Archive | September, 2011

Don’t take it lying down – trip to Baby City

3 Sep

I went to Baby City recently, looking for a camping cot mattress for my sister’s baby who is due any day now.

I remember being overwhelmed and intimidated by the vast array of goods on offer when I was pregnant with my first child. The thought of a trip to Baby City for necessary items made me uneasy and left me feeling nautious until the dreaded visit was over. Every decision I made, whether about bottle teats or car seats, was fraught with guilt in case I made the wrong choice. My husband and I deliberated for weeks on whether we should purchase a heart beat monitor for the baby’s cot.  We agreed that we should, but a kind-hearted shop assistant told us that we really did not need one. I looked at the information on the box I’d just re-read for the umpteenth time, and then looked back at her.  ‘But the box says I need one,’ my eyes must have said to her. Her eyes smiled back at me and said, ‘The box is lying and deliberately making new parents feel anxious so they unnecessarily buy expensive equipment.’ We didn’t buy the monitor.

Eleven years and two healthy kids later I’m a skeptic when it comes to anything parents ‘need’ to buy for their children. So when the salesman showed me the Anti-Allergy, Waterproof, Breathable 3-in-1 mattress that reduces the chance of cot death, and comes at a whopping price of R460, I raised my eyebrows. I was dealing with a ‘let’s start with the most expensive item, in the hope we don’t have to work our way down’ sales person. Ha!

A health alert on the packaging warned that ‘up to 50% of cot deaths may be caused by bacteria that breed in babies’ mattresses’, and the manufacturer therefore recommended that you use their product. The mattress had a removable cover with a zip that made for easy washing. This cover was in fact the magic ingredient that made the mattress special.  The piece of foam with the holes in was quite ordinary.

Not to scare you or anything...

Not to scare you or anything...

To the sales man’s irritation I asked to see cheaper mattresses. I didn’t flinch and I didn’t avert my eyes from his questioning gaze. It was then that I realised the difference between me and the newbie mom. My children had survived thus far despite sleeping on plain as you please mattresses as babies, and I had no illogical need to convince the salesman that I will be a good mother because I am buying the most expensive stuff in the store.  After a healthy round of question and answer, and show and tell, I left with the following: A mattress that cost R200, that promises non-allergenic foam, soft breathable fabric, holes at both ends for added safety, and comes with a travel size Mite Free spray. And. And. An Anti-Allergy, Waterproof, Breathable 3-in-1 fitted sheet of exactly the same material as on the first mattress I was shown. It cost R99.

To some the saving of R160 might not seem much, but for those who need to stretch their money to accommodate all the extra costs of having a baby, it helps a lot.