Informal Poll Looks at the Ever-Changing Trends of New Parent ‘Must Haves’

So it has been nearly 17 years since my last baby was born, but I remember just nearly 19 years ago before our first son was born going through many discussions with family and friends about what we ‘must have‘. Now that discussion has moved online, and there is a recent survey with results from BuzzFeed!

Baby Survey - Diaper Genie

When our first son was born in 1996 one of the hottest new products was the Diaper Genie, which had only been out for about a year at that point. The concept was simple – you put a used diaper into an opening and individually wrap them by twisting the top, thereby (mostly) sealing in the odor. Of course once you open up the system to empty it things can get pretty nasty, and as you can see from the results opinion is divided. There are definitely those like this guy at the SFGate blog who says:

And I detested the idea of a huge pile of crap sitting in the corner of the room, which had to be emptied every week or so in the form of a giant feces sausage.

But for me it was worth the occasional dealing with odors – especially during the summer. I would still put that on my “must have” list!

Baby Survey - Video Monitor

On the other hand, when we had kids the term ‘baby monitor’ pretty much meant a Fisher Price base station speaker with a rotary volume knob and a smaller microphone station that went in the child’s room. You could plug in or use batteries for both the base and monitor, making them great for at home and on-the-go. Video monitors in the form of modified security cameras did exist, but they were atrocious and horrifically expensive. So everyone had pretty much the same ones we did.

When we got ours, we heard conflicting stories about whether or not ‘over monitoring’ was going to ruin our children. Pretty much like everything else, really. What it DID do was make you hyper-aware for a short time, and then you figure out what is ‘normal’.

Funny story – in the mid-90s, many home cordless phones were still on the 49MHz frequency, which tended to also be used by everything else. Including baby monitors. So we were in our kitchen one day while our son was napping (before #2 arrived) and started to hear voices over the monitor, which is the type of thing that freaks you out – so we head upstairs to check and everything is fine. Nor is it coming from outside through the windows … no, in fact after listening for a bit (go ahead, tell me you wouldn’t!) we realized it was a neighbor across the street diagonally talking on her cordless phone. We only got one side of the conversation, but let’s just say that summer we learned more about the issues they were having with their kids through casual listening than we ever wanted to know!

You can still take the survey here, and it will continue to tally your results. It would be interesting to see how the results change (or don’t) in another couple of weeks or months!

So what are your “must have” or “waste of money” things for new parents?

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

2 Comments on "Informal Poll Looks at the Ever-Changing Trends of New Parent ‘Must Haves’"

  1. Fascinating poll. I checked off most of the stuff as being unnecessary, but of the items on their list that WERE important to us:

    Baby carrier: The Ergo saved us. Sarah was able to strap our son to her chest and grocery shop without having to lug the car seat along with her, and he would often just sleep or chill out and check out the scenery.

    Changing table: For the love of your back, yes, it’s handy to have one. If you’re tight on space, you could skip it, but it’s definitely worthwhile.

    Video Monitor: To be completely honest, the video monitor was about the same price as a decent non-video one, and it helped us learn the difference between “crying and needs mommies right now” and “crying but is slooowly soothing himself”. Now, a year in the sound died on our monitor and we’ve never replaced it because a) our kid has some good lungs and b) we can tell by sound if we need to go in, but if there’s no cost difference the video monitor is perfectly fine. Plus you can watch your little bundle of joy go all Paranormal Activity in their crib.

    IMPORTANT: We were told by the firefighters who did our car seat check that we should not have a mirror set up for the driver to see the baby. They said in an accident you don’t want a potential projectile hung near your kid’s head, and that the mirror’s aren’t built with enough strength to avoid snapping and flying in a severe crash.

  2. Good point on the mirror!

    Also thanks for the perspective on the video monitor – we were wandering Target and it seems most things available are video-based now, and the prices don’t look too bad. If it was like that when we first had a baby I’m sure we would have gone video as well.

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