Saturday, December 12, 2009

Nonessential baby items

A few months ago, Melissa left a comment wanting to get some information on what baby gear we regularly used and what sat around collecting dust. Sorry it took so long to get this written! But here is my take on it.

Disclaimer: What I'm about to share is intended only as helpful advice to new mothers based on my experience. I encourage any expecting mom to keep their baby purchases to a minimal level (especially in terms of clothing) to avoid wasting money. I also would buy as much of the baby gear secondhand as possible and return gifts that you do not think will be used for something more practical. And remember, going to the store is still possible after the baby is born!

Items that went to waste:

Multiple types of bottles & pacifiers---Maybe I would feel differently about this if I fed North formula from the get-go, but I only had 2 different bottles for him at birth. Dr. Brown's and some Playtex drop-in that was a free gift. We have only ever used 2 Dr. Brown's bottles that we wash after each use. As for pacifiers, he got a Soothies at the hospital and later on, I switched him to the MAM pacifier. There is no need to prepare for the what-ifs. But if you must, keep everything in the packaging and save the receipts so you can return it down the road if necessary.

Hooded towels---Sure they are adorable, but after a few months, they're just not big enough to use anymore. Buy 1 for cute infant pictures and save your money.

Dreft---I do love the smell of this stuff. But there are so many brands of truly baby friendly detergents out there that are better for baby's skin than Dreft, not to mention much cheaper.

Receiving blankets & burp clothes---We could have easily gotten by with a 6 pack each of receiving blankets and burp clothes. Unless you never plan on doing laundry again, there is no reason to have much more than that. We used the blankets we stole from the hospital mainly because the receiving blankets from the store always seem too small for the task (swaddling, shading baby in carseat, etc).  

Clothes---The most stressful thing to me is trying to get all the clothes on the baby before he outgrows them and they go to waste. We have found that we seem to rotate about 6-8 outfits on him unless we make a concerted effort to put other clothes on him. I feel very wasteful when I think about all the items he only wore once.

Baby wash and lotion---You really only need one of each to start out with and this stuff lasts forever. Seriously, North will be in his 40s before he uses up the stock pile of baby wash that was gifted to him.

Bumbo---Unless someone gives you one, I wouldn't buy one.  I mean, I like having ours, but it's an expensive piece of foam.  Maybe buy it used if you just have to have it.

Although it was not part of the question, here are some items that many moms now wished they would have registered for:

Safety items
Convertible car seat
6+ months clothing (if you live in predictable climate)
Feeding items


Melissa said...

Thank you! This is great. I was just updating my registry and this came at a awesome time. I actually registered for the convertable carseat, no travel system or infant carseat for me. No upper arm strength Here! Plus I would rather sling the baby then lug a big ol' carseat around.

North is really sprouting!

Jessica Swesey said...

I second the statement on clothes. It's seriously amazing how fast they are outgrown. I was pretty sad to realize my 10-lb baby was never going to wear the cute little newborn sleep & plays she got as gifts. Couldn't even fit a leg in them.

I also agree on registering for the exersaucer. Those things can get pricey, yet ours was one of the best purchases so far. Bubs loves it!

Another thing I would caution on are the special swaddler blankets with the velcro. Don't get me wrong - these are AWESOME if you're not into doing the swaddle the old-fashioned way. But for some reason I registered for small and large sizes. Even with a big baby, by the time the big one was the right size for her she was over swaddling so we never really got to use it.

Cloth diapers are the only burp cloth you'll ever need. They are the best!

I also was unsure of the drying rack I registered for, but some friends bought it for us and since I've been back to work and pumping, it has gotten a lot of use drying those smaller parts that could otherwise get lost in a regular dish rack. I can't imagine not having this $12 item.

Bumbo -- ours was also a gift (used), and I actually really like it. But I guess it is not really essential.

Two other things that come to mind:

Nipple cream - granted, if you're BFing, this is essential. But they gave me a sample tube at the hospital that ended up being enough to get me through the first weeks when I needed it. I've yet to really use the tube I paid $9 for. Same with the breast pads. For some reason, I assumed I'd be leaking milk all over but I never used even one of these and they aren't cheap either. I guess it's good to be prepared though if it makes you feel better leading up to the birth. And of course, every woman is different.

Congrats on your pregnancy Melissa!

Sonya said...

Jess, I still use the large velcro swaddle blanket on North, I just use them arms out now. Now that he's a wiggle worm, it's much easier getting that on him than the Halo sleep sack I have (for whatever stupid design move, the sleep sack zippers from the top down and it's a pain in the ass to put on.) So maybe you can still get some use out of those size L swaddle blankets?

Jessica Swesey said...

that's a good point. I hadn't even thought of that, Sonya!

Michele said...

Great list- totally agree on the rotating outfits, bottles, blankets, baby wash/lotion (I think our first bottle lasted a year!).... we did get a bumbo as a gift and actually used it with both boys. Its a great option for keeping babies off their backs too and developing the core and neck strength. Some babies need that extra practice as I've discovered the second time around, and its a good alternative to the exersaucer- which is definitely a must have item. We use ours every day! And to Melissa--- you may want to reconsider the infant car seat. Granted- they are totally heavy to lug around, but not bad if you are just snapping it in and out of strollers or onto shopping carts. If you are planning to use a sling or baby bjorn all the time for errands, you could probably make it work. But from experience- putting a baby in and out of a carseat is a pain in the a$$. You don't need to buy a full travel system- just the carseat ($50??) and the snap and go stroller ($40) and that's probably all you need for day to day stuff. I'd ask some other moms about it too to get some different perspectives. But I know I couldn't live without mine-- and my arms are pretty puny:-) Best of luck!!

Sonya said...

Good point about the bumbo being a good alternative to the baby being on its back all the time Michele, I had forgotten about that. I used my boppy a lot to prop him up as well.

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