Parenthood is expensive. Particularly when you’re suckered into buying lots of pricey, adorable, but ultimately completely unnecessary baby items that only serve to wipe out your bank account. The thing is —we’re all so excited pre-baby that we go out on a few adrenaline-fuelled shopping binges and convince ourselves that we need it all. This is especially the case when it’s your first baby and it’s all so new. I did the same thing.
In reality, babies don’t need an awful lot. They need you, they need a safe space to sleep, and they need milk. Everything else is just gravy.
There are some unnecessary baby items that seem completely sensible at first glance. Then you get home and you talk to your grandmother, she pulls a face. And it brings you back to reality — there’s a chance I could have survived without this after all.
This is my own personal list of unnecessary baby items. I know some people would fight me tooth and nail on some of these items. But if you’re on the fence about whether or not to buy them — hear me out.
While I’ve got you! Check out my lessons I learned as a first-time mum
Newborn Baby Shoes
I know. Baby shoes look adorable. Tiny little shoes for tiny little feet and they’re so hard to resist. But this genuinely deserves the top spot of any ‘unnecessary baby items’ list. You’ll spend ages struggling to get them on. Your baby will hate it. They’ll fuss for you to take them off and after all that, you’ll lose at least one of them. You know you will. And they’ll grow out of them in about ten minutes, anyway.
A Changing Table
This might sound like a strange one. Of course, your baby needs to have their nappy changed, so you might have thought of a changing table as a necessity. The thing is, I never had one and I functioned quite happily.
Don’t get me wrong, I deliberated — it’s just that they all cost so much money. And I didn’t want to shell out a small fortune on a changing table when it had a limited shelf life and wouldn’t provide much use in a few years’ time.
Personally, I opted to simply place a changing mat on top of a chest of drawers. It was the perfect height for me to change Charlie comfortably, and I could also use it to store his nappies, wet wipes and PJs. To be honest, ultimately I didn’t even end up changing him there very often. More often than not, I changed him on the floor, where there was zero chance of him spontaneously throwing himself off the edge onto a hard floor.
Dedicated Nappy Bag
I so nearly bought one of these. I was browsing Amazon for classy nappy bags with special compartments and little sections that will keep bottles warm and then I realised — special nappy bags are definitely an unnecessary baby item. All you really need is a decent-sized bag with enough space to store a few nappies and wet wipes, along with a change of clothes and a few toys. Early on, I decided to save my money — but if some kind soul fancied buying me a glam new nappy bag, I wouldn’t have said no.
Brand New Clothes
Babies grow so quickly. You might buy them a selection of gorgeous new clothes, but odds are they’ll only wear them once or twice. A great way to save money is to look into second-hand baby bundles. Let me be completely real with you — any clothes you put on your baby will be covered with poop and vomit in no time, so you might as well buy second-hand until they’re about two and they can stay clean for longer than three minutes at a time.
Baby Food Processors
This is an unnecessary baby item I actually fell for. I wanted to make homemade food for Charlie, so I shelled out a decent amount of money for a tiny little baby food processor. I used it twice. It was a faff, honestly, and my existing food processor would have worked just as well.
A Nursing Cover
If you choose to breastfeed and you want to cover up in public, that’s completely fine. You shouldn’t feel you have to (if people have a problem with it, that’s their problem), but if you’d rather cover up, that’s entirely up to you. But nursing covers are a completely unnecessary baby item, especially when you consider you can use a large muslin baby cloth (there are so many things to do with muslin cloths!) and it works just as well.
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A Nursing Pillow
Just use a cushion, seriously. Just use a cushion. They’re adorable, yes, but they’re not needed. You’ll be just fine without one of these — and a tiny bit richer.
There are so many baby products on this list that are adorable but ultimately completely unnecessary. This is one of them. Just use fabric softener on your existing towels, make them super soft for tiny, sensitive baby flesh and you’re good to go.
Pee Pee Teepee — King of Unnecessary Baby Items
For those of you who haven’t heard of this before, let me introduce you to the funniest, most unnecessary baby item that has ever been created. The Pee Pee Teepee. This is a specially-designed piece of material (or, actually, just a small piece of material) that you place over your boy’s winkle when you’re changing his nappy so he doesn’t pee in your face.
Don’t get me wrong — boy babies do tend to pee during nappy changes. But you seriously don’t need to buy these. They’re just another thing to chuck in the laundry, and you know half of them will get swallowed up by the magical laundry fairy.
This is another unnecessary baby item I am guilty of buying. I genuinely thought it was a necessity. But in reality, it was all a bit disgusting. I was piling nappy upon nappy in this bin and emptying it once every few days, in which time it began to stink. Ultimately, I got rid of it and just threw the nappy in the main bin every time I needed to change Charlie.
A Wipe Warmer
No seriously, these exist. And people buy them. And I don’t understand why. Does your baby really need warm wipes on their bum? And if they get used to it and you’re out and about and you need to use normal wipes (like some sort of peasant), then what? Will there be a meltdown? Do you have to keep this warmer plugged in and turned on all day or do you have to perfectly time your baby’s next nappy change so your wipes are adequately warmed? I’ve never met one parent who has one of these and would recommend it.
A Baby Bath
Someone gave me a baby bath before Charlie was born, and it was a lovely gesture — but ultimately, I hated using it. Charlie would squirm and I’d freak out, worried that his little head would somehow slip away from my hand. Early on, I decided to just have baths with him, and it was lovely. I enjoyed every single bath — the water had such a peaceful, calming effect on him so it was a lovely bonding time.
Before I sign off, I do want to say one thing about these unnecessary baby items — they might not be necessary, but some are fun to have. People have bought me adorable hooded bath towels for Charlie and we definitely used them and loved them. But if you’re looking to save money and live minimally with a baby, these are definitely baby products you can stand to live without.