baby Products

Photograph by Twenty20

Moms are constantly inundated with a mess of baby products we're told we need for our kids to be smarter, sleep better or read Portuguese by age 2 1/2. Even opening our Instagram feeds means we have to listen to other moms who are "just like us" sell us the next big thing, over and over again.

It can get exhausting and, quite frankly, it can make us feel like we're doing something wrong. If I don’t have the magic sleep machine that Khloé Kardashian has, will my baby even sleep? If I can’t afford a fancy baby swing, how will my child ever feel held and supported by me when I’m not holding her? If my baby doesn’t start out sleeping in a midcentury style bassinet that looks like it could live at the Museum of Modern Art, will other moms think I even care about my child?

Being a mother is hard enough. We don’t need to be bombarded with all the things we haven’t bought.

One such product is basically a glorified baby-sized air mattress that looks like an inflatable boat. Yes, I’m serious. It’s advertised for being "perfect for co-sleeping," but you guys, let’s be real: There’s no magic built in. Ambien doesn’t ooze out of it. It’s a boat that you put your baby in for sleeping. And it costs hundreds of dollars. It can range from $185 to $300, depending on the size and design. I’m halfway embarrassed to admit that I came dangerously close to buying one a few times, especially when my second baby came around. I was up at all hours of the night with him, wondering if he’d decide to sleep while I added products just like this one to my Amazon cart at 3 a.m.

Then there's the baby swing with a seat component that moves in a circular motion to mimic the way a baby would be rocked in your arms. It’s kind of genius, but it’s also stupid expensive, priced at $220. And that’s just for the seat. Don't get me wrong, the infant seat is innovative and helps moms who need to do basic things like take showers or cut up vegetables for that last-minute dinner. But how long does a baby really need a product like this? I mean, by the time they’re 5 or 6 months old, they’re kind of beyond the point of being entertained in a reclined position while moving in a constant circular motion, right? For this reason, keep in mind that a baby swing is still just a baby swing—no matter how graphically appealing its newborn inserts (an extra $30) are.

But you know what? Babies are pretty resilient. Some of the time, they even sleep. Being a mother is hard enough. We don’t need to be bombarded with all the things we haven’t bought for the tiny people we want to provide the whole world for. But companies know our weak spots. They market to our tired, end-of-our-rope feelings and to our need to fit into some fictional motherhood mold.

My best advice is to turn off your phone when you need to. Trust your instincts. Take the time to read reviews on less-expensive products that might not get you likes because of their high-end brand name but might still get you some much-needed sleep. Other moms with their fancy opinions don’t matter. You matter. Your baby matters. Don't waste money on stuff that probably won't save your life, even if others call it #lifesaving.

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