Advice to 1st time moms-to-be: be weary of the baby industry.
Baby stores + expos will try to convince you to buy lots of STUFF - stuff that will collect dust and that you will sell on Craigslist later.
To help prove my point, I've been compiling a list of crazy baby products that I thought you might get a kick out of. If you've used or bought any of these products, please forgive my skepticism and please do enlighten me about their usefulness.
Let's begin with pregnancy:
Pregnancy Piercings offers flexible pregnancy belly button rings for $15.99. I may be a little biased here because I'm not really a piercings kind of girl in general, BUT...it seems hard for me to believe that a mama would want to show off her expanding belly by touting a sparkling ring with a crop top (but maybe that's just me). Not to mention the potential for infections. Or the fact that burgeoning bellies housing babies tend to be itchy and uncomfortable as is.
Then, there's the Lullabelly Prenatal Music Belt ($55). Simply wrap the fabric around your waist, plug in your iPhone or MP3 player, and let your baby jive to tunes in the womb. I'm all for starting music appreciation early, but I think it's probably sufficient to listen to music yourself or to...sing to your baby. After all, "Who needs lullabies when you have a Lullabelly?" [Note: Sarcasm]
Also: the makers of Lullabelly recommend that you start using it at the beginning of your 3rd trimester. Not a lot of bang for your buck.
If you just can't wait for the big 20-week sonogram, you can opt to buy an early gender prediction test by IntelliGender (82-90% accuracy rate; $34.95) or pink or blue (95% accurate; $265-$330). You can find out your baby's gender with a simple urine (IntelliGender) or blood (pink or blue) test at as early as 7 weeks post-conception.
I understand the appeal of this product, but - seriously - can our culture get any more impatient? Tomorrow people will be requesting that they're babies arrive like 3 weeks early or something (oh, wait...that already happens).
Your baby finally makes his/her arrival and now of course you HAVE to have a Why Cry Baby Analyzer ($69.99) by ThinkGeek or at the very least a Cry Translator App ($9.99) for your iPhone by Biloop Technologic.
Yes, it's true. The crying analyzer detects why your child is crying (i.e. Stressed, Sleepy, Annoyed, Bored or Hungry) via advanced frequency analysis technology. The makers of the iPhone app even boast that, "Clinical studies have shown the Cry Translator can decipher the broad meaning of a baby’s cry with 96 percent accuracy." Uh-huh. I'd like to know how exactly they conducted those trials. Did they, by chance, interview the babies afterward?
Next up is LENA (the Language Environment Analysis System; $699). Here's how it works: You dress your child in LENA Clothing, slide the LENA Digital Language Processor into the pocket, and press go. At the end of the day, you plug the DLP into your computer and view your reports. The system is designed to help you see exactly how much you (or your baby's caregivers) are talking to your baby and what "level" of words are being used.
I'm a total word nerd so I have to admit that I am absolutely fascinated by this product. Not $699 fascinated though. Also, I'm a bit skeptical about sticking the device into special clothing. I betcha my baby would pull that device out lickety split...or spill her lunch all over it...or something.
As your kids get older, they're guaranteed to get colds and coughs. Why not hook them up with a pair of Sniffle Buddies ($9.99)? They're cloth wristbands that are designed for small children to - ahem, there's no pleasant way to say this - wipe their boogers on. Hands-free!
Um. Eeew. I sort of don't understand how these are particularly sanitary. After one swipe of snot, aren't they pretty much out of commission...or are you supposed to let it dry and then use again? Maybe I don't want to know the answer to that. Oh, and FYI - there are adult versions too in case you want to wear a pair on your next...date night?!?
Needless to say, I think we'll stick with using tissues and washing our hands frequently. Speaking of which, have you seen this handsoap set by Foliage? Is there something just a mite creepy about that set? I mean baby hands are cute and all, but I wouldn't exactly put that up in the guest bathroom - if you catch my drift.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Would you or did you use any of these products? Have you seen any other wacky baby products on the market?