10 Baby Items You Think You Need, But Really Don’t
Relatively speaking, babies don’t have a past or a future – they are always engrossed and engaged in the present moment. It’s the exact opposite for parents. New parents constantly think about the financial ease of their past and financial difficulties to come because of parenthood. A 2017 study by the United States Department of Agriculture shows that it will cost $233,000 to raise a baby from birth to age 17. However, since that study was based on 2015 financial metrics, the estimate is really closer to $285,000 in 2021. So, when we consider those costs, parents should always prioritize need over want when buying items for their babies. And parents sometimes buy unnecessary baby items.
Unnecessary Baby Items (Disclaimer)
You know what your baby needs, so take this list with a grain of salt.
The point is that many products marketed for babies and parents are unnecessary and are just designed to part you and your money.
And if there is one thing that parents need in this economy, it’s more money.
Baby Wipe Warmer
This product is the epitome of unnecessary baby items. You want a baby wipe warmer because you want it, and not much else.
Also, using a baby wipe warmer can pose a significant hygiene danger to your baby if you are not careful.
Baby wipe warmers warm up cold baby wipes, so they are not cold-shocking when applied to your baby’s bottom.
You can most baby wipe warmers for $20 to $40 on Amazon. Some models come with a ten-minute light timer to help you change diapers at night.
The warming system is designed to not get too warm and burn the wipes. Some models require you to add water to steam the wipes.
So, where to start with this one? For one thing, keeping this thing plugged in often creates a fire hazard. Also, if you are not careful a baby wipe warmer can facilitate the growth of fungi and bacteria on the device.
Wash your hands with water and soap and then place a regular wipe on a clean surface until it is room temperature.
Newborn Baby Shoes and Sneakers
There is nothing cuter than seeing a cute baby decked out in Weebok sneakers or baby-sized shoes. It’s a heartwarming and adorable sight.
However, baby footwear is not only a waste of money, putting them on your child’s feet might be harmful. You can buy baby shoes for anywhere between $7 to $70.
To state the obvious, babies can’t walk. Additionally, baby bones are very soft, delicately, and still growing. Squashing their feet into shoes you find adorable may adversely affect their natural growth.
Babies crawl, clamber, and slowly develop a natural equilibrium to help themselves stand up unaided
It may be a better idea to wait until your baby actually starts walking before you start buying shoes.
It’s your child, but you must admit that you would be buying these for aesthetics and not practical use. This is another prime example of unnecessary baby items.
Baby Food Maker and Processor
Many parents are making their own organic pureed and processed baby food at home. Make sure you consult with a pediatrician before you attempt to make your own baby food.
Now, do you need to buy a baby-centric baby food maker or processor? You can buy a baby food maker or processor for anywhere between $20 to $200.
You can make your own baby food in a typical blender or food processor.
I get it – you see something adorable and you want to see it on your child. If you are like most parents, you have more baby clothes and accessories than you need.
You don’t need to buy a baby bathrobe. They cost anywhere between $10 to $60.
Baby skin is extremely delicate, so you will probably end up cleaning the bathrobe often to make sure it is clean.
Also, you don’t need to buy baby-sized towels either. These are unnecessary baby items.
Baby Crib Bumpers
Baby crib bumpers are a ring of soft padding that encircles a baby in a crib or even a stroller. Crib slats used to be further apart than modern models, so baby crib bumpers were originally meant to keep baby heads from slipping in between those slats.
Some baby crib bumper manufacturers even claim that baby crib bumpers keep babies from banging their heads into slats or corners.
You can buy baby crib bumpers for anywhere between $20 to $90. However, along with being a waste of money, they also pose a strangulation, suffocation, and entrapment hazard.
Newborn babies cannot roll their bodies voluntarily until they are at least 6-months old.
Visit Safeproducts.gov to find baby-related products that are scientifically proven to be safe.
Talcum Baby Powder
This one seems like a no brainer – I mean, what parent doesn’t want to use baby powder? Baby powder keeps babies dry, suppresses the development of rashes, and keeps babies smelling fresh.
And even I can’t complain about the price – or can I?
While a bottle of baby powder is cheap, most parents are overly generous when applying it. So, over the first year or two of life, you do end up paying a lot for it.
And there is a significant scientific research that claims that baby powder made from talcum poses a significant cancer risk. And most baby powder products are made from talcum powder.
Talcum based baby powder may also cause lung damage in babies or cause breathing difficulties in babies when inhaled. Relative to adult-sized lungs, talcum powder particles can be very large and obstructive to baby-sized lungs.
And baby skin may be too sensitive or allergic to talcum baby powder.
There are several other safe alternatives to talcum-based baby powder that you can use:
- Baking soda
- Arrowroot starch
- Tapioca starch
- Corn starch
- Rice starch
- Oat flour
- Kaolin clay
Boogie wipes are just a more expensive version of baby wipes marketed as a softer, kid-friendly wipe that should be used to clean noses.
You can buy Boogie Wipes in various sizes from anywhere between $8 to $45.
Just save your money on unnecessary baby items like this and stick to baby wipes and clean, soft towels.
I am a proud American and I am all for capitalism, but WTF?!
You don’t need dedicated baby wipes for cleaning your baby’s pacifiers.
Just clean your baby’s pacifier with warm water and soap and each use.
Then boil it in hot water to sterilize for not more than 5 minutes before the next use. Allow the pacifier to cool before you give it to a baby.
If you look up unnecessary baby items in the dictionary, this product would be the main example.
A baby bathtub costs $20 to $50 depending on where you buy it, so it is not very expensive.
As long as it is clean and you watch the temperature, you can clean your baby in the sink. Just be mindful of the faucet.
Babies don’t sweat or get dirty like adults. So, most pediatricians recommend bathing your baby once to three times a week.
So, you can buy a baby bathtub, but you won’t be getting much use out of it.
Multiple Baby Strollers
Unless you live in a city, you may not even need one stroller, especially when considering the pandemic and the fact that most kids are at home.
But let’s face it, buying a baby stroller is a rite of passage for most new parents. It is almost akin to buying a first new car.
You can buy a baby stroller for anywhere between $50 to $600. Make sure you buy one that suits your needs and will last a long time.
Still, at those prices, do you really need two or three of them?
Unnecessary Baby Items
This list of unnecessary baby items is a suggested list. According to your life and circumstances, you may need items on this list (no, not the pacifier wipes).
If you have multiple children, what you need and don’t need will be relative to your needs.
Just prioritize need over want when you buy things for your baby.
Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.