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As new parents, we are often pulled into a million directions. From deciding to breastfeed, to choosing the right car seat to picking a beautiful name, there is no shortage of decisions to make.
Truth is, while some things are definitely very important, some can be decided upon as time goes by. No need to just rush out the door every time a parenting book or magazine recommends something.
I have been a parent for 18 yrs, and I can honestly say, I have wasted way too much money on unnecessary things, especially during those first few years. And I would love nothing more than to help you avoid the same mistakes I made.
17 Things You Don’t Need for Your New Baby
1. Fancy clothes
By fancy, I don’t necessarily mean designer clothes, although those are definitely a big no no. I’m referring to spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on things that your baby will outgrow in a week or two. And yes, when they are little they outgrow their clothes in the blink of an eye.
You’d be better off buying as much of the comfy stuff as possible, Your baby will need quite a bit of jammies, onesies, a few under shirts to keep their core warm and socks. Lots of socks. Baby socks have a tendency to play disappearing acts on you quite frequently.
Only get a few sensible and comfortable outfits for outings. Most mommies like to keep their babies home as much as possible anyway, especially during the first few weeks or so, which makes spending too much on fancy cute outfits a bad idea. If you must, then splurge (but not too much!) on a beautiful outfit for church, Christmas, or their baptism, if you are having one. Just keep in mind that those are probably going to be worn just once or twice, so keep your spending under control.
When possible, check out the second hand stores in your area. As I said before, babies outgrow their clothes way too fast. You might be able to find the cutest clothes, in new (with tags) or barely worn condition, at a fraction of the cost.
Aren’t baby shoes the cutest things ever? The thought of those little Converse®, Toms® or fancy sandals is just too much. And too much money as well. Your baby doesn’t walk yet and won’t walk for months to come, though. Why spend so much money on something they clearly don’t need? If you wish, maybe buy a nice pair or soft, pretty, handmade shoes for special occasions and call it good. Other than that, your baby will be just as happy (or happier) with socks or even barefoot!
3. Newborn size diapers
OK, maybe not stop buying them altogether. But definitely no stocking up on those. The vast majority of babies only wear newborn diapers for a few days, and some never even fit in them to begin with. You should buy those as you go.
If your family or friends wish to gift your baby with useful things, then politely ask to not get you newborn diapers, or at least to include the receipt in the bag. That way you can go exchange the unused packages for bigger sizes when the time comes.
4. Extra strollers
Strollers are bulky. And sometimes incredibly expensive. Only buy what you reasonably need and if or when the baby outgrows it, then sell the old and replace with what you need. There is no need for a stroller for each and every occasion. Just make sure you do your research and get what will cover all your needs.
I’d recommend you go to the stores and ask an employee to open up the ones that you’re interested in. That way you can test how sturdy it is, if the open/close function is comfortable and even roll it around for a bit. While reading online reviews is an awesome alternative, nothing like seeing the actual product and handling it yourself.
If it is at all possible, set something heavy on the seat area (think watermelon). Sometimes a stroller can be hard to steer or push around when a significant amount of weight is put on the seat. While your newborn will most likely be very light, babies gain a ton of weight quickly. Before you know it, your baby will be almost 20lbs and the new stroller could start struggling under the added weight.
5. Multiple bottles
You obviously want to have a couple extra bottles around. But there is no need for 10+ bottles, unless you have multiple babies. Truth is, your baby only has one mouth and can only eat from one at a time, so keep maybe a max of 4. That way you can use one for water, one for juice and 2 for milk. That is all you really need. Anything else is excessive. After all, you can’t really prep the baby’s bottles beforehand. The formula must be freshly made/mixed and not sit there for ages. And having less bottles forces you to wash them right away, which is ideal.
Bottles can sometimes be found at a discount at second hand stores. This shouldn’t be an issue, as long as you replace the nipple with a new one. If you’re unsure on what brand, style, or size to buy, go for the single packages at first. That way, if the one you purchased turns out to be a bust, you don’t have a whole kit/set of them and can easily move on to a different brand or style.
6. Bottle sterilizer
I mean, come on! Do you really need a fancy pan just for sterilizing the baby’s bottles? Nope, you don’t. Years ago mommies just made do with a regular cooking pan. You know, one of those deep ones you use for stew, soup, etc. All you truly need is boiling water and a deep pan.
Anything else is a luxury. And to be honest, after a few months, you might not even bother to sterilize the bottles anymore. Save your money and go with a cheap pan to sterilize those bottles.
7. Bottle warmer
The worst you could possibly do is get your baby used to warm milk. Room temperature is definitely the way to go. Think no electricity. Or no access to a bottle warmer or stove.
If you get your baby used to warm milk, then chances are that he/she won’t take it any other way. And I am sure you don’t want to be in the position where your baby won’t stop crying because he/she is hungry but the milk is not at the “right” temperature. Do yourself a favor, and don’t start something that could come bite you in the butt later on.
8. Too many pacifiers
I am so guilty of this. When my oldest kiddos were little, it seemed like I had a million pacifiers. Inside their diaper bags, in drawers, my purse. You name it. My “excuse” was that I was just making sure that if one got lost, I could replace it right away. Now, keep in mind that I had 2 kiddos VERY close in age almost all the time with me and they both used pacifiers.
However, in hindsight (Don’t you just love how wise you get with old age?) they might’ve kicked the bloody habit much sooner have I stopped replacing the broken or lost ones. But pacifiers are such life savers! They are also an awful habit.
It took me about 4 years to get them to quit it. And I think what finally helped was that I did not allow them to walk around in public with a pacifier in their mouths after they turned 3. As I explained to them at the time, they were big kids now and if they still wanted the pacifier to sleep, that was fine but they didn’t need it during the day.
My girl lost her last pacifier when she was a little over 4 and I told her that was it. She was not happy. It was hard. But she did it. (My boy took to sucking his thumb. An even worse habit that took longer to quit than I care to share here UGH-he is an adult now and I am sure would not appreciate me sharing that publicly haha)
Bottom line is: keep a couple, keep them safe and ONLY if your baby refuses to sleep without it. If your kid isn’t ready to quit, then only replace when it’s broken or lost. Do not have an arsenal of them at their disposal or it’ll be much harder to get them to quit.
9. Diaper Genie or anything of the sort
While it might seem like a diaper genie is the answer to the smelly diaper problem, in reality those things are completely unnecessary. All a parent needs is to keep some shopping bags handy. With a small plastic bag on hand, simply put the loaded diaper in it and tie it as tight as you can. Then take the bag outside and put the lid on the garbage can.
If a diaper is just wet, then you won’t even need to do that. Simply fold the diaper properly and use the tape on the sides to keep it somewhat contained. It helps a lot to be on top of things, of course. Make sure you change the diaper frequently and it won’t be that bad. I am not saying you have to change it every 15 minutes or so. What I am saying is, do not let too much pee pile up. And change a loaded diaper right away! Very few thing are worse than a nasty rash on those rosy baby butt cheeks.
10. Fancy breast pump
If you really need one, then by all means go ahead and get it. Not the manual ones. Those things are bound to get you all muscly and you’ll have very little milk to show for your efforts.
A stay at home mom who plans on breastfeeding full time, might not get much use out of it though. Your boob is right there with you and so is your child so all you really have to do is “plug in” the baby and Voila! 😉
If you’re planning on going back to work (As if staying home with the kiddos wasn’t work!), and want to continue to breastfeed, then do your research and get something functional and of good quality. That does not mean you have to spend an arm and a leg on it though. Some brands will sell you the idea of how amazingly easy it is to pump with their product. But the truth is, a $200+ pump is not a miracle worker. It doesn’t guarantee anything. You either produce a good amount or you don’t. Although I have heard of many natural products that help increase milk production, the pumps are not it.
11. Diaper bags
Yes, in plural. Again, do your research. Go to the stores and check them out personally. Or read the reviews, good and bad, if you’re shopping online. You might like a ton of models but truth is you only need one, 2 at the most.
You may get a bigger sized one for longer trips, etc. and a smaller one for those quick trips out or to leave at Grandma’s or your husband’s car. More than 2 is a colossal waste of money, especially if you go with a name brand. And please, get good quality but save your money. Do not go for designer type bags, unless you don’t mind overspending. The milk spills the same, the mess will be the same, and you’ll be out quite a bit of money. It’s so not worth it.
12. Expensive nursery furniture
I am guilty of this myself. When I was young and naive, I thought my baby really needed a nice fancy crib. So what did I do? Got one of those, of course! I searched high and low for exactly what I “needed”. Ended up getting one that was a crib that could be turned into a toddler daybed and then into a twin bed. It was awesome!
Except, it wasn’t. My baby absolutely refused to sleep in the darn thing. I tried everything but nothing worked. Eventually, I gave up and let her sleep in one of those very old school cradle with wheels. You know, the ones that had a zippered mesh cover (Do they even sell those things anymore???). And that totally worked!
She loved that thing. But I think she mostly loved that we were in the same room. Eventually, she moved into my bed and stayed there forever. For me, being able to sleep was worth more than “winning” the battle with my newborn daughter.
If co-sleeping isn’t in your near future plans, then do the next best thing: get a small cradle or a pack n play that can fit nicely in your bedroom. At least for the first few months or so. Most babies wake up multiple times at night anyway. Do you really want to drag your tired bottom to feed him/her? Trust me, it is so much easier to just keep them close by!
13. Wipe warmer
OK, hear me out. I am sure some will argue that a wipe warmer is a need. But it truly isn’t. See, unless your baby really wails like an ambulance when the slightly cold wipe touches his/her tushy, the slight discomfort that it causes passes quicker than you can say “quidditch”.
To top it off, pee is warm and so is poop. That slightly cold wipe will certainly bring some much needed relief, once the baby gets over that half a second long initial shock. And of course, it helps if you don’t leave the wipes in the car overnight during the cold months, which will make them unbearably cold and frozen.
14. Baby swing, bouncy chair & rocking chair
Having one of these can truly be a life saver. However, buying multiple items that have basically the same function is not wise. Also, keep in mind that some babies hate those things. It might work for a little while, but sometimes the baby just wants to be held. Or he/she might just get dizzy, or nauseated. Who knows?
Well, babies know, but they can’t tell us just yet. My suggestion would be to purchase one. Maybe even a used one or a hand me down from a relative. Try it out with your baby for a few weeks and see how it goes. If its a winner then yay! If not, don’t just rush out the door to purchase yet another version of the same artifact. Chances are, your baby is going to hate the new one as well.
If you still think that maybe another model or style might do the trick, then sell or give away the old one before you purchase another one. That is the only way to prevent all the baby stuff from taking over your home and your life.
15. Car seat/carrier
Honestly, those things are, in my opinion the worst invention ever. Whomever came up with the idea needs their brain checked. I mean, when babies are born, they are these tiny little things, all light and fragile. But they don’t stay that way for very long. No no no. Within weeks, babies start to grow like a weed and gain weight. And on top of that weight, we must carry those heavy things? What. The. Heck.
In reality, we shouldn’t. Not only are we adding a ton of extra weight to our poor arms when carrying them. We are also jostling the baby around even more than if we just took the baby off of it in the car and put him/her in the stroller or a sling.
I’ve seen so many poor moms and dads, leaning heavily towards one side, I’d be surprised if they didn’t develop scoliosis. And the poor baby, bouncing around like a basketball. Those car seat/carrier things are bulky, heavy and unnecessary. Not to mention, very expensive.
To truly keep your baby comfortable, get the stroller all set up before removing the baby from the car seat. Or put on your baby sling and then get the baby on. Trust me, your arms will thank you and your baby will be much better off that way.
16. Convertible car seat
I once bought into the whole buy-it-once-and-don’t-worry-again mindset for a car seat. Then again, when I first purchased a car seat around 18 yrs ago, I lived in my country where the law about car seat use at the time wasn’t as harsh and didn’t even require their use past 5-6 yrs old (if I remember correctly). Anyway, at the time I spent an insane amount of money on a car seat that was supposed to last for as long as my child needed to sit on it. And it worked.
However, when I was shopping around for a car seat for my youngest, I came to the realization that not only does the law here is far more strict, but also car seats expire! Who knew!? Well, I didn’t know. When I found that out, I resolved to get a good car seat but did not worry about how long I could possibly sit my child in it. After all, the darn thing was going to expire long before she was old enough to sit in the car without it.
What should you do? Do your homework. Research the heck out of the car seats that interest you. Remember, price does not guarantee quality, so going for the most expensive one is not a sure way to keep your little one safe. When choosing one, keep in mind your car specs (Think type of seat belt, for example), amazing reviews and of course, the car seat’s features.
Do not buy a car seat thinking that your baby will stay little for a long time. They don’t. In fact, they grow very fast. But also, don’t buy one that you can picture your 5-6 yr old sitting on. Most car seats expire 5-6 yrs after the manufacture’s date, so by the time your kid is ready for school, you’ll also be shopping for another, more appropriate seat for him/her.
17. Breastfeeding cover
This might be a tad old fashion of me, but I see no point on actually buying a cover specifically for breastfeeding. I mean, all you really need is a big but light blanket and you’re set. The idea clearly seemed quite helpful to the inventor but in reality, it is just one more money sucker. And we shouldn’t fall for the trap.
It is important to note that, if you’re planning on breastfeeding for a long time, when the baby gets older no fancy cover or blanket will do the trick. Somehow, the little stinkers get it into their heads that they must nurse and look around at the same time. This basically means, the baby will remove the cover in order to be able to see the world, exposing their source of nourishment shamelessly. And who can blame them? I mean, you wouldn’t want to have a huge tarp thrown on top of your head while you eat, would you? Well, your baby might feel the same way. Save your money and make do with a nice blanket. And wear clothes that make breastfeeding a comfortable affair.
Why this is important
Really, we all try to be super mothers. Truly, we do. We want our kids to have a sleeping schedule, a feeding schedule, no rash, no colic, etc. But you know what makes us super mommies? Taking care of ourselves and our finances. Not over spending on unnecessary items.
Marketing efforts have really played a big number on all of us. We all fall prey to a ridiculous amount of information. While some of it is definitely important stuff and we should listen to it, there is a whole lot of propaganda that drives us to the store for every knick knack imaginable, especially the unnecessary stuff.
Read, window shop if you must and above all, listen to other older, more experienced and/or wiser moms. They might have just the right suggestions for you.
Want to know what you truly need? Find out more on the helpful guide below. And it even has a checklist!
Did you find this list helpful? Let us know in the comments section below!