anyone wanna join my toy-free tribe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 196 Old 04-04-2008, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think I'll wait to see if there's any interest before I totally spill my guts on why I am considerring a toy-free lifestyle or or very selectively purchased quality-over-quantity of toys for ds2. We are not a family in need, I would just like to bounce ideas off of other like-minded mamas without sounding judgemental of those who feel differently or have had life experiences that bring them to different conclusions.
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#2 of 196 Old 04-04-2008, 11:04 PM
 
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I'm interested. We do have toys, but I keep plastic and battery powered ones out of the house. And I really favor toys that are actually tools, like real, working child sized brooms, garden tools, woodworking tools, etc. And I especially like open ended waldorfy style toys- the waldorf doll, silks, etc.
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#3 of 196 Old 04-05-2008, 01:58 AM
 
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i'm interested.

my dd doesn't even really like any of the toys we've acquired...
we haven't bought anything...

she'd rather play with boxes, tools, read books, etc.

i'd like to know more of what you are thinking.

joy

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#4 of 196 Old 04-05-2008, 09:50 AM
 
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I'm subbed in.

We have plenty of nice toys but far fewer than most others I know. I have a few rules regading toys that start with no batteries, no new 'collections', they cannot outgrow their allotted space, I can't say no plastic as we have legos, open-ended, flexible, much loved (2nd hand) multi-use tools/toys are good. Also, if the real thing works, why buy a toy? Examples: my small sauce pan, hand crank flash-light, call nana on the real phone. If you are going to mess with baking, skip the easy-bake oven and make enough brownies for everyone!

I have a long ways to go on this one but as a minimalist i am curious and hanging around!

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#5 of 196 Old 04-05-2008, 12:37 PM
 
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I'd like to hear more! I already have the no batteries rule. I'm curious about you philosophy.

><> I'm a Christian, knitting, sewing, cooking SAHM to the fearless adventurer Jack born 11/08, and  a  USCG wife
And we are joyfully awaiting a new addition in April 2011! <><
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#6 of 196 Old 04-05-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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Very interested in hearing your reasons, I'm of similar mind, with little one arriving in just over 3 months.

Plastic is definitely out, which must cross off about 95% of toys anyway. However, even if all toys were made from natural materials, I'd still be selective and be pursuing quality not quantity. I hope to construct rather than purchase, where I can.

It will be intriguing to hear your reasons

Just my thoughts, feelings and beliefs today, not set in stone forever ...
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#7 of 196 Old 04-05-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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I'm in!

"To err is human, to forgive, canine." - Unknown
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#8 of 196 Old 04-05-2008, 04:44 PM
 
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I'm interested too! We've never bought any toys for our 8-month-old, although she has some that people have given her and some hand-me-downs. We got rid of any battery-powered noise-making ones that people gave us, though.

Like others have said, she likes real stuff like pans. She especially loves feeling (and tasting!) glass and paper. And bananas.

I'd be really interested to find out more about other people's approaches on the subject.

DD 7/07 DS 1/11

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#9 of 196 Old 04-06-2008, 01:22 PM
 
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For those of you without toys, how old are your DC?

What do you consider a toy?

Here is what we could not get rid of:
-playsilks
-stuffed animals
-Bilibos
-wooden food

We have plastic stuff as well as some electronics, but these are the only items used regularly. Add craft supplies like paper, string, scissors, markers, recycled materials (oldest DD regularly makes her own toys), and books, books, books . . .that rounds out what they use consistently.

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#10 of 196 Old 04-06-2008, 04:19 PM
 
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I'm also very interested.

I've been working as a nanny, and I really see how play evolves with many 'toys', or more over, doesn't. I like the idea of more open ended toys, and items that can be used a toys without specifications.

We are still childless, but have some strict ideas of which 'toys' will be in our home. So far we have a set of wooden blocks to set the pace. We are similar to many parents here, no batteries, hugely limit plastics (although my DP collects Schleich knights, so these will be in the home, although not often 'played' with. Toys that don't make sounds (non-battery toys) will be limited, but not banned from the home, I'd much prefer my child create the sound to the toy instead of the toy creating the sound, although some are just lovely wooden and click...that's ok.

My idea of great 'toys' would be;
Cooking supplies; bowls, wooden spoons, plates, wooden fruit etc
Dress us clothing from the thrift store.
Doll house with wooden people, tables, chairs etc. (both for a female or male).
Blocks, basically pieces of wood in all shapes, sizes, colours and whatnot. Made over purchased.
Gardening tools.
And craft materials.

Lets keep this thread alive.

Of the people who limit toys, or are toy-free do you have a TV/Cable? We are a Cable free family (although we do have a TV sitting in our bedroom unplugged for movies once per month).

Subbing for sure.

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#11 of 196 Old 04-06-2008, 06:43 PM
 
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extraordinary spider, are you willing to spill your guts now?
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#12 of 196 Old 04-06-2008, 07:43 PM
 
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subbing

We've drastically cut down the toys but I need to do more! Its hard... reading things like this helps though.
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#13 of 196 Old 04-06-2008, 07:43 PM
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so, i wrote a post and my husband said it was too "fundamentalist."

personally, i agree with you. my husband doesn't want to "put limits" on anything.
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#14 of 196 Old 04-06-2008, 07:48 PM
 
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My kids are 6yo and (almost) 21mo and I aspire to become a toy-minimalist. We've acquired wayy too much stuff over the years as hand-me-downs that my 6yo dd needs to simply let go of and I need to be an "enabler" in this regard. We don't even play with 98&#37; of it. It gets moved around and takes up space and it annoys the living daylights out of me to have this stuff in my house. One of my goals this Spring is to get rid of the things that we are not actively playing with and/or emotionally attached to.

One thing that sort of amazes me when I look at all the toys we've acqured is that we don't get things from family and friends for holidays really. Last Chanukkah, I bought my dd the American Girl doll Kaya and she received a combined belated Chanukkah/early b'day present in late January of books from a friend. So that wasn't a major acquisition time. It's just that when people with older kids have done their Spring cleaning, they look at me and say, "hey, you have younger kids... here, take this!" and my dd's eyes light up and ... here we are.

I'm putting on the brakes and stopping the insanity. In fact, I sent my dd in the playroom right now with two boxes. One is for toys that are broken so that we can toss them, and the other is for toys that she knows we don't use. That's a beginning.

ETA: my kids are happiest with the "toys" we make ourselves. We paint and dye our own playsilks. We make our own puppets and playdough. Since I homeschool, we have a plethora of arts and crafts going on at any point in time. My dd has also expressed an interest in pottery so she knows that things have to GO to make room for that to happen.
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#15 of 196 Old 04-06-2008, 08:07 PM
 
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Noordinaryspider, I think you were quite eloquent and I could have said much of it except that age range is only 11 years to 7 months and my dp is the father of them all.

To your post I could add many irrational thoughts but I do think you are on the right track. I hope I can post coherently soon.

You don’t owe them an explanation, just a response.
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#16 of 196 Old 04-06-2008, 11:48 PM
 
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The Gome's Home had a really great show on this a while back: http://www.dootieproductions.com/11142007.mp3

If anyone has relatives that don't understand, send them this radio show!
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#17 of 196 Old 04-07-2008, 12:21 AM
 
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I'm in.
I've been thinking alot lately about what a nightmare all the toys are. It is unbelievable the toy piles I have seen in some homes. I have tried to keep it to a minimum, mostly natural and often real, purposeful items rather than toys. It's hard though! She has so many stuffed animals it is ridiculous. I stick unused toys in the closet and then give to good will after they've been forgotten about for a couple months.
SPIDER I though you were very eloquent. It really resonates with me.
Thanks.

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#18 of 196 Old 04-07-2008, 12:36 AM
 
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we have totally elimated the majority of plastic toys. I have kept the higher quality ones, use alot of natural hand made material now also. I keep eliminating the junk but have done major cleansing around here w/ our canceled move etc. So less if def more now too can someone just send that memo to my family around holidays? lol feels great!
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#19 of 196 Old 04-07-2008, 02:33 AM
 
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Thinking about this more . . .

I don't think toys are inherently wrong by any stretch of the imagination. I think a toy is anything that one plays with. Take a box. If my child plays with it, it becomes a toy, and there is nothing wrong with that: my child is playing with a toy.

For myself, I also think limiting toys by materials or the way it operates (like batteries) isn't quite right, either. If my child loves to play with a toy made from plastic (like a Bilibo, a spatula, etc.) then so what? My DD had a little plastic bird that she carried around endlessly when she was 2. She slept with it, put in the stroller, and wanted to learn everything about it from a bird book (it was a Cockatiel). Should I have taken it away-- her prized bird-- and instead have handed her a wooden one?

I do not subscribe to the idea that toys must be purposeful, because that is imposing an adult's perspective on a child. Who are we to decide what is purposeful? For example, my oldest loves her fox stuffed animal. Is it "purposeful"? Well, not to me, but for her it is. She brings it everywhere, has learned about red foxes, has made things for it out of recycled things, and makes up stories about it. To me, that means the fox has helped her play, and when she plays, WOW does she learn.

The toys with batteries I do not find horrible, just a waste of money for the most part. I don't think the toys with batteries we have (though I admit, these have almost 100% been gifts) have affected the imaginations of my children. They couldn't, because they haven't played with them very often!

I think there are bigger problems (as mentioned on this thread) than toys themselves and what toys are made out of, which come from excess. Excessive amounts of toys (and everyone has their own definition of excess!) is what leads to a loss of time and money. Children can get overwhelmed. Play spaces can become inaccessible. Too much of anything at any age can lead to feeling empty and always wanting more. Why impose that on our children?

My biggest obstacle is gifts. People give very nice items, but the truth is . . .my children don't play with most of them, even the pretty natural ones. I would just like less stuff overall in our house!

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

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#20 of 196 Old 04-07-2008, 06:12 AM
 
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I'm not a fan of toys, especially anything commercial.

DD is nearing 9 (in July) and she has a ton of dress-up clothes (store bought and thrift store bought), art/craft supplies and over 400 books. She loves to help me clean and cook and help DH in the yard. She also loves playing sports and torturing our dog She does have a collection of Care Bears she's gotten as gifts over the years.

DS is 7 1/2 and has a bit more toys. While he still is the same as DD when it comes to cooking, cleaning, DH helper, dog tormentor and book collector, he does have a TON of cars and a ridiculous amount of toy dinosaurs. He is definitely more into 'stuff' than DD.

We just bought a 5 bedroom house and DH wants to make one room a playroom and I said "What are we going to put in there???".

I'd rather have the kids helping me (HA HA) or out enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, getting tons of exercise.

When it comes to presents, I donate them or give them to friends/family. We've raised them from day one to be empathetic so they have no problem going with me to the thrift stores and taking their toys in. Also, most people ask what they wants so it makes it easier. One year, DD asked for money to buy animals for villages in Africa. Talk about a gift!

As for Christmas, it's such a blessing, for us, to be able to focus on the true meaning of the holiday instead of WHAT AM I GETTING??? Don't get me wrong, they see 'stuff' and sometimes want 'stuff', but I like to keep it minimal.

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#21 of 196 Old 04-07-2008, 08:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
so, i wrote a post and my husband said it was too "fundamentalist."

personally, i agree with you. my husband doesn't want to "put limits" on anything.
Am I reading this right ... you wrote some thoughts to post on this thread and your husband told you that in his view it was too "fundamentalist", so you decided not to post?

If so, I'd be intrigued to know what you said ... so please, please post ...

Just my thoughts, feelings and beliefs today, not set in stone forever ...
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#22 of 196 Old 04-07-2008, 02:22 PM
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well, the post i wrote was what i thought my husband and i agreed on. but when i read the post about what i believed to be "our" position, he said that he didn't agree with that position. but, we discussed it more, and of course, he agreed with my original post at that point.

-----

first, my husband and i are in the process of transitioning from "their stuff" to "our stuff." this has a lot to do not with a "change in values" but rather in a desire to be ourselves.

due to our parent's and cultural influences, and our youth and fear of being rejected, we didn't often follow our own instinct to live within our own minimalist values and aesthetic, and nor could we find a way to communicate to our family what our values are in regards to "stuff."

our desire to live "our way" has only heightened with the advent of our first pregnancy, also the first grandchild and great grandchild for both of our families. our family's desires for us to live "like them" has only heightned as well, largely because they see their gifting methods as participation in "caring for" the child.

the bottom line is, we have very different perspectives of how we want to raise this child and how we want to live as a family. when we express our desire for minimalism, we are confronted with a great deal of criticism.

in regards to toys specifically, my desire is as many have espoused. to have fewer, high quality toys with an emphasis on the child's interests and choice of play. i take the approach that children are naturally creative and curious and that the create their own toys out of everyday objects. i find that most children are drawn to objects that they can repurpose to their "imagiscapes" rather than necessarily prefering "toys."

but, this isn't a rigid standard by any means, as the most important aspect is being attuned to the child's creative-and-learning (play) processes, and then providing what that child requires and desires in light of that information.

this means that, anyone who is not present with the child regularly doesn't really have knowledge of which toys are truly appropriate and not. therefore, our families should not really be buying toys at all--unless we indicate what the child wants.

my mother asserts that i am truly "no fun" because i prefer an african drum from the fair-trade shop to the plastic drum at the toy store, or because i prefer to 'make' action figurines rather than purchase them (and when the child is old enough, s/he can also make his/her own figurines, puppets, etc--assuming there is interest).

right now, i really don't want any toys for the baby. between our childhood toys that are most valued (i have a musical teddy bear; my husband has his favorite stuffed animal), we feel that we have more than enough toys for an infant.

as that child grows, we will be seeking toys based on the child's interest and process, and we would ask for those toys specifically.

but it's difficult for family to understand, when their belief is that by purchasing, they are demonstrating love.

we want to turn that around--demonstrating love without purchasing by spending time together, talking, and doing activities and projects together. we would prefer if our family joined us more often--but they are often 'too busy' and in osme cases, they simply do not want to participate. we ask them to assert activities, and most of these consist of shopping (my family) or cleaning out the basement and taking objects (usually trash) "for our own use" (my ILs).

so, there we are. in the square of the common mess of family, with a desire to be "minimalist" and seeking high quality, child-lead toys.

ah well.
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#23 of 196 Old 04-07-2008, 11:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
well, the post i wrote was what i thought my husband and i agreed on. but when i read the post about what i believed to be "our" position, he said that he didn't agree with that position. but, we discussed it more, and of course, he agreed with my original post at that point.

-----

first, my husband and i are in the process of transitioning from "their stuff" to "our stuff." this has a lot to do not with a "change in values" but rather in a desire to be ourselves.

due to our parent's and cultural influences, and our youth and fear of being rejected, we didn't often follow our own instinct to live within our own minimalist values and aesthetic, and nor could we find a way to communicate to our family what our values are in regards to "stuff."

our desire to live "our way" has only heightened with the advent of our first pregnancy, also the first grandchild and great grandchild for both of our families. our family's desires for us to live "like them" has only heightned as well, largely because they see their gifting methods as participation in "caring for" the child.

the bottom line is, we have very different perspectives of how we want to raise this child and how we want to live as a family. when we express our desire for minimalism, we are confronted with a great deal of criticism.

in regards to toys specifically, my desire is as many have espoused. to have fewer, high quality toys with an emphasis on the child's interests and choice of play. i take the approach that children are naturally creative and curious and that the create their own toys out of everyday objects. i find that most children are drawn to objects that they can repurpose to their "imagiscapes" rather than necessarily prefering "toys."

but, this isn't a rigid standard by any means, as the most important aspect is being attuned to the child's creative-and-learning (play) processes, and then providing what that child requires and desires in light of that information.

this means that, anyone who is not present with the child regularly doesn't really have knowledge of which toys are truly appropriate and not. therefore, our families should not really be buying toys at all--unless we indicate what the child wants.

my mother asserts that i am truly "no fun" because i prefer an african drum from the fair-trade shop to the plastic drum at the toy store, or because i prefer to 'make' action figurines rather than purchase them (and when the child is old enough, s/he can also make his/her own figurines, puppets, etc--assuming there is interest).

right now, i really don't want any toys for the baby. between our childhood toys that are most valued (i have a musical teddy bear; my husband has his favorite stuffed animal), we feel that we have more than enough toys for an infant.

as that child grows, we will be seeking toys based on the child's interest and process, and we would ask for those toys specifically.

but it's difficult for family to understand, when their belief is that by purchasing, they are demonstrating love.

we want to turn that around--demonstrating love without purchasing by spending time together, talking, and doing activities and projects together. we would prefer if our family joined us more often--but they are often 'too busy' and in osme cases, they simply do not want to participate. we ask them to assert activities, and most of these consist of shopping (my family) or cleaning out the basement and taking objects (usually trash) "for our own use" (my ILs).

so, there we are. in the square of the common mess of family, with a desire to be "minimalist" and seeking high quality, child-lead toys.

ah well.

Hmmm Could have been written by me, I'm going to have to take some time in next few days and put down some thoughts. Thanks for that.

Just my thoughts, feelings and beliefs today, not set in stone forever ...
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#24 of 196 Old 04-08-2008, 01:33 AM
 
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I, too, am a minimalist, but my son has lots of toys. Other people have bought them for him. Most are recycled from thrift stores or free hand-me-downs. But when we move to our new place, I'll probably get rid of a lot of them (or keep them at my parents' house where we live now. They let him watch tv when I'm not around too... grrrrr). My son is much more interested in things other than toys. I'm hoping for "things" to be lavished on him so much that he rebels against them. That's what happened to me. Incidentally, it's what happened to Buddha as well, more or less.
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#25 of 196 Old 04-08-2008, 07:22 PM
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NOS:

as a new, first-time mom (20 weeks pg tomorrow!), i'm curious to know what you have and use for your baby during these first months. i really only want to purchase (or have purchased for me) that which i will use.

most of my friends and such assert that they have a lot of stuff, most of it not used, and some of it even turned over to consignment unused! that's such a waste of time, money, and space to me!

so, if you could let me know, that would be awesome.
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#26 of 196 Old 04-08-2008, 11:03 PM
 
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This thread is very interesting. I've been going through DC toys. I totally agree about them playing with items that are not really toys. I think mine would be happy with a box and some craft supplies.

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#27 of 196 Old 04-08-2008, 11:40 PM
 
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I like this thread. DH and I have a very small wicker basket downstairs that had 6 play silks, 2 dolls that my son's uncle gave him, and plastic stacking rings (which I want to trade out for wooden stacking rings).

He also has horribly ugly plastic walker/rider toy that he loves. It stays in the garage when not in use (the garage is our large lawnmower box that he also loves. )

He has lots of classic children's books because DH and I love to read to him. And in his toy box upstairs is my collection of medium sized muppets. He actually isn't in his room much, because we co-sleep.

I do have some items I would like to get him in the future:

A bead maze
A child size wooden rocking chair
A wood shape sorter
A wooden kitchen/play felt food

I would also like to pick up a classic radio flyer wagon.

Me:
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#28 of 196 Old 04-09-2008, 12:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
NOS:

as a new, first-time mom (20 weeks pg tomorrow!), i'm curious to know what you have and use for your baby during these first months. i really only want to purchase (or have purchased for me) that which i will use.

most of my friends and such assert that they have a lot of stuff, most of it not used, and some of it even turned over to consignment unused! that's such a waste of time, money, and space to me!

so, if you could let me know, that would be awesome.
I would say:
- cloth diapers if you'll use them (my favorite system is simple prefolds, a few Snappis, and nylon pull on covers-- then maybe wool after the runny poo phase is over; so simple and so comfy for your babe)
-wipes (whatever system you want-- soft washcloths and water work well; avoid hemp . . .too rough for wipes, IMO)
-about 10 outfits (depends how easy laundry is for you to do)
-a good baby carrier (a wrap will take you through every stage with delightful comfort)
-some sort of bag (maybe one you own?) to carry the diapers and an extra outfit
- some nursing gear for you if you plan on nursing (nursing bras and pads for leaks)
- a car seat
- saline and an aspirator
- thermometer (we have the one you swipe across the forehead)
- a blanket (maybe a small one you already have)
- a bed rail or one of those co-sleeping mattresses if you plan on co-sleeping, even if the bed is against the wall (if your babe will be in between you and your DP, you won't necessarily need this)

That's all I can really think of. Remember-- the stores are always open, online stuff gets delivered pretty fast . . .so if there is anything else you need, you can always get it AFTER the baby comes. I think it's easy to forget that, so people end up overbuying "just in case."

Also, it is nice to have a safe place to put the baby down, but since this is your first, even the floor will do. (This is not necessarily true when you bring a newborn into a home with a young toddler!)

Congrats!!!

 2/02, 4/05, 2/07, 11/09, and EDD 12/25/11 wave.gif

 

 

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#29 of 196 Old 04-09-2008, 05:14 AM
 
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Zoebird- I think the answer to this question is as varied as every mother here.

Assuming the essentials are taken care of (diapers, clothes, food (boobs! )), you really need NOTHING in the way of toys for an infant- dd really liked a Haba stroller/carseat clip toy, but other than that, she played with spoons, measuring cups, my nursing necklace, and as she got older, she crawled around exploring- she really liked Goodnight Moon from about two months old- I think the bold red/green of the pictures attracted her- and I definitely think books are a "must" "toy". I really enjoyed playing with her- during diaper changes, baths, singing and dancing to music, wearing her as I washed diapers (oh, that was hard work!). I didn't really even feel like I needed toys for her til she was about 6 months old, and even then, not many. It wasn't prolly til after 9 months that she even had a lil basket of toyish things. And I really like the idea of making toys- I am just starting to realize how many of those "natural" toys you can make! And babies really like containers to put things in, colored blocks, shakers/musical instruments, "discovery bottles"- which are basically water bottles filled with all kinds of different things- oil/colored water, glitter, confetti, etc. Some preschool/kinder/early elementary sites have good ideas for discovery bottles. Or an idea I saw in a store recently that you could make at home is to fill a water bottle with trinkets, and rice, and sort of make a homemade "I Spy" bottle. There are so many things!

But for me, other than the essentials I mentioned above, the things I found I used every day for a long time were my boppy and my sling.
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#30 of 196 Old 04-09-2008, 11:45 AM
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thing is, i don't know how much clothing, etc, is needed.

i see my friend's showers, and i'm overcome with how much they get. i find it overwhelming.

so far, my list is this:
  • mother-ease diapers (though we are going to EC, we want some 'just in case')
  • 10-14 baby outfits
  • baby blanket (afghan style)
  • wrap carrier
  • nursing gear (bras, pads, pump, storage that isn't plastic!)
  • car seat

and since we're going to co-sleep, we want to get a new mattress. our current one is a full size and about 20-25 years old--well past it's life span. we want to get an organic, king size (my husband insists on king size) mattress for our home. so we'll also need new linens, but not blankets.

i would also like a sheepskin to toss over the rocking chair that my mother is giving me (it's very much to my style, it's one that she had when i was little, etc--my sister dislikes it so i get it! yay!) which can also be used as a comfy spot for the baby anywhere,

as far as toys go, we have our childhood favorites (my musical teddy, a few stuffed animals), and i'm making myself a nursing necklace (which is a fun process), and basically that's it. we really don't see a need for a lot of toys at this phase, and as the child gets older, we can do some things.

i'm just glad to know that i don't need 47 outfits, 12 blankets, and so on. . . .
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