Congratulations on the forth-coming arrival of your new baby. It’s an exciting time, and if you’re anything like me, you have probably already spent many hours perusing the baby clothes section of your local department store. You might even have made a list of all the stuff you need to buy. It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that babies seem to need an awful lot of stuff. So much stuff in fact, that you are now wondering if you need to re-mortgage the house to pay for it all.
It’s easy to get carried away. Especially when your Mum sends you three Facebook messages a day linking various items she “just happened to find” on the web, such as baby bunting and those printouts of your baby’s date of birth and weight typed in fancy lettering and put in a frame that are apparently worth £30. However, despite what your Mum, and countless of baby shops and manufacturers tell you, there are some things you can really do without. So, hold fire on the credit card and check out this list of pointless baby items before you splurge.
Yes, we know those baby Converse are ridiculously adorable, but trust me, your baby does not need them. Your baby does not need any shoes. “But what about the cold?” I hear you cry. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if it’s minus 5 outside, and you have invested in the best possible furry booties you can find to keep your precious baby’s toes warm. It doesn’t matter if your baby can’t even coordinate his own hands yet to remove the furry booties. Because I guarantee that within three-minutes of you placing the supposed “baby removal proof” booties he will have somehow wriggled his way out of them. Think about it, he managed to escape your pelvis, booties are no match.
2. Matching Cot Bedding Sets
When I was about six months pregnant with my first child I popped into Toys R Us. You know, just to have a look around. £100 later and I returned home with a plethora of adorable baby purchases that included the cutest cot bedding set in the world. It had a giraffe on it. It fitted with my jungle theme that I just knew my unborn child would instantly adore, even if he couldn’t see much more than a few centimetres beyond his face when he arrived. It was amazing. I immediately made up the cot with everything in it and gazed at it lovingly for longer than a sane person should.
Then I read somewhere that for safety reasons babies under one year old shouldn’t have duvets. Damn. They also shouldn’t have pillows. Double damn. Oh, and cot bumpers were pretty bad from a health and safety perspective, as well. Triple Damn. Oh, well, I did have a spotty fitted sheet. Yay.
3. Wipe Warmer
It honestly never occurred to me that my precious baby’s poop covered bottom was simply too delicate for room temperature wet wipes. I guess that makes me some sort of neglectful parenting monster. My friend received one at a baby shower. Needless to say, she ditched it early on. Too much of a faff. I promise you, when your baby is 18 and leaving home, he won’t turn round and say, “Mum, I don’t think we can maintain a mother-son relationship anymore because when I was three months old you used a cold wetwipe on my bottom and I’ve been emotionally scarred ever since.”
4. Nappy Bin
”You absolutely need to have this nappy bin,” my mother-in-law declared. In fact, she was so determined that we would have this bin that uses refillable cassettes instead of nappy bags that she decided that it would be her gift to our unborn child. Thankfully, we ended up with one for free through an Amazon Family subscription because I’m not sure how I would thank someone for giving me a bin on the arrival of my first child.
Anyway, it turns out, we absolutely did not need this nappy bin. Any old bin with a lid would have done the trick. Because, despite the claims made by my mother-in-law, (who I suspect of being secretly employed by a nappy bin manufacturer), it still stinks after about 24-hours. Plus the price of the nappy wrap cassettes are shocking. Buy a regular bin with a lid, use nappy sacks, and empty it out each day. Then use the money saved from not buying the nappy wrap cassettes for some gin or wine. You will absolutely need that.
5. Impractical & Designer Baby Outfits
Yes, your baby might look adorable in that mini Dolce and Gabbana t-shirt, combined with a pair of skinny jeans. However, when faced with a poop explosion that has escaped the confines of your baby’s nappy (and, trust me, this day will come), suddenly that t-shirt and jeans combo is not so appealing. If the t-shirt doesn’t have a wide neck opening then it’s going over your baby’s head, and now your baby has poop in his hair. And when faced with a code brown situation, you need clothes that can be removed fast. Skinny jeans on a baby cannot be removed fast. Stick to baby grows and sleepsuits with lots of buttons at the front.
6. Changing Table
You do need somewhere to change your baby. That is true. However, you do not need to spend a few hundred pounds on a specially designed unit for the purpose. Firstly, once your baby is a rolling, crawling toddler, it will be much safer to use a mat on the floor. Secondly, it’s not practical to keep trudging up the stairs every time your baby needs a nappy change. It’s much, much easier to have a mat that can be folded out on the floor of wherever you happen to be.
7. Bath Thermometer
I had a bath thermometer of sorts for my first. It was a duck that when put into water that was allegedly too hot for my baby’s bath, would magically produce the word “hot” on its base. Only trouble was, that any temperature that was slightly above “actually quite cold” was, according to the duck, too hot. Obviously, being the sensible, and practical parent that I was, I concluded that the duck must be correct, and that the traditional elbow test method was clearly wrong. This is why for the first couple of weeks my poor son was bathed in tepid water. Thankfully, my husband is bit more practical than me (sometimes) and intervened.
Test the water with your elbow. If it feels hot, then don’t bath your baby in it until you have added more cold water. See? It’s that simple.
8. A Baby Book / Journal
Now, if you’re a crafty sort who quite likes creating scrapbooks and other keepsakes, then you can ignore this one. However, if you don’t have 3,000 links on Pinterest for beautiful craft items to create for your home, then don’t buy a baby journal / book. Because the chances are you will probably complete the first couple of pages and then forget all about it. Then you’ll find it six months later and feel really, really guilty. You will blub into your coffee about how you have let your precious angel down by not preserving those first moments. Save yourself the misery and accept in advance that it’s not going to happen.
9. Special Baby Towels
I didn’t have one special towel for my first baby. I had three. Funnily enough they don’t come with any additional magical properties, such as being extra soft, extra fluffy or extra absorbent for when your baby pees all over you as you lift him out of the bath. They do have that triangle flap at one end that you can put your baby’s head in, which clearly makes them superior because you can’t possibly wrap a regular towel around your baby’s head, right? Right?
In a similar vein, you don’t need a special baby face cloth or flannel either. The addition of an embroidered teddy bear does not make it any more effective at washing regurgitated milk from your baby’s face than a regular flannel.
10. Baby Soaps and Lotions
It’s been nearly five years since my son was born and I still have a bottle of baby lotion sitting in a cupboard that I received as part of a gift set when I was pregnant. Most of the other items were either thrown out or I ended up using on myself. Your baby won’t need anything in the bath except water. Soaps, bubble baths, and shampoos can do more harm than good, drying out your baby’s skin, even those that claim to be specially formulated for babies. If your baby has dry skin, then a cream, such as Aveeno, or emollient, such as Vaseline Jelly, is much better to use than a lotion.