This is not an argument about Pampers vs. Huggies, X bottles against Y bottles, this baby swing or that baby swing. All babies and all parents are inherently different and general preferences naturally vary. Shocking. This post is about the unnecessary baby products and the must-have-or-else trap that many soon-to-be parents get lured into during the extensive pre-baby shopping frenzy.
We have the luxury of the market overflowing with an abundance of baby gadgets of all kinds, sizes, variations, combinations and colors. We can purchase virtually anything to simplify our lives these days.
And that sounds great, right?
But do we really NEED all of it?
Perhaps we’re just lucky.
Or have we managed to spoil ourselves?
The undeniable truth is that living in times of consumerism, we are producing TOO MUCH WASTE.
The USA is home to only about 5% of the global population, yet Americans generate more than 25% of the world’s total waste.
Yeah. It’s not good news.
So if you’re willing to stand out and NOT buy the greatest item ever that a friend’s second cousin’s stepsister is raving about, say “no thanks” – unless you REALLY need it.
FWIW, I have come up with a list of
23 BABY PRODUCTS
that you might feel pressured into buying but MAY NOT NEED after all:
#1 BABY SHOES
They’re like the cutest thing in the whole wide world, am I right? Yeah, they ARE adorable. But quite frankly, unless you witness a miracle and your baby comes out of your uterus walking, he or she is much better off WITHOUT shoes. Even as babies start to stand up, waddle, and walk, going BAREFOOT enables them to spread their toes for optimum support and overall helps strengthen their leg muscles. Be considerate and forget the cuteness factor in the name of health and comfort. Hard-sole shoes ESPECIALLY and shoes that restrict baby’s natural movement should be a definite no-no.
#2 WIPE WARMER
Cue everyone going OMG. “How have the women in our family history survived before the invention of a wipe warmer? How lucky ARE WE?”
Back to reality: babies do not need warm wipes. I swear. And there WILL be a time when you have to change your baby and use – gasp – room-temperature wipes. And both you and your baby will do just fine. Trust me. If you’re giving me the evil eye right now and insist on using nothing but warm wipes on your baby’s delicate temperature-sensitive skin, try a quick run under warm water or rub wipes in your hands before using them. Problem solved and a potential for a fire hazard averted.
#3 BABY BATH ROBE
Awwww it’s so soft, and the print is sooooo cute and toooootally matches your baby’s bathroom décor… Adorable. Now pay attention. You. Will. Never. Use. It. Move on.
#4 BABY LAUNDRY DETERGENT
This one may shock you. Contrary to popular belief, a picture of a happy baby or the magic words “SAFE FOR BABIES” do NOT always make the product actually safe for babies. I know. It’s messed up. While your pediatrician may consider Dreft (that actually scores worse than Tide) to be perfectly safe for your newborn, I encourage you to do a research and highly recommend switching your WHOLE family to a detergent that is free of toxic ingredients and harsh chemicals. Why your whole family? Because if you continue to use the wrong kind of detergent for other family members, your baby will still be exposed to the toxic residue left over in your clothes and linens as well as the toxic build up in your washer that gets released with each and every wash.
If you want to compare different products, one of the good places to start would be the EWG website.
#5 DIAPER GENIE
If an actual genie comes out and takes care of soiled diapers forever in an environmentally friendly way, then YES, YES, YEEES!!! (I’m still looking.) If not, it’s nothing but a glorified trash-can-snake of rotting diapers. It is gross, it’s large, it can’t be repurposed, and the whole contraption will eventually end up in a landfill. Tie up stinky diapers in plastic grocery bags and take trash out regularly to help curb stink.
FYI: Many of us don’t realize that the solid content of used diapers should actually be flushed down the toilet. But you look like you know, so we’re good.
#6 PACIFIER WIPES
Your baby WILL eventually drop that pacifier. It’s going to happen. You’ll probably panic a little if it’s your first child. Your heart may even stop beating for a brief moment. However, I promise that you don’t need a super duper special magic wipe to clean a pacifier that
fell on the squalid surface tumbled onto the ground. Wipe it in a blanket or run it under drinking water, and if it’s not your first child just 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. Tasting poop.
#7 PACIFIER CASE
I DID use one with our first child. It came together with the pacifier and I thought, “Hey, how clever!” The pacifier, together with its case, even had a special germ-free private pocket in the diaper bag designed just for that kind of thing. Both 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
Well, let’s just say that I was 8 long months pregnant and very sane and obviously couldn’t stop after getting just two pairs. I had to get two EXTRA pairs in the organic version for our future 8-armed baby just because they were so soft. We now own 4 adorable pairs and after 2 children they still look brand new. That’s exactly how much use they had gotten. To be fair, the’ll work well to keep your baby’s hands warm for a whole 30 seconds or less until they fall of.
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 some of your baby’s clothes will eventually 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 or 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 a Delta Force Operator on a purging mission.
You may panic for a second when you spot one of baby’s tiny brightly-colored socks tumbling around in the washer with your dirty germ-ridden clothes and without a special, designated, approved-by-babies detergent being used. Relax. Use the same detergent for ALL loads and rest assured your clothes won’t infect the baby’s cute little outfits covered with blow-outs, spit-ups, puke, and drool.
#10 BATHTUB THERMOMETER
Does knowing baby’s 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 weirdo parent? 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 of the outside pressure, you do NOT need to buy an overpriced piece of furniture labeled “the changing table.” You can easily convert any dresser into one by purchasing a changing pad and placing it on top of the dresser. Pads come in different sizes and include a safety strap. Plus only later on you will realize how many diapers you’ve changed on your bed, your lap, the floor, or the sofa.
#12 SHOPPING CART SEAT COVER
I absolutely positively considered getting one before our first child was born. I mean, shopping carts are the perfect breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. And probably parasites. The ultimate of gross.
But then I wondered… Does it come with an instant sanitizing machine? Because… I can’t put the germ-ridden trap in my sterile diaper bag, right? Unless I carry a separate air-tight bag with me for the cover and wash both at home right away because until then the germs will move freely, grow exponentially and almost certainly mutate. I mean, we only visit stores like what…5 times a week?!
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 ‘cause – come on – who wants to bathe in sewer water?
But the product is not.
As you may already know, the intended purpose of swim diapers isn’t to absorb liquids but to hold solids. However, all moms know that no. 2 isn’t always solid and never really is in exclusively breastfed babies. Even under ideal conditions, disposable swim diapers just aren’t very good at doing their job. The failure rate is evident when about 9 out of 10 times they’re pooped in by little swimmers, the situation ends up with a code brown and a swift mandatory pool evacuation.
Instead of using a useless product that’s also uncomfortable to the touch, consider getting a reusable cloth swim diaper instead. You may need to play with the right fit for your child and might need to double up with an exclusively breastfed baby, but it will likely work better. Alternatively, if you’re cloth diapering your child, you can use a diaper cover without a cloth insert for swim time fun as well.
#14 THE TUMMY TUB
This is 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, fellas. I can see it working well at soothing a newborn baby by mimicking a familiar and safe environment. But bathing? Try giving a good clean to a non-potty-trained 9-pound eel in a bucket without dropping it. Later on, when baby becomes squirmy and grabby, attempting to place
baby’s legs splashing octopus arms into the bucket may make for some real fun and maybe a broken adult hip.
I’m quite certain the bucket wouldn’t fit my 3-year-old, and I know she wouldn’t enjoy being contained in a bucket for bath time. I’m confident my then-2-year-old wouldn’t fit comfortably, and I think she wouldn’t have liked being stuck in a bucket. I can’t imagine how I’d squeeze my then-extremely-chubby-1-year-old in the bucket and clean her. And for the record, I don’t even think I’d want to regularly soothe a newborn in a bath bucket because: A) Babies need to be bathed far less than we’re led to believe; B) Nursing does wonders at soothing a fussy baby; and C) Bathing a baby is a lot of work.
But maybe, just maybe, you CAN make this bucket thing work and I’m delusional. It’s still just a bucket, nonetheless. A well marketed bucket in all fairness. However, 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 that kind of outfit after a diaper explosion is especially fun. 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 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, blender, ice cube trays, and zip-lock bags? No? ➟ ➟ ➟
Do you own a stove, fork, ice cube trays, and zip-lock bags? No? ➟ ➟ ➟
Have no fear. You don’t need baby food after all. It’s called Baby-Led Weaning.
#18 PEE-PEE TEEPEE
In full disclosure, I have raised ZERO little boys.
But I’m guessing a good old wash cloth to prevent a stream of warm urine from painting my face or walls would do the trick. What do you think?
#19 TOP AND TAIL BOWL
Oh it totally exists. If you get one as a gift, the only practical use I can think of is saving it for yourself to keep a heavily caffeinated beverage in one compartment and wine in the other for the fun temper tantrum years down the road. Sip accordingly with a straw.
#20 CRIB BEDDING SET
The gorgeous, perfectly color-coordinated set that you’ll spend a small fortune on usually consists of a combination of the following:
- 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: which is 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 crib.
Instead of buying a set you can’t really use, invest in multiple all-cotton crib sheets with practical amoeba print in the lovely earth tones of brown, orange, yellow and, yes, even green. You’re welcome.
#21 BABY CARE TIMER
This genius product helps you remember that you have a brand new baby in the house that needs to eat, sleep, and be changed. It basically takes the tricky guesswork out of equation. As long as you sync your new little baby robot with the timer to operate on the same schedule, you’re golden.
#22 FORMULA MIXER
Also known as Make And Just Shake The Bottle People.
#23 BABY PERFUME
It supposedly is “the ultimate in luxury and style.” Oh boy.