What Can We Do Without?

41uQfoqLHPLA friend who had a baby two weeks ago leant me a book, Ingrid Bauer’s Diaper Free: The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene, which I started reading last night.

Bauer argues that focusing on the things a baby needs is actually an impediment to good parenting.

Instead of asking, “What do we need for the baby?” Bauer suggests asking, “What can we do without?”

There’s so much we DON’T need for a new baby.

On Bauer’s list are diapers.

Her book teaches parents how to pay attention to a baby’s need to eliminate, respond accordingly, and completely do away with using diapers.

I’m not there yet with the diaper thing (I’m only a few chapters into the book), though I’m intrigued by the idea. But here are some of the things we don’t have in our house, things we absolutely don’t need:

1) Disposable baby wipes: When Leone is poopy we fill a squirt bottle with warm water and wipe her with a washcloth.

2) A crib: Well, we do have a crib set up in the corner. It’s filled with receiving blankets and baby clothes. You don’t actually need a crib—at least not for many months—since it’s easier to nurse and care for a baby if you keep her in bed.

3) A bucket car seat: When I researched car seat safety a few years ago, I discovered that the bucket infant seats actually score much more poorly on crash tests than seats that do not have the pop-out option. I see so many moms carrying their babies in those plastic buckets, which are very popular. But I think it’s better to carry your baby in your arms.

4) A pacifier: Leone has a huge need for non-nutritive sucking. We wash our hands and let her suck on an inverted pinkie finger instead of plugging her mouth with a piece of rubber rimmed by plastic. You can use a finger until your baby finds her own.

5) Hand sanitizer: Old-fashioned soap and water are a lot more hygienic. Why put a foul horrid-smelling substance on your skin where it is absorbed into your body? (Unless you want to get high by sniffing it, as one teen in Lewisville, Texas, tried to do last year; or get drunk by drinking it, as the National Institute on Drug Abuse has received reports of.)

6) Paper towels: We don’t buy them and never use them. Cloth dishtowels and cloth napkins work just as well.

7) A microwave: We got rid of ours five years ago (click to this column in the Ashland Daily Tidings if you want to know all the reasons why), and have never missed it.

Another thing we don't have is a baby bath tub

Another thing we don’t have is a baby bath tub. The big tub (and a sibling) works just as well

What about you? What baby (or other) items don’t you need, despite advertisers, friends, and family trying to convince you otherwise?

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