In response to my recent advice not to buy wipe warmers, I’ve received requests from soon-to-be moms for more information about products new parents don’t need. So here’s my list of seven other waste-of-money baby products.
1. A hands-free pumping bra. One of the best hints I got soon after giving birth came from the lactation consultant at the hospital. “Just take an old sports bra and cut two holes in it” instead of buying a hands-free pumping bra, she suggested. And the advice worked like a charm through 11 months of pumping and two old sports bras. And an added bonus of this technique, as pointed out recently by Rookie Moms’ Whitney Moss, is that the cut-up bra can also help you potentially lessen some of the pains associated with breastfeeding.
2. Shoes for babies who can’t yet cruise/furniture walk. When my daughter was about three months old, I bought her really cute leopard-print and black patent leather May Janes (see the picture above) in tiny baby sizes for an embarrassing amount of money. Unfortunately, the shoes were also a waste of money as my daughter never wore them. At first, the shoes were too big. Then, we never put them on because we were heeding experts’ advice to let babies learning to stand and walk be barefoot or in socks. Plus, my daughter has adorable socks that look like shoes, socks that I suggest other new parents buy instead of baby shoes. Turns out I’m not alone in finding baby shoes a waste of money. Baby shoes are “so cute” and “are hard to resist, but save your money,” wrote Devan McGuinness on Babble.com.
3. Crib bedding sets. To lessen the chance of SIDS, you’re not supposed to use blankets, pillows or crib bumpers. This means that everything but the sheet, mattress pad (and maybe the dust ruffle) in these sets is likely going to go unused (unless you don’t follow experts’ guidance regarding SIDS).
4. A dishwasher basket for baby items. I ended up just putting our bottle items right on the top rack of our dishwasher and my daughter hasn’t yet come down with any infection (that I know of) related to dishwasher germs.
5. A bottle sterilizer. To sterilize items like pacifiers, new bottles and new sippy cups when I felt the need, I just used an old-fashioned pot of boiling water. Plus, see the reasoning above for skipping the dishwasher caddie. And it’s not even clear if bottles really need to be sterilized. As Alan Fields of Baby Bargains told Mint.com’s Mint Life blog: “A lot of these sterilization products prey upon a parent’s germ fears, but bottles don’t have to be sterilized . . . . Germs can be good, people!”
6. A special baby thermometer. While I have special thermometers designed just for babies and really appreciate my friends buying me these items as gifts, I wouldn’t register for them if I could have a registering do-over. I often find myself using a regular old digital temperature to take my daughter’s temperature (I’m a fan of the under-the-arm method) rather than going upstairs to her nursery to get her special infant versions. And the regular adult digital thermometer does the job just fine.
7. A special dad diaper bag (in addition to the one Mom already has). When I was putting our registry together, I included a diaper backpack designed for men called the DadGear backpack. I figured my husband wouldn’t want to use my designer diaper bag, which I splurged on since I figured it could also be used as a purse. However, my husband rarely uses this bag and we could have just used one of the backpacks we have around the house and skipped getting this bag, which is really just a plain old backpack with a lot of compartments and a special pocket for wipes.
What items would you add to – or take off – this list?