Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It turns out, baby gear is even less clear cut that I thought! I went into the acquisition of gear knowing that a lot of it was unnecessary. I read a lot of different check lists and consulted with a few moms and really tried to keep our needs pretty simple. Which I think we did. (Except when it came to um, decorating his room. Kid won't need any of that, for years anyways. But that is a whole other story...)

But, as Sarah learns in Labyrinth, you can't take anything for granted around this place. (Sorry, watched that last night.) Take for example the crib. Turns out, even if you don't plan on cospleeping for years, you don't even need a crib. That's right. Montessori educators promote floor beds for babies. I don't know about you, but that struck me like a ton of bricks. So simple, and so obvious, but it simply never occurred to me to think about whether or not we needed a crib. And (for better or worse), one of our first baby purchases was a gorgeous (new in the box) crib found on craigslist, at a great price. Babies on the floor is probably too extreme for most folks, but it seems like something that might have worked for us. (But I am not so into it that I want to get rid of our rad crib...)

The item that is throwing me for a loop right now is crib bumpers. I have never seen a crib without a bumper, okay? Bedding sets come with bumpers. I assumed that babies must be crazy wild thrashers (though the ones I nannied for never seemed to?) in their sleep and need bumpers. And the bumper search was driving me CRAZY. All the affordable ones were ugly as all get out. All I wanted was a nice, simple, solid colored one. Guess what? Nice simple solid colored baby shit costs more. I wasn't about to ruin his amazing crib with some crappy bumper. I was a second from ordering this bumper for 120 bucks when (while exchanging some duplicate gifts) I found this one for 35 bucks, and ordered it.

It was delivered, we were satisfied with it, we washed it and threw out the packaging. Fast forward to yesterday. Now that we have his sheet and mattress and pad I was ready to put everything together. But then I thought, wait, do you put the bumper in right away? Do newborns thrash and need bumping? Could it cause SIDS? Do I put it in later?

Dr. Sears just warns about proper fit, and taking them out before they can climb on the bumper and get out.

But a little more research turns up this; not only are crib bumpers (according to some?) not necessary, they are not safe. "Crib bumper pads became popular in older-style cribs where the slats were far enough apart that a baby's head could become trapped between the slats, posing a suffocation risk. " Yeah, not an issue any more. I guess there is still debate about how dangerous they are, but I have not found anything telling me that not having them is dangerous. "Now their appeal is primarily aesthetic - they can make cribs appear softer and less jail-like and they often compliment other textiles or color schemes in a nursery." And here I was! Thinking I had to have one and not liking it! Now I am just annoyed that I bought the bumper and tossed the packaging. Do I just stick it in the closet in case our little guy is one of the few who DOES get banged up on the sides of his cribs? What other baby products might I have bought thinking they were "necessary?"

Can I post this without an image? (shock!)

I guess the answer is no. A sneak peak of the room-in-progress. Pre mattress or anything. But look! He does have a fun cabel modem and router! Oh, and a hammer! That is safe, right?


  1. I love this. I have not bought anything for our babe yet other than one handmade stuffed pig (necessary, I say) so hearing about all of the things that we don't need is very very helpful.

  2. LIKE A CRIB? WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT! (clearly, i cant get over this...) hey the bumpers REALLY become moot then...

  3. some babies really are crazy sleepers, so i got the bumper just in case (joe's a crazy sleeper and i wouldn't be surprised if he passed it on). the slats are smaller these days, but babies can still get their tiny legs or arms stuck in them. that being said, i don't think they really get to the "rolling around in their sleep" stage until they are at least 6 months old, so i'm holding off on using mine. the sids thing confuses me. i see it no different than putting a baby in a cushioned bassinet. i've come to realize that some of those "scare tactics" are extreme. before you know it, they're going to be telling us that swaddling our babies is bad.

  4. Oh wow, that is such a cute nursery. Bumper or no bumper, that is one lucky kid.

  5. I'm curious to know what others have to say about this. I purposely didn't get bumpers because I had read that they were unsafe. but you bring up an interesting question... is it unsafe NOT to have them?

    love the sneak peek. that guitar is beautiful!

  6. @alyson how did i miss that??? the worst I have heard/found/read is that *some* babies will get arms and legs stuck, but it does not seem common. so it seems safer to wait and see if happens to YOUR baby?

  7. A friend of mine last year had a baby when she (and her partner) were completely unprepared financially for a family expansion... and had to be really super selective about what they bought in terms of preparations for the baby. And it was so surprising about how little they really needed... they co- slept for a long time so no crib. No bottles or breast pumps since she breast fed. No stroller since a baby carrier worked just find and it was way easier to take public transit that way. No new clothes because babies grow so quick that there is always a huge abundance of hand me downs around. I remember going over to her house the day before the baby was born and they had nothing exact diapers, wipes, and a few outfits. And one thing that she said that really struck me was that she said that most preparations for the baby are really for the parents... it's something for them to do while they are so excited and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the child. And even now... they only have exactly what they need and no more... They once forget a sippy cup at our house and had to come running back since it was the only one they had. Even though I wouldn't want to be in their situation and I really hope to emulate their situation a wee bit when we get around to having kids... to prevent our apartment turning into a ransacked version of Toy R US and of course at least start our kids off in a not over the top materialistic environment (although I'm pretty sure it's kind of inevitable these days anyhow once they are old enough to have friends)

  8. @alice TOTALLY. I think about this all the time. i commented to a friend about the baby's room being almost done and she remarked that we were ready for him... and i said. ummmm no. we were ready for him (in that way) MONTHS ago. his room being done was for ME. and him in like, 3 years. ;)

  9. We co-slept with my daughter until she was about a year. After that, we did naps and most of the night in the crib. We did not buy a bumper, but poor thing kept getting her arms and legs stuck in between the slats and it would wake her up. So I got a breathable mesh-type bumper which worked great. Then, she started to roll around and bump her head so I put the cushioned bumper on a few months later. I know they say no cushioned fluffy bumpers after 6 months but ours collapses when she tries to climb on it. I think you can do without a bumper for the first couple months b/c babies don't really move, but after that, they are helpful to have IMO. :)

  10. I think Alice is right. Love the crib. Never put bumpers for my two kids. Granted, we did cosleep for a while, and it was mostly used for naps.

  11. I request a follow-up in a few months (preferrably before 9/26/11) on what are the musts and need nots. Ok?

  12. You know what? At one point, you have to let go! Some are totally for it some are totally against it! Now at 38-39 weeks, I realized that we can't control everything and that we will adjust when it is time. If our baby moves a lot and get her tiny legs stuck and it is the end of the world, we will get a bumper. But we are not there yet. Maybe I'm just tired today and tomorrow I will write another comment that is super anti-bumper. I simply don't know! We want to do the best for our kid but sometimes the best is different for each baby and couple and family. As my doula told me, I think that you did your homework, now just relax and try to enjoy the ride!!!

    And for sleeping on a floor bed...not for us...my dog will lick my poor kid until she has no more hair on her head ;)

    oh, and you got a pretty nice crib...lucky baby!

  13. oh...I also forgot...because of you, David Bowie's crotch (in labyrinth) will give me "nightmares" tonight....ah ah ah ah ah!!!

  14. Hey Jamie

    I've always thought that bumpers were a no-no from a safety perspective. I'm an Australian and I just checked our SIDS info website, they state pretty clearly that you shouldn't use bumpers.


    I don't actually have a baby so wouldn't know about the thrashing point. Just thought the info may help


  15. I'm with Celia. It seems everything causes SIDS, and I frankly think that no one is really sure what causes SIDS. I mean, it's a wonder any of us survived at all, right? And I find the bumpers particularly confusing. What, are they going to suffocate on them? They could suffocate just on the sheet, for goodness sakes. FOR GOODNESS SAKES.

    Says the former tummy sleeping baby.

    But I'm staying tuned for what you need and what you don't. Excitedly staying tuned.

  16. Who would have thought that bumpers could be so controversial? For what it's worth, here in New Zealand we are strongly recommended not to use bumpers (because of the increased risk of SIDS). No-one I know has ever used them. I do like how lovely some of them can look though.. :)

  17. I'm with Emily because the SIDS foundation here in Australia have made a lot of progress with reducing SIDS here I tend to lean towards the no bumper advice they give, they actually recommend those baby sleeping bags instead of blankets and sheets too but I'm not sure I'd go that far. Neither of my kids had a bumper in the cot and my son was and is a restless sleeper and never got stuck. But there are so many things that you just won't know until you find out that you never use them or that you really need to have right now. You just have to go by feel.

  18. That labyrinth movie still freaks me out!

    I'm in the no-bumper team... Half because they just look ugly (my opinion, of course! I dont wanna judge anyone who likes them!!)

  19. I wasnt even half way through your post and I was saying to my screen "Don't buy a bumper!!!" ha!

    Maybe it's different here in Australia, where SIDS awareness is a HUGE thing but I'm a few years off having a baby, haven't read a book on the matter and even I know bumpers are bad. I don't even think you can buy them here. I'm just aware that only thing allowed in the crib is the baby in a blanket. Not even a cute toy.

    Maybe you could do somethig else with the bumper? A diy crafty thing maybe?

    I'm keen to hear what others think.

  20. Kay, I didn't read all of the comments, but I'm still going to add my 2 cents.

    Crib - I don't care what montessori says, if you have a bed on the floor your baby is going to crawl out of bed and spend the afternoon/night wandering around his room. Which I guess is the point of the Montessori philosophy but don't you want your baby to sleep when he/she needs to? Not decide to explore the corners of his/her room? Also I'm quite sure there are numerous and profound developmental differences between a cat baby and a human baby. Just sayin'. (For the record I like Montessori! But I apparently don't buy this point).

    Also, James, your crib is dope so clearly you should keep it.

    Now, bumpers. I very happily have bumpers in Dashiell's crib. I made them, they are not perfect, but they give him something to snuggle up against at night. He does laps around his crib while he sleeps and while making his rounds he prefers to keep his head and face smashed up against the little pillows. That being said, he didn't sleep in his crib until he was 4 or 5 months old, at which point he could roll over, move his head back and forth and pull a blanket off his face (i tested that last one). I probably wouldn't have been comfortable putting a newborn in a crib with bumpers, but only because of all the SIDS stuff they freak you out with. But think about this: a newborn doesn't move when he sleeps! He is swaddled like a burrito and stays in one place until you pick him up to feed him at 2 am. I have friends who are totally paranoid and still don't have bumpers in their 8 month old's crib (even though she is clearly not a risk for SIDS anymore) and friends who had their baby in a crib with bumpers AND multiple blankets (also another SIDS no-no) from the start with no problems.

    In parenting, you have to remember that there is SOOOOOO much info available to you through the internet. Most of it is scary. Read all you want but then make choices based on your own intelligence and logic.

    We were all born when the trend was to sleep babies on the tummies, because if you sleep them on their backs, they'll spit up at night and choke on their own vomit. But now our generation is told that you must sleep your babies on their backs! Because if you sleep them on their tummies they'll suffocate. The truth is that babies probably sleep better on their stomach because their startle reflex won't wake them up. And they like to be snuggled up against something. We did sleep Dashiell on his back because I was terrified of SIDS. But once he started rolling over and was able to choose for himself, he has exclusively slept on his stomach, with his faced smashed up against whatever he can find in his crib. And then there's the lovey. Which Dashiell does not sleep without. He sleeps with it in his mouth, smashed against his nose, obstructing all possible airways.

    The SIDS stuff really is for the early months when your baby isn't able to move his head if his airway was obstructed by a blanket or sheet or bumper or whatever else. Once he/she has demonstrated good head control and you are confident that he can move if something wasn't right, he'll be fine.

    Though disclaimer! I am not an expert and no one out there should put bumpers in their crib because I said it was okay.

  21. hmmmm crib. i'd keep it if you have it. elodie started sleeping in her's around 7 months and would be wondering all over the house right now if she wasn't in one. this equals NO SLEEP!

    we took out her bumpers around 15 months. i don't really think they were of much use but they did worry me (even though i don't think it was necessary.) also, didn't put anything else in her crib, not even a blanket (used swaddler than sleep sacks) until we knew for sure she could get herself out of a tangle.

  22. HAHAHAAA! I love this post I felt exactly the same way. I followed all the advice even though i thought - damn, my crib looks bare! But now he's 2.5 months he NEEDS a bumper because he gets his arms/legs stuck in the bars. First babies are so stressful! you buy so much crap you dont need. You'll know whats right for you when baby is here!