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Tiny Baby, Tiny Apartment (Part 3): Essential Infant Products for City Life

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The baby industry is a total mind-fuck.

You love your baby so buy our stroller, they advertise. But somehow they come off more like Buy our stroller or your child will drop out of high school and join Al-Qaeda.

So you register for everything. Feels excessive, but you’re vulnerable. Maybe the wipe warmer is necessary, how would you know? You’ve never done this. You don’t want your kid to grow up a drug addict and die alone in a gutter because his wipes weren’t sufficiently warmed. You’re a good mom, dammit. Your kid is going to fucking Stanford, and if that means the locally-sourced vegan organic shade-grown nursing pads, so be it.

Before you know it, you’re in a tailspin of mommy guilt and hormone-fueled consumerism. You need everything, and can afford nothing. To top it off, you can’t fit any of the gear in your tiny apartment anyway. Motherhood is looming, and you’re freaking out.

Snap out of it. Take a step back and breathe. Your baby needs to be able to eat, sleep, and stay clean. Everything else is just fluff.

Here are the only six big ticket items my infant needs:

You might need this to legally leave the hospital with a baby.

Here’s a fun game: Take a kitchen chair in one hand and a picnic basket filled with toys, blankets, and a screaming bowling ball in the other. Now try and make it from inside your apartment to the street in one trip without having a coronary. You see where I’m going with this. Get the lightest, smallest stroller possible. Because on top of lugging the thing around, it also has to live in your apartment.

Sick of schlepping the stroller? Fussy baby has separation anxiety? Difficulty double-fisting at happy hour? Baby-wearing to the rescue.

This one is hard for those of us in tiny apartments. Mostly because cribs are large, and co-sleeping is adorable. But the baby needs a place to sleep. And according to experts, your bed isn’t it.

I guess you could technically live without this, but why? It’s cheap, takes up barely any space, and keeps your apartment from smelling like a pile of baby dumps.

This is crucial. You don’t want your baby waking up every time a hooker breaks a heel out front. And if you don’t want to pay for a machine, just buy a track on iTunes and play it all night on repeat. Or run your vacuum all night. I don’t know, you’ll figure something out. Whatever drowns out the dub step from that nightmare who lives downstairs.

Tip: Beware of YouTube. I tried a 10 hour white noise video and three hours in, a group of loud, jovial men broke into my apartment. OK, it was actually just an advertisement, but it scared the shit out of us nonetheless. A loud, sleep-shattering, panic-inducing advertisement. Blaring directly into my newborn’s crib. HEY YOUTUBE, maybe the “Baby Sleep White Noise” video isn’t the best spot to run Red Bull commercials. Just a thought.

As for the rest of the baby gear, you probably don’t need it. Changing table? Throw down an old towel. Glider? That’s just a fancy word for a rocking chair, which you don’t need. Baby bathtub? Kitchen sink, duh. Baby monitor? Your apartment is 500 square feet, get a grip.

But again, I’m no expert. I’m only four months into this roller coaster. Who knows what I’ll look forward to buying next. A high chair, I guess. And probably a bunch of other shit I don’t even know exists, but will soon never be able to live without.

Better get to paying off those credit cards.

Stay tuned for Tiny Baby, Tiny Apartment (Part 4): Make Maternity Leave Your Bitch

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.