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Did you know that the global market for baby products is almost 75 billion dollars? While some of that revenue is items that you need to purchase (a crib, a car seat), many of the purchases made are based on people thinking they need every gadget and device to survive babyhood. Don’t fall prey to this thought! You’ll have so many things sitting around your house that you used once, or even worse, that you never touched.
After considering what I’ve used over four pregnancies, there are definitely some items that come to mind that we’ve never used. Keep in mind that this is our list, and that someone out there probably thinks that something on the list is a requirement. We are all different, and as you will learn quickly, we all parent differently. The real goal here is to get you to really think about the worth of items before you run out to all buy all of the baby stuff at the store. Here are 11 things you DON’T need for baby.
11 Things You Don’t Need for Baby
Baby bath tubs & bath thermometers
Guess what, every home comes with one of these! If your house isn’t equipped with a kitchen sink, then I truly feel for you. Don’t waste $30 on a cute little whale tub that you have to bend over and break your back to still hold the baby upright in. You have one arm wrapped around the baby, one arm trying to bathe and meanwhile you stopped breathing from the tub wall cutting off all circulation to your lower body. After that you’ll decide that babies aren’t dirty and never need baths! Just stick with the sink. It’s the perfect height and the right size, and they aren’t going to be in there long anyway. As for thermometers… you have ten fingers. Stick one in first and you’ll know if it’s too hot.
This can cause a heated debate. So many mamas think that a cold wipe seems too harsh. This is a contraption that most of us have never had, and now most pediatricians say you shouldn’t have one because they increase the risk of bacteria and mold. If it’s a super cold night, grab some wipes and run them under warm water in the sink first. It’s not worth the $30 for the device that will just take up space.
If you want to go crazy, spend 20 minutes trying to get shoes on a baby just to have both of them fall off in less time than you spent to put them on. By all means, don’t go out in public with those shoes or you’ll have strangers handing them to you all through the grocery store as you keep losing them and don’t even realize it. Put them in stockings or use a blanket—there are a lot of other ways to keep toes warm! Shoes are cute and that’s why they get bought, but anyone with more than one kid will tell you that they are useless. We don’t start using shoes on our kiddos until they start walking.
Full bedding sets
Save the $100+ on bedding sets, please! You can’t even use everything in it from the very start, and yet they still sell it and make you think you need it. Babies need less things in their crib, not more—no bumpers, no blankets, no quilts. They just need a sheet. Want to go anti-cute? Save those big disposable chuck pads they give you in the hospital (you’ve already paid for them anyway) and use those as waterproof pads for a bit. Little ones don’t move when they sleep for a few months, but they do spit up, pee and many other things that can get crib linens very dirty. Save yourself the laundry and go simple.
This is one item that I do have, but only because my husband made one for me years ago. Don’t go to the store and spend $150-$200 on one, though. Many parents use the couch, the floor, and any other flat surface for this task. Just because you have a changing table in their room doesn’t mean that you’ll trek up to their room throughout the day for diaper changes. You’ll end up with hidden stashes of diapers all over the house so that you never have to leave the room you’re in.
To make your own table, we went to the Habitat Restore and bought an bathroom cabinet someone had donated. It cost $10 and my husband painted it and made a new top that could hold a changing pad. Total spent was less than $30 (I don’t remember exacts since this was over 10 years ago, but I do know that $30 would have killed the budget). We’ve used this same table for all our kids. It’s seen some wear and tear, but it has been a great investment over a particle board table.
First, note that I’m NOT saying that you don’t need a crib. You do. And if you want parenting advice here… you need to use it. Your marriage and sleep is important. That’s all I’ll say. What I am saying is, don’t waste your money (or anyone else’s) on a convertible crib. They sell all sorts of these: some that turn to toddler beds, some that grow all the way from a crib to a double bed. Guess what, around the time your sweet angel turns 1 they will view this crib as an amazing teething toy. Your dreams of a great headboard someday will be dashed by their sweet teeth marks all over the top bar. Focus on a crib that can stand up to multiple kids. That’s my only tip. I know you may only want one kid, but if you buy a decent crib, you can always resell it.
For cribs that convert to toddler beds, I’d love to hear how many of you did this. We had cribs that would do this supposedly, but the mattress still doesn’t come any lower so in reality it’s still a pretty high bed for a toddler. We never did convert them; we just bought toddler beds (remember, we had twins first) for $20 each at a consignment sale. True toddler beds are only 5-6 inches off the floor.
Bottle drying racks, warmers, etc.
I’m pretty sure we all have the same battle of winning back the kitchen counter. Don’t add to the difficulties with lots of things that will take over the kitchen. Heat up a glass of water and stick the bottle in it; no warmer needed! Open up the dishwasher and let clean bottles dry in there. For that matter, most bottles are dishwasher safe so just toss the bottle brush and stick them straight in! That takes care of all the warmers and sterilizers they sell, too.
One other tip: Don’t buy a ton of the same bottle. You never know what you (or your baby) are going to end up liking most.
Baby laundry detergent
Babies are good with what you use to clean your clothes. Don’t buy into special soaps and cleaners just for the tiniest person in the house. If you want to go organic cleaners, do it for the whole family. Dreft is the one that lots of folks grab, but this laundry detergent never goes on sale and is twice the price of other leading detergents! Grab the “free & clear” version of other detergents and you’ll have an even better product.
Baby food makers
Let me introduce you to the best food masher: it’s called a fork. Smash peas, carrots, pears and more with no gadget or device needed. If you do want to make large batches, your kitchen blender will do the trick, too. Also, skip special storage containers. Grab some old fashioned ice cube trays and freeze food in those and then put it all in a Ziploc bag together by type. Making your own baby food is definitely the way to go, but once you start paying for gadgets you’ve ended up saving nothing.
Fancy diaper bag
This one took me a few years to learn. Every new mom wears a big sign around their neck with the massive diaper bag stocked with everything that could possibly be needed in the next 24 hours. With each child you start realizing that the big bag only adds more stress and buy the time you have your fourth you shove a diaper in your purse and have wipes in a ziploc bag. If they wet through their pants, then come home in a diaper… it’s about survival here, and the 40 lb bag just weighs you down. If you are still a bag toter after a few kids, at least go practical and just get a small backpack.
This is a vague group, but you know what I mean here. There are so many random gadgets and doodads that no one ever knew they needed. Pacifier wipes, pee-pee teepees, baby tracking lists and apps… this could be a neverending list. Just know that the more clutter you add doesn’t make parenting easier, it doesn’t help you sleep anymore, and doesn’t make things safer. It’s just clutter. Simple is best.
What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!
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