We can purchase virtually anything these days to simplify our lives as parents, right? A N Y T H I N G. As long as we can afford it, that is.
There is an overabundance of baby gadgets of all kinds, sizes, variations, combinations, and colors.
The question is….
Do we really NEED all of it???
Before you end up wasting money on baby stuff you think you want, here are my 2 cents on the topic of baby items you don’t need to buy after all.
(Sometimes, less really is more.)
23 BABY ITEMS YOU DON’T NEED TO BUY
Not only you’re saving money by not purchasing baby items that will get little or no use, you’re also helping save our precious environment. And that’s huge!
#1 BABY SHOES
Baby shoes are like the cutest thing ever, right? But the truth is, unless your baby comes out of your uterus walking, he or she is much better off without shoes – for months along the way.
Even as babies start to stand up, waddle and walk, being BAREFOOT as much as possible is best for them. The absence of shoes enables babies to spread their toes for optimum support and helps strengthen their leg muscles, too.
If you can’t resist the urge, avoid buying hard-sole shoes and shoes that restrict baby’s natural movement, no matter how cute they look.
#2 WIPE WARMER
Here’s the thing: babies don’t need warm wipes. I swear. If you use one at home and swear by it, there WILL be time when you have to change your baby elsewhere and use – gasp – room-temperature wipes. And guess what, both you and your baby will do just fine.
Problem solved, and a potential for a fire hazard averted. (Yup, it’s a thing.)
#3 BABY BATH ROBE
Awww it’s so soft, and the print is so cute. And if it matches your baby’s bathroom décor – AH-dorable!
Now pay attention. You. Will. Never. Use. It. #TrueStoryTwiceOver
#4 BABY LAUNDRY DETERGENT
Contrary to popular belief, a picture of a happy baby or the words “SAFE FOR BABIES” do NOT always make the product actually safe for babies. Believe it or not, DREFT scores worse in toxicity than TIDE. Crazy, right?
Luckily, your baby does not need a special laundry detergent. You’re better off using the same detergent for your entire family, ideally one that’s safer for you and the environment than some of the leading brands, and hopefully fragrance-free. (To compare the safety of different laundry detergents, visit the EWG website.)
Why your entire family?
Over time, laundry detergents leave a residue in your washer that’s nearly impossible to get rid of. Unless you have a dedicated NEW washing machine for your baby, you’re exposing your baby to that residue with each and every wash regardless of the nature of the detergent used for baby laundry.
Related: Toxic Newborn Baby Products
Laundry detergents also leave a chemical residue in fabric. While you can’t always smell all chemicals, if you’re using a detergent that leaves a distinct smell in your clothes, keep in mind that your baby is breathing in the chemicals that make up that scent every time you handle your baby.
#5 DIAPER GENIE
I mean, if an actual genie comes out and takes care of the soiled diapers forever in an environmentally friendly way, then YES, YES, heck YESSSSS!!! Use it!
If not, a diaper genie is nothing but a trash can snake of rotting diapers. It’s gross, it can’t be repurposed, and it WILL eventually end up taking precious space in a landfill.
Tie up stinky diapers in plastic grocery bags and take trash out regularly to help curb stink. Even better if you don’t use plastic bags… And, if you’re curious, check out the pros and cons of using cloth diapers (just thought I’d throw it out there).
FYI: The solid content of used diapers – cloth or disposable – should be always flushed down the toilet.
#6 PACIFIER WIPES
Your baby WILL eventually drop that pacifier. It’s gonna happen. And you’ll probably panic a little the first time it happens. But I promise you don’t need a super duper special magic wipe to clean a pacifier that fell on the ground.
Wipe the pacifier in a blanket or run it under drinking water if possible. If it’s not your first child, give it a quick rub on your clothes. Done.
‘Cause you know what they’re doing when you’re not looking? Licking the floor. Mouthing shopping carts.
#7 PACIFIER CASE
In all fairness, I did use a pacifier case with our first child. It came together with the pacifier I bought.
(Reality: if it didn’t, I would have totally just bought one.)
The pacifier – together with its protective case – had a SPECIAL zipper germ-free pocket in the diaper bag, designed just for that kind of thing. I thought it was genius, I really did.
Both the pacifier and the pacifier case were kept in this safe sterile environment while our daughter licked our shoes, ate dust, and cleaned the car keys with her tongue.
(Neither the case nor the special pocket were used with our second child.)
#8 BABY MITTENS
Let’s just say I was 8 long months pregnant and not very sane so I naturally couldn’t stop after getting just two pairs. I had to get 2 EXTRA pairs, this time in the organic version. They were soft and utterly adorable; I was too pregnant to resist.
We now own 4 adorable pairs which – after two kids – still look brand new. That’s exactly how much use they’ve gotten over the years.
To be fair, baby mittens will work well in keeping your baby’s hands warm for a whole 30 seconds or less until they fall of.
Jokes asides, if babies could walk, these would make for perfect dusters. But even then you could still use socks instead. You see? SOCKS.
#9 BABY’S OWN LAUNDRY BASKET
When the baby laundry mountains start to unfold and grow, not only will some of your baby’s clothes inevitably land in your laundry basket anyway, it might end up being easier that way.
You won’t forget about baby’s dirty clothes as much because out-of-sight-out-of-mind and, well, foggy new-mommy-brain. You won’t cringe when you actually do remember but baby is falling asleep, sleeping, or just about to fully wake up from her nap and you don’t feel like crawling into the room like Delta Force on a purging mission. Which is hard to do after giving birth anyway.
Beware: you may panic when you spot one of the tiny socks tumbling around in the washer together with your filthy germ-ridden clothes for the very first time, but rest assured your clothes won’t infect the baby’s cute little outfits drenched with blow-outs, spit-ups, puke, and drool. It’s all good.
#10 BATHTUB THERMOMETER
Does knowing the exact bath temperature make one a better parent?
Does not knowing and using the old-fashioned elbow method make one a reckless parent?
Does wondering how many chemicals the warm bath tap water contains make one a total weirdo?
Because while I place my baby into the not-too-hot-not-too-cold bath, I would much rather know the answer to THAT.
#11 CHANGING TABLE
Despite the pressure, you do not need to buy an overpriced piece of furniture dubbed “the changing table.”
You can easily convert any dresser into a changing table by purchasing a changing pad and placing it on top of the dresser. Pads come in different sizes and include a safety strap.
#12 SHOPPING CART SEAT COVER
Since we’re being all honest here and stuff – I seriously considered getting a shopping cart seat cover before our first child was born and a good while after. Shopping carts are the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. And parasites! The ultimate of gross.
But then I wondered…
What do I do with the contaminated cover after I remove it from the contaminated cart? I can’t just keep it in the diaper bag for next use because until then the germs will move freely, grow exponentially, and they will almost certainly mutate. Well, I’ll just wash it after each use, I guess. I mean, we only visit the stores like…15 times a week?!
In the end, the
practical lazy me won. But, I have also since evolved into a firm believer of building immunity the natural way. Who knew?!
#13 DISPOSABLE SWIM DIAPERS
The idea is good because – come on – who wants to bathe in sewer water?
But the product is not.
The intended purpose of swim diapers isn’t to absorb liquids but to hold solids, right? However, all moms know that #2 isn’t always solid and never really is in exclusively breastfed babies.
Disposable swim diapers just aren’t very good at doing their job – they work, but usually only until your baby poops. The failure rate is evident when about 9 out of 10 times they’re pooped in by little swimmers it ends up with a code brown and a swift mandatory pool evacuation.
Instead, consider getting a reusable cloth swim diaper. You may need to play with the right fit for your child and might need to double up with an exclusively breastfed baby, but this set up is likely going to work much better.
Alternatively, if you’re already using cloth diapers, you can just use a cloth diaper cover on your baby – less the insert – for swim time fun as well.
#14 THE TUMMY TUB
In case you haven’t heard, it’s the new trend in bathing – a see-through bathing BUCKET that promotes stress-free bath experience by replicating the safe feeling inside the womb.
“Wow! I’ll be able to use this for a LONG time. Money well spent,” the parent-to-be might be thinking while reading the manufacturer’s description. It clearly states: “Can be used for children up to 35 pounds.” And: “The TummyTub can be used from the birth up to 3 years.“
I’m going to be real honest here.
I can see it working well at soothing a newborn baby by mimicking a familiar environment. But bathing? Try giving a good clean to a 9-pound eel in a bucket without dropping it.
And let’s be realistic here – 3 years, really?
There is no way the bath bucket would fit my 3-year-old, and I’m quite certain she wouldn’t enjoy being contained in a bucket for bath time. I have a hard time believing her then-2-year-old-self would have enjoyed being stuck in a bath bucket, and I imagine it would have been downright fun to try and place either of my once-super-chubby-1-year-olds with their curious octopus arms and legs into the bucket to clean them.
In fact, I don’t even think I’d want to regularly soothe a newborn in a bath bucket. Babies need to be bathed far less than we’re led to believe, and nursing works much quicker in soothing a newborn than drawing a bucket bath, plus – there is no clean up. Bathing a baby is actually a lot of work.
But maybe I’m delusional and wrong about labeling the tummy tub as one of the baby items you don’t need to buy and you CAN make this bucket thing work. It’s still just a bucket, nonetheless. The good news is that it can be repurposed and used as a mop bucket, barf bowl, or a home helmet for rough play.
#15 BABY CLOTHES THAT GO OVER A NEWBORN’S HEAD
If you don’t believe me, go for it. It’s so much fun.
Changing your baby after a diaper explosion is especially entertaining. Better fill up that bucket.
#16 BOTTLE STERILIZER
It’s a good idea to sterilize bottles, nipples, and pacifiers before first use to get rid of germs and residue that may have accumulated on the product in the meantime. Hot soapy water and subsequent boiling will do the trick.
How to clean bottles, etc. AFTER the first use?
Do you have a dishwasher?
❍ YES → Problem solved.
❍ NO → Do you have access to hot water and soap?
❍ YES → Problem solved.
❍ NO → You may need a bottle sterilizer.
#17 BABY FOOD PROCESSOR
Do you own a stove, ice cube trays or small containers, zip-lock bags, and a blender? NO? ➟ ➟ ➟
Do you own a stove, ice cube trays or small containers, zip-lock bags, and a fork? NO? ➟ ➟ ➟
OK, fair enough. This is still a baby item you don’t need to buy though. I know this may sound crazy at first, but you don’t need BABY FOOD at all. It’s called Baby-Led Weaning, and it rocks!
#18 PEE-PEE TEEPEE
In full disclosure, I have raised exactly ZERO little boys.
However, I’m guessing a good old wash cloth to prevent a stream of warm urine from painting my face or my walls would do the trick. What do you think?
#19 TOP AND TAIL BOWL
It’s the product that exists that nobody seems to know about. But it does exist, so even if you don’t buy it, you may be simply gifted one. (Here it is if you have no clue what we’re talking about – this is an affiliate link, btw).
#20 CRIB BEDDING SET
The gorgeous color-coordinated set you’ll spend a small fortune on usually consists of the combination of:
- Padded bumper pad: which is nice and soft but poses a suffocation hazard.
- Quilt/Comforter: which is adorable but poses a suffocation hazard.
- Embroidered baby pillow: which is cute but poses a suffocation hazard.
- Diaper stacker: the odd item in the package that will turn retrieving a clean diaper into a 3 AM new-mommy rage.
- Fitted sheet: which is great except you’ll need a whole lot more than one.
- Dust ruffle: which is not essential but will work well at hiding all kinds of baby paraphernalia shoved underneath the baby crib.
Clearly, a crib bedding set is one of the baby items you don’t need to buy. A good half of it is potentially dangerous therefore useless, at least until a baby is much older.
Here’s what you want to do instead: invest in multiple all-cotton crib sheets with a practical amoeba print in the lovely earth tones of brown, orange, yellow and yes, even green. Baby poop is no joke.
#21 BABY CARE TIMER
This genius product helps you remember that you have a brand new human baby in your home that needs to eat, sleep, and be changed. A baby care timer basically takes the tricky guesswork out of equation. Cool, huh?
As long as you sync your new little baby with the timer to operate on the exact same schedule, you’re golden.
#22 FORMULA MIXER
Also known as “Make And Just Shake The Bottle.”
#23 BABY COLOGNE
Even Johnson’s now makes baby cologne. Oh boy.
Well, I think we’re done here.
These are the 23 products I wanted to tell you about that I believe you don’t need to buy when you’re expecting a new baby.
What did I forget?
Any more baby items new parents shouldn’t be buying?