Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Things You Don’t Need (But They Say You Do) For a New Baby

Found this great post at Thought I'd share it here. My whole goal is to simplify. There's no use in filling our tiny little apartment with useless baby items. So I've chosen to not get a lot of the items on this list already.

The Things You Don’t Need (But They Say You Do) For a New Baby

by TSH on FEBRUARY 19, 2010


Post image for The Things You Don’t Need (But They Say You Do) For a New Baby

This post was first published on October 8, 2008, and since we’ve got number three percolating, this topic has been on my mind.

Expecting parents know the gauntlet of baby gear pushed and prodded their way through the store’s aisles. Modern-day culture all but convinces the average parent-to-be that they may very well fail at their upcoming task without the shiny new products begging for purchase. Never mind that men and women have parented children for eons without most of these things.

I have recently walked the “expecting parent” route, having two preschool children, and I registered for gifts with both. But my lists were small, because we really didn’t want to have stuff for the sake of stuff. We only wanted things that would enhance our home and our new life with a baby.

Here are a few items I opted not to get – and did just fine without.

1. More than one stroller

Photo from NY Daily News

Instead of going with multiple sizes of strollers (or even more cumbersome, a “travel system,”)we bought a well-made, rather glorified umbrella stroller. We made sure it was a stroller that both of us could easily push (my husband and I are a foot apart in height), and that it was well-made with sturdy wheels. Two kids, almost four years, a bajillion airports, and who knows how many countries later, it’s still in use.

2. Shopping cart cover

I’m just not a germophobe. Never have been. My mother never covered the shopping cart seat before sitting me in, and I’m fine and healthy today. So I figured I didn’t really need to do that with my kids – and as of yet, both very rarely get ill. The over-sanitizing of our culture is another topic altogether, but I believe that, within reason, everyday items like shopping carts are perfectly safe for my kids.

After traveling in many countries, it also seems like these seem to be mostly a North American trend.

3. Baby wipe warmers

On the rare occasion I felt like I needed a slightly warmer wipe, I rubbed it in my hands for a few seconds. Voila – a much warmer wipe, without the extra cost or clutter.

4. Full-size highchair

We were given one for free with our second child, and I can honestly say that having a big highchair with its own tray is pretty much the same as having a portable highchair strapped to a regular chair pushed up to the dining table. Plus, they take up so much less room, and the baby can eat right next to the rest of the family.

4. Diaper pail

We had a Diaper Champ with our daughter, but with our son, we just have a standard trash can that you open with a foot lever. We keep it outside on our balcony, and I think this simple method has kept our home much less smelly than an indoor diaper pail.

We also now use cloth diapers, making a diaper pail even more useless. With cloth, we just use a simple wet bag.

5. Baby detergent

I know there are some special cases when certain babies have ultra-sensitive skin. But since day one, I’ve washed my babies’ clothing alongside the rest of the families’ with the same laundry soap – and we’ve had no issues.

Of course, we exclusively use Soapnuts now, making it even easier to ensure chemical-free clothing for the whole family.

6. Changing table

With our oldest, my husband made a nifty catch-all type piece of furniture with shelves and a dowel for hanging baby dresses (it didn’t hurt that he was a carpenter). We put a changing pad on top, and used that as our changing table.

With our son, we simply put a changing pad on top of his dresser. There’s no need to take up valuable square footage with a piece of furniture that does just one thing.

glider rocker7. Glider

I’ve never been a fan of the aesthetics of a typical glider, but the main reason we didn’t get one is because of price. I know lots of people love their gliders. Nevertheless, the wooden rocking chair I inherited from my grandmotherworked just as well with my daughter, and with my son, we just rock our body back and forth while we snuggle. Amazingly enough, he doesn’t seem to mind.

8. Baby lotion

I still have some from our almost five-year-old daughter. Babies have the softest, sweetest-smelling skin on their own, and I can’t think of any lotion that would enhance it.

To see some of my ideas of what is truly useful, check out my baby registry recommendations on Wishpot. And if you are expecting, I recommend making your registry thereyou can include anything on the internet in your list. No longer do you have to stick to just one store.


  1. I would agree with almost everything. I wish I would have registered for a double stroller because we knew we wanted more kids. However, I found a perfectly good one for $15 at the thrift store when I was pregnant with Luke...that thing has come in HANDY! I'll be honest and tell you I have FOUR strollers. We got the travel system, the unbrella, a double stroller and a side to side double stroller...we only bought the umbrella stroller. All have come in handy, but they're not all nessecary. You can have my double one...we're just needing the single one now.

    If you want my diaper pail you can have it...they're right it's more annoying than anything.

    I have fully enjoyed my changing table, but with Miles we used an old cabinet that beloged in a 1950's kitchen. We we moved to the harbor and got a house with two stories it sure was nice to have a changing table up and down stairs...saves on back pain...but I'm married to a chiropractor so that helps ;-)

    I'll check your registery, but did you register for older kid items...sippy cups, spoons, bowls, (if you want to use a) potty chair? I totally didn't get anything for the older kid stage and wish I would have because I ended up with SO many 0-6 month clothes and nothing for when they were 12 to 24 months.

    Also, if you get so many clothes you can return them for things you will need. I've totally pared down my clothes for my boys. It's INSANE how many clothes we can collect!'s almost overwhelming and things should never control us ;-)

    Great post! It's not that long!!

  2. Oh that book is the best!!!! Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby!

  3. This is really helpful! Our approach to registering has just been to add anything and everything we like as we come across it, which is especially easy to do since we're registered on and they have a handy "add to registry" button that's right on your toolbar. But now we are in the sorting stage where we are trying to weed out the unnecessary items and narrow everything down. I will definitely keep these things in mind as we go through everything!

  4. Diaper Genie is a must...not just a trash can...Lord NO! not just a trash can.

    Changing tables are nice...and can be found really cheap...especially if you find one someone is tossing out. Grab it, bleach it, use it.

    Best stroller for us was a very simple umbrella stroller...easy to use...easy to get in and out of the car...a lot easier to maneuver in crowded areas.

    take all this with a grain of salt...I hate giving parental advice. Do what you want and enjoy it.

    Timmy B.

  5. We have what used to be a microwave stand w/ a changing pad on top. Works just as well and was basically free. ;-)

  6. Hi Anne! Came over from your mom's blog. Congrats! I just wanted to add that I agree with this list almost completely, but she's so so wrong about the glider!!! I'm currently sitting in mine (at 3 am) with an almost 3 week old baby girl. This is my fourth child, and I can't tell you the number of hours I have rocked babies in this wonderful piece of furniture, often for middle-of-the-night feedings. I recommend getting a good one with thick padding, sturdy armrests, and a high back. It is so worth the investment!! I would probably say that my biggest two items for new-baby-survival is a glider and a Boppy. Good luck with your impending arrival!! :-)


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