10 Baby Items You Think You Need, But Really Don’t

November 17, 2017

baby items you think you need but really dont
Between the time when you are expecting, and continuing up through showing off your new baby as a proud mother or father, you will be bombarded with advertisements, endorsements, plugs, and discussions of all of the purchases that you will need to make. It appears that a lot of people out there do not think that you can bring a baby into the world without dedicating half of the space in your house and half of your budget to preparing for your new family member. Most of these items can be left on the shelves, and your baby will be just fine without them. In fact your little bundle of life may be better off without a few of them.

I will not say that the number one thing that I see on everyone’s list of the must have items can be absolutely eliminated. I will not say it, but I will think it. Bottles and all things bottle related are at or near the top of every list that I have seen, except for the lists made by furniture companies, who usually list a crib, a changing table, a dresser, a lamp, and more furniture at the top of their list. Nature provided two very useful, practical, and attractive containers for the mother’s milk. By not using a plastic bottle, the breast feeding mother also has no need for a bottle warmer, or anything more than a shower to keep them clean.

I understand that not all women can or are willing to beast feed, so I will save that rant from this discussion, and not include bottles and their accessories as an item that you can do without. Although as a “breast is best” advocate, rest assured that I feel that most people could do without them.

1. Pacifiers

I will however include pacifiers, as I do not think breast feeders or bottle feeders will lynch me for it. They sell pacifiers in all shapes and sizes, in a range of colors, and even endorsed and adorned with any character that they can get a license for. All of these are unnecessary, and in addition to saving you a little money, your baby will be better off without them. You will also avoid the tantrums of a ‘lost binky’ and the fight involved in weaning them from the pacifier.

2. Walkers

Similar to the pacifier, I also think that your wallet and your baby will benefit if you skip buying a walker when they start to pull themselves up to standing. Without the aid of a walker the child will learn better posture and develop balance and the muscles required for walking the way nature intended them to.

3. Nightlights

While on the part of the list that includes items which are not only frugal to avoid, but I personally feel that you and your children are better off without, I will add nightlights. The part of me that wants to shave off every cent that I can from the electric bill does not want a light, however small and inexpensive to run, to be purposely left on all night. The part of me that thinks that getting a child used to having a soft comforting light will contribute to a fear of the dark later in life, says get used to the night kid.

4. Monitors

The other item that you are told to obtain for its nighttime usage is a monitor. Unless the baby sleeps in the guest house, the ninth room on the right, or on the fourth floor, you will most likely be able to hear him or her when they need you to. As for the new monitors that include a camera so that you can remotely see as well as hear them, it is cute to watch a baby sleep, but you do not need to watch them all night long on your television.

5. Swings and Bouncers

Swings and bouncers occupy your little one so that you can have a break or give you some hands free time to get a few things done. This, as well as their usefulness in assisting you to put the child to sleep, makes them a little harder to add to the list. In the end though, the fact that as convenient as they may be, you do not need them is why I have included them.

6. Baby Tubs

Similar to this would be a bath bouncer or a baby tub. Seeing as how you are not going to leave them in the bathroom unattended, a little water in the sink is all that you need until they are starting to be mobile. Once this occurs you would be hard pressed to keep them on a bath bouncer anyway. It is just not worth the money to get something that you are only going to use for such a short period of time.

7. Activity Centers

Another purchase that you can definitely avoid is the activity centers that are designed to be a type of cover for a shopping cart. You see people at the grocery store or mart setting up these contraptions to keep their baby comfortable and avoid contact with the cart. For all of the time that the child will spend in a cart, I think the purchase of such a device is unnecessary. If your child spends enough time in a shopping cart to need padded cushions and attached toys, you may have other issues to deal with.

8. Bibs

I expect most readers to at first disagree, but I think that bibs are mostly a waste of money, too. Sure they keep a bib-sized area on the front of their outfit clean, but when you take it off, you see the clean spot because the rest of their clothes are covered with food. Most children find the bib fascinating, and like to play with it. This more often than not involves them taking the bib off, or lifting it up to expose more of their clothing, thus defeating the use of the bib entirely. After my first two children both managed to get yogurt and blueberries all over their face, hands, and clothes, pretty much covering themselves head to toe, except for their pristine bibs, we decided to not waste our time using a bib at all, for the third.

9. Playpens

Not only can you save some money, but also some space on your living room floor if you do not get a playpen. That baby spent nine months trapped in a uterus, now that it is free in the world, why do you want to trap it in a playpen? Babies do not need to look at the world through the screen walls of the playpen.

10. Strollers

Speaking of things that your baby does not need to be trapped in, you do not really need a stroller either. Once the child gets too heavy to carry, they should be walking on their own. I hear that is more convenient for the parent to be hands free, but the last I checked you still need to push the stroller. I can’t count how many times I have heard a parent say that their child just does not seem interested, or ready to walk, only to look at the child sitting lazily in an umbrella stroller, waiting for the parent to push them over closer to where they want to be.

I will, however, say that some of the ten things that I have mentioned that you do not need, you may want. Your lifestyle or choice is obviously different from mine and you may give in to a few wants. The opinions expressed in this article are mine, although I am willing to share if you want to.

45 comments on “10 Baby Items You Think You Need, But Really Don’t”

  1. tecwzrd says:

    I have a little girl (2 1/2) and can add to this slightly.

    Changing tables are a total waste since you usually need to change the baby away from the table. If the dresser happens to have a table on top then fine but otherwise the floor, bed or any other semi stable environment is where that’s going to happen.

    Any toy costing more then $10 and no more then 5 of them. Babies get the most experience from interaction with parents/siblings and have very short attention spans until they are 1+ years old and I’ve seen way too many parents surround their babies with $20+ toys/education items while the baby is more interested in the packaging that it came it.

    I do have to disagree with the stroller somewhat since most kids (3 and under) aren’t going to walk long distances without giving grief and it’s easier to not worry about a child wondering off.

  2. Teri says:

    Well I breastfed both my children but as a working mom I did need bottles. But bottle warmers is one I never understood. A cup of hot water warms up a bottle just fine, just takes patience.

    There is probably a lot I didn’t see mentioned but you could probably go on all day. I did find a majority of baby items weren’t really necessary.

    Changing table being high on the list, with wipe warmers and diaper genies. I never *got* boppies either.

    Funny we used bibs with my first and largely don’t even bother with the little one. Never gave it much thought, just evolved that way.

    We had a changing pad on the dresser with my first and with the 2nd we just change him anywhere. So it goes.

    For swings, bouncers, strollers and such, check out Craigslist. I can’t tell you how many of these items we found in excellent condition, very cheap. Then when we were done, sold them for what we paid. I liked having some of these items, but never needed them very long, generally did not find them worth paying full price.

    I largely do not understand the multitude of items people buy for their babies though. Good post.

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  4. Jen says:

    Wow, I love this list and completely agree! I also agree with the comment stating that changing tables are useless.

    I did like my Boppy. It allowed me to easily nurse the baby while sitting at the dinner table. They always wanted to eat when I did. That being said, when I didn’t have a Boppy, I used a regular bed pillow, and it was almost as good.

    Now I must mention the one item that I think is absolutely essential (for us). Instead of a stroller, we used a sling. I think that is the single most important baby item that we’ve had. There have been hours when we couldn’t locate it, and they were panic-filled. We carried both of our kids in it, our oldest until he was nearly three, and our youngest is still in it at 16-months. If we ever stop using them, we’re going to bronze them. OK, not really, but you get the idea. We could have lived without them, I guess, but it would have been awful. My kids slept in them at restaurants, on hikes, on airplanes, etc. I could carry one of them and still do dishes or laundry or cleaning. Our kids liked to be carried constantly (because that’s what we always did), so it was the only way I could get anything done. I always give slings as baby gifts. The pouch type (we prefer New Native Baby Carrier) are really easy to make, so now I just make them for gifts.

    Thanks for such a great post! I don’t know if it would have stopped me from getting all the things I never used, but hopefully it will help someone else.

  5. Zachary says:

    My sister is having a baby and she is about to discover that 80% of the stuff on her baby registry will be totally useless and impractical (not to mention expensive).

  6. ken says:

    i would agree with many items on the list are not necessary.

    however, in my situation, bibs are not just for meal time. its easier to change a wet bib of drool than to change a shirt several times a day. $10 for 10 bibs vs $2 – $10 a shirt.

    a quality stroller is necessary but does not mean it needs to cost $800. not every child is ready to walk when they are too heavy to carry. my nephew did not begin to walk until he was nearly 2 years old and too heavy to carry for extensive periods of time.

    hand me downs / gently used items are great since they’re generally free or next to nothing. in addition, they can be passed on to the next person since the items aren’t usually worn out.

  7. Wai Yip Tung says:

    My baby is now 14 month old. These are things I regret to have bought or used:

    1. A baby sheet set that costed $300 from a local store. I try to support local store over big box. But never spent big money until you do comparison shopping in places like Ikea where these things often cost less than one third. I have since put the bumper pad away due to some safety concern (e.g. http://babyproducts.about.com/od/recallsandsafety/a/bumpersafety.htm). It is bulky to store and it takes up a lot of closet space. And I cannot make myself to throw away something that costed me $300.

    2. A push cart that supposed to help train him to walk. He has learned to walk without its help anyway. Actually it is more cumbersome to use it because I have to keep an eye on him every second.

    3. Electronic toys. I always think the best toy are simple toys. Not only are electronic toys too complicated in my mind, they drain a lot of batteries. I have 5-10 as gifts and they have consumed dozens of batteries since then.

    4. A bottle warmer and a swing – each used a few times only.

    5. Baby mozart CDs. Play them if you like classical music. But there is no evidence that they help child development.

    6. Parenting books. It is important to educate yourself. But if you have more than 5-6 then you are having too many. You will probably confuse yourself with conflicting advices.

    7. Cord blood bank. I have not used it. But it is reportedly a lot less useful than you think (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/06/20/CORDBLOOD.TMP)

    I was quite shocked by the amount of consumerism for a little person right from the start, both from things we have bought and from gifts we have received. Frankly I think a baby can be raised very well with very little, as it is the case for my own parents.

    A lot of time parents think these stuff will help them solve problems in parenting (e.g. put a baby on a swing if he does not sleep). In reality they may or may not work. If they work, they may only work for some people or some of the time. Sometimes it is really the parents who have unrealistic goal of having the baby to sleep, eat or keep tidy exact the way they wish. It is perhaps more helpful to let go of this expectation and accept that a baby is an independent being who does not always act within the boundary the parents attempt to impose. If there is one thing that work the best most of the time it is probably parent’s attention to the child.

  8. jennifer says:

    I do agree with you that so much of the stuff we think we need, we really don’t. My husband and I prepared for our first baby as if he were going to be a newborn for the next three years. We just had no idea it would go by so fast.

    But there were things I did use, and really did enjoy them, even if they were only used for two to four months.
    The Swing. It gave me 10-15 minutes to make myself a cup of coffee or whatever needed doing, and my son absolutely loved it.
    The pacifier. I was originally against it since I was breast feeding. But boy did it really give my son comfort during those little rough patches. At 8 months, he was weaned from them. Now when he sees one, he uses it as a teething ring.
    The stroller. Can’t live without it, even though I use and love all the baby carriers. Now my son is 11 months and a very big baby. The stroller saves my back.
    All the other stuff, the diaper pail, the bottle warmer, the wipes warmer, the changing table — these things just aren’t needed, you are absolutely right.

    And, really we don’t need any of it. But some things sure do make life a little easier. And all of it can be found used, and you can pass it on just the same way.

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  10. Emily says:

    Boppy=salvation. I had a flat nipple, and the boppy allowed me to nurse on that side without constantly rearranging pillows and trying to get the baby comfortable and at the right position.

    And the stroller? ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. But not until about 3 months. Forget the ridiculous travel systems–we bought an upscale umbrella (Maclaren).

    My son is only 4 months old, but he weighs 20 lbs. I can’t tell you how the stroller has saved my back.

  11. Moneymonk says:

    You took the words out of my mouth! tecwzrd

    Changing tables are indeed a waste of money, who ever came up with this idea need to be shot with a banana!

    Also, I like stroller. IT IS A REAL NEED, children get tired and restless. You cannot carry them everywhere and they cannot walk forever.

  12. michelle says:

    the stroller is very useful in my case because my 7 month old is up to 22lbs already and i only weigh just over 100lbs.. i live in town and like taking him in the stroller to run erands .. meaning saving time by not having to take him in and out of a truck.. and wasting gas. plus he loves it!.. I live in canada therefore we can’t buy walkers if we wanted to. the only time that we used playpens is when my sister babysat him while i was at work once in awhile.. it was better for her to put it up when he wanted to sleep and saved space instead of having a crib set up all the time. Pacifiers are almost completely useless considering our son ever since he was born wouldn’t take one neways. i also never used a baby bath tub.( we have one) but i found it completely a pain in the butt and less convenient. We use a changetable but mostly just because its an easy and convenient way to store diapers, baby wipes and petroleum jelly. we were lucky a swing was given to us for the baby shower but unfortuneatly after 4 months broke down.

  13. Kendra says:

    I think you have the right idea here but you’re a little off with a few of them. Sometimes you really have to weight out to benefits versus the negatives. Everyone else has said…Oh no, I must have a stroller. For about $10 you can buy a stroller. If you are absolutely poor and cannot afford that, then yes you can live without it. But for people who can afford it, it’s a $10 well spent. I think most people could skip a trip or 2 to starbucks and pay for it.

    Some of the things you have listed are so cheap that the cost is well worth it. I think any of these things could be considered a need in certain situations. For example, my children both had reflux, so they spit up constantly all day. The only way to keep from changing their clothes 500 times a day is to constantly keep a bib on them.

    I was a little disappointed in the items you chose. I think there are some really wasteful baby products out there that companies market as “necessities”. But as far as I’m concerned, we live in a time where we can have some non-necessities to help make our lives easier. You can always find baby stuff at garage sales or 2nd hand stores in fairly good condition to save on cost.

  14. Esther says:

    I’m sorry, but I disagree with most of this list. I have a 5 year old, 3 year old and a new infant.

    I’ll just focus on the glaring ones:

    Pacifiers – my baby likes to nurse forever. When I break the suction, he just cries and won’t stop unless he has an alternate to suck. Being able to put a baby to sleep now is worth the *possible* problems of a pacifier later.

    Bibs – if your kids are big spitter uppers, like mine, bibs are required. Otherwise I would have to change their outfits 12 times a day.

    Playpen – needed at times to protect the baby from others – for example, big brother has friends over

    Stroller – the most absurd thing I have ever read. I live in an urban area and generally walk to local stores. Are you saying I should CARRY my 11 month old to the store and CARRY him back with all my purchases? CARRY him to the local playground and expect him to walk back after playing or CARRY him yet again? Folks, a stroller is the MOST cruical baby item you should buy.

  15. Angie says:

    All I have to say is GOOD GRIEF!

  16. Ken says:

    Our baby is about a month old, here’s my take:
    pacifiers/bottles – these are really a must. Case in point: My wife had a really hard time with breastmilk production and had to give up breastfeeding. After talking to friends and family, this seems more common than not.
    walker – have to agree there, it’s really unnecessary.
    nightlights – I bought a 3 pack of nightlights for under $10 (with leds, less energy usage – and they look cool). I wouldn’t be able to see in her room without it. Used the other two for easy maneuvering to the bathroom at night. 😉
    monitor – I can sort of see your point here, but it does come in handy when you are downstairs (we have her nap in her room during the day) and have other things going (TV, appliances), also it’s nice to bring outside. We live in a courtyard so we can socialize with our neighbors and have the monitor with us.
    swings and bouncers – I’m starting to see this as a waste, but for some parents I’m sure it’s gold. We bought a high end swing, well really our relatives did. It hasn’t been used much. We did get the baby papisan chair and that has been useful due to its portability. i.e. Mom can put her up on the kitchen table while she’s doing chores.
    babytub – They aren’t that expensive, and they hold baby where they need to be.
    activity centers – We bought a 3-in-1 model, which starts as a tummy time type toy, then becomes and activity center, then becomes a toy for a toddler. The jury is still out, as we haven’t been able to utilize it yet.
    bibs – no way! As previous poster said – they save many a piece of clothing.
    playpen – earlier on it was useful, but we have decided to have her sleep in her crib exclusively, so it’s become a glorified changing table downstairs. As she gets older, it may see more use.
    stroller – Just be careful what you go with. Right now we are using a snap-and-go with our Graco carseat. It’s light and folds up nicely. Getting those giant travel systems is unnecessary IMO.

  17. ananomus says:

    ok you do need thoes things! um du!

  18. three4me says:

    I agree with much of what you’ve written. New parents today are BOMBARDED with all sorts of marketing being “told & sold” what they need to be “good parents”…99.9% of them fall into the trip of trying to “buy” successful parenting. Be wary of all of these swings, bouncers and gadgets desgined to give the parents a “break”…Young infants NEED one to one stimulation and eye contact..Wonder why all of these children nowadays have difficulty with reading, tracking, learning disabilities? Wait ten years from now with all of these battery operated gadgets rewiring their visual coordination/eye movement….Visual therapy and occupational therapists will be a necessity for parents who buy into this crap for their kids…
    The only disagreement I have is the stroller issue and also the Boppy…that thing was amazing with having had three c/sections..I breastfed all three and the Boppy made it comfortable those first few weeks when my belly was sore…I never propped my kids on it..

  19. Abby says:

    Great post. I agree with almost everything, and wanted to add that I agree with most commenters that a changing table is absolutely unnecessary. I don’t have one, and even though I’ve considered getting one for our second child, it would serve more as storage than the function of changing baby. Many a time our daughter made messes on our bed, but I wised up and started putting a changing pad down instead of letting her ruin the sheets!

    I agree totally with the last comment that we could only truly believe in the unnecessity (is that a word?) of these items if we want to cut out waste and don’t care much about “convenience”.

    I prefer the use of a stroller, because I remember being a child who had to walk a lot, and it’s nice to have even a little one (cheap!) to have as a “back-up” for tired feet. But we don’t take it everywhere we go. I plan on using a sling this time around, unlike last time, and I know that this will save my back from the extra 20 pounds a carseat add to carrying baby around. (Why do people do that???)
    We used our pack and play as a bassinet in our room, but had two, and the one in the living room rarely ever was used, so I agree about the play-pen aspect, total waste.

    We have a nightlight in the nursery because we coslept for over a year, and my husband sleeps with the tv on, and our daughter had a harder time sleeping without some kind of light. That’s daddy’s fault! I could sleep in darkness and total silence, but neither of them can. If I had it my way, it would be different.

    I think I will work on my own unnecessary list, this is a good start!

  20. Krista says:

    I agree that in today’s society we’re told that we need a lot of unnecessary items to raise a child. I agree with the author that you have to take into account your lifestyle or life situation when purchasing items.

    We were given a changing table and use it daily. We’ll continue to use to when I have twins this summer. We like having everything in one place.

    We bought a travel system and I wish we would have spend the money on a Maclaren instead. They’re light and lot easier to travel with, especially in airports. We’d buy one for the twins, if they offered a front to back option.

    Our son had reflux, so for the first three months he slept in his bouncy seat and I’d occasionally prop him up in his boppy after meals. When he got older we fed him in his bouncy seat instead of using a highchair.

    We use our pack-n-play regularly. Our son is two and we still use it for him to sleep in when his grandparents come to visit. They own a house by us but don’t have a nursery for him. We loan it to friends to who come to visit with children. This was one of the best investments we’ve made.

    We also use the monitor ($10) because while our sons room is right down the hall, we can’t hear him at night. We exercise after he’s gone to bed in the basement, so a monitor is very useful.

    This comment is to one of the last posters. I’d like to point out that unfortunately not everybody can breastfeed, can afford an organic lifestyle and most of all not everybody cares. In an ideal world we would all simplify our lives, reduce waste and healthy food would be made available to all. Compassion will make change, not judgment.

  21. Candace says:

    I am a 1st time mom-to-be and i will take as many tips ont things that i will and wont actually use as i can get. My husband is in the military and we arent exactly rolling in the money. So we want whats needed and a few fun extras. I dont think that i could go with out a stroller, as I’d like to walk the baby so that I can get out and get some exercise after i finish gaining all this weight. Also I thought that the pack-in-plays were a great idea because we do travel alot and it would be a whole lot easier to fold and go then move a crib around with us all the time.

    The toys i can agree with i plan to by a few wrist rattles but thats about it. I was wondering about the need for swings and bouncys and all that extra stuff. I dont exactly want my whole living room cluttered with baby stuff if its not needed. Its hard enough making all babies stuff fit in the room as it is. And all that I have now is a crib and storge station for all the diapers,wipes,creams,lotions,ect. Is a rocker really needed?
    I have also heard from friends that the changing table they bought for $300+ was only used for the 1st two months.After that they just diapered where ever they were.

    I would love to hear anymore info that could save me money in the end. As I already know that the cost of a child doesnt stop at the infant stage.

  22. Nicole G says:

    I agree with some of this. Personally, my husband and I would like to try to keep the baby purchases simple. In our culture, Native American (Lakota and Navajo), the baby spends most of their infant months in a cradleboard so we’re not gonna worry about a swing, a playpen, a crib, or a bouncy chair. I think I’d still like a stroller and a sling since we walk a lot. It’s always good to look at things before you buy them and think “Do I really need this?”

  23. debra miles says:

    you have a very old fashioned look at things. babies need some of the items u said not to have as they need stimulation. i feel sorry for your kids

  24. Terre says:

    Your comment about not needing a stroller is totally CRAZY. Constantly carring a child does more damage to a mothers back and hips and neck…just ask a doctor.

  25. alice little says:

    A stroller is not a necessity? Have you raised a baby without one? Do you live in the city or the burbs? I can only imagine being without a stroller if I were driving everywhere. In the city I think it’s a necessity. As much as I loved my baby (and will love the one on the way), I don’t want the child strapped to my body 24/7.

  26. Tiffane says:

    I would like to disagree with the pacifiers one. pacifiers help reduce sids.. I dont know about the other moms but that is the number one thing on my list…

  27. Ellie says:

    Wow…I disagree with much of this article. I appreciate that some homes are set up where you can hear a baby from anywhere, but not my house! Additionally, we live in a one story house where my daughters window faces the street. If someone were to break into her bedroom we need to know and our monitor provides the best connection to her bedroom than our alarm. Sure the alarm will sound, but by the time we figure out which room the alarm is coming from, she could be gone! In addition, our bedroom is on the opposite side of the house and there is no chance of us hearing her in the night! As for a nightlight, I can’t see in my daughter’s room without one, so how do I expect her to see? I think complete darkness is very frightening for a young child who wakes up and has lost his/her bearings.

    Lastly, no stroller?!?! Where do you live that you don’t find a stroller helpful? What about going on walks with your young child? The outdoors is a wonderful stimulus, plus mom/dad can get some exercise. Great for all! In addition, I live in the city and cannot possibly carry my child everywhere I go. And now that she is walking, it is not safe for her to walk across major streets or in many busy locations.

    I think the writer has a very arcane thought process!

  28. Dita says:

    A stroller is not a necessary baby item. Seriously, what planet do you live on? A quality stroller is an absolute necessity,however one does not needs to spend $800-plus on one. I agree with the person who stated that not every child is ready to walk when they are too heavy to carry. I also believe that a sling or carrier, will not work for everyone either because the child has quickly outgrown it, the child does not like to be carried in one, or the parent/caregiver has back problems/health issues that make using a sling/carrier unfeasible.

  29. Elizabeth says:

    Listen everyone, my kid is a chunk. He’s 16 pounds and barely three months and I NEVER use my stroller. It was a waste of money. I have an AMAZING baby carrier that allows my 120 pounds to carry him for several hours along with my light diaper bag and not feel it. Check out good carriers not the baby-bjorn crapp……. I like my babyhawk oh-snap. I can get him in the carrier while walking in less then 10 seconds.

  30. Tessa says:

    Many of you are seeming to forget that 80% of mothers throughout the world NEVER use strollers. They carry them on their backs with no fancy contraptions. Strollers are a Western idea, and it’s absurd to say that you simply MUST have one to raise a child.

  31. aj says:

    This is an extremely biased article and a very narrow viewpoint when it comes to mothering and the needs of mothers. Yes, every mother has an opinion that is their own, but let me be frank: As a working mom, bottles are a necessity and you obviously don’t work or you would know that. (and yes, i breastfed my baby and pumped at work). Fathers also like to feed their children and unfortunately do not have the means to do so without a bottle. As far as a monitor, I suppose you do not work in the yard, garage, basement when your baby is sleeping and I am guessing your house is the size of an apartment. My monitor is a must if I am to get out in the yard or the basement and still hear my baby. And lastly, many mothers cannot baby-wear their children due to poor backs, hips, etc. Some children do not walk until they are 30 pounds. A stroller is a must for mom’s if they are to get anything done around town. I think you are leaving out the other 75% of mothers who don’t stay at home and have a life outside of wearing their babies. (FYI: people in 3rd world countries wear their babies out of necessity not because they enjoy pee and poop running down their backs all day. Have you asked them? I have…)

  32. Jeanie says:

    Just wanted to point out that pacifiers reduce the risk of SIDs by 30%. That is not a waste of money for me. We actually pushed a pacifier on our daughter for the reduction of SIDs.

  33. Megan says:

    Hmmm…If you want to get technical, you don’t NEED anything for a child. But are some of these things useful? Yes. I used my daughter’s dresser as my diaper changing spot until she was well over two. She was trained to lay still when up there and would never lay still on the floor/bed ect. We also had two changing pad covers that got dirty pretty regularly- would I want to carpet clean or change bed linens as often as I changed that diaper pad? No. Why run around gathering all you need to do a diaper change when you could just bring your child to a certain location and have everything within you reach? I didn’t spend any more on the dresser to be a changer, I just plopped a changing pad on top of a dresser she’ll use through college and secured it.

    I was addicted to my Boppy and loved it- I didn’t have any spare pillows to begin with so I would have had to purchase something to get comfy. We still use the stroller for my 3yo for things like a 5K Race for the Cure, going to a parade where there are no seats or anywhere to set my purse and other items. Same goes for the monitor- we use it to know when my daughter wakes up from a nap and we’re out in the field or garden. It’s not a NEED but it certainly allows us to do a lot more outside during naptime and after bedtime. I would buy all of those items again if I didn’t already have them.

    I DO completely agree with the activity center/swing/playpen/walker bit. I did use a bouncy seat to take my daughter outside while we were in the garden, but it was $10 and well worth it. I could have used the stroller as well, but since that’s also on the list…. 🙂

    Bibs were overrated. I had a ton, and used them sometimes just because EVERYONE gave them to me. I would not have purchased any though. I was always asked why we didn’t use them and I always answered “how would a bib help keep the drool/food/spitup off her pants and sleeves?”

    Good article though. There’s no need to go crazy and buy everything under the sun for your kid. I was given many items that I used but would not have needed, or could have bought second hand.

    I will add that I never used my breast pump. I ended up being a SAHM and thought pumping was a waste of time when I could just give it to her straight from the tap. Not the case for many people who work, so lifestyle has a LOT to do with what baby items are important to people.

  34. Jamie B says:

    I will be getting a pack and play/ playpen because I have an extremely affectionate baby-loving and extremely clumsy dog who will inevitably lick, sit on, step on or otherwise annoy my baby if they aren’t separated by a layer of mesh. I might even get a “lid” for it so the dog doesn’t try to jump in there with the baby. He won’t be in it constantly, but it would be nice to be able to set him down without having to constantly scream at the poor dog who really isn’t doing anything other than loving her little brother. 😀

    I think all those battery-operated “stimulating” toys are completely annoying and useless. There will definitely not be many high-tech toys in the toy box.

  35. Liz says:

    Well I am going on my third child and I must say that i think this article is great even though I do disagree with a few things.

    I will add onto a couple items though.

    Nightlight..a complete waste..my son had one and is terrified of the dark. My daughter didnt have one and can’t sleep with any lights on at all..usually I have found that the lights from neighbors homes and the glow of the moon shining through the window is enough to check on your little one.

    Changing table…unless you have no couch, no bed, and no carpet, this is a complete waste of money and space. I found that all I needed was a portable changing mat that usually comes with most diaper bags, if you have one of those you can protect your carpet and furniture with that one compact cheap and simple item.

    Stroller is nice to have but not neccessary. I use a homemade Moby-style wrap(cost $10 to make and so easy) and I carried my children easily, painfree, and hands free..and I had a 30lb 1 yr old so I dont want to hear that we cant carry our children. My son rode around in a stroller everywhere and didn’t learn how to walk till he was 19 months, my daughter was carried in my sling and once she didnt want to be carried anymore she learned how to walk @ 10 months old….don’t create lazy children by throwing them in the stroller ALL the time although I do feel that have one is esential(even a double stroller now that baby #3 is on the way)

    and I agree with noise making toys…with my first I HAD to have all the bells and wistles…now I can honestly say that there are less than 10 battery powered toys between my two kids’ toy boxes and even those are very mellow(like a car that you shake and then it drives by itself and one of those walking roaring dinosaurs. But none of the flashing lights and high pitched music makers.

    Classical music…no I don’t know if it actually helps brain stimulation, but we live in a small house and my 2 yr old goes to bed earlier than my 5 yr old as well as still takes naps, and having music playing in her room does help drown out the sound from my noisy 5 yr old, and when he goes to sleep it does the same for him so mommy and daddy can watch a grown-up movie together at a comfortable volume without worrying about keeping him awake or distracted with sounds from that (or words that he shouldn’t be hearing).

    quick list of other things that are pointless:
    -doorway jumper
    -more than 5 good blankets
    -hooded bath towel
    -cloth bibs( vinyl baby ..only vinyl)
    -toddler bed(just take one side off the crib and you have a toddler day bed even if it’s not the convertible type)
    -play mat(blanket on the floor works great!)
    -car seat cover(use a lightweight blanket if you must carry that thing around)which brings me to…
    -car seat base(no need to carry that big bulky car seat around, baby does just as fine in your arms or in a sling and will be more comfortable being carried that way) car seats are just too heavy and can really mess up your back …but definately have a good one installed in your car–duh!

  36. jm says:

    I was a nanny for various urban families for 6 years, most with more than one child, a few with twins. I would say that 90% of the time a stroller is absolutely not necessary. The exception I found was with multiples- it would have been too dangerous for me to carry twins in a sling and hold on to their 3 year old brother while crossing a busy street. In every other instance, however, the stroller was a burden, not a blessing. It was always in need of cleaning, always packed with unnecessary items, it was hard to maneuver and it required watching while the child was out of it (it could be stolen). Getting a stroller on a bus or train? Murder. Whenever I had the option of using a sling or walking the toddler I jumped on it and found many benefits: we took only what we needed, we were more relaxed and able to enjoy and talk about our walk (instead of that blind, bored mumbling you often get when the kid is in that stroller cocoon), and I felt closer to the child during our outing. Some parents seemed confused by my desire to walk their toddlers, and worried they would get tired, but that’s why you TALK to them! They understood that I wouldn’t carry stuff for them, they knew they could request to stop and rest and I would say okay, and they knew that if we were in a hurry I would scoop them up and carry them if necessary, without any anger. Most of the time kids in strollers look like fat adults in Lazy-boys, or they are too little to enjoy being in a stroller and would rather be held anyway.

  37. jm says:

    p.s. I forgot to mention, I am now pregnant with my first and we are going to have the world’s smallest babyshower. No stroller, no changing table, no bottles or pacifiers, and no electronic or plastic toys. Hurray!

  38. not a mom says:

    Okay, I just got married and am not planning on having children but most of my friends have children of various ages and to be honest, it all depends on the parents and what they think will be best for their child. I have a friend who has one boy and all the fancy stuff and she likes all of it. She doesnt use them all the time but being a single mom she says it makes her life easier. I have another friend who has 4 boys and is about to have twin girls and she is very old school and doesnt use ANY of these things and she does just fine. So whether one person thinks its a neccesity or a waste of money, it all comes down to what the parent thinks is best for their own child and not one person is more right than the other.

  39. Cheryl says:

    I agree about everything except the stroller as well. I used the stroller a lot: when I volunteered, for running errands, going on walks, etc. My daughters both loved it! You can get a great stroller at a yard sale.

    I used a monitor solely for the music and lights that it threw up onto our ceiling. I used our changing table as a shelf to store small toys.

    I used bibs only for messy meals because the mess did in fact only end up in that small area if I was feeding my daughters. If they were feeding themselves, all bets were off though.

    I used a playpen as a portable crib for when we went out of town. My daughters used to love sleeping in their swings while I managed to get some cleaning done.

    Overall though, I still could have lived without those things with exception of the stroller.

  40. amber says:

    The author of this article is SO Wrong. I have three children. My first loved his pacifier and NEEDED it. The second child did not care for a pacifier and NEVER used one. Our final child likes it to soothe her when she cries. She pulls it out when she is settled down. All children are different and all families are different. Everyone has different needs and simply stating that these things in her list are not needed and a total waste of money is ridiculous. Unfortunately, trial and error is the only way to tell what your child will like or not…if money is an issue then of course go with the necessities.

  41. Jane says:

    Every child, every parent, every family is different. There are no hard and fast rules.

    My children are 5 & 3.

    A pram/buggy/stroller/travel system was a must – and while travel system’s are bulky the flexibility to use from birth and the car seat make them valuable, just shop around. Yes, some people prefer slings, fine but if this is a money saving thread I think it’s fair to point out that these eco-green-mummy-stretch of unstructured cotton for £25 slings are extortionate!! Buggy’s also handy for controlling toddlers, and hauling the shopping home too!

    Baby bouncer seats are cheap and handy – means baby can see what’s going on while mum takes time to do essentials such as shower.

    Some things are pointless – change tables, bottle warmers, childlocks (they get through them so easily), those nappy holder pouch things, cot bumpers…. – but many baby items make life easier for the parents and that’s a good thing. You don’t need to be a martyr just cos you can reproduce!

    Is it relevant that this article was written by a man??

    Dummys suit many children and they hardly break the bank. I always like the fact that when they got too old I could give the dummys to Santa – can’t do that to their thumbs!

    Monitors may not be essential all the time but if they put the parents mind at ease then that’s also a good thing.

  42. usuck says:

    You seem like a crackhead. Some of the things you say are simply unsanitary. I have MS and could not function without some of the items you mentioned. Not having a stroller is simply ridiculous and borderline cruel. My 3 year old still uses one at the zoo and other places when he gets too tired or just needs a break. Also good if I need to move him quickly and have things to carry. It is actually very unsanitary to bath a baby in your kitchen sink. The kitchen is typically more germ and pathogen ridden than a bathroom! Would you bath yourself in your kitchen sink? Really, you can get a baby tub with insert for well under $20. Even less if you buy used. Maybe if you quit smoking meth you could think more clearly and afford a few things to make your child’s life more comfortable. I guess you don’t believe in wipes or diaper cream either. Probably figure that is why we have washing machines (washing board in your case). And why try to prevent a rash, the kid will get one someday! By the way, pacifiers can be very inexpensive and are GOOD for baby. They have proven to reduce the chance of sids. I can assure you a funeral costs far more than a pacifier!

  43. janet says:

    While I can agree you can survive without many of the things listed in your article, many of us parents ‘choose’ to buy this stuff because it eases our lives. Any parent will tell you I’m sure, looking after young children is hard work and exhausting,not to mention, grocery shopping, housework etc. etc. on top.
    Makes me wonder of the author is NOT a parent!

  44. Regina says:

    I agree with no pacifier, walker, & monitor. You actually have to teach your child to hold the paci in his mouth…ridiculous! Out of 4 of my kids 0 took a paci & only one took to sucking two of her fingers.

    I had a walker with my oldest as a gift but rarely used it. I do suggest the stationary walker type activity center. I find I can sit baby in here (once he’s old enough to keep his head up) and get stuff done around the house. I just move the center around as I need to.

    The other posts mentioning that unless you have a mansion you don’t need a monitor…very true. I only had one with the first. You will hear baby cry. New moms are given super sonic hearing. It’s crazy good. I hear everything without even trying! Besides I used a co-sleeper with my last two. I recommend this item to everyone! So easy for moms, especially if you breastfeed as I did.

    I had a swing for my first two. Finances were a tad tight with my third…she was 8 years after my last child. I must say. She has slept better alone than my first 2 who lived in swings. I think because she never got used to the constant swinging motion. I’d breastfeed her, swaddled her in the co-sleeper & she’d be out for a 5 hour period. She’s 2 years 4 months and I put her to bed like a big girl. We have the occasional “i need water, I’m not tired”, etc. but for the most part put her to bed at 9pm & she”ll be up at 9am. People have come to my house & asked how did you get her to stay in bed? I’m not really sure, but I attribute it to never putting her in a swing.

    Bouncer…I’ve splurged on one for all the kids.. You can get a inexpensive one for $35. I don’t recommend vibrations and noisy toys. Just something you can strap baby in safely to cart around the house while you get something done. I use this on the regular for my daily shower. My youngest is 3 months. The 2yo & I shower while the 3 mo bounces away.

    Baby tub. We have only showers in our house. A baby tub was a must. Get something simple, with a sling for newborns. $35 bucks max. I have a fisher price one. Sing for newborns, then it has features for them to recline which you can remove when they are ready to sit up. My 2 yo has also used this outside for water play in the summer months.

    Shopping cart covers, I agree, never had one.

    Bibs. I’m torn on this one. I had one boy who while teething slobbered so much I was using a bib a hour . However my daughter never touched a bib. She was a perfect eater & never drooled while teething. So I guess this really depends on your child. If your child needs one for teething, I recommend one with a plastic back so it doesn’t wet their clothing. Change often!

    Playpen was only useful when we traveled. We do an annual snow trip & trips to grandparents. Dont splurge on a super expensive one. You’re better off child proofing your home if you don’t plan on traveling.

    I don’t agree with no stroller. Are you kidding me?!?! Try holding a 10 lb sack of flour for 10 minutes. You’d give anything for a stroller! Especially if you have more than one. I like the Graco sit and stand. It has a bench on the back for my 2 yo to stand on or she can sit on a little stool. We start out with her walking, but a trip to the mall can be overwhelming. The front has a full reclining seat & it will hold a carrier if need be. It’s hard to chase a 2yo when you have a newborn. Get a stroller.

    Baby bedding. The cute factor is not even useful. My first 2 kids used the blankets for wall art since they were not baby friendly. Then they started saying bumpers were dangerous. My last two got cutsie sheets with a plain dust ruffle. I saved a ton of money.

    After touching on this article I’d like to put out there my must haves. If you’re breastfeeding, a boppy or some type of bf pillow is a godsend. Your arms WILL get tired. Also a breastfeeding cover. They drape around your neck and save you from trying to constantly hold up a blanket to keep from exposing yourself. I wish I could sew, I’d make one for every new breastfeeding mom I know.

    Plenty of feminine hygiene products. Who wants to be postpartum trying to explain to their significant other what “wings” are. Stock up before baby.

    Newborn nighties with zippers. Imagine this…it’s 3am you haven’t had sleep in 2 weeks…who wants to snap 18 snaps. You will never find the zipper so inventive until you are sleep deprived.

    Although I didn’t agree with everything in this list, I do agree with saying every child/family is different. Do what works for you. After 4 kids (aged 18, 9, 2y4m,& 3m) I’ve really found what works for our family. I have found after 18 years of child rearing, less is more. Good luck & best wishes!

  45. Irina says:

    In response to not using bumper pads because they are useless and unsafe…if your baby constantly hits his head against the rails, or if he gets his feet or hands stuck in the crib’s slats, the bumpers CAN help. And they are pretty safe to use, in most cases.

    I have the horizontal bumpers, they pretty much do the same job as the regular ones, but they don’t pose any suffocation risks. Sometimes my boy still gets his hand stuck in one of the slats, but it happens so rarely.

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