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Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Not To Buy For Your Kids: 10 Things That Are Purely Marketing Gimmicks: Diary Of A New Mum




The TV ads and the mega shopping sales and the many alerts from the countless shopping sites have only one agenda – to get you to buy!!!!!

As a new mom, and admit it, it has nothing to be a first time or new mom, and even those with more than one kid do this all the time (read, me, as well as you, yourself), we always end up getting sucked into these crazy marketing gimmicks that end up manipulating our brains. They tell us what is really really important for your babies and kids and you end up believing them, heart and mind and soul!

Recently, I even saw something on a baby site that told parents ‘to not be their baby’s toy themselves but to buy them some interesting toys for real.’ Okay, that was really marketing gone overboard and in your face.

With so much peer pressure and so much pressure from so many different quarters, it is very difficult indeed to figure out what your baby or growing child really needs and what can easily be ignored. As a parent, you do not want to leave out anything for your kid, you want to give them all there is that is the best, that will help them in achieving their milestones and help them in motor development and education and learning and stimulating their senses and what not.

Agreed.

But who says that buying all that there is out there will do that?

The ones who are selling it say, who else?

Most often than not, your instinct is the best guide to buying for your baby. Forget about what all the sites and stores are saying. If you think your baby needs it, go and get it right away. If you have the slightest of doubt, hold on.

Here are the 10 most commonly advertised or bought items that are actually not needed for your baby at all!



1. Night time lullaby singer: I mean, come on! What happened to good old parenting and singing a lullaby for your baby?

These are basically little battery-operated toys that you need to attach to your baby’s crib. They can be switched on to play some recorded songs and soothing sounds and some also come with the option of having different lights or reflecting shadows that will fall around the walls.

Instead of putting on your baby to some pre-programmed lullabies, take her in your arms and sing her to sleep….you don’t know what a bond you will end up creating!

2. Fancy and party frocks for your new born girl: All parents know that babies, especially in the first few years, should not be put into clothes that are too fancy.

The best choice for your child till about the first 2 to 3 years is simple cotton clothes. The best dress for your new born and little baby is a simple cotton jhabla. Stop your need to show off your baby in the latest fashion and instead let them be comfortable. You’ll have a happier baby in your arms that way!

3. Gripe water and janam ghuttis: These are pure old customs that have no basis to them whatsoever. Ask any doctor and they will immediately tell you not to give your baby any of this! But Indian parents being the self-taught know-all doctors that they are, promptly tell each other how beneficial gripe water and janam ghuttis are for the babies and how these days doctors know nothing and say anything, without consulting age old customs!

Please respect the doctor and listen!

4. An overload of shampoos and soaps for babies: New borns as well as toddlers smell naturally fresh and beautiful. And baby smell is one of the most amazing scents in the world. Your baby does not need all those bottles of shampoos and bars of soaps that you have been buying with so much concern.

If anything, applying too much of these (too much even means on a daily basis) will end up drying up baby’s super soft skin and cause more harm than good. If you still want, go for the herbal ones and ditch the more popular ones. Go for the ones from Biotique or Himalaya – they have some lovely and super natural and herbal soaps and shampoos for babies and kids.

5. Kajal: Hello? Are you even realising what you are doing to those precious eyes? Most Indian families still believe that putting kajal in big dark lines around those little eyes will ward off the evil eye!!! And that applying kajal (or kohl) in your new born’s eyes will ensure the baby has beautiful big and black eyes. 

Really? This is one of the most dangerous things you can do to your baby. Each time baby rubs her eyes, chances are some part of the kajal is entering her eyes. Also, the kajal that comes off in her hands will go straight in her mouth! Doing all this will not ensure that the ‘evil eye’ is warded off or that your baby gets bigger eyes!

Babies are naturally beautiful, so please stop trying to trap them in the cosmetic and make believe world of vanity right from birth. Look after them, love them, ensure they are well cared for, and your baby will be fine.

6. Too many toys right from birth: It is a known fact that babies do not need ANY toys till the 3rd month. Your little one has many things to amuse her, and there is absolutely no need for a toy, rattle, battery operated singing toy and the like till at least she has crossed the 3rd month. Most parents will get an overload of toys right from birth, but sadly, baby is not in an age to appreciate them yet.

Let her enjoy the simpler and more important joys, like your face, your voice, your song, your fingers, her fingers and toes, the birds and the flowers and the sounds you can make and the calling of her name…play with your dupatta (stole), the sheet, little pillows, her hands and feet….all that is lots of play and stimulation for her! And it is much more entertaining and educative for her…it helps give you both more skin to skin time and strengthens the bond between mommy, or parents, and baby!

7. Walker: The moment baby learns to sit up on her own, most parents will put her in a walker ‘to help her learn to walk.’ Agreed, it is really cute to see a little baby sitting in the walker and pushing herself from here to there, squealing in joy. But the extra stress that this puts on those little chubby legs is too much actually.

Wait and let her try and get up on her own. A walker is fine, though your baby can absolutely do without one and you can easily skip this one.

8. Pacifiers: They look cute, with those cute pacifiers in that cuter face and chubby cheeks. It is after all the easy way out, to put a pacifier in your baby’s mouth and let her sleep in peace for longer hours, or to stop her from crying. Saves you a lot of time and effort in waking up many times and putting her back to sleep or constantly soothing her….I understand. But do you know that what seems to be doing so much good for your baby (as it helps her to not cry) is actually already causing a lot of damage to her gums and future tooth?

Stay away from it, and any time baby cries, check what is wrong and be her pacifier instead.

9. Extra bath accessories: A bathing tub is practically all you need for your baby’s bath time, at least in the first few months. Other bath accessories like a bathing mat, a non-skid seat and more can easily be done without.

10. Baby laundry: Most brands have latched on to this concept, selling it at a much higher price than your regular one, only reason being that it has the word ‘baby’ on it. You can easily do without it, unless baby is suffering from any particular skin disease and doctor has advised you to go for it. You can easily use a soft detergent for your entire household and use it for baby’s washing too. Just ensure you wash baby’s clothes separately from outdoor clothes or those of adults.


There are actually many more things that do make it to this list, but for now, let's keep it to 10 ;-) I will tell you more about the other ones soon, like the things we thought our baby would need and bought and ended up sending them to charity. We got smarter with the second one :-)

- Debolina Raja Gupta

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And like I always believe in and say:

'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ

Happy Parenting!!!! Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown up...save the little ones.... Debolina Raja Gupta
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