I was skeptical of baby gear. Then I became a dad.

As boring as that makes me, I liked knowing about baby gear. My wife liked that I knew about baby equipment. And I found, to my surpris...


As boring as that makes me, I liked knowing about baby gear. My wife liked that I knew about baby equipment. And I found, to my surprise, that learning about baby equipment forced me to learn more about babies themselves – what they like, what they don’t like, to how old they grow and come out of certain behaviors. As my due date approached, I felt more prepared and less unhappy than many other future dads I met in our birthing classes, many of whom had outsourced equipment decisions to their wives.

And when my wife finally gave birth three weeks early, I was ready. I drove her to the hospital with confidence, full bags in tow, not once worrying about whether the car seat was properly installed.

Since the birth of our son, I have found that my interest in his equipment has made me a better and more capable parent. I can answer her pediatrician’s questions about types of preparations and nipple sizes without breaking a sweat, and I know exactly how many diapers to pack for a three-day trip. I’ve read user manuals and watched YouTube tutorials, and I can operate, clean, and adjust the vast majority of our baby gear without any help. (Nope armed incompetence here!)

I also acquired a good knowledge of the equipment not to buy. I strongly believe that parents should spend as little money as possible on baby clothes, for example, and no money at all on things designed to pee, poop, vomit or spill, including bibs and the bibs. (An old tea towel works well.) I wouldn’t buy the Montessori-style wooden toys that are all the rage in Brooklyn and Berkeley these days. And while I don’t blame anyone for prioritizing convenience, I think every parent who pays $300 for the Baby Brezza Formula Pro Advanced – a Keurig-style Wi-Fi machine that mixes and warms bottles for you with the push of a button – should see their taxes go up.

Equipment can’t solve all parenting problems, of course. He can’t calm a colicky baby, teach a toddler to walk, or help a picky eater clean his plate. And families who can’t afford tons of gear, or who choose to spend their money otherwise, will undoubtedly raise perfectly healthy, happy babies without it.

But there’s something satisfying about giving in to the gear itch, just a little. Because the gear is, frankly, great. It represents our progress as a species – every pacifier, diaper pail and bottle brush is an expression of the Promethean itch to harness technology to bring order to a chaotic universe. And for new parents – a group with a lot of chaos in their lives – having the right gear can help us feel more in control, less at the mercy of fate.

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