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12 Baby Items You Don't Actually Need

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12 Baby Items You Don't Actually Need

For the first-time parent, the list of must-have baby items can seem overwhelming. You may find yourself wondering how a tiny person that weighs less than a good-sized watermelon could need such an incredible amount of stuff. A simple Internet search for “baby necessities” brings up hundreds of pages with massive collections of things you and your baby supposedly won’t be able to live without.

Luckily, all those lists can be trimmed down quite a bit to save yourself time and money. The large majority of the baby and nursery items advertised out there are unnecessary, will hardly be used and don't have enough resale value to contribute to the university fund.

  1. Baby Shoes
    Unless your baby turns out to be an athletic prodigy, odds are they won’t be walking anywhere anytime soon. You’ll find that there is no shortage of miniature newborn-sized shoes and tiny trainers out there that are definitely adorable, but absolutely useless. Feel free to snag a pair if you absolutely fall in love with the cute factor, but know that your baby will be just fine with a pair of socks.

  2. Baby Powder
    Gone are the days when changing a nappy included a white cloud of scented baby powder. Some recent studies have actually linked baby powder to potential respiratory issues, so you will definitely want to leave that on the store shelf. Instead, keep a tube of all-natural nappy cream on hand, in case the dreaded nappy rash makes an appearance.
  3. Newborn-Sized Clothes
    If you read the label on most newborn sizes, you’ll notice they are for babies up to about seven pounds or so. Many babies weigh more than that from day one, and even if yours clocks in under the seven-pound mark, it won’t be for long. Clothes sized zero to three months will fit just fine for most babies, and give a little room for those newborn growth spurts.
  4. Crib Bumpers
    This is another classic nursery item that is actually a hazard for your baby. Crib bumpers have been shown to be a suffocation hazard, so leave this one off your list for sure. Once your baby does start moving and grooving, you can always put in a breathable mesh liner to prevent any chubby little arms or legs from getting stuck between the crib bars.
  5. Baby Towels
    Think about it- why does a baby need a special towel? The answer is, they absolutely don’t. They look so sweet in pictures. In practice, you end up with a baby screaming blue murder because the hood's drooping into its eyes, and a towel with virtually zero absorbency (so you're holding a soaking-wet, screaming blob). A regular, adult-sized bath towel will work just fine, and has enough surface area to wrap up your baby comfortably.
  6. Baby Robe
    Newborns are hard enough to dress, with their wiggly little bodies and floppy limbs. Why would you sign yourself up for the struggle of putting a tiny robe on a post-bath, slippery baby?
  7. Baby Wipe Warmer
    You’ll just have to trust that your baby will be okay with room temperature wipes, and you’ll be thankful to save the space. Unless you're the world's fastest nappy changer (not likely at 3 a.m.), that pre-warmed wipe will get cold before you can get it from the dispenser to those sweet cheeks. Babies come with enough gear without signing yourself up for unnecessary things that take up precious dresser real estate.
  8. Changing Table
    Changing nappies doesn’t need a dedicated table; instead, purchase a pad that you can put on top of a dresser or in another convenient spot. The nappy phase only lasts for three years or so (less if you’re lucky), so there’s no sense in buying a whole piece of furniture for that short period.
  9. Crib Bedding Set
    For sleep safety, your baby should only have a tight-fitting sheet on their crib mattress, and nothing else, which makes a full bedding set pretty obsolete. Quilts or baby duvets are on the no-no list for safety reasons, so save the money and buy a few fun crib sheets instead.
  10. Baby Bibs
    If babies were careful enough to only spit-up, drool, or make a mess for a very shapely, 4-inches below their chin line, we'd say go for it. Since they tend to make messes everywhere but where you've prepared for it, pass on infant bibs and invest in something more substantial - like a HAZMAT suit.
  11. Baby bathtub / bath seat
    You’ll use it about three times. Trust us.
  12. Baby Blankets
    It’s not that you don’t need baby blankets, it’s that you definitely shouldn’t buy any yourself. Baby blankets of all shapes, sizes, and materials will rain down on you from friends and family from the moment you announce the baby on the way, and you will probably end up with far more than you need.

When it comes to buying baby gear, do your best to keep it simple. There are plenty of sources that will tell you that your life as a parent will be in shambles if you don’t invest in the latest, greatest baby gear. In the end, you and your baby truly can survive with the basics: food, nappies, a safe place to sleep, and plenty of love. All of the other things are just fun extras, icing on the giant cake of parenthood. 


Leah Giles

Leah is a childcare professional who has worked in nursery education for over five years. She has a level 3 CACHE Diploma in Childcare and Education, and has two daughters.

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