There are tons of things you have to purchase when you have a baby. Many that will become valued tools you reach for several times a day. But many of them will end up being useless, taking up valuable space in your home and even worse, a huge drain on your wallet.
After having four babies myself and now working with hundreds of parents, I’ve compiled this list of 8 things you should NOT buy when you having a baby. This list is in no particular order and has been created using only the opinion and experience of many parents, so you still have to decide what is best for your family. But if you don’t enjoy watching the money fly out of your bank account, this list can help you keep costs down when you are preparing for your baby’s arrival.
- Fancy diaper pails – I have to admit, some of these pails are designed by brilliant engineers. You just place the dirty diaper in and with a magic flip of the handle, the diaper disappears! But let me warn you, there is a horrible aroma that is brewing inside that pail. If you don’t change it every day, the smell will escape and your adorable baby’s room will begin to smell like a port-o-potty at the county fair. However, even if you do change it religiously, the odors soak into the plastic making that daily change a dreaded chore. Your best bet is to get a small metal trash can, like you would use in your bathroom, to place the soiled diapers in. That way you can easily carry several of them at a time to your outside cans and the odor doesn’t become a problem.
- Swings/vibrating chairs – We’ve all seen these adorable seats, and I will be the first to admit that my oldest child only slept in her swing until she was 6 months old. That was back when they were battery powered and when I realized that the battery was dying, I would literally push the swing back and forth until my husband could run to the store for fresh batteries. The problem though is that many babies hate these kind of chairs, and they aren’t cheap costing anywhere from $70 – $250. That’s a lot of money to spend hoping your child ends up using it. So, if at all possible, ask a friend if you could borrow one for a few weeks to see if your baby likes sitting in it. If it works for your little one, you will happily plunk down the cash. But if it doesn’t, you’ve just saved yourself about 6 square feet of space in your home and a nice chunk of change.
- Several different types of strollers – First off, you definitely need to have a stroller for your new baby. The point here is that you don’t need several different types of strollers. There are heavy duty ones, lightweight ones, jogging strollers, umbrella strollers, car-seat only strollers, double strollers, and I could go on and on. You need a stroller that you can securely fit your infant’s car seat and that will grow with your child. We loved our fancy convertible stroller because I could fit the newborn’s seat snuggly into it and as the babies grew it converted to a regular stroller that even allowed space for a second little one to sit as a rear passenger! That stroller even let me jog if I wanted to (not that this was really something I wanted to do.) Now, this stroller wasn’t cheap with models today ranging from $260 – $500. But I used it for 8 years, so that’s about 17 cents a day. If I had purchased cheaper, specific use strollers, I would have spent more money and gotten a lot less use out of all of them.
- Baby bathtubs – These things look so cute and fun, but just keep walking when you pass them on the shelf. They are useless. When you are giving a newborn bath, these tubs keep so much of the baby out of the water that your little one gets cold. You end up spending most of the bath pouring cups of water on the baby to warm them. Then within a month, your baby has grown out of the tub and you end up storing it (because you spent a good bit of money on this huge piece of plastic) for the next baby. Oh, and if you think that purchasing the large baby bathtub will be a good idea, you will end up changing your mind. They are just bigger, bulkier pains in the butt than the smaller versions and ultimately make it harder to wash your baby. The best thing you can purchase for baby’s bath time is a $5 comfy baby bath sponge. It is just a soft sponge that is about the length of your baby for you to place in the bottom of your tub or kitchen sink. It soaks up the warm water so your baby rests comfortably in a small puddle and keeps your baby from lying directly on the hard surface. Then at the end of the bath, you just wring it out and let it dry for the next time.
- Bassinets – These were super popular years ago because parents wanted their new baby to sleep in the parents’ bedroom, but they wanted the baby’s crib to be in the nursery. The problem is that bassinets are very quickly outgrown, almost always before parents are ready to move the baby into the nursery at night. Then, they end up purchasing a pack-n-play (great item!) for the baby to sleep in the parents’ room. So save yourself some $70-$300 and just get the pack-n-play right off the bat. It’s portable and is suitable for babies of all ages.
- Changing table – While you definitely will need a dedicated place to change your baby that is well stocked with wipes, diapers, creams, and tons of other stuff, a table that is designed specifically for diaper changes is a waste of your money. Diapers don’t last forever (thank God!), but you will need to continue storing things for your child as they grow up. It makes a ton more sense to either purchase or repurpose a short dresser by placing a changing pad on top. That way you have plenty of space to change your baby’s bottom and storage for the diaper changing items. Then, when you are done with diapers, you can just keep using it as a dresser in their room.
- Baby blankets – When you have a baby, everyone and their mother is going to sew, crochet, knit or purchase a baby blanket for you. Seriously, you are going to fill that dresser with so many blankets and sadly, you won’t use even half of them. In the “olden days”, people used baby blankets constantly because homes were draftier, diapers were prone to spill out, and doing the laundry was more difficult to do (again, I thank God for in-home washing and drying machines.) But we just don’t wrap our babies up in tons of blankets anymore. Now, you do need 3 or 4 blankets. A couple for warmth, realizing that one may be in the wash at all times, and the last one to use as a clean changing surface when you are out of the house and need to change your baby’s diaper. Other than that, you just don’t need anymore. And since everyone is going to give you one eventually anyway, just save your money and wait for the blankets to start pouring in.
- Crib sheet savers – These are waterproof pads that you are supposed to place over the sheets of your baby’s crib. The idea is that if your baby’s diaper leaks in the middle of the night, you can quickly remove the pad so that you and your little baby can get back to bed faster. If only that was really what happens. See, these covers have to be fastened down so that they don’t pose a suffocation hazard. Some of them fit the mattress just like fitted sheets and other snap around the crib slats and lie on top of the sheet. So, now its 2 am and you baby wakes up having soiled the sheet saver. Let me tell you, unbuttoning 4- 12 ties, and having to either climb into or move the crib to do it, really sucks at 2 am. And if I am going to have to pull off the sheet saver like a fitted sheet anyway, just let me change the regular sheet. Sometimes the simple way is the best way.
This is by no means the complete list of all of the items that will end up being a waste of your money as you raise your baby. But it is a good start and represents a savings of at least $700. And since you’ll be spending that much on diapers alone in your baby’s first year and a half, I hope this information helps.