As a mom-to-be who reads through any recommended baby registry list, it's no surprise that she's overwhelmed by the dozens upon dozens of items a baby entails. Babies are so tiny, she says to herself. How on earth could they require so much stuff?! The good news is that many of these lists are all-encompassing either for the mom who wants to be over-prepared, or because they're developed by retailers in an attempt to have her share of her hard-earned dollars. In many cases, the items on the "must buy" baby registries are not so much on the "must" list and more on the "maybe" list. And in some cases, they may even be recommended against by the experts.
Before mom rushes out to the baby store and starts scanning products to add to her baby registry like a mad woman, she should stop and think about which of those products will be needed, not only in the initial baby months but beyond. She should consider purchasing products that will be able to transition from newborn to toddler and through childhood. A great example is a crib that transitions into a toddler bed and into a queen size bed (- yes that's a thing.) Or, better yet, a stroller that converts to a double stroller if she is thinking of having children close together in age. Another product to consider are products that she may be able to get without purchasing them all, as many of the items on this list fall into that category.
Again, for the Type A mom, she may wish to purchase some of these items regardless - and that's okay. It's just another perspective to consider when all the websites are shouting at her to Buy! Buy! Buy!
15 Ditch The Change Table And Just Get A Change Pillow
Sure, it can be helpful. It definitely hurts your back less to change babies on something of hip height, than bending down on the floor, bed, or couch every time you need to change a baby’s diaper (which as a heads up, can happen over a dozen times a day). However, with city living being more prominent among young families and new parents, space is sometimes a luxury that we just don’t have. So is this piece of furniture really needed in addition to a crib, glider chair, dresser, etc.?
Luckily, this is one piece that is not a “must have”. Yes, it’s nice to have, but it is absolutely possible to get by without one. So what are the options available?
While it’s hard to imagine getting by without something as basic as a crib, don’t fall into the belief that a changing table falls into the same category.
First, you can consider putting a changing pad directly on top of a dresser. Many dressers are now even made specifically to accommodate them, and it’s a piece that a child can use through their teenage years (and even beyond, if it’s well made). Another option is the Keekaroo peanut changer – it has a strong outer shell making it easily wipeable, and movable to any room or surface in the house (just follow its safety recommendations).
14 Baby Wearing May Be Useful But It'll Break Mom's Back
Some mothers swear by baby carriers. Especially for colicky babies who can’t handle being horizontal, baby wearing can seem like a lifesaver. They’re also helpful in getting out of the house when you don’t want to (or can’t) bring the stroller. That said, for many urban moms this baby piece rarely gets used.
If your main plan is to stick to local activities that you can walk to, like mom & baby classes, yoga, coffee runs, groceries, etc., this may be a piece you can opt out of. We have two, and aside from a few hikes in the first year, they rarely got used. The cost per use certainly wasn’t worth the investment.
That said, every family is different. If you know 100% that you’ll be out in the wilderness and on stroller-less paths for a significant chunk of time, maybe consider adding it to your baby registry. Otherwise, think about holding off on this one until after the baby comes. Wait and see how often you’re out and which activities you do first. Check out what other moms are using, and see what appeals to you. Remember, not everything that you need for a baby has to be purchased before their due date. Sometimes waiting a few short weeks or months may give you clarity on whether this “must have” item is truly a must for you.
13 Adorable Baby Shoes Are Cute For A Week
Is there anything more adorable than baby toes? Ask any mother around and you’ll get a pretty unanimous decision that they are pretty darn cute. The thing is, babies grow quickly. What about those adorable designer shoes that you bought for them? You’ll be lucky if they last a couple months. We have several pairs of baby shoes that were more expensive than mine, and they’re now boxed up in the closet.
It can be fun to dress them up, but remember that socks can often do just as well for outings than actual shoes, especially if it’s during the warmer months of the year.
The thing is, most babies can’t actually walk yet. For the winter months, many snowsuits and snow pants often have foot covers and booties built in.
This isn’t to say that you shouldn't have shoes for your kiddo. Having one or two pairs to keep those adorable toes warm (and cute!) is important. However, remember that a drawer full of cute shoes that will only get worn a handful of times might not be the best use of the registry, given all the other things that you will actually need and use on a daily basis.
12 Bath Thermometer Can Be Replaced With A Simple Touch-Test
Do you use a bath thermometer for your own baths? Then why do we think we need one for babies? “But how will I regulate the temperature”, you may ask yourself? This is one that many experienced moms have trouble not rolling their eyes at.
How do you ensure the temperature is exactly right for your little one? The same way that women have been doing it for millennia! By good old-fashioned touch. Yes, a baby’s skin is more gentle than that of an adult's skin, but you know how to test your bathwater. You’ve been doing it for years. If you can’t rely on your hands, try dipping your elbow into the water – sometimes that can be a more accurate test of temperature. If anything, you may tend to make the water too cool, which baby may not appreciate. Just make it roughly what you would find comfortable, and baby likely will too.
Sure, if you want to be extra cautious of temperature, you can invest in this piece of equipment. But, given the dozens of other things that are likely on your shopping list, this is one that can be omitted with little fear. Otherwise, it may go unused in your cabinet after the first few months.
11 Bottle Warmers Take Longer Than A Microwave By Far
Wondering about how you’ll get formula or pumped breast milk to the perfect temperature, and think this is a needed piece of equipment to do so? Not so! While it’s true that bottle warmers may be efficient, and get them warmed to the perfect temperature quickly, it’s not the only option available. Experts recommend against using microwaves, and so many parents think they need to invest in this tool. However, a mug of warm water can do the same task. The main drawbacks of the mug method are that they don't work as quickly, and you don’t know the exact temperature the liquid is heated to.
Many moms, however, figure out the exact right amount of time to heat the water to for the mug size and microwave strength.
Another reason this item may not be needed is that you don’t know what your baby’s preference will be between bottle and our natural gals. Unless your plan is to exclusively breastfeed, consider not purchasing a plethora of bottle feeding equipment until you’re a few months into feeding. Many women have great plans for supplementing the milk gals with the bottle, then realize the baby refuses everything except for mom herself. Even consider holding off on purchasing a full repertoire of bottles until you know that the baby is happy with that type of nipple, as they can become quite particular with their preferences.
10 Wipe Warmers Are More For Cooler Climates
Yes, wipes can be a little cool on a baby’s bottom. No, that doesn’t mean you need to rush out and purchase a baby wipe warmer. The only time this really makes a difference is if the cool temperatures have the propensity to make your kiddo more alert and awake in the middle of the night feedings. But even that, there’s an easy solution for. Consider a warm washcloth (though this requires more laundry), or warm water on toilet paper. But really, if you change the diaper before you feed your little one, the simple act of drinking milk is often enough to get them back to a sleepy state.
I was tempted to buy this as well when my baby seemed startled with a cool wipe. But at the end of the day, I’m happy that we didn’t. It’s simply an extra piece of equipment that will soon become obsolete and doesn’t make that big of an impact on baby’s overall well being. Also, consider their reaction if they become accustomed to warm wipes, then receive a cool shock when you’re forced to do a diaper change when you're out and about. There have also been hundreds of thousands of wipe warmers recalled over the years. To make life easier for yourself, consider shelving this one.
9 Bump Those Bumper Pads To The Curb
While you feel they may be necessary to protect little one’s fragile head and limbs, this is one piece of equipment that is not needed until they are older and moving. Not only is it not needed at first, but traditional bumper pads that many of us grew up with are now considered a serious safety risk. Doctors now recommend against anything in a crib that has the ability to obstruct a child’s breathing if they come up against it.
That said, there are newer versions on the market. It’s important to note, however, that cribs go through a fair amount of testing, and the width of the slats are measured, recommended, and regulated to ensure they’re the optimal size for babies.
There are breathable mesh bumper pads, which mostly exist to avoid little limbs getting stuck within the cracks.
What about the covers that wrap around each individual slat within the crib? I was tempted to order these, and am now retrospectively happy that I didn’t. Not only do they still provide the cushioning that can obstruct baby’s little mouth, but they can also adjust the size of the gap between the boards. All this means that exact measurement that’s been regulated as the idea spacing for baby has now changed. I know it’s tempting, but try going with what the experts recommend here.
8 A Snow Mountain Of Baby Powder Is More Mess Than Useful
Not only is this item no longer a must-have, it’s also considered dangerous. It’s difficult to use baby powder without its fine particles puffing up into the air. Inhaling it can cause breathing troubles and has potential to damage a baby’s fragile lungs. For premature babies or those who are dealing with respiratory issues as it is, the risk is even more profound. There are steps you can do to make it less dangerous, such as using it sparingly, and putting it on your hands first away from the baby (though doing so while ensuring a baby is in a safe place free from falling risk is another concern). However, this is one item that it’s simply not necessary to have.
Keeping a baby’s bottom clean and dry requires little more than frequent changes and proper wiping. Powder build up can even cause skin irritation, which you wouldn’t want for your little one. There’s also the risk of older kids getting their hands on the bottle and thinking it’s a toy. Not even discussing the risk of inhalation for older kids, can you even imagine the mess you’d come across if a toddler decided it was a toy? There are plenty of solutions available for diaper rash, from creams to airtime. So consider if the baby powder is truly needed, or is a product that can stay in the 20th century.
7 Baby Food Makers Are Just Fancy Gadgets
Here’s a funny thing you’ll notice. Many baby products you’ll see on this list are similar to products adults would use – yet at more of steep price, and less of the functionality. A baby food processor is a prime example. Do you already have a blender or a food processor in your kitchen arsenal? Then voila – you have a baby food processor as well and have just saved over 80$ for this one item (if not more depending on the brand and the fancy functions.)
If you don’t yet have one of these items and think you might like to make your own baby food, why not opt to purchase the adult version?
A well-made blender or food processor will do much the same job as the baby version, and it also means you can use it for yourself as well (hello delicious smoothies to lose the baby weight). Additionally, this means you’re able to keep it and use the device for years to come. You don’t have to give it up as a single-function tool to be retired after the 8 months or so that baby is eating pureed foods. And if you do already have a blender hidden in one of the cupboards? Even better! Try it out and see if it does a good job. Again, you can always consider purchasing one down the road, but for now, consider holding off.
6 Bottle Sanitizers Are Just A Smaller Dishwasher
This is another fancy piece of equipment that we’re trained to believe that we need. After all, bottles must be fully sanitized and safe for a baby’s fragile digestive system, yes? Yes, they do need to be sanitized. But that doesn’t mean that you need to invest in an expensive sanitizer that will take up valuable counter space. After all, they say one of the tips to eating better, is to have an uncluttered kitchen!
If you have a good old-fashioned pot and a stove, you have a way to sanitize baby equipment. While it may seem counter-intuitive to put plastic into boiling water, most of today’s baby equipment is made with the standards to do so, free of many of the known dangerous chemicals. And what if you’re still worried about the potential harm of chemicals leaching from bottles? The good news is that there are many glass versions on the market nowadays, which removes a lot of the concerns around chemicals. If that’s still not for you, there are some microwavable sanitizing options available as well that can be more compact. Also, you don’t necessarily need to sterilize the bottles every time you use them. You must definitely do it before the first use, and occasionally thereafter is usually fine. But doing it after every single use is a waste of time, energy, and may degrade the integrity of the item faster.
5 Get Those Baby Lotions In Motion Out The Door
Think you need to have this ready for when the baby comes on hand? Think again! There are so many products that we didn’t need for thousands of years of raising children, and this is another one of them. Many lotions today (yes, even those marketed at baby’s fragile skin) can have dozens of unpronounceable ingredients in them. Even an ingredient as benign as “fragrance” can be any combination of nearly 3,000 ingredients added to personal care products. Some of these are considered to cause possible allergic reactions and – get this – are considered possible carcinogens. And they expect us to slather this all over our newborn’s gentle skin???
If you must indulge in a baby lotion, do your research.
Apps like Think Dirty allows you to scan personal care products, to learn about potentially toxic ingredients in your personal care products. It allows you to scan product barcodes to learn about its ingredients, potential reactions, and cleaner alternatives.
But an even easier option? Reach for your kitchen. Food products are far more regulated than personal care products, and if you can put it in your body, there’s a good chance that putting it on your body is pretty safe. You’ll soon find that coconut oil or olive oil can be just the moisture baby needs – and a safer one at that.
4 Special Detergent VS Natural Detergents
Many of us think we need to invest in special baby-friendly laundry detergent when our little bundle arrives. After all, how could you expose them to the harsh chemicals of standard detergents? Well, I ask you, mama: why would you expose yourself to the harsh chemicals of standard detergents? Your baby will be rubbing up against your clothes and bedding a lot over the first year of life. Not only that, they may also be drinking your breast milk. Do you really want either of you exposed to unnecessary chemicals? Likely not.
Instead of paying through the nose for high-end baby laundry detergents, instead, consider going with a more natural version for the whole family. You won’t have to tick two items off of your grocery list or remember which detergent to use in which batch of laundry. There are many natural versions on the market nowadays, which can benefit all of you.
The most important thing, as with other items like lotion, shampoo, etc. is to educate yourself so that you can be your family’s advocate. Information is power and will allow you to vote for what products local stores carry with your dollars. The more people that start buying natural products, the more stores are going to demand it from their suppliers, and the more suppliers will start making products to suit consumer demand. You’re more powerful than you think, mom!
3 Those Hooded Towels With Ears Look Just As Nice As A Hat
It’s definitely tempting to get some small, cute towels and washcloths meant specifically for the baby. And if you’re running low on these items yourself, or don’t have much to spare, you can consider adding these to the shopping list. However, remember that babies are only babies for so long. Before you know it, they’ll be sprouting up tall and not able to use these cute little hoodies anymore.
This is another case where buying the adult version of the product may work better. You can even take this time to give yourself a little indulgence, by buying the softest, fluffiest, most luxurious towels you can find. The indulgent, spa-like ones can bring the spa factor home to you.
Both you and baby get to enjoy the luxury and the softness that comes from high-end towels.
And what about washcloths? Again, it depends on your inventory. As with many things for babies, try to focus on the long-term. While it’s tempting to stock up on cute mini-towels and accessories, think through what your household will need as those babies grow, and grow, and grow. Stocking your house with materials that can grow with your family is the smart decision.
2 Little Baby In A Blanket
Do you have blankets on your baby registry? Consider pulling them. There are many reasons why you don’t need to purchase this supposedly “must-have” item. First and foremost, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll receive a ton of blankets as gifts. From swaddling blankets to burping cloths to soft blankies, and the like. People love to give blankets as gifts. They’re cute, they’re adorable, and they’re easy to pick out – you won’t worry that the parents may already have that item, because you can never have too many baby blankets, right?
Secondly, and arguably more important, is that the use of blankets may be more limited than you think. With crib safety at the forefront of parents’ minds now, most are not comfortable using them on babies while they're sleeping. Even using them as swaddles poses some element of risk, as swaddles can come undone and turn into a loose material in the crib. Many parents are now opting for swaddle sacks, that fit snugly around the baby and pose far less risk of suffocation.
Yes, you will need some blankets for the baby, whether they are to be used to lay out on a carpet, bundle them in extra layers for cool Autumn walks, or as burping cloths. However, you’re likely to get more than enough through gifts that this is one item you can not worry about buying.
1 Waterproof Crib Pad Or Just Trusted Baby Wipes
Many moms swear by this one: layering sheets with crib pads so that if the baby makes a mess in the crib (which they will), you simply have to pull off the top layer and you’re ready to go back to sleep. The one problem? Often times when pulling layers of sheets off, you can yank multiple layers at once. In the middle of the night, this means you’ll be working to remake up to five layers of sheets and mattress pads.
Isn’t it easier to simply yank off a sheet and toss another one on?
The main caveat to this one is if your crib mattress itself is waterproof or not. If it’s a mainly fabric mattress, then yes, it is advised to purchase a waterproof cover. Babies spit up and their diapers get full a lot. The chances of it never happening in their crib is slim to none. What you won’t want to be doing is scrubbing down a mattress at three in the morning. In this case, you’ll be thanking yourself for having purchased a waterproof mattress cover. If, however, the mattress itself is waterproof, and you have a set of baby wipes nearby, it’s usually enough to clean a little spit up in the middle of the night. All-out diaper explosions are going to be work, no matter what mattress situation you have going on. But for the smaller issues, you should be fine with the mattress as-is.