Hello pregnant friends!
Congratulations on this big step in your life! I know you are probably anxious about the birth of your first child and doing everything you possibly can to prepare for the birth. You are probably researching EVERYTHING and want to be as prepared as you can. Well I’m here to tell you about something you do not need to sink your time and money into: unnecessary baby items!
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When I was pregnant, I was diligent, y’all. Hyper diligent. I had five pregnancy books on the go at all times, at least three pregnancy apps on my phone, and googled EVERYTHING. I ate organically, used only clean David Suzuki-approved skin care products and flat-out refused to step foot in a freshly painted room. This is perhaps nothing compared to when I was trying to conceive when I bought and read at least 4 TTC books… and we got pregnant after two weeks. It turns out I had nothing to worry about. I was more prepared for my pregnancy than a boy scout (if they could get pregnant… that was a weird analogy…).
At pre-natal class, I was confused why I was the only one who had the pros and cons of every pain relief option available. Did no one else spend their weekends studying best practices for drug-free births? And why was everyone eight or nine months pregnant instead of five and a half? OK, thinking back, I now realize I was veering on the side of obsessive.
All this was fine and I went on happily obsessing, until something dawned on me…
Around about the seventh month of my pregnancy, it occurred to me that after my well-researched, well-planned birth, I would actually have a BABY to care for and I had better do some research on THAT important fact.
So off I went, on a tear to research how to care for a baby. Along with every book I could get my hands on (my fav here), I read EVERY Pinterest link about must-have baby items. If it could make my life easier, I was on it. We had more baby gear than I knew what to do with.
As you can imagine, after the baby was born, I figured out quickly that a lot of that stuff was junk. Hannah much preferred my arms to those elaborate baby-holders, and loved to play with me and my husband, not a bunch of fancy toys. I want you all to learn from my mistakes, so I am here to share with you some 100% unnecessary baby items!
Don’t Waste Your Money On These Unnecessary Baby Items:
I splurged on the fancy nursing pillow, thinking I would nurse comfortably for hours on end. It had a belt for back support! and it had a pocket! Who wouldn’t want these things?
Well, it turns out that maneuvering myself into that thing while holding a screaming baby was NOT doable. I also found out that as a long-torsoed gal, i had to hunch over to even get my boob close to my baby’s mouth, making my back ache constantly.
I quickly downgraded to a normal pillowy nursing pillow. And you know what? most of the time i just nursed laying down (get your lactation consultant to show you how before you left the hospital, ladies, best decision of your life).
The time period of use for this product is soooo short. By the time the baby can hold up their head and support their trunk enough to use it, it will be about three weeks before they can actually sit up unassisted. I think we used ours about three times. Plus, Hannah was only happy sitting in it for about 5 minutes at a time and only when I sat in front of her entertaining her. Plus, OT’s do not recommend using one, because it can slow the development of their learning to sit independently. NOT worth the $60. Plunk your baby in the middle of that low-grade nursing pillow you bought and use that as a cushion for if they tips over while sitting. They’ll be just as happy, and so will you.
One Bouncy Chair or Swing, Not Both
I will say Hannah’s swing was an absolute lifesaver and was the only thing she would happily stay in it for enough time for me to actually about to wash my face AND brush my teeth each morning. She did not care for the bouncy chair. It seems that many babies have a definite preference for one or the other (or some just prefer your arms). I would not recommend buying both. If I could do it again, I would have borrowed both items, figured out what Hannah preferred and only bought one.
Tip: If you end up buying a swing, it is one item you should not buy secondhand. Swings motors run out quickly, so you may need to replace it (definitely if you have a swing-loving baby like mine).
It took me a long time to clue in to the fact that the play gym is actually pretty useless. I thought it would be great to have a little play mat on the floor so Hannah could have her own special spot for tummy time. After the worst of sleep-deprived mommy brain faded, I realized that tummy time is spent on the TUMMY and that Hannah couldn’t see all the pretty hanging toys above her head because she was on her TUMMY (you are probably smarter than me and figured this our sooner). By the time Hannah could roll, she would often roll into the arms of the play mat, so we ended up detaching them.
Instead, just throw a blanket down on the floor and put some baby toys on it. Play mats are cute and will draw you in, but don’t buy it!
This is one of the most expensive unnecessary baby items. Unless you are already a runner, do not waste your money on a jogging stroller. Guess what? Trying to become a runner is really tough. Even at 25 with no baby, I hated sweating and huffing and puffing, trying to job for more than five minutes. Starting a running program while pushing an extra thirty pounds of baby+stroller weight (plus being out of shape from pregnancy, PLUS being sleep-deprived, PLUS those breastfeeding swollen boobs) is not going to happen. A regular stroller is just fine.
We never used the playpen (aka baby jail) once for playing! Much easier to babyproof a room and let baby crawl around freely than confine her to one sad little cage. We did use it one time for an overnight trip, but could have borrowed one just as easily.
Things I Couldn’t Live Without:
Baby Swaddles with Velcro
These are fantastic little contraptions. When you are totally sleep deprived in the middle of the night, you do not want to be frigging around with a swaddle. DO NOT waste any precious sleep time trying to deal with a confusing but fashionable receiving blanket. Get the swaddle with the velcro. It will take 15 seconds to swaddle the baby and you can get back to your precious sleep.
Bonus: When your baby gets a little stronger, the velcro will keep your baby from undoing the swaddle by itself while sleeping. This will be KEY for your own sleep and sanity.
This amazing little piece of plastic was the key to my breastfeeding success. It made breastfeeding SO much easier and ended bleeding, chaffed nipples. Be sure to consult your doctor or lactation consultant if you are interested. We did have to have Hannah’s weight monitored more frequently to make sure everything was going well.
If you do go this route, buy two or three (or a dozen), so you can keep one in the diaper bag and one ready when you’re sterilizing the others.
The Snot Sucker: Nasal Aspirator
No baby (or mommy) should be without this genius contraption which lets you quite literally suck the snot out of your baby’s nose (don’t worry: there’s a stopper that prevents the snot from going in your mouth). This is such a comfort when baby is stuffed up and struggling to breath and works much better than bulb syringes!
I actually have two carriers. We had a baby K’tan that we used when Hannah was very young. I wasn’t totally confident in it (probably just new mom insecurities).
When Hannah was about 8 months old, we got a Tula SSC and that really changed the way we did things. It was so handy to be able to carry Hannah hands-free anywhere I needed to. We used this often when going to our local farmer’s market (wayyy too crowded for a stroller) or when chopping down our Christmas tree.
Many times we would use it around the house when I had housework to get done, but Hannah was too fussy to amuse herself. I can imagine it would be even more useful with more than one child!
Bonus: Hannah was obsessed with the straps and clips on her carrier for a very long time. I often pulled it out of the closet when I needed to entertain her for five minutes. A very strange toy, but made for great entertainment!
Sophie the Giraffe
Sophie seems expensive, but it really is the perfect teething toy. It was easy for Hannah to grip and she could maneuver it into her mouth a lot easier than other toys when she was just little. We actually had two, one for outings and one for home. Plus I love that it is made of 100% natural hevea rubber with food-grade paint (I actually got sassed by a random man at the grocery store for letting my baby chew on plastic. I was able to retort that Sophie was ALL NATURAL thank you very much!). Well worth the investment!
Things I WISH I Had Splurged On
I became OBSESSED with pumping and establishing a good stash of froze breast milk. That meant pumping twice a day, every day. Which meant a lot of sterilizing. For some reason, I did the old-fashioned pot of boiling water. Every. Single. TIME. For an entire year. I will be sucking it up and buying a sterilizer next time!
Double Breast Pump
So there you have it, my list of totally unnecessary baby items. Don’t waste your money on these products unless you’ve got cash to burn. If you want to find out more about saving money once your baby comes, check out this post by Brenda of PaperHeartFamily.com. She has some great tips about raising your baby without spending a ton!
Tell me about your experience with baby products. Are there any unnecessary baby items I’ve forgotten? What items could you not have lived without?