There is a plethora of various baby items out on the market each one promising to make your child, smarter, safer, healthier and happier. While we are lucky to live in a time and place where options are almost limitless, the truth is that most of these “baby essentials” are a fantastic way of flushing your money down the toilet with little to no benefit to you and baby. I speak from experience. I nannied all through high-school and college and at the time of writing this blog post, have a four month old son. So here is my take on “baby essentials” to leave off of your registry and shopping list.
Changing Table: You don’t need an actual table to change your baby on. These things cost hundreds of dollars and most are basically shelving units. Do you know what will happen once your baby becomes mobile? He/ she will pull everything off of these shelves and scatter it all around the room for you to clean up. All you need is a $15 changing pad. Put it on top of a dresser or a stable, lower to the ground shelving unit that you already have.
Changing Pad Cover: Women are often obsessed with putting together the perfect nursery with a magical theme for baby to enjoy. I registered for everything monkey/ jungle themed for my son’s nursery. I received two lovely changing pad covers each of which got used exactly twice before I gave up and shoved them in a far-away drawer. We couldn’t keep poop and pee off of them for more than half a day. This sleep deprived mommy didn’t want additional laundry.
Crib Bedding Sets: The safest way for a baby to sleep is on a firm mattress with a tight fitting sheet. Everything else poses a very serious suffocation hazard. I’ve seen crib bedding sets for hundreds of dollars at Target! These sets include bed skirts, sheets, blankets and bumpers.
-You can’t give your baby a blanket for a LONG time. You will forget all about the existence of this blanket by the time you need one and will end up spending extra money on a new one.
-Crib bumpers put babies at the risk of SIDS. My son sticks his limbs out of the crib then gets stuck and screams so we bought him the breathable crib bumpers. They aren’t cheap, they aren’t cute but, I sleep better at night knowing my son is safe.
-Crib bed skirt…I had to have one. I regret it each time I change my son’s sheets! As soon as you pick up or put down the crib mattress, the bed skirt wiggles away and it’s a royal pain in my sleep deprived but to keep it not lopsided. I am going to take it off next time I change sheets!
-Lastly, let’s talk about crib sheets. They will be peed on, pooped on, thrown up and spit up on regularly. My son has massive diaper blowouts and I find him happily sleeping in poo soaked pajamas on poo soaked sheets on a weekly basis. Here is the best advice I got about crib bedding: buy four basic fitted crib sheets and two mattress protectors. Cover the matrass with two layers of sheet over protector. This way, when the inevitable happens, you aren’t changing pee soaked sheets in the middle of the night. Just peel a layer off and get to bed.
Diaper Genie: If you ever used one you know that no matter what they promise, you can’t get rid of the poop smell until you actually take the diapers out of the house and air out the room.
Wipe Warmer: Great idea in theory but baby will get used to it and at some point in time you will be somewhere where there will be no wipe warmer and baby will throw a ginormous fit. So not a good idea unless you plan on never taking baby out of the house until she/ he is out of diapers.
Bottle Warmer: Same issue as the wipe warmer, get baby used to warm milk and you are screwed if let’s say the electricity goes out. Room temperature is so the way to go.
Sterilizer: They are HUGE. I live in a smallish space with limited storage. I used my sanitizer on a regular basis so I didn’t bother putting it away. It went from one side of the kitchen counter to the other. Then it broke and I decided not to bother. I use the sanitize cycle on the dishwasher now and again for baby’s things.
Cute Hooded Towels: Towels will get pooped on. All the soaking and scrubbing in the world don’t get all of the poo out. Waste of money! Use towels you already have or buy an inexpensive set. Honestly, just earlier this week, my son took such a giant dump in his towel (of course immediately after a bath before I could get a diaper on him) that I just threw that towel out.
Baby Shoes: Baby isn’t going to be walking anytime soon!
Baby Outfits that Aren’t Onesies and Bodysuits: Yes, I know that there are so many beyond adorable outfits out there for babies. Young babies scream through diaper changes wiggle and squirm. You will want to dress them in things that are quick and easy to get on and off. Not to mention, everything will be pooped on.
Toys: Baby isn’t going to notice they exist until about 3.5 month of age so focus on saving your money for the stuff you will actually need right away.
Bouncer/ Swing: These can get really expensive and you don’t know if you will need them or if baby will like them. I got a lovely swing for my baby shower. Baby hated it, would scream whether he was swinging in it or just sitting. We used it for blanket storage before I gave up and put it into storage. Thanks for the nice thoughts and $85 spent on this gift. I’m not saying your baby would hate a swing too, I’m just saying be cautious and see if you can test one out before committing.
Bumbo Seat: These seats are meant to prop a baby up before the baby can sit but only after good head control is established. It’s basically a way to force your baby’s body to do something it isn’t ready to do. That isn’t $40 well spent since just a few months after learning to control her head, baby will be sitting on her own.