One of the first things you notice when you start shopping for baby is just how much stuff there is in all those baby stores. Then you go to register for your baby shower and they give you that six page list of things you should add to your registry. As if you didn’t feel overwhelmed enough, they then turn you loose with a scanner and disappear. It’s nice to bring a mom who’s been there and done that along on that particular trip. But in case you don’t have that option, I’m going to tell you about all of the baby gear that we thought was useless, overpriced, or just plain silly.
Let’s start with the silly stuff. Those infant bath tubs that have the built-in whirlpool spraying system are absurd. Infants can barely stand being in a normal bath. Plop them in a swirling, spraying vortex of terror, and you’re just asking for trouble. I don’t have a lot of love for infant tubs anyway because they’re huge and impossible to store and even more impossible to clean. Throw in all of that extra stuff to clean, and you have something that amounts to my worst nightmare. Coming in a close second for me is the Nap Nanny. Is there something about this thing I’m not understanding? Because to me it’s huge, it’s expensive, and there are about a million other options for places to let your baby nap that are cheaper, can be used for longer, and haven’t been recalled for safety issues.
In the category of useless and overpriced, those giant infant swings with all the extra stuff, like this one, are pretty high on the list. Don’t get me wrong. A swing can be invaluable in the early days, especially if you have a fussy baby. But by the time your baby is old enough to know she’s in a swing that looks like a fluffy lamb that takes up half of your floorspace, she’ll be too big for it anyway. We had a folding travel swing, and that worked great for us. We could take it with us when we went to Grandma’s, fold it up when it was in the way, and it cost a LOT less. I have similar feelings about the Pack n Plays that have the whole newborn sleeper, changing table, vibrating entertainment center. As long as it has the basinet feature, it had everything you need. Those changing tables and newborn sleepers max out at such a low weight, you’re paying extra for something you can use for a couple of weeks, tops.
I’ll go ahead and designate this as the section where you’ll almost certainly disagree with me, but I’m going to say it anyway. Travel systems and fancy bedding are also on my list of stuff you definitely don’t need. As far as bedding goes, I wouldn’t have listened to that advice either, but I’m putting it out there. You can’t use the comforter, there are warnings all over the bumper, and the baby will probably puke on the matching sheet the first time in the crib. It doesn’t matter, though. There’s something about picking out bedding that makes it all seem so real. Just don’t be disappointed when your nursery looks nothing like the catalog after a week. Regarding travel systems, there is certainly something to be said for just sticking your infant seat into a stroller and going. My boys outgrew those seats within a few months. Get a Snap N Go, and pass it along to a friend when you’re done with it. That giant stroller will just be annoying later.
There’s also a lot of stuff you’ll end up with way too much of, no matter what you do. Flannel receiving blankets, hooded towels only big enough for a newborn, tiny washcloths (though, as an aside, those make great cloth wipes if you go that route). I’m pretty sure you can never have too many crib sheets, sleepers, or onesies. For bottles and pacifiers, my kids have each had very distinct ideas about what they want there, so I have absolutely no recommendations for those. I have a diehard Nuk fan and a Mam baby, and they won’t switch or accept substitutes.
It’s so easy to get sucked into the whole idea of all the cute baby stuff. It’s fun to pick everything out, and I will admit I had a blast registering for even ridiculous stuff. When it comes down to it, though, most of the stuff on registries works for the very beginning and then it’s just in the way. Babies have pretty simple needs, so as long as you have warm jammies, milk, and lots of snuggles, you won’t need much else.