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Popular Baby Products You Don’t Actually Need

15 min read

By Activebeat

To each their own!  Because every baby is different, parents will undoubtedly have their own opinions on what baby products they need or don’t need.  For first time parents it can seem a bit overwhelming and confusing to make decisions on what products to actually purchase. You will probably receive conflicting advice from your parent-friends and family members which certainly won’t make things any easier.  After conducting my own research and compiling it with my own personal experiences as a mom, I have compiled this list of 20 popular baby products that I feel confident saying you do not actually need.

20. Change Table

Ladies of Pintrest, I know– we all want to bring out our inner-designer and outfit our child’s nursery to be the most beautiful nursery anyone has ever seen.  Often the first place we start is by picking out the nicest (and of course matching) nursery furniture. When given the choice of purchasing furniture pieces separately or in a multi-pieced set, I definitely encourage you to purchase separately — especially if the set you are looking at includes a change table.

Babies as small as they are sure need a lot of things — a lot of which are big things, too.  A change table is one of the bigger item that it is safe to say parents could easily do without.  Instead opt for a midsize or full-sized dresser (if space is permitting). A change pad can easily be set on top, and the dresser can be something they can use as they get older.  It also has so much more storage. We put the diapers in the top drawer and clothes, and blankets, etc in the others. It has worked quite perfectly!

19. Expensive Crib Bedding Sets

As a parent, I thought it a little funny that a crib would need a skirt!  As cute as it may look to have an adorable designer crib bedding set, I think this is definitely an unnecessary item to have, and a good place for you to save some of your precious money.  Crib bedding sets can set you back $100 to $300 on average. Sets often include crib bumpers, which are considered no-no’s as they can pose a risk for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

On the topic of crib bumpers you may ask: if crib bumpers aren’t safe — why are they even sold?  Although government health regulations recommend that the public discontinues the use of these products, they still are bought and sold all the time (often as part of these bedding sets).  Some people say they use crib bumpers to keep their child from bumping their head or to keep their child’s limbs from becoming entrapped between the slats of the crib. However, there are safer products available that can do the same thing.  As opposed to shelling out on a baby bedding set, invest in a few cotton fitted sheets and a breathable mesh crib liner or a sleep sack — both of which are safer ways to keep arms and legs safe. Little bumps on the head are not worth the risk of suffocation.

18. Baby Bath Tub

Baby bath tubs can range from anywhere from $15 to some costing over $100.  Whether a baby bath tub is a necessity though, is up for debate. There are equally as many arguments for and against having one.  Some parents opt to bath their child in a sink during their early infancy and then transfer them to the big tub once they outgrow the sink. This is definitely a cost saving option, and would certainly cut down on the clutter, as baby bathtubs are often quite bulky in size.  If you live in a small home, maybe using the sink as a tub would be worthwhile considering.

There are space saving collapsible bathtubs available, but they can be quite costly.   We purchased the ‘Boon Naked 2 Position Collapsible Bathtub’ — as saving space was high on our priority list.  However, we ended up switching to a tub with more support for times when only one of us was available to bath our son.  The First Years Infant to Toddler Tub provided more support (which was like an extra set of hands). It was much easier to bath him in — and not to mention our son preferred it too.  To this day, we struggle to get him out of the thing! For first time parents, you may want to experiment with the sink, and if that doesn’t work for you — you can purchase a tub that fits your families needs!

17. Diaper Genie

Some parents swear by them, while others opt for a standard garbage bin instead.  The Diaper Genie Elite pail has an ergonomic design with a foot pedal which allows for easy, hygienic hands free opening, and can range from $30-$50 range (depending on if you are able to find it on sale).  It also claims to have an air-tight clamp to help seal odors in and keep your child’s nursery smelling fresh. I think the best way to ensure your child’s room stays smelling fresh is by emptying the pail frequently, because from experience using one — it can certainly still smell!  But what can really start to add up is the cost of the Diaper Genie Refill Bags, making this unit very expensive to maintain, triggering many parents to wondering if it is truly a necessity or not.

A more cost efficient option may be just to have a regular garbage bin (with a foot pedal) instead of the Diaper Genie.  Regular garbage bags are much less expensive, and not to mention, when your child gets older and is no longer wearing diapers, parents would more likely continue using the regular garbage bin, than they would the diaper genie pail in another room of the house.  There are internet hacks showing how to use regular garbage bags in the Diaper Genie — however, you might as well use a regular garbage bin and bags as it would be much easier to fill and remove, as required.

16. Pee-Pee Teepee

As a mother of a little boy, I have wondered if these were something worth having.  I attended a baby shower of another mom expecting a little boy and she received Pee-pee Teepees as a gift.  I was expecting my son at the time, so I was certainly fascinated since I had heard stories of baby boys peeing on their parents, the walls or themself during diaper changes — so I wondered if these would be worth putting on my baby shower registry.  After doing a bit of research, I have found that many moms claim they often fall off and don’t actually stay on long enough to serve their intended purpose.

Seeing that these Pee-pee Teepees run from $10 -$15, I would say that this is a fad product, that parents of boys could certainly do without.  Often when changing a diaper as soon as your child is exposed to the air, it causes them to pee. You can keep accidents at bay by either quickly covering them back up with the diaper or by keeping a stack of small wash clothes on their change table to quickly cover them up while you get their next diaper in place. Wash clothes will not only be absorbent, but they will also clean the mess at the same time as containing it. There are certainly alternative, more cost effective and physically effective ways to keep little accidents from happening.

15. Expensive Baby Clothes

Before you personally shell-out or register for expensive baby clothes, you might want to pause and think for a moment.  Sure, a closet full of designer clothes for your fashion-forward little gentleman or little lady would be a Pinterest-dream, and sure they will look ready for a photo shoot at anytime — but try to think logically.  They are a baby. They spit up, they have diaper related ‘mishaps’, and when they start to eat food, more of it will end up on them then in their mouth – no doubt! It would be a shame to spend so much on clothes, that they will not only grow out of very quickly, but the chances of it getting stained and destroyed are very high.

Remember, your little one will look cute no matter what they are wearing.  If you want to have an outfit or two for when you plan to take photos or take them somewhere special, that is certainly okay.  For everyday use, inexpensive baby clothing is a must! That way you won’t be crying when they have a diaper blow out, and completely ruin that Burberry outfit you just put them in five minutes earlier.

14. Baby Shoes

While on the topic of clothing, another very cute but ridiculously impractical thing that parents of infants can certainly do without are infant shoes.  Not only does your little one not walk, but infant footwear can be uncomfortable, and fall off very easily. I remember receiving little sandals for my son, and it took me no joke – 10 minutes to get one of them on his feet.  Not only were they incredibly difficult to put on, but he immediately wanted to kick them off his little chunky feet.

Of course, they are so tiny and cute to look at, but I would highly recommend saving your money and purchasing footwear once they are actually walking and needing them.  Until that time, socks are perfectly sufficient and acceptable footwear for your little one, and will be much more comfortable to boot.

13. Small Bibs

When we think of the purpose of using a bib on our little one, it is to prevent something from exiting the baby’s mouth and getting onto their clothes.  For this, you will require something that is large enough to serve the purpose. Tiny bibs only cover a small portion of your baby’s clothing making them quite useless.  Sure, it may look cute and match their onesie below, but it can’t hold up to the inevitable mess.

Instead, opt for a longer bib.  This will be much more effective at keeping their spit up and spills off of their clothing, and will certainly cut down on the amount of stain remover you will need if you are trying to save their clothes for another day or a future sibling!

12. Baby Towels

Though colorful and adorable, baby towels are often not as useful as they are cute.  If you are hoping to save a bit of money and reduce the amount of baby items you have around your house, you can certainly live without these towels.  Baby towels are often thin and not as absorbent as regular towels, not to mention you already have plenty regular towels kicking around for the rest of your family to use.

Baby towels are also quite small, and your little one will very quickly outgrow it anyways.  There are some very cute ones out there, but baby towels definitely fall into the category of baby items you don’t NEED to buy.

11. Baby Wipe Warmers

Through my research I did find a split of positive and negative reviews for baby wipe warmers.  But parents, trust me when I say your little one will certainly survive without one. Baby wipe warmers can run you anywhere between $20-$50.  Manufactures advertise that the warm wipes won’t startle your baby during nighttime diaper changes like a cold wipe would. After reading other parents reviews on the product, there is no clear winner.  However, from my personal experience I can say we certainly managed to live without one.

Some parents have claimed that the wipe doesn’t stay warm for more than 5 seconds after taking it out of the warmer, while others claim it has made their diaper changing experience a more positive experience overall.  I feel if you are trying to save money, you could use the warmth of your own hand to warm the wipe (if you feel your child has an issue with the temperature of the wipe). It is certainly worth trying this option before shelling out for this product.

10. Baby Powder

Talcum-based baby powder is made from the mineral talc, and is used to absorb moisture and reduce skin-on-skin friction which can help prevent rashes (including diaper rash), which is why Baby Powder has been a staple on changing tables for years.  However, there have been mixed reviews on whether or not baby powder is safe or not for children. Recents studies suggest that baby powder can be dangerous for babies, causing breathing problems and potentially serious lung damage if babies inhale the particles.  This is especially true of talc-based powders, as their particles are small and very easily inhaled. Let’s be honest — it is hard to keep powder out of the air when using it.

Some say that baby powder is carcinogenic, while others say it is not.  There have been many lawsuits made against manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and many of the cases have been lost by the company.  Not only would I confidently say this product is not a necessity, but it is better to air on the side of caution and not use it for the sake of your child’s health.  I have heard that baby powder is great to have when you are at the beach, and by sprinkling a little on sandy feet, helps make it super easy to dust them off. If you have some Baby Powder kicking around, maybe it is best to keep it stored away for future beach use when your family is a bit older.

9.  Dishwasher Bottle Rack

Although they will only set you back less than $20, dishwasher bottle racks have a place on this list of non-essential baby products.  Even though they may keep all of your baby bottle pieces neatly contained, the dishwasher isn’t always effective in cleaning all the little pieces as well as they need to be.

As opposed to investing in one of these dishwasher racks, it would be much wiser to invest in a couple bottle brushes, to clean bottle as they are used.  These brushes are much more effective getting into the small nooks and crannies, and will cost you about the same as the dishwasher rack would.

8. Bottle Sterilizer

While on the topic of cleaning baby bottles, another non-essential for this list is microwave bottle sterilizers.  Not only do they take up a lot of much needed kitchen cabinet space, there are certainly more cost efficient ways do do the same thing.

A pot of boiling water is another great way to sterilize your child’s bottles.  Place clean bottles, nipples, caps and utensils in a large saucepan on the back burner of the stove.  Add enough water to cover all of the equipment, making sure there are no air bubbles. Bring water to the boil, and leave the parts inside to boil rapidly for 5 minutes.  Then, turn off the stove and allow the water to cool. Remember if you are not using the bottle or it’s pieces straight away, store them in a clean container, or re-boil if they are not used within 24 hours.  Who needs another baby item cluttering the house — when you already have sufficient equipment on hand.

7.  Newborn Clothes

6lbs… 7lbs… 8lbs… 9lbs… fingers crossed it’s not much more — but we don’t know exactly how big our little bundle of joy is going to be.  That being said, don’t go nuts buying newborn-size clothes. Most newborn clothes are made for babies up to 7 ½ lbs. There is a good chance that your little one may already weigh more than this at birth.  Instead, outfit your baby’s closet with clothing options recommended for 0-3 months. These outfits will last until your child is 12 lbs.

Babies grow so fast, don’t get caught with a bunch of clothes that won’t fit your little one, leaving you scrambling to shop for bigger clothes soon after their arrival.  Perhaps limit yourself to only a few newborn onesies (and keep the receipt handy and tags on) in case your little one is on the heavier side! It is better their clothing be a bit big than too little, so air on the side of caution, and opt for a slightly larger size from the get-go to allow for more use and wear-time.

6. Baby Food Processor/Maker

I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t need another kitchen appliance kicking around!  The Baby Bullet (and other baby food processor products) can be a complete waste of space and money.  If you already have a Magic Bullet, a blender or food processor — any of these will do the trick, and will get you the same results.

Sure, it comes with little smiley faced storage containers, but if your kitchen is like my kitchen, I already have mountains of containers that would work perfectly well.  Baby food makers can cost from $50 and I have seen some up to almost $300 (if it blends and cooks the food). Pass!

5. Nursing Cover

There is an even split among mothers who like to cover up while they breastfeed, and those who choose to breastfeed without a cover.  There is no right or wrong way, it is just whatever way is most comfortable for you and your baby. Regardless of what you choose, a nursing cover is a definite non-essential item for this list, in my opinion.

Most nursing covers range in price from $10 to $30 — some may cost more!  If you prefer to cover up, there are alternative options that work just as well as a nursing cover would.  For example, a simple receiving blanket would be more than adequate. We always seem to have one or two on hand, so this would make a great option if you prefer to cover up.  Either way, don’t feel pressured to use one or not use one — it is 100% your decision to make!

4. Bassinet

I will preface this by saying I did use a bassinet for my son.  For us, our bedroom was too small to fit a crib or even a pack and play, so a bassinet was a must for us.  However, if space is permitting there are alternative options that you can use if you want to save a couple hundred dollars on something that your child will very quickly outgrow!  There are varying recommendations on how long your newborn should sleep in the same room as you. Some suggest 3 months, while others recommend co-sleeping up to 12 months to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  The best idea would be to talk to your pediatrician to see what they recommend.

If you have the space to set up their crib, this would be an excellent alternative to a bassinet.  This will not only be a safe for your baby, but it will make for a smooth transition when they move into their own room, since they already will be comfortable and used to sleeping in it.  A pack and play is another alternative option. If space is too limited for a crib, a pack and play will work well too, as they often have a bassinet attachment and it can grow with your child and be used up to their toddler years for sleeping, or contained play, or travel!  You gotta love a multi-purpose items!

3. Baby Laundry Detergent

Baby laundry detergent often costs a premium for some unknown reason.  Buying a baby brand detergent is not essential in my opinion. All you need is a brand that is ‘free and clear’ meaning it has no perfumes or dyes that could irritate your baby’s skin.  This will not only save you money, but you can use it on the laundry for the whole family.

There is a definite ‘scent’ to the baby brand detergent.  I know my husband wasn’t a fan if I happened to wash his clothes with the baby detergent.  I, on the other hand, kind of enjoyed the baby scent. However, when it comes to just needing something to get the job done for less cost — regular ‘free and clear’ detergent wins out in my books!

2. Fancy (Expensive) High Chair

One of the biggest downfalls of the traditional high chair is how much space it takes up — especially full-sized models with a selection of different features.  High chairs can easily be one of the biggest ticket items that you will buy for your baby. It can be right up there with strollers, car seats and even cribs. Being that your child will only spend a limited amount of time in their high chair, there is no need to buy the Cadillac of all high chairs!  This is somewhere parents can certainly save money and opt for something that is lower priced, and more basic in design. Simple can certainly be best when it comes to high chairs.

Of course, your baby’s safety is your top concern, but there are many cost efficient options that are safe and will certainly do the trick.  Many high chairs on the market are covered in a ‘wipe-able fabric’ for cleaning. However, the ease of cleaning these is certainly up for debate.  There are so many nooks and crannies that food can get into, that the best option (that I highly recommend) would be to find a chair without any fabric at all, has a removable (and dishwasher safe) tray, and that can be taken apart easily for the occasional deep clean.  If you can find one that collapses for easy storage — that’s great too — but no need to spend a small fortune on something your little one only spends a short amount of time in.

1. Too Much of Anything

It is so easy to get over excited and a bit carried away buying countless outfits, receiving blankets, baby bottles and other baby-related items for your little one.  I am definitely guilty of this, and if I could turn back the hands of time, I would have told my past self to keep it simple! Too much is not better than enough.

When I was packing to move to our new home, I realized how much nicer it was, and how much less stress I felt, when there was less ‘stuff’!  It felt amazing to purge — and I knew that we could certainly live with (no joke) half of what I had, and still be fine! More stuff equals more stress — I can honestly say since I parted with a lot of the excess, I feel less stressed.  I hope this list will help you when you are weighing decisions on what (or what not) to buy. For first time parents, there are so many unknowns — we have so many questions, and not all the answers. But try to remember less is more! Keep it simple!